The Galwan Valley

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The Galwan valley recently is in news. Here today I am not going to tell you about the war or the reason for any confrontation. Today I Will introduce to you a great fearless traveller. The name was Gulam Rasoul Galwan. He was a Ladakhi adventurer and explorer who had assisted many explorers at the turn of the 19th century. This valley named after him.The 80-meter long Galwan river flows through the valley.

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Galwan reached Leh in 1895. He is also written a book titled “Servant of Sahibs: A Book To Be Read Aloud”. He has narrated his life which, full of adventures and journeys as he assisted Francis Younghusband to scout the regiment. At that time British ruled India, worried about Russian expansion towards Tibet. Galwan assisted British expeditions in the region as a guide. As troops tried to gather information about Russian intrusions in the valley which could pose a threat to British Interest in India.

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The Aksakal

Galwan for almost 35 years assisted the expeditions led by British, Italian and American explorer. And he eventually rose to the rank of “aksakal” or chief assistant of the British Joint Commissioner of Leh in 1917, as reported in Economic Times. This Valley was then the famous route for silk traders. At that time it’s believed to be swarming with robbers. No knowledge about the route caused people to lives. Besides robbers, cold, high peaks and lack of oxygen also caused much death. Some say the beautiful sight is breathtaking. And it’s beauty has a high price.

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How The Valley Named The Galwan Valley:

In 1892, Sir Charles Moore the 7th came to India. He came here on a secret mission. Moore has given a nice description about his travel in his travel diary ‘The Pamirs: Being A Narrative Of A Years Expeditions On Horseback and Foot Through Kashmir, Western Tibet, Chinese Territory, And Russian Central Asia”. He had commenced many such trips for his secret jobs. But that time he fell into serious trouble.
Near Ladakh, he developed a sudden breathing problem due to heights. By that time, he also reached a place surrounded by peaks. The troop was unable to return with their horses. They got stuck badly there. On their way, they found animals and humans bones too. They all were scared to death. But the troop had a 14 years old cook, Gulam Rasoul Galwan. He made the troop wait there and he went to find the path. That fearless boy risked his life to find the correct path and brought everyone down safely. Moore so moved and indebted to this boy that he named the valley after him.

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The Forgotten Hero

We all recall and embrace Vasco-Da-Gama, christopher Columbus. They made a difference and explored the unexplored. They opened a new horizon to the world. But according to world history has so many travelers, so many explorers who hardly remembered. What Gulam Rasoul Galwan, 14 years old, had done is just commendable.

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