T. R. SURI (A Brief Life-Sketch)
Tirath Ram Suri, younger son of Parabh Dial Suri, was born at Ambala on 16th December 1903, at about the same time as the Wright Brothers were making the world’s first flight of a heavier-than-air craft and the Taj Mahal Hotel at Bombay was opening its doors for the first time.
Graduating from the Technical Institute at Rasul (now in Pakistan), he was employed as an Overseer in the Punjab Irrigation Department in October 1923. He left this job and joined the North Western Railway on 24th October 1925. Married a month and a half later, he served the Railways in Baluchistan, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh until 1959. He spent the last three years of his life at Dehra Dun.
Lala Parabh Dial Suri had been under Christian and Freemasons influence until the end of the 19th century. But, back in the Punjab, the Kangra background became dominant again. His ancestors had been Jwala Dass and Mahesh Dass. His son, born in 1901, was named Durga Dass.
By 1903, however, Lalajee had come under the influence of the Arya Samaj. His next son came to be called Tirath Ram because of the then famous Swami Ram Tirtha. Born in September 1874, Swamiji had propagated the ancient cultural heritage of India even in Japan and America.
October was always a crucial month in the life of Tirath Ram Suri. His grandmother passed away on the 20th October 1905, when he was less than two years old. His Mundan ceremony was performed in October 1907 at Shimla where his father had been transferred earlier that year. A year later, he was watching “other children in the family” going to school at Rawalpindi.
Lala Parabh Dial Suri had accumulated a large number of “dependents” (orphans from collateral branches of his own and his wife’s family) by this time. Perhaps this was the reason for a sudden attack of facial paralysis; fortunately, it did not last long. However, it delayed Tirath Ram’s going to school.
He had not finished two years of schooling when the whole family had to shift to the smaller town nearby; Lalajee had been transferred to Jehlum in October 1911. In another two years it was an even smaller town called Khanki.
Tirath Ram’s first real memories pertained to the metropolitan capital of the Punjab, which he saw in October 1915. His father took an advance of salary and constructed a spacious bungalow at Lahore, opposite the princely Poonch House on Multan Road. He called it Dayal Niwas in celebration of his new faith.
Tirath Ram’s early schooling had been dictated by the transfers of his father. Now at Lahore, his attention was attracted by two prominent personalities. One was Lala Lajpat Rai, who was in exile in the United States from 1914 to 1917. The other was Swami Ram Tirth, after whom he had himself been named; the Swami had been a Professor of Mathematics and a close friend of another Professor, Mohammed Iqbal, the poet who wrote “Saaray Jahaan say Acchha Hindostan Hamara”.
At the age of 15, Tirath Ram saw his father move on to the next biggest city, nearby Amritsar. His elder brother was all of 18 years old when they married him off on 7th February 1920. A year later, the family shifted to Rasul which boasted of an engineering institute. This was the period when Gandhiji (then visiting the Minakshi temple at Madurai) got his head shaved on 21st September 1921 and, “discarding his ordinary wear, donned only a loincloth.”
THE HIMACHAL CONNECTION
A PERIOD OF AFFLUENCE
My father’s first big rise came in 1928 when he was shifted from Survey and deputed to the Way & Works wing of the Railways. It meant going all the way to Baluchistan from his familiar Punjab, but it added Rs.95 to his previous pay of Rs.110 P.M., early in March that year. Incidentally, the Cost of Living Index also fell substantially that year.
Two goats were purchased for Rs.14 and Rs.12 respectively in October and December that year. His wife was expecting another child. By June 1929, when the daughter arrived, at a station called Khanai, he could afford to spend Rs.300 for ornaments for his wife; more were made in August at a cost of Rs.360. October 1930 brought a gramophone for Rs.120. (Young Reader: Do you know what a gramophone is?). More was spent next month on “records” and some furniture.
He was donating a fixed amount every month as Bhent (votive offerings) to the Radhasoami Satsang and the Cost of Living Index was falling further (due to a world-wide depression) when he was confirmed as an Assistant Inspector of Works with effect from 1st January 1931.
