Unrest against Tehri State

When British won the Garhwal Kingdom in 1815 from Gurkhas, they gave the left bank of Alaknanda river to the former King of Garhwal, Sudarshan Shah. But they kept their hold over the old capital of Garhwal, Srinagar. Thus, in need of new capital, the King made new capital at the confluence of two rivers and thus emerged—Tehri. The city flourished in coming years and became the center of trade and rich culture. In the 1930s and 1940s, people rebelled against the King and his court.

In 1938, Sri Dev Suman attended a political event organised in Srinagar by the district Congress Committee. Here, he got the opportunity to meet Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijaylaxmi Pandit. After meeting several political and social activists he decided to do something for people of Garhwal.

By the arrival of 1942, the whole nation was united against the British in struggle of freedom. It also had an impact on the people of the provinces. When he reached Devprayag on 29 August, 1942, he was arrested by police and put into the Dehradun jail. During this period, many others activists were also arrested in Uttarakhand and rest of the India. From Dehradun, he was shifted to Agra jail from where he was released on 9 November 1943.

After being released from jail, he went to Delhi and met a lot of activists. Finally, he decided to go back Garhwal again. He reached Narendranagar on 18 December 1943. He was again arrested by police on 30 December while he was spending some days in his village. The most unfortunate part of his great struggle that his body was thrown into the river of Bhilangna without a funeral. The new Tehri planners never found his body.

In jail, he was tortured by the jailers by putting heavy cuffs around him, mixing stones in his meal, beaten by the jailer Madan Singh, sand roti (Chapatti) was given to him, along with many other means. After spending 209 days in prison he decided to go on hunger strike. The staff of prison tried to feed him forcibly, but did not succeed. A doctor by profession, Sri Dev Suman died only at the age of 29, leaving behind his wife and many people who were inspired by him.

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