A quaint, unassuming restaurant selling Indian, Chinese and chaat food hardly
becomes the talk of the town when it opens in a town like Uttarakhand’s capital
city of Dehradun. However, 26-year-old owner Preeti Maindoliya has done exactly
that, in just six days since naming her restaurant ‘Pyari Pahadan’.

Protestors accuse
Maindoliya of insulting the hill people as well as “matrishakti (woman power)”
with the name. One person, who allegedly assaulted her, has been arrested since,
according to an Indian Express report.

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But Maindoliya
says it was her dream to open a restaurant, and that she will defend it with
all her might. A B.Tech graduate, Maindoliya gave up her job as an electronics
engineer to pursue her deams.

She took up
a 180 square feet space in Dehradun’s Banjarawal area and named the
establishment ‘Pyari Pahadan’. She says it’s a name she has a specific connection with the name, as ‘Pahadan’ is what her friends used to call her back in her college days. She called her
mother from their village in Pauri Garhwal to come live with her and help run
the restaurant.

However, within
hours of her opening the restaurant on August 1, did a Facebook Live from the
site and expressed his reservations against the name. Identified as Surendra Rawat,
the man returned later with some women, who threatened Maindoliya and said the
name was an insult to women and people living in the hills.

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“I told
them I was also a pahadi, and had been born and brought up in Pauri Garhwal
district,” The Indian Express quoted Maindoliya as saying. She said that soon
she started receving threats on her phone, with people vowing to vandalise the
establishment if she didn’t change the name soon.

to reports, Rawat returned on August 2 with two women, Bhawana Pandey and Pramila
Rawat and Maindoliya was allegedly assaulted, causing her to pass out. Her
mother filed a complaint at the Patel Nagar Police Station and a FIR was
registered, which led to Rawat’s arrest.

says she was told the three individuals were associated with the Uttarakhand
Kranti Dal (UKD), but the political party has denied all links with them. They
have also condemned the assault on her.

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Meanwhile, Pandey,
a social worker who aspires to contest the nest assembly elections, claims that
she was fighting for her state. She also denied physically assaulting Maindoliya,
saying, “The word pahadan represents women of the hills and it is associated with
their honour. The title ‘pyari pahadan’ is objectionable. What do they want to
serve there with this title? Would you like it if somebody calls your mother or
sister a ‘pyari pahadan’?”

Maindoliya is
steadfast in her resolve to not change the name, particularly since the support
she received since sharing the story on social media. A number of politicians have
also come to her restaurant to eat, as a show of support for her cause.

Former chief
minister Harish Rawat called her and tweeted from his account, asking people to
visit her restaurant for a meal. Former Congress state president Kishore
Upadhyaya also appeared at the restaurant along with party leaders.

delegation from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also met Maindoliya and called her
restaurant an evidence of her entrepreneurship and a reflection of “Uttarakhand