[Himachal GK] Freedom Fighter - Baba Kanshi Ram

Baba Kanshi Ram (11 July 1882 – 15 October 1943) was an Indian poet and activist for independence born in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

Early life and family : 
At the age of seven, he married Sarasvati Devi who, at that time, was just five years oldHe continued his studies in the local village. Soon, he lost both of his parents, and at the age of thirteen, relocated to Lahore in search of work. It was here that he first met many revolutionary activists, including Lala Lajpat Rai, Lala Hardayal, Sardar Ajit Singh and Maulavi Barkatullah.

Independence campaign : Kangra Valley was hit by a Kangra earthquake in 1905. Kanshi Ram took an active part in a teamled by Lala Lajpat Rai. Later, in 1911, attended the Delhi Durbar.

The turning point for him came in 1919, when the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre occurred, while he was in Amritsar. After this incident, he returned home to Kangra and started spreading Mahatma Gandhi's message through his poetry and songs in the Pahari languages. He was first arrested on 5 May 1920 and spent the following two years in Dharamshala jail along with Lala Lajpat Rai. He was released on 11 November 1922.

He was again arrested while reciting self-composed poems at a gathering in Palampur. He was arrested 11 times and spent nine years in various jails. He continued writing poetry against the British administration in jail. The title Pahari Gandhi was given to him by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at a rally in Hoshiarpur in 1937. The death sentences handed out to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev in 1931 had a great impact on him. He vowed to wear black clothes until India achieved its independence. He adhered to his vow until he died on 15 October 1943 and came to be known affectionately as the Siahposh General (General in Black).

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