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Suhungmung
Chaopha Swarganarayana Of Ahom Kingdom
Serpent pillar, containing the first inscription of Swarganarayan Suhunmung
Ahom King
Reign1497 CE to 1539 CE
PredecessorSupimphaa
SuccessorSuklenmung
Issue
Names
Dihingia Roja Suhungmung
DynastyAhom dynasty
FatherSupimphaa
ReligionAhom religion

Suhungmung (r. 1497–1539), or Dihingia Roja I was one of the most prominent Ahom Kings who ruled at the cusp of Assam's medieval history. His reign broke from the early Ahom rule and established a multi-ethnic polity in his kingdom. Under him the Ahom Kingdom expanded greatly for the first time since Sukaphaa, at the cost of the Chutia and the Dimasa kingdoms. He also successfully defended his kingdom against Muslim invasions, first by a general called Bar Ujjir and another by Turbak Khan. During his time, the Khen dynasty collapsed and the Koch dynasty ascended in the Kamata kingdom. His general, Ton-kham, pursued the Muslims up to the Karatoya river,[1] the western boundary of the erstwhile Kamarupa Kingdom, the farthest west an Ahom military force had ventured in its entire six hundred years of rule.

He was the first Ahom king to adopt a Hindu title, Swarganarayana, indicating a move towards an inclusive polity; and Ahom kings came to be known as the Swargadeo (literal meaning: Lord of the Heavens) which is the Assamese translation of Ahom word Chao-Pha. He is also called the Dihingia Raja, because he made Bakata on the Dihing River his capital.[2] Suhungmung was the last progenitor Ahom king (all subsequent kings were his descendants).

Expansion

Under Suhungmung the Ahom Kingdom acquired a vision of an extended polity and consolidated rule. He began by suppressing the revolt of the Aitonia Nagas in 1504 and making them accept Ahom overlordship.[3][better source needed] As he embarked on military expeditions he organized the first recorded survey of the adult population in 1510 to consolidate and reorganize the militia.[4] He annexed Habung, a Chutia dependency in 1512 and later in 1523-24, the rest of the Chutia Kingdom.[5]

Against Chutia Kingdom

As Suhungmung had annexed Panbari of Habung (previously a Chutia principality)[6][7] in 1512, the Chutia king Dhirnarayan attacked the Ahoms at Dikhoumukh the next year, but was unsuccessful. The Chutias again attacked the Ahoms in 1520 and occupied the areas up to Namdang and Mungkhrang. In 1522, the Ahoms fought back, re-occupied their lost territories and erected a fort at Dibrumukh (Dibrugarh). Although, Nitipal tried to attack the fort the following year, he was unsuccessful. Suhungmung then extended the Ahom Kingdom to the mouth of the Tiphao River, where a new fort was constructed. The Chutias fortified Sadiya but they were soon defeated. The Chutias were pursued further and their king and prince were killed in battle. Upon annexing the Chutia territories, the Ahoms came in contact with hill tribes like Miris, Abors, Mishmis and Daflas. Suhungmung established the office of the Sadiyakhowa Gohain and gave charge to Phrasengmung Borgohain to look after the newly acquired Sadiya region. The rest of the newly acquired territories were divided among the Buragohain and Borgohain, while new offices were created to administer the country more efficiently. These included Thao-mung Mung-teu (Bhatialia Gohain)[8] was made the first with headquarters at Habung (Lakhimpur), Thao-mung Ban-lung (Banlungia Gohain) at Banlung (Dhemaji), Thao-mung Mung-klang (Dihingia gohain) at Dihing (Dibrugarh and northern Sibsagar) and Chaolung Shulung at Tiphao (northern Dibrugarh).[9][10] In 1527, a new ministerial position named Borpatrogohain was created and Konsheng was given charge. Though this was not the end of the conflict it brought to an end the first major expansion of the Ahom Kingdom.

Against Kachari Kingdom

In 1526, Suhungmung marched against the Kachari Kingdom. In 1531 Khunkhara, the Kachari king, sent forces under his brother Detcha to drive the Ahoms away from Marangi but the Kachari army was defeated and their commander killed. The Kacharis were pursued up to the capital Dimapur and Khunkhara had to flee. Suhungmung established a Kachari prince, Detsung, as the Kachari king. But Detsung rose in revolt in a few years, and the Ahoms pursued him till Jangmarang where he was killed. The Kachari Kingdom abandoned Dimapur permanently and established their new capital at Maibong. Unlike the Chutia Kingdom, Suhungming did not take direct possession of the Kachari Kingdom.

