The BJP government in Assam is pushing hard to publicize the accounts of Lachit Borphukan – a celebrated ruler of the Ahom Dynasty (1228-1826) – who fought and defeated the Mughals in the famous battle of Saraighat in 1671 near Guwahati, on the lines of Stories of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s bravery and success.
From a project to build a 150-feet tall bronze statue to the reconstruction of the Nara Hilodari memorial at the Assam-Jorhat tea center (where he was buried) – to celebrate his 400th birth anniversary in New Delhi. On November 23 and 24, the government is pushing hard to make Borphukan a household name.
“The aggressive Mughals could not be defeated by only two heroes of India – Shivaji and Lachit Borpukan. Shivaji’s bravery and experience in war is famous in the world, but unfortunately, Lachit Borphukan, who also defeated the Mughals, has not been found yet. the respect he deserved. The state government has now taken elaborate steps to establish the Borphukan story at the national level,” said Assam Information Minister Pijush Hazarika.
Hazarika is one of the ministers looking after the arrangements to celebrate the 400th birth anniversary of Borphukan in New Delhi. The year-long celebration was inaugurated in February this year in Guwahati by then President Ram Nath Kovind. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are among the celebrities likely to attend the celebrations.
Although Lachit Borphukan is often celebrated in Assam, the BJP has, over the years, tried to make the Ahom project generally a symbol of Assamese nationalism and their fight against foreigners (Bangladeshi immigrants).
During the election campaign, BJP leaders (including Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma) said that the party would defeat “pro-Bangladeshi parties” (Congress and AIUDF) in the elections like Borphukan defeated the Mughals.
However, the leader of the Youth Congress in Assam, Mumtaz Begum, believes that the Sarma government is pushing the Borphukan story to counter the anger the BJP will face over the CAA again before the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.