History of Assam by Sukapha
Today in this blog i gave you deep knowledge about Sukapha And Lachit Borphukan a pride of Assam and North East how their bravery save us from Mughals and Many more
The journey started 800 years back in 1215 AD from Yunnan Sukapha, a Tai prince from Mong Mao raised by his maternal grandparents was expected to ascend the throne held by his maternal uncle however a late-born son to his uncle ended Sukapha’s claim to the throne.
His grandmother told him no two tigers can stay in the same jungle no two kings can sit on the same throne so Sukapha set out on a quest to find and establish his own Kingdom with a contingent of 9,000 men women and children including his three queens, two sons and a daughter 300 horses and two elephants he set out towards the valley beyond the Patkai Hills.
A valley that is fertile inundated with numerous river tributaries he goes through an older known route through Myitkina, Hpakun, and the upper Irrawaddy Valley to reach the Nawnyganx Lake also known as the “Lake of no return” and the Pangsau Pass at the crest of the Patkai Hills after an extraordinary journey of 13 years in 1227 ad right now he has the Patkai Hills in front of him filled with dense rainforest where trees grow up to 100 feet before spreading out their branches to form a dense thick canopy that prevents any sunlight to pass through.
Every hour Every second Every day in and out every part of this forest pulsates with life, new plants make their march upward towards the sunlight their nourishment to become a big tree and eventually the forest itself. These forests are home to numerous mammals, primates, Big cats, and reptiles. It’s a battle for survival.
Every moment you are being preyed by someone or you’re preying over someone. This is beautiful at the same time its scary. Seasons change, There is not a moment of stagnation here. We also encounter some elephants in the jungle who are going to be part of my cavalry in the future. There are also numerous tribes in these hills who have their strong culture and tradition developed over centuries. They are fiercely territorial ready to defend their villages perched in these hills amidst the forests. They have numerous dialects languages traditions and festivals.
But I have to go beyond this I cross the forest I have to cross the rivers across the River Sessa than the river Burri Dihing to eventually reach Namrup in 1228 A.D I send out my informants in all directions to find a region conducive for “Wet rice cultivation” meanwhile my neighboring Kingdom are the Morans and the Barahi’s I have to be careful not to engage with them till I have found a stable capital After spending a few years in Tipam Joypore, Namrup, I went along the river towards Habung where I stayed by cultivation. However, the floods forced us to abandon Habung in 1242 A.D
We headed towards Simaluguri We also fought The Moran and the Borahi defeated them one by one and then wisely brokered peace I had numerous skirmishes with the tribesmen from the hills as well finally after wandering from place to place to find a suitable piece of fertile land for wet rice cultivation that can sustain my people that can sustain my army my kingdom I moved into the hills in Charaideu to establish the first capital of my kingdom in 1252 A.D
Eventually, after great rejoicing and celebrations, I established my first capital in Charaideu in 1252 A.D. This place shall be the holy place for my successors where they will worship and honor their ancestors our spirits will remain in this sacred place. They will build “Maidams” all around from which we shall enter the afterlife. My successors shall derive their energy, strength, and dynamism from this place, and right over there will be the sacred pond where our bodies brought out from the preservative solution will be washed before being laid into the vauts with valuable inside the “Maidams”
Over the next few years Over the next few centuries, there will be “Maidams” all around I hope to remain safe, protected and respected within the big vaults inside this Maidams having domical structure and covered by Earthen brick mounds I, Chao-Lung-Sukapha after an extraordinary journey that started in 1215 A.D entering through the Patkai hills into the Brahmaputra Valley in 1228 A.D and eventually establishing the first capital in Charaideu in 1252 A.D.
Today it is 1268 AD, I pass on the baton to my successors to build on the strong foundation after my journey that started 53 years ago Oh After I stepped out of Charideu my thoughts still wandered around Sukapha about the journey that he had undertaken and a strong foundation and vision he had set. I also learned about Bamuni Kunwar’s story and I was surprised I thought such tales existed in grandmother’s story as in ‘Aideur Hadhu Kotha”(Assamese word for “Grand Ma’s Tales”) or in mythology. Indeed, reality can surprise and intrigue in ways stranger and surreal than fiction With these thoughts, we headed towards Garhgaon – the royal capital complex established by Suklenmung in 1540 A.D.
This solid road is the historic “Dhodar Ali Road” built-in 1687 AD by the then Ahom king Gadadhar Singha It is 212 kilometers long beginning from Kamargaon in the Golaghat district touching Mariani in Jorhat district and ending at Joypore in Dibrugarh district and according to the stories the king had mobilized some “Dhods” which means lazy men (in local language) to build it. (a chuckle) A very good way to put people into action indeed.
