History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 2014: Q.5 (d)

History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 2014: Q.5 (d)

Q.5 (d) Give a brief account of resistance offered by Ahom State against the Mughal rule.


In the early 13th century, there existed two kingdoms in the north east region of India: Kamrupa, with its capital Pragyajyotishpura (Modern Guwahati) and the Ahom kingdom, further of the north-east.

Ahom – Mughal conflicts refer to the period between the first Mughal attack on the Ahom kingdom in 1615 and the final Battle of Itakhuli in 1682.

Why Mughals invaded Ahom

Mughals invaded for:

(1) Territorial expansion
(2) Rich natural resouces
(3) Elephants
(4) Aromatic plants
(5) Interference in Kamrupa by Ahom against Mughal

During Jahangir

In the 17th century, the Ahom kingdom came in the direct contact with the Mughals. The period witnessed conquest of Kamrup under Jahangir in 1612. Since the Ahom rulers had helped Kamrup during the war, Jahangir invaded the Ahom kingdom in 1615 but could not get much success due to difficult terrain.

During Shahjahan

Shahjahan continued the war against the Ahom kingdom during 1636-39 and finally imposed a treaty which fixed Bud-Nadi (Brahmputra) as the boundary between the Mughals and Ahoms. Ahoms also accepted Mughal accession of Kamrupa. Trade between two kingdoms was also fascilitated.
Since 1648, Ahom ruler Jayadhwaj sacked Decca and expelled Mughals from Guwahati taking advantage of illness of Shahjahan.

During Aurangzeb

During war of succession (1656-58) in Mughal kingdom, the Ahom ruler Pran Narayan seized Kamrup from Mughals. Aurangzeb retaliated by appointing Mir Jumla in the area to recover the lost territories and also to capture Shuja (Aurangzeb’ brother) who had fled from Bengal towards the Arakan.

Mir Jumla launched a major campaign in 1661. He used 50,000 soldiers and 300 ships together with powerful artillery. He occupied Kooch Behar and advanced into Kamrup upto as far as modoern Guwahati. He occupied important forts of the area and mounted pressure on the Ahom ruler Jayadhwaj. The easy success of Mir Jumla was due to dissatisfaction in the Assam camp.

Finally Jayadhwaj agreed to a treaty in 1663 under which he accepted Mughal suzerainty, surrendered some territory, paid a heavy indemnity and surrendered one of his daughter as a hostage at the Mughal court.

But the success was shortlived. The death of Mir Jumla that occured soon after the treaty, weakened the Mughal position and Jayadhwaj soon recovred his lost areas.

Battle of Saraighat

In December 1667, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, after receiving the information of the capture of Guwahati by the Ahoms, dispatched a strong army to solve the problem once for all. He commissioned Raja Ramsingh I of Amber, son of the Mirza-Raja Jai Singh I, to lead an invasion of Ahom.

The Battle of Saraighat was a naval battle, fought in 1671 between the Mughals (led by the Raja Ramsingh I), and the Ahom (led by Lachit Borphukan, the commander-in-chief of the Ahom) on the Brahmaputra river at Saraighat. This was last major  battle between Ahoms and Mughals.
Although much weaker, the Ahom Army defeated the Mughal Army by brilliant uses of the terrain, clever diplomatic negotiations to buy time, guerrilla tactics, and by exploiting the sole weakness of the Mughal forces –its navy. It was the most decisive victory of Ahom.
Though the Mughals managed to regain Guwahati briefly later on, the Ahoms wrested control in the Battle of Itakhuli in 1682 and maintained it till the end of their rule. It ended Mughal control in Kamrup for ever

Mughal could not hold north east due to:

(1) Difficult Terrain
(2) Lack of proper awareness of the topographical conditions of north east.

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