New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the presence of Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Wednesday inaugurated the 3-day celebrations of the 400th birth anniversary of the 17th century Ahom Army General Lachit Barphukan at Vigyan Bhawan organised centrally in New Delhi today.Speaking at the event, Union Minister Sitharaman congratulated Chief Minister Dr Sarma for making a comprehensive attempt for the first time to make the rest of the country aware of a personality as towering as Lachit Barphukan. Referring to Lachit as a “total patriot”, she said it is essential for every Indian to know about his indomitable display of bravery and courage, along with strategy, on the battlefield.
The Union Finance, appealing to the Government of Assam to organise similar events highlighting the Ahom era in various parts of the country, said that she would request the Union Ministry of Culture to cooperate with the State government in this regard. Union Minister Sitharaman also cut the ribbon to mark the inauguration of an exhibition displaying artefacts starting from the reigns of Kumar Bhaskar Varman. Appreciating the tradition of writing chronicles, called “buranjis”, and the architectural uniqueness found in the “moidams” of Charaideo, she requested the Government of Assam to take all necessary measures for the preservation and protection of this cultural heritage.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, paying rich tributes to the great Ahom army general, said that the saga of courage, patriotism and sacrifice displayed by Lachit Barphukan is undoubtedly one of the most glorious chapters of Indian history. Lachit’s leadership and generalship in the battle of Saraighat of 1671 ensured the continuation of Ahom rule, which in turn led to the preservation of indigenous Assamese identity and culture, the Chief Minister stated. Had the Ahoms succumbed to the invading Mughals, the unique cultural identity of not only Assam but of entire Southeast Asia would have been different. It is, therefore, important that Lachit Barphukan is accorded his due place in history in the manner other great warriors and monarchs of ancient and mediaeval periods have been accorded.
The Chief Minister also lauded the Ahom rule for providing political stability and unity to Assam for the first time, that too in a period when instability and destruction of indigenous Indian cultural identity by the Islamic invaders had become the norm in other parts of the Indian subcontinent. Despite such a glorious saga, however, the Ahom rule and generalship of commanders such as Lachit Barphukan have not been discussed, written or researched upon by prominent historians, the Chief Minister said. He also expressed hope that the initiatives such as these would go a long way in reversing this trend. The Chief Minister further said that the initiative to organise Lachit’s birth anniversary in the national capital centrally would make the people of India realise that “India had better kings and monarchs than Aurangzeb.”
The Chief Minister also spoke about measures such as the upcoming grand memorial at the Maidam of Lachit Barphukan in Jorhat district installation of a statue of the great Ahom general at the premises of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, among others. Chief Minister Dr Sarma also expressed his gratitude to Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman for gracing the inaugural ceremony of the 3-day event with her presence. Referring to her as a well-wisher of the people of Assam, the Chief Minister said her company. The scheduled presence of the Union Home Minister tomorrow and that of the Prime Minister day after tomorrow are manifestations of the importance the current dispensation at the Centre attaches towards the overall uplift of the Northeastern region.
Later in the day, a panel discussion on the subject “Ahom saga of hope, skills and courage”, moderated by former Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua and participated by eminent personalities such as Lt. General Rana PratapKalita, Former Director General of Police Prakash Singh, Kapil Kapoor, Samundragupta Kashyap, Kuldeep Patowary and Chandan Kumar Sarma, was held at the same venue.