South West Garo Hills District

Government of Meghalaya

History : Ampati since 1899 AD

In 1899 A.D. five families of Boldakgre converted to Christianity and Baptized by Dr. E.G. Phillips, American Baptist Missionary. After conversion finding difficulties to live among the non-Christian and facing hardships in jhum cultivation the five families of converts decided to leave Boldakgre once and for all. On learning that some uncultivated and uninhabited lands are lying under the A·king land of Dalbotpara and Chelipara they left their native place and came to settle under the Dalbotpara A·king land. The five families of converts are

Babang Marak Dongme G. Sangma
Ringran Sangma - Rimchi Sangma
Mibal Sangma - Sangre G. Sangma
Diron Marak - Okgil G. Sangma
Birin M. Marak - Nuchong Sangma

These five families were first settlers of present Ampati. They first settled near Daban Bheel beside the plate rock which is called "Ampatchi" meaning mat for drying paddy and from the word "Ampatchi" the place's name became "Ampati".

There is a legend that the plate rock was used by some legendary inhabitants for drying paddy. It is said that once one Elephant ate the paddy from that rock and the elephant was chased away by one "Matgrik" and it was killed with only single blow at a place and now the elephant has turned into a stone and that place was called "Hatisil" means "Hati" elephant "sil" means stone. Both the plate rock and the rock which look like an elephant can still be seen at Chigitchakgre and Hatisil respectively.

The five new settlers of Ampati excavated paddy fields near present Ampati (but living on the other side of the Daru river it is difficult for them to cross every now and then for tilling their lands. So they have started collecting materials and sites for construction of houses at present Ampati. At first Dinggan Gaakpa Nokma and Maharis of Chillipara refused to let them settle at their proposed place, and the materials like bamboo, log, etc. collected for construction of houses were destroyed by them. But by careful manipulation of Babang A. Marak, and repeated requests by others they were allowed to settle at present Ampati. Since then their descendants are settling at present Ampati.

After settling permanently, those settlers felt that a School was necessary for their children and their grandchildren and with the aid of "Baptist Mission" a school was established in 1903 with Jatong Ch. Marak as Pondit. With the increased in conversion to Christianity the Christian members increased, and Ampati was converted to the status of Church, on 5th February 1927. The Church was inaugurated on 26-27 February 1927 with the blessing of Rev. R.H.E. Wing, Rev. Rujeng Arengh, Rev. Tokan Sangma, Asian D. Shira, Pastor.

The spread of the missionary zeal of the people in the area was awarded with the value of education, and by that time one Garo youth by the name of Gracesh G. Sangma, son of Choetsing D. Sangma, the first among the Garos of the area went to study Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) at Serampore College, which inspired for the opening M.E. School. Unfortunately Gracesh G. Sangma, who was serving in Royal Air Force died prematurely in 1946 after a brief illness while he was on leave. Inspired by Gracesh Sangma, Noho B. Sangma of Darugre convened a meeting of elders and resolved for opening M.E. School at Ampati. Consequently in 1947 an Upper Primary School was established with Noho B.Sangma, as headmaster. The School was stopped for some time in the beginning of 1948 due to some controversial matters between the headmaster Judson Sangma and students. After convening a meeting the village elders decided to appoint a new Headmaster, and from among the contenders Shri Nolidi S. Daring was persuaded to serve as Headmaster. Since 1947 to present day the school is still functioning for more than 60 years.

After eleven years of establishment of M.E. School at Ampati opening of H.E. School was materialized with Mr. Nolidi S. Daring as President and Noho B. Sangma, Secretary of the Managing Committee of School, in 1960. The H.E. School was first functioned in Ampati Baptist Church Building. The H.E. School was provincialized in 1-9-1988.

After declaration of Statehood to Meghalaya, the first Chief Minister Capt. W.A. Sangma, in his August visit to the General Conference of Garo National Council in 1947 promised to create a Civil Sub-Division for administrative convenience and public of the area in general, to the memorandum submitted by the primary center of GNC. The demand was immediately fulfilled by creating and Administrative Unit was formally declared open, by Shri Sanford Marak, Hon'ble Minister of Health on 14-8-1976. The Administrative Unit was upgraded to civil sub-division of 15-10-1982 and its Headquarter was shifted to Ampati on 18-7-1987.

According to another such oral tradition, the Garos first came to Meghalaya from Tibet about 400 (BC) years ago under the leadership of Jappa-Jalimpa, crossing the Brahmaputra River and tentatively settling in the river valley. It is said that they were later driven up into the hills by other groups in and around the Brahmaputra River. Various records of the tribe by invading Mughal armies and by British observers in what is now Bangladesh wrote of the brutality of the people.

The earliest written records about the Garo dates from around 1800. They "...were looked upon as bloodthirsty savages, who inhabited a tract of hills covered with almost impenetrable jungle, the climate of which was considered so deadly as to make it impossible for a white man to live there" (Playfair 1909: 76-77). The Garos had the reputation of being head-hunters. But essentially, they are gentle, peaceful and law-abiding people.