NONGKHLAW: India s cry for freedom from the British empire began in Meghalaya, years before the first War of Independence took place and a century before Bhagat Singh and others were hanged and long before Mahatma Gandhi arrived on the scene, DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh said today.
After paying floral tribute at the bust of U Tirot Sing here, the birth place of the legendary Khasi tribal ruler who resisted the British army for four long years from 1829-1833, the minister said, "His (U Tirot Sing) contribution happened years before even before the first war of Independence.
'He was also hanged a century before Bhagat Singh and others were hanged," Singh told a gathering of Tirot s clan, villagers and party workers here, about 70 km away from the state capital.
"This is an indication of the fact that India s freedom cry began from Meghalaya long before Gandhi arrived on the scene," he said.
While this legendary ruler of a small Khasi state in remote Meghalaya has already bore the brunt of his resistance to the British s annexation, the awakening in the rest of the country came only after 1857, he said.
Stating that the present Government at the Centre is keen in honouring unsung heroes of freedom struggle, the DoNER Minister said Governments in the past have failed to acknowledge and give him his due.
"That is why we have started the process of honouring such heroes who went unsung in a countrywide celebration which began since August 9 to August 23," Singh said.
Earlier, the sixth generation ruler of Hima Nongkhlaw (hima aka state) P M Syiemlieh also felicitated the DoNER Minister even as he acknowledged the fact that this is the first official recognition made by the Government of India for U Tirot Sing.
U Tirot Sing, U Kiang Nangbah and Pa Togan Sangma were among the three prominent freedom fighters in Meghalaya and whose legendary battles against the British do not find a mention in history text books.