Ahom Kingdom
1228–1826[1]
Ngi-ngao-kham [2](Royal insignia) of Ahom kingdom
Ngi-ngao-kham [2](Royal insignia)
The Ahom Kingdom, 1826.
StatusKingdom
Capital
Common languages
Religion
Demonym(s)Assamese
GovernmentBureaucratic feudalism[3] and Aristocratic monarchy[4]
Chao Pha, Swargadeo[5] 
• 1228–1268
Sukaphaa
• 1497–1539
Suhungmung
• 1603–1641
Susenghphaa
• 1696–1714
Sukhrungphaa
• 1833–1838
Purandar Singha
History 
• Established by Sukaphaa
1228
1497
1543–68
1615–1682
1769
1817
1826[1]
Area
1826[6]41,957.807 km2 (16,200.000 sq mi)
Population
• 1711[7]
2,880,000
• 1833[8]
2,50,000
CurrencyAhom coinage
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kamarupa Kingdom
Konbaung dynasty
Colonial Assam
Today part ofIndia
Myanmar

The Ahom kingdom (/ˈɑːhɔːm/, 1228–1826)[1] was a late medieval[9] kingdom in the Brahmaputra Valley (present-day Assam) that retained its independence for nearly 600 years despite encountering Mughal expansion in Northeast India. Established by Sukaphaa, a Tai prince from Mong Mao (present-day Yunnan Province, China), it began as a mong in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra based on wet rice agriculture. It expanded suddenly under Suhungmung in the 16th century[10] and became multi-ethnic in character, casting a profound effect on the political and social life of the entire Brahmaputra valley. The kingdom became weaker with the rise of the Moamoria rebellion, and subsequently fell to repeated Burmese invasions of Assam. With the defeat of the Burmese after the First Anglo-Burmese War and the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826, control of the kingdom passed into East India Company hands.

Though it came to be called the Ahom kingdom in the colonial and subsequent times, it was largely multi-ethnic, with the ethnic Tai-Ahom people constituting less than 10% of the population toward the end.[11] People from different ethnic groups became a part of the Ahom population due to the process known as Ahomisation. The identity of the Ahom people in this kingdom was fluid, with the king controlling who belonged to it and who did not.[12] The Ahoms initially called their kingdom Mong Dun Shun Kham till 1401 (Assamese: xunor-xophura; English: casket of gold), but adopted Assam in later times.[13] The British-controlled province after 1838 and later the Indian state of Assam came to be known by this name. The kingdom maintained close political ties with other Tai-states especially with Mong Kwang (Nara) till the end of its rule in the 19th century.[14]

History

Main article: Ahom dynasty

The Ahom kingdom was established in 1228 when Sukaphaa, a Tai prince, entered the Brahmaputra valley having crossed the rugged Patkai mountain range from Mong Mao.[15] Sukaphaa probably started his journey from his homeland with a small number, but he was supported and joined by other Tai chiefs and common followers along the way[16] and entered Assam with approximately 9,000 persons.[17][18] His destiny was Upper Assam, earlier the domain of the Kamarupa kingdom but which had since lapsed into deteriorating conditions,[19] and his intention was not to conquer and raid but to permanently settle in fallow land and practice agriculture[20]—and the Ahoms were primarily responsible for converting the undulating alluvial forest and marshy plains in upper Assam to flat rice fields able to hold plain water for rice cultivation via a network of embankments.[21] The Tai-Shans had with them the basic political structures for state-building, surplus producing technologies such as sedentary wet-rice cultivation and hydrology, a patriarchal social organisation based on chiefs, and a literary form of their language.[22] Whereas the earlier state formations (Kamarupa) borrowed political structures from North India that led to Indo-Aryan domination, the Ahom state formation provided an alternate model built on Southeast Asian political structures, and which provided the space for the development of a distinct political, social and cultural identity.[23] Though Brahminical myth-making was a common feature that all ancient and medieval kingdoms—such as Chutia and Kachari kingdoms—in Assam utilised for legitimacy to various degrees,[24] the Ahoms were able to use their alternate Lengdon-based legitimacy to establish their rule and effectively negotiate with the indigenous people; nevertheless the later Tungkhungia kings veered towards Saktism[25] and the persecution of the shudra Mahantas and their laity that began during the reign of Siva Singha led to the Moamoria rebellion and ultimately to the eclipse of the kingdom.[26]

Mong Dun Shun Kham (1228–1401)

Sukaphaa (1228–1268) spent a couple of decades moving from place to place establishing colonies and finally settled down in Charaideo in 1253.[27][28] He established the offices of the Dangarias— the Burhagohain (Chao-Frongmung) and the Borgohain (Chao-Thaonmung).[29] In the 1280s, these two offices were given independent regions of control; partly hereditary and partly elected, the king and the two counsellors held each other in check and balance.[29] These institutions of checks and balances thus seeded held fast for six hundred years—in the 18th century John Peter Wade, a British officer, observed these unique institutions and novel system of government.[30] Sukaphaa had instructed that events during his rule be chronicled, a practice sustained by his successors; and there emerged the institution of Buranji writing, a practice of historiography rare in India.[31] In the late medieval era, the Ahom kingdom was known to be a kaghazi raj (a kingdom with records) just as the Mughal Empire was.[32]

At the time of their advent, the Ahoms came with advanced technologies of rice cultivation, and it was their belief that they were divinely ordained to turn fallow land to agriculture and also to absorb stateless and shifting agriculturists to their own ways.[33] The shifting people were called kha and many such kha people were ceremonially adopted into different Ahom clans,[34] a process called Ahomisation. Sukaphaa befriended those among the Morans and Barahi who were amenable to join him and put to the sword those who opposed him,[35] and in due course, many others were incorporated into Ahom clans.[36] The Ahoms were acutely aware of their smaller numbers, and adroitly avoided confrontations with larger groups.[37] The additions via Ahomisation enhanced the Ahom numbers significantly. This process of Ahomization was particularly significant till the 16th century when under Suhungmung, the kingdom made large territorial expansions at the cost of the Chutiya and the Kachari kingdoms.

At this initial stage the kingdom was still not fully sovereign. Sukaphaa sent his word of allegiance and tributes to Mong Mao, a practice that was continued by some of his successors till about the early 14th century when the power of Mong Mao faded to be replaced the power of Mong Kwang, at which point the Ahoms stopped the tributes.[38] The Ahoms began to call their domain Mong Dun Sun Kham ("a country of golden gardens").[39] Though Sukaphaa had avoided the Namdang region mindful of the numerically small Ahom contingent,[40] but his son Suteuphaa made the Kacharis withdraw on their own via a stratagem and the Ahoms expanded into it;[41] but no further expansions of the Ahom domain occurred for the next two hundred years. The Ahom kingdom, for most of its history, had been closed and population movement closely monitored—nevertheless, there were two significant contacts. One was a friendly encounter with Chutia kingdom that turned into a conflict, and the other was a marriage alliance with the Kamata kingdom.[42] At the end of the 14th century, the nascent Ahom polity faced crises of succession, two regicides, and three quick interregnum periods when the kingdom was without a king.[43]

Assam (1401–1510)

