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INTRODUCTION: The Burmese invasion is a significant event in Assam’s history. Following the occupation of Arakan, the Burmese repeatedly attacked Manipur, causing great distress to the country. A review of Assam’s political situation at the time reveals that Ahom Prime Minister Purnananda Buragohain had established his authority over all administrative matters. Many officers were dissatisfied with this, which eventually led to rebellions. The friendship of King Chandrakanta Singha and Satram, as well as the rivalry of Badanchandra Barphukan and Purnananda Buragohain, had caused problems for the country. All of the kings were young during Purnananda’s tenure as Prime Minister. Because the kings were minors, they were denied powers that Purnananda fully exercised. Purnananda’s rapid rise to power irritated Badanchandra, the Barphukan of Gauhati, and many officers. Badanchandra, on the other hand, had become extremely oppressive. The marriage of Purnananda’s son Oreshanath with Badanchandra’s daughter Pijou Gabharu, however, improved relations between the two. Purnananda soon discovered that Badan Barphukan was involved in Satram’s rebellion to overthrow him. Furthermore, as Badanchandra’s atrocities became unbearable, the Buragohain decided to remove him. Badanchandra fled Assam for British territory, where he appealed for British assistance in deposing Purnananda.
Short answer questions of Burmese Invasion of Assam
1. Which country was won by the Burmese in 1784 during the regime of the Burmese king Bodawpaya?
Answer: Arakan, a coastal region to the east of Burma, was conquered by the Burmese in 1784 during the reign of Burmese king Bodawapaya of the Kunbaung dynasty.
2. From when did the enmity between the Burmese and the British begin?
Answer: The enmity between the Burmese and the British began with the first Anglo-Burmese war, which was also the first in a series of wars fought between British India and Burma between 1824 and 1885.
3. Name the king of Cachar who fled to Srihatta, unable to tolerate the Burmese oppression?
Answer: King Tularam of Cachar was the ruling chief of a hilly region in Assam who fled to Srihatta because he could not tolerate Burmese oppression.
4. Purnananda Buragohain died after hearing the news of the defeat of the Ahoms in which battle?
Answer: Purnananda Buragohain also sent an army under Daman Gogoi and Hau Bora to stop the advancing invaders when Badan Barphukan entered Assam with the help of Bodawpaya’s army. At Ghiladhari, a battle was fought in which the Burmese army led by Badanchandra triumphed. Buragohain died as a result of the news of Ahom’s defeat.
5. What is ‘Baishali Hukong’?
Answer: Baishali Hukong was one of the writers who accompanied the Burmese troops as they arrived in Assam. He was the one who kept track of the Burmese army’s operations in Assam.
6. What is ‘Baishali Mung-dun-Sun Kham’?
Answer: ‘Baishali Mung-dun-Sun Kham’ was one of the two scribes who accompanied the Burmese army which came to Assam.
7. Who was the Prime Minister of Assam when the Burmese army came with Badanchandra?
Answer: When Badanchandra came to Assam with the Burmese army, the Prime Minister was Purnananda Buragohain.
8. What was the strength of the Burmese army which came to Assam with Badanchandra?
Answer: Badanchandra with the help of an army of around 8000 men sent by Bodawpaya entered Assam via Patkai.
9. How many additional soldiers did Badanchandra collect on his arrival in Assam?
Answer: Bodawpaya dispatched an army of 8000 men to accompany Badanchandra. An additional 8000 soilders from a few Burmese tributary kings joined the troop.
10. What was the title given by Chandrakanta Singha to Badanchandra on his appointment as the Prime Minister?
Answer: Badan was made the Prime Minister with a new designation, Mantri Barphukan, by Chandrakanta Sinha after he occupied Jorhat.
11. Mention the years in which the Burmese invasions took place?
Answer: In the first Burmese invasion, the Burmese monarch agreed and sent an expedition led by Bhamo general Badanchandra Borphukan into Assam in January 1817. Bodawpaya led a 30,000-strong army under the command of Kiamingi in the second Burmese invasion of Assam in 1819. Bagyidaw became King of Burma in the third invasion, in 1819, and decided to annex Assam.
12. When was Badanchandra killed or assassinated?
Answer: The assassination of Badanchandra took place in 1818.
