Battle of Saraighat -Part II
In the earlier part we have had a thorough discussion on the Battle of Saraighat. Let’s continue the next part so that we can have a better hold of it.
In this part you will come to know of the Mughals who have left a major impact on Saraighat then.
The place that was chosen was Saraighat where the Brahmaputra was the narrowest point just a width of 1 km, ideal for naval defense, so that Ahom Navy, which was their strong point, could keep the Mughals in check. Lachit set up a series of mud embankments in Gauhati, and ensured that the Mughals would be forced to take the river route to the city. Andharubali between Kamakhya and Sukreshwar hills was where Lachit would set up his HQ and monitor the war operations. The North Bank was under Atan Burhagohain and the South bank was under the leadership of Lachit Borphukan.
For long the Mughals could not make any advances and had to stay camped which was getting difficult and frustrating for them. Ram Singh almost gave up and then sent a message to fight with him one on one and if defeated, he will leave Assam for good. Lachit was commanded by King Chakradhwaj to battle the Mughal servant. The forces met at Alaboi in which Mir Nawab’s forces were slaughtered by the Ahoms but then the Mughals were much more powerful. Ram Singh unleashed his fury in which 10,000 Ahom soldiers attained martyrdom. This was a huge setback and moral defeating incidences.
A last ditch attempt to persuade the Ahom ruler Chakradwaj Singha to surrender peacefully failed when Atan Burhagohain rejected it saying there was no guarantee that Aurangzeb would abide by Ram Singh’s proposal. With peace talks failing, Ram Singh now made the final assault on Gauhati, with the reinforcements arriving in the shape of war vessels and imperial officers. Moving along the North bank, he was joined by ships with artillery and archers under 5 Rajput Sardars. The Ahoms already demoralized by their loss at Alboi, had to face another blow to Ahoms when Lachit was seriously ill. Other Ahom leaders like Nara Raja and Laluk Borgohain Borphukan were giving the Mughals an extremely tough time on the battlefield.The battle started on both land and water at Ashwarkanta, Laluk Phukan, pushed back the Mughals, but their naval forces, compelled the Ahom boats to retreat further. With the Mughals getting dangerously close to Andharubali, the Ahoms retreated further back to Kajali and Samdhara. Finally a breach was made by the Mughals at the Andharubali and Lachit was watching this from a distance, severely ill. It was then Lachit decided to go into the battlefield! Along with his men and a few war boats the proud Ahom General entered the waters. The Tiger of Assam roared : “The King has put all the people in my hands to fight the Bongal! Shall I go back to my wife and children?”
Lachit’s entry had an electrifying impact on the Ahom soldiers, who now attacked the Mughals fiercely. Ahom warships now began to attack the Mughal navy from all sides. Between Itajuli, Kamakhya and Aswakranta, one of the fiercest river battles was ever fought. Using a improvison method of bridging boats, the Ahoms attacked the Mughals from both the rear and front, their admiral Munnawar Khan was shot dead, and it totally scattered them. 4000 of the Mughal Army were dead, their navy destroyed, and they were pursued to Western most part of the Ahom kingdom, the Manas river. Darrang also saw a rout for the Mughals, overall it was a total rout for the Mughals, and ensured that they would not make further inroads into Assam. Lachit Borphukan single handedly led an Ahom force to victory over a much larger Mughal Army, it was one of the greatest military victories ever. DEFEAT OF AURANGZEB.
After his defeat, Ram Singh of Amber, commander of Aurangzeb’s army, wrote to the Emperor: “Every Assamese soldier is expert in rowing boats, shooting arrows, digging trenches and in wielding guns and cannons. I have not seen such specimens of versatility in any other part of India. Glory to the King. Glory to the Commander. One single individual leads all the forces. Even I, Ram Singh, being personally on the spot, have not been able to find any loophole.” The Barphukan’s victory is recorded in a stone inscription in Guwahati.
This was the story that brings an end to the Battle of Saraighat. It gives immense pleasure that Assamese people had and still have the courage to save it’s land from intruders; but with justice.