Know about the Indian military genius Lachit Borphukan-Part-II


In this two-part article, we are discussing the gallantry and brilliant strategy of Ahom general, Lachit Borphukan, displayed against the mighty Mughal Army. In this part, the event of Battle of Sarai Ghat has been discussed. In this significant battle, Mughals and their allies suffered a humiliating defeat, which crushed their ambition to expand the Mughal kingdom at the north-east India.

This is in continuation of Know about the Indian military genius, Lachit Borphukan-Part-I

In the first part of the Article, we discussed the prelude to battle of Sarai Ghat and how Lachit Borphukan, Commander of the Ahom Army, reconquered the lost areas including Guwahati from the hands of the Mughals. Alarmed by the losses, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb sent a massive army to teach the Ahom Kingdom a proper lesson. The Ahom Army was vastly out-numbered by the Mughal Army and its allied forces. But Lachit was not disheartened. He gave ample testimony to his tactical brilliance and military genius. He knew very well that the Ahom Army stood no chance before the Mughal Army in battle in plains, so he chose Guwahati with its hilly terrain to give a fight to the Mughals. The only way to Guwahati from the east was crossing the mighty Brahmaputra and the river was at its narrowest near Sarai Ghat. Lachit knew that although Mughal Army was very strong in land, the Navy was their weakest point. Furthermore, Mughals were not at all habituated to river warfare. He tried to utilize this weak point of the Mughals for the defence of Guwahati. He set his headquarter at Andharubali between two hills and built a series of mud embankments near Guwahati. Thereafter, he planned a strategic retreat.



The Mughals had four divisions. The first one was headed by Raja Ram Singh at the north bank of Brahmaputra. The second one was commanded by Ali Akbar Khan at the south bank. The third division at Sindhurighopa was headed by Jahir Beg and was supported by the soldiers of Koch Bihar. Naval Commander Munawar Khan was guarding the Brahmaputra approach. Ahoms were supported by Jaintias, Garos, Nagas and the soldiers of Darrang. But their biggest friend was infamous monsoon of the Brahmaputra plain. Atan Burhgohain was holding the north bank of Brahmaputra and Lachit himself commanded the Ahom force at south bank. Atan regularly harassed Mughal Army with daring guerrilla warfare. However, the Ahoms suffered a major setback at Alboi, when around ten thousand Ahom soldiers were massacred by the Mughal Army. At the same time, Raja Ram Singh tried to create doubts in the mind of Ahom Raja Chakradhwaj Singha using false propaganda against Lachit. The Ahom Army got demoralized and started retreating. The Mughal Army reached very close to the Ahom headquarter at Andharubali. Ahom soldiers retreated further to Kajali.

Misfortune of the Ahom soldiers did not end there. Lachit fell seriously ill. The Mughal started pushing the Ahom Army hard. But Lachit Borphukan fought back his illness. Disregarding the serious illness, he entered the fray. He sent orders for all the land and naval forces to attack the Mughals. He himself remained in one of the seven war boats of the Ahoms. The biggest river battle of India commenced. Lachit assuming direct command of his force had a terrific impact on the Ahom soldiers. Their warships started attacking Mughal Navy from all sides. The fiercest river battle was fought near Itaguli, Kamakhya and Aswakranta. The Mughal Admiral Munawar Khan was shot dead and it totally scattered the Mughal force. Four thousand soldiers of Mughal Army were annihilated, their entire Navy was destroyed and they were thrown back to the western part of the Ahom kingdom, on the other bank of Manas river. Mughal Army was also routed at Darrang. Lachit Borphukan single-handedly led a vastly outnumbered Ahom force to victory over a numerically superior Mughal Army. The battle of Sarai Ghat was one of the most significant warfares in medieval India. This battle shattered the dream of the Mughals to expand their kingdom at the north-eastern part of India.



At long last, very recently the Assam Government has decided to honour this great son of Assam. The best passing out cadet at NDA, Khadakvasla has now been awarded the Lachit Borphukan Gold Medal since 2000.


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