Freedom Struggle and Regional Movements in Himachal Pradesh

By | January 29, 2018

Events before 1857 A.D.

  • From the treaty of the Lahore, the Rajas of Hill states became disillusioned with the British because the British did not give them their old estates as per the promise.
  • In the second British-Sikh war (1848 A.D.), the principalities of Kangra hills, accompanied Sikh against the British.
  • The hill principalities of Nurpur, Kangra, Jaswan and Datarpur rose into the rebellion against the British in 1848, which was supressed by Commissioner Lawrence.
  • Rebels were taken to Almoda, where they died.
  • The wajir of Nurpur Ram Singh Pathania proved to be a hard nut to crack. Ultimately, he was defeated by the British at Shahpur near ‘dale di dhar’.
  • He was betrayed by a Brahmin Pahad Chand.
  • Wajir Ram Singh Pathania was sent to Singapore where he died.

National Movement with special reference to Praja Mandal movements in Himachal Pradesh, 1848-1948.

The revolt of 1857:

  • In Himachal Pradesh, the sparks of rising against the British India Company fired up first at the Kasauli Soldier Cantonment.
  • General Anson was the commander-in-chief of Shimla hills during the 1857 A.D. revolt, and the Deputy Commissioner of Shimla was Lord William Hay.
  • The soldiers of Nasiri Battalion (Gorkha regiment) situated at Jutogh in Shimla, started uprising.
  • 80 soldiers (of Kasauli guard) broke out into rebellion and looted the government treasury.
  • Subedar Bhim Singh was leading the rebellion.
  • The troops of Kasauli soldiers along with the looted treasury collaborated with the Nasiri Battalion of Jutogh.
  • A rumour spread out in Shimla that the rebel soldiers are coming to loot the city.

#Hill states helping the British:

  • The Raja of Keonthal provided shelter to the British at the mansion of Shimla and Junga.
  • The states of Koti and Balsan also helped the British.
  • The soldiers of Bilaspur princely state helped the British in Boileauganj and the soldiers of Sirmaur princely state helped them in Bada Bazar.
  • The Miyan of Bhagal Jay Singh, and Raja of Dhami, Bhajji and Jubbal also cooperated with the British.
  • The Raja of Chamba Shri Singh sent his army under the leadership of Miyan Avtar Singh to Dalhousie to accompanying the British.


  • During the revolt of 1857, ‘Ram Prasad Vairagi’ was arrested and sent to Ambala where he was given the capital punishment.
  • In June 1857, a revolt took place under the leadership of Pratap Singh in Kullu where Negi of Seraj area helped him.
  • Pratap Singh and his companion Vir Singh were arrested and hanged till death at Dharamsala on 3rd August 1857 A.D.

#Attitude of Bushahr princely state: 

  • The Raja of Sibba Ram Singh, Raja of Nadaun Jodhvir Singh, and Wajir Ghasaun of Mandi princely state helped British.
  • Bushahar princely state was the only princely state of Himachal Pradesh which neither cooperated with the British in the revolt of 1857 nor helped them by any means.
  • Subedar Bhim Singh escaped from the jail and took shelter under the Raja of Bushahar Samsher Singh.
  • The Deputy Commissioner of Shimla William Hay wanted to take actions against the Raja of Bushahr princely state but due to the construction of Indo-Tibet road and lack of soldiers, no step could be taken against the Raja.

The British suppressed the revolt of 1857 with the help of rulers of hill states. William Hay played a vital role amongst them. British blockaded all the roads by creating the rifts among the Gurkha and Rajput soldiers. The rebel soldiers along with Subedar Bhim Singh were arrested. Subedar Bhim Singh escaped to Rampur. But when he got the news of failure of the rebellion he committed suicide.

Delhi Durbar:

  • During the tenure of Lord Lytton, Delhi Durbar was organised in 1877 A.D.
  • The Raja of Chamba Shyam Singh, Raja Vijai Singh of Mandi and Raja Hirachand of Bilaspur participated in Delhi Darbar.
  • Delhi was made the capital of India in place of Calcutta in 1911 A.D.
  • Again a Durbar was organised in Delhi on this occassion.
  • Raja of Sirmaur Amar Prakash, Raja Amar Chand of Bilaspur, Raja of Keonthal Vijai Sen, Raja of Suket Bhimsen, Raja of Chamba Bhoori Singh, Raja Deep Singh of Bhagat and the Rana Bhagat Singh of Jubbal participated in this event.

