Call to name new Brahmaputra bridge after Ahom Kingdom founder

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Dibrugarh, Dec 12 (IANS) With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to inaugurate the new rail-cum-road bridge over river Brahmaputra at Bogibeel near here on December 25, a demand has come up for naming it after the founder of the erstwhile Ahom Kingdom of Assam, Chaolung Siu-ka-pha.

In a memorandum to Modi on Monday, a copy of which is available with IANS, the Dibrugarh District Committee of the All Assam Ahom Sabha stated that the bridge be named after Siu-ka-pha who it described as “the founder of Bor Axom (composite Assam) or Seven Sisters and the Axomiya society”.

“Siu-ka-pha established a state based on a policy of inclusive co-existence and humanism that eventually led to the formation of a greater Assamese society.

“The successors of Siu-ka-pha followed his path and demonstrated how human diversity can exist and maintain a united stand to withstand and even defeat enemies like the Mughals as in the famous Battle of Saraighat (1671),” it said.

The memorandum also said that the inclusive Ahom state also helped to bring the essence of Indian culture to the heartland of Assam as art, culture and literature flourished.

Describing Siu-ka-pha as an epitome of India’s historical linkages with Southeast Asia, it said that “it would be significant to leverage this linkage towards realisation of the objectives of India’s Act East Policy”.

The memorandum referred to another rail-cum-road bridge over the Brahmaputra at Jogighopa in western Assam that was named after Koch King Naranarayan and stated: “Chaolung Siu-ka-pha, a great unifier and leader, was literally a bridge between people and cultures, and it would be significant to name the new rail-cum-road bridge at Bogibeel as Chaolung Sukapha Swamanyay Setu (Chaolung Sukapha Harmony Bridge).”

Copies of the memorandum have also been forwarded to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal among others.

The demand is the latest in a series of similar such demands made in the run-up to the inauguration of the bridge.

In November, the All Assam Chutiya Students Union demanded that the Bogibeel bridge be named after Chutiya queen Sati Sadhani who ruled the Chutiya Dynasty from 1522 to 1524.

The demand came with the threat that, if it is not met, 100 youths from the community will jump into the Brahmaputra.

There have also been suggestions in social media that the bridge be named either after pioneer of modern Assamese literature Lakshminath Bezbaroa or Assamese cultural icon Jyoti Prasad Agarwala.

While Agarwala was born near Dibrugarh, Bezbaroa died in Dibrugarh.

In August, Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan demanded that the bridge be named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Though then Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda laid the foundation stone of the bridge in 1998, it was Vajpayee who, in 2002, inaugurated the construction of the 4.94-km-long rail-cum-road bridge, the longest such in India.

December 25, the date set for the inauguration of the bridge, also happens to be the 94th birth anniversary of Vajpayee.

–IANS

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