- The Ahoms are the members of the Shan Branch of the great Tai or Thai family of the South East Asia.
- As a result of a dispute with one of his brothers, Sukapha left his homeland MongMao in about 1215 to seek fortune elsewhere.
- As Sukapha moved towards the Patkai via the Hukong valley, he reduced to submission the local tribes found along the road.
- The name of Assam was known as Mung Dun Chun Kham to the Tai Ahoms, meaning a country full of gardens of gold.
- Sukapha reached Namrup and subsequently Tipam, where he had his first headquarters. He took 13 years to subjugate the war tribes who inhabited the region extending from the Hukong valley to the Patkai range.
- He reached the Brahmaputra valley in 1228 and had been moving from place to place till he settled at Charaideo in 1253. Charaideo became the first Ahom capital.
- In the administration, Sukapha was assisted by Burhagohain and Borgohain- two counsellors appointed from amongst the nobles.
- When he reached the Brahmaputra valley, he ordered his chroniclers to keep record of all events. This was the beginning of Buranji writing in Assam. Buranji means ‘Astore that teaches the ignorant’.
- Sukapha was a person of relentless energy, indomitable courage, rare foresight and diplomatic skill. He knew the art of dealing with the tribes and harnessing their strength to his advantage.
- He came not as a raiding conqueror but as the head of an agricultural folk in search of land. It appears that he did not encroach upon the lands of local peasants; rather he opened new areas for settlement.
- As he wanted the cooperation of the locals, he organized feasts and invited them to dine with him. He moved and lived amongst the tribesman, learnt their languages, honored their religious rites, married their daughters, and led a simple life of commoners, himself cultivating the land.
- Thus, he always first proceeded with peace proposals and if the peace proposal failed, then only he applied force.
- Sukapha died in 1268.
- Succeeded by his son Suteupha (1268-81).
- Sudangpha was also known as Bamuni Konwar as he was born and brought up in the house of a brahmin.
- He was the first Ahom king to perform his coronation ceremony, which was called Singari Gharat Utha Utsab.But this tradition could not be performed during the time of Kamaleswar Singha and Chandrakanta Singha due to financial crisis.
- His reign marked the first official entrance of Hinduism to the Ahom court or first recorded patronage of Hinduism by Ahom king.
- When he ascended the throne, he took with him his Brahmana foster father who was allowed to stay with him in the palace entourage.
- Worship of Lakshmi -Narayan Salagram, or of God Vishnu began in the royal household which continued along with the Ahom deity Chom – Cheng (Chomdeo).
- Sudangpha shifted his capital to Charagua near Dihing.
Suhungmung (1497- 1539)
- Suhungmung’s reign marks another new epoch in the political and cultural history of Ahoms.
- He is also known as Dihingia Roja as shifted his capital to Bakata on the bank of the river Dihing.
- First Ahom ruler to assume a Hindu title ‘Swarganarayan’.
- Suhungmung adopted Saka era in place of the Ahom system of calculation by cycle of 60 years.
- First Buranji in Assamese was written named ‘SriSri Swarganarayan Maharajar Janma Katha’.
Conflict with Chutias
- In 1513, a border dispute led to a clash between the Ahom and the Chutias.
- In 1528, last ruler of Chutia kingdom Nitipal (Chandranarayan) was executed. Soon after the Chutia king had fallen in the hand of the Ahoms, his queen Sadhani, who preferred death to surrender, committed suicide by throwing herself from the top of the Chandragiri hill. (Sati Sadhani Divas- 21 April)
- This victory of the Ahoms was celebrated by performing the Rikkhvan ceremony.
- The whole Chutia territory was annexed. An officer called Sadiyakhowa Gohain was created to administer the Sadiya area. Phrasenmung was appointed as the first Sadiyakhowa Gohain.
Conflict with Kacharis-
- Suhungmung wanted to expand Ahom territory towards the west, and therefore, conflict with Kacharis became inevitable.
- In 1531, Suhungmung acquired from the Kacharis all the plains territory up to the river Dhansiri, but allowed them to enjoy their autonomy.
- In 1536, to regain their independence the Kacharis revolted against Suhungmung. Their king Detchung was caught and beheaded.
- The whole Dhansiri valley up to the Kalang River was annexed.
- The administration of this area was placed under the new post Marangikhua Gohain.
Expedition of Turbak Khan
- In 1532, the general from Bengal Turbak Khan invaded Assam.
- In this battle, Ahom emerged victorious but eight Ahom generals lost their lives including Phrasenmung.
- On hearing the death of Phrasenmung, his wife Mulagabharu, herself proceeded to the battle field along with five other women and died fighting Turbak.
- Suhungmung sent peace mission to the ruler of Orissa Vikramsena with the motive of forming an alliance against Muslim expansion in the east.
- The Ahom secured the submission of the newly grown Koch power.
- Suhungmung died in 1539 as a conspiracy hatched by his son Suklenmung.
- Suklenmung was popularly known as Garhgaon Roja as he shifted his capital to Garhgaon.
- The first coins were introduced by Suklenmung in the 16th century.
- He installed the deity of Chom Cheng in a separate temple outside the palace but within the palace campus. This indicates the growing predominance of Hinduism in the Ahom court.
- Khora Roja or lame king, as he while hunting on an elephant before his accession to the throne, had one of his feet hurt.
- Sukhampha’s most important conflict was with the Koches then ruled by their greatest king Naranarayan.
