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Tirot Sing

(1802 – 1835) – (Meghalaya)

U Tirot Sing Syiem (Aged 33), also known as Tirot Sing, was a Khasi chief in the early 19th century who drew his lineage from the Syiemlieh clan. He declared war against the British for their attempts to take over control of the Khasi Hills.

Initially, the British and Tirot Sing agreed to a road project between Guwahati and Sylhet instead of regaining possession of the duars (passes into Assam). However, Balaram Singh, the Raja of Ranee, disputed Tirot Sing’s claims to the duars and went ahead with a party of armed men to establish his claim. When news arrived that the British were reinforcing forces in Assam, Tirot Sing convened a durbar again and ordered the British to evacuate Nongkhlaw. The British did not comply, and the Khasis attacked the British garrison in Nongkhlaw.

During the Anglo-Khasi War, the Khasis lacked firearms and had only swords, shields, bows, and arrows. Therefore, they resorted to guerrilla activity, which continued for about four years. Tirot Sing was shot at by the British and had to hide in a cave. He was eventually captured by the British in January 1833 and deported to Dhaka. His death anniversary, 17th July, is commemorated every year as a state holiday in Meghalaya, India.