Long answer questions of Burmese Invasion of Assam
1. Write in brief about the expansion of the Burmese empire in Manipur and Arakan.
Answer: Since the reign of King Alaungpaya, efforts have been made to expand the frontier. His imperialistic ambitions drove him to expand his territories all the way to Manipur and Cachar. He implemented a policy of westward expansion for the country.
Following the occupation of Arakan, Manipur was repeatedly attacked. The Burmese king hoped to use Assam as their main military base against the English by expanding westward. The capture of Arakan in 1784 A.D., during the reign of Burmese King Bodawpaya, resulted in the establishment of Burmese political supremacy in the entire Bay of Bengal region, from Margui Island to Chattagram port.
2. Discuss how the despotism of Purnananda Buragohain gave birth to political conspiracies?
Answer: The Ahom Prime Minister Pumananda Buragohain had established his authority over all matters of administration. This was not liked by many officers, which ultimately led to rebellions.
All of the kings were young during Purnananda’s tenure as Prime Minister. Because the kings were minors, they were denied powers that Purnananda fully exercised. Purnananda’s rapid rise to power irritated Badanchandra, the Barphukan of Gauhati, and many officers. The marriage of Purnananda’s son Oreshanath to Badanchandra’s daughter Pijou Gabharu, on the other hand, improved their relationship.
Purnananda soon discovered that Badan Barphukan was involved in Satram’s rebellion to overthrow him. Furthermore, as Badanchandra’s atrocities became unbearable, the Buragohain decided to remove him. Badanchandra fled Assam for British territory, where he appealed for British assistance in deposing Pumananda. However, the British refused to assist. Later, the Burmese army deposed Purnananda’s autocracy and installed Chandrakanta on the Ahom throne.
3. Why did the Burmese invade Assam under the leadership of Badanchandra Phukan? Give reasons.
Answer: Badanchandra’s atrocities had become so unbearable that the Buragohain decided to remove him. The Barphukan fled to Bengal after being warned. He requested British military assistance for himself and King Chandrakanta against Pumananda Buragohain. The Governor General, on the other hand, rejected the appeals because he refused to interfere in the internal affairs of the state.
After being denied British assistance, Badan Barphukan began discussions with the Burmese representative in Calcutta. The Burmese king had many reasons to assist Badanchandra, including the extension of the frontier and the expansion of his territories as far as Manipur and Cachar. The Burmese king hoped to use Assam as their main military base against the English by expanding westward.
The Burmese king saw Badanchandra’s request for Burmese assistance in favour of Chandrakanta as advantageous and decided to provide military aid to Badanchandra against Purnananda. Meanwhile, RangiliAidew, the Assamese queen of the Burmese king and Badanchandra’s aunt, requested that the king assist Badanchandra in obtaining Burmese assistance.
4. Discuss in brief the Burmese interference in Assam under the leadership of Badanchandra Barphukan.
Answer: Badan Barphukan entered Assam via Patkai, aided by an army of around 8000 men sent by Bodawpaya, as well as another 8000 soldiers from a few tributary kings of Burma. Purnananda Buragohain also dispatched an army under the command of Daman Gogoi and Hau Bora to halt the advancing invaders. At Ghiladhari, a battle was fought in which the Burmese army led by Badanchandra triumphed.
Jorhat was occupied by the Burmese, and Badan declared himself the Barphukan. He rose to power, and while Chandrakanta remained the nominal king, Numali Rajmao, the king’s mother, made elaborate preparations in the capital to welcome Badan. Mantri Barphukan, Badan’s new title, was bestowed upon him as Prime Minister.
The Burmese stayed in the Ahom kingdom for a short time and kept Chandrakanta as king. Apart from gold and silver gifts for the Burmese army, Badanchandra also presented the king of Burma with Themo or Hemo Aidew.
5. What was the ultimate result of the political conspiracies hatched against Purnanada Buragohain?
Answer: The ultimate result of the political plots against Purnananda Buragohain was that they failed and the king was saved.
As Ahom King Chandrakanta grew older, he grew to dislike the Buragohain and even considered assuming all power by exterminating the Buragohain. But, like the previous conspiracies, this one was discovered. With the exception of Satram, all conspirators were executed by hanging.
