Lachit Barphukan's Statue at Jorhat
|Notable work||1671 battle against Mughals|
Lachit Borphukan (Assamese: লাচিত বৰফুকন ) was a commander and Borphukan in the Ahom kingdom known for his leadership in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat that thwarted a drawn-out attempt by Mughal forces under the command of Ramsingh I to take back Kamrup. He died about a year later due to illness.
Lachit Borphukan, was the son of Momai Tamuli Borbarua,the first Borbarua (Governor of upper Assam and Commander-in-Chief of the Ahom army) under Prataap Singha. Lachit Borphukan was educated in humanities, scriptures and military skills. He was given positions of responsibility of the Soladhara Barua (scarf-bearer) 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. Other offices held by Lachit before his appointment as Borphukan included Superintendent of the Stable of 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.
King Chakradhwaj Singha selected Lachit Borphukan lead the army in the campaign against the Mughals who held Guwahati. The King presented Lachit with a gold-hafted sword (Hengdang) and the customary paraphernalia of distinction. Lachit raised the army and preparations were completed by summer of 1667. Lachit recovered Guwahati from the Mughals and successfully defended it against the Mughal forces during the Battle of Saraighat.
Lachit Borphukan died about a year after the victory at Saraighat due to natural causes. His remains lies in rest at the Lachit Maidaam built in 1672 by Swargadeo Udayaditya Singha at Hoolungapara 16 km from Jorhat.
There is no portrait of Lachit Barphukan, but an old chronicle describes him, saying "His face is broad, and resembles the moon in its full phase. No one is capable of staring at his face."
Battle of Saraighat
After being defeated by Lachit and his forces, the Mughals army and sailed up the Brahmaputra river from Dhaka towards Assam advancing to Guwahati. The Mughal Army under Ram Singh I consisted of 30,000 infantry, 15,000 archers, 18,000 Turkish cavalry, 5,000 gunners and over 1000 cannons besides a large flotilla of boats.
Ram Singh, the Mughal commander in chief failed to make any advance against the Assamese army during the first phase of the war. An arrow carrying a letter by Ram Singh telling that Lachit have been paid rupees one lakh and he should evacuate Guwahati was fired 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 convince the King this was just a trick against Lachit.
During the last stage of the Battle of Saraighat, when the Mughals attacked by the river in Saraighat, the Assamese soldiers began to lose their will to fight. Some elements retreated. Though Lachit was seriously ill he boarded a boat and with seven boats advanced 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". His soldiers rallied and a desperate battle ensured on the river Brahmaputra.
Lachit Barphukan was victorious. The Mughals were forced to retreat from Guwahati. The Mughal Commander-in-Chief, acknowledging his defeat by the Ahom soldiers and their Commander-in-chief Lachit Barphukan, wrote, "Glory to the king! Glory to the counselors! 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!"
Memorial & monuments
On 24 November each year Lachit Divas (Lachit Day) is celebrated statewide in Assam to commemorate the heroism of Lachit Borphukan and the victory of the Assamese army at the Battle of Saraighat.
Lachit Borphukan gold medal
The best passing out cadet of National Defence Academy is conferred the Lachit Borphukan gold medal. It was instituted by the Assam Government in May 2000 to perpetuate the memory of Lachit Borphukan. Battalion Cadet Adjutant Aaditya Udupa, 126th NDA Course,was awarded the medal for the Spring Term 2014 on 28 May 2014.
Lachit Borphukan's Maidam
Lachit Borphukan's Maidam was constructed in memory of Lachit Borphukan at Gohain gaon of Meleng-Hulungapar. Jorhat, Assam. It is 8 km far from the famous Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. Here last remains of Borphukan were laid under this tomb (Maidam) constructed by Swargadeo Udayaditya Singha in 1672.
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