(Last Updated on : 22/02/2014)
Sulikphaa, also known as Ratnadhwaj Singha, was an Ahom ruler who reigned over the kingdom from 1679 CE to 1681 CE. He was installed on the throne by the Ahom viceroy of Guwahati
and Lower Assa
m, Laluksola Borphukan, at fourteen years of age after the former king Sudoiphaa was disposed. Owing to his tender age, he was also called as Lora Raja or the Boy-king. Atrocities of Laluksola Borphukan occupied a prominent place during his rule including the mutilation of Ahom princes. Although he was a king, the real authority remained with his officer and the king after the assassination of the latter was disposed, exiled and later on executed.
Coronation of Sulikphaa
Sulikphaa belonged to the Samuguria branch of Ahom dynasty
and his original name was Sarugohain. Narayan Tipam Raja, the younger brother of the former Ahom ruler Suhung
, was his grandfather. In 1679 CE Laluksola Borphukan decided upon seizing power of the Ahom territory at Garhgaon
due to some differences with Atan Burhagohain. For this he took the aid of a Mughal prince, as he had an amicable relation with the dynasty, to fight against Atan Burhagohain. Laluksola Borphukan in 1679 CE surrendered the territory of Guwahati to the Mughals
and himself proceeded towards Garhgaon taking Atan Burhagohain and his supporters as captive. Initially he made an agreement with the presiding ruler Sudoiphaa but later the Ahom monarch tried to arrest him due to his negotiations with the Mughals which led to the disposal of the king himself. Laluksola Borphukan previously wanted to establish himself as the king but fearing the protest of orthodox Ahom subjects, who only regarded the members of royal Ahom dynasty as their monarch, he coronated Sulikphaa, a young prince, as the king whom he could control as per his will. He brought Sarugohain form Samaguri at the age of 14. The Ahom priest named him Sulikphaa whereas the Hindu priest called him Ratnadhwaj Singha.
Reign of Sulikphaa
After the coronation of Sulikphaa, Laluksola Borphukan raised himself to the position of prime minister or Rajmantri Phukan and owned all the executive powers over the administration. He also appointed his supporters to significant positions in the royal court dismissing the old officers. To maintain amicable relationships of Samuguri and Lukhurakhun clan, to which Laluk Rajmantri Phukan belonged, Sulikphaa was also married to the bald-headed daughter of Laluk Rajmantri Phukan.
Owing to the frequent illness of Sulikphaa and on advice of the astrologers, the residence of the new monarch was shifted to Meteka following which Laluk Rajmantri Phukan also moved his abode to the vicinity of the king. He also assassinated his rival Atan Burhagohain.
Atrocities of Laluk Rajmantri Phukan
Laluk expressed his wishes of becoming the king of Ahom kingdom
to Mughal prince Muhammad Azam and sought military assistance from them. He also sent gifts for the prince. However his envoy was received by Mughal Subedar Nawab Shaista Khan who was reluctant to send an army for an expedition to Assam owing to the already existing conflicts in Rajputana and Deccan. He thus sent his envoy, Govindram, along with a letter addressing Laluk as the king of Assam which became a great event for Laluk Rajmantri Phukan. He dressed himself in the royal attires and received the envoy at Sakbari. Following the ceremony, he once again realized his ambition of becoming the monarch but was sceptical about the oppositions from the orthodox Ahom subjects. Thus he put forward a proposal to Sulikphaa to mutilate the limbs of all the princes to restrict them from being the monarch as per the Ahom tradition. The king agreed to his proposal and Laluk launched his campaign to mutilate the princes. Owing to his atrocity, many of the prices left home and lived in disguise in distant regions.
Assassination of Laluk Rajmantri Phukan
The atrocities of Laluk Rajmantri Phukan and the incompetency of the king earned them a number of enemies creating anarchy in the kingdom and the government reached at the verge of collapse. The Mughal rulers in Guwahati also started to push their borders into the Ahom kingdom. To combat this, the Tai Ahom priests who considered themselves the guardians of the throne devised a new plan and asked Sulikphaa to offer human sacrifices to restore peace in the kingdom. Subsequently he passed the order to Laluk Rajmantri Phukan and the latter planned to kill Bhotai Deka Saikia as a human sacrifice. On receiving the intelligence about the same, Bhotai conspired against Laluk and killed him beneath the darkness of the night. Although the assassination of Laluk Rajmantri Phukan was greatly appreciated the following period was marked by great political instability. Due to this Sulikphaa shifted his residence to Garhgaon.
Death of Sulikphaa
After the demise of Laluk Rajmantri Phukan and the in competency of the king, the Ahom nobles started searching for an able king to run the administration. Gadapani, an Ahom prince, who had fled to Kaliabar during the mutilation campaign of Laluk Rajmantri Phukan was declared as the Ahom king at Kaliabar. The nobles then reached across Brahmaputra
along with their newly declared monarch to the capital. Although Sulikphaa was ready to protest, he did not have any real supporters and thus his army got defeated from the troop of Gadapani. After reaching the capital the nobles of Gadapani disposed Sulikphaa from the throne and took him to Namrup for making him the Namrupia Raja. However this was a disguise and he was executed shortly after reaching Namrup. Gadapani was then made the new monarch with the name Supaatpha.