Chaolung Sukapha

Context

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered the state police to arrest Kolkata-based political commentator Garga Chatterjee for making allegedly derogatory remarks by calling the founder of the medieval Ahom dynasty a Chinese invader.

About

  • Sukapha was a 13th-century ruler who founded the Ahom kingdom that ruled Assam for six centuries. Contemporary scholars trace his roots to Burma.
  • He reached Brahmaputra valley in Assam from upper Burma with around 9,000 followers.
  • In his authoritative book on Assam history — A History of Assam, Sir Edward Gait wrote that Sukapha is said to have left a place called Maulung in AD 1215 with eight nobles and 9,000 men, women and children — mostly men. He had with him two elephants, and 300 horses.
  • Gait wrote that in 1235, Sukapha and his people settled in Charaideo in upper Assam after wandering about for years, defeating those who protested his advance, and temporarily staying at different locations.
  • It was in Charaideo that Sukapha established his first small principality, sowing the seeds of further expansion of the Ahom kingdom.
  • Assam celebrates “Asom Divas” to commemorate Sukapha and his rule, on December 2 every year.

Learning about Ahoms

  • Historically, they are believed to be from beyond the Patkai mountains , with their forefathers forming group of states in and around Yunnan province and Upper Burma.
  • The name ‘Assam’ comes from the word ‘Asama’ or invincible which is a local name for the Ahoms.
  • The Ahom kingdom in the Brahmaputra valley included most of the present day Assam.
  • They rules for 600 years between 13th and 19th century CE, before being ousted by Britishers in 1826.
  • Located around 400 kms from Assam’s capital Guwahati, is the town of Charaideo. This was the first capital of the Ahom dynasty.

What’s the matter?

  • Garga Chatterjee, who describes himself as a Bengali nationalist and federalist, indirectly targeted Ahom community as well as greater Assamese society with blatant accusation of being Chinese invaders
  • Chatterjee made the comments after tensions surged between India and China after a violent face-off.
    • Twenty Indian soldiers were martyred in the violent face-off at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
    • This was the first instance of casualties on the Line of Actual Control since 1975.

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