Pa Togan Nengminza Sangma 2024

12 December 2024
Meghalaya    Regional holiday

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. It 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 Indias 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.