GUWAHATI, Oct 26 � It was a rampart, which was linked with the historic victory of the Assamese soldiers under General Lachit Barphukan over the Mughals at the battle of Saraighat in the first week of April, 1671 AD. It helped Assam remain independent for around 155 years, till signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo by the Britishers with the Burmese authorities. But today, this rampart has been grabbed by unscrupulous elements, with the authorities turning a blind eye to such despicable acts.
This rampart, the Momaikota Garh, which is stated to be built by the Assamese soldiers overnight to resist the invading Mughal army led by Ram Singha, has virtually been destroyed by encroachers and only a small part of it now exists. But encroachers are eyeing this part too.
Originally, this rampart used to run between the Deepor Beel and the Brahmaputra on the South. This rampart made the situation quite adverse for the Mughal army. In the words of Ram Singha, �I have not refrained from fighting; but it has proved useless. As there are no fields, fighting by spears, shields and guns is an impossible affair. The Assamese have erected an impenetrable wall of defence on both the banks. the is the possibility of one naval fight only.� (Quoted from Lachit Barphukan and His Times by Dr S K Bhuyan, Publication Board of Assam December, 2010, pp55)
Again, Ram Singha described Lachit Barphukan as �not a hero of ordinary calibre.� and said,��the fortifications are complex and intricate; and I could not therefore obtain any loophole for attack.� (Ibid, pp61)
Thus the Mughals were forced to engage in a battle (Saraighat Battle) with the Assamese soldiers in the triangle of Kamakhya-Itakhuli (Andharubali) on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra and Aswakranta on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra. And in the battle, the Mughals were conclusively defeated by the Assamese army. Though later on Debera Barua betrayed the king and the people of Assam, the Mughals could not establish their sway over Assam permanently after this battle.
Voluntary organisation Sahay has been trying hard to protect the remaining part of the Momaikota Garh from the encroachers. It also took up the matter with the then Governor Lt Gen (Retd) Ajai Singh in 2006. The Governor visited the site on January 3, 2007.
Since then the authorities concerned have been maintaining a total silence over the issue and this part of the rampart, which has still the provision to be preserved for the posterity with a prospect also to develop the area as a tourist destination, has remained vulnerable to encroachment.
Historian Prof Romesh Buragohain said that the Government should listen to the people and come forward to preserve the existing portion of the historic rampart. Buragohain is the former president of the North East India History Association.
President of the Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti, Prof Bani Kanta Sarma said monuments of historic importance like the Momaikota Garh should be preserved in a manner as has been done in the cases of the Great Wall of China, the Red Fort of Delhi etc.
All patriotic people, archaeologists and the Government should join hands in matters of preserving these monuments, said Prof Sarma.