U Kiang Nangbah Day in Meghalaya Date in the current year: December 30, 2024

U Kiang Nangbah Day in Meghalaya U Kiang Nangbah Day is an official holiday celebrated in the Indian state of Meghalaya on December 30. It honors a renowned freedom fighter who led an uprising against the British in Jaintia Hills in the mid-19th century.

U Kiang Nangbah belonged to the Pnar people, also known as Jaintia, native to Jaintia Hills. The Jaintia Kingdom, situated in the present-day state of Meghalaya (India) and Sylhet Division (Bangladesh), was founded circa 500 AD. Due to its remote mountain location, the kingdom managed to retain relative autonomy even when it was conquered by the Mughal Empire.

The British first came into contact with the Jaintia people in 1765, upon gaining control over Bengal. They sent their first expedition to Jaintia Hills in 1774. The Jaintians weren’t particularly happy with this interference, which resulted in a conflict between the British East India Company and the Jaintia Kingdom. The conflict was exacerbated by the tradition of human sacrifice practiced by some Jaintians, who kidnapped British subjects to sacrifice them at temples.

After a series of conflicts and failed negotiations, the British annexed the Jaintia Kingdom in 1835. For the next two decades, the British did not interfere in the internal affairs of the kingdom. The situation began to change in the late 1850s, when the British authorities began to tax the Jaintians and tried to ban some of their centuries-old traditions and religious rituals.

In 1860, the British introduced a house tax and an income tax. Those who could not afford to pay the house tax or refused to pay it on principle were forcibly evicted from their houses. Of course, the new taxes and the interference in their daily life and religious rituals angered the locals, and the Jaintians rebelled against the British.

U Kiang Nangbah, a young peasant from Jowai, became the leader of the rebels. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but it is believed that he was still a child when the Jaintia Kingdom was annexed by the British, which makes him a young man at the time of the uprising.

U Kiang Nangbah organized several successful raids against the British, causing them to call for reinforcements in order to suppress the revolt. The rebellion owed much of its initial success to U Kiang Nangbah’s skill in hiding рis identity from the British. Since they did not know who was leading the rebels, they could not predict his next move.

Sadly, one of U Kiang Nangbah’s men turned out to be a traitor and revealed his identity to the British for a reward of 1,000 rupees. As a result, the British captured U Kiang Nangbah on December 27, 1862 and offered him a choice between public surrender and death. He chose to die and was hanged in Jowai on December 30.

Megahalyans consider U Kiang Nangbah one of their national heroes, so it is not surprising that the government of Meghalaya declared his death anniversary an official holiday. U Kiang Nangbah Day is marked by remembrance ceremonies held across the state. In 2001, the government of India issued a commemorative postage stamp dedicated to U Kiang Nangbah.

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