Uttarakhand Stories

The women avengers of Uttarakhand

by Pragati Chauhan
Mar 08, 2016

The contribution of the women of Uttarakhand cannot be summed up in mere words as it fails to convey how they have evolved over the years. Many great women have taken birth in Uttarakhand and have brought laurels to the state by leading the torch of their purpose high. Here are some of the awe-inspiring stories of the brave daughters of Uttarakhand that have been mentioned below:

Gaura Devi (1925-91): A mortal mother to the trees

Born on 1925 in Lata Village of Chamoli district, Gaura Devi was no less than a mother to the dying forest cover of Uttarakhand. She was the leader of the Chipko Movement which was started with the cause to save the trees from cutting. Chipko which literally suggests ‘to brace someone’ was a movement in which the women from Uttarakhand participated in huge numbers and hugged the trees to protect them from the jab of the knife. Gaura believed that forests are our mother’s home and we will defend it, come what may.

Devika Chauhan: The first graduate woman from Jaunsar

Taking birth in one of the underdeveloped regions of Uttarakhand, Devi Chauhan left everybody stunned by becoming the first girl to graduate from the secluded hills of Jaunsar in 1954. Not just this, she was also the first woman to become the Block Development Officer in the entire state of Uttar Pradesh and, later on, rose to the level of Assistant Director-tribal welfare. She played an important role in conducting the survey of tribal communities in UP hills and also fought for their rights from the government. Though Devika has retired but she is still working with the voluntary organizations in the Jaunsar-Bawar region of Uttarakhand and is currently living in Dehradun.

Bachendri Pal: The first Indian women to conquer the summit of Mount Everest in 1984

Born on May 24, 1954, in a tiny hamlet called Nakuri in Uttarkashi district, Bachendri Pal is the first Indian women to conquer the summit of Mount Everest in 1984. Nine years later, she successfully led an all-women team to the Mount Everest. Currently, Bachendri Pal is the chairperson of Bhagirathi Seven Sisters, an adventure club helping other women to seek adventure.

Icchagiri Mai also known as Tinchri Mai (1912-92): The woman avenger against liquor

tincharimaiIcchagiri Mai famously known as “Tinchri Mai” fought against the consumption of locally brewed alcohol called ‘Tinchri’ during 70-80s in Pauri Garhwal. She once burned a liquor shop in Pauri and went to the Deputy Commissioner’s bungalow to surrender herself, thus giving her the name ‘Tinchri Mai’.

Her book is available online at www.culturaltrends.in : Tinchri Mai

Rani Karnavati: The Nak-Kati-Rani who used to cut the noses of invaders

Rani KarnawatiRani Karnavati’s heroic act has been mentioned in the history texts books of students, from generations to generations. This lion-hearted woman fought against the Mughals in the 1640 A.D and defeated their troops in a fierce battle. Rani Karnavati later became famous as ‘Nakti Rani’ (Nak Kati Rani) as she used to cut the noses of those who tried to invade the Garhwal region, which was under her governance.

Her book is available online at www.culturaltrends.in : Naak Kati Rani

Mamta Rawat: A mountaineer who saved several lives in 2013 floods

Mamta Rawat - UttarakhandMamta, a young girl hailing from Bankoli village in Uttarkashi district saved the lives of 500 stranded pilgrims during the 2013 Uttarakhand Floods. She came as a ray of hope in the lives of the victims and rescued them to safety when her own house was being washed away by floods.

Read more about her: Mamta Rawat : A guardian angel in disguise of a mountaineer

Teelu Rauteli: A great warrior who freed the kingdom of Garhwal

Tilu Rauteli - UttarakhandTeelu Rauteli was a great female warrior who at the tender age of 22 freed the province of Garhwal from the tyranny of a brute Katyura ruler called Dham Shahi. She fought fiercely in the battle and left her soul while safeguarding her kingdom from the clutches of Dham Shahi.


Read more about her: Teelu Rauteli – The greatest female warrior of Uttarakhand

The tigresses of Khirakot: A group of women who fought against the illegal mining

A group of women came forward to stop the illegal mining done near Almora. The women of Khirakot formed a self-help women group for fighting against the power and pelf of the industrialists in order to save their forests and fields from the illegal mining. They succeeded in shaking the grounds of the government and in 1982, the government withdrew the mining license and closed the mines forever. It was the great outcome of their courageous act which gave a much-needed boost to the people and intrigued similar movements in Pithoragarh and Siroli.

Basanti Bisht: A Woman who replenished Kosi river and Formed several women self-help groups

Known for her tremendous work in the field of environment and social service, Basanti Bisht has been bestowed with the ‘Nari Shakti Samman Award’ by President Pranab Mukherjee. This remarkable lady has dedicated her life to social service, has formed several women self-help groups, supported female candidates in Panchayats through her Women Empowerment Campaign and has spread awareness regarding several women issues. Basanti Bisht has also been a crusader in saving the once dry and avid Kosi river. Her efforts brought colours to several lives when the river improved its flow through all 13 districts in Uttarakhand even at the areas which were once affected by drought.

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Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

One Response

JB Singh Says

Fantastic collection of Iron ladies of the state.