Burmese Invasion of Assam

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Here are the notes/solutions/answers to the questions for History (social science) chapter 4 Burmese Invasion of Assam of class 9 (HSLC) for students studying under the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA). These notes/answers, however, should only be used for references and modifications/changes can be made wherever possible.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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
(ii) Cachar
(iii) Manipur
(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.

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(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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