Dewan House…..Down the Memory Lane – Tailpiece—By Ravish Bahadur (Tare Sahib)

Dewan House…..Down the Memory Lane

- Tailpiece—By Ravish Bahadur (Tare Sahib)
I was inspired by the letter from Anita to recount what I had heard about Rampur , Dewan House and as, I thought, saw them during my times there. Today if anybody looks back on those days or even people of my generation it will look more of a fiction than reality. Imagine so many people living together with only three dry latrines, one for the ladies inside the house and two outside, one being very small and note with no doors. Nobody ever did mind and all lived in harmony. And the bathrooms, one for gents outside with a cloakroom and the ladies one had no roof. Can you imagine this today? In seventies Viren Sahib (Shri Virendra Bahadur son of Shri Shamsher Bahadur) had sent two flush latrines for fixing. Only thing in abundance was happiness may be because we all lived in `present` and not worried about what we did not have. Modern times had not hit us inspite of education.
Another important blessing of those times was bonding between relatives and even among the people of Rampur of those days. It was not that we were causal. We did our best given the meager resources at that times. Even all sports were fought with all seriousness even the though the courtyard was not big. Even Table Tennis was play on a `takhat` or wooden table. Raja Sahib ( my younger brother Shri Brij Raj Bahadur) was the best player, which even my class fellow Mr. I. U. Khan now a leading criminal laywer in Delhi and himself also a good TT player once told me in Delhi.

I remember Raja Sahib used to keep a record of his wins over Sat Pal son of our tenant Dr. Behl and take his signatures with date. I remember when Suresh Sahib ( Shri Suresh Bahadur Satyawakta son of Shr Shiam Bahadur `BP`) himself a good player of Badminton was transferred to we used to play at the indoor court in Sheesh Mahal, Rampur Qila (Fort) where regular tournaments were played.
I would give some more examples of bonding;
Once Bhukku Sahib ( my elder brother Shri Vijai Bahadur) told me that while he and bhabi were waiting at the NY airport for the shuttle to change the terminal a Limousine Taxi stopped in front of them and the driver offered in Hindustani to drop them at the terminal free. He said that he was from Pakistan and insisted on them. They accepted the offer. He asked them which part of India they were from. When he told him he is from Rampur UP. The taxi driver was stunned and said that his mother migrated to Pakistan in 1947 when she was six years old and has always been telling him that whenever he gets any passenger from Rampur he should bring him to meet her. He give his mobile no. and said that he will come to receive him when he comes next. Once I met Yash Pal son of Dr. Behl our tenant in nineties after three decades. He was with me for half an hour but talked about DH and Rampur for twenty five minutes. When I was looking for a tenant for my daughter Radhika`s flat in Gurgaon near Delhi one gentleman Nadeem came to me desperately looking for a flat but the matter was immediately settled when he said he was from Rampur and he is there for the last four last four years. I cannot help mentioning here about Shri Laxminarain son of famous Shri Cauuamal the famous sweets seller of Rampur. Whenever he came to Delhi for some work Achchey Mian was his constant companion taking him wherever he had work although his brother-in-law was MS of Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, a big man. Such was the bonding.
I hope more and more people post their experiences to supplement the efforts of Yogesh who has set up this website and taken upon himself this time consuming job in addition to his business. I will do my bit in future also.

However if anybody is not getting time or hesitant to write can contact me in Delhi after a week or so at my mobile no. 09818429449.

Dewan House – Down the Memory Lane “Achchey Mian and others” – by Tare Sahab

Dewan House  -  Down  the  Memory Lane

Achchey Mian  and  others. – by Tare Sahab

From Acche Miyan

Any description or narration about events and people connected with Dewan House would be incomplete without mentioning of Achchey Mian mainly. Achchey Mian (AM) was a pal or a very friendly person of everybody from  relatives or relative`s relative, friends of the family or even visitors, of the age of 2 years to 80 years male or female. It is said that AM  came in contact with DH as  a youngster and became friendly with all and in particular with his age group and over a period of time became a part of DH due to his sense of humour, repartees, good nature and getting involved with everybody`s problems, very helpful nature and all most selflessly. On account of this he was most sought after, admired  and welcome person by everybody connected with DH. He always tried to help everybody through his connections and linkages particularly problems of parents of marrigeable daughters in our society and missed no opportunities, even used to go to long distances to help them. Two such instances come to my mind. He used to go to Nagda (MP) where Pyare Sahib ( Shri Brish Bahadur) my elder brother was working quite often. There he met two such parent during his visits there and helped in  fixing up the marriges at different times, one with my close friend Shri Satish Mathur Delhi and the other with the friend of Rai Sahib ( Shri Rai Bahadur) my youngest brother (Shri Sushil Agarwal owners of famous Caltex Petrol Pump Essresso Coffee Bar at Pul Begum Meerut (UP) on highway to Hardwar.

