✍ Dr. Jagadindra Ray choudhury
Lachit Borphukan was commander in chief during Ahom kingdom in Assam. He grew up with a comprehensive mind from his childhood to offer best services to his nation. He imbibed his temperament to illustrate love and respect to his country from his father Momai Tamuli Borborua and he emphasized that his father was the sole inspiration in this regard. Momai Tamuli Borborua spent his early life with a tremendous hardship and distress but the state of affairs a bit ease due to his nephew. Once Momai Tamuli Borborua was called by his nephew to look after his property and he devoted his full efforts in cultivation with a magnificent planned way. Besides this undertaking Momai Tamuli engaged himself in some social work and extended his helping hand towards the needy. As a result, he became popular in nephew’s place and everybody used to call him ‘Momai’(maternal Uncle). His original name was Sukuti but became popular as Momai. The cultivation which made by Momai Tamuli was a descent look and it fascinated Swargadeo when he was passing by on that route. Swargadeo, Jayadhwaj Singha was very much enthralled with the fine works of Momai Tamuli and he was called immediately to the royal court. Momai Tamuli was engaged to look after the betalnut garden of royal family. With the advent of new assignment, Momai Tamuli gradually achieved into a higher position in the royal palace of Jayadhwaj Singha within a short span of time. Besides his allotted task Momai Tamuli looked after the nooks and corner of day to day activities of swargadeo as well as Ahom kingdom.
It was Momai Tamuli Borbarua, who believed that not only economic development but also all-round development; a society could not be achieved into triumph. He requested all the citizens of his country to devote some additional time besides their normal works for both male and female. He monitored regularly the developmental works which had been progressing especially in the morning hours on horse riding. This kind of monitoring accelerated the work culture amongst all and every one turned to be a hard worker. Lachit Borphukan was also trained with all round development especially war fighting.
The mighty Mughals were a great invader and altogether they invaded Assam seventeen times. Besides other invention, a striking invention was made by Mir Jumla and without any hindrance he reached Gargaon, the capital of Ahom with his mighty troops. King Jayadhwaj Singha flew away deserting his royal Palace and Mir Jumla enjoyed the palace’s amenities with full galore and gaiety for a long time. When Mir Jumla was sick with lots of problems and his troops also requested him to return their home place then finally he decided to make a treaty with Swargadeo before departing Ahom kingdom. Besides the normal worth both in cash and kinds he mainly emphasized to take king’s only daughter Ramani Gabharu to the harem of Aurangzeb for his son. Ramani Gabharu was cousin sister of Lachit Borphukan. He was eye witness of that incident when separation of Ramani Gabharu who was eight years old with her parents was really a heart touching state of affairs he had ever witnessed. On that very day Lachit Borphukan promised to take revenge against the Mughals. He determined to over throw Mughals completely from their territory and as soon as he got the responsibility of the army chief, he tried to enrich all round development of his soldiers especially the war fighting technique with a long time preparation. That would help them to fight against Mughals.
It was sargadeo Chakradhwaj Singha who appointed Lachit Borphukan as commander in chief of Ahom kingdom. The flare of fire ignited in Lachit’s mind to fight against the Mughals, the day when he came to know about the invaders during his childhood from his father. When Lachit was appointed as Commander of Ahom dynasty then from the initial stage he started to train his soldiers in every possible way and turned them the fittest for fighting out the enemies. Lachit engaged himself without trailing a single moment and utilized full time to train up his countrymen to retain the glory of his country. He loved his country from the core of his heart and never thought of compromising at any point against invaders.
The mighty Mughals king, Aurangzeb was very much enthusiastic to regain the lost part of Ahom kingdom once they occupied especially the lower kamrup area with a broader way. Keeping in mind to enhance Aurangzeb’s territory he planned to send a great force under the leadership of Ram Singh to fight against the Ahom. A great opportunity approached to Lachit Borphukan for which he had been preparing from long back and trained his soldiers with utmost care. As soon as the exact information reached that Ram singh with a full troop was approaching towards Assam, Lachit Borphukan immediately met Swargadeo, seeking permission for fighting against the Mughals. All types of discussions regarding the forthcoming battle undertook with Minister Atan Buragohain strategically. Both Lachit Borphukan and Atan Buragohain came in a consensus that water battle would be the best one against Mughal and for this purpose mighty Brahaputra river would fulfill the purpose. To obstruct the Mughals, Lachit planned to prepare a great wall (garh) surrounding the Brahmaputra without leaving a single hole. Lachit even dared to kill his maternal uncle for neglecting his duty in preparation of surrounding wall around the Brahamaputra. Cannons had also been placed into different corners after a specific interval. Bunkers had also been dug for sheltering his soldiers and a good number of war boats was also been placed on the river Brahmaputra. Lachit Borphukan was eagerly waiting to defend mighty Mughals on the bank of river. After reaching Assam, Mughal were halted for a couple of months on the hillock of Alaboi. As the battle was not initiated from each side for a long time and it was remained a stand still position, Swargadeo lost his patience and ordered Lachit to attack the Mughals. Lachit tried utmost to understand king that his soldiers were not expert on ground battle but king was adamant on this issue. Finally, Lachit ordered his soldiers to fight against Mughals but could not resist and most of the soldiers dispersed before the cavalry force. A good numbers of soldiers died because Mughals were very strong enough in ground as well as cavalry war. Just after the war, a setback prevailed for several days in Lachit’s mind and could not resist the unwarranted death of his soldiers. It was Atan Buragohain who took the initiative to consol Lachit on that very incident.
Finally, a great battle was fought against Mughals as they approached through the Brahmaputra River and that battle was known as ‘Battle of Saraighat’. During the war, Lachit Borphukan was severely sick with high fever and could not even stand properly yet he reached to the boat with the help of some soldiers. A great battle was fought against Mughals under the leadership Lachit and defeated the Mughals with a high spirit. At the end of the battle, Mughal commander in chief Ram singh was obliged to express that each and every soldier were expert in all round of tactic in fighting of battle, hence it was difficult to defeat their enemy. Ram Singh was convinced that it happened only because of Lachit Borphukan who trained his soldiers in all round possible way. The winning of the battle against Mughals was the greatest success of Lachit Borphukan and the flare of happiness flown in the minds of Assamese people. But that happiness could not last long because after the battle Lachit died and his departed soul flown to the eternal sleep.
Lachit Borphukan was not only a chief of his soldiers under King Chakradhwaj Singha but also a true patriot who loved his country from the core of his heart. He got the inspiration on how to respect his country from his father Momai Tamuli Borborua. Lachit even dared to sacrifice his life and dedicated all for the greater interest of his country. He built up his character to respect his country from his childhood and able to show it in the battle of Saraighat. We should respect this brave heart for his tremendous contribution towards his nation and once he said: ‘I shall not give an inch of soil to the foreigners till my last drop of blood persists within me.’ So, we should respect Lachit Borphukan not only as Assamese, but also as a great warrior across the country as like as Sivaji Maharaj of Maratha.
(Author is Secretary of Vidya Bharati Purvoottar Kshetra.)
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