Galwan Valley Belongs to India: Read the Legacy of Ghulam Rassul Galwan

Jun 19, 2020 03:24 PM

Galwan valley which saw the horrible killings of Indian Army soldiers in now etched into everyone's memory. The name of this place is significant as this is not a Chinese word but an Indian word that itself should actually put an end to any kind of dispute.

How do we know that it is an Indian name? Because it was named after an Indian "Ghulam Rassul Galwan" a remarkable Ladakhi traveller and explorer. In fact it is one of rarest instances where a major geographical feature is named after a native explorer. This was in 1892 and Ghulam Rassul Galwan was just 14 years old.

Ghulam Rassul Galwan was born in 1878 into a poverty stricken family and he had no choice but to go on dangerous expeditions from the very young age of 12 years. For next thirty-five years he was part of many expeditions lead by westerners, Italians, Americans etc., It was during this time he spent most of his time working for British Army and rose to the level of Caravan Bashi, the man in charge of Caravan.

During 1892, British was constantly mapping the areas around Ladakh to Central Asia to check Russia from expanding further into Central Asia and finally to Kashmir and India. During one such journey with Charles Murray, the 7th Earl of Dunmore and a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army the caravan strayed away from the traditional routes because of bad weather. Then there came a moment when a wall of mountains and steep gorges trapped them. Much to the amazement of Murray’s team, the young Galwan used all his instincts and knowledge of treacherous terrain to find a relatively easier route through a ravine which kept the expedition going without much trouble.

Murray was so pleased with Galwan’s efforts that he decided to name the newfound passage through the ravine as the ‘Galwan Nullah’ and the Valley as ‘Galwan Valley’.

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