AM was very self-respecting person. He would do much more than needed of him on his own but cannot be made to do things against his will for any allurement or when he felt that he is being taken for a ride. He was free bird and his own master. He would stay at somebody`s as long as he was welcome but would leave if he felt otherwise. In addition to delightful company, he was very good in looking after you if you fell sick, a very good cook and very good in striking good friendship. In late fifties when we had just moved to Delhi staying near Ajmal Khan Road (Shri Bijendra Bahadur`s house my eldest brother) which was under construction AM had developed very good personal relations with all prominent shopkeepers who, off course,are very big now.  In DH in those days meat was cooked only in courtyard out- side the living quarters AM used to cook delicious dishes more so when Shri Surrender Bahadur ( Shambhu Sahib) used to come, an occasion for all to enjoy. In those days you were not allowed to enter kitchen with your shoes. Once Vinod Pandey, a friend of my youngest brother Shri Rai Bahadur and Pyare Sahib`s (my elder brother Shri Brish Bahadur) junior at Nagda fell from the bus while travelling to Delhi from Meerut and had a fracture of leg. Rai Sahib brought him to my house and he stayed with us for a week of ten days. AM nursed him day and night and Neera (my wife ), we had just then set up our house after marriage, looked after him inspite of her job. After a week or so his brother came from Nainital to take him. When we met Pandey recently after two decades or more he gratefully  remembered those times gratefully. AM  used to get involved with other with ease. When he was travelling with me om motorbike or car to Meerut, it was his habit to stop at every accident which were in plenty in those days, examine the site , talk to people nearby and enquire about the victims. Then he would discuss the probable cause and careless party of the accident and this used to remain in the back of your mind while driving. AM had great presence of mind. Twice while travelling to Delhi from Meerut by the last bus, communal riots broke out once following the speech of Sheikh Abdullah. It was quite harrowing experience for me. Jan Sanghis,BJP of those times, were going around in groups looking for muslims and assaulting them. AM was wearing achkan as usual. I suggested him that we run back home about 1 km away, he said that it will be risky. Then we went to a bus parked in a corner of the bus station in dim light. There AM made a bundle of his achkan and pushed under the seat and started talking to few other passengers in Punjabi ( he could speak many languages). Late in the night bus for Delhi was announced and we moved over to that bus and by then the things were under control. It was the most harrowing incident for me. The second time it was not so harrowing. In those days  mainly sixties AM spent a lot of time with my younger brother Raja Sahib (Shri Brij Raj Bahadur) at Mohan Nagar Ghaziabad, youngest brother Rai Sahib (Shri Rai Bahadur) at Meerut and elder brother Pyare Sahib ( Shri Brish Bahadur) at Nagda and all their friend and friend`s relatives were equally well known to him and enquire of him because he used to get involved himself with their problems and welfare. Anney Dada`s (my eldest brother Shri Bijendra Bahadur) house on Pusa Road was off course,his base. He was at home with all the members of DH wherever they were and welcome to their their home was his home.

As said earlier AM knew more about our extended family than many of us. Once AM,  Amma (Smt Shyam Devi) and myself went to Bhopal to see a match for my elder brother ( Shri Krishna Bahadur ). When we reached there and had settled down at the retiring room, AM as per his habit, went out for a shave and some other shops hoping to some known faces as many people from Rampur were settled there and returned after more than an hour and a half. On return he said that he has talked to Shri Lakshimi Narainji, manjhili bua`s son-in-law, who is DySP and posted here. He send us his jeep after reaching office which we can keep and meet him in the evening. He also developed sciatica pain (chuk) and was walking half bent in his achkan, a sight to enjoy. We had a good time at Bhopal and caught the train in the night to go Nagda. The train was running six or seven hours late and we assumed it will not reach before 9AM.We all went to sleep. It was a passenger train stopping at all stations and AM getting down at all stations to have a cigeratte and striking a conversation with everybody. At daybreak he took a round of dimly-lit station with no one in sight and asked somebody at a distance the name of the station. The other man replied it was Nagda. He was stunned so I was. He shouted to me to take down Nai Chachi, as my mother was called by others, and then we threw all our beddings and suitcases from the moving train.  He made a count of everything and then smiled at me and said `my back pain is now gone` He was a good companion while travelling.

