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Tirot Sing Day is observed every July 17 as a regional public holiday by the Indian state of Meghalaya. This festival honors Tirot Singh, a Meghalayan freedom fighter who led a struggle against the British in the 1800s. There are several holidays devoted to heroic local tribal leaders who resisted the British colonization of their territory during this period, among other numerous religious and tribal festivals in the northeastern states of India. U Tirot Sing was one of the greatest of these heroic warriors.

History of Tirot Sing Day

Tirot Sing – also called U Tirot Sing Syiem — was a chief of the Khasi people in the early 1800s. He was born in 1802 and died in 1835. His ancestors were from the Syiemlieh clan. He was a ‘Syiem’ (chief) of Nongkhlaw, a village in the Khasi Hills. He was a constitutional ruler who shared corporate responsibility with his council, which consisted of delegates from the region’s most powerful clans.

Tirot Sing waged war against the British and attacked them for attempting to take possession of the Khasi Hills. The British claimed authority over the Brahmaputra Valley in 1826. They sought to connect it to the Surma Valley by building a road through the Khasi Hills.

David Scott, representing the British, asked Tirot Sing, the Khasi chief, for approval to build the road, promising Sing that he would retain the sovereignty of his province and be able to trade freely. Sing, however, was disturbed when he learned that the British had been reinforcing their garrisons in the region, as he was suspicious of the British’s true intentions. He then served the British with a notice to evacuate the region, which they ignored.

Tirot Sing was determined to push the British out of the Khasi hills, and in April 1829, hundreds of his warriors attacked a British stronghold, sparking the four-year Anglo-Khasi war. Given the Khasi’s lack of equipment and the fact that they were massively outnumbered, Tirot Sing and his men’s bravery in mounting a four-year resistance is a testament to their valor. Tirot Sing was eventually apprehended by the British and sent to Dhaka, where he died in prison on July 17, 1835.

Tirot Sing Day timeline

Tirot Sing is Born

Freedom fighter, Tirot Sing, is born.

The War Begins

Tirot Sing leads an attack on a British garrison on April 4.

Tirot Sing is Captured

Sing is captured and sent to prison in January.

Tirot Sing Dies

On July 17, Sing dies in Dhaka prison.

Tirot Sing Day FAQs

What was U Tirot Sing's final message?

“It is better to die an independent king than to reign as a vassal.” These were the iconic words of U Tirot Sing, who chose to stand up to the British might and gave his life to maintain his region’s sovereignty.

Who is Meghalaya’s first freedom fighter?

U Kiang Nangbah was a Meghalayan freedom fighter who led a revolt against the British in the 1860s. Historians believe he was born before the British annexed the Jaintia hills in 1835, although little is known about his early life.

When did the British rule in India begin?

The British Raj was the name given to the period of British sovereignty over the Indian subcontinent, which lasted from 1858 to 1947. When the East India Company’s sovereignty was handed to the Crown (Queen Victoria) in 1858, the system of government was established.

How to Observe Tirot Sing Day

  1. Be courageous

    More than a hundred years after his death, Tirot Sing continues to be remembered and celebrated as a hero of the people. Follow his example and show courage and willingness to stand for what you believe in.

  2. Celebrate freedom fighters

    Honor the memory of brave freedom fighters who put their lives on the line for their people. Learn about the stories of countless leaders who stood against staggering odds in defiance of oppression.

  3. Learn more about Tirot Sing

    This observance celebrates the life of one of northeastern India’s most celebrated freedom fighters. Learn more about his story and the region he died to protect.

5 Interesting Facts About Tirot Sing

  1. Tirot was a chief

    U Tirot Sing was a Khasi chief.

  2. Fearless

    The Khasi people used spears, swords, and other traditional weapons to fight the British armies who had firearms.

  3. The bigtime

    Tirot Sing has an animated movie made about him titled “U Syiem.”

  4. 187 years

    Tirot Sing died 187 years ago.

  5. One of the best

    He is widely regarded as one of northeastern India’s greatest freedom fighters.

Why Tirot Sing Day is Important

  1. Standing for freedom

    Tirot Sing is a symbol of man’s quest to live in a world free of oppression. He was willing to sacrifice everything to preserve the freedom of his people.

  2. Bravery in the face of danger

    Despite being outgunned and outnumbered, Sing’s men managed to keep the British soldiers worried for four years. They used guerilla warfare to torment their better-equipped adversaries.

  3. Inspiration for future generations

    The story of Tirot Sing will be passed down through generations and will inspire new generations to put their heart into their beliefs. This will in turn inspire new freedom fighters in the quest for justice.

Tirot Sing Day dates

2024July 17Wednesday
2025July 17Thursday
2026July 17Friday
2027July 17Saturday
2028July 17Monday

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