BACK TO SQUARE ONE
He earned Rs. 240 in March 1931, but was then sent back to his parent cadre where the emoluments were substantially less than in the Deputation post. In October 1931, he had touched almost what he was earning some years earlier. It was only around 1937-38 that he got around to what he was getting in 1930.
He was still in Baluchistan. Another son was born at Qilla Saifullah when his take-home pay (including allowances) was less than Rs.150, but the Cost of Living Index had touched rock-bottom, about a quarter of what it would be when his youngest child was born.
Baluchistan let him go in October 1933. He spent a very few months at Saharanpur before being promoted on Christmas Day and transferred to Bhatinda in an officiating capacity. Surprisingly, his emoluments as Inspector of Works were hovering around Rs.100 only in the first few months of 1934. Regularised in his posting with effect from 14th April 1934, he threw a party for which he spent around a hundred rupees. He also made a special Bhent of Rs.100 during a visit to Dayalbagh during Christmas week. A son and a daughter were born in 1934 and 1935. Finally, news of impending confirmation in the cadre came in October 1935; the order took effect from 6th November 1935.
Pashi was born in 1937 and Gulloo in 1939. Meanwhile, the founder of Dayalbagh, His Holiness Sahabji Maharaj Sir Anand Saroop, the fifth Guru of his sect, passed away on 24th June 1937 and Tirath Ram’s “wife became seriously ill” in December, to recover only by August 1938. During this period, his Diary says he “learnt a lot which was never dreamt of. This changed mode of life.”
Somebody sitting in Lahore had decided that Tirath Ram Suri should have been paying rent for his government accomodation at Bhatinda. Recovery of arrears was started in 1938; but good sense prevailed in 1940 and a substantial sum was refunded, with no further demands.
By this time, Europe was in the throes of the Second World War. India was in a deep political crisis. We quote again from the Landmarks Diary (a new page headed “Important Events”):
“1.Transferred to Jind on 1-7-41 after 8 years stay at Bhatinda.
“2. Long illness first time in life 14-9-42 to 29-10-42…
“3. Transferred to Ferozepur & left Jind on 24-7-43…”
The next few pages in this Diary refer to the premature birth of a son who was to die within a decade; a grade promotion and a transfer to Lahore; another transfer soon afterwards to Rawalpindi; the birth of Kuku there; and then the horrors of the Partition of India.
INTIMATIONS OF “MORTALITY”
Lalajee and his younger son had never remained at one station for more than three or four years (sometimes even months) until Parabh Dial retired and settled down at Dayalbagh. Tirath Ram’s first period of respite from rapid transfers came when he was posted to Bhatinda at about the same time. Then, after eight years of stability, he was transferred to Jind on the 1st of July 1941 in connexion with a war-time project.
Bhatinda was then an important place in the princely state of Patiala. It was a historical city and the Railway Colony was almost as modern as the Civil Lines in any British area. But Jind was the straggling capital of a small and backward State; even the Railway Colony had no electricity and other amenities. However, strenuous over-work (rather than any of the other factors) became the cause of what Tirath Ram described in his Diary as “Long illness first time in life 14-9-42 to 29-10-42…”
Lalajee and Bhaboji had to leave Prem and Saran at Dayalbagh to fend for themselves, while they went to Jind to look after their son’s health. After his recovery, according to another entry in Tirath Ram’s Diary, he was “Transferred to Ferozepur & left Jind on 24-7-43…” The next entry in this Diary refers to the premature birth of a son who was to die within a decade.
Lalajee’s own elder son was then posted at Solan in the Simla Hills District. As soon as Tirath Ram recovered his health, Lalajee and Bhabojee shifted from Jind to Solan for a summer vacation. May and June were the months when Prem and Saran used to go to their respective parents and Lalajee used to get time off from his sewa at Dayalbagh. Saran was at Dayalbagh until April 1944. Then he went over to Ferozepur where his father was then posted.