Sometimes his where-abouts were not known for months and we used to make enquiries from likely sources. But on the days of marriges in our family, he always used to appear. On Bhukku Sahib`s  (Elder brother Shri Vijai Bahadur) marriage he appeared on the day of the departure of the barat and so on Kalu Ram Sahib`s (Elder brother Shri Krishna Bahadur) marriage. On Kalu Ram Sahib`s marriage the barat went from Meerut to Moradabad by bus. The driver stopped at the station to locate the place of `janwasa` the place of stay of barat. AM as usual went on to the platform to see some known people as Rampur was the next station and exchange pleasantries. He met nobody but when he was returning, he heard `Mian Salam`, he looked around he found Akhlas & Party qawwals well-known to DH in the compartment of the train sitting n the next platform. AM went there and asked them for their tickets to have a look. He then tore down the tickets and asked them to come and  sing at the wedding. It was possible in those days and taken in good spirit. BP and others had come from Rampur for the wedding. Akhlas  & party then asked for BP`s permission to start and asked for his choice or `farmaish`.  BP asked them to start with a `Natia` sort of bhajan and then sing  `sehra`. After the dinner we had a great sesson of qawwalies upto 4 AM. At about 6AM there was a big noises and shouting at the janwasa. We all who had just to sleep came out. There was a group of tall abd hefty enauchs or hijras creating all noises. While all were looking here and there AM took charge and asked them to sing and dance if they want `bakshish`. It was a great spectacle to watch AM dancing with tall and hefty enauchs with all his antics, he being only five and a half feet, it is still fresh in our memory. Even Cuckoo (Shri Gyanendra Bahadur, grandson of another brother of our grand father Shri Raj Bahadur) who was studying in Muzzafarnagar in those days and had come to the wedding with his friends, could not match with AM though in the marriage processon he was quite active. When my daughter Radhika was six days old, AM brought Akhlas & party who happened to be in Delhi to come and sing at my house. I cannot forget his affection.

AM was a great cook. AM helped Cuckoo (Shri Gyanendra Bahadur) a lot in setting up `Studd Beer Bar` at Khapoli on Bombay-Pune highway. It was very popular in those days and many films were shot there Many film personalities like Kaifi Azmi and others used to come there to enjoy the food cooked by AM. It was a very popular in those days.

AM had a sad end. After passing away of Anney Dada ( my eldest brother Shri Bijendra Bahadur) and AM being away to Khapoli for long he had moved in with the family of a big exporter from Rampur Shri Ahmad Jan Khan in Jama Masjid. He was suffering from TB of intestines and in the end shifted to RP Hospital of communicable diseases. I met his there twice but he did not allow me to sit there for long. Last time I went there Sahadat   people he was staying with, asked to tell AM not to eat so many eggs as he asked him for more though two days age he had sent him one dozen boiled eggs. AM asked me for bed pans and the one`s in the hospital were very dirty, I went to the market and got him new one`s then asked him not eat so many eggs. AM replied that he does not eat any eggs but the patients here are very poor and nobody visits them and he is distributing eggs among them. In a day or so afterwards he passed away.

A very lovable person and most of us at DH still remember him. Whatever I have written above were the normal way of life or a social life in those days well etched in our memories, it may look different to today`s generation.

Another very important, well learned and highly respected by all was our Priest or Pandit Ram Chandraji. Every ` Puranmashi` he used to come for `Satyanarainji` Katha or Puja. All horoscope matching for marriages was done by him. He was one person who could address BP by name and also pull him up.All senior even today remember the predictions made by him.  He was Raj Purohit to Nawab Raza Ali Khan who used to consult him and himself could read horoscope well.

Another visitor to DH I can remember was Shri Jagdamba Prasad a distant relative and an employee of Raza Sugar Factory, courtesy Babu ( my father shri Brij Bahadur). He used to visit DH everyday after his dinner. As none of the gents used to be in the house at that hour, he used to read news paper, talk of world war II, freedom movement etc to Bari Amma ( Smt Shiam Bahadur), Amma and another old lady in the house without realizing that they would not know anything beyond family matters, in between take a nap. We children used to study around them. His son Vijai was employed in UP Roadways courtesy Shabban Chacha ( Shri Satyendra Bahadur). He was famous for prefacing each of his sentences with `Baat eh hai ke…………( common abuse of those times). Once he said `baat eh hai ke…….shadi karna bhi ek toota (parrot) palna hai chaubees ghante ke tai tai` a great character. Another one was Janki Chacha a distant relative who was a seasonal employee in Raza Sugar Factory. He used to come and stay at DH during winters. He used to give all cock and bull story like `on Dadda`s order one tiger was killed everyday for him as hakim sahib had recommended tiger`s meat for him when he fell sick. When his father got sick of his wayward attitude and not seriously taking any vocation asked him `what he wants to do in life,he replied that he wants to become a ticket collector in the Railways. His father felt happy and asked how he can help him, he replied that he wants him to get a black coat to become a TC. His father got him one and JC became a much sought after person by relatives and friend who were planning to take barat by train with a request not forget to bring his coat. His son Arjun was a well known artist at AIR Lucknow. Those were the times which now look more like a story.

