To honor the courageous and heroic deeds of the Great General of Assam, Mahabir Chilarai the state observed his 514 birth anniversary as Chilarai Divas in different parts of Assam on Sunday. The All Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AKRSU) held programmes in lower Assam to mark the occasion.
Bir Chilarai-The ‘Kite Prince’ of Assam Bir Chilarai (1510-1571 AD) was a great general of the Koch Royal Dynasty of Assam. By his bravery and heroism, he played a crucial role in expanding the great empire of his elder brother, Maharaja Nara Narayan.
The reign of Maharaja Viswa Singha marked a glorious episode in the history of Assam as he was the founder ruler of the Koch royal dynasty, who newly established his kingdom in 1515 AD. He had many sons but only four of them were remarkable. Shukladhwaj, later known as Bir Chilarai, was his third son. He was born on full moon day and has a very fair complexion so he was addressed by that name.
He along with his elder brother Malla Dev who later known as Naya Narayan attained knowledge about warfare and they were skilled in this art very well during their childhood. For their higher education, they both went to Varanasi and learned several subjects and gained knowledge on literature, Sanskrit, grammar, law, astrology, etc.
After the demise of Maharaja Viswa Singha, his son Malla Dev ascended the throne who was popularly known as Maharaja Nara Narayan. Shukladhwaj (Chilarai) was appointed as an army commander and he supported his brother in extending the kingdom. A brave warrior and an exceptional general, Shukladhwaj was extremely quick in his actions. He came to be known as ‘Chilarai’ as he was swift like the bird chila or the kite in capturing the foes.
In 1562 AD, Nara Narayan crossed the river Brahmaputra and attacked the Ahom Kingdom, and the great general, Chilarai commanded the troops to fight on both land and water. Eventually, Narayan achieved victory.
Nara Narayan defeated Cachar king and after that several kings surrendered in front of him like the king of Manipur. Chilarai too attacked the states of Jayantia, Tripura, and Sylhet. Nara Narayan also defeated King Gourpasha, the ruler of Gour along with Akbar the Mughal emperor. Chilarai seized the entire region of Gour. Later the Gour kingdom was shared between Nara Narayan and Akbar.
During that time, Chilarai’s health started deteriorating as he suffered from the pox. He breathed his last on the banks of River Ganga. Later, Nara Narayan divided his kingdom into two parts namely, Koch Bihar and Koch Hajo. He kept Koch Bihar, the western part under his authority while Koch Hajo, the eastern part was given to Raghudev, the son of Chilarai.
The great General of Assam, Chilarai contributed a lot in building the Koch Kingdom strong. The birth anniversary of the great hero is celebrated every year as Bir Chilarai Divas. From the year 2005, the government of Assam has been conferring Bir Chilarai Award, the highest honor for bravery to individuals. His courageous deed and his heroism shall never be forgotten.