Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that India was correcting its past mistakes by celebrating its heritage and remembering its unsung heroes.
“For centuries, we have been told that the history of India is of slavery, and stories of resistance were deliberately suppressed but that mistake is now being corrected,” Modi said while speaking at the closing ceremony of the Assam government’s three-day-long celebrations of legendary Ahom general Lachit Barphukan’s 400th birth anniversary in Delhi. He also released a book ‘Lachit Barphukan – Assam’s Hero who Halted the Mughals’ at the event.
We bow to the valorous Lachit Borphukan on his 400th birth anniversary. He played pivotal role in preserving the culture of Assam. https://t.co/w8eG6BAGby
Lachit had led the Ahom soldiers to defeat Mughals at the Battle of Saraighat on the outskirts of Guwahati in 1671. Through this mega event that was attended by senior Union ministers, the BJP governments, in Assam and at the Centre, have been pushing for Lachit’s recognition as a national hero.
“For centuries, we were told that we were looted, beaten and defeated. But India’s history is not just a history of slavery. India’s history is a history of showing extraordinary valour and heroism against tyrants. India’s history is of victory, of sacrifice, of bravery… of great traditions. But it’s unfortunate that even after Independence, we continued to be taught the history that was written as a conspiracy during the age of slavery,” said Modi at the event.
“After Independence, it was necessary to change the agenda of the foreigners who enslaved us, but that was not done. The stories of fierce resistance by Ma Bharti’s sons and daughters in all corners of the country have been deliberately suppressed. Does Lachit Barphukan’s valour not have any value? There are countless stories of victory over tyranny during the long period of repression. The mistake of not giving those events a place in the mainstream is being corrected now. This event being held in Delhi is a reflection of that change,” he said.
Modi referred to the defeat of the Mughals at the Battle of Saraighat as an example of resistance and protection of traditions.
“Assam’s history is itself a valuable heritage of India’s journey and culture. We bring together different thoughts, ideologies, societies, cultures, traditions and faiths… But if someone tries to suppress under the force of the sword, tries to change our eternal identity, we also know how to respond to that. After gathering all their strength, the Mughals had laid siege to Guwahati. But warriors like Lachit Barphukan freed Guwahati from the oppressive Mughals. Aurangzeb tried to reverse the defeat by all means but he failed,” he said.
Modi referred to a famous story how Lachit had beheaded his own uncle for latter’s failure to carry out his allotted duty in supervising the construction of embankments for defence.
“His life inspires us to rise above self and to give the highest priority to national interest. Lachit had punished his own uncle saying ‘my uncle is not more important than the country’. So, it can be said that no person or relation is bigger than the country… I am happy that today’s India is moving forward with the same mantra of nation first,” he said.