Another regular to DH was Shri Rafiquddin Khan probably a Peshkar or Munshi looking after court matters. He used to sit with BP for long hours. Two of his sons were employed in UP Roadways, again courtesy Shabban Chacha. Once he told BP that a Reader working with Judge Sahib wants a wrist watch with recoiless spring, sort of a spring pull out strap and we should give him as he has promised to help.It was agreed and a watch for Rs. 20/ or so was given. As was to happen the work was never done and BP pointed out this to him. He kept quiet and only said `not to worry`. On the next hearing he just called that gentleman out and when he extended his hand to shake hands he simply pulled out the watch and told him to go. Such were the times, justice was quick and undiplomatic and soon a matter of history.

Another gentleman who used to visit DH particularly when Shambu Sahib`s ( Shri Surrender Bahadur)stay was Shri Firasat Ali Khan popularly lnown as Lord Firasat now an honoured citizen of probably Ottawa in Canada. He was a man of very good personality, tall and little heavy. Whenever he visited, we youngster used to look and laugh at the tyres of his cycle which were almost touching the ground. He also used to play Badminton with Shambhu Sahib in the little courtyard outside the house both played good Badminton.

Once Munnawar, Nawab Raza Ali Khan`s barber came and started boasting about himself. AM was there and he started pulling his legs as usual and tried to cut him to size. He ultimately invited all of us to for mango feast at his farm. It was rainy season and a special variety of very delicious mangos called `samarbahisht`which grows only during rains. We all packed up in 3 or 4 cycle  Rikshaws with AM went to his farm. First he got a big lot of mangos and deposited the same in a big tub filled up well`s water and put 5or 6 knives. It was finished in no time, he got another big lot which was also finished then he got a big lot very small mango meant only for sucking. AM got all of us to stand and quit then threw a big smile at Munnawar.

Another notable person associate with DH was Vilayat Husain, tailor, permanently attached to DH for all types of stiching of suits, sherwanis,shirts and pants. He used to come for taking measurements at DH and he was a  master of trade and treated as equal at DH enjoying jokes at his or others expense. Last I met him was in seventies in old  Delhi near the Railway station. He was walking towards Jama Masjid. He immediately recognized and embraced me with tears in his eyes. He blessed me and said that he was returning from `Haj`. Bonding among the people of those era was very natural and pure. I will write about all this separately.

Another regular visitor to DH was Akbar the barber who used to come every Friday the weekly off to cut the hair of everybody. Our turn used to come after all elders had their hair cut.

I have talked about all that, I remember, came to DH. I will when I recollect more such persons.

Down the memory lane – by Ravish Bahadur (Tare Sahib) Part III – Cousins Merry-making Years

Dewan House  -   Down the memory lane  by Ravish Bahadur (Tare Sahib)

Part III   Cousins   Merry-making Years

There never was a dull moment in DH. With two score and more people staying together there always something happening either some function or some guest visiting DH but the atmosphere was always of joy, talking, friendly arguments etc. There were always 6/8 people of the same age  in each group  but the  bonding  was very good among all.

The first marriage of our cousins comes to my mind is of Krishnajiji (Daughter of Shri Partap Bahadur) in 1948 or 1949 around the time of historical group photo but definitely before 1950. It was a big event and we all got new achkan(Sherwani) and topi for the occasion tailored out of the same cloth and were given some coins to give to qawwals performing in the marriage and after a few years of Neelamjij (Daughter of Shri Shyam Bahadur). The DH was decorated with buntings and the usual crockery being Pattals ( Plates made of dhak leaves) and earthen tumblers, cooking utensils big ones were collected from known people if not available, only vegetarian food. There were no caterers like we have these days. The sweets used to last for many many days.

Life was easy and simple definitely not complex like today. All had not more than 3 or 4 sets of dresses, one  pair of shoe but sharing with each other very common and accepted not like today`s culture of my and mine.  We had known no other living. Even the girls and ladies had no complications like matching dresses with the result, dressing was multi-coloured. Everything, dresses, money,  variety of food etc. were limited but the happiness and satisfaction was unlimited.  Every year around five cousins each used to appear for Board examination of High School or Intermediate and some were unsuccessful but celebrations and disappointments were forgotten soon and everything would be normal. It was total community living where happiness and grief were shared. We used to pool our money together and buy 32 samosas fried in mustard oil with extremely chilly and sour green chutney. Bicycles were shared and mostly go to school on foot. Events like going to the cinema, only one picture hall, or going to annual exhibition (Numaish as it was called) were a celebration thoroughly enjoyed  with wearing best of clothes  and polished shoe. Cinema halls had  ladies section for ladies and you could hear ladies crying. We were always out to enjoy among ourselves by way of say; watching guests, their mannerism, way of talking and any weaknesses etc like stammering, repeating pet words, off course among ourselves and recounting to others, how everybody was facing monkey menace,all old and young were involved, kite flying, watching pet pigeons being given exercise by the person looking after them.

