July 17, 2018:
Although he may be unknown to the rest of the country and no street or corner is named after him in the National capital, U Tirot Sing Syiem is one of the greatest freedom fighters to hail from the Northeast. The patriotic valour of Tirot Sing, as he is more commonly known, is unmatched in the history of the sub-continent’s struggle against colonialism.
In the attempt to prevent the Khasi Hills from falling into colonial hands, Tirot Sing, a Khasi chief, raised the battle cry against the invasive British forces on April 4, 1829, but was eventually captured and defeated. He died in captivity in Dhaka on July 17, 1835.
#1. U Tirot Sing, was one of the chiefs of the Khasi people in the early 18th century. He drew his lineage from the Syiemlieh clan. He was Syiem (chief) of Nongkhlaw, part of the Khasi Hills. His surname was Syiem.
#2. He was a constitutional head sharing corporate authority with his Council, generally representatives of leading clans within his territory. Tirot Sing fought against British attempts to take over control of the Khasi Hills.
#3. He is so famous in Meghalaya that a CGI animated movie by the name ‘U Syiem’ was made on him. The animation portrayed a young king from the land of the Hynniewtrep who fought against an Empire so vast that many neighboring kingdoms surrendered but he fought back using guerrilla warfare and became an “Immortal Warrior”!
#4. Every year the state of Meghalaya commemorates his death anniversary, which falls on the 17th of July every year. This year it will be the 180th death anniversary of Tirot Sing.
#5. He has many books published under his name. He is labelled as the greatest freedom fighter from the Northeast.