The suspicion of Badanchandra Barphukan’s involvement in the ‘Danduadroah’ harmed Purnananda and Badan’s relationship. Badan was replaced as the new Barphukan by Kaliabhomora. Purnananda Buragohain later discovered that Badan Barphukan, along with Satram, was involved in the plot to assassinate him.
The marriage of Purnananda’s son Oreshanath to Badan’s daughter Pijou Gabharu, on the other hand, improved their relationship. So, when Kaliabhomora died, Badanchandra was named Barphukan of Gauhati.
6. Discuss the causes of the Burmese invasion of Assam.
Answer: The causes of the Burmese invasion of Assam are:
The First Invasion: After his appeal for British aid was rejected, Badanchandra sought the assistance of Burmese King Bodawpaya, who was tired of the oppressive and autocratic rule of PurnanandaBuragohain. The Burmese king was not eager to take over Assam right away, but he did agree to provide military assistance to Badan in his fight against Purnananda.
The Second Invasion: Badanchandra had risen to power following the return of the Burmese forces. He began torturing Purnananda Buragohain’s supporters, who were already dead. There were also differences between the Barbarua and the Barphukan. It culminated in Badanchandra’s assassination in 1818 by a Subedar named Rup Singh. The assassination of Badanchandra, the deposition of Chandrakanta Singha from the throne, and the torture inflicted on him mark a critical and unstable period in Assam’s political history. Taking advantage of the situation, the Burmese king in 1819 A.D. sent a force to Assam led by General Ala Mingi to avenge Badanchandra’s murder and restore Chandrakanta Singha to the throne.
The third Invasion: After assuming the throne, Chandrakanta Singha exacted revenge on Purandhar Singha and Ruchinath Buragohain by punishing their supporters. During this time, the Burmese emerged as the true rulers of the state, while Swargadeo Chandrakanta Singha stood by and watched as they committed atrocities. As a result, after Mingimaha left, he took steps to prevent further Burmese incursions by preparing to build a fort at Jaypur, which was on the Burmese route to Assam. When the new Burmese king learned of the plans to build a fort to block their path, he became enraged and immediately dispatched an army under MingimahaTilwa to Assam, resulting in the third Burmese invasion of Assam in 1821 A.D.
7. What were the results of the Burmese invasion of Assam?
Answer: The results of the Burmese invasion of Assam were:
i. The Burmese invasion of Assam paved the way for the demise of the 600-year-old Ahom rule.
ii. Though only temporarily, the Ahom kings or Swargadeos were subject to the Burmese king’s tutelage.
iii. The Ahom kings had devolved into nominal rulers. The required military strength had almost completely depleted, resulting in political instability. Furthermore, the internal conflict or discord that had come to characterise the accession of a ruler in history had weakened the Ahom monarchy. Chandrakanta Singha had no choice but to flee to British territories in Bengal.
iv. The Burmese invasion had destroyed the state’s economy. Goods production had also decreased. Traders closed their doors.
v. The invasion also had a negative impact on the state’s social life. The population of the villages decreased as many people fled their homes in fear for their lives to neighbouring hills and valleys. vi. The signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo ended the first Anglo-Burmese war. As a result of this treaty, the Burmese were forced to leave Assam. The British government took control of Assam.
8. Which rebellion is known as the ‘Panimua rebellion’?
Answer: Purnananda kept Swargadeo’s death a secret and cleverly installed a minor, Kamaleswar Singha, on the Ahom throne. The powerful Buragohain turned the new young king into a puppet. Purnananda installed a minor named Chandrakanta Singha on the Ahom throne after the death of Kamaleswar Singha in 1810 A.D. A large portion of the populace despised the Buragohain’s autocratic rule. Conspiracies were hatched in order to depose him. In fact, during Kamaleswar Singha’s reign, a large number of individuals and officials organised a rebellion against the Buragohain. Because it was led by one Panimua, the revolt was also known as the Panimua rebellion.
9. Mention two results of the military intervention of the Burmese in Assam in 1817.
Answer: First, a battle was fought at Ghiladhari, which was won by the Burmese army led by Badanchandra. The news of Ahom’s defeat devastated the Buragohain to the point of death. He was succeeded by his son Ruchinath, who lacked his father’s qualities. The Ahoms lacked an officer who could lead them at such a critical juncture.
