Joymoti Konwari (Assamese: সতী জয়মতী),
was the wife of Ahom Prince Gadapani. She was accorded the honorific
Soti or Sati on account of her heroic endurance of torture until the
end, dying at the hands of royalists under
Sulikphaa Loraa Roja
without disclosing her exiled husband Prince Gadapani's whereabouts,
thereby enabling her husband to rise in revolt and assume kingship.
(The crucial point being the title was given to a woman who put up a
valiant fight; widows committing Sati was not common in Assam, as it
was in Bengal.) Gadapani's son
Rudra Singha had the Joysagar Tank dug
at the spot where she was tortured. The first Assamese film Joymoti,
directed in 1935 by Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, was based on her life.
2 Background to torture
3 Gadapani becomes king
4 Memorials & monuments
4.1 Joysagar Tank
4.2 Fakuwa Dol
4.3 Soti Joymoti Divas
4.4 Soti Joymoti Award
5 Film and theatre
6 See also
8 External links
Joymoti was the wife of the Ahom Prince Gadapani. During the Purge of
the Princes from 1679 to 1681 under King
Sulikphaa (Loraa Roja),
instigated by Laluksola Borphukan, Gadapani took flight. Over the next
few years, he sought shelter at Sattras (Vaishnav monasteries) and the
adjoining hills outside the Ahom kingdom. Failing to trace Prince
Gadapani, Sulikphaa's soldiers brought his wife Joymoti to Jerenga
Pathar where, despite torture, the princess refused to reveal the
whereabouts of her husband. After continuous physical torture over 14
days, Joymoti died on 13 Choit of 1601 Saka, or 27 March 1680.
Joymoti's self-sacrifice would bear fruit in time: Laluk was murdered
in November 1680 by a disgruntled body of household retainers. The
ministers, now roused to a sense of patriotism, sent out search
parties for Gadapani who, gathering his strength, returned from his
exile in the Naga Hills to oust
Sulikphaa from the throne. Joymoti had
known that her husband was capable of ending Sulikphaa-Laluk's reign
of terror. For her love and her supreme sacrifice for husband and
country, folk accounts refer to her as a Soti.
Background to torture
Six princes sat on the throne between the death of Chakradhwaj Singha
in 1670 and the accession of Gadapani (Gadadhar Singha) in 1681.
Udayaditya Singha was murdered through the machinations of Debera
Borbarua, who then inaugurated a veritable reign of terror, killing
rival princes or mutilating their limbs, doing away with his rivals
and opponents, and dismissing or appointing officers at will. The
veterans of the
Battle of Saraighat
Battle of Saraighat marched up to the capital,
captured and killed Debera, and placed on the throne a prince of their
own selection. The Prime Minister Atan Burhagohain, Rajmantri
Dangaria, by virtue of his foresight and disinterestedness, brought
the situation under control, and was acclaimed in all responsible
quarters as the only saviour of his country. Twice the crown was
offered to him, and twice he refused it.
The growing power of the Premier was, however, not tolerated by
Laluksola Borphukan, the governor of Guwahati, who eventually set upon
the throne a stripling aged fourteen,
Sulikphaa or Loraa Roja
("Boy-King" in Assamese), while he himself essentially ruled under the
newly created office of "Borphukan". Fearing a challenge to his power,
Laluksola Borphukan began a purge of all princes who were eligible for
the Ahom throne.
Gadapani becomes king
Gadapani was formally installed a sovereign in August 1681. Taking on
the Tai name
Supaatphaa and Hindu name
Gadadhar Singha (1681–1696),
he brought peace and prosperity back to the country. The first act of
his reign was the dispatch of an army against Mansur Khan at Guwahati.
After a decisive victory at the famous Itakhulir Rann (Battle of
Itakhuli), the Ahoms recaptured
Guwahati from the Mughals in August
1682. The river Manaha (present-day Manas) became once more the
western boundary of Assam and remained so until the occupation of the
country by the British in the year 1826.
Memorials & monuments
Further information: Joysagar tank
Joymoti and Gadadhar Singha's eldest son Lai succeeded his father. He
took on the Hindu name
Rudra Singha (Sukhrungphaa, 1696–1714). In
honour of the memory of his mother Joymoti,
Rudra Singha built the
Joysagar Tank in 1697 at Sibsagar. It is believed to be the biggest
man-made lake in India, comprising an area covering 318 acres
(1.29 km2) of land, including its four banks, out of which 155
acres (0.63 km2) is filled with fresh water. A 2 km-long
earthen water pipeline once ran from the tank to the Rangpur Palace
(Kareng Ghar), supplying water to the royal palace.
Rudra Singha also built the Fakuwa Dol in 1703–04, a pyramid-shaped
temple constructed before the Rangnath (Shiva) Temple on the banks of
the Joysagar Tank. It is said that Rudra Singha, once again to
perpetuate the memory of his mother Soti Joymoti, constructed the
temple and placed a golden idol of her within it. It was actually a
maidan (grave) of Joymoti. The circumference of the Dol was about
90 ft (27 m), and its height from base to top was 30 ft
(9.1 m). There were eight brick pillars around the temple. The
temple and the pillars are among some of the Ahom ruins that remain in
Assam to this day.
Soti Joymoti Divas
Soti Joymoti Divas, commemoration day of Soti Joymoti, is held
annually in Assam on 27 March.
Soti Joymoti Award
The State Government of Assam has instituted an annual award in the
name of Joymoti, presented to women in recognition of excellence in
their chosen fields of work.
Film and theatre
Joymoti (1935 film)
Joymoti (1935 film) and Joymoti (2006 film)
Screenshot from Joymoti (actress
Aideu Handique as Joymoti)
Joymoti (1935 film)
Joymoti (1935 film) was the first
Assamese language film, directed and
produced by Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. In 2006,
Manju Borah released
another film by the same name. The 19th-century Assamese writer
Lakshminath Bezbaruah depicted her life in the drama Joymoti Kuwori.
Joymoti, first Assamese film produced by Jyoti Prasad Agarwala.
^ a b "Jaymati". Assaminfo.com. Retrieved 7 April
2013. [permanent dead link]
^ "History of Assam: The Medieval Period". Govt. of Assam. Retrieved
18 April 2012.
^ TI Trade (27 March 2008). "The Assam Tribune Online".
Assamtribune.com. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
^ "Joydol Joysagar Tank". OnlineSivasagar.com. Retrieved 7 April
^ "Sukhaangpha (1923) to
Rudra Singha (1714)". The Assam Chronicle. 28
February 2011. Archived from the original on 28 June 2013. Retrieved 7
^ "Assam Govt. to Introduce Award after Ahom Princess Joymoti".
Northeast today. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 19 April
2012. [permanent dead link]
A clip from the film on YouTube
Joymoti at SPICE
Joymoti Konwari: an epitome of ideal womanhood – Dr