What I am writing here is only to sort of  recreate those time as per my perception and certainy not to bring down anybody and in case anybody is hurt my apologies are  offered.

Summer vacations were the best times when there were no schools, lots of visitors, Shambhu Sahib (Shri Surrendra Bahadur 4th son of BP) used to come during these times. Shri Shiv Bahadur ( Bare Lalla Sahib) also used to come as he was working in a sugar factory, a seasonal factory.

Bare Lalla Sahib had a fetish for being always well dressed and in summers it was always wore white. He used to spend quite some time every on maintaining the same and always had 6/7 pairs of shoes well polished placed on a loft (Corner room near the well) much to the delight of Achchey Mian and others. Even in 1991 when he was fairly old, we all had assembled for the sale of Bareilly Kothi in Bareilly, though he was staying with NeelamJiji some distance away, he visited us at 7 AM for a cup of tea, he was dressed in white T-shirt ,white pant, white socks, white shoes and P-cap with a baton, he never compromised on such matter. Later we met him later at Neelamjiji`s place, he was dressed in white Kurta Pajama. He was an example to all on personal appearance.

Shambhu Sahib always had a captive audience and had a lot to talk about Bombay and lot of important locals used to come to meet him. He was very smart  and well dressed, a delightful personality to relate to and get along. He had seen extreme ups and worst down in life but never gave up against any odds or gave up his sense of humour. You can read much about him in this site also.

Another of my cousin at whose expense we had a lot of fun was Rajjan Sahib ( Shri Rajendra Bahadur, son of Shri Partap Bahadur) He was very good person, good personality but very simple, undiplomatic like most of us in those days, most unworldly-wise , honest and could trust anybody. Among many others I will relate only three instances. RS was Power of Attorney holder of all uncles to appear in various court matters as he was working in the factory near to properties and also young to run around. Once the Advocate wanted to put him the Witness Stand and had tutored him well in Q &As in the presence of BP. On the appointed day RS started speaking the truth and not what he was taught much to embrassment of the Advocate and ignored the prompting of BP. Outside the court BP started reprimanding him and asked him why he did that. RS most innocently replied that the Advocate never told him that he will have to swear by GITA leaving BP stunned and quiet. All litigation was in Bareilly court may be because of zamindari matters and BP used to wait for RH`s return in the evening to know the latest. In the second instance, BP was waiting for him very anxiously as he was getting late for the club and pacing the courtyard. At last RH came and as per his habit he would park his cycle , say salam, go to the toilet go inside the house and then come out after a few minutes. BP asked him strongly `what happened`. RH `when I left the house my cycle got punctured after a furlong (RH stayed with his father NH in Panwaria Colony) and at 6 in the morning there was no shop open and I had to take the cycle to the mechanic`s house to get it repaired`.  BP even more strongly `what happened tell me` but it had no effect on him and he continued `I raced to the station, deposited my cycle at the stand and caught the train at great risk as it had started moving out of the station, it was overcrowded and could not get a place to sit. BP again~What happened Rajjan` but it had no effect on him. RS ` The train reached half-an hour late and I was hungry and had not taken any tea. I went to the famous halwai shop a had puri and jaleb then rushed to advocate`s house but he had already left for the courts. I moved from one room to another but could not find him`. BP` patience was now at its nerves end`Tell me what happened?` RS found him under a tree talking to somebody and told me that the case has been adjourned to another date.` BP `Could you not tell me this earlier`. RS  `If I had told you that earlier then who would have listened to all this.` Much of he fun is lost n translation. Lastly when he came to Delhi for the tilak ceremony of Shakuntlajiji in perhaps 1962, I went with him to Ajmal Khan Road as he wanted to buy a `Loafer` shoe as `mocaison `were called in those days. I t took us three visits and intense bargaining before purchase at Rs. 20 or so. In the evening we al went to old Delhi for the ceremony. As he had to perform the rituals he was ahead of us and we all were sitting on the floor. After sometime he looked back to me and made some expressions which I could not understand then I went near him he said very quietly `Keep a watch on my shoes`.When I look back now thinking of those times it gives a lot of joy although all these were small matters.

There is lot to write about others but shall do the same some other time.

In the next article I shall be writing about Achchey Mian and others without which the history of DH would be incomplete.