Tirath Ram’s next posting was to Lahore at the end of 1944, and to Rawalpindi soon afterwards. Arun (Kuku) was born there on 23rd September 1946.
THE PARTITION OF INDIA
The British Government announced on 20th February 1947 their decision finally to surrender power in India at a date in the near future. That set a cat among the pigeons; to mix our metaphors, everyone scrambled to get a piece of the cake. Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana resigned as Chief Minister of the Punjab and Master Tara Singh brandished his sword outside the Assembly Chamber. Riots broke out in Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, etc
Our family was at 292, West Ridge, in the Railway Colony at Rawalpindi. Across the road from the verdant lawns of the bungalow was a slum; a mile away was the red light area (ironically called the Bhagataan daa Bazaar), overlooking the Lei Nadi. The slum and the Bazaar immediately became a killing ground. When some miscreants threatened to cross the three-metre-wide road into the Railway Colony, Charan brought out his toy airgun in a show of bravado. Our family (and our neighbours too) were moved out of the area into a secure Camp. Twelve-year old Bholi clothed herself in three layers of dresses to make sure she would not run short.
IN THE AFTERMATH OF PARTITION
The Landmarks Diary reads: “Miraculous escape in Rawalpindi riots…Transferred to Ludhiana on 1-8-47. Grace solicited. Times are very bad. Arson and loot everywhere. Lahore property in great danger…”
Everywhere in India, but particularly more so in the Punjab, there were apprehensions about what would happen after the creation of Pakistan on the 14th-15th August midnight. Most Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan felt unsafe and migrated to India….
Many Muslims from East Punjab were migrating to West Punjab in driblets or in large convoys (by road and by rail). My father’s official residence at Ludhiana was sandwiched in between the Railway Station and the Grand Trunk Road (now called the Sher Shah Suri Marg), with nothing at all separating us from these life-lines for a seething mass of humanity…
On the 9th of November 1947, the Life Book Diary says: “Sickness and danger on all sides. Bal Kaur just saved from jaws of death. Lala Durga Das’s condition grave. Saran’s health alarming…” One day, a bullet fired by the Baluch Regiment escorts of a Pakistan-bound train whistled past Gur Saran’s ear and embedded itself in the tree behind him. “Bal Kaur” (that is, the children’s Maasijee, Iqbal Kaur) had escaped from Rawalpindi in September, by train, and was with us at Ludhiana when she escaped with her life from a severe attack of cholera. Her communist brother (Des Raj Chadha) visited us at Ludhiana in disguise, because the “comrades” were still a banned organisation.
Gur Saran developed pleurisy and took several months to recover. One day, some people called on his mother to propose their daughter’s marriage to him (approaching 21). When they were going back without getting any positive response, Charan (15) remonstrated to Maatajee: “Ghar aayee Lakshmi should not be rebuffed!”
Gur Saran was just recovering from pleurisy when it was announced that his final examination in Journalism was to be held by the new Punjab (India) University at Delhi. Simultaneously, his father also received orders of transfer to Delhi Main Railway Station.
Ludhiana had been only a smaller charge for want of a higher vacancy, but it took another two years of see-saw promotions and reversions to reach a plateau of stability. The reason was that there were very few big stations in East Punjab (the part of NWR left to India); the much greater part (comprising stations in West Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province) had gone to Pakistan. It was only in 1952 that the Indian Railways were re-organised, with the newly-formed Northern Railway covering Indian Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
TRANSFER TO DELHI
We have already referred to the Diary whose hard-cover says: T.R.SURI…Life Book…(1923 to 1960). We now reproduce a full page which speaks for itself.
“Promotion as AEN from 7-12-48 & news of 1st Class Passes.”
“Reverted as IOW Grade III on 10-1-49.”
“Pain in finger-tips and heels…started on 28-1-49 and grew very serious in May 1949. Went to Bombay for treatment on 3-6-49 and returned in July ’49.”
