Asom Divas or Sukapha Divas Celebrated Across State to Commemorate First Ahom King
In honour of Chaolung Sukapha, the founder of the Ahom kingdom, which lasted for a period of nearly 600 years, the day is also known as Sukapha Divas. Special prayers and feasts mark the day.
GUWAHATI: December 2 is the day every year when the state celebrates Asom Divas or Assam Day, commemorating the advent of the first Ahom king Chaulung Sukhapa in Assam, who changed the course of the state's history and created 'Bor Asom'.
In honour of Chaolung Sukapha, the founder of the Ahom kingdom, which lasted for a period of nearly 600 years, the day is also known as Sukapha Divas.
Founder of the Ahom kingdom Chaolung Sukapha (the honorific Chao means Lord and Lung means Great), also known as Siu-Ka-Pha was the first Ahom king in medieval Assam. A Tai prince originally from Mong Mao, the kingdom he established in 1228 existed for nearly six hundred years and in the process unified the various tribal and non-tribal peoples of the region that left a deep impact on the region, leading to creation of 'Bor Asom'.
The period when the Ahoms ruled the valley of the Brahmaputra and beyond, has always been referred to as the golden period in the history of Assam as the people were prosperous across the kingdom and managed to keep the Mughals away from venturing into this fertile land.
The life and early history of Sukapha is also well documented.
Sukapha was born to Chao Chang-Nyeu (alias Phu-Chang-Khang) and Nang-Mong Blak-Kham-Sen in the Tai state of Mong Mao, close to present-day Ruili in Yunan, China. Mong Mao was then ruled by Chao Tai Pung. Chao Chang Nyeu was befriended by Pao Meo Pung, the son of the ruler, who gave his sister Blak Kham Sen in marriage. Sukapha was born of this union not later than 1189. He was known to be the nephew of Pao Meo Pung, the ruler of Mong Mao kingdom who did not have any heir. Sukapha or Siukapha was the crown prince designate, with the proviso that he could rule the land when his time came.
Sukhapa , however, decided to leave Mong Mao when a son was born later to Pao Meo Pung, thereby ending his crown prince status and claim to the throne.
After leaving his birth place in 1215, Siu-ka-pha decided to march towards west to rule a western state called Mong Pa-kam now identified with the eastern part of Kamarupa. Sukapha's followers included several nobles (thao-mong), a number of officers of various ranks, nine thousand men, woman and children. After a westward march for thirteen years and staying at several places for periods ranging from one to three years, they arrived at the Patkai in 1228 A.D.
On the way,he also organized several other territorial units along the bank of these rivers. In this way a small kingdom bounded by Patkai, the Bud Dihing, the Brahmaputra, the Dikhow and the Naga hills was founded in Upper Assam over which Sukapha ruled till his death in 1268 A.D. This territory was peopled chiefly by the Morans and the Borahis, and a few villages of the Chutiyas and the Kacharis evidently of Bodo origin; Nagas were also included in the hilly region of the Patkai. Sukapha won over the chiefs of Morans and the Borahis, and even encouraged intermarriage with them, and appointed some of them in various capacities in the royal household.
With the passage of time, Sukapha befriended many of the local tribes, adapted their simple ways of living and established marital relations with them.He is the leader who played an important role in unifying various ethnic groups of Assam by treating them as equals and encouraging intermarriage between various tribes.
According to Ahom tradition, Sukapha was a descendant of the god Khunlung, who had come down from the heavens and had ruled Mong-Ri-Mong-Ram. During the reign of Suhungmung, which saw the composition of the first Assamese chronicles and increased Hindu influence, he was declared the progenitor of the Indravamsa kshatriyas, a lineage created for the Ahoms by the Hindu Brahmins.
Asom Divas is celebrated in a grand manner across various institutions of Assam by different organisations and comprises of singing and narrating praises of Sukapha along with the performance of various traditional forms of dances and songs associated with the Ahom Community.
Ahom priests decked in ceremonial costumes and headgear chant special prayers and perform rituals at a designated place. There are also great feasts organised in every place the Day is observed, much merry- making among the Ahoms, mainly in Upper Assam- which has the largest concentration of Ahom people. Partaking of pork and rice beer is a common practice.