Why is December 12 Bank Holiday in Meghalaya?

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Pa-Togan Nengminja Sangma: Pa Togan Sangma, also known as Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma, is a bank holiday in Meghalaya. It is marked every year on December 12. The day commemorates the efforts of the Garo tribe and their leader Togan Sangma during the British occupation in 1872. People who visit Chiso Bibra, East Garo Hills in Meghalaya can witness a statue built in memory of the Garo leader.

It is a day to remember the Garo warriors, who were ill-equipped and suffered huge losses but showed bravery, loyalty, and unity for their tribe and for the country.

Pa-Togan Nengminja Sangma: History

The British Empire garrisoned the Jaintia kingdom in 1835. They called Northeastern India the “Scotland of the East.” An uprising among the locals ensued and at its head was freedom fighter U Kiang Nangbah. However, the movement was unsuccessful due to powerful counterattack by the Britishers. The Garo Hills were now at the mercy of the British.

31 years later, in 1866, Lt. W.J. Williamson, Assistant Commissioner to The Hills, had occupied half the district under British rule. Extreme measures were taken to occupy the Garo Hills by 1872. During this, the British soldiers experienced great resistance from the local tribes. Out of this, Garo leader Pa-Togan Negminza Sangma played the most significant part. He refused to bend the knee to the imperial forces.

In December of the same year, the British soldiers established a camp in Matcha Rongkrek in the Garo Hills. Togan Sangma and the rest of his tribe planned an attack when the Britishers were asleep. Yet the Garo tribe was no match against the British army’s guns. Till their last breaths, the Garo soldiers fought fiercely, and Togan Sangma, the last man standing, was killed as bullets rained over him. December 12 marks his death anniversary.

This heroic attempt, Togan Sangma’s bravery and patriotism have been immortalized along with fellow Garo soldiers U Tirot Sing and U Kiang Nangbah in Meghalaya.

Pa-Togan Nengminja Sangma: Significance

Togan Sangma is not just a military icon but an inspiration for all of India. His bravery set a precedent for generations to follow. It is a reminder of the importance of standing up for your people and your country. Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma is also a day of patriotism. People of Meghalaya celebrate the immortality of those who sacrificed their lives for their country. It is a reminder to stand for unity and loyalty.

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