Sudangphaa Bamuni Konwar (r. 1397–1407), born and raised in a Brahmin household in Habung, was identified as a descendant of a past king and installed on the throne by the Burhaohain and Borgohain to end the period of crisis.[44] He established Brahmin officers, advisors and communities near the capital and the Brahmin influence, though negligible, was felt for the first time.[45] A number of rebellions erupted purportedly against this influence but Sudangphaa was able to suppress them and solidify his rule.[46] One of the rebels invited a military expedition from Mong Kwang (called Nara in the Buranjis, the successor state of Mong Mao to which the early Ahom kings used to send tribute) resulting in a clash in 1401—but Sudangphaa defeated the expedition and concluded the conflict with a treaty that fixed the boundary between the two polities at Patkai.[47] This event was significant since it moved the Ahom polity from implicit subordination to explicit sovereignty, and this was accompanied by the transition of the name of the polity from Mong-Dun-Sun-Kham to "Assam",[13] a derivative from Shan/Shyam.[48] Sudangphaa established a new capital at Charagua, broke the clan allegiances that held the Ahom polity together earlier replacing it with political authority of the king, and introduced the tradition of the singarigharutha ceremony, the state coronation of the Ahom kings that symbolised royal Ahom sovereignty, authority and legitimacy.[49] Sudangphaa settled Habung brahmins close his capital, settled the sons of his adopted Brahmin family in frontier areas, dismantled the tribal allegiances that held the polity together earlier and brought the Ahom kingdom very close to a full-fledged state.[50]

The next hundred years saw the kingdom mostly suppressing rebellious Naga groups, but a conflict with the Dimasa kingdom in 1490 saw the Ahoms, not strong enough to take them on frontally, suing for peace.[51] The Ahom royalty continuously improved their relationship with the Brahmans which enabled them to gain goodwill with the Indo-Aryanized tribal groups and consolidate power.[52]

Full state and expansion (1510–1609)

Main articles: Chutia kingdom, Baro-Bhuyan, and Kachari kingdom

The Ahom kingdom transitioned into a full state rather dramatically in a short period during the reign of Suhungmung Dihingia Raja (r. 1497–1539).[53] It began first with a consolidation of the militia in 1510,[54] followed by an expansion into the Bhuyan region at Habung in 1512 (probably with the help of the descendants of the Habungia Brahmans settled during Sudangpha's time[55]). The Indo-Aryan Bhuyans were relocated to the capital and absorbed into the lower echelons of the growing state as scribes and warriors.[56] They in turn helped in the elimination of the royalty of the advanced Chutia kingdom in 1523; and that kingdom's nobility, commanders, professional classes, warriors and technologies were absorbed into the Ahom kingdom.[57] It was this formation of the Ahom kingdom that met the aggression from Bengal under Turbak in 1532 and it was able to eliminate the aggressive leadership (with significant loss to itself) and pursue the retreating invaders to the Karatoya river.[58] In 1536, after the series of contacts with the Kachari kingdom, the Ahom rule extended up to the Kolong river in Nagaon;[59] and by the end of Suhungmung's reign, the size of the kingdom had effectively doubled.[60]

Ahom expansion in the Brahmaputra Valley and the change of polities.

These expansions created significant changes in the kingdom—the Assamese-speaking Hinduized subjects outnumbered the Ahoms themselves;[61] and the absorption of the Chutia kingdom meant a wide range of artisan skills became available to it increasing the scope for division of labour.[62] To provide legitimacy to the rule of the Ahom kings among the new subjects Suhungmung assumed the title Swarganarayana (Swargadeo),[63] though nothing like the Rajputisation process occurred with the Ahoms.[64] The nature of the kings institutional relationship to the ministers changed with the creation of a new position, the Borpatrogohain, named after a Chutia office;[65][66] and the creation of the offices of Sadiyakhowa Gohain (territories acquired from the Chutia kingdom)[67] and the Marangikhowa Gohain (territories acquired from the Kachari kingdom),[59] both of which were reserved for the Borgohain and Burhagohain lineages.[68] The traditional nobles (Chao) now aligned with the Brahmin literati and an expanded ruling class developed.[69] And when the Ahoms under Ton Kham Borgohain[70] pursued the invaders and reached the Karatoya river[71] they began to see themselves as the rightful heir of the erstwhile Kamarupa kingdom.[72]

Maturing state (1609–1682)

Main articles: Koch-Ahom relations, Ahom-Mughal conflicts, and Battle of Saraighat

The Ahom kingdom became more broad-based and took many features of its mature form under Pratap Singha (r. 1603–1641), primarily to meet the sustained attacks from the Mughals.[73] The Paik system was reorganized in 1609 under the professional khel system, replacing the kinship-based phoid system; and paiks could be permanently alienated to non-royal institutions via royal grants.[74] Under the same king, the offices of the Borphukan (viceroy of territories acquired from the Koches and the Mughals), and the Borbarua (the "secretary" of the royal government) were established to increase the number of Patra Mantris to five, along with other smaller offices.[73] The practices of using Brahmins solely for diplomatic missions,[75] the Ahom kings adopting a Hindu name in addition to their Ahom names, and patronising Hindu establishments began with Pratap Singha, though formal initiation of the Ahom kings into Hinduism did not occur till 1648.[76] The Assamese language entered the Ahoms court for the first time and briefly coexisted and eventually replaced the Ahom language.[77] No more major restructuring of the state structure was attempted until the end of the kingdom.

Koch relations

After the division of the Koch kingdom between two branches of the Koch dynasty in 1581, the Ahoms allied with their immediate western neighbor, the Koch Hajo branch, from 1603 to prop them as a buffer against the Mughals who had extended their rule to Bengal by 1576. The collapse of the Koch Hajo power in 1614 resulted in the Mughals coming to power up to the Barnadi river. The Mughals attempted further ingress to the east in 1616 with the Battle of Samdhara which marked the beginning of the Ahom–Mughal conflicts which lasted the till 1682 in the Battle of Itakhuli, when the Ahoms were able to push the Mughals back to the west of the Manas river permanently.

Mughal relations

In 1657, owing to the 'War of succession' among the sons of Shah Jahan. Ahom king Jayadhwaj Singha extended his authority, occupied Kamrup, preventing the other rebellious Koch king Pran Narayan from securing his footing. He speedily extended his authority over whole of western Assam. He brought under his domain the whole Brahmaputra Valley, from Sadiya in the east and Sherpur on the south. Thus, the Ahom state attained the greatest territorial zenith.

In 1662, Aurangzeb to bring the lost tracts and to punish the rebels elements in that quarter, launched an invasion under his chief lieutenant Mir Jumla II, in this invasion the Ahoms could not resist up well, and the Mughals occupied the capital, Garhgaon. Unable to keep it, and in at the end of the Battle of Saraighat, the Ahoms not only fended off a major Mughal invasion but extended their boundaries west, up to the Manas river. The western border was fixed at Manas river after the Battle of Itakhuli, which remained the same till the annexation by the British.

Following the Battle of Saraighat, the kingdom fell straight under ten years of political disorder. During this period the nobles exercised immense power, and seven kings were put on the throne and deposed. In the meantime, Kamrup went back in the hands of Mughals for a few years.

Tungkhungia regime (1682–1826)

Main articles: Battle of Itakhuli and Moamoria rebellion

Gadadhar Singha (r. 1682–1696) established the 'Tungkhungia rule' in Assam, which continued to remain in power till the end of the kingdom. In 1682, the Mughals were defeated in the Battle of Itakhul, and Manas river was fixed as the western boundary. Gadadhar Singha came in conflict with the Vaisnava Satras who began commencing immense power and influence over the state and people, and started a wide–spread persecution of the Vaisnavites.

