Call it a historical blunder or another foot-in-mouth moment, prime minister Narendra Modi has now termed 17th century commander of the Ahom Dynasty, Lachit Borphukan, as an Indian freedom fighter.
Speaking on the occasion of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ on March 12, Modi said that “freedom fighters from Assam and Northeast like Gomdhar Konwar, Lachit Borphukan and Serat Sing have contributed to the independence of the country”.
Lachit Borphukan was a 17th century commander of the Ahom Dynasty, known for his heroic leadership during the Battle of Saraighat in 1671 which was fought against the Mughals. The great Ahom leader died on April 25, 1672 – much before the first war of Indian independence was fought.
PM Modi’s statement has not gone down well with several critics. “This exposes the hollowness of Modi’s affection towards Assam and the Northeast. He does not even care to read basic history before making such absurd remarks. This is an insult to our region,” said Ratul Gogoi, a resident of Sivasagar in Assam.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 12, 2021
Opposition demands apology from PM Modi
The Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) has demanded an apology from prime minister Narendra Modi for his remarks on Lachit Borphukan.
In a statement issued to the media on March 13, AJP general secretary Jagadish Bhuyan said: “We are surprised at prime minister Narendra Modi terming Veer Lachit Borphukan as an ‘Indian freedom fighter who had fought against the British’. Is this ignorance of the Prime Minister or his ploy to get political mileage in poll-bound Assam? Anyway, it is a threat to Assam history. We want to remind the prime minister that for over 600 years from 1228-1826 Assam was a sovereign country. Lachit Borphukan is admired by all for his battle defeating the mighty Mughal. It is unfortunate and shameful that the prime minister has made a statement not based on facts on such a personality. The BJP leaders have failed on the front of the veers and veeranganas of Assam.”
Opposition Congress also slammed the prime minister for his speech. “It is shameful that the PM who tries to gain political mileage by wearing the Assamese gamosa does not even know Assam’s history. He seems to be just speaking the lines written on the teleprompter,” Assam Congress spokesperson Rituparna Konwar said.