Know about the Indian military genius, Lachit Borphukan-Part-I

Along with Shivaji Maharaj, Lachit Borphukan halted the military might of Emperor Auranghzeb during the later part of seventeenth century. Because of this military genius, the mighty Mughals had to suffer humiliating defeats in the eastern part of the country. But we do not know much about Lachit Borphukan. In the first part of the article, the author has discussed the life of this great strategist.

All of us know about Rana Pratap and Shivaji Maharaj, two great warriors who resisted the mighty Mughals. But there was another great military fighter, Lachit Borphukan, in the eastern part of India who halted the progress of Aurangzeb's army. Historians say that Shivaji Maharaj and Lachit Borphukan were the two main causes of the downfall of mighty Mughal kingdom. Unfortunately, we do not know much about Lachit Borphukan, a great military genius who inflicted a major defeat to the Mughal army at Saraighat. Let us learn about this great son of India.

Lachit Borphukan was the son of Momai Tamuli Borbarua, a highly ranked official of Ahom kings. Lachit learned scriptures and all military skills during his youth. Ahom kingdom appointed him as the scarf bearer of the Ahom kingdom. Later he was promoted as the inharge of royal stable, then as commander of Simulgarh fort and again as the head of royal household guards. He became famous when he recovered Guwahati from the hands of the Mughals in 1667 and was presented with a gold-plated sword. But let us start from the beginning.

Prelude: Treaty of Ghilajarighat

Aurangzeb's maternal uncle and Governor of Bengal, Mir Jumla defeated Ahom King Jayadhwaj Singha. In the humiliating treaty of Ghilajarighat signed in 1663, Ahoms had to pay a heavy cost. As per the treaty, Jayadhwaj Singha had to send one of her daughters to the Mughal harem, supply ninety elephants with three lakh tolas of silver and had to cede entire region to the west of Bareli River on the north banks of Brahmaputra. Because of this humiliating treaty, Jayadhwaj Singha died heart-broken. His successor Chakradhwaj Singha took a vow to regain the honour of Ahoms. He completely overhauled Ahom army and made Lachit Borphukan the Commander of the Ahom army. Not only that, Chakradhwaj Singha made new alliances with the Jaintia and Kachari kingdoms and with the Queen of Darrang.

Lachit's first attack on Mughals

In August 1667, Lachit Borphukan, the new Commander of Ahom army, accompanied by Atan Burhgohain, proceeded to retake Guwahati from the Mughals. Lachit made Kaliabor his headquarter and Bahbari was re-taken in September 1667. He re-conquered the entire area between Guwahati and Kapili River. Thereafter, Guwahati was attacked from the river banks. Shah Buruz and Rangamahal fort were occupied. In early November of 1667, Lachit took Itakhuli in a daring midnight attack. Most of the Mughal defenders were mercilessly massacred. The Ahoms took Firoz Khan, the Mughal faujdar of Guwahati, as prisoner. Brilliantly using the river front, Lachit routed the Mughals from Umananda and Barhat. Ahom king Chakradhwaj Singha gifted a gold-plated sword to Lachit. Emperor Aurangzeb was very alarmed.

Nervous Aurangzeb sent a huge Army under the command of Raja Ram Singh, son of Mirza Raja Jai Singh, to re-take Guwahati. The Mughal army was massive with four thousands troopers, thirty thousand infantrymen, eighteen thousand cavalry, two thousand archers and forty naval ships. Not only that, twentyone Rajput Sardars along with their armies and some battalions of Sikhs also joined hands with the Mughals. In Koch Bihar, the Koch Raja also joined with the combined Mughal force. But Lachit Borphukan was not disheartened. He carefully planned his strategy to take care of this huge army. The Battle of Sarai Ghat bore the testimony of tactical brilliance of Lachit Borphukan. The famous Battle of Sarai Ghat will be discussed in the next part of the article.

(......To be continued at Know about the Indian military genius, Lachit Borphukan-Part-II)

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