- His soldiers sustained defeat at the hands of the Koches in the battles fought at the mouths of the river Dikhou and Handia in 1562.
- Then he fled to Charaikhorong with his nobles, for which, he was nicknamed the Bhagania Raja or the deserting king.
- He concluded a peace treaty with the Koches on most humiliating terms. The Ahoms ceded the whole territory on the north bank of Brahmaputra and also promised to pay war indemnity but required to deliver the sons of chief nobles as hostages.
- Meanwhile, the Koches suffered a defeat at the hand of the Padshah of Gaur which greatly diminished Koch power. This led to the formation of alliance between the Koch and the Ahom to avert any future Muslim advance.
- The Koch king released the Ahom hostages and sent a number of Koch artisans with them to the Ahom king.
- Thus, worship of goddess Durga penetrated to the Ahom kingdom.
- Sukhampha died in 1603 AD.
Susenghpha/ Pratap Singha (1603- 41)
- He was a very powerful and remarkable ruler.
- Nicknamed ‘Burha Raja’ or ‘the Old King’ for his accession at an advanced age.
- ‘Buddhi Swarganarayan’ for his exceptional wisdom and intelligence.
- He introduced two new posts- Barbarua and Barphukan. The first Barbarua was Momai Tamuli and the first Barphukan was Langi Panisia.
- The king introduced certain innovations in the field of land settlement.
Paik system/ Khel system
- Compulsory state service.
- Every adult male between the ages 16-50 was registered as Paik.
- Four Paiks formed a Got (group) which was reduced to three during the reign of Rajeswar Singha.
- They rendered service to the state in rotation, one paik serving for a period of three months a year (later four months).
- When they became skilled labour, they were organised into professional Khel rendering a particular kind of productive work like boat building and arrow making.
- Paiks were divided into two classes- Kanri and Chamua. Kanripaik rendered his service as a soldier or as a labourer, whereas Chamua paik rendered non manual service and had a higher social standing.
- They were allotted two puras of best arable land called Ga Mati, free of charge.
Relations with Kacharis and Jayantias
War against the Kacharis
- The Jayantias were subordinate to the Kacharis. To overthrow the overlordship of the Kacharis, Ahom’s help was most essential for them. The Jayantia King Jasa Manik wanted to fulfil his ambition through marriage offer of his daughter to the Ahom king but with the request that she should be escorted not through the usual route of Gobha but through another route which lay within the Kachari territory.
- The Ahom king sought necessary permission from the Kachari king Jasa Narayan which was refused.
- This served the plea for the war.
- The Kacharis were defeated in the first encounter, but latter Kacharis under Jasa Narayan defeated the Ahoms.
- Jasa Narayan assumed the name Pratap Narayan and renamed his capital city Maibang as Kirtipur.
- Pratap Singha, meanwhile, was threatened with a Mughal invasion in 1615. That is why in this crucial moment, he in spite of defeat, proposed terms of friendly alliance with the Kacharis, which the later duly honoured.
- Pratap Singha referred Bhimbal Narayan, the Kachari ruler as “Thapita Sanchita” (established and protected).
- Establishment of a market at Phulaguri. This marked the beginning of commercial relation between the Assamese and the Jayantias.
- Creation of new frontier officer- Jagiyal Gohain and his duty was to inform the Ahom government of the activities of the Jayantias. Other post was Kajalimukhia Gohain.
Relation with the Mughals
- After the death of Naranarayan, Koch kingdom got divided into Koch Behar (governed by Lakshminarayan) and Koch Hajo (ruled by Parikshit).
- The kingdom Koch Behar was friendly with the Mughals since the days of Naranarayan and Koch Hajo followed a anti Mughal policy.
- Ruler of Koch Hajo, Parikshit (grandson of Chilarai) was defeated by the Mughals and he surrendered his kingdom.
- This annexation brought the Ahoms into direct clash with the Mughals, against whom they had to mobilise all their resources.
- The main grounds for Ahom Mughal friction wereboundary disputes and commercial relations.
- The Ahoms were not very keen on having trade relations with the Mughals, The Mughals on the other hand were interested in the rich mineral resources of the eastern kingdom, and also trade in South East Asia, which drove the Mughals to carry on unauthorised trades. This on many occasions served as prelude to a war.
- The Ahom Mughal conflict during the reign of Pratap Singha continued for twelve years with many reverses.
- Some significant conflicts were Battle of Sualkuchi, Hajo and Bharali etc.
- This prolonged war exhausted their resources and both parties desired for peace.
- In 1639, Treaty of Asurar Ali was concluded between them, according to which the Barnadi was on the north bank of Brahmaputra and the Asurar Ali on the south were fixed as boundary between the Ahom and the Mughals.
- Ahom- Mughal conflict was described in the book Baharistan-i-Ghaibi written by Mirza Nathan.
- Pratap Singha died in 1641.
Surampha / Bhaga Raja (1641-1644)
Sutinpha / Naria Raja (1644-1648)
Sutamla/ Jayaddhvaj Singha (1603- 1641)
- The war of succession among the four sons of Mughal emperor Shahjahan began in 1658.
- Shuja, the governor of Bengal, left Bengal to participate in the conflict.
- Koch king Pran Narayan utilised this situation and not only assumed independence but also occupied Goalpara and Kamrup.
