Death Anniversary of Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma in Meghalaya Date in the current year: December 12, 2024

Death Anniversary of Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma in Meghalaya The death anniversary of Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma, observed annually on December 12, is an official remembrance day in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It commemorates a leader of the Garo people who fought for against the British occupation of Garo Hills.

The state of Meghalaya is situated in northeastern India and bordered by the state of Assam and Bangladesh. It has a diverse population, the majority of which is made up by three ethnic groups: the Khasis, the Garos, and the Jaintias.

The Garos are believed to have migrated to Garo Hills from Tibet around 400 BC. However, the first written record about the Garo people dates back to around 1800. Officials of the East India Company described the Garos as bloodthirsty savages inhabiting hills covered with impenetrable jungle with deadly climate, which made it impossible for white people to live there.

In 1872, the government of the British Raj decided to establish control over the region and dispatched three military expeditions there to surround the Garos from the south, east and west, and to get them cornered.

Despite being outnumbered and outgunned (the British were more numerous and had mortars and guns, whereas the Garos were armed with spears, swords, daggers, shields, and bows and errors), the Garos resisted British conquerors till the last breath. Pa Togan Sangma, also known as Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma or Togan Sangma, was one of their leaders.

In December 1872, British soldiers camped in the village of Matcha Rongkrek (near present-day Chisobibra). Pa Togan Sangma and his warriors attacked the British in the middle of the night while they slept. They managed to kill several British soldiers, but the rest were woken up by the cries of their comrades and retaliated.

In the ensuing Battle of Battle of Rongrenggre, the Garos suffered a heavy loss. Unfortunately, their courage alone wasn’t enough to defeat the British. Pa Togan Sangma and his warriors were defenseless against bullets and died in battle. After winning the battle, the British easily annexed Garo Hills and incorporated the region into Assam.

Following the proclamation of India’s independence in 1947, Garo Hills, along with Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, remained part of Assam for a decade and a half. The three hill regions split from Assam to form the new state of Meghalaya in 1972. The name of the state means “abode of clouds”, referring to its location in the mountains.

Despite the fact that Pa Togan Sangma was unable to protect his lands from the British, the Garos and all Meghalayans consider him a hero because of his courage, dedication and willingness to fight till the last breath. The government of Meghalaya even declared his death anniversary, December 12, an official remembrance day and a state holiday.

Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma’s death anniversary is marked by remembrance ceremonies held at Martyr’s Column in the state capital of Shillong and at the cenotaph built in Togan Sangma’s memory in the village of Chisobibra, where he died protecting his land from the British.

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