North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) today commemorated the 151st death anniversary of the illustrious freedom fighter Pa Togan Sangma.
The event, held at the university premises, was chaired by Prof. D K Nayak, the senior-most professor of the university and Vice-Chancellor incharge.
The programme brought together faculty members and students of NEHU to pay tribute to the legacy of Pa Togan Sangma, a revered figure in the freedom struggle.
The ceremony commenced with the laying of a wreath on the portrait of Pa Togan Sangma, symbolising the respect and gratitude towards the freedom fighter.
Prof. D K Nayak, in his address, emphasised the importance of regularly celebrating the lives and struggles of forefathers who fought for the country’s freedom. He stressed that such events serve as reminders for the younger generation about the sacrifices made by their ancestors.
The highlight of the event was a captivating talk presented by Dr. Jacqueline R. Marak from the Department of Garo, North-Eastern Hill University, Tura campus.
Dr. Marak’s lecture provided a deep insight into the life of Pa Togan Sangma. She highlighted the significant role played by the freedom fighters of North-East India, shedding light on their contributions that were not widely known in mainland India until recently.
Dr. Marak recounted the courageous efforts of Pa Togan Sangma during the British occupation of the Garo Hills. She described him as a towering figure among the Garo tribe, leading his community in a direct confrontation with the British forces to safeguard their villages.
She said that Pa Togan Sangma’s leadership during the siege, where Garo warriors armed with traditional weapons confronted the British army, was particularly emphasised.
Dr. Marak vividly portrayed the bravery of the Garo fighters, who, despite lacking sophisticated arms, instilled fear among the British troops through their traditional reputation as valorous headhunters.
The lecture also touched upon the broader context of resistance against colonial oppression in the North-East, with the movement being carried forward by leaders like Sonaram R. Sangma in the late 19th century.
Dr. Marak highlighted Sonaram R. Sangma’s efforts to unite the Garo people, addressing grievances related to land use, resource management, and colonial policies.
The event concluded with a call to continue commemorating the contributions of such freedom fighters, ensuring that their stories inspire future generations and foster a sense of patriotism.