Death Anniversary of U Soso Tham in Meghalaya Date in the current year: December 18, 2024

Death Anniversary of U Soso Tham in Meghalaya The death anniversary of U Soso Tham is an official remembrance day in the Indian state of Meghalaya, observed annually on December 18. It celebrates a famous poet who made a significant contribution to the development of the Khasi language and literature.

Meghalaya is a multi-ethnic state where the Khasis make up about a third of its population. They speak Khasi, an Austroasiatic language related to Khmer and Vietnamese. The number of native Khasi speakers is around one million. Most of them live in Meghalaya, although some can be found in Assam and Bangladesh. In 2005, Khasi was declared an associate official language in Meghalaya.

For a long time, Khasi was an almost exclusively oral language, although some Khasi Syiems (rulers) used the Bengali script to keep official records and write letters to one another. In the early 19th century, a number of Khasi books written in the Bengali script were published thanks to European missionaries. Thomas Jones, a Welsh missionary, developed a Khasi alphabet based on the Latin script in 1841. It is used to this day.

The poet U Soso Tham made a great contribution to the development of the Khasi language and literature. He was born in 1873 into a poor family. Although he received only basic formal education, Soso Tham worked as a school teacher and taught Khasi at a state school.

Soso Tham was the first poet who wrote secular poetry in Khasi, as well as the first person to use Khasi idioms in a form inspired primarily by English poetry. He also translated works of English literature into Khasi; Soso Tham translated his first English poem during a class with his students as a form of classroom activity.

Soso Tham’s major works are the collection of poetry The Golden Harp (Ka Duitara Ksiar) and the long poem The Olden Days of U Hynniew Trep (Ki Sngi Ba Rim U Hynniew Trep). The Golden Harp is the expanded version of the poetry collection entitled Poetry of the Khasi, published in 1925, the first edition of which has not survived to this day.

The Golden Harp comprises 46 poems composed by Soso Tham and 14 translations from English. Today they are part of the school curriculum in Meghalaya. The Olden Days of U Hynniew Trep consists of 181 six-line stanzas divided into ten sections. It tells the story of the Hynniew Trep people, who are considered the ancestors of the seven Khasi tribes.

In addition, Tham translated Aesop’s fables into Khasi. The collection of fables translated by Tham has become the most read book in Khasi. His other translations include The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens and The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Unfortunately, the manuscript of Soso Tham’s translation of The Tempest has been lost.

U Soso Tham died on December 18, 1940. To recognize his contribution to the development of Khasi literature, the government of Meghayala declared his death anniversary an official holiday. It is marked by flower-laying ceremonies at the poet’s monuments held throughout the state. The ceremonies are organized by the state government, educational institutions, and cultural organizations.

Remind me with Google Calendar


Anniversaries and Memorial Days



death anniversary of U Soso Tham, holidays in India, holidays in Meghalaya, regional holidays, Khasi literature