“Reverted to Grade II in September 1949. Health slightly improving. Shifted to New Delhi on 20-9-49.Health better but numbness and pain is still felt…Promoted to Grade III from 27-5-50, Delhi
Main (Railway Station). Reverted to Grade II in July 1950 and posted at New Delhi.”
It was only in September 1950 that he finally regained his gazetted post and stayed in it for the rest of his service career. Meanwhile, let us take a look at his life in Delhi and New Delhi.
THE HOUSE AT DELHI JUNCTION
On the back side of the Delhi railway station was the bungalow allotted to him. It opened on the hugely congested Nicholson Road, with a perpendicular on Mori Gate nearby. The road had been named after Brigadier John Nicholson who was killed while trying to retake Delhi in 1857.
One could follow this road right up to Kashmiri Gate which was then in fine condition. Some of the city’s best shops were housed almost in the shadow of the Gate and the city wall of which it was a part. In the same locality was the historic Library of Prince Dara Shikoh, which is now being refurbished as a a museum.
Staying with us for quite some time (as refugees from Pakistan) were the family of Mrs. Savitri Suri’s uncle (a retired XEN of Punjab Irrigation), his son Raj Kumar Chadha with wife Neena, Tarlok Nath Chadha (a cousin of T.R.Suri, son of his Maasi), and a few others off and on, including their children.
PANCHKUIN ROAD , NEW DELHI
The family shifted, on 20th September 1949, to 97-A, Panchkuin Road, with a perpendicular on Basant Road, leading to the Railway Stadium. It was a semi-detached bungalow (with an in-house shrine to a long-forgotten Muslim Pir), opposite the Lady Hardinge Medical College & Hospital.
Tirath Ram’s elder brother Lala Durga Dass Suri was also there, with family, until they left for Palampur. Their eldest son Prem was selected for his first job (at the Central Research Institute, Kasauli, with a career in the same line ending at the Indian Council of Medical Research at New Delhi) while staying at Panchkuin Road; he also brought his bride to the same bungalow.
That bungalow has since been pulled down and replaced by a multi-storeyed structure housing a hundred families.
SEEKING A CURE IN BOMBAY
Meanwhile, as we have already mentioned, Lala Tirath Ram Suri suffered a neural disorder, which “grew very serious in May 1949,” says the Diary. In search of a cure, he visited Bombay in 1949.There, we stayed at the Punjab Hotel on Frere Road, with a branch of the family which had domiciled in Bombay before the World War of 1939-45 and now owned the multi-storeyed hotel. We visited Ahmednagar also (Maasiji’s Kohli family).
Back in Delhi, Charan (age 18) decided he would also start earning. He set up a photo-studio and spent more on entertaining clients than what he earned from satisfied customers. He also tried to follow in the footsteps of his communist Maamajee and spent a day or two in Tihar. His mother had to visit him in the lock-up…
LAST DECADE OF SERVICE
On the 11th September 1950, while the family remained at 97-A, Panchkuin Road in New Delhi, T.R.Suri took over at Pathankot on promotion as AEN (officer in charge of two kinds of Inspectors, the IOW meaning Inspector of Works, and the PWI meaning Permanent Way Inspector).
Next, says the LIFE BOOK, he was “transferred from PTK to JRC on 28-4-50 and continued to work as AEN without a break until retirement on 31-12-58.” PTK is officialese for Pathankot and JRC stands for Jullundur Cantonment Railway Station.
LIFE AT JULLUNDUR
The family moved straight from New Delhi to the sprawling official residence at Jullundur. There, for some weeks, they stayed with the out-going family of the Keswanis; their son Sewak was Chand’s class-fellow at the School of Social Work four years later; he was part of the “comedy of errors” ending in Saran’s marriage to Chand, not to Phool. But that is another story.
