Manipuri princess Angousana, who later became Tekhao Leima or Queen Kuranganayani saved Ahom kingdom. Ahom history witnessed the devastating experience of the Moamoria Rebellion which was later extinguished by the house of royals and Queen Kuranganayani played the key-role. Without her engagement, it would not have been easy to bring an end to the first phase of the Moamoria revolt.
However, what we know about Kuranganayani or the Borkunwari (chief queen) of Ahom King Rajeswar Singha, is extensively from Dr. Suryakumar Bhuyan’s Swargadev Rajeswar Singha. Still after the first phase of the Moamoria Rebellion, Queen Kuranganayani disappears from the pages of history. Datiyolia Buranji only cites the incident of a Manipuri princess marrying Rajeswar Singha in a village called Manaimaji in 1768. This village is located 4 miles from the Jorhat town in Assam.
The Magolu Khat is the living proof of love and respect of Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha for Manipuri princess Kuranganayani. The Ahom King had established a place named Magalu Khat about four miles west from the Jorhat town. The King set up the Meeteies who came along with the princess Angousana.
Queen Kuranganayani was the daughter of Gourashyam from Meetei Leibak. Ningthou Jai Singh gave her to the Ahom King Swargadeo Rajeswar Singh, also known as Suremphaa. When Angousana, the Manipuri princess became the queen of Ahom. Manipur meant a lot for the Ahom kingdom. It was when Ahom Kingdom was having its golden period and Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha was at his best.
The beauty and charm of Angousana made her achieve a particular place in Rajeswar Singha’s heart as a result of which she was being named as the grand queen (Borkuwari). This bridge that Kuranganayani Kuwori built between Ahom and Meetei Leibak is found to be existed now also.
When Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha was dead in 1769 after being seriously ill for twenty days, his brother Lakhmi Singha became the king and during his reign the Moran attacked and imprisoned Lakhmi Singha in Joydol. Romakanta set in the throne and his brother Ragho took the title of ‘Borbaruah’.
The terror of the Moran rule increased in such a rate that Ragho Borbaruah punished all the higher executives of Ahom kingdom. Buragohain, Borgohain, Borbaruah, Borphukon, Dekaphukon etc all those executives were sentenced to death by Ragho Borbaruah.
Ahom decided to fight back and throw the Morans out of the Assam. Around two hundred people gathered for a meeting in this regard and all of them planned to kill Ragho Borbaruah on the day of Sot Bihu. They decided to go in disguise by pretending to be the Sekoni-kubua dal of Motok and then meet and kill Ragho. After that decision, everybody present in the meting decided to meet Kuranganayani Kuwori and take her advice.
When Ragho Borbaruah married Angousana by force she too played tricks on him. She never let him touch her and for that she avoided sleeping with him at nights. She had a very faithful and obedient servant, named Hunai. It is this Hunai, who replaced Kuranganayani Kuwori by sleeping with Ragho Borbaurah at nights and he could not perceive her as lamps were not being lighted while sleeping. Kekeru Kalita Hazarika,used to know Hunai and with her help he somehow made it to meet Kuranganayani.
How Kuranganayani saved Ahom Kingdom?
On the last day of the Sot month (April-Month), Kuranganayani advised Ragho to pay honor to all and take blesses of the people gathering of Ahom officials at the function. Slipped in Kuranganayani’s tricks, Ragho Borbaruah fall prey to the Ahom officials and got killed on April 11, 1770. She was successful in bringing Lakhmi Singha back to the throne.
After being the king again, Lakhmi Singha even admitted that it was his sister-in-law, Kuranganayani’s help and efforts that made him to gain his rights back. Thus, queen Kuranganayani saved Ahom kingdom. He addressed her to be his royal mother and gifted her all things of Borbaruah’s house.
Princess Angousana with her courage and intelligence snatched away a well deserved victory in Ahom’s side. For her valour and patriotism, Ahom still remember Kuranganayani as the Magolu Kunwari.
Feature photo credit – Jennifer Gelinas
(C) Naorem Mohen
The Writer can be reached at Twitter @laimacha