Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali
Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali was born on the 24th of December 1891 in Meason, Patti Chauthan, Tehsil Thalisain District Garhwal. While his early education was at home, his real teacher was the rich experience that he gathered in his wide and varied travels, his service in the army and the long terms of imprisonment which he faced with care courage and fortitude in his fight for the freedom of the country.
When Chandra Singh Garhwali first met Mahatma Gandhi, the freedom struggle and the rising sense of nationalism in the country, had already began to make a deep impression on his mind. It is said that at a public meeting in June 1929 at Bageshwar, Almora the army cap which chandra Singh Garhwali was wearing attracted the attentionof Gandhiji who remarked that he was not afraid of the army cap Chandra Singh Garhwali replied by pointing out that,. if he so wished, Gandhiji could change the cap. When Gandhiji presented him with a khadi topi, the soldier pledged to redeem the honour of the topi one day.
Indeed, the opportunity to do so presented itself only too soon. On 20th April, 1930 a civil disobedience movement commenced in the North-West frontier province under the leadership of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and a programme of demonstration and Satyagrah was planned for 23rd April 1930 in Peshawar. The British Government in its eagerness to suppress this movement of the Pathans at any cost, decided to deploy the aarmy. Chandra Singh Garhwali and his men of the Garhwal Rifles quietly resolved to resist any order of their British Commander to fire upon unarmed people.
On 23rd April 1930, thousands of Pathans had gathered in front of the Kissakhani Bazar Police Chowki in Peshawar and the national flag was flying in their midst. The men of the Garhwal Rifles stood before the Pathans and hundreds of people were looking on from their houses and roof tops. The British Captain warned the non-violent demonstrators to disperse but it had no effect on them. When, in a rush of anger he shouted, 'Garhwali three rounds fire', an equally firm voice was heard saying' Garhwali cease fire', and the Garhwali soldiers lowered their rifles to the ground. Chandra Singh Garhwali's voice rang out once again to declare that they would not fire upon unarmed people even if the Captain were to shoot them down. It was an amazing display of courage. An extraordinary moment in the history of our freedom struggle.
Reference : http://www.freeindia.org
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