Lachit Divas: Panel discussion on Assam’s Assertion in Delhi’s Ignored Historiography

Guwahati: A panel discussion on “Ignored Historiography of Assam’s Assertion” was held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday as part of the 400th Birth Anniversary celebration of Lachit Borphukan.

The moderator of the discussion was Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, Education Advisor of Government of Assam while the panelists were Prof. Rajib Handique of Gauhati University, eminent author Vikram Sampath, Associate Professor of Mangaldai College Dr. Sangeeta Gogoi, film maker and critic Rajesh Kumar Singh and actor and film maker Chandraprakash Dwivedi.

The main topic of discussion was how Assam, the Northeast, and other territories outside of Delhi were ignored in India’s “mainstream” history and historiography.

One of the panellists, Vikram Sampath discussed the disregard that regions like Assam, the Northeast, and South India have received in the so-called mainstream historiography of India. In support of his argument, he pointed out that youngsters in India are raised on tales of Bhakhtiyar Khalji’s military adventures but are uninformed of the terrible defeat he suffered at the hands of King Prithu in Kamrupa. He also cited Alamgirnama, a significant piece of Mughal literature, which praised Ahoms’ unwavering character.

In her speech, Dr. Sangita Gogoi spoke extensively about the Ahoms’ history-writing tradition and other sociocultural advantages over other societies in contemporary India.

According to Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who agreed with him, Borphukan was given the responsibility of driving the invading Mughals off the western frontier of their holy territory before ascending to the positions of Dolakaxoria Barua, Ghorabarua, and finally Borphukan. He noted that there are still many tales like Lachit to be told in India through literature, cinema, and other forms of popular culture.

In his lecture, Prof. Rajib Handique mentioned a number of Assamese sons who, despite making significant contributions, are still largely neglected in Indian historiography. According to Prof. Handique, one of the causes of this carelessness may be Assam’s and the Northeast’s remoteness from Delhi. He also praised Suryya Kumar Bhuyan for his outstanding work in highlighting Lachit Borphukan’s life and contributions to society through his ground-breaking study of the Ahom general.

Renowned filmmaker Rajesh Kumar Singh spoke extensively about the Ahoms’ organisational prowess, where the common people were constantly prepared to fight as soldiers whenever necessary.

It should be noted that the Assam government has agreed to hold a yearlong celebration of Bir Lachit Borphukan’s 400th birthday in 2022. On February 25, 2022, the Indian President officially opened the celebration. Making a national and international audience aware of the life and contributions of the Ahom general of the 17th century is one of the main goals of this event. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the celebration’s closing ceremony as the chief guest on November 25.

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