Kanta’s marriage also took place at Jullundur on 12th May 1952, and Saran joined his first government job (at Patiala) on 20th May 1952, but that was after T.R.Suri had secured a “voluntary transfer from JRC to Ratangarh 29-1-52 to escape from DEN Mehta’s vindictiveness…” DEN stands for Divisional Engineer, the officer in charge of Personnel& Administration at the Divisional Headquarters. This was not exactly a repeat of the 1925 experience in the Irrigation Department, but pretty close to that. There was more such official bother to follow in the next few years.
On the domestic front, to quote again from the LIFE BOOK, entry dated 9th August 1952, “Shobha Rani arrived…at 9.40 A.M. at Ratangarh. May Almighty bring luck and happiness to the family. Day of increment.” That last phrase means that it was the day on which he was to get the annual raise of pay which is called a grade-increment.
However, the next entry dated 4th January 1954 is on a doleful note: “Dear Ashok left us for ever at 7 P.M. on date at Ratangarh. Heart failure after long illness and kidney failure. Alas, such an intelligent and loving child leaves behind a memory…” This was the son born premature on 13th December 1943. The kidney failure was caused by the small-town doctor’s amateurish use of the then new-fangled anti-biotics. But T.R.Suri’s kidneys also failed in the 1960s due to other factors.
Entry dated 15th October 1954 in the LIFE BOOK: “Rumour of reversion upset very badly. Pray it may be wrong. Promise to control kaam, krodh, loabh, moh, ahankaar.”
26th October 1954: “Involved unnecessarily in muster-sheet defalcation case. Pray Radhasoami Dayal to protect from any harm.”
1st February 1955: “Sampat is troubling without any cause. Pray Radhasoami Dayal to save from any harm.” Sampat was then his immediate superior, a thoroughly corrupt officer.
22nd June 1955: “Selection for Class I again called. Pray for empanelment. I repent for not (giving up the eternal human weaknesses mentioned above). Shall now (make more vigorous effort). May I continue as AEN till my retirement on 31-12-58.” Signed: T.R.Suri 22/6/55.
Happily, he could record on 1st January 1958: “Empanelled as AEN. Thanks Radhasoami Dayal. This big worry is now over.”
But, of course, worries never end. In July 1958, his middle daughter Amrit Sakhi was suddenly taken ill shortly after her betrothal to a PWI, Vidya Bhushan Nangia. “…alarming…May Radhasoami Dayal protect the two families which are connected to Satsang,” he wrote in the LIFE BOOK. The invocation worked. She got well and the marriage was solemnized in mid-September the same year at the house he had built in 1953-54 at K-8 Jangpura Extension in New Delhi. She became Sudha Nangia. Two days later, her brother Charan married his young friend Sudesh who was living in K-6. Incidentally, K-6 was across the lane from our Maasiji’s house K-7. The two sisters, Mrs Savitri Suri and Mrs Iqbal Kaur Kohli, had managed to secure adjacent plots.
PREPARING FOR RETIREMENT
The education of T.R.Suri’s children had suffered due to his frequent transfers. The only exceptions had been when he had sent some of them to Dayalbagh to be educated under the assiduous care of their grandfather, Lala Parabh Dial Suri; Gur Saran from 1932 to 1944, Amrit Lal from 19 to 19 , and Amrit Sakhi from 19 to 19 .
Approaching the age of retirement, his eyes were fixed on the eldest son, Gur Saran. His youngest daughter, Shobha, still a child, stayed under parental care, but Pashi, Gulloo and Kuku were sent to live with Saran, Chand, Sanjeev and Minakshi for long or short spells. Only Kuku completed his studies satisfactorily at the Swiss Technical Training Centre at Chandigarh.
We have already noted how Tirath Ram Suri’s continuance in his gazetted post was being endangered by the machinations of his thoroughly corrupt boss, Sampat. “Pray I may continue as AEN till my retirement due on 31-12-58,” he had written in his Diary of Landmarks, on 22-6-55.
The next entry is dated 1-10-56 and says: “Saran’s service in danger. Pray Radhaswami Dayal to safeguard our interest.” Saran was then at Jullundur where Pashi had been sent to learn radio assembly and repairs from Saran.
