Kangra freedom fighter proud of having fought the British: The Tribune India

Tribune press service

Lalit Mohan

Dharamshala, January 21

Charan Singh Gurang is among the two surviving freedom fighters in Kangra. Gurang (98) was part of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind army. He now lives in the Khaniara district of the city of Dharamsala.

Despite his frail health, Gurang remembers his days in Netaji’s Azad Hind army and is proud of the fact that he was part of the movement that fought for the country’s freedom against the British. He presented a broad smile and a proud gesture when asked about his days in the Azad Hind army.

Unlike many others, Gurang and his family are happy with the facilities granted to them by the government and proud of the fact that he was part of the Indian freedom movement.

Charan Singh Gurang was in the British Army. After the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose announced the formation of the Azad Hind army to fight the British in 1942, Gurang deserted the British army and joined the Azad Hind army of Subhash Chandra Bose and fought against the British Army. After the end of World War II, Gurang was captured by the British army. He was kept in prison for eight months. Subsequently, he was discharged from the British Army and sent home. After returning home, Gurang continued to participate in freedom movements in the region.

After India got freedom, Gurang joined the army. He retired as a senior clerk from Subedar in 1975. Gurang then came to Khaniara village and took up farming on his ancestral land.

Ravi Gurang, son of Charan Singh Gurang, who is now caring for his sick father, while speaking to The Tribune at their residence in Khaniara, said his father received a pension from the army. Apart from this, he received two pensions as a freedom fighter from the Indian government and the state government. Until a few years ago, he was also involved in social activities and was vice-president of the Gorkha Association of Dharamsala.

“His health has deteriorated for two years and we are taking care of him. The military provides all the medical help we need for my father through the ECHS program,” he said.

When asked if they wanted anything done from the government for his father’s contribution to the country’s freedom movement, Ravi Gurang replied, “We never asked for anything. Recently, Dharamsala MC officials came to our house to honor my father on the occasion of the Indian government’s celebration of Azadi Ka Mahotsav on the eve of 75 years of independence. They offered to lay pucca street to our house. It hasn’t been done yet but we would never complain. I hope it will be done soon,” he said.

Gurang has one son and three daughters. He lives in his ancestral village with his son and two daughters who take care of him.

Satisfied with facilities

Our family or my father never demanded anything from the government just because he was a freedom fighter. We are satisfied with the facilities granted to my father. I was offered a job as part of the freedom fighter quota, but I didn’t accept it because I had to take care of him. — Ravi Gurang, son of Charan Singh Gurang

Thelma J. Longworth