Shillong: The North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) today organized a tribute program on the occasion of the 160th death anniversary of freedom fighter U Kiangbah Nangbah. The event was organized by the NSS Cell of NEHU which is headed by Dr Marbha M Khymdeit.
The event started with the singing of the national anthem and the laying of wreaths on the portrait of U Kiang Nangbah which adorned the entrance of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.
Prof. Shobhan N. Lamare from the Department of History and a noted historian presented a talk on the life and struggles of U Kiang Nangbah in resisting the Raj.
He stated that a lot is not known about the life of this great freedom fighter because the amount of work done lacks the amount of information as most of the knowledge about the life of U Kiang Nangbah is in the oral form passed on from one generation to the next.
In his talk, Prof Lamare also mentioned that “Kiang Nangbah understood very early on that the might of the British Empire was not fully comprehended by the people of his community during those initial years of the freedom struggle, mainly because of their ignorance of the affairs of the world at large.”
He added, “Nangbah rightly felt that the foreigners had no right to disrupt their ways of living, and prevent them from performing their cultural and religious obligations as had been practised so far. He, therefore, chose to revolt against the British occupiers who had very little or almost no regard for the religion, customs and traditions of the Jaintias and their way of life.”
Prof. Prabha Shankar Shukla, the Vice-Chancellor in his remark thanked Prof. Lamare for sharing the knowledge about U Kiang Nanbah with all present. “It was from the local oral tradition that we know that his mother’s name was ka Rimai Nangbah, the only record that we have about his father is again from the British record which Dr Shoban Lamare, who is a Professor in the Department of History in our very own University has salvaged from the archive and published in his book,” the Vice CHancellor added.
He exhorted that “the ignorance about U Kiang Nangbah is a reflection on the Government’s education policy, which has totally neglected the history of the North-East. But now, with the introduction of the New Education Policy, the youth of the nation will actually get to see and learn about these freedom fighters. Nevertheless, this sensitisation has to begin from the school level itself, and that can be made possible only by incorporating the history, culture and traditions of the North-East in social studies textbooks taught across the country.”
Prof. Shukla concluded by stating, “It is the work of historians like Prof. Shobhan Lamare that we hope will contribute to rewrite the history books so that the young generations of our state and nation will know more about these freedom fighters who gave away the beds of feathers and sacrificed their lives for us. We should all be thankful to Prof. Lamare for his work and hope that many more historians come up with their work on the freedom fighters of the state of Meghalaya.”