‘Mukh Jatra’ to be staged to pay homage to Tehri independence martyrs

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‘Mukh Jatra’ to be staged to pay homage to Tehri independence martyrs


Dehradun, Sept 21

To honour the martyrs of Tehri state struggle for independence, a free theatre workshop to prepare ”Mukh Jatra, a play written by Sunil Kainthola and directed by famous theatre personality Dr. Suvarn Rawat will be held  at Garhwal Sabha Bhawan, Dehradun. The workshop will be inaugurated on September 25, 2022 at 4pm. The workshop is being organised by Akhil Garhwal Sabha and ‘Vatayan’, a social organisation.

The play depicting the struggle of people of Tehri against the monarchy and its’ victory and later merger of the state with Indian Union will be staged on November 20, 2022 during the ‘Kauthig’ celebrations of Akhil Garhwal Sabha.

Sunil Kainthola, the writer of the play said that the Tehri struggle has been unique in which communist leader Nagendra Saklani along with other revolutionaries took control of a part of the state and ran it with public participation after the independence of the country from August 1947 till August 1949 when the state was legally merged with Indian union officially. He further said that Tehri struggle led by youngsters, peasants and villagers was a landmark event for the people of the area and also for the country.  “The play depicts the struggle against oppression and tyranny,” he added.

Dr. Suvarn Rawat, an eminent theatre personality

The sacrifice of Nagendra Saklani against state repression remain the highlights of the entire uprising against the feudal forces. Nagendra Saklani  (1920-1948) was a Communist Party of India (CPI) who sacrificed his life while trying to defend the liberated Kirt Nagar division of the princely state of Tehri Garhwal from the retake bid by the royal forces of Tehri State on 11 January 1948.

On 15 August 1947, India became an independent country, however, rule of the king in the princely state of Tehri still continued. The villagers of the Saklana revolted against the new taxes imposed by the Jageerdar of Saklana, a small state within the princely state of Tehri. On 13 September 1947, the King sent an army contingent to Saklana to enforce new taxes and collect penalties from the villages. Collective fines of more than 13000 rupees were imposed on the villages.  The army contingent sent under the command of Markanday Thapliyal started confiscating the properties of the villagers. Most of the villagers fled to village Kyara bordering the district of Dehradun in independent India. Nagendra Saklani assisted in establishing the refugee camp at Kyara. He organized the villagers who eventually went back to fight against  the forces of Tehri state.  In a surprise move, the villagers fought back and arrested the police party at Manjhgoan Akhodi in Saklana. The police party was escorted to the boundary of Saklana in a big procession and sent back to Tehri.

Sunil Kainthola

Nagendra Saklani forced the Tehri state forces to leave Kirti nagar and liberated it on January 10,1948 but was shot dead by a contingent of state forces sent to recapture Kirtinagar. The state contingent was arrested by the people. It was decided to take the funeral procession of the martyrs to Tehri, the capital of the state lead by Chander Singh Garhwali, hero of Peshawar incident and others. It took three days for hundreds of people to reach Tehri from Kirtinagar in the funeral procession which ultimately led to merger of the state with United Province as a district on August 1, 1949.

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