Muslim invasions

The first Muslim invasion of the Ahom Kingdom occurred in 1527, but it was defeated and pushed back to the Burai River. A few years later, there was another attempt when a commander advanced up the Brahmaputra in fifty vessels. This too was defeated.[11] In yet another expedition, the Borpatragohain slain the commander, Bit Malik, and captured cannons and guns. The most successful among these initial raids on the Ahom Kingdom was the one led by Turbak.

Turbak, a Gaur commander, advanced against the Ahom Kingdom in April 1532 with a large force. He first faced Suklen, Suhungmung's son, at Singri. In this battle Suklen was defeated and wounded and the Ahoms retreated to Sala. The Ahoms again faced reverses at Sala and some other expeditions thereafter, but won the first significant victory in March 1533 when a naval force was defeated with heavy losses to Turbak's forces. This led to a period of stalemate with the two armies encamped on opposite banks of the Dikrai River.

The Ahoms finally attacked the invaders and defeated them in a number of battles. Nang Mula was also martyred in this battle. In the final battle fought near the Bharali River, Turbak and another Muslim general Hussain Khan who had come to reinforce him were killed and his army was pursued till the Karatoya river in present-day North Bengal.[11] The captured soldiers subsequently became the first significant Muslim population of the Ahom Kingdom. They were called Garia since they were from Gaur, and the appellation was later extended to all Muslims. This population finally became well known as expert brass craftsmen.[citation needed]

The Buranjis mention the first use of firearms by the Ahoms in these battles.

Death

Suhunmung met his death in 1539 as a result of a conspiracy hatched by his eldest son Suklenmung who was highly dissatisfied with his father's disgraceful act of marrying the daughter of a Sonari (goldsmith) and making her the Borkonwari (Seniormost Queen). Suhungmung was assassinated by his servant, Ratiman as he was asleep. It is suspected that Suhungmung's son Suklenmung along with Suhungmung's Kachari princess, who became the next king, was responsible for the death.

Descendants

Suhungmung had four sons. The eldest, Suklen, who succeeded him, was established as the Tipam Raja. His second son, Suleng (also spelled Sureng and sometimes called Deoraja), was established as the Charing Raja. Though Suleng himself did not become a king, some of his descendants enjoyed kingship for some time. The third son, Suteng, was established as the Namrupiya Raja, and his descendants established the Tungkhungia line. The fourth son, Sukhring, also called Dop Raja, remained without any estate.[12]

New offices

Suhungmung established new Ahom positions.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "The Ahom army led by Ton-Kham (Chan Kham), the son of general Phra-Sen-Mong, and Prince Suklenmung pursued the invaders across the Muslim dominion of Kamrup and Kamata. The victorious army advanced and quickly reached the Karatoya which formed the western boundary of the kingdom of Kamata." (Phukan 1992:59)
  2. ^ Baruah 1986, p. 227.
  3. ^ Gait, Edward Albert (1906). A history of Assam. Thacker, Spink & co. pp. 83–84. ISBN 1-145-65935-7.
  4. ^ "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. His involvement in frequent warfares and the need, accordingly, for a maximum mobilisation of the paiks warranted this reform. The above census was the first one ever to be mentioned and dated in any chronicle." (Guha 1983:21)
  5. ^ "He first annexed Habung in 1512 and later also the rest of the Hinduised Chutia kingdom" (Guha 1983:19)
  6. ^ Guha, Amalendu,Pre-Ahom Roots and the Medieval State in Assam: A Reply,p. 73, Before its annexation by Ahoms, Habung was a Chutia dependency
  7. ^ A Chutia chief named Vrihat-patra referred to as Habung-adhipati is mentioned in the copper plate of Durlabhnarayan dated to 1428 A.D. Another plate of Dhirnarayan dated 1522 AD was found in the region which indicates that Habung was reclaimed by Chutias in 1520 A.D. during the war of Dihinhmukh
  8. ^ (Barua 1939:58–59)
  9. ^ (Gait 1906:86)
  10. ^ (Barua 1939:59–61)
  11. ^ a b Acharyya, Nagendra Nath (1 June 1957). "The History of Mediaeval Assam, 1228-1603" (PDF). The School of Oriental and African Studies, London: 91. Retrieved 22 September 2022. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ (Gogoi 1968, p. 283)

References