King Siva Singha and Bar–Raja Ambika riding litter

The rule of Tungkhungia Ahom kings was marked by achievements in the Arts and engineering constructions, the Tungkhungia reigme witnessed a relative time of peace and stability till the Moamoria rebellion, also festering internal conflicts that tore the kingdom asunder. According to Guha (1986) Ahom Assam continued to flourish till 1770. The Tungkhungia regime witnessed a relative time of peace till first half of the 18th century, where the population increased, trade expanded, Coinage and monetization made headway. New arts and crafts, new crops and even new style of dress were introduced.

Rudra Singha alias Sukhrungphaa (r. 1696–1714), under whom the Kingdom attained its zeinth. He subdued the kingdoms of Dimasa and Jaintia. He had made extensive preparations to extend the boundary west–towards, attempted to make a confederacy of Hindu kings of eastern India against Mughals. But he died right before he could execute his plans in 1714. Rudra Singha had re–instated the Vaisnava Satras, he himself had taken initiation of the Auniati Gosain (the most influential Brahmana Sattradhikar) but later in his life he got inclined towards Shaktism, considering it to be more suitable for a monarch, he invited a famous Sakta Brahmana from Bengal–Krishnaram Bhattacharya alias Pravatiya Gosain. From his death bed he expressed his will that, all his five sons to be kings in a executive manner and advised them to take initiation of Parvatiya Gosain[78]

Ahom King Siva Singha riding elephant with attendants

Siva Singha alias Sutanphaa (r. 1714–1744), he dropped his father's plan to invade Benagal. He took the initiation of Parvatiya Gosain and established him 'Nilachal mountain' with extensive land grants and paiks.[79] Siva Singha was very much under the influence of Brahmanas and astrologers, 1722 it was predicted by the astrologers that his reign would soon come to a end owing to the evil influence of Chatra–bhanga–yoga.[80] Therefore, he transferred the royal umbrella and throne to his wife Phuleshwari who was given the title of 'Bar–Raja' on the advice of Pravatiya Gosain. Phuleswari melded too much with the religious affairs, she had caused the insult of the Shudra–Mahantas.[26] After the death of Phuleswari, two other wives of Siva Singha were set on the position of 'Bar–Raja', namely Ambika and Sarbeswari. Siva Singha reign was peaceful, except an expedition sent against the Daflas, he had caused the erection of many temples and made numerous grants to the religious sites and brahmanas. He died in 1744, and his younger brother Pramatta Singha was set up on the throne setting aside the claims of Siva Singha's son.[81]

Pramatta Singha alias Sunenphaa (r. 1744–1751), nothing of importance is recorded during his reign. He had erected the Rang Ghar with mansory and built the Sukreswar and Rudreswar temples in Noth–Guwahati. During his reign, Kirti Chandra Borbarua gained much of his political influence. In 1744, he received an ambassador from the king of Twipra. He died in 1751.

Rajeswar Singha alias Supremphaa (r. 1751–1759), he was put on the throne by Kirti Chandra Borbarua by setting aside the claims of seniority of his elder brother Barjana Gohain. Rajeswar Singha had erected the most number of temples among the Ahom Kings, he was an orthodox Hindu and took initiation of Nati–Gosian (a relative of Pravatiya Gosain). In 1765, he sent an expedition to Manipur whose king Jay Singha made an appeal to the Ahom king to recover his country from the Burmese occupation. The first expeditionary force had to be routed off, which was sent through 'Naga Hills', in 1767 another force was despatched through the old Raha route. The second expedition was successful and achieved its objective in recovering Manipur. Kirti Chandra Borbarua who was the most influential noble in the Ahom court, had caused the burning of Buranjis.[82] Rajeswar Singha's reign marked the end of Ahom supremacy and glory, the signs were decay was already visible during his reign. He was succeeded by his younger brother Lakshmi Singha alias Sunyeophaa (r. 1769–1780).[83]

Downfall

Main articles: Moamoria rebellion and Paik system

The Ahom kingdom by the mid-18th century was indeed an over-burdened hierarchical structure, supported by a weak institutional base and meagre economic surplus. The Paik system which in the 17th century had helped the kingdom to repulse the repeated Mughal invasions, had become extremely outdated.[84] The later phase of the rule was also marked by increasing social conflicts, leading to the Moamoria rebellion were able to capture and maintain power at the capital Rangpur for some years but were finally removed with the help of the British under Captain Welsh. The following repression led to a large depopulation due to emigration as well as execution, but the conflicts were never resolved. A much-weakened kingdom fell to repeated Burmese attacks and finally after the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826, the control of the kingdom passed into British hands.

Ahom economic system

Main article: Paik system

Silver rupee of Rudra Singha

The Ahom kingdom was based on the Paik system, a type of corvee labor that is neither feudal nor Asiatic. The first coins were introduced by Jayadhwaj Singha in the 17th century, though the system of personal service under the Paik system persisted. In the 17th century when the Ahom kingdom expanded to include erstwhile Koch and Mughal areas, it came into contact with their revenue systems and adapted accordingly.

Trade

Trade was carried on usually through barter and use of circulation of money was limited. According to Shihabududdin Tailash, currency in the Ahom kingdom consisted of cawries, rupees and gold coins. With the increase of external trade since the reign of Rudra Singha, there was a corresponding increase in the circuation of money. Inscriptions dating from the reign of Siva Singha, gives the price of number of commodities like rice, ghee, oil, pulses, goat, pegion in connection with worship in different temples of the kingdom.[85] This concludes that the barter economey was in the process of being replaced by the money economy, which was the outcome of Assam's developing economic ties both with feudal India and the neighbouring countries of the north east.

Trade with Tibet

Due to trade with Tibet, a coin of Jayadhwaj Singha carries a single Chinese character on each side reading Zang Bao. This had been translated as 'treasury of your honour'. Nicholas Rodhes read the inscription as 'Currency of Tibet', Also these two characters were used by the Chinese in Lhasa between 1792 and 1836 with the meaning 'Tibetan currency. Furthermore, there was a significant contact between China and tibet in the mid-seventeen century, so it is not unlikely that the Assamese would have thought have thought that a Chinese character was an appropriate for Assamese-Tibetan trade coin. This piece evidently was an attempt by Jayadhwaj Singha to facilitate trade with Chinese knowing person coming from the direction of Tibet.[86] Rudra Singha is also said to have established an extensive trade with Tibet and to have encouraged intercourse with other nations although he strictly limited the extent to which foreigners were allowed into the country. Presumably, some of the coins of his reign were struck with the silver earned from these trading activities.[87]

Another point by which we can understand the trade relation of Ahoms with other nations is through the use of Silver coins. It is to be noted that there are no silver mines in the northeast or in the rest of India, so the metal entered as a result of trade.

Extent

In extent the kingdom's length was about 500 miles (800 km) and with an average breadth of 60 miles (96 km).[88] The kingdom can be divided into three major regions: the north bank (Uttarkul), the south bank (Dakhinkul), and the island of Majuli. The north bank (Uttarkul) was more populated and fertile but the Ahom kings set up their capital on the south bank (Dakinkul) because it had more inaccessible strongholds and defensible central places.[89]

Demographics

Population

From 1500 to 1770 A.D., one comes across definite signs of demographic growth in the region. There was terrible depopulation In course of the Moamoria rebellion (1769–1805) when more than half of the population fell off. Again, during the Burmese regime, the Burmese depredations (1817-1825) further reduced the population by 1/3. It shows that only 7/8 lakh people remained, at the time of British annexation. King Pratap Singha is who, systematised the population distribution and settlement of villages. The census of adult male population of the state was taken very strictly so that every working man would be registered for the state service. The census were properly recorded in registers called paikar piyalar kakat.[90]

The following table estimates the population composition of classes, during the reign of king Rajeswar Singha (1751-1769). According to the population estimates computed by Gunabhiram Barua.

