Major Ahom reversal at Alaboi- Guwahati battle

Sep 20, 2021 - 01:10
Sep 20, 2021 - 01:16

One of these battles stood out for a major Ahom reversal. Exasperated with the delaying tactics of the Borphukan, Ram Singh asked for a duel with the Ahom king. He promised to withdraw from Assam with his army if he was defeated.

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Lachit updated Chakradhwaj Singha about this proposal, who rejected the offer on the ground that it was beneath his dignity to duel a mere servant "who has no umbrella over his head" (who is not a "Chhatrapati").

Annoyed with Ram Singh's proposal he ordered Lachit to confront the Mughals militarily. In a battle that was set up as a challenge, a force of 10,000 Mughals under Mir Nawab was to confront a force of 20,000 Ahom cavalries. Ram Singh's "approach was psychological, marked by pride, chivalry and revenge".

The Ahom approach, to cover their basic weaknesses, was based on "diplomacy, deception and misrepresentation". So instead of 20,000, they sent in 40,000 and using an anti-Koch tactic that had worked against Chilarai, they dressed their vanguard archers and musketeers as Brahmans to make the Rajput warriors desist from killing them.

Ram Singh, on the other hand, set a woman, Madanavati, dressed as a man, to command the vanguard to deny the Ahoms any glory in case of a victory. The battle took place in the fields adjoining the Alaboi hills on 5 August 1669.

In the first phase, Madanavati dispersed the first four lines of the Ahom vanguard with ease, but the Borphukan had trenches dug to conceal his other lines. In the second phase, a diversion to cross the Brahmaputra was thwarted, and Madanavati was shot.

The battle turned and in the third phase, Mir Nawab's forces were routed. Enraged at the deception, Ram Singh let loose his veteran horsemen and in the carnage that followed, 10,000 Ahom soldiers were massacred.

Aurangzeb was pleased with these Mughal successes and increased Ram Singh's mansab from 4000 to 5000. Ram Singh was also instructed to invest in Guwahati soon, and if it was not possible, to devastate the land and plunder the people.

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