Down The Memory Lane – By Ravish Bahadur (Tare Sahib) Part – II Bare Papa, Babu and Uncles

Memories flood in when I remember of those times and it is difficult to chose the good ones as all are dear. Before that I may inform you that when the zamindari was abolished in early fifties, a compensation of 8%  of their total holding was given to the zamindars as compensation. Would you believe the compensation given to DH was  about 4500 acres (an input by Vivek Bahadur which he and my youngest brother Rai Bahadur Khare got collected through a friend posted at a senior position in Rampur), which is huge by any standards. But all of this was usurped by the tillers/crop sharers resulting in lot of  litigation and purchase of bonds at a discount  by them and others.

The following narration is solely my perception/interpretation of the events of those time and anybody does not agree or hurt,my unconditional apologies are offered.

From Shyam Bahadur – Dewanji

Shri Shyam Bahadur popularly known as Diwanji and our respected Bare Papa was head of the clan after the demise of Dadi. His was the last word in all matters of the family and he had total respect from all of us. He followed a set routine everyday and brooked no interference; Morning snacks, read newspaperor or magazine in humming tone, lunch followed by a nap, come inside have tea or Bhel juice in summers, write letters, sit at the gate exchange greetings with passer-by and give them letters to post, get ready and have his supper and go to club very immaculately dressed. In the forenoon he used to meet people who came and sometimes in the afternoon also. This was his daily routine till I think up to `56 or so. Bare Papa and his brothers were not worldly-wise in today`s materialistic term, never bowed before anybody to ask for favors from anybody. We and all youngsters had the best of grooming under him on how to address and behave with elders and never missed any opportunity to pull us or anybody for any mistake.We had very good grooming under him. All festivals and religious functions like ear piercing etc. were observed with full gaiety and respect when all  uncles and other relation used to gather. A day before Holi was celebrated as Rang Bharni when colour was applied by BP on all by seniority. On Holi day BP used to wear a well starched white Angarkha (A long gown upto below knee well embroidered, what you see in movies worn by Kings and courtiers) and a cap of the same material and play Holi with long brass pichkaris with luke-warm Tesu (pink flower) water. BP used to reprimand if anybody came to play holi in dark coloured clothes and tell them to play it  in whites only. 3 or 4 groups of people from different  hindu localities of Rampur used to come one by one to play holi and enjoy holi snacks. We youngsters used to shower coloured waters with pichkaris and also pump on them. Thereafter holi was played inside the house with the ladies with jolly good exchange of words and repartees, it used to be real enjoyment. In the evening the on platfarm (chabutra) outside the verandah was covered ith durries and white sheets to receive guest for holi Milan, pan and sweets were offered. It was a social event. Akhlas and party, famous qawwals of Rampur told us in Delhi in sixties the he used to go to DH on holi days every year to sing and get the Bakhshish (money). We used to feel proud how all showed respect to BP. All festivals were celebrated with the same fervour. On Diwali Lakshmi puja was done with `Kauris`(dices) to know about the coming year. Please note that liquor was unheard by us in those days and you could not smoke before the olders.

In those days invitation for marriages used to come in a register where all invitees names were written and you were supposed to sign your acceptance. On such a day we all youngsters used to troop behind BP who was given a befitting place to sit on the floor and we all alongside him. Food was served on plates of leaves(pattals) and earthen glasses to drink water. Often BP used to call host and tell him that since he has invited us he should ensure that hot food is served. Only he could say and people used to listen. If any of us was eating to many `papars` he used to reprimand and tell that `don`t fill up your stomach with papars , they are only to keep busy till hot puris come. We all got best attentions when with him.

Once when BP was sitting at the in the evening Mehfooz Ali Khan, Advocate and neighbour and family friend passedby wearing a white closedcollar coat (bandhgala), he greeted BP and talked about the club where he was going to, BP asked him why he got this coat in white colour, it will get dirty fast and he should get it dyed, Mehfooz sheepishly said yes and went away. But the poor chap , whenever he wore that coat he used to take the lane beyond DH. Nobody could tell or retort  out of respect to him, such was his status in the family and the society and he must say what comes to his heart. There are too many incidents still fresh in my memory and I will keep on adding the same.

