Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Assam CM HImanta Biswa Sarma during the inaugural session of the Lachit Barphukan's 400th birth anniversary celebrations in New Delhi

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in presence of Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, inaugurated the 3-day celebrations of the 400th birth anniversary of the 17th-century Ahom army general Lachit Barphukan at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on November 23.

Sitharaman congratulated the chief minister for making a comprehensive attempt 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 crucial for every Indian to know about his indomitable display of valour and courage, along with strategy, in the battlefield.

The union finance, making an appeal to the Assam government 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.

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 as is found in the ‘moidams’ of Charaideo, she requested the Assam government to take all necessary measures for the preservation and protection of this cultural heritage.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, 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. It was Lachit’s leadership and war tactics in the battle of Saraighat of 1671 that ensured the continuation of Ahom rule, which in turn led to the preservation of indigenous Assamese identity and culture, the CM stated.

“Had the Ahoms succumbed to the invading Mughals, the unique cultural identity of not only Assam but that 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 the ancient and mediaeval periods have been accorded,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said in his speech.

The CM 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.

Lachit Barphukan
Union finance minster Nirmala Sitharaman at an exhibition which is a part of the celebrations in New Delhi

The CM further said that the initiative to centrally organize Lachit’s birth anniversary in the national capital would make the people of India realize 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, the installation of a statue of the great Ahom general at the premises of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, among others.

Himanta Biswa Sarma also expressed his gratitude to union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman for gracing the inaugural ceremony of the 3-day event.

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