Aristocracy Slaves/Bondsmen Chamua Karni Paik Total Population
1% 9% 25% 65% 100%
24,000 2,16,000 6,00,000 15,60,000 24,00,000[91]
Year wise estimated population of medieval Assam
Year Estimated

population
by Guha
(1978)[92]

Estimated

population
by Bhuyan
(1949)[93]

Estimated

population
by NPB[94][95]

Estimated

population
by Dutt
(1958)[8]

1615 16,80,000 1,12,48,286
1620 24,40,000
1669 16,00,000
1711 28,80,000
1750 30,00,000+
1765 24,00,000
1833 2,50,000

Urbanization

There were towns, but only a small percentage of the population lived in such towns. Some important towns of Ahom time were Rangpur, Garhgoan, Guwahati and Hajo. The capital city of Rangpur, was found to be 20 miles (32.18 km) in extent and thickly populated by Capt. Welsh in 1794. The population, however, never exceeded 10 thousand souls.[96]

Ahom administration

Ahom king Rudra Singha receiving the kings of the Dimasa and the Jaintia kingdoms in his court.

Main articles: Swargadeo, Burhagohain, Borgohain, Borpatrogohain, Borbarua, and Borphukan

Swargadeo and Patra Mantris

The Ahom kingdom was ruled by a king, called Swargadeo (Ahom language: Chao-Pha), who had to be a descendant of the first king Sukaphaa. Succession was generally by primogeniture but occasionally the great Gohains (Dangarias) could elect another descendant of Sukaphaa from a different line or even depose an enthroned one.

Dangarias: Sukaphaa had two great Gohains to aid him in administration: Burhagohain and the Borgohain. In the 1280s, they were given independent territories, they were veritable sovereigns in their given territories called bilat or rajya. The Burhagohain's territory was between Sadiya and Gerelua river in the north bank of the Brahmaputra river and the Borgohain's territory was to the west up to the Burai river.[97] They were given total command over the paiks that they controlled. These positions were generally filled from specific families. Princes who were eligible for the position of Swargadeo were not considered for these positions and vice versa. In the 1527, Suhungmung added a third Gohain, Borpatrogohain.[98] The Borpatrogohain's territory was located between the territories of the other two Gohains.

Royal officers: Pratap Singha added two offices, Borbarua and Borphukan, that were directly under the king. The Borbarua, who acted as the military as well as the judicial head, was in command of the region east of Kaliabor not under the command of the Dangarias. He could use only a section of the paiks at his command for his personal use (as opposed to the Dangariyas), the rest rendering service to the Ahom state. The Borphukan was in military and civil command over the region west of Kaliabor, and acted as the Swargadeo's viceroy in the west. Borbaruas were mostly from different Moran, Kachari, Chiring and Khamti communities, while the Borphukan of lower Assam was appointed from the Chutia community.[99] The Borbarua and Borphukan offices were not hereditary and thus could be chosen from any families.

Patra Mantris: The five positions constituted the Patra Mantris (Council of Ministers). From the time of Supimphaa (1492–1497), one of the Patra Mantris was made the Rajmantri (Prime Minister, also Borpatro; Ahom language: Shenglung) who enjoyed additional powers and the service of a thousand additional paiks from the Jakaichuk village.

Other officials

The Borbarua and the Borphukan had military and judicial responsibilities, and they were aided by two separate councils (sora) of Phukans. The Borphukan's sora sat at Guwahati and the Borbarua's sora at the capital. Six of them formed the council of the Borbarua with each having his separate duties. The Naubaicha Phukan, who had an allotment of thousand men managed the royal boats, the Bhitarual Phukan, the Na Phukan, the Dihingia Phukan, the Deka Phukan, and the Neog Phukan formed the council of Phukan. The Borphukan also had a similar council of six subordinate Phukans whom he was bound to consult in all matters of importance. This council included Pani Phukan, who commanded six thousand paiks, Deka Phukan who commanded four thousand paiks, the Dihingia Phukan, Nek Phukan and two Chutiya Phukans.

The superintending officers were called Baruas. The Baruas of whom there were twenty or more included Bhandari Barua or treasurer; the Duliya Barua, who was in charge of the royal palanquins; the Chaudang Barua who superintended executions; Khanikar Barua was the chief artificer; Sonadar Barua was the mint master and chief jeweler; the Bez Barua was the physician to the royal family, Hati Barua, Ghora Barua, etc. Other officials included twelve Rajkhowas, and a number of Katakis, Kakatis, and Dolais. The Rajkhowas were governors of given territories and commanders of three thousand paiks. They were the arbitrator who settled local disputes and supervised public works. The Katakis were envoys who dealt with foreign countries and hill tribes. The Kakatis were writers of official documents. The Dolais expounded astrology and determined auspicious time and dates for any important event and undertaking.

Governors

Members of the royal families ruled certain areas, and they were called Raja.

Members of the royal families who occupy lower positions are given regions called mels, and were called meldangia or melkhowa raja. Meldangia Gohains were princes of an even lesser grade, of which there were two: Majumelia Gohain and Sarumelia Gohain.[100]

Royal ladies were given individual mels, and by the time of Rajeshwar Singha, there were twelve of them. The most important of these was the Raidangia mel given to the chief queen.[101]

Forward governors, who were military commanders, ruled and administered forward territories. The officers were usually filled from the families that were eligible for the three great Gohains.

Lesser governors were called Rajkhowas, and some of them were:

Vassals

The dependent kings or vassals were also called Raja. Except for the Raja of Rani, all paid an annual tribute. These Rajas were required to meet the needs for resources and paiks when the need arose, as during the time of war. There were in total 15 vassal states.[103]

The other hill states which acknowledged the overlordship and nominal sovereignty of the Ahoms were the states of:

The states of Jaintia and Dimasa paid annual tributes to the Ahom king, acknowledging the overlordship and the vassalage of Ahoms. In this connection, mention be made of the term thapita sanchita (established and preserved) which determined their relationship with the Ahoms.[105]

Paik officials

The Ahom kingdom was dependent on the Paik system, a form of corvee labor, reorganized in 1608 by Momai Tamuli Barbarua.[106] Every common subject was a paik, and four paiks formed a got. At any time of the year, one of the paiks in the got rendered direct service to the king, as the others in his got tended to his fields. The Paik system was administered by the Paik officials: A Bora was in charge of 20 paiks, a Saikia of 100 and a Hazarika of 1000. A Rajkhowa commanded three thousand and a Phukan commanded six thousand paiks.[106]

Land survey

Supatphaa became acquainted with the land measurement system of Mughals during the time he was hiding in Kamrup before he succeeded to the throne. As soon as the wars with Mughals were over he issued orders for the introduction of a similar system throughout his dominions. Surveyors were imported from Koch Behar and Bengal for the work. It was commenced in Sibsagar and was pushed on vigorously, but it was not completed until after his death. Nagaon was next surveyed, and the settlement which followed was supervised by Rudra Singha himself. According to historians, the method of survey included measuring the four sides of each field with a nal, or bamboo pole of 12 feet (3.7 m) length and calculating the area, the unit was the "lucha" or 144 square feet (13.4 m2) and 14,400 sq ft (1,340 m2). is one "Bigha". Four 'bigha' makes one 'Pura'. A similar land measurement system is still being followed in modern Assam.