Second, the Burmese took over Jorhat, and Badan declared himself to be the Barphukan. He grew in power, and while Chandrakanta was retained as nominal king, NumaliRajmao, the king’s mother, made elaborate preparations in the capital to welcome Badan. Mantri Barphukan, Badan’s new title, was bestowed upon him as Prime Minister.
10. When did the first Anglo-Burmese war take place? Where was this war fought?
Answer: The first Anglo-Burmese war took place between 1824 and 1826.
The war took place in four places:
(i) Brahmaputra valley i.e. Ahom Kingdom
(iv) Burma i.e. present Myanmar
11. Mention the main provisions of the Yandaboo treaty.
Answer: Main provisions of the treaty of Yandaboo were:
i. The Burmese king had to pay Rupees One Crore as war indemnity to the English Company.
ii. The British would take over Arakan and Tenasserim.
iii. The Burmese would not be able to interfere in Assam, Cachar and Jayantia country.
iv. The Burmese recognized Gambhir Singh as the king of Manipur.
v. There would be a British Resident at Ava.
vi. The British too allowed the king of Ava to station an officer at Calcutta.
12. Write about the importance of the treaty of Yandaboo.
Answer: After having lost all four battles, the Burmese king on 24th February 1826, concluded a treaty with the Company’s government at a place called Yandaboo. This was the famous Yandaboo treaty (1826) which brought the first Anglo-Burmese war to an end.
The treaty of Yandaboo thereby favoured the English. The treaty put an end to the ‘Maanar Din’ in Assam. After, this treaty, the East India Company assumed control over Assam, which in turn marked the beginning of the expansion of the British Empire in the region.
Short notes of Burmese Invasion of Assam
(1) Bodawpaya: Bodawpaya was the sixth king of Burma’s Konbaung Dynasty. He was the fourth son of Alaungpaya, the founder of the dynasty and the third Burmese Empire. He was born Maung Shwe Waing and later Badon Min. After deposing his nephew Phaungkaza Maung Maung, son of his oldest brother Naungdawgyi, at Ava, he was proclaimed king. The capture of Arakan in 1784 A.D., during the reign of Burmese King Bodawpaya, resulted in the establishment of Burmese political supremacy in the entire Bay of Bengal region, from Margui Island to Chattagram port. As a result of the atrocities and exploitation perpetrated by the Burmese, approximately forty thousand Arakanese sought refuge in British territories in Bengal. The Burmese king, Bodawpaya, futilely pressed the British government to return the refugees. The refugee issue sparked conflict between the Burmese and the English.
(2) Gambhir Singh: After defeating the Ahom king, Chandra Kanta Singha, the Burmese launched an attack on the British-held territories of North Bengal, Goalpara, Sylhet, and Chittangong. Following the death of Manipur’s king, Raja Jaysingha, a succession war erupted among his sons. He had five sons, and after the premature deaths of his two elder sons, a feud erupted among his remaining three sons, Chourjit, Marjit, and Gambhir Singh. Marjit ascended to the throne with the assistance of the Burmese in 1812 AD. As a result, Chourjit and Gambhir Singh sought refuge in Cachar. Fearing an attack by the Burmese, Cachar’s king, Govinda Chandra, sought refuge in Sylhet, which was under British control. Chourjit later entered Sylhet and begged British assistance. After taking over Assam and Manipur, the Burmese moved quickly to attack Cachar. Gambhir Singh, with the assistance of Lt. Pemberton, expelled the Burmese and restored Manipur during the Anglo-Burmese war. Gambhir Singh was recognised as the king of Manipur by the Treaty of Yandaboo.
(3) Gobind Chandra: Gobinda Chandra was restored and protected as Cachar’s king by the British. Because he had no heirs, his general Tularam demanded the entire territory of Cachar from the British. Raja Gobind Chandra, the last of the Kachari Kings, was assassinated on April 24, 1830, at Haritikar by a group of seditious people with the assistance of some of his personal attendants. In the absence of natural heirs, his territory was ceded to the British under the terms of an 1826 agreement.
(4) Daman Gogoi: (4) Daman Gogoi: One of the commanders who led Purnananda Buragohain’s forces against Badan Barphukan was Daman Gogoi. Badan Barphukan entered Assam via Patkai, aided by an army of around 8000 men sent by Bodawpaya, as well as another 8000 soldiers from a few tributary kings of Burma. Purnananda Buragohain also dispatched an army under the command of Daman Gogoi and Hau Bora to halt the advancing invaders. At Ghiladhari, a battle was fought in which the Burmese army led by Badanchandra triumphed.
