Monday, 24 August 2015

U Tirot Sing.............India's Unsung Hero.

*      U Tirot Sing, was one of the Khasi chiefs in the 18th century drew his lineage from the Syiemlieh clan. He was Syiem (chief) of Nongkhlaw, part of the Khasi Hills. He shared authority with his council, representatives of leading clans within his territory. He fought against the British to prevent them from taking over control of the Khasi Hills. 

*   The British gained control of the Brahmaputra valley after concluding the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826. They wanted to construct a road through this area to connect Guwahati with Sylhet to save weeks of travel. David Scott, the agent of the British Governor-General for the Northern Territory, found that U Tirot Sing wanted to regain the duars (passes into Assam) in return for the permission for the road project. 

*   But when the news came that the British were deploying forces in Assam, U Tirot Sing convened a Durbar and passed orders for the British to evacuate Nongkhlaw. The British refused and the Khasis attacked the British garrison in Nongkhlaw in April 1829 and killed two British officers thus inviting the British retaliation against U Tirot Sing and other Khasi chiefs. In the Anglo- Khasi Wars the Khasis lacked firearms and fought with swords, shields, bows and arrows. Unable to engage the British in open battle,the Khasis resorted to guerilla warfare that  dragged on for about four years. 

*      U Tirot Sing fought with with native weapons such as a sword and shield. He was shot at by the British and hid in a cave, but was eventually captured by the British in January 1833 and deported to Dhaka. The location of his hiding place was given by a Khasi chief who was bribed with gold coins by the British. He died on 17 July 1835. His death anniversary is commemorated every year as a state holiday in Meghalaya.

*      Only a few Indians outside the North-East know about this great hero of India's freedom struggle. It's high time he gets his due recognition. 

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