Coming back to the royal capital complex so it was fortified with three layers of rectangular rampart and the Assamese word for “Rampart” being “Garh” and since this was a heavily fortified royal capital complex it was known as the Garhgaon. Now beyond this railing wall besides the road is actually a water body – a “moat” beyond which we can see the outer rampart known as the “Bajgarh” or the “Bahirgarh”. Now there has been an excessive growth of planktonic algae that has clouded the surface of this moat making it less aesthetically pleasing now the “Bajgarh”- the outer rampart was 25 feet high and 20 feet wide which is constituting mainly of bamboo groves of a very horny and thick species the Kutunha – “Baah” (Assamese word for Bamboo) and which was impenetrable even by cannon shells and this particular moat is a ditch filled with water is 25 to 75 feet wide and 20 to 28 feet deep so we are on the historic Dhodar Ali Road approaching the royal capital complex for the main entrance “Bor Duar” which was heavily guarded and through which only Kings nobles and high end officials were allowed and there used to be cannons and “Bortups” at this entry point on either side of the gate as we enter and cross the first layer of ramparts the “Bajgarh”, on both sides of the road existed houses made of finely carved wood. These houses were known as “Machans” and they used to rest on a platform atop wooden pillars as the ground was very damp.
Beautiful gardens, Lush long Orchards dotted the landscape The Nobles had also built their plush residences. We are heading towards the intersection of the three roads each coming from the three entry points of this royal capital context the left one is coming from “Noduar” in the West and the right one is coming from “Paniduar” in the east and if you go straight you will cross the inner rampart then reach the brick rampart within which lies the Kareng Ghar and so this is the aerial view where we can see the “Borduar” through which we have entered we have taken the exactly the same road to reach the intersection point of the three roads. Through the “Noduar” in the West officials of the ranks – Hazarikas, Phukhan and Saikia were allowed entry, and also during the time of the war the Noduar would serve as the rallying point for heading out to the battlefield Whereas through the Pani Duar, common residents were allowed entry. The movement was monitored in this heavily guarded complex The second layer of fortification is the inner rampart within which there is a “brick rampart” as you can see that houses the seat of administrative power the Kareng Ghar The inner rampart was also in the form of bamboo plantation surrounded by moats So from this intersection point, we head towards the inner Rampart area
There are plush residential houses with thatched straw roofs People were dressed in finely woven embroidered silk Assamese Pat Muga is a world-known whose fame spread far and wide. Every house was self-sufficient with its food granaries stocking years of replenishment after every harvest season. Betel Leaves and Unripe Erica nuts are known as “Paan Tamul” (in Assamese) basically were popular even in those days So we take the steps towards the Kareng Ghar the seven storeyed palace with three floors below the ground.
The Kings Plush residence was also somewhere nearby and it was heavily guarded by his set of bodyguards known as “Chaudangs” From this “Kareng Ghar” there is a secret tunnel also 16 kilometers long which connected it to the “Talatal Ghar” in Rangpur, Sivasagar and somewhere used to be the majestic audience hall of the King known as the “Hoolang Ghar” which was 60 meters in length and 15 meters wide resting on 66 wooden pillars each of those pillars 2 meters in circumference were beautifully wood carved.
When the drummers will beat their drums all the residents would assemble and throng in this audience Hall where the Raja would be seated on his throne beneath a set of nine finely woven beautiful canopies of varying hues and colors arranged one above the other. Fine wooden trellis work would embellish the sides of this Hoolang Ghar. Few of the travelers have also mentioned about brass mirrors polished so finely that sunbeams dazzle and flash.
Some of the travelers have witnessed the King seated on a throne of gold the grandeur and splendor could only have been experienced with words always falling far short to capture the sublime feeling that might have been evoked in the premises of this palace the columns in its heydays were lined with gold and silver strips inlaid in ivory. The ceilings were adorned with sheets of gold I wonder how beautiful it might have been.
However, what remains is a mere fraction of what was in its heyday. Much of this royal capital complex was destroyed during internal rebellions then the Maan occupation followed by (Burmese invaders are known as “Maan”) annexation to the East India Company under the Treaty of the Yangdabo in 1826 A.D a significant portion was broken down for want of construction materials for public Works when it was under the British occupation this stairway, the pillars ahead, this corridors this passageways, this halls have witnessed a long succession of Kings. Nobles, high-end officials have given their counsels and also exercised their power.
Within the halls, within the chambers, many kings, queens, nobles have either designed or themselves fallen to the intrigues within the confines of this royal palace but the Kingdom moves on and survives with some of the Kings leaving their indelible marks with their vision, a penchant for action and ability to manoeuver through the facade of plots In the year 1662 AD, at the peak of the Ahom Mughal conflicts after the Ascension of Aurangzeb on the Mughal throne Mir Jumla was appointed the Subedar of Bengal Mir Jumla born in Persia to the family of merchants.
