Sutiya Kingdom

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Sutiya Kingdom
চুতীয়া ৰাজ্য (Assamese)

1187–1673
Capital Swarnagiri
(1187-1225)
Ratnapur
(1225 - mid 13th century)
Sadiya
(mid 13th century - 1523)
Languages Assamese

Sutiya

Religion Hinduism
Government Absolute monarchy
Maharaja
 -  1187 -

1224

Birpal (first)
 -  1522 -

1523

Nityapal (last)
Historical era Medieval Assam
 -  Founded by
Birpal
1187
 -  Disestablished 1673
Today part of  India
List of Rulers
Years Reign Name
1187 - 1224 37 y Birpal
1224 - 1259 35 y Ratnadhwajpal/

Gaurinarayan

1259 - 1292 33 y Vijayadhwajpal
1292- 1329 35 y Vikramadhwajpal
1329 - 1367 38 y Gauradhwajpal
1367 - 1397 30 y Sankhadhwajpal
1397 - 1434 37 y Mayuradhwajpal
1434 - 1469 35 y Jayadhwajpal
1469 - 1504 35 y Karmadhwajpal
1504 - 1522 18 y Dharmadhwajpal/

Dhirnarayan

1522 - 1523 1 y Nityapal

The Sutiya Kingdom[1] was established by Birpal in 1187 on the northern bank of the river Brahmaputra. It was a powerful kingdom which had absorbed the ancient Pal dynasty and ruled for over 400 years in northeastern Assam and some areas of present day Arunachal Pradesh, with the capital at Sadiya.[2] The kingdom controlled almost the entire region of present Assam districts of Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia and parts of Dibrugarh and Sonitpur. The Sutiya[3] are an indigenous ethnic group that spoke a Tibeto-Burman language, but now they speak Assamese language. According to tradition, Birpal at first became the chief of over sixty families.

The most illustrious of the Sutiya kings was Gauri Narayan (Ratnadhwajpal), son of Birpal. He brought many other Sutiya groups into his kingdom. In 1224 Ratnadhwajpal defeated Bhadrasena, the king of Swetagiri. Then he went on to subjugate Nyayapal and marched toward Kamatapur, where he formed an alliance with the Kamata ruler by marrying a princess. Then he marched to Dhaka, and camped some distance away from the city. Though records exist of this expedition, there is no account of a war at Dhaka.

The hostilities with the Ahoms began in 1376 when the Ahom king, Sutuphaa, was killed by the Sutiya king during a friendly encounter. The simmering dispute often flared till 1523 when the Ahoms finally took Sadiya and killed the then king Nityapal. The Ahoms established their rule by instituting the position of Sadiyakhowa Gohain, the governor in charge of Sadiya. But the Sutiya had dispersed to frontier regions, and continued raids against the Ahoms.

History[edit]

The Sutiya kingdom was the most power kingdom in Upper Assam from 12th to 15th century. The founder of the kingdom was Birpal who claimed descent from the legendary Bhishmak and reigned in 1187. He ruled over 60 families with his capital on a hill called Swarnagiri and assumed the title of Gayapal. The surname 'Pal' is possible imitation of the Kamarupa Kings of dynasty of Brahmapal. Birpal was the king who encountered Sukaphaa and his men. His son Sonagiri succeeded him assuming the title of Gaurinarayan.

Reign of Gaurinarayan ( 1224 -1259 )[edit]

Gaurinarayan (Ratnadhwajpal) was one of the most powerful Sutiya king, he brought under his sway tribes of neighbouring mountains Rangalgiri, Kalgiri, Nilgiri, Chandragiri, Dhavalgiri etc. He conquered the whole northeastern region of Assam which included the areas of present day Arunachal Pradesh and assumed the proud title of "Lord of Hills". With a large army, he descended on the valley of Brahmaputra, attacked and deported a king named Bhadrasena, ruler of Swetagiri Mountains. In the expedition, he gained rich booty and many prisoners of war belonging to Brahmin, Tanti, Sonari, Sutar and Kumar castes and settled them in various parts of the kingdom. He built his capital at Ratnapur, hence also called Ratnadhwajpal and used certain techniques to advance the agricultural system in the kingdom. The neighbouring king, Nyaya Pal surrendered with costly gifts, even before he was attacked. To cement the alliance, he married the daughter of Nyayapal. He build a line of forts along the foot of the bills against inroads by the hill tribes and build large tanks and temples for his people. In Kamatapur, when Kamateswar refused his daughter for one of Gaurinarayan sons, the king marched against him, constructing a road with forts at certain intervals. Alarmed at the energy displayed by his troops, Kamateswar agreed to give one of the Princess in marriage to the Sutiya Prince.

