When I was in school, we had four houses. Houses are groups in which all the students of the school were divided. Each house had their own set of duties and there were interhouse competitions as well. I remember the names of the houses, they were, Lachit house, Subhash house, Raman House and Tagore House. Every year all the students were allotted houses and that was done through lottery. By luck, in my entire school life I was allotted Lachit house at the most. That is one reason, why I got curious to know more and more about “Lachit Borphukan”.
I read articles in newspapers and I asked my parents about this great warrior and after knowing all about him, I feel proud that I belong to Assam, which is a land of colossal figures like him. There is one sentence my mother told me about Lachit Borphukan , which jingles in my ear till date. That sentence is, Lachit Borphukan said “ Dekhot ke mumai dangor nohoi”. I am sure most of Asomiya people know about this phenomenal character of Assam. In the annals of Assamese history, his name shines. For those who do not know much about him, here is something I got from the Internet, which will enhance all the readers’ knowledge about this magnanimous figure.
Brief lifeLachit Borphukan was a commander and Borphukan in the Ahom kingdom known in particular for his successful leadership in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat that thwarted a strong attempt by Mughal forces under the command of Ramsingh I to take back Kamrup. His heroism during the last and decisive battle, when he inspired a dispirited and retreating Ahom naval force to fight back in spite of an illness, has made him into a national hero. He died about a year later due to causes unrelated to that particular illness. Lachit Borphukan, was the son of Momai Tamuli Borbarua who, starting from humble beginnings, had risen to become the first Borbarua (Governor of upper Assam and Commander-in-Chief of the Ahom army) under Prataap Singha. Thus Lachit Borphukan had the benefit of the upbringing the children of nobility of his times. His father arranged for his education in humanities, scriptures and military skills; as he grew up he was given positions of responsibility. It is also recorded that Lachit was made the scarf-bearer (Soladhara Barua) of the Ahom Swargadeo, a position equivalent to a Private Secretaryship, which was regarded as the first step in career of an ambitious diplomat and politician. The various other offices held by Lachit before his appointment as the Commander of the army included was the Superintendent of the Royal Horses (Ghora Barua), Commander of the strategic Simulgarh Fort and Superintendent of the Royal Household Guards or (Dolakaxaria Barua) to the Ahom king, Chakradhwaj Singha.At the time of his appointment as commander-in-chief Lachit held the office of Dolakasharia Barua. The king summoned him to his presence when he was sitting on his royal sedan; and in order to test the efficiency of the general-elect, he asked Lachit to instruct the Dulias or sedan-bearers about the performance of their duties. Lachit stood the ordeal well; and the king broached the subject to Lachit, saying-"The enemies are in our immediate neighbourhood. How will it be possible to capture their leaders Syed Firoz and Syed Sana? The man whom I am going to appoint as general must be endowed with unusual grit, stamina and depth of judgement." To this Lachit replied, "Could it be that there is no man fit enough in Your Majesty's realm? What are the enemies? They are after all ordinary mortals. Shall we not find similar men in our country? Your Majesty should only confer the dust of your feet, and the man equal to the occasion will be readily found" .The king immediately resolved to put Lachit at the head of the expedition. The king's selection was confirmed by his ministers and advisers.The King Chakradhwaj Singha presented Lachit a gold-hafted sword (Hengdang) and the customary paraphernalia of distinction and appointed him commander in chief of the Ahom army raised specifically to drive out the imperial Mughal rulers. Lachit actively participated in raising the army and the preparation were completed by summer of 1667. Lachit at first recovered Guwahati from the Mughals and successfully defended it against the Mughal forces during the Battle of Saraighat. He died about a year later.About the physiognomy and features of Lachit Barphukan there were no evidence of contemporary portrait. There was, however, preserved in an old chronicle a meager pen-picture of the general along with the other commanders of the expedition. The chronicler points out the distinctive features and says: "At the foot of Itakhuli was Lachit Phukan. His face is broad, and resembles the moon in its full phase. No one is capable of staring at his face."There are a number of incidents displaying Lachit's patriotism and devotion to duty and to his nation.
My uncle is not greater than my country"During the preparations for the Battle of Saraighat he ordered an earthen wall for fortification to be constructed within one night and employed his maternal uncle as the supervisor. Late night when Lachit came for inspection, he found that work was not progressing satisfactorily. When asked for an explanation, uncle tried to cite tiredness, to which Lachit became so furious in this negligence of duty that he beheaded his uncle on the spot, saying "My uncle is not greater than my country"("Desotkoi Momai Dangor Nohoi" ). The barrier was completed within that night. This episode is still cited in Assam as the ultimate example of Lachit's sincerity and patriotism. Remains of this fortification known as "Momai-kota Garh"
Failed attempt by Ram Singh to prove Lachit traitorWhen Ram Singh, the Mughal commander in chief once resorted to spreading misunderstanding in the Ahom camp when he failed to make any advance against the Assamese army during the first phase of the Battle of Saraighat. An arrow carrying a letter by Ram Singh telling that Lachit have been paid rupees one lakh & he should evacuate Guwahati was driven into the Ahom camp, which eventually reached the Ahom king, Chakradhwaj Singha. Although the king started to doubt Lachit's sincerity and patriotism, his prime minister Atan Buragohain made him understand that this was just a trick against Lachit.
Last display of courageDuring the last stage of the Battle of Saraighat, when the Mughals attacked by the river in Saraighat, at the sight of the massive Mughal fleet, the Assamese soldiers began to lose their will to fight. Some elements commenced retreat. Lachit was seriously ill & was observing this development from his sickbed. He had himself carried on a boat and with seven boats advanced headlong against the Mughal fleet. He said "If you (the soldiers) want to flee, flee. The king has given me a task here and I will do it well. Let the Mughals take me away. You report to the king that his general fought well following his orders". This had an electrifying effect on his soldiers. They rallied behind him and a desperate battle ensured on the Brahmaputra. The Ahoms in their small boats cut circles round the bigger but less maneuverable Mughal boats. The river got littered with clashing boats and drowning soldiers.In this furious engagement, Lachit Barphukan managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The Mughals were decisively defeated and they retreated from Guwahati. Thus ended the battle of Saraighat in a decisive Ahom victory (despite all odds) and giving Lachit legendary fame in Assam. In his hour of triumph, Lachit Barphukan died of the illness that he had been suffering from.The Mughal Commander-in-Chief acknowledging his defeat had a special word of praise for the Ahom soldiers and the Ahom Commander-in-chief. About Lachit Barphukan he wrote, "Glory to the king! Glory to the counsellors! Glory to the commanders!Glory to the country! One single individual leads all the forces! Even I Ram Singh, being personally on the spot, have not been able to find any loophole and an opportunity!"
Death of Lachit BorphukanThe joy of victory in the Battle of Saraighat was marred by the death of Lachit Barphukan soon after the battle. He was in high fever when he led the attack against the Mughals. It is his indomitable sprit that goaded him to action though his frame was incapable of bearing such a tremendous burden. But for his timely intervention the failing enthusiasm of the Assamese soldiers would have purchased an ignoble defeat. Lachit Barphukan, like Lord Nelson, died in the lap of victory; and the battle of Saraighat was Assam's Trafalgar.This hero's last remains lies in rest at the Lachit Maidam built in 1672 by Swargadeo Udayaditya Singha at Hoolungapara 16 km from Jorhat.
Lachit DivasOn 24 November each year Lachit Divas, it is a state holiday, is celebrated statewide in Assam to commemorate the heroism of the great general Lachit Borphukan and the victory of the Assamese army at the battle of Saraighat. Reference and source : wikipedia