- The Ahom king Jayadhvaj Singha sent immediately an army to take possession of Gauhati from the Koches. Thus, the whole territory from Barnadi to the Sonkosh came under the Ahoms. This had greatly impaired the prestige of the Mughals.
- Aurangzeb, the third son of Shahjahan, came out successful in the war of succession. Aurangzeb made Mir Jumla governor of Bengal in 1660.
- Aurangzeb sent Mir Jumla to restore the lost possessions.
- Mir Jumla proceeded from Dhaka on November 1, 1661 with an army consisting of 12,000 horses, 30,000-foot soldiers, 323 war boats and powerful artillery.
- On his way to Garhgaon, he occupied the capital city of Koch Behar on December, 1661, struck coins in the name of Aurangzeb and changed the name of the city to ‘Alamgirnagar’.
- He reaches Assam in 1662.
- His army captured Jogighopa and had to fight at different places to make their way to Garhgaon.
- Jayadhvaj Singha sent an army to Saraighat and Pandu but they were defeated by the enemy. The Mughal captured Gauhati on 4th February, 1662.
- Rajas of Darang and Dimorua joined Mir Jumla, deserting the Ahom King.
- Under this circumstance Jayadhvaj fled to Charaideo at first and then to Namrup. Therefore, he was called Bhagania Raja.
- On March 17, 1662, Mir Jhumla reached Garhgaon.
- No sooner the Mughals consolidated their position then the monsoons set in, in a more serious form then the previous year with the spread of fatal diseases. Communication was blocked, food supplies cut off, soldiers were reduced to great straights and on the top of this, the Mughal general had to face a series of night attacks on their outposts from the Assamese side. The soldiers had to live on the flash of horses and camels or on anything of that sort they could find.
- The Mughal emperor did not hear anything from Mir Jhumla and therefore gave up the Assam expedition as completely lost.
- The Assam king renewed the peace overtures at a time when Mir Jumla’s officers and men unwilling to proceed any further. Mir Jumla himself failed to withstand the climate of upper Assam. Therefore, he agreed to accept the peace proposal.
Treaty of Ghilazharighat, 1663
- The terms of the treaty that followed were negotiated by Dilir Khan on the side of the Mughals and Atan Burhagohain on the side of the Assam king at Ghilazharighat on January 22, 1663.
- The Assam king and the Tipam Raja would offer their daughters to the Mughal harem.
- He will pay war indemnity.
- The Assam king would pay a regular annual tribute of 20 elephants. The province of Darang to the west of Bharali river on the north bank and the states of Dimorua, Beltola and Rani to the west of Kalang river on the south bank of Brahmaputra were to ceded to the Mughals.
- Ramani Gabhoru (daughter of Jayadhvaj Singha) and PakhoriGabhoru (daughter of MomaiTamuli Barbarua) were sent to Mughal harem at the age of six years. Ramani Gabhoru was given the name of Rahmat Banu Begum after her conversion to Islam. Later she was married to Aurangzeb’s son Muhammad Azam Shah.
- A historian named Sihabuddin Talish (Ibn Muhammad Wali Ahmad) came with Mir Jhumla in his Assam expedition. The account on Assam written by him is‘Fathiya -i- Ibriyya’ also known as Tarikh-i- Assam.
- Jayadhvaj Singha was the first Ahom King to formally accept the religion Hinduism.
Supungmung/ Chakradhvaj Singha (1663-1670)
- Jayadhvaj Singha left no male heir. He was therefore succeeded by his cousin, the Charing Raja.
- Chakradhvaj Singha realised his predecessor’s folly of not seeking help from the allied powers in the war against Mir Jumla. Therefore, he made alliance with the neighbouring kings of Rajas of Koch Behar, Jayantia, Cachar, and the hill states of Kamrup. He had also strengthened his relationship with the border tribes of Nagas, the Miris and the Deoris.
- The king selected Lachit, the son of MomaiTamuli Barbarua, to command the expedition against the Mughals and appointed him the Barphukan.
- Gauhati was captured in 1667 by the Assamese army led by Lachit. Gauhati was chosen as headquarter of Barphukan.
- After hearing the news of defeat of Mughal soldiers, Aurangzeb appointed Raja RamSingh to recapture Gauhati.
- Despite elaborate preparations, the Assamese forces were not fully prepared to resist the Mughal. The Barphukan, in order to buy some time opened tactful negotiations.
- Mughals advanced up to Hajo.
- Lachit was still busy in construction of a rampart at Saraighat, along which to raise a blockade against the enemy. One unpublished Buranji says that he appointed his own maternal uncle to supervise the work and asked him to have the remaining part of it completed within a single night. But in his surprised visit to the site, he found the soldiers asleep and the work unfinished. Unable to resist his rage, he slain his uncle by saying, “My uncle is not greater than my country. “At this the soldiers resumed their work and finished the construction of the rampart before the daybreak. On the following day. The Mughal reached near Saraighat but they had to give up in the face of this invincible blockade, the idea of crossing the river to the south.
Battle of Alaboi, 1669
- Ram Singha said to have challenged Chakradhvaj Singha to a single combat and undertook in case of his defeat to return with his army to Bengal.
- The Assamese king in turn grew impatient and ordered his commanders to attack the Mughals immediately.
- The Mughals then concentrated their army near the Alaboi hill in the vicinity of Dalbari. There was a vast plain in front of the Mughal camp.
- Lachit Barphukan wanted to avoid an open encounter with the Mughal cavalry, but, by the king’s order, he had to proceed.