From RajeSahab_album

My father Shri Brij Bahadur (Babu) passed away in 1949 when I was only seven years but I do have memory of those years and also what I was told by others who have been associated with him. All had a good word to say about him, his discipline, upholding his convictions, never lose temper on somebody and instead stopping to talking to him which had a salutary effect, totally raising his hand on the child or anybody and for this reason he never sought tution from Maulvi sahib for his son and for this reason all his children well read and if I remember correctly he insisted on BP that Robi Sahib should not study under him who was legendry in using the ruler, very punctual and evening news from AIR was strictly no disturbance in the house etc.  He was very methodical and we still have registers where he recorded monthly expenses, noted down the birth time and date of each son and daughter. Our bunglow being near the station was always full of people and when others from DH used to come it was all laughter  and enjoyment. Every Friday weekly holiday we all used to go to DH to meet Dadi and others. Once Jiji (Sushila) asked to Babu to stay back on Friday, he replied that you stay with your mother and I will go to my mother. He got me admitted to the newly opened Montessori School in Fort with proper bus service and regularly come to the school but removed me after a few months and got me admitted to the factory school because the Head Mistress told him that I was not mixing up with other children. Babu was at a senior position in the Raza Sugar Factory, a seasonal factory when in operation required many temporary hand and  Babu got many distant relatives and others  known  recommended to him. One such person was Janki Prasad who used to stay DH and work there, a master story-teller. In eighties I met Mr. Nasir Khan City Congress Party President. He told me that Babu gave him his first employment in the factory and he was a man of few wordsbut everybody always remained scared of him and avoided to meet him face to face. Robi Sahib has already written one full article on him.

Shri Partap Bahadur ( Nannhey Chacha) was a tall, heavy fair and smart person but he had a very soft heart and highly emotional. He worked in Buland Sugar Factory but his heart was in music, singing and drama. He was on first name basis will all great musicians of India luckily either born in Rampur or under employment of Nawab Raza Ali Khan. In those you name a famous musician and he must have linked to Rampur. I may mention here that this Nawab had passion to get the best in every field settled in Rampur, be it Khansamas, bakerers (he had sent the owner of Rainbow Bakery in Rampur to Switzerland to learn baking) even washermen from Kashmir. Rampur cuisine became one of top three cuisines of India, other two being Hydrabad and Patiala. For Zulfikar Ali Khan`s wedding reception he had 385 dishes prepared because Maharaja had offered 350 dishes for his son`s wedding reception. Rampur became second largest industrial town of U.P. after Kanpur during his times. Coming back to Nannhey Chacha, he was so soft hearted that whenever he listenedto film Anarkai`s song where she was whipped he used to really weep with pain on his face. Shakuntaljiji told us once that when he watching film Dosti in Lucknow he started throwing up while weeping and crying. He power of narrating a incidents was very dramatic and captivating even on simple incidents, like when he told us that during rains he visited one of the villge in one feet of water, poor nannhey not knowing whether a well or ravine is ahead, his sense of dramatizing was great. Once BP called one of tillers from some place who misbehaving and bullied his to sing some blank papers as per Advocates advice and called NC to sit with this man when he went inside as per his routine. When he returned after half- an hourthat man was missing. BP enquired about that man NC told him that he has gone away, then where are that papers?. NC replied that I give him the papers because he fell on my feet crying. In those days it was extremely humiliating to touch anybody`s feet except your older relatives and Panditji. Those were different times and people had different standards.

Shri Shamsher Bahadur Khare (Shamsher Chacha) was the tallest,perhaps 6`6` and heavy. For appearing in Intermediate exam (12th class) he went to Moradabad. A maharaj and two servants went with him. He was at one time interest in body building also. He was in the service of Maharaja Scindia Gwalior and quite close to him. When Delhi Gymkhana was built in 1935 all Maharajas were offered membership. Scindia accepted the offer, paid the money but took membership for 5/6 more employees with robust personalities and always took all of them with him to the club so that other members made enquiry about him which will add to his status. These memberships are offered to one`s successors. So Mr. V.B. Khare became a member even though he could have become a member on his  own merits also after  after completing his MBA from Glasgow. Now the membership has come to Vivek.  Dadi had asked him to come back as Gwalior was about 150 miles or so away. Later on he joined Dabra Sugar Factory, near Gwalior a factory of J. K. Srivastava who owns Raza Textiles in Rampur.

Shri S B. Sinha (Shabban Chacha) was soft spoken and fond of technical subjects. In his house in Match factory you could find models made of cards mechanical toys, decoration pieces. He joined U.P. Roadways and had a Dodge Pickup at his disposal and we all had a ride in that many a times, cars were not common in those days. He got a lot of needy and not so well off relatives people employed in Roadways. In later years he settled down with his daughter Indu Krishna in Glasgow and survived by his daughter and grand-daughter.

Shri N. B. Satyawakta (Bhaiya Chacha) was the youngest and more easy to relate to. He would laugh gossip and give good company to everbody. In those days there were no telephones and in our neighbouhood only Seth Ram Rattan aand perhaps Capt. Wajid Ali Khan had the telephones.  Whenever Bhaiya Chacha had to convey any message to BP he used to send a handwritten note in urdu  through Munan( Raghuvansh Bahadur) who was studing in Hamid Inter College roughly 5/6 miles from his house. BP used to read the same and ask him to take the reply while going back. Life was so different from today`s cell phone culture where everything starts and ends with cells.