Mandi conspiracy:

  • Lala Hardayal established Gadar Party in San Francisco (U.S.A).
  • Mandi conspiracy took place under the leadership of Gadar party in 1914-15.
  • Some members of Gadar Party came from USA and spread out in Mandi and Suket princely states to recruit the workers.
  • Miyan Jawahar and the Queen of Mandi Khairgarhi came under their influence.
  • They planned to murder the superintendent and the Wajir of Mandi, to loot the treasury and blasting the Beas Bridge in December 1914 & Jan 1915.
  • The members of Gadar Party could not succeed in any other plans but the Nagchala robbery. This movement was put down.
  • Queen Khairgarhi was banished. Bhai Hirda Ram was hanged till death for the Lahore conspiracy case.
  • Surjan Singh and Nidhan Singh Chugha were hanged for a false case of Nagchala robbery.
  • Hardev of Mandi became a member of Gadar Party and became popular by the name Swami Krishnanand. 

Read in detail here: Mandi Conspiracy

Pahari Gandhi Baba Kansi Ram:

  • In 1920’s, many national leaders arrived at Shimla. M.K. Gandhi  first came to Shimla in 1921 and stayed in Shanti  Kutir in Summer Hill.
  • Nehru, Patel and other leaders used to come to Shimla very often.
  • In 1927, a conference took place in Sujanpur Tihra where police officers beat the common people. Thakur Hajara Singh, Baba Kansiram and Chatar singh got injured in this conference.
  • Baba Kansi Ram took oath in this conference that he will wear only black clothes until India gets Independence.
  • Baba Kansi Ram received “Pahadi Gandhi” title from Pandit J.L. Nehru in Gadriwala Jan Sabha and  Pahadi Bulbul title from Sarojni Naidu.

Praja Mandal:

All India State People Conference was established in 1927. The main aim behind this is to create peace amongst other Prajamandal. Sir Harcourt was the head.

Bilaspur State Praja Mandal: Daulat Ram Sankhyan, Narotam Dutt Shastri , Deviram Updaya after joining the” All India People Conference”., they established” Bilaspur Praja Mandal” in 1945.

Chamba: Chamba people defence league was established in Lahore in 1932. Chamba servant association was established in Chamba city in 1936.

Himalayan Riyasti  Praja Mandal:  It was established in 1938. Pandit Padam Dev was the secretary of this Praja Mandal. It was established in Shimla.

Himalayan Hill State Regional Council:

  • In Mandi from 8th to 10th March 1946, 48 hill states were (from Shimla to Tihri Garhwal) were called to a meeting.
  • Swami Puran Chand from Mandi was the head, Pandit Padam Dev from Rampur Bushahar was the secretary and Pandit Shivanand Ramaul was the deputy secretary of the Himalayan Hill State Regional Council.
  • The head quarter of HHSRC was at Shimla.
  • From 31st August to 1 September, the HHSRC meet was in Nahan. In this meet it was decided that the election will have to take place again.
  • On 1st march 1947 under the guidance of H.L. Mashurkar the elections took place.
  • Dr. Y.S. Parmar was elected as the President of the HHSRC and Pandit Padam Dev was elected as the Secretary of HHSRC.
  • Due to some differences between the members of HHSRC, 6 members of HHSRC established Himalayan Hill State Sub Regional Council (HHSSRC) was established which was not a parallel body to it but it was part of it.
  • HHSSRC President was Y.S. Parmar and secretary was Pandit Padam Dev.

Other Praja Mandal:

  • In 1933 in Lahore, Kullu people league was established.
  • In 1936, Mandi Praja Mandal was established.
  • In 1938, Bhagal Praja Mandal was established.
  • In 1939, Kunihar Praja Mandal was established.
  • In 1939, Shimla Hill State Conference took place.
  • Sirmaur Praja Mandal was established in 1939.
  • Dhami Praja Mandal was established on 13 July 1939.
  • Prem Pracharni conference took place in Dhami in 1937.
  • Sirmaur Estate Praja Mandal was established in 1944.