The measurement system helped in the equal distribution of land among the paiks as well as among the nobles and officers. Records of land were maintained under an officer called Darabdhara Barua. Thus all cultivable and occupied land, except homesteads and jungles, were surveyed and recorded. The paper on which this was recorded is called perakagaz or perakakat meaning (paper carefully preserved inside of wooden boxes called pera). As the perakagaz were not durable, copper plates called as tamrapatraor phali were issued for important records, particularly of revenue-free lands gifted to religious sites or to Brahamanas.[107]

Military

Main articles: Ahom artillery and Ahom Army

Weapons of Ahom era.

The Ahom military department consisted of infantry, cavalry, elephantry, artillery, espionage and navy. Land was given to martial paiks (militia) in exchange for their service. The paiks were organised under a got (group of four paiks), and further under a khel (department). The paiks were placed under the command of Paik officers, whose ranks as follows:

Paik Officer Number of Paiks
Phukan 6000
Rajkhowa 3000
Hazarika 1000
Saikia 100
Bora 20

Swords, spears, bows, and arrows, guns, matchlocks, cannons were the primary weapons of the war. The soldiers had been trained to stand firm in battle. The cavalry commander was Ghora Barua, and the elephant commander was Hati Barua.[108]

The people of medieval Assam were aware of the use of incendiary weapons. However, firearms were first introduced in the early 16th century. The Ahom troops quickly became experts in the manufacture of various types of guns, small and large, matchlocks, artillery, and large cannon. Kharghariya Phukan was the officer in charge of the manufacture of gunpowder.[108]

The navy was the most important and powerful division of the Ahom forces. The main warships were known as bacharis. This shape was similar to Bengali kosahs, and each could carry 70 to 80 men. They were tough and powerful, and by the end of the period, many of them were armed with guns. The Fathiya-i-ibriya mentions 32,000 ships belonging to the king of Assam at the time of Mir Jumla's invasion of Assam. These were primarily made of chambal wood and were thus light and fast and so difficult to sink. The navy was led by the Naobaicha Phukan and Naosaliya Phukan.[108]

Forts were built in strategic locations to provide armed resistance. The Ahom soldiers were skilled at attacking the enemy at night. On the battlefield, a small group of Ahom soldiers could often outnumber thousands of enemy soldiers. Aside from their numerical strength, the Ahom paiks' physical strength, courage, and endurance were the most important factors in the Ahom military's invincibility.[108]

Judicial administration

In civil matters, Hindu laws were generally followed, while the criminal law was characterized by sternness and comparative harshness, where the general principle was that of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and the culprit was punished with precisely the same injury as that inflicted by him on the complainant. The Borborua and the Borphukan were the chief judicial authorities in their respective provinces, and trials were conducted before them.[109]

The punishments for crimes were generally harsh, with offenders punished by impaling, grinding between two cylinders, starving to death, slicing of the body into pieces, hoeing from head to foot, etc. Common punishments included the extraction of eyes and kneecaps, the slicing off of noses, beating with sticks, etc.[110]

Classes of people

Subinphaa (1281–1293), the third Ahom king, delineated the Satgharia Ahom ("Ahom of the seven houses") aristocracy: the Chaophaa, the Burhagohain and the Borgohain families, and four priestly lineages—the Deodhai, the Mohan, the Bailung and the Chiring Phukan . These lines maintained exogamous marital relationships. The number of lineages increased in later times as either other lineages were incorporated, or existing lineages divided. The king could belong to only the first family whereas the Burhagohain and the Borgohain only to the second and the third families. Most of the Borphukans belonged to the Chutia ethnic group, whereas the Borbaruas belonged to the Morans, Chiring and Khamti groups.[99] Later on Naga, Mising and Nara (Mongkawng) oracles became a part of the Bailung group.[111] The extended nobility consisted of the landed aristocracy and the spiritual class that did not pay any form of tax.

The apaikan chamua was the gentry that was freed from the khels and paid only money-tax. The paikan chamua consisted of artisans, the literati and skilled people that did non-manual work and rendered service as a tax. The kanri paik rendered manual labor. The lowest were the licchous, bandi-beti and other serfs and bondsmen. There was some degree of movement between the classes. Momai Tamuli Borborua rose from a bondsman through the ranks to become the first Borbarua under Pratap Singha.

Culture

Ahom architecture
Ranghar, built by king Pramatta Singha in 1746. It one of the earliest pavilion in the Indian subcontinent
Sivasagar Sivadol, built by Bar raja Ambika, consont of king Siva Singha. It is the tallest monument built during the Ahom era.

Architecture

The metropolis at Rangpur contains the Talatal Ghar, Rang Ghar, Gola Ghar and in Garhgoan, Kareng Ghar.[112]

Temples

A large number of temple constructions in the late medieval Assam are credited to the Ahom kings. Notable temples from the Ahom period includes– Sivasagar group of temples, Jaysagar group of temples, Gaurisagar group of temples, Rudrasagar temple, Negheriting shiva temple, Rangnath temple, Manikarneswar temple, Dirgheshwari temple, Hatimura temple, Kedar temple, Basistha temple, Sukreswar temple, Umananda temple, Rudreswar temple etc including many others.[113]

Tanks

Numerous large and small tanks were excavated to necessitate the problem of water shortage and for religious purposes. Their grandeur was enhanced by the construction of temples in their bank. Notable tanks from the Ahom period includes– Sivasagar tank, Jaysagar tank, Gaurisagar tank, Lakshmisagar tank and Vishusagar tank or Rajmao pukhuri etc. The number of other tanks excavated by the Ahom rulers is estimated to be approximately 200.[114]

Painting

Main article: Painting of Assam

Music and dance

The culture of music and dance was widespread and popular and received the patronage of royalty, the Ahom kings also held high regard for Mughal music and sent musicians to Delhi to learn it. Certain officers such as 'Gayan Barua' were appointed to promote music.[115]

