U Kiang Nangbah

The northeastern state of Meghalaya commemorated the 160th death anniversary of U Kiang Nagbah on December 30, 2022.

Who is U Kiang Nagbah?

  • U Kiang Nangbah is an Indian freedom fighter from Meghalaya, famed for leading an uprising against the British colonial government.
  • He was hanged publicly by the British on December 30, 1862, in Jowai town in the West Jaintia Hills district.
  • He started the revolt against the British when Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills region was not part of India.
  • Kiang Nangbah belonged to the Jaintia tribal ethnic community.
  • He was a farmer who went on to become one of the leaders of the resistance movement against the British India.
  • His popularity led him to become the leader of the resistance movement of the Jaintias.
  • He led military-style attacks against the British. These attacks were so powerful that they threatened to topple the British colonial powers.
  • However, he was captured and hanged by the British due to the betrayal of one of his own people.

Why did Jaintias start a resistance movement against the British?

In the year 1860, income tax were levied along with the house tax. There were also concerns regarding additional taxes being levied on betel and betel nuts. These taxes created a widespread financial burden amongst the Jaintias. This triggered an uprising in 1862.

The Jaintias’ rebellion was led by U Kiang Nongbah. In the first rebellion, the identity of U Kiang Nongbah remained anonymous and this avoided his incarceration. He became famed for his efficient organizational capabilities. He coordinated  all the rebellion activities, including making contacts with the Dolois and Sirdars, without causing any suspicion.

However, superior capabilities of the British forces defeated the rebellion group led by U Kiang Nongbah. This resulted in hundreds of Jaintias losing their lives and U Kiang Nongbah being betrayed.




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