Famous Movements:

Dujjam Movement (1906):

  • In 1906, Dujjam Movement was started in Rampur Bushahr which was a type of Non-Cooperation Movement.


  • Satyanand Stokes started a Movement against “Begar Custom”.

Bhai Do, Na Pai Movement:

  • Himalayan Riyasti Praja Mandal started a movement called “Bhai Do Na Pai” in 1938.
  • Under this movement people from Himalayan Riyasti Praja Mandal didn’t give people and money to the Britishers.

Jugga Movement:

  • It was started against Raja Amarchand of Bilaspur from 1883 to 1888.
  • Brahmins of Gehdvi settled in sheds. Brahmins put the flag of their Deity on their sheds.
  • People burnt their sheds and commit suicide before getting arrested by the the King.
  • People got angry after this and at last King had to stop Begar Custom and had to do administrative changes.

Dhami Firing Tragedy:

  • On 16th July 1939, Dhami Firing Tragedy took place.
  • On July 13th 1939, Bhagmal Sautha, the Leader of Shimla Hill States Himalayan Riyasti Praja Mandal met the members of Dhami Riyasat.
  • In this meeting, the members asked to remove the ban on the Prem Pracharni Sabha but Rana of Dhami refused to do that.
  • On 16th July, 1939, people started moving to Dhami under the leadership of Bhagmal Sautha.
  • Bhagmal Sautha was arrested in Dhami.
  • On Halog Chowk in Dhami, feared Rana ordered to fire on the people. In this two people were killed and many were injured.
  • Duni Chand lawyer was appointed by Nehru to check the matter.

Read in detail here: Dhami Firing Tragedy

Pajhota Movement:

  • Pajhota Movement was started in Pajhota area of Sirmaur in 1942.
  • It was part of Quit India Movement.
  • The people of Sirmaur Riyasat established “Pajhota Kisan Sabha” against the suppression by the employees of the King.
  • Leaders of this movement were Laxmi Singh, Vaid Surat Singh, Miya Chu Chu and Basti Ram Pahari.
  • Leaders and people stopped Police and Government Officials to enter Pajhota for seven months.
  • Kisan Sabha established its suzerainty under the leadership of Miyan Chu Chu. After this they were arrested.

Read in detail here: Sirmaur Satyagraha

Kunihar Movement:

  • This movement was against the Rana Hardev Singh of Kunihar in 1920.
  • Gauri Shankar and Babu Kansi Ram were the main leaders of this movement.
  • Rana Hardev Singh declared Kunihar Riyasat illegal.
  • On 9th July 1939, Rana accepted of the conditions of the Praja Mandal.

Raad in detail here: Kunihar movement

Other Movements:

  • In 1909, Shobha Ram started a movement against the Minister of Raja against corruption in Mandi.
  • Shobha ram got arrested and sent to Andaman.
  • Revolt took place in Rampur Bushahr in 1859.
  • On 1862 and 1876 in Suket, a movement started against Raja Ishwar Singh and Minister Gulam Kadir.
  • In Bilaspur, Farmer movement took place in 1883 and 1930.
  • A Movement was started in against Raja Shamsher Singh of Sirmaur on the Land Management in 1878.
  • When Shyam Singh was the King of Chamba a movement started in Bhatiyat against Begar Custom.

Freedom Struggle:

Administrative Improvements:

  • The King of Mandi in 1933 established legislative council. In this Panchayati Raj Act was passed.
  • Mandi was first state in Shimla Hill States in which Panchayati Raj Act was passed.
  • Bilaspur , Bushahar and Sirmaur also started Administrative Improvements.
  • Congress Formation
  • O. Hume in Roothny Castle in Shimla established Indian National Congress.

