Suhungmung (r. 1497–1539) (Swarganarayan, Dihingia Raja) was
one of the most important Ahom kings, who ruled at the cusp of Assam's
medieval history. His reign broke from the early Ahom rule and
established a multi-ethnic polity in his kingdom. Under him the Ahom
Kingdom expanded greatly for the first time since Sukaphaa, at the
cost of the Chutiya and the Kachari kingdoms. He also successfully
defended his kingdom against the first Muslim invasions under Turbak
Khan. During his time, the
Khen dynasty collapsed and the Koch dynasty
ascended in the Kamata kingdom. His general, Tonkham, pursued the
Muslims up to the
Karatoya river, the western boundary of the
erstwhile Kamarupa Kingdom, the farthest west an Ahom king had
ventured in its entire six hundred years of rule.
He was the first Ahom king to adopt a Hindu title, Swarganarayana,
indicating a move towards an inclusive polity; and Ahom kings came to
be known as the Swargadeo (heaven-lord). He is also called the
Dihingia Raja, because he made
Bakata on the
Dihing River his capital.
Suhungmung was the last progenitor Ahom king (all subsequent kings
were his descendants).
1.1 Against Chutiya Kingdom
1.2 Against Kachari Kingdom
1.3 Muslim invasions
4 New offices
5 See also
Ahom Kingdom acquired a vision of an extended
polity and consolidated rule. He began by suppressing the revolt of
the Aitonia Nagas in 1504 and making them accept Ahom overlordship.
He surveyed the country and annexed the
Habung region. But his
biggest successes were against the Chutiya Kingdom.
Against Chutiya Kingdom
Habung and Panbari, which were previously
Chutiya Bhuyan principalities in 1512, the then Chutiya king
Dhirnarayan decided to attack the
Ahom kingdom to prevent any further
expansion. He invaded the
Ahom kingdom in 1513 at Dikhoumukh. But, the
Ahoms resisted the invasion. The Chutiyas again attacked the Ahoms in
1520 and occupied the areas up to Namdang and Mungkhrang. But, soon
Dhirnarayan died and the reign of the kingdom was passed to the
son-in-law named Nitipal who was weak and inefficient in ruling. Many
other vassal chiefs of Lakhimpur, Majuli, Biswanath became
independent and were eventually annexed by the Ahoms. In 1522, the
Ahoms fought back, re-occupied their lost territories and erected a
fort at Dibrumukh (Dibrugarh). Although, Nitipal tried to attack the
fort the following year, he was unsuccessful.
Suhungmung then extended
Ahom Kingdom to the mouth of the Tiphao River, where a new fort
was constructed. The Chutiyas fortified
Sadia but they were soon
defeated. The Chutiyas were pursued further and their king and prince
were killed in battle.
Suhungmung established the office of the
Sadiakhowa Gohain to look after the newly acquired region. Though
this was not the end of the conflict it brought to an end the first
major expansion of the Ahom Kingdom.
Against Kachari Kingdom
Suhungmung marched against the Kachari Kingdom. In 1531
Khunkhara, the Kachari king, sent forces under his brother Detcha to
drive the Ahoms away from Marangi but the Kachari army was defeated
and their commander killed. The Kacharis were pursued up to the
Dimapur and Khunkhara had to flee.
Suhungmung established a
Kachari prince, Detsung, as the Kachari king. But Detsung rose in
revolt in a few years, and the Ahoms pursued him till Jangmarang where
he was killed. The
Kachari Kingdom abandoned
Dimapur permanently and
established their new capital at Maibong. Unlike the Chutiya Kingdom,
Suhungming did not take direct possession of the Kachari Kingdom.
The first Muslim invasion of the
Ahom Kingdom occurred in 1527, but it
was defeated and pushed back to the Burai River. A few years later,
there was another attempt when a commander advanced up the Brahmaputra
in fifty vessels. This too was defeated. In yet another expedition,
the Barpatra Gohain slain the commander, Bit Malik, and captured
cannons and guns. The most successful among these initial raids on the
Ahom Kingdom was the one led by Turbak.
Turbak, a Gaur commander, advanced against the
Ahom Kingdom in April
1532 with a large force. He first faced Suklen, Suhungmung's son, at
Singri. In this battle Suklen was defeated and wounded and the Ahoms
retreated to Sala. The Ahoms again faced reverses at Sala and some
other expeditions thereafter, but won the first significant victory in
March 1533 when a naval force was defeated with heavy losses to
Turbak's forces. This led to a period of stalemate with the two armies
encamped on opposite banks of the Dikrai River.
The Ahoms finally attacked the invaders and defeated them in a number
of battles. In the final battle fought near the Bharali River, Turbak
was killed and his army pursued till the
Karatoya river in present-day
North Bengal. The captured soldiers subsequently became the first
significant Muslim population of the Ahom Kingdom. They were called
Garia since they were from Gaur, and the appellation was later
extended to all Muslims. This population finally became well known as
expert brass craftsmen.
The Buranjis mention the first use of firearms by the Ahoms in these
Suhungmung was assassinated by a servant, Ratiman, who stabbed him as
he slept in his palace. It is suspected that Suhungmung's son
Suklenmung, who became the next king, was responsible for the death.
Suhungmung had four sons. The eldest, Suklen, who succeeded him, was
established as the Tipam Raja. His second son, Suleng (also spelled
Sureng and sometimes called Deoraja), was established as the Charing
Raja. Though Suleng himself did not become a king, some of his
descendants enjoyed kingship for some time. The third son, Suteng, was
established as the Namrupiya Raja, and his descendants established the
Tungkhungia line. The fourth son, Sukhring, also called Dop Raja,
remained without any estate.
Suhungmung established new Ahom positions.
Borpatrogohain is the third of the great Gohains (the others being
Burhagohain and Borgohain, instituted by Sukaphaa). The first Barpatra
Gohain was an Ahom prince brought up by a Naga chief.
Sadiakhowa Gohain looked after the
Sadia region taken from the Sutiyas
Marangikhowa Gohain looked after the lower Dhansiri river valley taken
from the Kacharis.
^ a b Gait, Edward Albert (1906). A history of Assam. Thacker, Spink
& co. pp. 83–84. ISBN 1-145-65935-7.
^ Gait 84-85
^ (Gogoi 1968, p. 283)
Gait, Sir Edward., 1906, A History of Assam, Calcutta.
Gogoi, Padmeshwar (1968), The Tai and the Tai kingdoms, Gauhati