North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) today organized a tribute programme on the occasion of the 160th death anniversary of freedom fighter U Kiang Nangbah.
The event was organized by the NSS Cell of NEHU, which is headed by Marbha M Khymdeit.
The event started with the singing of the National Anthem and laying of the wreath at the portrait of U Kiang Nangbah that adorns the entrance of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.
Prof Shobhan N Lamare from the Department of History presented a talk on the life and struggle of U Kiang Nangbah in resisting the British. He stated that a lot is not known about the life of this great freedom fighter because much knowledge was passed down orally and was not written down in the Khasi-Jaintia society of the 19th century.
Lamare also mentioned that “Kiang Nangbah understood very early on that the might of the British Empire was not fully comprehended by the people of his community during those initial years of the freedom struggle, mainly because of their ignorance of the affairs of the world at large. Nangbah rightly felt that the foreigners had no right to disrupt their ways of living and prevent them from performing their cultural and religious obligations as had been practised so far.”
He therefore chose to revolt against the British occupiers who had very little or almost no regard for the religion, customs and traditions of the Jaintias and their way of life, Lamare added.
NEHU Vice-Chancellor PS Shukla remaked that Lamare had found out the names of U Kiang Nangbah’s parents. His mother was Rimai Nangbah, while his father’s name was only recorded as U Phet in the British records, with no mention of his clan name.
“The ignorance about U Kiang Nangbah is a reflection on the [past] governments’ education policy, which has totally neglected the history of the North East,” Shukla said. “But now, with the introduction of the New Education Policy, the youth of the nation will actually get to see and learn about these freedom fighters. Nevertheless, this sensitisation has to begin from the school level itself and that can be made possible only by incorporating the history, culture and traditions of the North East in social studies textbooks taught across the country.”