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 U Tirot Sing

After concluding the treaty of Yandabu in 1826, the British had control over the Brahmaputra Valley. They had already occupied the Surma valley by becoming “Diwan” of Bengal in 1765. Now the British wanted a strategic road to link up these two valleys under their occupation. The construction of this strategic road was possible only through the Khasi Hills. The Khasi Hills were also considered suitable for setting up sanatoria cantonment. The political agent of the British, David Scott approached U Tirot Sing, the king of Khadsawphra Syiemship for construction of the road project through his kingdom. David Scott promised U Tirot Sing that if the project was agreed upon, U Tirot Sing would be allowed complete control over Bordwar and that free trade would flourish along the proposed road.   

U Tirot Sing convened a session of his Durbar in which, after debating for two days and two nights, consented to the proposal. Soon a British garrison with labourers to construct the road was posted at Nongkhlaw. News came that the British army at Guwahati and Sylhet had been reinforced. U Tirot Sing sensed the ulterior motive of the British to ultimately grab the entire hill territory. Alarmed by the eventuality, U Tirot Sing served a notice to the British to quit Nongkhlaw, but the British did not pay any heed.

Tirot Sing resolved to drive out the British from the Khasi hills and on the 2nd of April 1829, hundreds of men attacked a British garrison. Most of the British soldiers were killed and thus started the Anglo – Khasi war. However, ill equipped and vastly outnumbered, Tirot Sing and his small albeit courageous army could not endure the might of the all powerful British army. Tirot Sing was finally captured by the British and deported to Dhaka where he finally died on the 17th of July 1835.