By Sucheta Chatterji
Assam’s most heroic and gallant son, Lachit Borphukan, defeated the great Mughals, thwarting their advance into Kamrup, at the battle of Saraighat near Guwahati.
As a kid I grew up with great stories about Bir Lachit, and his Hengdang (a kind of sword) which he wielded with huge mastery! King Chakradhwaj Singha had personally selected Lachit Borphukan to lead the forces of the Ahom Kingdom and liberate Kamrup from the Mughal occupation and presented him with this golden sword.
The story that awed me the most was one about his maternal uncle whom he loved very much. The uncle was given the task of overseeing the making of a structure within one night for the crucial battle against the Mughals the next day. But instead of getting the task done the uncle was found sleeping. Bir Lachit then beheaded him with his Hengdang to set an example crying out maternal uncle is not above the country! I can only imagine the great agony Bir Lachit must have gone through in killing his favorite relative, but it served its purpose. This punishment put fear into the army and a bigger structure was built that night! And the Ahom army under Lachit’s command successfully defeated the great Mughal army at the battle of Saraighat.
Incidentally, there is no portrait of the great Lachit Borphukan, but an old chronicle provides some physical description: “His face is broad, and resembles the moon in its full phase. No one is capable of staring at his face.”
(The article is solely the opinion of the author)