The Ahoms: A Reimagined History Review

It is very rare to find a book on Indian history within the West that has not been published fifty or sixty years ago, and to find a book on Assam and more specifically the Ahoms, who ruled Assam for six hundred years, is even rarer.

Consequently, when I was told about Arup Kumar Dutta’s book The Ahoms: A Reimagined History, I was thrilled. A book that looked at the history of the Ahom dynasty from a new perspective and added in storytelling elements to boot? Count me in.


Before I venture into my review, a little bit of background on the Ahoms.

The Ahom dynasty originated in Yunnan, China, and claimed descent from Lengdon, the God of Thunder in Shan mythology. In the early 13th century, Sukapha, an Ahom Prince ventured out from Yunnan and travelled down a known pathway landing in Assam in 1228. Settling down in Assam, Sukapha established a dynasty that would go onto rule Assam until the late 1820s.

They are one of the longest ruling dynasties in Indian history and they helped shape modern Assam.

If you want to learn more about them, buy Mr Dutta’s book on Amazon, or check out my YouTube series on them .

The Book

As for the book itself, well, where to start?

Beginning with Sukapha’s legendary beginnings and journey toward Assam, Dutta immediately captures the reader’s attention by fleshing out the main protagonist and ensuring that you feel something for him.

Even though we know the end result, it is still a nervous journey, reading through the trials and tribulations that the great man endured to make his dream a reality.

From there, across 400 pages, Dutta takes the reader through a journey of soaring highs, and crushing lows.

We see legendary figures like Lachit Barphukan, Atan Burhagohain and Nang Mula brought to life and see how they worked with the Ahom Kings to make their dreams a reality.

We learn about the foibles and intricacies that went into shaping Ahom Kings such as Sudangphaa, Suhungmung and Rudra Singha.

Across the pages, we get the sense of people who achieved great things, and who were aware of the grave legacy they’d been left, and the struggles they had with that legacy.

As the time comes for the end of the dynasty, Dutta conveys the drama, the heartbreak, the hope and then the crushing defeat that spanned not just a few days, but almost half a century. That he does this across a few hundred pages is a magical achievement.

Concluding thoughts

Dutta has captured the essence of the Ahom dynasty.

Their great deeds, their bad deeds, their flare and their drama.

He brought them to life, enabling me to visualise their appearance and their voice.

He made me want to read and write more about them.

If you’re a fan of history, make sure you buy this book!

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