The Gauda ruler possibly Khesav Sen made friends with Gaurinarayan who sent one of his son to that country for education. Unfortunately, the Sutiya Prince died there and the corpse was sent to Gaurinarayan, who was then engaged in building a new city called Sadiya, which later on became the capital of the Sutiya Kingdom. Extensive remains of buildings and fortifications built during the rule of the Sutiyas near about Sadiya still point to the importance of the region in the past.

During the reign of Ahom king Sutuphaa, there were frequent skirmishes between Ahoms and Sutiyas. In 1376, Sutuphaa was killed by the Sutiya King evidently Sankhadhwajpal during a friendly encounter. During the following years, both the sides got involved in numerous battles.

Reign of Dhirnarayan ( 1504 - 1522 )[edit]

Dhirnarayan, a powerful Sutiya King and also known as Dharmadhwajpal, encountered in many battles with the Ahoms. He had a son Sadhak Narayan and a daughter Sadhani. In 1513, another clash with the Ahoms took place. King Dhirnarayan attacked the Ahom Kingdom both by land and water. The Ahom were victorious in the battle fought at Dikhoumukh. But in 1520, the Sutiyas invaded the Ahom territory twice, in the second invasion the Sutiyas killed the Ahom commander and were successful in defeating the Ahoms in the battle fought at Dihing.

Downfall of Sutiya Kingdom[edit]

In 1522, Dhirnarayan due to his growing age wished to pass the throne to his son Sadhank Narayan but the prince was too young to handle the duties of being a king , seeing no option Dhirnarayan gave away his throne to Nityapal, who was the husband of his daughter Sadhani. The Sutiya nobilities and ministers opposed Dhirnarayan decision of giving away the throne to Nityapal. In 1523, the Ahoms taking advantage of this chance attacked a much weaker Sutiya Kingdom. As a partial culmination of the inter-kingdom feud, the Ahoms take Sadiya and killed Nityapal. Sadhani seeing her husband killed and Sadiya conquered by the Ahoms preferred death to dishonour committed suicide by jumping from the top of a hill. However the Sutiyas went to the countryside where they were still in power and continued their fight against the Ahoms to reclaim their lost territories. It finally ended in 1673 when the Sutiyas fall under the domination of the Ahoms and are absorbed into their state.

The People[edit]

The Sutiyas are one of the major section of the plain inhabitants of Assam. They belong to the great Mongoloid Stock. Lingustically however they belong to the Tibeto-Burman family.The Sutiyas are considered to have reached the Brahmaputra valley from the northeast, possibly from the present border between Tibet and Sichuan province of China and travelling in the southwest direction, reached the foothills of the eastern Himalayan range.The former kingdom of the Sutiyas is well known as Vidarbha and its capital was situated at Kundill. The seat of the Sutiyas when they were in the ascendant, appears to have been about Lakhimpur and the back of the Subansiri River. They hold all the countries to the north of the Brahmaputra as far down as Biswanath.

Monuments[edit]

The Sutiya kings were involved in building forts, temples and palaces during their rule. However most of this monuments have disappeared in the heart of the river Brahmaputra during the earthquake of 1950 and the remaining are now in dilapidated state as no initiative as has taken place to conserve them. One of the known monument built by the Sutiyas was the Tamreswari temple in Sadiya. The temple popularly known as Sakta Goddess Khesaikhati fell down during the eathquake of 1950 and the Brahmaputra eroded the site completely. However we get a clear picture from the report of colonel Hanny and Dalton who visited the site in the middle of the 19th century. Bloch also reported it along with the photograph of the ruined temple. Another momument build during the Sutiya reign was Bhishmaknagar. Bhismaknagar is a magnificent fort made of brick that dates back to 12th-13th century. It is located 25 kms away from Roing. The site was excavated during 1969-70 and revealed a brick structure of a fort measuring 1860.52 metres of plinth area. The structure is surrounded by a rectangular ramport wall made of stone. It has two impressive brick built in the eastern and western directions. Other ruins are found in places around Sadiya and in areas of Arunachal Pradesh.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ (Gait 1906:38–40).The term chutiya is an expletive in Hindi language. The tribal name is pronounced Sutiya and not Chutiya.
  2. ^ .Sadiya is an Assamese name for king of the Sutiyas.
  3. ^ The meaning of Sutiya is glory.

References[edit]

  • Prakash, Col. Ved (2007). Encyclopedia of North East India.Vol.2. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. 
  • Pathak, Guptajit (2008). Assam's history and its graphics. Mittal Publications. 
  • Bhusan, Chandra (2005). Assam : Its Heritage and Culture. Gyan Publishing House.