The Mauryas, Marathas, Cholas, Mughals and a few others are prominent names you probably came across time and again in your history books. Often described as some of the most iconic dynasties to have ruled in India, these empires will go down in history for their leadership, aura and developmental progress in ages when modern technology was not even close to existing. Their creative minds gave rise to cultures and traditions that form a major part of India’s rich heritage even today.
While the rule of these specific dynasties is talked about very frequently, especially due to the fact that they lasted undefeated for over 100s of years during varying periods in history, there is one specific dynasty that is talked about far less, yet having an impressive tenure. It is none other than the Ahom dynasty that ruled over the North Easter regions of our country for over 600 years. Evidence also claims that the mighty Ahoms of North East India trampled over the invincible Mughals multiple times, fascinating right?
Founded by the prince of South China’s Yunnan provision, Prince Chaolung Sukapha, the Ahom dynasty’s initiation took place in 1228 at the Brahmaputra valley. The strong minded Prince in no time established a large state ruled by him in North Eastern India, his ideologies and concepts were all derived from South West China, thus resulting in the monarchical approach that he forced on his territory. He completely revised the standing political systems and dethroned many landlords along with the annexation of kingdoms and converting various tribes into his followers. In no time the initial 9000 followers with which he had entered India had multiplied, leaving him with a whole population of individuals following in his footsteps.
The main reason behind the Ahom dynasty's success under the Prince was his gift at administration. He divided the governance into important groups such as council of ministers, chief nobles and state officers ensuring smooth transition of duties and governance which aided in the set up of such a successful empire that ran for almost 600 years. The monarchical system triumphed as it laid more emphasis on the states and their well being, and to make things even simpler societies were further divided into smaller clans or khels. The dynasty functioned as per the interest of the people, higher authorities such as the King were only figure heads and could be dethroned by a unanimous decision by the people if they felt that he wasn’t performing as per the requirement. This was the key strength of the Ahom dynasty and is probably the reason why we slowly transitioned into a democracy.
Although on his arrival to India the Chinese Prince dismantled the existing system of the rulers, he did not take away from them their religion, culture or beliefs. He started a new dynasty by including existing cultures and traditions with room for introducing new customs. Soon even the inscriptions which were initially in Tai-Ahom were translated and rewritten in Assamese or Sanskrit dialects. The kings embraced all existing religions and practices in India including those of Shiva and Shakti. The inclusive nature of the Ahom dynasty is what helped it progress and prosper as nobody was forced or enslaved to change their beliefs.
The liberal nature of the Ahom dynasty as well as their witty and structured thinking is what made people love them and allowed their rule for such a long period. The major hindrance in their rule was the challenge from the Mughal empire as they did not take their initial defeat in good spirit. However, the intelligence of the Ahom dynasty was a huge asset to them and this helped them overthrow the Mughals once again.
While the Ahom dynasty did manage to rule for about 600 years in North Eastern India, their decline has been associated with internal conflicts and weak leadership. However, till date Ahom culture in the form of their architecture, cuisine and art is still seen in Assam and other North Eastern regions of India as they hold a special place in the history of our fierce and beautiful country.