Legendary hero Lachit Barphukan has got his due: Historian Vikram Sampath
Statue of Ahom general Lachit Borphukan

Lachit Divas is celebrated on November 24 every year in Assam to commemorate the heroism of Lachit Borphukan and the victory of the Assamese army at the Battle of Saraighat. The day is celebrated to promote the ideals of Lachit Borphukan – the legendary general of Assam’s history.

The best cadet from the National Defence Academy is awarded the Lachit Borphukan gold medal. The medal was instituted in 1999 to inspire defence personnel to emulate Borphukan’s heroism and sacrifices.

He was a general of the Ahom Kingdom whose army led successfully in resisting the imperial expansion of the Mughal Empire in the late 1600s. 

To this day he is remembered for his bravery and leadership in the face of invincible odds.

Born on November 24, 1622, this day is celebrated by the people of Assam and the nation as Lachit Diwas.

So here are 7 things you must know about Lachit Borphukan-

  • Lachit Borphukan was originally named Lachit Deca. Born to Momai Tamuli, who later rose to become the first Governor of Upper Assam and Commander-in-Chief of the Ahom army (Borbarua). Momai Tamuli ensured that he received a well-rounded education that included the arts, military science, and sacred texts.
  • The Battle of Saraighat, for which Borphukan is famous, was fought on the banks of Brahmaputra. The Mughal army had about 1,000 cannons and 5,000 soldiers, as well as 30,000 infantry, 15,000 archers, and 18,000 Turkish cavalries. He employed guerilla warfare strategies against the troops and made strategic use of the terrain to lead the Ahom army to a crushing victory.
  • Lachit Borphukan rose the ranks to become the army’s top leader after serving in prestigious positions such as Ghora Barua (Superintendent of the Royal Horses), Dolaksharia Barua (Superintendent of the Royal Household Guards), and Commander of the Strategic Simulgarh Fort. He was also promoted to the role of Private Secretary for the Ahom King, known as the scarf bearer (Soladhara Barua). Finally, he was promoted to head of the Ahom army under King Chakradhwaj.
  • Lachit Borphukan was also offered a bribe of one lakh to abandon his army, such was the valour and power of the Ahom hero. The Mughals knew that they would not stand a chance against the Ahom army if it was led by Borphukan and this was also proven in the battle. 
  • Ever since 1999, the National Defence Academy (NDA) has been conferring the best passing cadet with the “Lachit Borphukan gold medal
  • Despite his severe wounds, Borphukan managed to rally the Ahom army with a rallying cry after they had begun to retreat. He told them, “You may turn around any time you choose, but despite my pain, I intend to fight to the death.” Take this news to King Chakradhwaj: I fought with all my strength to the last.
  • It is said that the Mughals were surprised to see that the army led by Lachit Borphukan was not as technically advanced as them. And so, the king offered to provide the Assamese soldiers with artillery for the war. That’s when Lachit Borphukan said, “I would like to say that we are prepared to fight as long as there remains a drop of blood in our veins.”

Also read | Modi, Shah, Sitharaman, Rijiju to grace Lachit Borphukan’s birth anniversary

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