• 05-Jun-2023


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Anusuya Prasad Bahuguna was born on 18 February 1894 in Punyathirtha Anusuya Devi Ashram, located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. He was named after the Goddess Anusuya. He was a bold and courageous freedom fighter and one of the most popular political leaders from the state of Uttarakhand. Anusuya Bahuguna completed his early education from Nandaprayag and his high school from Pauri. He went on to do his Bachelors in Science from the University of Allahabad, and in 1916, he went on to pursue Law. After his education, he worked as the Naib Tehsildar. It was during this period he was inspired by the rising wave of nationalism that was sweeping the country.

In 1919, Anusuya Bahuguna and Barrister Mukundi Lal participated in the Amritsar Session of the Indian National Congress, held in the aftermath of the 13 April 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Anusuya and Mukundi presented the problems faced by the people in British Garhwal. This session inspired him to launch a movement in British Garhwal against the Rowlatt Act that was passed in the same year. However, this proved to be an uphill task for Anusuya, as the masses in Garhwal were loyal subjects of the British Empire.

In order to unite the British Garhwal against the Empire, he successfully motivated the people of Garhwal to fight against social malpractices, like Coolie Utar, Coolie Begar and Bardayesh in the Upper Garhwal region. Coolie Begar referred to forced labour without any payment.

In addition to carrying the luggage of the British officials, the villagers were also forced to do other menial tasks like picking up garbage or even washing the clothes of the Britishers. Under Coolie Utar, though a minimum wage was prescribed, it was never put into practice and Bardayesh referred to the practice whereby the locals had to provide a free supply of provisions like food, fruits, milk, and the like, to the Britishers. In 1921, under the leadership of Anusuya Prasad Bahuguna, the Coolie Begar system in Garhwal came to an end, and after this, the people of Garhwal gave him the name Gadkesari. His efforts did not end with this. He continued to be involved in a lot of social work. He raised his voice against the rampant corruption and maladministration that was taking place in the Badrinath Temple. His efforts bore fruit, as the Badrinath Temple Management Act was successfully passed in the United Provinces Legislative Council.

In 1921, he was appointed the Chairman of the Garhwal Youth Convention that was held in Srinagar, Garhwal. He was elected as the District Congress Committee’s minister from Garhwal in the same year. In the 1930 Salt Satyagraha started by Mahatma Gandhi, Anusuya Prasad Bahuguna led the movement in Uttarakhand. On account of this, he was charged by the British authorities under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, and imprisoned for four months. During the 1942 Quit India Movement, he was put under house arrest by the British government. His fight against colonialism was relentless.

His failing health was the cause of his untimely death on 23 March 1943. On 10 October 1974, the Anusuya Prasad Bahuguna Government Post Graduate College Agastyamuni, in Uttarakhand was established in memory of this unsung hero.