Uttarakhand Stories

Indramani Badoni – The Unsung Hero of Uttarakhand State Movement

by Pragati Chauhan
Nov 09, 2015

Late Indramani was in favour of a separate state which would help in the rapid development of the hilly areas. Therefore, he lent his voice to the long-standing demand of creating Uttarakhand.

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them:

Great souls are born with fire in their soul and Indramani was such a man who is known for his gallantry and noteworthy efforts in making Uttarakhand a separate state. Badoni Ji is referred as “Gandhi of Uttarakhand” for using non-violence as a means to raise his voice for the cause of a separate state. It was due to the praiseworthy efforts of Indramani that while having ceaseless provocation from several districts, the movement remained thoroughly non-violent.

Indramani Badoni, a revolutionary, an activist and a lionhearted person:

Indramani Badoni is a name that is counted among the most influential people of Uttarakhand. It was the grueling conditions faced by him that made Badoni Ji rebellious and filled his heart with vigor in order to bring a radical change in the lives of the hill folk. Hence,  Indramani Badoni became the precursor and the forerunner of Uttarakhand Movement.

A great man’s intelligence reflects from his thoughts similarly, Indramani’s distinct personality radiated from his strange locution, principles, views and his insight about life. His charismatic personality depicted that a common man can certainly do the most uncommon things and stand out from the lot.

An American daily honoured Indramani Badoni:

An American tabloid Washington Post honored late Indramani Badoni with the title of “Gandhi of the hills”. Wahington Post wrote, Uttarakhand Movement’s host Indramani Badoni’s role was similar to Mahatma Gandhi’s role in Quit India Movement during the warfare of post-independence period of India.

Indramani’s Life:

Indramani a heroic figure of Uttarakhand was born on 24 December 1924, in Akhori village of Tehri Garhwal. He did his intermediate from Tehri Garhwal and graduated from DAV (PG) College at Dehradun in 1949. When Indramani was a student he used to take active participation in socio-political movements. At the age of 27, the burden of responsibilities fell on the shoulders of Badoni Ji when he lost his father. As he was the eldest of his siblings, he had to take care of his family and in order to make ends meet he used to raise goats. Later in the year 1971, he lost his mother too. In spite of the endless struggles, he sent his younger brother to pursue higher studies in Ayurveda.

Indramani Badoni’s decision of joining Congress and his loss of faith in the party’s objectives:

When Indramani was fighting for the formation of Uttarakhand at that time Congress party was in power so Badoni had no other choice than joining hands with the party. It was in late 60’s that he lost his faith in Congress. He came to the conclusion that political parties only serve superficial objectives and do not have any interest in helping the people belonging to hills.

The controversy related to H.N Bahuguna:

Badoni Ji fought three times for Devprayag Assembly seat in the year 1967, 1969 and 1977. The main reason for standing in 1967 Assembly election from Devprayag was not that he was denied Congress ticket but it was the harsh words of then Congress stalwart H.N Bahuguna. According to some sources, it is believed that Bahuguna told Indramani that even a dog can win the election on Congress ticket. This inflamed him and he wanted to prove him wrong. In 1967, he stood for Uttar Pradesh Assembly election as an independent candidate and started working for the cause of a separate hill state which was under Uttar Pradesh. Later in 1969, he rejoined Congress and won the ticket. In 1977, he fought as an independent candidate and defeated the candidate of Bhartiya Janta Party. After becoming the chairman of the hill development corporation in 1980, he joined UKD in the same year during party’s Rishikesh convention and remained a prominent leader of the party until his death.

Indramani believed that only a regional party can fight for the formation of a separate state:

His main motive behind frequently switching over regional political parties was, that he believed only a regional force can sincerely fight for the formation of Uttarakhand. Perhaps, this was one reason which aggravated his disillusionment with Congress.

Badoni Ji organized a rally in 1973 for the success of Uttarakhand Movement:

In 1973, Indramani Badoni organized a massive rally in Bageshwar on the day of Makar Sankranti in which all the supporters of Uttarakhand Movement took an oath to make it successful.

His hunger strike at Delhi:

Indramani Badoni was known for believing in non-violence as a means to bring a political and social change. On August 2, 1994, Indramani started a fast unto death in Pauri Garhwal to form a separate state. Indramani tried to make the masses understand, how important it is to stand united for the rights of people living in the hills. On August 7, 1999, Badoni Ji was imprisoned in Meerut and was later shifted to AIIMS in New Delhi for treatment, where he was discharged forcibly.

A powerhouse of talent:

Indramani Badoni was not only a great precursor of Uttarakhand Movement but he was also a fine dancer of Kedar Nritya, a folk dance of Garhwal. Kedar Nritya is also known as Pandav Nritya which is associated with the mythological tale Mahabharata. In the year 1956, he showcased his talent along with his troupe in the Republic Day parade held in Delhi. Then Prime Minister Jawaharhar Lal Nehru was so much impressed with their performance that he started dancing along with them.

An explorer at heart:

Indramani Badoni was a traveler by nature, his wanderlust lead him to explore many beautiful places hidden in Uttarakhand. Indramani discovered the Khatling glacier and the source of river Bhilangana. He also convinced that the development of the hills can only be possible with the formation of a hill state.

His demise:

Indramani Badoni died on August 18, 1999, at his residence in Rishikesh after a prolonged illness. A simple and unassuming person, Badoni was a ray of hope for more than one crore Uttarakhandi people who belonged to different places during the peak of Uttarakhand Movement in 1994.

His last words:

Indramani’s last message to the supporters of Uttarakhand Movement was, “The people of Uttarakhand must not feel defeated. They should let the flag of their cause fly in harmony with the surpassing winds till they achieve their goal”. It was his arrest that enraged the people and the movement gained momentum resulting in the formation of Uttarakhand on November 9, 2000. It was unfortunate that Badoni Ji could not take his last breath in the newly formed state as he died on August 18, 1999.

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.

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