Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali (The Hero of Peshawar Revolt)

Chandra Singh Garhwali was a soldier in the British army and a hero of the Indian freedom struggle. He was born in Meason, Patti Chauthan, Tehsil Thalisain District Garhwal.  Chandra Singh’s father’s name was Jalouth Singh Bhandari. And he was an illiterate farmer. That is why he could not educate Chandra Singh too, but Chandra Singh had learned to read and write by his own hard work. His real teacher was the rich experience that he gathered in his wide and varied travels during 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.
On 3 September 1914, Chandra Singh reached Lansdowne to join the army. He was just 21 when he joined the military, which was common among the youth of the mountain communities. This was the time of the First World War . On 1 August 1915, Chandra Singh was sent to France by the British along with other Garhwali soldiers. From where he came back to Lansdowne on 1 February 1916. During the First World War, in 1917, Chandra Singh participated in the Battle of Mesopotamia on behalf of the British. In which the British had won. He also took part in the Battle of Baghdad in 1918.

After the end of the First World War, many soldiers were removed by the British and the posts of those who were promoted during the war were also reduced. Chandra Singh was also there. He was also made a soldier from a sergeant. Due to which he made up his mind to leave the army. But they were explained by the higher officials that their progress would be taken care of and they were also given some time off. During this time Chandra Singh came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi. He met Mahatma Gandhi, witnessed the freedom struggle and the rising sense of nationalism in the country that had begun to make a deep impression in his mind. At a public meeting in June 1929, the army cap worn by Chandra Singh Garhwali attracted the attention of Mahatma Gandhi who commented that he was not afraid of the army cap to which Chandra Singh Garhwali offered Mahatma Gandhi to change the cap, if he so wished.
Gandhiji then presented him with a khadi topi which the soldier pledged to redeem the honor of one day. The opportunity to fulfil this pledge presented soon thereafter.
 He was a leader of the Garhwal rifle regiment that revolted by refusing to open fire on a group of unarmed Pathans who were resisting the British rule using non-violent means, thereby preventing another massacre on the scale of Jallianwalla Bagh. The firm voice of Chandra Singh Garhwali echoed in the market, declaring that the Garhwali Rifles would not open fire on unarmed people even if the Captain shot them down. This was an amazing display of courage and an extraordinary moment in the history of our freedom struggle. He was also prisoned multiple times after this event. 

Mahatma Gandhi’s words about Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali were” If I had one more Chandra Singh Garhwali, then India would have become Independent much earlier. 
He was also a member of the Arya Samaj and was deeply influenced by Gandhian thought, but his own thoughts and actions went far beyond these institutions. Although he was part of the military, he was a strong believer in democracy. He strongly supported and fought for communal harmony, and in an era of increasing communalization of the military, administration and media, his life and work is a important story that needs to be told
On 1 October 1979, Chandra Singh Garhwali died after a prolonged illness. A postage stamp was also issued in his honor by the Government of India in 1994. And many roads, institutions and colleges were also named after him. 
He was a champion who promoted communal harmony during the Indian freedom struggle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *