Rang-Ghar (PC: Kirtan Barman from Instagram)
Ahom Kingdom in Assam
Embarking on a Journey through the Glorious Ahom Kingdom. There is so much history about different kingdoms that ruled India in all of our textbooks and papers be it the Cholas, The Mauryas, The Rajputs, etc. but little do we hear the name of a kingdom that was in 600 years of sovereignty in Northeast India – Ahom Kingdom. Recently a book has been published on the Ahom kingdom named Brahmaputra, the Ahom Son Rises by the authors of Bahubali and RRR, V. Vijayendra Prasad and Kulpreet Yadav.
Yes, Ahom Dynasty forms part of history but is heard less about. It all started during the year 1228(late medieval kingdom) in the Brahmaputra valley which is now Assam. There was a Tai prince named Sukapha(who was the founder of Ahom Kingdom) came through the Patkai hill range along with some more Ahom chiefs and formed a team of 9000 people approx troop and entered Assam.
According to history, it is said that Sukapha’s primary aim was not to conquer and invade Assam but to settle and practice agriculture. It was the Ahoms who converted the mass land of Assam into paddy fields.
The Ahom rulers adopted a unique system of governance, blending their Tai cultural heritage with indigenous traditions. They established a centralized monarchy with the king, known as the Swargadeo, as the supreme authority. The kingdom was organized into administrative divisions called “saliuks” and “morungs,” which helped in efficient governance and management of resources.
This dynasty is renowned for its military prowess and successfully defended their kingdom against numerous invasions and attacks from external forces, including the Mughals. The Battle of Saraighat in 1671, led by the Ahom general Lachit Borphukan, is particularly celebrated for the Ahom victory over the mighty Mughal army, securing the kingdom’s independence.
The Ahom dynasty made significant contributions to the cultural and architectural landscape of Assam. They patronized the arts, literature, and the Vaishnavite religion, which played a crucial role in shaping the region’s cultural identity. During their reign, magnificent temples, palaces, and fortifications were constructed, showcasing the distinct architectural style of the dynasty.
Trade and commerce flourished under the Ahom rule, with an emphasis on agricultural practices, particularly the cultivation of tea. The Ahoms encouraged the growth of trade routes and established diplomatic relations with neighboring kingdoms and empires, contributing to the economic prosperity of the region.
Despite facing internal conflicts and challenges over time, the Ahom dynasty left behind a rich legacy that continues to resonate in Assam today. Their contributions to the region’s history, culture, and administration are acknowledged and celebrated, making the Ahom dynasty an integral part of Assam’s heritage.
Gifts from Ahom Dynasty to Assam
1. Administrative System:
The Ahom dynasty established a well-organized administrative system that played a crucial role in governing the kingdom efficiently. The kingdom was divided into territorial units known as “saliuks” and “morungs,” each headed by officials responsible for local governance and resource management. This hierarchical structure helped in the smooth functioning of the state.
2. Monarchical Rule:
The Ahom kings, known as Swargadeos, ruled the kingdom with absolute authority. They centralized power, making decisions related to governance, justice, and military affairs. This monarchical structure ensured stability and continuity of leadership, vital for a long-lasting dynasty.
3. Military Strategy:
The Ahom kingdom was renowned for its military prowess and strategic acumen. They developed sophisticated military techniques, which were instrumental in defending the kingdom from external invasions. The Battle of Saraighat is a prominent example of their military triumph against the Mughals.
4. Cultural Patronage:
The Ahom kingdom’s kings were great patrons of arts, literature, and culture. They supported the growth of Vaishnavism, an important religious and cultural movement in the region. This patronage contributed to the development of Assamese literature, music, dance, and architecture.
5. Architectural Heritage:
The Ahoms built remarkable structures that showcased their distinctive architectural style. Temples, palaces, and fortifications constructed during their reign reflected the synthesis of indigenous and Tai architectural influences. The Rang Ghar, an amphitheater in Sivasagar, Assam, is a notable example of their architectural legacy.
6. Legal and Judicial System:
The Ahom kingdom had a well-defined legal and judicial system. The king acted as the supreme judge and administrator of justice. They had a council of ministers and judicial officials who helped in the administration of law and justice throughout the kingdom.
8 Agricultural Development:
The Ahoms emphasized agriculture and the cultivation of crops, including rice and tea. They introduced advanced agricultural practices and irrigation techniques, leading to increased agricultural productivity and economic prosperity.
9. Trade and Commerce:
The Ahom kingdom fostered trade and commerce by establishing trade routes and maintaining diplomatic relations with neighboring kingdoms and empires. This boosted economic growth and brought prosperity to the region.
10. Language and Literature:
The Ahom dynasty contributed to the development and preservation of the Assamese language and literature. The language evolved under their patronage and became an integral part of the region’s identity.
Overall, the Ahom kingdom’s gifts of the structure had a profound and lasting impact on the culture, society, and governance of the region, shaping the history and heritage of present-day Assam in significant ways.