Eminent Personalities of Himachal Pradesh

Nicholas Roerich

In our previous posts, we talked about History of District Hamirpur, and History of District Lahaul-Spiti.

In this post, we gain insight about the famous personalities who contributed in the field of culture, social work, economic growth of Himachal Pradesh. 

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Chanderdhar Sharma Guleri: Born on 7th July 1883 in Jaipur in a family of Pt. Shiv Kumar of Guler (Kangra district). He was a renowned writer, poet, critic and linguistic. He has served as a professor in Banaras Hindu University. He was also an editor of ‘Kashni Nagri Pracharni Patrika’. His famous work is ‘Usne Kaha Tha’, ‘Sukhmaya Jeevan’ and ‘Buddha Ka Kanta’.

Shri Lal Chand Prarthi: Born in March 1916, in a Brahmin family of Naggar, the old capital of Kullu. He graduated in Ayurveda from S.D. College, Lahore, in 1934 A.D. He has participated in ‘Quit India Movement’ in 1942. HE was a member of Legislative Assembly in 1952, 1962 and 1967. He became convener of Kullu Congress Committee in 1964. He was appointed as Minister of Co-operatives in Himachal Pradesh in 1967. He was a student of Art, Culture and Folk Research. He died on 11th December 1982. His famous work is ‘Kulut Desh Ki Kahani’.

Norah Richards: Norah Richards came to India with her husband Mr. Philip Richards in 1911 A.D. She was devoted lover of art and culture. In May 1925, she came to Kangra valley and settled in Andretta. She was conferred on the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the Punjab University. Her published works are Country Life, Sati, The Flower Maker, Magic Brooms, Drama in Education, The Village Play, Historical Playlets, Mother Earth, The Son Comes Home, Play Writing and Play Making and Biography of the Noted Scientist ‘S.S. Bhatnagar’. Norah Richards died on 4th March 1971. She was also known as ‘the great grandmother of Punjabi theater’.

Sardar Sobha Singh: Born on 29th November 1901 at Gurdaspur, Punjab in the house of S. Dewa Singh (Cavalry Officer Indian Army). He completed his course of Art & Craft at Industrial School, Amritsar. He joined Indian Army as draftsman in 1919. In 1923, he left service to become a freelancer and started his own studio of Art & Craft in Amritsar. He visited the Kangra valley, whose scenic beauty attracted him. He built his own house in Andretta (Palampur) and lived here permanently. Some of his world famous paintings are Sohni Mahiwal, Kangra Bride, Gaddi Belle and Portraits of Sikh Gurus. In 1974, the Punjab Government on ‘Republic Day’ acclaimed him as the State artist. Sardar Sobha Singh, a great painter passed away in 1989 A.D. An art gallery by the name of ‘Sardar Sobha Singh’ is at Andretta.

Baba Kanshi Ram (Pahari Gandhi): Born in the family of Shri Lakhnu Ram in village Dada Siba, Dehra Gopipur on 11 July 1882. He was a revolutionary of National Movement. ‘Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’ gave him a title of ‘Pahari Gandhi’ in a political meeting at Gadriawala. He was a fruitful singer with sweet voice and so was conferred the title of ‘Paharan-Da-Bulbul’ by ‘Sarojini Naidu’ at Daulatpur Chowk in 1927. When Sradar Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged in 1931, he took an oath to continue wearing black clothes till India achieves independence. He passed away on 15 October 1943.

Shri Bhag Mal Sautha: Born on 23rd November 1899, in Jubbal (Shimla). He joined Indian National Congress in 1922 in its Baroda session and became secretary of Congress. By Profession, he was an Engineer. He was a founder member of ‘Himalayan Riyasti Praja Mandal’. He actively participated in the freedom movement of India and merger movement of Himalayan states. Just before the ‘Dhami’ firing tragedy, he was the first to be arrested by the police near ‘Ghanahatti’.

Bakshi Pratap Singh: He was born on 20th October 1912 at village Chadiyar, Tehsil Palampur (Kangra), educated up to Matric and joined British Army in 1931. He joined ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ in 1942. In 5th-6th February 1944, he entered in the British camp all alone in the midnight; killed a guard and injured an Army officer. For this exceptional courage, he was awarded ‘Tagma-e-Shatrunash’. He was elected Member of Parliament on congress ticket from Palampur in 1952. After merger of the Punjab Hill Areas with Himachal Pradesh he became Revenue Minister and Vice President of Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee.

Shri Padam Dev: Born in village Bhamnol, Tehsil Rohru, district Shimla on 26th January 1901. After completion on his education, he joined Indian National Congress and participated in non co-operation movement and civil disobedience movement in 1920 and 1930 respectively. He was the founder member of ‘Himalayan Riyasti Praja Mandal’ and served as a secretary. He had also served as General Secretary of ‘Himalayan Hill States Regional Council’. He launched persistent struggle against ‘Reet’, ‘Begar’, ‘Untouchability’ and particularly prejudice against the ‘Kolis’. He led Suket Satyagraha in 1948. He was elected to Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in 1952 and became the first Home Minister of the state.

Vaid Shri Surat Singh: Vaid Surat Singh was born in village Habban (Sirmaur) on 22nd October 1918. He was an ‘Ayurvedacharya’. He joined National Movement for freedom struggle in 1938. He participated in ‘Pajhota movement’ an extension of Quit India Movement. He was fonder member of ‘Sirmaur Praja Mandal’.

Nicholas Roerich: Born on 9th October 1874 in St. Petersburg (Russia). He was born in Russia but stayed in India. He studied art, history and philosophy, law and archaeology, simultaneously got admission in the ‘Academy of Art in St. Petersburg University ’in the institute of Archeology and in the faculty of Law and studies all the subjects. He was so much fascinated by the beauty of Himalayas. He enriched various fields of philosophy and science but primarily he emerged as a perpetual painter. Roerich had painted seven thousand canvases on Himalayas.  He spent last two decades of his life in Kullu valley. An art gallery by the name of ‘Nicholas Roerich’ is at Naggar (Kullu). He was a great man who assimilated the Himalayan Culture was called as ‘Maharishi’. He passed away on 13th December 1947.

Famous works of Nicholas Roerich are Drops of Life, Banners of the East, Tibetans Strong Hold, Pearls of Striving, Signs of Maitreya, The Last Angel, Human Deeds, Doomed City, The City of the Serpent, Lurid Glare, Ominous Signs, Conflagrations, Saintly Ghosts, Buddha-the Giver, Command of Ridgen, Jyepo, Sri Krishna, Kalki Avtar, Saint Sergius and Sancta Protectrix.

Published works of Nicholas Roerich are Himalayas-the abode of Light, Altai Himalaya, Sambhala, Gates into the future, Heart of Asia, Fiery stronghold, Complete works, Flowers of Morya, Adamant, Beautiful Unity and Himavat.   

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