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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Searching for the family roots

During my childhood I had been listening to stories told by parents who had come from western Punjab after partition of India. These were not very happy stories but tales of loss of homes, hearths & dear ones. These tales brought sadness, hatred, anger & at times a sense of helplessness. Therefore we the kids had no interest in them. At times we wondered how a country could be partitioned overnight with a simple line on the map - this side is mine & that side is yours & now get off from my side or else. At times we thought it was an act of fate that parents lost their houses, shops, jewellery, savings & their brothers & sisters. On some occasions we brushed the horror stories aside as nothing could be done about the nightmare which engulfed not us but thousands & lacs like us & we were not alone in this suffering thrown by God as punishment. At times when some elders visited the house the stories on same theme would crop up again & we would just laugh it off - oh another one from partition days.

As of now father, mother & grand mother have left for their heavenly abodes. I have since retired from bank service. With sufficient time in hand & out of curiosity I am looking back & searching for the family roots. This search has also been prompted while reading similar stories in social media or in blogger.com or in wordpress.com. Notable among them is my senior colleague Shri Yash Pal Sethi who is writing his autobiography.

Most of the information is from the tales told in childhood by father, mother & grand mother (dadi) & as told by Shri Vinod Kumar Bharara my uncle - chacha, of my age group & putting up at Meerut.

Here is the family tree :
* Wazir Chand ji, resident of Hujjan, Sargodha, Pakistan.
* Ram Singh ji ( married to Ishar Devi ji)
* Lajwanti ji (married to Kirpa Ram ji)
* Jagdishwar Lal ji (married to Sushila Devi ji)
* Harsh Wardhan (that's me married to Gayatri)

And here is an outline of the above family members:
*Wazir Chand ji was resident of the village Hujjan near Bhera in district Sargodha now in Pakistan. He was faced with a problem that his infant children did not survive. He prayed in Gurdwara & offered to make one son Sikh. Accordingly his son Ram became Ram Singh.

*Ram Singh ji was married to Ishari Devi ji. He was working as munshi of a zamindar in Hujjan. They shifted after partition to Mumbai & joined eldest son. Ram Singh ji died in Jan 1948. Ishari Devi ji breathed her last in Mar 1964. They had two sons & two daughters as under.

*Lajwanti ji ( my grand mother - dadi ji) was the eldest one & was married to Kirpa Ram ji at the age of 14. Kirpa Ram ji died when their son Jagdishwar Lal ji ( my father) was two years old. That made Lajwanti ji go back to her parents again. She did not prefer to be dependent but wanted economic freedom. Being strong willed & upright she decided to break free & to go to school again for finishing class fifth. Thereafter she took another bold step & opted for training of midwife (daai) in the local hospital despite stiff opposition of parents & in laws. She frequently used even burka to commute to hospital for duty at odd hours. Till the age of 75 or so she attended child births independently & without caring for caste & status of the would-be mother & without charging any fee. She died in April 1999 in Meerut.

*Chaman Lal Bharara ji was born on 04 Dec 1912 being second child of Ram Singh ji & Ishar Devi ji. After finishing high school from Kirpa Ram Anglo Sanskrit School he joined army in 1932. In 1936 he got married to Karmawali ji daughter of Ram Javaya Shah ji & Bhagwanti ji & sister of Raghbir Lal Behl of Behlan Da Veda, Bhera. Chaman Lal Bharara ji was granted Viceroy's Commissioned officership in 1943 & later posted in Indian Naval Hospital Services Mumbai. He retired as Subedar from Army Medical Corps. Chaman Lal Bharara ji breathed his last at the age of 95 in Meerut.

*Mangat Ram Bharara ji, second son was born in 1928 in Hujjan & completed his High School in first division from Kirpa Ram Anglo Sanskrit School. Subsequently he joined Punjab National Bank in Lahore. He was married to Sumitra ji who was from Bannu region. After partition he rejoined the bank in Bombay & then after some time got transferred to New Delhi where he remained till he breathed his last.

*Phulan Rani was the fourth child born in Hujjan. She got married to Vidya Sagar Nayyer ji of Sialkot. They were in Noida during their last days.

As mentioned above Lajwanti ji & Kirpa Ram ji had a son Jagdishwar Lal ji (my father) He too did his High School in Kirpa Ram Anglo Sanskrit School Hujjan. Subsequently he got employed with Military Dairy Farms. He got married to Sushila Devi ji (my mother) who was daughter of Mohan Lal Kapoor of Miyani in district Sargodha.

This brief  is being published in the hope of gathering more information about the above mentioned elders. This shall help in compiling a better & fuller family history.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step - Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher, 604 - 531 BC

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