Symbol

The royal insignia of the kingdom is known as Ngi-ngao-kham which is a mythical winged lion dragon.[116][117][118]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b "After 1770 started its period of decline-civil wars and depopulation followed by foreign occupations culminating in the final eclipse of 1826 by its take-over by the British." (Guha 1983:9)
  2. ^ Assam State Museum (1985), Bulletin of the Assam State Museum, Gauhati Issues 5-6, Department of Archaeology and Assam State Museum, p. 104
  3. ^ (Gohain 1974:68)
  4. ^ "(T)he Ahom system was in reality both 'monarchical' and 'aristocratical' as Captain Welsh pointed out long ago" (Sarkar 1992:3)
  5. ^ Sarkar (1992, pp. 6–7)
  6. ^ (Hazarika 1987:1)
  7. ^ "It is suggested that the actual population of the Ahom territories up to the Manas ranged from two to three millions over one-and-a-half century ending 1750." (Guha 1978:26–30)
  8. ^ a b (Dutt 1958:464)
  9. ^ Nitul Kumar Gogoi (2006). Continuity and Change Among the Ahom. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 65–. ISBN 978-81-8069-281-9.
  10. ^ "The Chutiya power began to decline with the beginning of the 16th century. Taking advantage of an anarchical condition in the Chutia kingdom under the rule of inefficient Dhirnarayan (c1504–1523), the Ahom King Suhungmung or Dihingia Raja (1497-1539) annexed the kingdom in 1523"(Dutta 1985:29)
  11. ^ "The Ahoms were never numerically dominant in the state they built and, at the time of 1872 and 1881 censuses, they formed hardly one-tenth of the populations relevant to the erstwhile Ahom territory (i.e, by and large, the Brahmaputra Valley without the Goalpara district.)" (Guha 1983:9)
  12. ^ (Saikia 2004:140–141) By emphasizing the fluidity of this identity, the swargadeos controlled and directed the continuous movement within and beyond this group which, in turn, never allowed for developing any sense of loyalty to or cohesiveness of the group. Ahom was not an identity to die for in precolonial Assam; in fact, nobody could ever claim ownership of this label because it was left to the discretion of the swargodeo to award or demote a person to and from this status
  13. ^ a b "Tributes seem to have flowed to their original state in Upper Burma from Mungdungshunkham and probably the covert colonialism ended in 1401 when the boundary between Mungdungshunkham and the Nara kingdom was finally fixed at the Patkai hills. There is reason to believe that the name Mungdunshunkham is closely associated with this covert colonialism of the time and it automatically disappeared when Mungdunshunkham became Asom after their new name Ahom.(Buragohain 1988:54–55)
  14. ^ "In his letter, the Mong Kwang ruler requested Kamaleswarsingha (1795-1811) for help against the king of Burma who had invaded his territory. Referring to the close tie existing between the two kingdoms, the Mong Kwang ruler hoped for positive response from the Ahom king to repel the Burmese invaders"(Phukan 1991:892)
  15. ^ (Gogoi 2002, p. 25)
  16. ^ (Buragohain 2013:84)
  17. ^ "The Tais under Sukapha left Mong Mao in A.D. 1215 and not Mong Mit in 1227 as suggested by some scholars. There were at least five mong (state or dependencies) chiefs who joined Sukapha with their contingents. Some of them came with their families, and the total strength is computed as 9,000." (Phukan 1992, p. 51)
  18. ^ "See AB, p44; DAB, p6; the Purani Asam Buranji (ed), H.C.Goswami, Guwahati, 1977, p10; ABHB, p11; ABS, p9; ABSM, pp3,5; SAB, p45. From the variation in the numbers it appears that the number of the followers who accompanied Sukapha from Mao-Lung, gradually increased on the way when additional groups joined the march." (Gogoi 2002:33f)
  19. ^ "The political heritage of ancient Kamarupa had not left Upper Assam totally untouched. After its eclipse, though the south-eastern part of Upper Assam had lapsed into retarded conditions, the fragmented political structures incorporating that tradition still loomed large in the form of petty chiefdoms (bhuyan-raj) in the vicinity. It was under such circumstances that the Ahoms started building a state system of their own in the easternmost extremity of the Brahmaputra Valley." (Guha 1983:10)
  20. ^ "Sukapha came not as a raiding conqueror but as the head of an agricultural folk in search of land. It appears he did not encroach upon the lands of the local peasants, rather he opened up new areas of settlement, procuring with shrewd diplomacy what he direly needed for the purpose---the service of the local inhabitants." (Baruah 1986:222)
  21. ^ "Pre-Ahom Upper Assam was an undulating alluvial plain, fu]l of jungles and marshes under the given conditions of a heavy rainfall. Land reclamation was therefore the first task. ... They uprooted the forests and reduced the undulating surface to a dead level so that the plain water, or water led from the bunded hill streams, could remain standing on it, when required. Over the centuries, they built and maintained a network of embankments for overall water control." (Guha 1983:25)
  22. ^ Guha (1983, pp. 10–12)
  23. ^ Baruah (1986, pp. 223–224)
  24. ^ (Buragohain 1988:4)
  25. ^ "Gadadhar Singha lent towards Saktism and persecuted the Vaishnava Mahantas and Gosains, His son Rudra Singha in the later part of his rule became an open supporter of faith and from his death onward that faith became the creed of the Ahom monarchs" (Baruah 1986:406)
  26. ^ a b "(Phuleshwari Bor-Raja) summoned the Sudra Mahantas to the Durga Puja held in a Sakta shrine and compelled them to bow their heads before the goddess and have their foreheads besmeared with the blood of sacrificed animals and made them accept nirmali and prasad. More than others, 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 an opportune moment. The subsequent history of Assam is essentially a history of the Moamariya rebellion, which was the most important factor causing the downfall of the Ahom monarchy." (Baruah 1986:295)
  27. ^ "For years the community went on moving from place to place as a self-governed body of armed peasants in search of a suitable site. In course of their journey they left behind some small colonies at strategic places like Khamjang and Tipam. But after their temporary experimental stays at several sites, the main body finally settled by 1253 in the fertile Dikhou valley, now forming the Sibsagar district." (Guha 1983:12)
  28. ^ Charaideo in the Sanskritised version of the Ahom name Che-Tam-Doi. (Phukan 1992:53)
  29. ^ a b Guha (1983, p. 13)
  30. ^ "(Wade) had then seen the Ahom political system functioning in its worst days. He found "the civil constitution of the kingdom partly Monarchical partly Aristocratical exhibiting a system highly artificial, regular and novel, however defective in other respects"." (Guha 1983:7)
  31. ^ "(Sukapha) ordered his chroniclers to keep record of all events. This was the glorious beginning of the history-writing in Assam—a precious contribution to Indian historiography." (Baruah 1986:222)
  32. ^ "Another characteristic was that the Ahom-rule like its contemporary the Mughal was literally a kaghazi raj. The rulers governed their kingdom not merely on oral directions but written orders and decisions that were recorded and preserved in their archives." (Sarkar 1992:2)
  33. ^ "The Ahoms thus believed that they were divinely ordained, firstly, to extend their permanent wet rice culture to areas dominated by large-scale fallowing and shifting cultivation and, secondly, to absorb stateless shifting cultivators into a common polity with themselves. These two aspects of the Ahom thrust in Upper Assam determined, bye and large, the course of the medieval state-formation process there." (Guha 1983:12)
  34. ^ "Non-Ahom tribes practising shifting cultivation were contemptuously described by the Ahoms as Kha people (meaning 'slave" or 'culttlrally inferior foreigner'). These non-Ahoms were, however, always free to adopt the latter's Tai culture, the very essence of which, in the words of the German anthropologist Von Eickstedt, was "association with wet rice cultivation". Besides, there is evidence in the chronicles that many Kha families were ceremonially adopted into various Ahom clans." (Guha 1983:12)
