Welcome to the Archives

75th Anniversary of Peshawar Incident

by Chandan Dangi

April 23 has a special meaning for all Uttarakhandis. On this day in 1930, the British rulers asked Garhwal Rifles to march forward and crush an agitation of SALT SATYAGRAHA by the Baluch people (PATHANS) in Peshawar. Havildar Chandra Singh Garhwali refused to open fire on the demonstrators and he ordered his soldiers to stand down instead. This act of defiance shook the British Raj to the core, as colonial rule could no longer function if its soldiers began serving the people as opposed to their masters.

Thus in keeping with the revolutionary tenor of the time, Vir Chandra Singh Garhwali was followed by a large number of soldiers in this refusal to fire on unarmed countrymen and women. He was tortured and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by the Britishers along with 59 other serving soldiers. Barrister Mukandi Lal went from Lansdowne to Peshawar to fight his case and saved him from the death penalty.

Vir Chandra Sing Garhwali will be remembered for all time as a brave soldier and a revolutionary, who had shown great courage, patriotism as a freedom fighter while serving as a soldier. He was born in 1891 in Rauni Sera village of district Garhwal (now in district Chamoli). This great soldier and freedom fighter died on 1st October 1979 at the age of 88 years.

Even though he worked for the British Army, he was greatly influenced by Gandhi. The indomitable freedom fighter of Garhwal, Vir Chandra Singh Garhwali, was also enamoured with the natural beauty of his homeland – the Doodhatoli (“milk bowl”) range. As was his last wish, a memorial in his name has been erected here after his death. The place is situated at an altitude of 3100 mts., near Thalisain, from where Doodhatoli is at a distance of 24 kms by trek.

April 23, 2005 completes 75 years of the national historic event of the Indian freedom struggle. PAHAR in association with “Doodhatoli LOK VIKAS SANSTHAN” is organising a meeting on this occasion. Issues concerning India in general and Uttarakhand in particular will be discussed up there. The event begins tomorrow at SYALDEH, near Upharikhaal and its proceedings will be shared with you very soon.