Suklamphaa - Reign - Illness of Ramdhwaj and The Issue of Succession

Illness of Ramdhwaj and The Issue of Succession

In 1674 CE, Ramdhwaj Singha fell ill being seized with an attack of dropsy. Debera Borbarua was at Gajpur supervising the arrangements for the consecration ceremony of the Narwa Thakur’s monastery which the king had intended to attend. Hearing about the illness of the king, Debera quickly returned to the capital Garhgaon and then employed expert physicians for the treatment of the king. At that time, most of the prominent nobles, which include Atan Burhagohain and Laluk Sola Borphukan were stationed at Guwahati in order to repel possible Mughal attack from Bengal. Therefore apart from Debera Borbarua, the remaining officers at Garhgaon were of junior ranks, allowing Debera Borbarua to exercise full authority in the Capital. Ramdhwaj Singha’s growing illness compelled him to summon all the nobles present in the Capital to make arrangements for a peaceful succession in the event of his sudden demise. He suggested the names of Kalia Gohain, the son of Udayaditya Singha, and his two younger brothers Narayan Gohain Tipam Raja and Ban Gohain Namrupia Raja as his intended successors. The nobles expressed their willingness to abide by the recommendations of Ramdhwaj Singha. But after coming out of the royal presence, Debera Borbarua decided to oppose the elevation of all the three intended successors of the king as they might prove to be hostile towards him in future. On the other hands, the remaining nobles decided to implement the king’s proposal by placing on the throne his first nominee Kalia Gohain. Debera therefore decided to launch offensive against these officers. He summoned to the king’s chamber all the Phukans and Hazarikas on the pretext of a serious turn to the monarch’s illness, and he killed one by one during the course of one single night, twenty-four Hazarikas and all the Phukans of the Capital Garhgaon. The king came out of the bed, leaning on the person of his senior consort, and asked Debera about what was happening. Debera justified the massacre of the Phukans and Hazarikas by pointing out that they were all enemies of the king, and that he should not therefore feel aggrieved.

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