(5) Hau Bora: Hau Bora was one of the commanders who led Purnananda Buragohain’s forces against Badan Barphukan. Badan Barphukan entered Assam via Patkai, aided by an army of around 8000 men sent by Bodawpaya, as well as another 8000 soldiers from a few tributary kings of Burma. PurnanandaBuragohain also dispatched an army under the command of Daman Gogoi and Hau Bora to halt the advancing invaders. At Ghiladhari, a battle was fought in which the Burmese army led by Badanchandra triumphed.
(6) Battle of Ghiladhari: Barphukan entered Assam via Patkai with the assistance of an army of around 8000 men sent by Bodawpaya, as well as another 8000 soldiers belonging to a few tributary kings of Burma. Purnananda Buragohain also dispatched an army under the command of Daman Gogoi and Hau Bora to halt the advancing invaders. At Ghiladhari, a battle was fought in which the Burmese army led by Badanchandra triumphed. The news of Ahom’s death also saddened Buragohain, leading to his death.
(7) Brajanath Singha: Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha’s grandson was Brajanath Singha. Ruchinath did not trust the Ahom king because he blamed Badanchandra and King Chandrakanta for the Burmese invasion and the death of his father, Pumananda Buragohain. Following Badanchandra’s assassination in 1818, Ruchinath, Brajanath Singha, and his son Purandhar Singha advanced with an army of Hindustani soldiers towards Jorhat. Chandrakanta Singha also dispatched a force led by Luku Dekaphukan against Ruchinath, while retiring to Rangpur himself. The army of Chandrakanta was defeated, and their commander, Luku Dekaphukan, was killed in the battle. Ruchinath then named Brajanath the new Ahom king. However, because Brajanath had been mutilated, he was ruled ineligible for the throne. As a result, his son Purandhar was elevated to the throne.
(8) Purandhar Singha: Purandar Singha was the Ahom kingdom’s last king. He was crowned king twice. He was installed for the first time by Ruchinath Burhagohain in 1818 CE after the latter deposed Chandrakanta Singha from the throne. His first reign ended in 1819 CE, during the second Burmese invasion of Assam when his forces were defeated and Chandrakanta Singha was reinstalled on the throne by the Burmese. Following the First Anglo-Burmese War, the British East India Company seized control of Assam from Burmese invaders. Finding it difficult to administer an unfamiliar region and sensing local discontent with foreign rule, British authorities decided to return Upper Assam to one prince of the Ahom Dynasty. Purander Singha was found suitable for this post, and in April 1833 CE, the entire Upper Assam region was formally made over to him, with the exception of Sadiya and Matok, on the condition of a yearly tribute of 50,000 rupees.
(9) Ala Mingi: The assassination of Badanchandra, the deposition of Chandrakanta Singha from the throne, and the torture inflicted on him mark a critical and unstable period in Assam’s political history. Taking advantage of the situation, the Burmese king sent a force to Assam in 1819 A.D. under the command of a general named Ala Mingi to avenge Badanchandra’s murder and restore Chandrakanta Singha to the throne. The Burmese pursued the Ahoms back to Jorhat. The Burmese restored Chandrakanta to the Ahom throne. A son of Badanchandra was named Barphukan, and Patal Barua was named Barbarua. When Purandhar Singha learned that Chandrakanta had sent troops to Gauhati to capture him, he and Ruchinath crossed into English-occupied Bengal and took refuge. Ala Mingi returned to Burma, leaving a contingent of Burmese troops led by Mingi maha Tilwa to assist Chandrakanta.
(10) The treaty of Yandaboo: The first Anglo-Burmese War ended with the signing of the Yandaboo Treaty. As a result of this treaty, the Burmese were forced to leave Assam. The British government took control of Assam. The Treaty of Yandaboo was a pivotal political agreement for Assam and the entire North East. This treaty altered the course of Assamese history. The terms of the treaty favoured the British. By ending Burmese rule, the English East India Company took on the responsibility of ruling. It is important to note that even before this treaty, the British had expanded their influence in the Brahmaputra valley under the guise of driving out the Burmese.
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