Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma in Meghalaya in 2024

Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma in Meghalaya in 2024
Statue of Pa Togan Nengminza, who led the last stand against the British by the Garos.
  How long until Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma?
Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma
  Dates of Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma in Meghalaya
2025 Fri, Dec 12Regional Holiday
2024 Thu, Dec 12Regional Holiday
2023 Tue, Dec 12Regional Holiday
2022 Mon, Dec 12Regional Holiday
2020 Sat, Dec 12Regional Holiday

Death anniversary of a Garo tribe leader who fought against the British and died in 1872

When is Pa-Togan Nengminza Sangma?

Pa-Togan Nengminza Sangma is a regional public holiday in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya on December 12th each year.

This holiday commemorates a Garo tribe leader who fought against the British on the anniversary of his death in 1872.

History of Pa-Togan Nengminza Sangma

At the height of the British Empire, India was known as the 'Jewel in the Crown'. As with any empire, the control of a region usually comes at a great cost to the indigenous people who might rightly take umbrage at being dragged under the rule of a foreign country.

Look through India's many public holidays and in amongst the religious festivals you will see many of the holidays commemorate those who fought against the imperial invaders - like Pa Togan Nengminza.

As the British advanced into the Garo Hills in Meghalaya, they faced fierce resistance from the local tribes.

Pa Togan Nengminza was a Garo (A-chick) warrior who refused to cave into the British forces who wanted to occupy his homeland. What the Garo warriors lacked in weaponry, they made up for with bravery, with their reputation as headhunters striking fear into the British troops.

In December 1872, the British soldiers made camp in a village called "Matcha Rongkrek" in the Garo Hills.

Pa Togan and his Garo warriors attacked the British soldiers while they slept. Though they struck the first blows, the British quickly roused themselves and retaliated. From that point, it would prove to be a one-sided battle with the swords and spears of the Garo warriors no match for the British guns. The Garos fought to the last man with Pa Togan Nengminza dying during the battle from a barrage of bullets.

Pa Togan and his warriors used huge shields made of plantain stems to stop the bullets as he thought metal would cool as soon as it hit the shields. His statue (pictured above) shows the shield in his left hand.

The British would go on to take control of the region, but the recognition of the bravery of Pa Togan and his sacrifice in his attempt to protect his land and his people has outlasted the British.

On December 12th his death anniversary is commemorated at the cenotaph built in his honour at Chisobibra, where he died.

Pa Togan Sangma is immortalised at the martyr's column in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, where his name is enshrined along with U Tirot Sing and U Kiang Nongbah, two other heroes of the resistance by local tribes and kingdoms against the British.

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