- In the battle, ten thousand Assamese soldiers lost their lives.
- Soon after the Battle of Alaboi, Chakradhvaj Singha died in 1669. He was succeeded by his brother who assumed the Hindu name Udayaditya Singha and the Ahom name Sunyatpha.
Sunyatpha/ Udayaditya Singha (1669- 1673)
Battle of Saraighat, 1671
- Ram Singha proposed to remain in status quo- the restoration of the old boundary settled by the treaty of 1639.
- But soon he received his reinforcements and decided to play offensive again.
- Udayaditya Singha sent an army of 20,000 soldiers under Atan Burhagohain from Chamadhara to Saraighat.
- The Barphukan was very ill at that time and this demoralised his soldiers. At this crucial moment, Lachit, who was watching the whole situation, in spite of his illness, rushed into the thick of the Mughal fleet.
- This unprecedented attack of the Barphukan restored the courage of the retreating Assamese soldiers who came back and fell upon the enemy.
- The Mughals could not stand the ‘dash and fury of the Assamese onset’. They suffered immense losses of men and materials and had to retreat.
- The Battle of Saraighat brought a decisive victory for the Assamese and officially closed their long-drawn conflict with the Mughals. The Ahoms consolidated their extension up to the river Manaha.
- Lachit Barphukan did not long survive the battle of Saraighat, he breathed his last and was succeeded by his brother Nimati alias Laluk Sola as the Barphukan.
The period of political instability (1673-1681)
The period following the Battle of Saraighat till the final clash of arms between the Assamese and the Mughals is marked by various court intrigues and conspiracies which led to political instability throughout the kingdom of Assam. The Assamese nobles used their power and position for the fulfilment of their selfish motives and the Ahom throne became the plaything and the monarch became a puppet in their hand.
Suklangpha/ Ramadhvaj Singha (1673- 1675)
- Udayaditya Singha died in 1673. His younger brother Suklangpha, in league with Debera Hazarika (alias Lechai) poisoned him to death.
- Ramadhvaj ascended the throne. He appointed Debera as the Barbarua.
- This happened at a time when all the chief nobles including the premier Atan Burhagohain were away at Guwahati fortifying the military outposts there against a possible attack from the Mughals, so Debera lost no time to utilize the situation to make him all powerful in the Ahom capital.
- Ramadhvaj Singha fell seriously ill in March 1675, the question of succession came up.
- Debera caused Ramadhvaj Singha poisoned to death and his chief opponents arrested or killed.
- He then placed a prince named Suhung from Chamaguri on the throne.
- Debera killed as many as fourteen princes, he did not spare anyone suspected of challenging his authority. Thus, he created a reign of terror.
- When Suhung also became rebellious, he too was assassinated after a short reign of 21 days only. After that, another prince named Gobar was placed on the throne.
- Meanwhile, the works of fortification at Guwahati were completed. Atan Burhagohain along with the Barphukan raised an army, marched against Debera and subsequently killed him.
- Gobar was also killed. He reigned for 24 days only.
- The nobles and officers requested Atan Burhagohain to become king, but the latter refused the offer stating that a minister could not become a king.
- A descendant of Suhungmung named Sujinpha was placed on throne. But Burhagohain was the real power behind the throne.
- This created differences in the court between the supporters of the king and the Burhagohain.
- As a result, the king was captured and stoned to death.
- Atan Borgohain brought a grandson of a former king. The new king took the name of Sudaipha.
- Atan Borgohain continued to be the de facto ruler who made and unmade the officers according to his will.
Rise of Laluk Sola Barphukan (Nimati)
- The Barphukan Laluk Sola was the elder brother of Lachit Barphukan.
- He wanted to assume immense power under the dynasty, and tried to get appointed his family members in various high posts.
- When the report of these acts of Barphukan reached the Burhagohain, he announced the dismissal of the Barphukan.
- Laluk Sola heard the news of his dismissal and wanted to teach a lesson to both Burhagohain and the king.
- The Barphukan was the younger brother of Pakhari who was the mother of Ramani Gabhoru. By this relationship, he appealed for Mughal help to make him king of Assam, in return for which, he agreed to surrender Guwahati to Mughals. The proposal was welcome to prince Azamtara.
- Laluk Sola, strengthened by reinforcement from Bengal, proceeded towards the kingdom. Atan Burhagohain and the king were executed.
- By November 1679, Laluk Sola made himself the master of the whole kingdom.
- Now he brought in a fourteen-year prince named Saru Gohain and installed him as king in November, 1679. He assumed the Ahom name Sulikpha and the Hindu name Ratnadhvaj Singha. But he was better known as ‘Lora Roja’ or ‘the boy king’.
- Laluk Sola gave his five years old daughter in marriage to the king.
- But he wanted to assume the rank of king for himself.
- He gave a new orientation to the Ahom right of kingship by declaring that a prince having any physical deformity would not be eligible to sit on the throne. In pursuance of this principle, he, under the order of the king is said to have killed or mutilated several hundred scions of the royal family.
- In pursuance of this principle, he, under the order of the king, is said to have killed or mutilated several hundred scions of the royal family.
Episode of Jaymati
- Laluk Sola Barphukans main target of attack was Gadapani, son of Gobar of the Tungkhungia royal family.
- Gadapani was the most formidable claimant to the throne and he had been roaming incognito. Spies were sent out on foot to gather information of Gadapani.
