Lachit Borphukan: Story, History and Battle of Saraighat

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Lachit Borphukan was a well-recognized and brave commander of the famous Ahom Kingdom. The Ahom kingdom was situated in the valley of the Brahmaputra in Eastern India. Lachit Borphukan is also considered an icon of the Assamese nationalist movement. He is famous for his successful leadership of the Ahom army in the Battle of Saraighat.

Lachit Borphukan was able to stop the Mughal Empire from expanding more in the region during the late 1600s. The Battle of Saraighat is an important event in the history of ancient India and Lachit Borphukan was a major contributor to the battle.

About Lachit Borphukan

Lachit Borphukan was a general of the Ahom Dynasty who fought bravely against the Mughal Empire and was successful in stopping them from taking control of the entire Ahom kingdom. He was born on 24th November 1622 and died on 25th April 1672. ‘Borphukan’ was a rank in the Ahom kingdom and was bestowed upon deserving men. Thus, Lachit Borphukan indicates his rank. He was earlier known as Lachit Deca. Lachit was also the commander-in-chief of the Ahom kingdom. He is also known to have perfected the art of guerrilla warfare.

  • Lachit Borphukan was the youngest among the children of Momai Tamuli Borbarua who was also the Commander-in-chief of the Ahom army and his mother, Kunti Mohan. The conflict of the Mughals with the Ahom kingdom was not new and had already been initiated in the year 1615 which continued for a long time.
  • On completion of his studies, Lachit was given the rank of Soladhara Barua in the Ahom kingdom followed by other important positions before he finally became the commander-in-chief.
  • This was the time when the Mughals had already taken control of Guwahati which led to some unfortunate events but was taken up by Lachit Borphukan in the later years.

History of Lachit Borphukan – The Battle of Saraighat, 1671

The Battle of Saraighat is one of the most important events in Indian history as it highlighted the significance of naval forces and also led to the reinforcement of our country’s naval force and inland water transport. The major reason behind this inspiration was that the Battle of Saraighat took place on the banks of river Brahmaputra in Guwahati in March 1671.

The Battle of Saraighat is renowned as one of the greatest naval battles fought on a river which was won due to the utmost dedication and sincerity of Lachit Borphukan towards his king and his kingdom. All the attempts by the Mughals to deceive the Ahom king were foiled and eventually Lachit Borphukan, despite his ill health was able to resist the Mughals’ attempt to occupy his kingdom.

But the defeat in the Battle of Saraighat, at the hands of the Ahom army did not stop the Mughals from attacking the kingdom. They again approached and forcefully occupied Guwahati from 1679 until 1682.

Story of Lachit Borphukan

Lachit Borphukan was known for his bravery and valour. He was appointed as Commander in Chief by Prataap Singha. He was proficient in attaining skills in the military, arts, and philosophy. These were customary skills of the Ahom society. He beheaded his uncle because of his negligence in duty. His uncle was assigned some task by Lachit Borphukan, which he neglected. The infuriated Lachit punished his uncle and beheaded him. He said that “My country is more precious than my uncle”.

His instance of bravery in the Battle of Saraighat is celebrated. He was ill and was suffering from a fever. His bed was mounted on the boat. And after all his efforts, he became the hero of Assam.

Lachit Divas

Lachit Divas is celebrated every year on the birthday of Lachit Borphukan, i.e. 24th November. It is celebrated in the entire state of Assam to honour the bravery and extraordinary efforts put in by Lachit Borphukan in winning the battle of Saraighat.

  • The main idea behind celebrating the Lachit Divas is to encourage the principles of Lachit Borphukan who was a legend in his own way.
  • He was the brave commander-in-chief of the Ahom army who truly led by example and led his kingdom to victory.

Lachit Borphukan Gold Medal

To recognize and commemorate the bravery of Lachit Borphukan in all the battles that he fought for his kingdom including the Battle of Saraighat, the Lachit Borphukan Gold Medal was brought into existence in 1999. This medal is awarded to all those cadets of the National Defence Academy who perform at their highest level.

  • The Lachit Borphukan Gold medal is a reminder of Lachit’s sacrifices and the amount of dedication and bravery he displayed being the commander of the Ahom army.
  • It is a step towards inspiring and encouraging the defense personnel to give their best for their country.

Apart from the gold medal, a 35 feet statue of the legendary Lachit Borphukan was also inaugurated in 2016 in the middle of the river Brahmaputra, in Guwahati by the former chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

Lachit Borphukan Legacy

Recently, the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Barphukan was celebrated on 24th November 2022. The Assam Government launched a web portal and app to appreciate the life of Lachit Borphukan in the form of submissions of essays on Lachit Borphukan. Some of the notable points for the essay are :

  • Lachit Borphukan is famously known as the Shivaji Maharaj of northeast India.
  • He fought the Saraighat battle and defeated Aurangzeb.
  • The Assam chief minister also called Lachit Borphukan “Assam’s ablest sons”.
  • Lachit Barphukan Maidan in Jorhat is being constructed in his honour.
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