Remembering Gorkha Freedom Fighters on India's 74th Independence Day
Updated: Aug 15
The Gorkha community has contributed to the freedom struggle with its toil, blood and aspirations along with the many freedom fighters who put their ideals of freedom from the British rule first. It culminated in a new nation rising on August 15, 1947. As India marks its 74th Independence Day, we at Darjinc remember some of those forgotten Gorkha freedom fighters and salute their courage.
CAPTAIN RAM SINGH THAKURI - Composer of India's National Anthem Jana Gana Mana
Captain Ram Singh Thakuri was born on 15 August, 1914 in Khanyara, Dharamshala. In 1922, he enrolled into the first Gorkha Rifles as a recruit in the band. During World War II, after the Fall of Singapore, Thakuri, along with many soldiers, was sent to Japan, where he met Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He joined the Indian National Army under the leadership of Bose.
A multifaceted freedom fighter, he was a talented musician and composer and went on to compose a number of patriotic songs including the National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana along with other patriotic songs like Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja and Subh Sukh Chain.
DAL BAHADUR GIRI - Gandhi of the Hills who spread the Gandhian philosophy in the tea gardens
Born in 1886 in Darjeeling, Dal Bahadur Giri settled in Kalimpong in the year 1916. He was known as Pahari Gandhi (Gandhi of the Hills) A vehement participant of the non-cooperation movement of 1920s, he was instrumental in spearheading the Indian Freedom Struggle and spreading the Gandhian philosophy in the tea gardens here.
He opposed the arrest of Gandhiji and was arrested by the British government on 26th June 1921. His subsequent arrests in November 1921 and imprisonment at Hooghly and then Brahmaputra rendered him severely ill. Giri died on November 13, 1924 at the tender age of 36.
HELEN LEPCHA - Fierce freedom fighter who helped Netaji Subash Chandra Bose escape house arrest from Kurseong
Helen Lepcha born in Namchi, Sikkim in 1902 and grew up in Kurseong. In the 1920s, she was involved in serving the flood victims of Bihar and soon became actively involved in the Indian Freedom Struggle particularly in the Jharia coalfields (in present day Jharkhand), where she led a procession of 10,000 mine workers against labour exploitation. In the 1940s, she played a major role in helping Netaji Subash Chandra Bose escape house arrest from Giddapahar, Kurseong. She was fondly given the name 'Sabitri Debi' by Mahatma Gandhi.
She received a ‘Tamra Patra’ from the Government of India as a token of appreciation for her tireless contribution to the freedom movement.