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U TIROT SING SYIEM, the Syiem (Chief) of Hima (state) Nongkhlaw, one of the twenty five Khasi states, is one of the greatest and the first personalities to challenge the British in Northeast India. In his attempt to prevent the Khasi Hills from falling into the colonial hands, U Tirot Sing fought armed struggle against the British. He could not match the Colonial forces in the war and was captured on being defeated. He died in captivity in Dhaka on 17th July 1835.

MANIRAM DEWAN was among the few who fought against the British in the initial years of their rule in northeast India. Encouraged with the development of the Revolt of 1857 in other parts of India, Maniram Dewan along with other activists, among them Peali Baruah was prominent, fought against the British in Assam. He wanted the restoration of the Ahom rule in Assam, like the Mughal rule in other parts of India, as the restoration of the pre-British rule of law. Finally the two were arrested and publically hanged on 26th February 1858.

U KIANG NANGBAH, unlike most other personalities of the region, had a common people background. However, his patriotism for Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya is exemplary. His organizing skill, leadership qualities and commandership of armed struggle of the Jaintia people against the British occupation between 1860-63, is unparallel in the history of Northeast India. U Kiang Nangbah was brought to trial (mock) on 30th December 1862 around 2 p.m. and was executed at 5 p.m. in presence of the villagers at Iawmusiang Jowai.

PA TOGAN NENGMINZA SANGMA was a brave Garo warrior of Meghalaya. Being a well built person, he is often compared to the Philistine warrior Goliath. The British on their expansionist mission entered into a Garo village Match Rongkrek in 1872. This policy of the British was resented by Pa Togan Sangma along with others and the British forces were attacked. However, the technologically far superior British caused heavy damage to the Garo warriors and Pa Togan N. Sangma died on the spot, succumbing to a barrage of bullets on 12th December.

PAONA BRAJABASHI, a fearless freedom fighter from Manipur, fought against the British power in Manipur. His contributions and supreme sacrifice in the Battle of Khongjom in 1891 is exemplary. This battle is regarded as one of the fiercest battles in the annals of British occupation of India. He is truly a legendary patriot and role model.

SONARAM RONGROKGRE SANGMA (b.1869) was the first politician and a non violent leader among the Garo community Meghalaya. Other heroes of the freedom struggle from the North East India are famous for their undaunted courage and stubborn resistance through armed encounters and historic battles. Sonaram R. Sangma fought against the British policy of land, forest and labour, the zamindars and the Bijni state.

HAIPOU JADONANG was a Naga leader from Manipur who started the movement to free Zeliagrong area from British rule. His movement was not only against the British rule but also to popularize the following of the traditional faith of the people. The significance of Bhuban Cave is a symbol of one of his everlasting contributions. Worried by his growing influence among the people beyond the ethnic and geographical boundaries, the British arrested him on 29th February 1931 and executed on 29th August.

Prof. Amrendra Kumar Thakur,
North-Eastern Hill University,
Shillong, Meghalaya.


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