The Invincible Soul is the biography of Girdhari Lal Salwan educationist, humanitarian, politician, craftsman and, above all, leader. Deprived of a formal education himself, Girdhari Lal took up the challenge of providing education to the children of a resurgent India in the post-Partition era.
An honest, successful and respected businessman, Girdhari Lal had his first tryst with discrimination when his children were denied education in good schools because he was a carpenter. It was a turning point in his life, and he faced the situation head-on, reviving a dying institute in Peshawar through his personal resources and renaming it Salwan Sanatan Dharam High School in 1942.
During the period of communal clashes, he opened up his house to refugees. Even after losing his eldest son to communal rage in Peshawar and being uprooted from his home, he took to the task of resettling refugees in Delhi with a passion. He was allocated land in Rajendra Nagar, where he built the first Salwan School in independent India in 1949. After that there was no looking back, and he created a beautiful integrated campus of schools at the same location.
A worthy life was cut short in 1964 on account of illness, but Girdhari Lal has left behind a rich legacy of achievements that are today being spearheaded by the Salwan Education Trust and the successive generations of his family.
About the Author
Dr Mohinder Singh is member of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions and Professor of Eminence, Punjabi University, Patiala. Dr Singh taught history at the University of Delhi and the Punjabi University, and also served as director, National Institute of Punjab Studies, and as member, National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities.
Dr Indu Khetarpal holds a PhD in educational management from the Central Institute of Education, University of Delhi. An institution builder and natural leader, Dr Khetarpal is the recipient of the National Award for teachers, 2005 and is currently the principal of Salwan Public School, Gurgaon. She is also the editor of Navtika, a leading educational journal of India.