Next entry: “1-1-57: Saran reverted from Central to Provincial service…operated for piles at Ratangarh.” Saran was at Chandigarh for the next five years. When Pashi finished his training under Saran, he returned to Delhi and set up shop in 1958. Within two days, according to what Chand remembers, Gulloo took his place at Chandigarh. He left after more than a year to start working with Pashi, only to return within a few months, as we shall see later.
Meanwhile, Kuku was sent along with Chand (shortly after Minakshi’s birth at Ratangarh: 12-4-58) to continue his studies at Chandigarh.
RETIREMENT & RE-EMPLOYMENT
We quote next from the 1960 Diary: “I retired on 31-12-58 and soon shifted with bag and baggage to Dayalbagh to live with and look after parents who are too old and should not be left alone…my anxiety is now to do something for Pashi, Gulloo, Kuku and Shobha who are too young still and need attention in settling in life.” However, within three months he was appointed “Chief Instructor in the Railway Technical Training Centre, Shahjahanpur.” This job lasted for about nine months. “Released from RTTC today, 27-11-59”, says his LandmarksDiary.
AFTER FINAL RETIREMENT
Now was the time to worry about the pension and plans for the future. In the 1960 Diary are numerous long and detailed calculations of the expected retirement benefits. Unlike the British days, when pension was half the last pay drawn, it was now only three-eighths; and the years of service also entered the calculation. Then there was the rule that one-third of the due pension could be exchanged for a lump sum, based on the average life-expectation in India.
Matajee was urging Pitajee to get part of his pension commuted “as she says money is required to start some work or industry for the children.” “But father and many others think that commutation is not good (because) if the capital is lost, then there is neither any regular income in lifetime, nor any capital…”
Pitajee was not “very keen” on commutation because, as he noted on the next page of the diary, “if I lose the capital (as happens with 90 per cent pensioners), I will be stranded with a low pension.” Eventually, he did take Rs.9715.20 “as commutation and pension reduced to Rs.161 P.M. from 6-12-60.” The Gratuity (another lump sum calculated on last pay and years of service) amounted to Rs.9718.75. There are also long calculations of various ways of investing this amount and the likely advantages/disadvantages.
From his very first pay-day in 1923, he had saved something regularly, only to find (when the World War started) that he would have to spend more than his income for the last two decades of his life, showing the minus sign in the Savings Column of his Abstracts of Monthly Expenditure in the LIFE BOOK.
In the 1960 Diary, he wrote on 13th October 1960: “Kuku and Shobha can get good education at Bhilai…we cannot leave Dayalbagh for sake of parents…” The next day he was writing (in a long letter) to Gulloo: “I understand you are not pulling on quite nicely with Pashi and his work and prestige is suffering badly. He does not like your stay with him on this account and has asked us to tell you to shift …If Rewari suits you, you may go there…” In the end, Gulloo went back to Chandigarh and “studied” there until Saran’s transfer to Delhi in 1962. From the papers he left behind after this second attempt to continue his studies at Chandigarh, we learnt that Gulloo had spent most of his time day-dreaming, filling up page after page of his school exercise books with imaginary budgets for different possible standards of life in the future.
The school results of Shobha and Arun (Kuku) for the year 1960-61 are available in the 1960 Diary.
THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF HIS LIFE
The next entry in the Landmarks Diary is dated 1-1-62 and says: “Many calamities expected all over the world from 2/2/62 to 5/2/62. Radhaswami Naam will help.” He was referring to the dreaded Asht-grahi when a line-up of the planets and the sun was proclaimed by the superstitious as a harbinger of much evil for humankind.
Tirath Ram Suri already had symptoms of the renal failure which was to cause his death just over three and a half years later. The 1960 Diary reveals his cogitations about his finances, his health and other things which matter more after retirement.
THE LONGINGS OF A LIFE-TIME
At the same time, he was summing it up in the LIFE BOOK. A full page written on 16th February 1960 says: “Very few pages now left in this note book to record important events of my life. This is an indication that my end is fast approaching and there is not much left to be recorded now.”
