What are the defining moments of Himachal?


With Independence Day around the corner, it’s time to feel good about the country. Though Himachal gained statehood, only in 1971, yet Himachal has surpassed most of the states on all accounts – economy, GDP, literacy, development, health etc. While as the CM would roll out the achievements of the year on August 15, let’s go back and find out the defining moments of the state.

Use the comment box below judiciously (with your name and place you belong to) and try and figure out the defining moments of the state. What according to you have been the defining moments of the state – for the state overall, for an individual, for your district, for your village panchayat.

These can be policies that have affected you, or events that have changed the course, or anything that you feel was an important landmark in the journey of Himachal or your city or village – either on progress or taking a step-back. Also, what do you think needs to be done.
We can put down the points together and any ideas that you give can be handed over to the government.

Over to you:

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  1. For me, the defining moment of my area trans-Pabbar River (in Jubbal Tehsil) when the Sawra (Sarwasti Nagar) bridge broke down some years ago. That pushed the area almost ten years back – in terms of development. People crossed the river on a make-shift trolley pulled by people. If there was none on the other side to pull the trolley, people would get stranded for hours. As for transportation, the buses that had got stranded on the other side just plied between Sawra and Jhagtan. Fuel (diesel) was again transported across the river through the trolley in drums. If the bus broke down other parts of the bus again were pushed through the trolley. There were accidents too when once or twice people just escaped death by falling out from the trolley and luckily some one or the other managing to get hold of their hand feet or something.

    The people of the area suffered almost for a year, before a new bridge came. The army offered to build a bridge in 15 days but the government found it too costly. Probably the people were not worth the cost. Almost 20,000 lives got affected. Children found it difficult to go to school. They had to be escorted by parents so that they crossed the river in the trolley safely.

    All development work stopped. People who had started construction work had to stop as sand, bricks cement and other infrastructure could not be transported. During the apple season it became a mess. People suffered losses as some trolleys were put in place but they were insufficient. And trucks obviously could not cross the river.

    However, life is back to normally but the area certainly was pushed 10-years back.

  2. Many of you must not be remembering it at all. Long time back when shanta kumar was the CM, he introduced the no work no pay policy, which was I think the defining moment for himachal, which otherwise has seen a lack-lustre governance.

    The year saw a lot of turmoil, and there were strikes all over the state. people were lathicharged and beaten up. In a state that is agrarian and besides, the only other earning revenue is a govt job, the policy hit the people below the belt.

  3. for me the defning momnt was wen electricty came to our vill in the late 80s. till then we depended on kerosene lamps or wood. the job of cutting wood into pieces to lit fire was given to us children. the rooms and the house used to get all balck. wen lite came it was all brite n we chldrn did not sleep complete night till papa did not switch of lite.

  4. I think the policy of 'no work, no pay' was forward looking. Shanta Kumar was ahead of his times. In fact for that matter even his polices while he was the Food Supplies Minister in the Vajpayee government were forward looking – like cutting down on subsidies.

    The only problem with Shanta Kumar was that he was ahead of his times.

  5. Chipping in from Narkanda area. The major issue which has affected lives of the common folk has been shortage of water in the entire area. The water schemes became in-adequate down the years as population grew. This ultimately led to downfall of horticulture as there was no water left for irrigation. As temperatures changed even the rain water has not been sufficient. The topography of the region does'nt allow abundant natural springs in the area and rain water harvesting is not sufficient around the year.

    During summers the problem of drinking water becomes accute. In the adjoining Kotgarh area almost 10 to 15 villages rely on a single water scheme. We get water once in 7-8 days in normal times. The problem is severe for people having cattle. No wonder, most of the households have sold there cows due to shortage of water.

    Summers of 2002 was the worst as we ferried water from a single chashma, 4 km from our house daily.

    A major pattern in weather change which I have observed is the amount of rainfall in the lower region of the area is very less. After the Nathpa Jhakri project started the Satluj has just been reduced to a rivulet. Earlier there used to be plenty of water in the river around the year and this resulted in maintaining the right amount of moisture in the air and the lower areas around the river used to get plenty of rainfall.

    There used to be plenty of grain crops in the kyars around the river. Now these kyars lie all barren. In fact at one of such kyar these days local cricket tournaments are organised. The damming of the river has seriously affected the weather around the river valley.

    The Govt has finally woken up and a water pumping scheme has been launched in Narkanda though the quality of water is very bad but it can be used at least for irrigation. Another major water pumping scheme is under construction from Bhaira Khud which may ease situation in Kotgarh area. The problem with lifted water is it has high content of silt and is not fit for human consumption.