  35. ^ "The Marans and the Barahis who dwelt in the region between Dikhau and the Dichang rivers were the first groups of tribal people who Sukapha won over to this side by a policy of peace and conciliation. Those among them who challenged Sukapha were ruthlessly killed. (Baruah 1986:222)
  36. ^ "(In Upper Assam), the Ahoms assimilated some of their Naga, Moran and Barahi neighbours and later, also large sections of the Chutiya and Kachari tribes. This Ahomisation process went on until the expanded Ahom society itself began to be Hinduised from the mid-16th century onward." (Guha 1983:12)
  37. ^ "After two years' stay at Song-Tak Sukapha turned back and came to Simaluguri (Tun Nyeu). Here he learned through spies of heavy concentration of population on the Namdang (Nam Deng, "red river") and considered it not worthwhile to make any attept (sic) to reduce them to submission." (Phukan 1992:53)
  38. ^ (Phukan 1992:54)
  39. ^ "Sukapha and his men called their small kingdom Mung-dun-sun-kham, meaning a country full of golden gardens—gardens that they kept smiling through their own toil." (Baruah 1986:223)
  40. ^ "Buranjis refer that Sukapha on his way to Charaideo came across a large concentration of Kachari population on the Namdang, a tributary of the Dikhow, which he tactfully avoided. 'Let us face the Borahis and the Morans first, and the Kacharis afterwards. Any combination of the former two with the latter will not be to our advantage.'" (Phukan 1992:56)
  41. ^ (Phukan 1992:56–57)
  42. ^ Baruah (1986, p. 224)
  43. ^ "The regicide of 1389, the long interregnum that followed it and the revolts of the three subordinate Ahom chiefs of Mung Khamjang, Mung Aiton and Mung Tipam all these events that took place towards the end of the 14th century were signs of growing social contradictions." (Guha 1983:18)
  44. ^ "Meanwhile Taokhamthi was dethroned and assassinated in 1389. As he died without leaving an heir to succeed him, the ministers took charge of the kingdom and started searching out a prince to be the king, because according to the Ahom right of kingship, only the direct descendants Sukapha on the male line were eligible to sit on the throne. On receiving the information that there was a son of the deceased king born mysteriously in the house of a Brahman, the ministers sought him out and made him the king." (Baruah 1986:225)
  45. ^ "During 1397–1407, for instance, even a group of Brahmins were invited to come over to settle down and help in royal affairs. Nevertheless, for another hundred years or so the Brahmanical influence at the royal court remained negligible, with little change beyond the superficial level in the traditional clan-based socio-political institution." (Guha 1983:28)
  46. ^ Guha (1983, pp. 18–19)
  47. ^ "In the reign of Sudangpha Bamuni Konwar (1397–1407), who was elected king at the age of 15, revolts were suppressed, and the boundary between the Ahom and the Nara (Mogaung) territories was, for the first time, firmly delimited." (Guha 1983:18)
  48. ^ "Ahoms also gave Assam and its language their name (Ahom and the modern ɒχɒm 'Assam' come from an attested earlier form asam, acam, probably from a Burmese corruption of the word Shan/Shyam, cf. Siam: Kakati 1962; 1–4)." (Masica 1993, p. 50)
  49. ^ "(Sudangphaa) was the first Ahom king to perform his coronation ceremony, which was called Singari-ghar-utha, as the coronation hall had to be made of Singari wood. The ceremony was performed according to the Ahom rites but it is possible that his Brahmana foster-father blessed him with Vedic mantras when the king assumed the Hindu titles of Maharaja and Rajrajeswar Chakraborty."(Baruah 1986:226)
  50. ^ "his setting up of a Habung Brahmins' colony near his capital and his giving posts of importance to his Brahmin benefactor's sons on the frontier - all these were significant. He was also instrumental in introducing several Hindu rites at royal ceremonies like the coronation. With this Brahmin intrusion, the political authority remained no longer exactly identical with the armed Ahom populace in its totality or the tribal council representing it. There was a cleavage. This brought the highly developed social organisation to the threshold of statehood. We still hesitate to call it a state per se. For it took a long time for the polity to totally subordinate the primordial clan loyalties to the overall public authority and thus qualify itself for full-fledged statehood. Yet, by the end of the 14th century it was no longer a pristine polity, but something more than that - a state-like organisation." (Guha 1983:19)
  51. ^ "In 1490 during the reign of Suhenphaa (1488-93), there was a conflict with the Dimasa Kacharis, but the Ahoms sued for peace by offering a princess to the Kachari king." (Baruah 1986:227)
  52. ^ "During this period, Hinduism gained further grounds...This act of Susenphaa (1439-88)] gained him the goodwill of the Aryanised Mongoloid tribes of the region, who helped him in his subsequent conquest of Habung and Panbari." Baruah (1986, p. 227)
  53. ^ "The years 1497–1539---when the polity leaped into statehood has seen taken as the convenient watershed." (Guha 1983:27)
  54. ^ "Yet another important event of his reign was the carrying out of a state-wise census (piyal) of the adult male population in 1510. A survey of clans and crafts was also made to specify the nature of their respective militia duties." (Guha 1983:21)
  55. ^ (Baruah 1986:227)
  56. ^ "He first annexed Habung in 1512... Since then resettled Bhuyan chiefs and their relations began to be absorbed as scribes and warriors in the lower echelons of the growing state machinery." (Guha 1983:19)
  57. ^ "Further, as a result of the annexation of the Chutia kingdom, many families of Brahmanas, Kayasthas, Kalitas, Daivajnas etc. and a large number of artisans viz. bell-metal workers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, oil-pressers, gardeners, washermen, and weavers were transferred to the Ahom capital" (Baruah 1986:230)
  58. ^ "The victorious Ahom army pursued the retreating Muslim soldiers as far as the Karatoya." (Baruah 1986:233)
  59. ^ a b (Baruah 1986:231)
  60. ^ "By 1539, the Ahom territory became at least twice as big as what it was in size around 1407." (Guha 1983:19)
  61. ^ "By 1539, the Ahom territory became at least twice as big as what it was in size around 1407. More importantly its Assamese-speaking Hindu subjects were now more numerous than the Ahoms themselves." (Guha 1983:19)
  62. ^ "This resulted in the availability of a wider range of artisan skills as well as a greater scope for division of labour within the kingdom." (Guha 1983:19)
  63. ^ "The king assumed the Hindu title of Svarga-narayanaa (god of heaven) also came to be addressed as Swarga-deva in Assamese." (Guha 1983:19)
  64. ^ "Yet another fact to note is that all Ahoms, irrespective of their royal or ordinary descent, remained free of any kind of Rajputisation process" (Guha 1983:0)
  65. ^ "Suhumgmung Dihingiya Raja made also a big departure from tradition by raising the number of his chief counsellors from two to three and giving the third and new counsellor the same Gohain status. This he did even in the face of stiff opposition from the other two. It appears that the novel designation of Barpatragohain was borrowed from the civil list of Habung where the local ruler, a dependent of the Chutiya king, had the title of Vrhat-Patra." (Guha 1983:20)
  66. ^ "The king succeeded in tilting the constitutional balance in his favour, partly because of the long felt need for an expanded administration, but largely because his position had meanwhile been strengthened by a number of war victories." (Guha 1983:21)
  67. ^ "The whole Chutiya territory was then annexed to the Ahom kingdom and an officer called Sadiya-khowa Gohain was appointed to administer it. The first incumbent to this office was Phrasenmung." (Baruah 1986:229)
