Birangana Sati Sadhani
Birangana Sati Sadhani

Birangana Sati Sadhani: The Legendary Warrior Queen of Assam

Unveiling the Courage and Legacy of Assam's Fearless Heroine

21 April is celebrated as Sati Sadhani Divas to honor the sacrifices made by the Chutia Queen.

Sati Sadhani:

  • Born in Sadiya in 1493, she was the daughter of Dhirnarayan (King Dharmadhwajpal), the first Chutiya king to reign in the first part of the sixteenth century and Queen Srikanti.

  • The chief queen of the Chutyias in 1523 was called Bor Konwari or Nang Lung in the Ahom Buranjis. 

  • She was named Sadhani because she was born to the King following many years of "insistent prayers," or sadhana, to the tutelary deity, Kubera.

  • After a few years, the King's sadhana also produced a son, who was given the name Sadhaknarayan.

  • In "accordance with the King's promise to marry off his daughter to anyone who could kill a squirrel with an arrow," Princess Sadhani was wed to a commoner known as samanya in the Buranjis. 

  • Following his coronation, Sadhani's husband adopted the name Nityapal, also known as Nitipal.

Chutiya Kingdom:

The territory of the Chutiya kingdom extended from river Sisi, a tributary of Subansiri on the west to Brahmakunda on the east, and on the north, it was bounded by the hills while river Burhi Dihing formed its southern boundary.

The Kingdom during Nitipal’s rule:

Inefficient Rule of Nitipal:

  • Historians describe Nitipal as an inefficient ruler lacking the skills necessary to govern a kingdom effectively.

  • He dismissed experienced ministers and appointed his own inexperienced friends from his village, leading to a decline in governance quality.

Rebellion of Former Ministers:

  • The dismissal of experienced ministers led to rebellion, led by Surdhwajpal, the brother of the former king.

  • Although the rebellion was crushed, it resulted in widespread chaos and anarchy across the kingdom.

Independence of Chutia Chiefs:

  • The chaos and weakening of central authority allowed Chutia Chiefs from other regions to assert their independence, further destabilizing the kingdom.

  • Sadiya, under Nitipal's rule, became isolated and lost contact with other Chutia Chiefs.

Isolation of Sadiya:

  • Sadiya, a key region of the Chutia Kingdom, became isolated and disconnected from the rest of the kingdom due to Nitipal's ineffective governance.

  • This isolation left Sadiya vulnerable to external threats, such as the Ahom invasion.

Ahom Attack on the Chutia Kingdom (1524):

  • Exploitation of Weak Leadership: The Ahoms seized the opportunity presented by Nityapal's weak leadership to launch an attack on the Chutia Kingdom.

  • Sadiya Attack: Occurred on the first wednesday of Chutia Bisu/Bihu, specifically on 16 April 1524, at Sadiya.

  • Forced Retreat of Chutia Royalty: The sudden attack compelled the Chutia king, queen, and surviving soldiers to retreat to the hills above Sadiya for safety.

  • Employment of Guerrilla Warfare: Chutia forces employed guerrilla warfare tactics, utilizing faakdhenu (crossbows) and spears in defense.

  • Formation of Female Fighting Squad: Sadhani organized a female fighting squad consisting of 120 warriors, contributing to the defense efforts. They assisted the Army by rolling boulders onto the enemy below.

  • Deception Using Drumming: Ahom General Phrasengmung Borgohain deceived the Chutia Army by ordering captives to play the Bisu drum or dhol, leading them to believe reinforcements had arrived.

  • Betrayal by Former Minister: A former Chutia minister who had been removed by Nityapal sided with the Ahoms, aiding in the deception.

  • Betrayal by Former Commander: Gajraj Borua, a former Chutia commander, betrayed his people by guiding the Ahoms to the king's hideout.

  • Death of the Chutia King: The Chutia king was attacked and killed by an arrow during the Ahom assault.

Sacrifice of Sadhani: 

  • Padma Nath Gohain Baruah in Assam Buranji mentions  that Sadhani, refusing to marry Sadiyakhowa Gohain and choosing death over dishonor, sacrificed her life by jumping from Chandragiri Hills near Sadiya in 1524.

  • Satsori Asom Buranji mentioned that the “King was killed, his corpse was laid down in a nearby stream and his chief queen was captured.”

  • Even Deodhani Asom Buranji claims that the Ahoms had beheaded the Chuitya Queen Sadhani like her husband Nitipal.

Sati Sadhani Award:

  • The Chutia Jati Unnayan Parishad established the Sati Sadhani Award.

  • The recipient of the award is someone who has distinguished themselves in the fields of literature, art, and culture.

  • A committee established by the Parishad selects the honoree.

Inspiration for Generations:

Sati Sadhani's story has transcended time and place, inspiring not only Assamese people but also others beyond Assam. Her bravery and dedication have left a profound impact, resonating with individuals for centuries.

Symbol of Strength and Courage:

  • Sati Sadhani has emerged as a symbol of strength and courage, particularly for women.

  • During the Ahom attack on Chutiya Kingdom(1524), Sadhani organized a female fighting squad consisting of 120 warriors, contributing to the defense efforts. They assisted the Army by rolling boulders onto the enemy below.

  • Her story serves as an inspiration for women to assert their rights and uphold their honor.

Reminder of Values:

  • After death of the Chutia King, Sadhani, refused to marry Sadiyakhowa Gohain and choose to die over dishonor, sacrificed her life by jumping from Chandragiri Hills near Sadiya in 1524.

  • Her legacy exemplifies the power of these values to shape history and inspire future generations.

Depiction in Art:

  • Various art forms, including drama, have portrayed Sati Sadhani's life.

  • "Sadhani," a drama by 20th-century Assamese writer Padmanath Gohain Baruah, is one notable example.

Birangana Sati Sadhani Divas:

  • An annual day of commemoration dedicated to honoring Sati Sadhani's life and legacy.

  • Celebrated on 21 April to recognize her exemplary courage, devotion, and sacrifice.

  • Birangana Sati Sadhani Divas serves as a reminder of the enduring importance of courage, devotion, and sacrifice in our lives.


We have come across several brave historical figures in India, such as Rani Padmini or

Padmavati, Harka Bai or Jodha Bai, Hadi Rani, Naika Bai, and Rani Durgavati, who are revered both in popular culture and beyond for their bravery and selflessness.

In contrast to the aforementioned queens, Queen Sadhani is not as well-known or honored for the enormous sacrifice she made on behalf of her people and country. She was barely mentioned in textbooks and popular culture across several boards.  Queen Sadhani was aptly dubbed "Birangana" by her tribesmen, since she was a true symbol of selflessness, bravery, courage, independence, and dignity.

Advait IAS