I bow to the hallowed land of Assam that gave us heroes like Lachit Borphukan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the closing ceremony of 400th birth anniversary celebrations of sixteenth-century Ahom army general Lachit Borphukan in New Delhi.
“Today, India is not only celebrating breaking away from the shackles of colonialism but also its cultural diversity. We have got this historic opportunity at a time when the country is celebrating Azadi ka Mahotsav,” he said.
Borphukan was a commander in the erstwhile Ahom kingdom and is known for his leadership in the 1671 battle of Saraighat that thwarted an attempt by Mughals to capture Assam. The ‘Battle of Saraighat’ was fought on the banks of Brahmaputra in Guwahati.
Talking about the valour of Lachit Borphukan, Mr. Modi said, “Our ancestors stood up to the tribulations of foreign invaders, there was always someone who stood up to resist attempts at subjugation from foreign invaders. Lachit Borphukan is one such legend.”
The Prime Minister further said, “If someone has sought to suppress us by the sword, to wipe out our existence and culture — we have known how to counter it. Our ancestors staked all they had to fight the Turks, the Mughals; the Mughals had taken over Guwahati but Aurangzeb could not withstand the heroism of Lachit Borphukan.”
Assam government has organised a three-day event in the National capital to coincide with the Lachit Divas. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the event on November 23.
Speaking at the event, PM Modi said that Borphukan’s bravery underlines the identity of Assam. “For centuries, attempts were made to tell us that we were only looted and plundered but that is not the case. India’s history is of victory, battle and sacrifice,” he said.
Mr. Modi said that the need to tell stories about India’s history against foreign invaders has been long suppressed. “We all know that there are thousands of stories of resistance, of victory too in our history. India is now correcting these mistakes of the past. This celebration is a reflection of just that.”
Borphukan’s life inspires us to confront many issues facing the country today, the Prime Minister said. “Lachit Borphukan is an inspiration to believe that patriotism is bigger than political nepotism and that the nation is bigger than family.”
Talking about educating the country about its ‘real’ and ‘correct’ history, Mr. Modi suggested a theatrical retelling of Borphukan’s life and take it across the country. “We want to develop India and make the northeast a beacon of that development,” he added.
A day ago, Home Minister Amit Shah had paid tributes to the Assam army general saying it wasn’t enough to complain about the distortion of history, but the time had come to rewrite it.