  68. ^ "In an attempt to appease the aggrieved Gohains, two new offilces of frontier governors were created to be always exclusively held by members of their lineages." (Guha 1983:21)
  69. ^ "Suhumrnung intle-duced the Saka era in place of the old system of calculating dates by the sixty-year Jovian cycles. According to some chroniclers, he also started striking coins to mark the coronation. The hereditary nobles (Chao) were now allying themselves with the Brahmin literati with a view to forming an expanded ruling class." (Guha 1983:20–21)
  70. ^ Tom Kham was the son of Phrasengmong Borgohain and Mula Gabhoru, both warriors who were killed in battles against Turbak.
  71. ^ "The Ahom expeditionary force, led by General Ton Kham and aided by General Kan Seng and General Kham Peng, pursued the retreating enemies across Muslim domains of Kamarupa and Kamata receiving little resistance in them and reached Karatoya, the eastern boundary of Gaur proper, where the victors washed their swords."(Gogoi 1968, p. 302)
  72. ^ :The Ahom statesmen and chroniclers wishfully looked forward to the Karatoya as their natural western frontier. They also looked upon themselves as the heirs of the glory that was ancient Kamarupa by right of conquest, and they long cherished infructuous their unfulfilled hopes of expanding up to that frontier." (Guha 1983:24), and notes.
  73. ^ a b "Again during the period from 1603 to 1648, the militia system was thoroughly reformed with a view to confronting the Mughal invasion. The state became more centralised in that process. Two new offices-- those of the Barphukan and the Barbarua were created, thus raising the number of Patra-Mantris to five. (The Barphukan was in charge the territories wrested from the Koches and the Mughals, posted as the viceroy in that region. The Barbarua functioned at the capital as the chief secretary to the royal government)." (Guha 1983:9)
  74. ^ "The reforms of 1609 gave a final touch to the organisation of the militia system. For the rota, the amorphous household remained no more the basic unit of paik supply, but was now replaced by an artificial unit, the got. It consisted of three to four militiamen, living close to one another. Twenty such gots were placed under a headman-the Bora. ... We may only add here that the militia became highly centralised. Even the lowest units (gots) could now be often transferred from their original khel to another. Slate paiks who could be permanently alienated to favoured persons, were now alienated in large numbers even to temples and monasteries by way of royal grants." (Guha 1983:23)
  75. ^ "From the reign of Susengpha Pratap Simha (1603-41), Ahom diplomats were almost totally replaced by Brahmins in the diplomatic missions sent abroad. This was done with a view to making diplomacy more efficient." (Guha 1983:21)
  76. ^ "The Ahom kings also began to assume Hindu names in addition to their Tai patronymics It was from the days of Pratap Simha again, that they started patronising Hindu temples with land grants. Their formal conversion to Hinduism did not however take place before 1648 and the new attachment became stable only towards the end of the century." (Guha 1983:21–22)
  77. ^ "Incidentally, literate Ahoms retained the Tai language and script well until the end of the 17th century. In that century of Ahom-Mughal conflicts, this language first coexisted with and then was progressively replaced by Assamese (Asamiya) at and outside the Court. After a phase of bilingualism, it finally died a natural death in Assam." (Guha 1983:9)
  78. ^ "(Rudra Singha) accepted a Muslim named Shah Newaj as a priest in the court, who used to pray for the prosperity of the kingdom in Islamic form. This custom introduced by him was followed by his successors." (Baruah 1978, p. 577)
  79. ^ (Baruah 1986:317)
  80. ^ "It is said that on the advice of his priests he performed laksha homas end offered joksha, valis at Kamakhya to ward off the evils of chatra-bhanga-yoga. He also fed numerous Brahmins and gave them precious presents, All these cost so much that the royal treasury was nearly exhausted–BVR, II."(Gogoi 1968:794)
  81. ^ "Barpatra Gohain, Bar Gohain and Naobochia Phukan had made an attempt to enthrone Tipam Raja, son of Siva Singha, with the help of a band of attendants and servitors of the royal household, but somehow this situation was handled by the Burhagohain and Borbaura"(Gogoi 1968:799)
  82. ^ "Numali Borgohain wrote a chronicle entitled Chakari–pheti Buranji, where he made some aspersions regarding the origin of Barbaura. After having obtained King's permission Kirti Chandra collected all the Buranjis in the houses of nobles and officers for examination and burnt away all those which contained the incorrect statement" (Baruah 1986:299)
  83. ^ (Gogoi 1968:793–811)
  84. ^ Guha, The Decline of the Ahom kingdom of Assam: 1765–1826. p. 2.
  85. ^ Comprehensive history of Assam, SL Baruah. p. 442.
  86. ^ N.G Rodhes and S.K. Bose, 'The coinage of Assam' Vol ll, 2004. pp. 9–10.
  87. ^ Kalsi, Sukhwinder (2005). "Coinage and Currency of the Ahoms and Jaintiapur: Some Reflections on Trade". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 66: 479. JSTOR 44145865.
  88. ^ Baruah, S. L. (1993), Last Days of Ahom Monarchy, New Delhi. p. 32.
  89. ^ Baruah, S. L. (1993), Last Days of Ahom Monarchy, New Delhi. p. 32.
  90. ^ (Gogoi 2002:94)
  91. ^ (Gogoi 2002:95)
  92. ^ (Guha 1978:27–30)
  93. ^ (Bhuyan 1949:1)
  94. ^ Naoboicha Phukanar Buranji
  95. ^ (Chaudhury 1997:102)
  96. ^ Guha (1978), p. 31.
  97. ^ (Gogoi 2002:42)
  98. ^ Thao-mung mungteu(Bhatialia Gohain) was made Chao-sheng-lung(Borpatrogohain in Lakni Rungrao 1527.(p.61.)
  99. ^ a b "Most of the Borbaruas were selected from Moran, Kachari, Chiring and Khamti families. The office of the Governor general, lower Assam, was appointed from a Chutiya family." (Gogoi 2006:9)
  100. ^ (Gogoi 2002:43)
  101. ^ (Gogoi 2002:43)
  102. ^ a b (Gogoi 2002:44)
  103. ^ "These were but petty chieftainships or petty duchies like that of the west. Some of them known as Raja puwali(petty Rajas) when elevated to such a status." (Burhagohain 1988:169)
  104. ^ "Jay Singh the Manipuri King who expressed his gratitude to the Ahom king after he regained his kingdom and said to the messenger sent by the Ahom king to inspect - I have regained my dominion through your king's favor. I cannot forget him as long as I live, I shall remain faithful to him and send annual tributes without failure. I wish to offer my daughter to your king and intend to send her with you..."(Gogoi 1968:806)
  105. ^ (Burhagohain 1988:168–69)
  106. ^ a b (Sen 1979:553)
  107. ^ (Gogoi 2002:104)
  108. ^ a b c d Acharyya, Nagendra Nath (1 June 1957). The History of Mediaeval Assam, 1228–1603 (PDF) (PhD). The School of Oriental and African Studies London. p. 115. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  109. ^ Mohan, Dipankar (October 2017). A Study into the Ahom System of Government during Medieval Assam (PDF) (MPhil). Dept. of Bengali, Karimganj College, Karimganj, Assam, India. p. 91. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  110. ^ Baruah, Comprehensive History of Assam. p. 400.
  111. ^ "...a number of oracles were included in the Bailung group. Thus there were the Naga-Bailung, Miri-Bailung and Nara Bailung"(Gogoi 2006:9)
  112. ^ Comprehensive history of Assam, SL Baruah. p. 429.
  113. ^ Biswas, S.S, Sibsagar.
  114. ^ Biswas, S. S, Sibsagar. pp. 77–8.
  115. ^ (Baruah 1986:424)
  116. ^ Sircar, D.C. (1988), Studies in Ancient Indian History, Sundeep Prakashan, ISBN 9788185067100
  117. ^ Terwiel, B. J. (1996), "Recreating the Past: Revivalism in Northeastern India", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 152 (2), JSTOR: 275–292, JSTOR 27864746
  118. ^ Assam State Museum (1985), Bulletin of the Assam State Museum, Gauhati Issues 5-6, Department of Archaeology and Assam State Museum, p. 104

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