Touted as the oldest military cantonment in India, MHOW (also known as Mau) was founded by Sir John Malcolm in 1818 after the Treaty of Mandsaur was signed between the then Holkar King and British Government. An acronym for Military Headquarters of War, the history of this cantonment dates back to the First War of Independence (1857). Further, the prominence of this place has increased manifolds due to its relation with eminent personalities, such as Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. So embark upon a virtual journey with us, as we unfurl the stories of MHOW.
A military niche since the colonial times
When the flames of the Revolt of 1857 reached Mhow on the 1st of July, the garrison stationed within the Mhow Fort, successfully withheld the attack for over 30 days. Post the war, the British started rebuilding their image and Mhow became the headquarters of Central Province.
As per old records that are dated around World War II, two Prisoner of War camps were established here to keep the Italian and German soldiers captured in North Africa and Eritrea in 1941. Moreover, the famous Chindit Forces, who raided the Japanese Imperial Forces under the command of General Orde Wingate, were trained in the neighbourhood of Mhow for it offered a near replica of the terrain of Burma.
This cantonment, which has now grown into a full-fledged township, has been taken over by the Indian Army, since 1947. A College of Combat, Infantry School and Telecommunication Engineering College has been established here for educational training of military personnel, apart from a golf course and officer's mess.
Personalities of prominence
Mhow cantonment has borne witness to almost a 200-year long history and during this time period, Winston Churchill- the wartime Prime minister of Britain, was posted here as a Subaltern (junior officer in the military). Further, the Father of the Indian Constitution- Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was born here while his father was, a Junior Commissioned Officer in the British Indian Army, was posted here. Mhow has been renamed as Dr. Ambedkar Nagar in honour of his memory.
Nestled amid the Malwa Plateau and watershed river basins of the rivers Chambal and Narmada, Mhow holds numerous stories that can captivate the imagination of visitors. Adding to these stories are other nearby touristy spots, including the Swarga Mandir and an eighteenth-century stepwell. We hope that you found this historical tour of Mhow intriguing enough to visit this place in person, when the pandemic permits!
Location: Mhow Cantonment, Indore district