FRI 30 Jul, 2021

Tribute to U Kiang Nangbah

The Jaintias are a tribal ethnic group from Meghalaya who make up about 18% of the state's population. In the mid-19th century, the Jaintia Kingdom was annexed by the British East India Company to become part of Assam province.

As with the other tribes in the region, British control was resisted by heroes who have been immortalised in a series of public holidays in Meghalaya.

Kiang Nangbah emerged as a freedom fighter for the Jaintias. A peaceful farmer, he was driven to protect his motherland when he saw how the British treated his fellow people, imposed unfair taxation and disrupted their religious traditions.

Nangbah was elected leader of the Jaintia resistance and led attacks on the British. The attacks spread across the Jaintia hills and the British had to call in reinforcements to attempt to subdue the rebellion.

In the end, Nangbah was betrayed by one of his team and captured by the British. He was hanged at Iawmusiang in Jowai town in West Jaintia Hills district on December 30th 1862. 

Standing at the gallows, his last words were said to  be: "If My Face Turns Eastward My Motherland Will Be Liberated After Hundred Years From The Foreign yoke." He was proved right with India gaining its independence from Britain 85 years later.

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