- Gadapani’s pregnant wife Jaymati was therefore brought to the court and interrogated, but she refused to say anything about her husband. She was then tortured to death at Jerenga Pothar.
- In the meantime, the chief nobles and officers became agitated with the activities of Barphukan.
- They killed him in 1680.
- The chief nobles and officers then held a meeting at Kaliabar to devise measures to overcome the situation arising out of misrule of the puppet king. Then, Gadapani was declared king in August 1681. Gadapani then marched towards the capital with an army and overthrew the Lora Raja.
Supatpha /Gadadhar Singha (1681- 1696)
- He assumed the Hindu name Gadadhar Singha and the Ahom name Supatpha.
- He set his mind on recovering Gauhati from the Mughals and lost no time to send a large army for the purpose.
- The Mughals retreated to Itakhuli on the mouth of the river Barnadi (near Sukleshwar in Guwahati).
Battle of Itakhuli, 1682
- The last series of battles between the Ahoms and the Mughals.
- The Ahoms defeated the Mughals.
- The river Manaha remained the border between the Mughal India and the Ahom kingdom.
- Gadadhar Singha turned his attention to internal affairs of the kingdom.
- To ensure the stability of the Ahom monarchy and to restore peace and order it was necessary to put an end to the intrigues and conspiracies of the king makers who exercised undue influence on the king during the period of political instability; to curb the influence of the Vaishnava Gosains in the affairs of the state and to Subdue the rebellious hill tribes.
Persecution of the Vaishnavas
- Vaishnava Satras became very powerful under the patronage since the days of Jayadhvaj Singha.
- The Satras had vast extent of land under their occupation, sometimes exceeding 30,000 puras of land and they enjoyed service of several hundreds of Paiks. The economic prosperity of some Satras became a matter of concern for the king.
- It was Jayadhvaj Singha, who granted the celibate disciples (Kewaliya Bhakat) exemption from personal labour to the state.
The number of their disciples increased so greatly that offices of Phukan, Hazarika, Saikia, Bora etc. parallel to the pattern of the Ahom administrative set up were introduced.
- Thus, a state within a state had grown up and some Vaishnava Satradhikars began to interfere even with purely political matters of the kingdom.
- A large number of Vaishnava disciples falsely introduced themselves as Kewaliya Bhakats and claimed exemption from personal labour to the state. This had deprived the state of the service of a considerable section of the population.
- In the process of executing the policy of the king towards the Vaishnava priests, many Satras were pillaged and their heads were either killed or banished to Namrup.
- The false Kewaliya Bhakats were forced to eat the flash of swine, cows or fowls, robbed of their properties and compelled to do manual labour. Some of them were mutilated and others were put to death, and a few were offered up as sacrifice to the idols.
- ‘Dhodar Ali’- a road constructed with the service of such convicted Vaishnava Bhakats, during the reign of Gadadhar Singha.
- Gadadhar Singha had a number of roads and bridges constructed and several tanks excavated.
- He introduced the system of survey and measurement of land with the help of surveyors obtained for the purpose from Koch Behar and Bengal.
- Though formally not a Saktist, he greatly patronised Sakta Hinduism.
- The temple of Umananda on the Peacock Island was built under his auspices.
- The earliest known copper plates recording of grants of land by Ahom kings to Brahmanas and Hindu temples date from his reign.
- He gave advice to his elder son at his death bed to reinstate all the Vaishnava Gosains and Mahantas deposed or persecuted by him.
- Gadadhar Singha died in 1696 after a reign of more than 14 years.
Sukhrangpha/ Rudra Singha (1696- 1714)
- At Gadadhar Singha’s death, his elder son Lai ascended the throne with the Ahom name Sukhrangpha and the Hindu name Rudra Singha.
- His reign witnessed the zenith of Ahom power and glory. He had an expansive and progressive political vision.
- Rudra Singha reversed the persecution of the Vaishnava Satras during his father’s reign and decided to reinstate the Vaishnava Gosains and Mahantas.
- He resorted to a new policy of reducing the power of the Satradhikars. He brought them back and ordered that the Brahmana Gosains should have their headquarters on the Majuli to keep them within the reach of his supervision.
- He received the Auniati Gosain as his religious preceptor. This spiritual superiority of the Gosain helped him to create conditions for asserting supremacy of the king in other’s matter.
- Soon he pursued a policy of divide and rule, so as to prevent an excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the Satradhikars, which he got materialised through the Synod of Garhgaon (1702). This synod debarred the Sudra Mahantas from initiating the Brahmanas, By this Rudra Singha engineered a clash between the two parties attending the synod- The Brahmans and the Sudra Mahantas.
- Rudra Singha’s inclination towards Sakta Hinduism increased as he grew older and at last, he decided formally ton embrace the religion and became an orthodox Hindu.
- For initiation, from Bengal he summoned a Sakta Brahmin priest, named Krishnaram Nyayavagish. But when the priest arrived the king declined to become his disciple and asked him to go back.
- The return of the priest was followed by a severe earthquake, which was interpreted as due to the curse of the priest. Krishnaram was called back, but the king died before his initiation.
- He instructed his sons to accept the Bengali priest as their religious preceptor and established him on Nilachal hill, for which the priest came to be known as ‘Parvatia Gosain’.
- Rudra Singha abandoned the policy of isolation followed by his predecessors and sent envoys to visit contemporary rulers of other parts of India.