National Leader’s Arrival:

  • In 1906 Lala Lajpat Rai came to Mandi.
  • Leader of Theosophical Society Annie Besant came to Shimla in 1916.
  • Mahatma Gandhi, Maullana Muhammad Ali , Shaukat Ali, Lala Lajpat Rai and Madan Mohan Malviya first came to Shimla in 1921.
  • The leader of Muslim League Mohammad Ali Jinnah came to Shimla to meet Viceroy Lord Riding.
  • Mahatma Gandhi came to Shimla in 1921,1931,1939,1945 and 1946.
  • In 1945 Mahatma Gandhi stayed in Manor Villa (Residence of Rani Amrit Kaur).and in 1946 he stayed in Summer Hill.


  • Rishikesh Lath in Una in 1915, started revolutionary movement .
  • Famous novelist Yashpal of Hamirpur entered into the Independence struggle in 1918.
  • Yashpal got life Imprisonment in 1932.
  • He was the chief commander of Hindustan Socialist Republican Army.

 Title awarded  to Indian National Army Men:

  • Major Mehar Das-Sardar-E-Jang
  • Captain Bakshi Pratap Singh-Tagma-E-Shatrunash
  • Hari Singh from Sarkaghat got-Sher-E-Hind.
  • Two Ghurkha brothers Durga Mal and Dal Bahadur Thapa from Dharmsala hanged till death in Delhi.
  • During Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930, Baba Laxman Das and Satya Prakash “Baghi” got arrested in Una.

Incidents during 1920’s:

  • Non-Cooperation Movement was started in Himachal in 1920.
  • Rulers of Local Estates established “Chamber of Princess” (Narender Mandal) in 1921.
  • In December 1921, people protested against the arrival of the Prince of England ”Prince of Wales”.
  • Lala Lajpat Rai was transferred from Lahore Jail to Dharmsala.
  • Viceroy Lord Riding inaugurated Central Council Chamber(present Vidhan Sabha) in Shimla in 1925.
  • People of Shimla and Kangra protested against the arrival of Simon commission in India in 1928.

Gandhi Irwin Pact:

  • Civil Disobedience Movement was started in Shimla, Dharmsala, Kullu, Una etc in 1930.
  • Mahatma Gandhi, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Madan Mohan Malviya and Dr. Ansari came to Shimla second time.
  • On 5th march 1931, Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed in Shimla.
  • Quit India Movement
  • On 9th August,1942 Quit India Movement was started.
  • Quit India Movement was started in Shimla Kangra and other Hill areas.
  • Rajkumari Amrit Kaur from Shimla conducted Quit India Movement. She was the editor of M.K. Gandhi’s magazine “Horizon” during the period when Gandhi was in jail.
  • During this movement Bhagmal Sautha, Hariram, Chaudary Divanchand leaders were arrested from Shimla.

Wavell Conference:

  • On 14th May 1945 in Parliament “Wavell Plan” was declared.
  • Viceroy Lord Wavell invited all the political groups from India for meeting on 25th June 1945.
  • K Gandhi, J.L. Nehru, Rajender Prasad , Sardar Patel and 21 other congress leaders participated in Wavell conference.
  • Mohammad Ali Jinnah , Liyakat Ali, Shahbaj Khan and Akhali Dutt also participated in Wavell conference.

Independent Kehlur Group:

  • King Anand Chand from Bilaspur wants to destroy the Independence movement.
  • He established “Swadin Kehlur Dal” against the AISPC and Bilaspur Praja Mandal.
  • Anand Chand wants to keep Bilaspur Independent.
  • After many Meetings Raja Anand Chand accepted to merger of Kehlur in India.

4 thoughts on “Freedom Struggle and Regional Movements in Himachal Pradesh

  1. Dr.harsh

    A topic full of knowledge..but missing are..some luminaries..names of that time..and.. movement s and participants of freedom struggle against Britishers.. especially from then Punjab area..distt. kangra hamirpur ,kullu, every article I found Praja Mandal movement s and not..revolt against Britishers..

  2. Kartik Thakur

    I cant tell how beautifully and organically this topic has been summed up.. I had been beating my head over Balokhra since a year, still missing out on such important topics.. Continue the good work and you will grow.. Best Wishes!

  3. Poonam

    Very precisely explained before it I think it’s very lengthy and postponed many times but after your explanation I cover it as soon as possible. Thank you for concise note and please continue to upload like that

  4. bhanu

    awesome work dear…well organised..i was searching for this…you saved me….keep it up


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