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FIR lodged against Kolkata man for calling Sukaphaa ‘Chinese invader’

An FIR has been lodged against Garga Chatterjee, resident of Kolkatta for insulting the founder of Ahom dynasty and greater Assam, Sukaphaa. In a couple of tweets, the self-proclaimed Bengali Nationalist has compared Sukapha as a “Chinese invader”. He also claimed of using “taxpayers money used by BJP in Assam to put up statues of a Chinese invader”. The tweets have been posted below.

Garga has later deleted one of the tweets

The aftermath

Following these tweets, an FIR has been lodged by Bhaskar Jyoti Gogoi in the Dibrugarh Police Station.

The tweets have created an uproar by the concerned citizens as to the flawed understanding of history in Northeast India. To compare Sukahpha with “Chinese invader” is not only blasphemous has no logical basis claimed the concerned citizens on social media.

Who was Sukaphaa

Chaolung Sukaphaa (r. 1228–1268), also Siu-Ka-Pha, the first Ahom king in medieval Assam, was the founder of the Ahom kingdom. 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 indigenous ethnic groups of the region that left a deep impact on the region. In reverence to his position in Assam’s history the honorific Chaolung is generally associated with his name (Chao: lord; Lung: great).

Since 1996 December 2 has been celebrated in Assam as the Sukaphaa Day, or Assam Day(Axom Divawkh ), to commemorate the advent of the first king of the Ahom kingdom in Assam after his journey over the Patkai Hills.

Also read: Assam: Govt removes ‘Moktab’ from primary school; irks concerned citizens

The flawed logic against Sukaphaa

India was not a nation-state in medieval history and going by that Assam was also not a part of what we know of India today. However, the entire sub-contingent has cultural and religious exchanges since the ancient times and this is the basis that draws a commonality between the contemporary Indians, that which connects Assam and Northeast to the greater Bharatvarsha – a shared history of culture, religion and language development through migration and assimilation. That transcends from mythological sources such as Mahabharata to anthropological and scientific sources along with a unified fight against the British citing a shared history.

To cite geographical origins to dismiss the founder of Ahom dynasty is wrong. Sukhaphaa carried a policy of organic assimilation to construct what is now the current Assam state by forging local alliances. The subsequent Kings post-Sukapha merged with the greater Assamese identity. This generalisation also has a racial aspect to the mongoloid based features of the Northeast people that are called Chinese during racist encounters.

Such tweets apart from the malicious intent also reveal a lack of understanding of India’s Northeast but also calls upon the need to impart more knowledge on this aspect in the education sector.

There are other variants for the spelling of Sukaphaa/Sukapha. Inside Northeast has opted for the former.

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