The page continues: “Let me now pass my remaining days in peace and happiness.” This is followed (without a break) by a remark that reflected his experience of the previous quarter of a century: “Wife is very sensitive by nature. Her feelings should not be injured by rough or unthoughtful actions or deeds.”
The next paragraph says: “I have no financial worry if everything goes on allright. There is enough for the education, marriages and future of the children and wife.”
The next paragraph was indicative of the future, though not as it materialised in actuality: “We wish we could have a nice, neat and clean bungalow of our own in Delhi Chiragh, to pass our last days peacefully, and to fix up the boys in some trades at Delhi.”
Having lived all his life in spacious railway bungalows, he was not too comfortable in the spartan accomodation at Dayalbagh or even in the flatted house he had built for himself in the K-Block of Jangpura Extension at New Delhi, near the centuries-old Nizamuddin Basti.
WHAT WAS NOT TO BE
Two pages later, in the same LIFE BOOK, the caption is: Last Entry. Revised and updated twice or thrice, it was signed on 4th April 1960. In part, it reads: “Financial position…in 1983 if I live 25 years (after retirement): I will have…Rs.4 lakhs, out of which I can spend 2 lakhs and leave 2 lakhs for children…if I live in Dayalbagh.”
His 1960 Diary is full of detailed pros and cons, running into pages, debating a choice between Dayalbagh or Delhi, Dehra Dun or even Pachmarhi (which he visited, with wife and children, for a spot-inspection).
On 13th October 1960, there was an even more interesting proposal to consider. To quote the diary entry: “We can spend four months at Bhilai (where Amrit Lal was employed in the Steel Plant and it was proposed that ‘Kukkoo and Shobha can get good education’ there); 2 months in hills; 2 months on sea-side; 2 months in Delhi; and 2 months in Agra (meaning Dayalbagh).”
The Ancestors of T.R.Suri’s Wife SAVITRI CHADHA
Jawahar Mal Chadha, a Jamai of the Katoch family of Ghumand Chand and the Dogra Braj Dev (see family trees at Mattan and Hardwar),* was born in the summer of 1845. And was named after Mai Jindan;s brother (later executed by the Khalsa) who was then briefly the Wazir of suzerain Lahore.(Dalip Singh was Maharaja).
(Another Jawahar Mal was Commandant of the Lahore Ordinance Factory)
*See 1991 diary Frontis piece.
His grandfather was killed defending Governor Lehna Singh Sandhanwalia (NOT MAJITHIA) of Mandi in 1841 against his own Sikh insurgents. Next year, his father was made Diwan of Mandi*; and Suket was added some years later (formally recognized by the British (under Montgomery).
*Mandi had been recovered from the Nepal Gorkhas by the Dogras (with British help) in 1842; (war between 1833 and 1842). In 1847, the British "restored" Mandi (later Suket) to the puppet Lahore Durbar.
In the winter of 1845-46, Sikhs of Mandi threatened Sabathu, Kasauli & even Simla. But the Rajputs supported the British and no actual hostilities took place.
MODERN CHADHA FAMILY
The Nepalese emerging from their homeland in the early 19th century(in their pursuit of riches and control over trade routes) had penetrated deep into the Kulu Valley (along the Beas) and almost captured Kot Kangra(westwards) in the next big valley. During the first decade, MANDI (on the river BEAS, downstream from Kulu, at an altitude of 8000 feet) was still their strong-hold (see 1807-1809) until the Sikhs (under Desa Singh Majithis) pushed them back; only to be replaced by the Dogras in the next three decades (with British connivance. In 1847, the British "restored" MANDI to the Lahore Durbar.
The Lawrence brothers were the real rulers till 1858.
Birth of Jawahar Mal Chadha (some time during the 1840s).
He later became Diwan of Mandi-Suket. See back cover.
Czar of Russia seeks dominion over Central Asia. Uzbekistan (Babar's homeland) taken in 1861? C.f. 1790.