- He created a special khel ‘Bairagi’ for diplomacy, whose function was to visit other countries and report the king the nature of social and cultural life led there.
- He brought architects for constructing the palace and other building in the new capital city at Meteka, which was named Rangpur.
- He created posts like Sen – Chowa Baruah, Kukura Chowa Baruah, Gayan Baruah etc.
- In his new capital city, he got a pavilion called Rang-Ghar built with Bamboo and wood for the royalty and nobility to witness the performance of sports and cultural celebrations in the Rupahi Pathar.
- In 1696, Rudra Sinha gave the festival of Bihu royal patronage for the first time.
- During his reign, scholar Kabiraj Chakravarty composed the famous drama Sankha ChudaBadha and had also translated the AbhijyanaSakuntalam and Brahma- Vaivrata Purana into Assamese.
- Jaysagar Tank and Jaydaul (in memory of his mother Jaymati) at Rangpur, Namdang Stone bridge of Gaurisagar (1703) was constructed during his reign.
- Rudra Singha subjugated the Kacharis and the Jayantias who had become virtually independent during the period of Mughal wars.
- Rudra Singha was very much attached to his sons and expressed his will from his death bed that all of them should become kings in order of succession.
- He died in 1714.
Sutanpha/Shiva Singha (1714- 1744)
- Shiva Singha was a staunch sakta and was greatly influenced by Brahmana priests and astrologers.
- Following the advice of his father, he accepted initiation from Parvatia Gosain.
- In 1722, his spiritual guides predicted an end of his rule in near future due to evil consequence of ‘Chatra Bhanga yoga’. Therefore, with the suggestion of the Gosain, he endowed his chief queen Phuleswari with supreme vest. The latter assumed the title ‘Bar Raja’ or the ‘chief King’. She was the first queen of Assam to govern the kingdom directly.
- Phuleswari minted coins in joint name of her husband where she used Persian legend, the first of its kind in Assam.
- Phuleswari was originally a dancer. Phuleswari actually took the reins of government to her hands and under the influence of the Brahmanas, she attempted to make Saktism the state religion.
- With this objective she even summoned the Sudra Mahantas to the Durga Puja and compelled them to bow their heads before the goddess, have their foreheads besmeared with the blood of sacrificed animals and made them accept nirmali and prasad. The powerful Mayamara Mahanta considered it a serious insult, not to be forgotten or forgiven, and in consultation with his disciples, he decided to take vengeance at the opportune moment.
- Phuleswari also suppressed the age-old custom of buring their dead and compelled them to take the cremation.
- Phuleswari had the Gaurisagar tank excavated near the capital city and three temples built on its bank dedicated to Siva, Vishnu and Devi.
- She was also a great patron of Sanskrit learning and had a Sanskrit school started.
- Phuleswari died in 1731.
- The king then married her sister Draupadi and made her the Bar Raja.
- Draupadi had the Sivasagar tank excavated in Rangpur and constructed three temples on its bank.
- The Shiva temple with its large gold- covered dome is the biggest and the tallest of the temples of Assam.
- Under Draupadi’s patronage, the famous Assamese work on elephantry called ‘Hasti Vidyarnaba’ was written by Sukumar Borkaith. Dilbar and Dosai were the painters who illustrated the book.
- At her death in 1738, she was succeeded as Bar Raja by Enadari, another wife of Siva Singha. She was renamed Sarveshwari.
- Shiva Singha was noted for his elaborate system espionage.
- During his reign, Hinduism became the predominant religion.
- He was patron of music and literature. He himself composed Sanskrit songs and learnt music.
- Ananta Acharya composed the Ananta Lahari and Kavichandra Dvij, the Kam Kumar Haran and the Dharma Puran.
- Colonel James Mill was the first European to trade with Assam during Shiva Singha’s reign.
Susenpha/ Pramatta Singha (1744-1751)
- Pramatta Singha’s reign saw large construction works.
- He had the Rang-ghar rebuilt with bricks as well as the structure in the old Ahom metropolis of Garhgaon.
- The temples of Rudreswar and Sukreswar at Gauhati were also built during his reign.
Surempha/ Rajeswar Singha (1751-1769)
- A notable event of the reign of Rajeswar Singha was an expedition to Manipur whose king Jay Singha, being unable to resist repeated aggressions from the Burmese, lost a part of his kingdom to the invaders.
- Rajeswar Singha helped him against Burmese. This expedition is referred as Lata Kata Ran by Assamese as the expedition involved clearing of the forests full of jungle creepers. As a token of gratitude, the Manipuri king gave his daughter Kuranganayani in marriage to the Ahom king.
- This expedition against Burmese led to strained relation between Assam and Burma.
- He built Kareng Ghar at Garhgaon, Talatal Ghar, Vashistha Ashram, Navagraha temple, Chitrachal temple, Hara Gauri Devalaya.
- During his reign the number of paiks in a group was reduced to 3 from earlier 4.
- Rajeswar Singha died in 1769. His cremation ceremony was performed according to Brahmanic rites, which practice was followed by all his successors.
Rise of Kirti Chandra Barbarua
- Towards the end of his reign, Rajeswar Singha was much influenced by his Barbarua Kirti Chandra. He was made Barbarua by King Pramatta Singha.
