Our nation celebrates Seventy Five years of Independence on 15th August this year. There have been several freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives and paved the way forward in the struggle against the British. NE India Broadcast takes a look at the contribution of freedom fighters from Northeast, India.
Kanaklata Baruah :
Kanaklata Baruah of Gohpur in Assam was an active organiser and member of Mrityu Bahini. 18-year-old Kanaklata was shot dead by the British police on 20 September 1942, while she was leading a procession holding the national flag.
Mungri alias Malati Mem :
Mungri alias Malati Mem from Lalmati of Darrang was was one of the leading members of the anti-opium campaign in tea gardens. In 1921, she was killed by government supporters at Lalmati in Darrang district for supporting Congress volunteers in the prohibition campaign.
Dariki Dasi Barua :
Dariki Dasi Barua, Golaghat was actively involved in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was one of the leading members of the anti-opium campaign. She was arrested on February 1, 1932, and jailed for six months for anti-opium picketing. Even though, she was pregnant at the time of imprisonment, she refused to take conditional release from jail. Eventually, she fell sick and died in jail on 26 April 1932.
Kushal Konwar :
Kushal Konwar from Assam was the only martyr who was hanged during the last phase of Quit India Movement of 1942-43. He was implicated in an incident that took place on October 10, 1942. A train carrying British and American soldiers along with military equipment was derailed at the Sarupathar Railway Station in the Golaghat District of Upper Assam. It led to the death of thousands of British and American soldiers.
Bir Tikendrajit of Manipur:
Koireng, popularly known as Bir Tikendrajit, was one of the unforgettable nationalist figures of Manipur, a state in the north-eastern region of India, who laid down his life during India’s struggle for Independence. He was called the “Meitei Nongsha” (Lion of Manipur) as he fearlessly fought against the British. Tikendrajit Singh was born as the fourth son to Maharaja Chandrakriti Singh and Chongtham Chanu Kouseswari Devi on December 29, 1856. After Maharaja Chandrakriti’s death on May 20, 1886, the eldest son of the royal family Surchandra Singh ascended the throne of Manipur. The princes were appointed as heir-apparent, army general and police chief. Later on, Tikendrajit became ‘Senapati’, the general of Manipur army.
Relations between the Manipur Kingdom and the British were peaceful until the death of Maharaja Chandrakiri in 1890 when a power struggle for the throne ignited a civil war. Which was later called 1891 Anglo- Manipur war. Tension began to develop gradually as some misunderstandings crept up among the princes and finally the royal family split up into two factions, one led by Tikendrajit himself and the other by Pakasana. The king remained unaware about the situation and chaos increased to a great extent. According to Tikendrajit, the king was in favour of Pakasana.
He disliked the British protectorate as they expanded their empire by usurpation. So he thought of a plan and made efforts to protect the sovereignty of the state. He was also aware of the fact that the Britishers waited for an opportunity to capture Manipur under their colonial rule.
On September 22, 1890, Tikendrajit along with two other princes Angousan and Jilangamba, revolted against Surchandra Singh and overthrew him. The monarch fled from the palace and took refuge in the residence of the British. Then Kullachandra ascended the throne and Tikendrajit became ‘Jubaraj’, the heir-apparent. This incident is known as ‘Palace Revolt’ in Manipur history.
Later, the former ruler Surchandra Singh, left for Calcutta but informed Tikendrajit that he was on his way to Vrindavan. After reaching Calcutta, he sent a petition to the Government for restoring his throne in Manipur. The matter was taken into consideration and British Viceroy of India Lord Landsdowne then took a decision to retain Kullachandra as the king but removed Tikendrajit from Manipur.
On March 22, 1891, Chief Commissioner J.W. Quinton reached Manipur with a troop of soldiers. A secret plan was arranged to arrest Tikendrajit but the secret got leaked and the plan failed. But their plan was quickly foiled by Manipuri soldiers. Angered, King Kulachandra ordered the beheading of the five British officers on March 24, 1891.
“To save their motherland, the Manipuris fought very bravely under the direction of Tikendrajit. On 27th April, 1891 the British occupied Manipur. Tikendrajit was arrested . On August 13, 1891, the order was announced and at 5 pm in the evening, both Tikendrajit and Thangal General were hanged before the general public at Polo Ground in Imphal. This place was later named as Bir Tikendrajit Park to remember his heroic deeds and celebrates this day Patriot’s Day of Manipur.
Rani Gaidinliu was a Naga spiritual and political leader who led a revolt against British rule in India . She belongs Rongmei tribes. in 1927, at the age of 13, Gaidinliu, along with her cousin Haipou Jadonang, joined the Heraka movement, which aimed at revival of the Naga tribal religion and establish self-rule of the Nagas (Naga Raj) ending the British rule. She was arrested in 1932 when she was just 16, and was sentenced to life imprisonment by the British rulers. Between 1932 and 1947, the Naga freedom fighter was kept at several prisons across the Northeast. The Government of India issued a postal stamp in her honour in 1996, and commemorative coin in 2015.
U KIANG NANGBAH :
U KIANG NANGBAH, who led an uprising against the BRITISH was arrested and hanged publicly at LAWMUSIANG in JOWAI town in the WEST JAINTIA HILLS on DECEMBER 30 of 1862.
At the gallows,the legendary KIANG NANGBAH predicted that his country will would attain freedom within a century if his head turns eastwards after he was hung and to which it deed.
He was highly reverred along with other freedom fighter of the state like U TIROT SINGH, BOR MANIK SYIEM, PHAN NONGLAIT and PA TOGAN SANGMA.
U Tirot Sinh :
U Tirot Sinh was one of the chiefs of the Khasi people in the early 19th century. He drew his lineage from the Syiemlieh clan. He was Syiem (chief) of Nongkhlaw, part of the Khasi Hills. His surname was Syiemlieh. He was a constitutional head sharing corporate authority with his Council, general representatives of the leading clans within his territory. Tirot Sing declared war and fought against British for attempts to take over control of the Khasi Hills.
Initially, the British and Tirot Sing came to an agreement –permission for the road project between Guwahati and Sylhet in lieu of regaining possession of the duars (passes into Assam). But,Balaram Singh, Raja of Ranee, disputed Tirot Sing’s claims to the duars, and went ahead with a party of armed men to establish his claim. When news came that the British were reinforcing forces in Assam, Tirot Sing convened a durbar again and passed orders for the British to evacuate Nongkhlaw. The British did not pay any heed,and the Khasis attacked the British garrison in Nongkhlaw.
In the Anglo-Khasi War, the Khasis lacked firearms and had only swords, shields, bows and arrows. Therefore, they resorted to guerrilla activity, which dragged on for about four years. Tirot Sing was shot at by the British and had to hide in a cave. He was eventually captured by the British in January 1833 and deported to Dhaka. His death anniversary, 17th July, is commemorated every year as a state holiday in Meghalaya.