He worked as a clerk in the kingdom of Golconda before he rose through the ranks to become a Wazir. He soon went under the services of the Mughal Empire and being in the good books of Aurangzeb who was impressed with him, he was entrusted with the important task of dealing with Shah Shuja, the brother of Aurangzeb, a rival contender to the Mughal throne. Mir Jumla chased Shah Shuja to the present-day Myanmar and then set his eyes towards Assam marching with 12,000 cavalry, 30,000 infantry, and a fleet of 323 ships and Boats up the river Brahmaputra.
His Naval contingent comprising of Portuguese English and Dutch Sailors. In about six weeks he reached from Guwahati to Garhgaon the capital of the Ahom kingdom. The shallow River forced him to dock his vessels and ships in “Lakhau” some 30 kilometres north-west from Garhgaon He entered Garhgaon on 17th of march 1662 which was by then already evacuated by the king shifting his valuables on a convoy of elephants and by the river route on a flotilla of thousand boats first to Charaideu and then to Namrup.
Namrup was a safe haven inaccessible with harsh terrain and highly inclement weather. The Gusto and enthusiasm with which Mir Jumla came soon gave away to dismay as the lashing rains with the onset of monsoon from May to October saw his food supplies waning at an astonishing rate The roads and the fields had become awfully muddy and flooded with water rendering the Mughal cavalry useless. Almost two-thirds of his army perished to waterborne diseases and epidemics Guerrilla attacks in the night by the inhabitants had unleashed a reign of terror among his men unused to such terrain and weather Desperate to return back much to his relief the Treaty was signed in Ghilajharighat, Tipam on January 1663 A.D and Mir Jumla headed back to Dhaka with a loot of 82 elephants, 1000 odd boats, 300,000 rupees gunpowder, 675 pieces of artillery and 6750 match locks.
Jayadhwaj Singha, the erstwhile Ahom King, was struck in deep grieve. Under the terms of the treaty, he had to part away with his six-year-old daughter Ramoni Gabhoru to the imperial harem. Sons of various chiefs, nobles were sent as hostages. Charaideu – the sacred ancestral abode was violated in search of plunder. His kingdom was obligated to pay the tribute of gold, silver, and elephants. Sullied by the title of “Bhogoniya Raja” for having(“Bhogoniya” means one who ran away in the Assamese. Hindi Equivalent being “Bhagoda”) fled the capital to seek safe refuge in Namrup.
He died with a deep wedge in his heart and a veil of gloom and utter hopelessness pervading the kingdom. He was succeeded by Supangmung Alia Chakradhwaj Singha who was the “Charing Raja”. Supangmung was the great-grandson of “Suhungmung” – one of the most powerful kings in their history. Chakradhwaj Singha had an uphill task in front of him. To inspire confidence in the demotivated troops, to rise from the fall to disgrace and like his great-grandfather Suhungmung, Chakradhwaj Singha with his persona of dynamism and determination, he takes a pledge and this is only the calm before the impending storm, before the levee breaks
My ancestors were never subordinate to any other people. The great Chao Lung Sukapha(“Chao Lung” means “great lord”) laid the foundations of the Empire 400 odd years ago after a heroic journey full of adventures epic in scale. My great-grandfather Suhungmung with his immense skill of dynamism and resourcefulness led us to monumental victories and expanded our territories and successfully defended external invasion defeating the Mughals numerous times in the past. But, now in my lifetime, we have reached the nadir. In the last few years, the Mughals dealt a heavy blow to us. My army has suffered a defeat and the morale of my people is low. My pride, my shattered Pride, and the place of my ancestors the sacred “Charaideu” has been desecrated The humiliating agreements and treaties that I had to sign. I cannot withstand the grave humiliation from the Mughal Empire at least not on my watch.
Death is preferable to dishonor. I need to redeem myself. I have to restore the lost glory I have to do my atonement. I’ll build a stronger army, a stronger Navy. I will create strong supply lines of food, arms, ammunition, and artillery. I will strengthen the riverine naval dockyard along the river Brahmaputra and the numerous tributaries with the boat making centers at Hadira Chowki, Pandu, Ramdia Sualkuchi, Koaliabor, visit to nada Samdhara, Hadiya and the Komo I will boats of varying shapes and also heavy war boats with the special Chambal wood. I will fortify the walls and the ramparts of my palaces and dig deep ditches along the rampart walls and fill it with water and crocodiles.
At the river waterfront I’ll build fortifications the Pani Garhs Where inside the water I’ll place hedges of trees, bamboos, and sharp prickly thorns. I’ll use the knowledge of the unique geography and the weather to defeat the Mughals. I have to restore the pride and the glory. It’s going to take time but I’ll be patient but I am sure eventually with my commander-in-chief the braveheart Lachit Borphukan and the highly skilled diplomat prime minister Atan Borgohain With our soldiers, With their bravery, With our modernized weaponry and the techniques, We will bring the war to the waterfront and will eventually oust the Mughals who have vanquished every other kingdom nearby I will redeem myself.
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