- NumoliBargohain wrote a chronicle entitled Chakari – Pheti Buranji, where he made some aspersions regarding the origin of the Barbarua. With the king’s permission, Kirti Chandra examined the contents of all Buranjis and on scrutiny, those Buranjis alleged to contain so called objectionable statements were destroyed.
- The arrogance and over bearing conduct of the Barbarua created much resentment among the nobles as well as in the Mayamara Mahanta, who had to bear grave insult at his hands.
Sunyeophaa/ Lakhshmi Singha (1769- 1780)
- Kirti Chandra Barbarua was the de facto ruler.
- Witnessed the first challenge to the Ahom Monarchy by a group of disciples of the Mayamara Satra. The rebellion started on a religious pretext, and then assumed great political dimensions.
- The Mayamara Satra was founded by Aniruddhadeva. The Satra declined all court help but had had equal or presumably more flourishing growth on independent line. Their Mahanta was not only their head but also their virtual sovereign. The Mahanta, who was virtually a feudal lord, contended for power and sovereignty with the Ahom king.
The First Moamoriya rebellion, 1669
- With the rise of Kirti Chandra Barbarua, fresh insults were heaped upon the Moamoriyas. Over- zealous to subdue the Mpoamoriyas, he used to find fault with them in every matter. For instance, he abused the Mahanta’s eldest son, Deka Mahanta with insulting epithets on the alleged ground that the letter greetyed the king Rajeswar Singha near his Satra, but remained indifferent to the Barbaua who also accompanied the king.
- Early in 1769, Nahar Khora and Ragha Maran, both disciples of Mayamara Satra, were mercilessly beaten and the ears of the former cut off on the alleged charge of bringing for him a lean elephant.
- The Morans were the first to raise the banner of rebellion. Towards the end of 1769, when the Barbarua sent his men to cut timbers from the Moran area, the people of the locality led by Nahar’s two wives refused them entrance to the area and declared that they were independent. The king sent a contingent but the army sustained a serious defeat.
- In no time, the Moamorias occupied Rangpur and captured the king. Kirti Chandra Barbaruah was executed.
- Moamoriyas placed Ramakanta, son of Nahar khora, on the throne. Raghav was made Barbarua.
- Due to their inexperience, they could not hold the power and failed to work to the satisfaction of the people. The weakness
- On the part of the rebels were properly utilised by the royalists, who soon organized a strong counter offensive.
- On the Assamese New Year’s Day in 1770, Ragha was killed by Huchary party. Ramakanta escaped but was shortly captured and killed.
- Lakhsmi Singha was reinstated on the throne.
- The restored Ahom monarchy ordered a general massacre of the Marans, who were the most prominent among the rebels.
- Moamoriya Mahanta and his sons were killed.
- Such a ruthless policy of the Ahoms brought fresh troubles for the Ahom government. The Maran survivors considered it to be a sacred duty to avenge the death of their brothers who had perished by the swords of Ahom.
Suhitpangpha/ Gaurinath Singha (1780-95)
- Ahom name- Suhitpungpha.
- He continued the policy of suppression of the Moamorias and lost no opportunity to persecute them.
- The opportunity for the Moamoriyas to take revenge on the Ahom monarchy came in April, 1782 when the king had just finished the celebration of the coronation ceremony at Garhgaon, the insurgents entered the palace campus in disguise and set fire to the coronation hall.
- The king managed to escape to Rangpur and he promulgated an order that the Moamoriyas should be killed without discrimination.
- Maniram Dewan wrote in wrote in 1838 – ‘The water of the rivers could not be drunk and people could not walk along the roads, Even the water and the fish of the Brahmaputra became tainted with stinking smell of corpses.’
- The inhuman recourse further aggravated the situation. The Moamoriyas attacked the capital. Panic stricken, the king left for Gauhati, accompanied by most of his officers and leaving Purnananda Burhagohain in charge of the affairs in Rangpur. Purnananda Burhagohain could not defend the capital for very long time. At Rangpur, the Moamorias set up Bharath Singha as the king, but the Hatisungi Maransset up Sarbananda as their king of the territory to the east of Dihing.
- Krishnanarayan of Darang occupied North Guwahati.
- Under these circumstances, Gaurinath Singha realised that without external aid, it would not be possible for him to put an end to the disturbances. Therefore, he wrote to Lord Cornwallis, the governor general, asking for military assistance and undertaking to pay for the troops that might be sent for the purpose.
- Accordingly, in September, 1792, 360 sepoys were despatched under the command of Captain Welsh which reached Goalpara on November.
- The revolt was supressed and Gaurinath Singha was reinstated on the throne.
- During his stay in the kingdom, Captain Welsh concluded a commercial treaty in 1793 by which commerce between Assam and Bengal was sought to be put on ‘reciprocal basis’ on singular goods and merchandizes. The report of captain Welsh which he submitted to the British government in response to certain queries gives certain information in regard to the system of Ahom government, trade and commerce etc. this report was crucial in encouraging the British to acquire Assam in the future.
- Thomas Welsh went back to Bengal in 1795.
- Afraid of renewed revolts, Gaurinath Singha shifted his capital to Jorhat in 1794 which was the last capital of Ahom dynasty.
- Gaurinath Singha died in 1795.
Suklingpha/ Kamaleswar Singha (1795- 1811)
- Gaurinath Singha died in August 1795 without leaving any male issue.
- Purnananda Burhagohain, however, managed to install Kinaram who was given the Hindu name Kamaleswar Singha and the Ahom name Suklengpha.