    I blame the scant rainfalls these days on the Nathpa Jhakri project – The sorrow of Himachal.

  6. Adding to Rupesh's post, the advent of LPG in rural areas was also a welcome change. Earlier wood had to be cut daily for the chulla as entire cooking was done on it. Cooking was a cumbersome process as the chulla had to be cleaned every morning of the yesterday's ash. The utensils looked all black and would be discarded at an earlier stage. The dinner fare used to be simple, dal, rice and chappatis. Cooking on a chullah during summers was a big pain. Times really changed after LPG came into village houses.

    Vividh said, The only problem with Shanta Kumar was that he was ahead of his times

    And hell of a stubborn personality!!

  7. I hail from Pajhota in district Sirmaur, the area which many only identify with the famous Pajhota Andolan.But the area had much more to its identity– lack of road infrastructure. A road that reached to Shimlia village, on the Parali belt, in June 2006 was a defining moment for the entire area. The area started to brim with life suddenly. Children were motivated to attend the school daily as now the road connectivity facilitated plying of pick-ups which just chagre Rs. 2 to Rs. 5 from kids to reach the school about 6 kilometres away. Earlier the kids walked all that distance to the senior secondary school at Nauri, and most of them often avoided school at least 10 days a month due to the sheer distance and more over the agricultural work at home suffered. Suddenly the connectivity registered more profits in agriculture for the village folks and many of them shifted to whole time sowing of cash crops, since now for them the Subzi Mandi at Solan is just three hours. And earlier this much time was alone spent on ferrying the vegetables to the main road from where they would be transported to Solan. Where two years earlier people depended for all kind of medical treatment on the local ayurvedic doctor, now they straight away come to the zonal hospital at Solan, and believe me many lives have been saved thus. Mobiles have suddely become a revolution in the village and earlier no one could afford even the landlines. Till last year the villagers waited for next season of crops to see fresh money, in lean days the trade in the village happened through barter system. The village has suddenly started to invest in milk production which fetches more than normal return per month for the people, as the village is on a dry hill which does not have sufficient water for crops round the year.

    The people here have now actually started to feel the spirit of living.This has actually been the road to development of my village.

  8. Our own each little place would all of course have its own defining monents, probable one that joined the place with the mainstream after centuries of isolation. But, collectively as a state the most defining moment of course has to be day Himachal gots an identity, be it in parts. Rest, the state is yet to take a big leap except for a false impression of atelecommunication revolution some 15 years back and also that of the power state, which infact is doing more harm than good to the state.


  9. Electrification in my village in early seventies….Prior to that I enjoyed two years enjoying "candle" light dinners and "candle" light homework.

    This candle was not really a candle but a glass bottle filled with kerosene oil and a wick normally made out of a nara (damaged pyjama cord). Sometimes we used a hurricane lamp..but were careful since replacement glass was not easily available.

    Link road to my village…abhi tak nahin bana..although some people have acquired mobile telephones and there is even a "Royal Beauty Parlur" at the edge of my village.

    I went to my village in April this year after a gap of 4 years..enjioyed my stay.

    In Jaisinghpur which is about 10 km from my village, I saw one girl having her hair with coloured streaks…awareness about looking good/different is slowly catching up with villagers…lekin abhi tak pakki sadak nahin bani.

  10. Dear all

    I beling to Palampur in Dist. Kangra. The most glorious moment in history of Palampur was Palampur agriculture univ. It not only provided employment to many but study environment was changed too.

    Alhtough I could not get to study there as immediately after my schooling from prestigious convent of Palampur I was in out for professional studies. Although its almost 7 years now since I left Palampur for studies & now for job but still when ever I see many new schools, colleges that surrounds the area I feel proud. I am not aware whether its only quanity education or quality too but the fact is people are more aware towards their children edeucation now & I've seen Palampur growing as an educational hub in recent years. Now what all can be done is opening Engineering college in nearby area so that students need not to leave their state just for the sake of it.

  11. I belongs to Palampur and now been out since last 19 years. I been to most parts of India and to me the defining moment of Himachal is –

    1. Education – Most of Himachlis are educated atleast to High school and a decade ago atleast to Primary school level. The quality of HP Board is really good and much better. Other states board focus on High % results and that spoils the professional admission for Himachlis. If you go to other states, the education scene is very bad.

    2. Poor – I haven't seen a single person of Himachal origin who is sitting by road for BHEEKH. The per capita income may be less BUT its distributed and every household has got food to eat at the end of day. Again go to TN and see people.

    3. Roads – The road network is improving and so quality of some NH's passing thru states. Still long way to go BUT still better.

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