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Brij Krishna Chandiwala

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Brij Krishna Chandiwala was an Indian freedom fighter from Delhi and a political associate of Mahatma Gandhi who was awarded the Padma Shri in 1963 for his contributions to the field of social work.

Early life and education[edit]

Brij Krishna was born in 1900, the sixth child of Banarsidas Chandiwala and Janki Devi.[1] The Chandiwalas were a family of silver traders of Chandni Chowk in Delhi. He was educated at St Stephen's College, Delhi where he met Gandhi, who had gone there as a guest of the college principal, S. K. Rudra, in 1918.[2]

Gandhi's associate[edit]

His meeting with Gandhi deeply influenced Chandiwala and he became an ardent follower and close associate of Gandhi. Chandiwala took to spartan meals and to wearing khadi under Gandhi's influence. Also, he took to himself the task of supplying Gandhiji his goat's milk whenever he stayed in Delhi and his earnestness in this matter earned him the nickname gwalin (milkmaid) from Dr. M A Ansari.[3]

During the 1930s, Chandiwala helped organise the stone breakers of Delhi into a union and took up cases of violation of their rights with the Delhi administrators and in courts of law to ensure better compliance to government regulations regarding their work and to get compensation for them.[3] While in Delhi, Gandhi used to stay at Chandiwala's house and Gandhi's 21-day fast for communal harmony in 1924 was undertaken there. Chandiwala was with Gandhi on the day of his assassination and it was he who prepared Gandhi's body for cremation.[2][4]

Social work[edit]

After Independence, Chandiwala took to social work and became a founding member and president of the Bharat Sewak Samaj and Sadachar Samiti. In 1952 he founded the Shri Banarsidas Chandiwala Sewa Smarak Trust Society which was initially headed by Gandhi's son Devdas. The trust runs several hospital and educational institutes in Delhi including the Janki Devi College for Women which has been named in honour of his mother.[5][6][7] For his contributions to the field of social work Chandiwala was awarded the Padma Shri in 1963.[2]


Chandiwala authored a three volume book in Hindi titled Bapu Ke Charanon Mein which was later translated into English as At the Feet of Bapu.[2][8] His other notable work is the Gandhiji ki Delhi Diary which chronicles Gandhi's days in Delhi.[4]


  1. ^ 'Family History of Chandiwala Family', Manuscript in Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Individual Collections, B.K. Chandiwala, Instalment II-III Subject Files, F no. 6
  2. ^ a b c d "The league of quiet, extraordinary gentlemen". The Hindu. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Gandhiji and Delhi". Gandhi Research Foundation. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b "The Last Hours Of Mahatma Gandhi". Gandhi Research Foundation. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Janki Devi Memorial College - About Us". Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Shri Banarsidas Chandiwala Sewa Smarak Trust Society - About Us". Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  7. ^ BCIP Today - August 2010 (PDF). Banarsidas Chandiwala Institute of Physiotherapy. 2010. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2011.
  8. ^ Carter, April (1995). Mahatma Gandhi: A Selected Bibliography. Greenwood Press. p. 74. ISBN 9780313282966.