- The Burhagohain became the de facto ruler of the kingdom.
- The first trouble which confronted the new king and his premier Purnananda was a rising in Kamrup led by Haradatta Choudhury and his brother Biradatta. They arranged a large force of Barkandazes, mainly of Hindustanis and Sikhs against the Ahom government.
- The revolt which was famous in the name ‘Dandua Droh’ was supressed by Kalia Bhomora, the new incumbent to the office of Barphukan.
- It was this Barphukan, who is said to have started the work pof constructing a bridge over the Brahmaputra near Silghat, but his successors failed to follow up the project.
Sudingpha/ Chandrakanta Singha (1811-1817)
- He was the brother of Kamaleswar Singha
- Purnananda continued to be the de facto ruler.
- He was a minor, as he grew up, Chandrakanta Singha began to resent the influence of the Buragohain.
- The king cultivated a friendship with a youth named Satram and appointed him as the Charingiya Phukan.
- Satram became so powerful that he hatched a conspiracy to assassinate the Burhagohain but the plot was discovered.
- Kalia Bhomora Barphukan was succeeded by Badan Chandra as the Barphukan.
- He grew last for power and wealth and became arrogant.
- Reports of Badan Chandra’s mismanagement including that of misappropriation of the items and articles of worship in the Kamakhya temple reached the Buragohain. There were reports of oppression on the people of Kamrup.
- The king himself hatched a conspiracy to destroy the Burhagohain with the help of Barphukan. When the plot was discovered, the king pleaded his ignorance.
- Purnananda Buragohain sent a force to apprehend the Barphukan. Badan Chandra escaped to Bengal and sought help from the British. The Governor General refused to accede to his request.
- Badan Chandra then opened negotiations with the Calcutta Agent of the Burmese government. With his help he went to the Burmese court for help.
- The Burmese king Badapawa, then, had been following up the policy of territorial aggrandisement towards the west. Thus, they made their appearance on the scene in 1817.
First Burmese Invasion (1817)
- The Burmese army arrived at Namrup early in Namrup.
- On hearing the advance of the enemy, the Buragohain sent 7 companies of sepoys to resist their advance. The two parties entered into an encounter at Ghiladhari, but the enemy overcame the resistance. The Ahom army was defeated.
- Purnananda Buragohain became so wild with rage that he collapses suddenly. He was succeeded by his son Ruchinath.
- Badan Chandra entered Jorhat in the middle of March, 1817, allowed Chandrakanta to continue his rule. Chandrakanta Singha concluded a treaty with Burmese according to which comes part of land was given to Badan Chandra and he was made a minister.
- The Burmese army returned with a huge indemnity and an Ahom princess named Hemo Aideo for the Burmese monarch.
- On their way back, the Burmese plundered many villages, killed the people taking shelter in the jungles and took away a large number of men, women and children to Burma.
Purandar Singha (1818-19, 1833-1838)
Second Burmese Invasion (1819)
- Soon after the return of the Burmese army, Badan Chandra Barphukan was assassinated.
- Ruchinath attacked Jorhat, deposed and mutilated Chandrakanta.
- Purandar Singha was made king.
- The Burmese court was subsequently informed of these events in Assam and it at once sent a strong contingent under the command of Alamingi in 1819.
- Purandar fled to Guwahati and Chandrakanta was reinstated on the throne by the Burmese.
- He was king only in name and the real authority was exercised by the Burmese commanders.
Third Burmese Invasion (1821)
- The Burmese king Badawpawa died in May 1819 and succeeded by his grandson Bagyidaw.
- MingimahaTilwa, the Burmese commander also left for Burma leaving Assam affairs in charge of Patalang Barbarua.
- Patalang soon espoused the cause of Assam and persuaded Chandrakanta to shake off the Burmese allegiance.
- He constructed a fort in Dighalighat, Jaypur with the object of fighting the Burmese
- MingimahaTilwa arrived Assam with gifts for Chandrakanta and saw the construction of the fort and he suspected the motive of the Ahoms.
- Chandrakanta became anxious about his safety and fled to Gauhati and then to Bengal.
- The Burmese then placed Jogeswar Singha on the throne.
- Chandrakanta Singha entered Bengal where he tried to collect arms and men to fight the Burmese.
- At the Battle of Mahgarh, Chandrakanta’s army was defeated. The period from 1821 to 1824 is called period of Burmese rule. Assam came directly under the rule of Burmese.
Burmese rule in Assam (1821-1824)
- This period was marked by blood-shed, rapine, plunder and devastation. The Burmese imposed arbitrary taxes on all classes of people and realised their payment by force.
- The British now feared that the Burmese might attack Bengal, so Lord Amherst, the Governor General decided to declare war on Myanmar.
First Anglo Burmese War (1824- 26)
- The first Anglo Burmese war was the first series of war that were fought between British India and Burma.
- The war ended with a decisive victory of the British.
- On 24th February, 1826, Treaty of Yandabo was signed between Burma and British.
- Assam was ceded to the British and they started introducing British administration.
- Finding it difficult to administer an unfamiliar region and sensing discontent among local inhabitants to foreign rule, the British authority decided to restore upper Assam to Purandar Singha again.
- In April, 1833 CE, except Sadiya and Matak region, the entire Upper Assam was formally made over to him. Later, in 1838 CE, finding him incompetent, the British formally annexed his kingdom, putting an end to 600 years reign of Ahom Dynasty.