Who was Pa-Togan Nengminja Sangma? Why is December 12 Bank Holiday in Shillong?

Who was Pa-Togan Nengminja Sangma? Why is December 12 Bank Holiday in Shillong?
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Published By: Nibandh Vinod

Last Updated: December 12, 2023, 06:20 IST

Pa Togan statue was erected in Chisobibra, East Garo Hills, Meghalaya.

Pa Togan Sangma also known as Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma belongs to the Garo tribe, and his role in the anti-colonial resistance movement in north eastern India is unforgettable.

Pa Togan Sangma also known as Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma was a freedom fighter from Meghalaya. He belongs to the Garo tribe, and his role in the anti-colonial resistance movement in north eastern India is unforgettable. Along with other Garo warriors, Pa Togan Sangma attacked the British officials while they were sleeping during their occupation of the region. He is considered to be one of the first freedom fighters from Garo hills, Meghalaya.

The State Government of Meghalaya honours him on December 12 every year. The day is observed as a regional public holiday in the remembrance of his courageous stand against British oppression in 1872. The State government organises various events to mark his death anniversary.

Why is Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma a public holiday?

Pa Togan carried out a bold night raid into Matcha Rongkrek in Meghalaya on December 12, 1872. Pa Togan assembled a Garo army to face a formidable British army with ingeniously crafted shields made from plantain stems. Pa Togan was a famous and tactically proficient Garo warrior, but his forces were defeated by the overwhelming British firepower that eventually resulted in his own death.

His physical strength and fighting abilities earned for him the title ‘Garo Goliath’, a term borrowed from the Biblical Philistine giant. It was a heroic sacrifice that embodies the indomitable spirit of revolt against the colonial authority over the north-eastern region.

A statue of Pa Togan was erected in Chisobibra, East Garo Hills, Meghalaya, as a commemoration. The statue acts as a symbol of the Garo warrior’s courage and people come here to offer floral tributes in his memory. The Martyr’s column in Shillong, Meghalaya, also serves as another sacred place for the remembrance of this brave liberation fighter.

How Is Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma Celebrated?

Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma celebration is more than a recognition of history; it entails interacting with the physical monuments set up for him. Visiting such sites not only helps one to connect the history but also to express gratitude to a man whose courage was a beam of hope for the Garo tribe and the entire northeastern region of India.

These memorials keep Pa Togan’s legacy alive, giving future generations the chance to ponder on the sacrifices that were made to achieve freedom and justice.

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