Culture was totally different in those days. Whenever ladies had to go out , a sheet was tied around the Tonga horse driven carriage , then ladies the ladies boarded and after that the driver appeared. You could not enter the kitchen without taking your shoe off and meat was cooked outside the house. Dadi used to follow Sanatam Dharma and Dadda was Arya SamajiP.

P.S. Rakesh informs me that Gandhiji came to DH in around 1933 so it must have been Nawab Raza Ali Khan., if my history is right. Nawab Hamid Ali Khan never went outside the State as he feared he would be arrest for being at loggerhead with Britishers. Nawab Raza Ali Khan always kept balance between Britishers and the Indian leaders and was the first Ruler to merge with the Indian Union.

In the next article I will be writing on my cousins and Merry-Making Years

From Ravish Bahadur

Down Memory Lane – part 1 by Ravish Bahadur

Dewan House – Down the memory lane — Ravish Bahadur (Tare Sahib)

Part-I

Dewan House is much more than a house or kothi or a place of stay. It gave us an identity, a sense of belonging. Anybody who visited Dewan House or not but came in contact with it always stayed connected and remembered it only with sweet memoreries . Here I would like to repeat what Sneh Prabha (Anga) told me. Once an old couple came caling on Dewan House with their baggage and told her that he got married  during Dadda`a time at Dewan House and while on a All India excursion trip he chanced to read the name of Rampur from the train and then on spur of moment he decided to see Dewan House to re-live his important moments. He was some relatives` relative and his marriage was solemnized there. Anga also told me that once there was nobody in the house and she had to go out of Rampur and when she came out and wanted to lock the door, she found there was no latch provided to put the lock from outside and she had to lock from inside and come out through tenant`s house. So the people who built Dewan House never thought it will ever be without any inhabitant. Nobody has ever said that he was duped or short-changed there. It always gave something everybody, may be happiness only. In Dewan House in inner court(Angan, in the centre of which was a Tulsa tree for sandhya evening prayer) hordes of house sparrows used to fly from one end to another through the day and in the evening bats used to fly in the drawing room causin lot of excitement and enjoyment. At the far corner of the tin shed were parked two horse drawn carriages for use of Dewan Sahab and others.

Our grand father Dadda( Shri Raj bahadur) belonged to Bareilly and it is said that the present day Cantt. there was built the Land of his ancestors. After matriculation, he came to Rampur and worked as secretary to the then Chief Engineer, an Englishman, who was highly impressed with Dadda`s hardwork,honesty and dedication. The present day Rampur was built by him, including Qila, waterworks,powerhouse, roads, schools, important buildings etc. Nawab Hamid Ali Khan had high regard for the chief engineer and asked him to recommend somebody to manage the affairs of the state and the treasury, he recommended Dadda`a name. Nawab Sahab named him Dewan and his succcessors to succeed him after his death. This was the beginning of Dewan House. Robi Sahib has already written about its origin, so I would not like to repeat the same. In Dadda`a time Dewan House had reached it full glory and we all basked and prospered in its glory in years to come. Bareilly Kothi in Civil Lines was built fearing reprisals after the death of Nawab Hamid Ali Khan.

Rulers of Rampur were historically raiders and by late 1700BC established themselves, the entire region upto Bareilly is still known as Rohillas. They get a mention in Sanjay Khan`s serial The Great Maratha. It is said that they used to hide their booty in a temple in a village near Rampur for safe keeping and every Nawab after his coronation used to go there and place his crown at the feet of the Deity. The State of Rampur truly established and prospered during the time of Nawab Hamid Ali Khan. He was great administrater, secularist and a good Muslim. It is said that whenever he used to shake hand with a Britisher he used to wash his hands in their presence, they being pork eaters.

It is said that famous Gandhi Cap had its origin in DH. When Gandhiji had just started his freedom movement he came to Rampur to attend a wedding in family of Shaukat Ali and Mohamed Ali who had an adjoin wall  with DH. Kasturba Gandhi stayed at DH and the food was from DH. When Nawab Hamid Ali Khan came to know about his visit, he expressed a desire to meet Gandhiji. Gandhiji said that is not necessary and he will go to meet him. Then the problem arose that was not used to wearing any type of cap and had come from SA a few years prior to this and nobody could go before Nawab Sahib bareheaded. Many types of caps including Rampuri caps were offered but he wanted only a khadi cap. So late in the night he gave one of khadi dhoti and Manjhli Bua made a sort of hand-sewn cap which he could put on his head and thereafter it begin to be known as Gandhi cap.

The purpose of writing about Rampur is necessary as the story of DH will be incomplete without Rampur. All the above information is in brief of what I could get and understand from my elder brother Shri. Vijai Bahadur(Bhukku Sahib) who was a storehouse of the history of Rampur, its people, incidents, anecdotes etc. And partly because of association with Achchey Mian, about whom I shall be writing separately. Bhukku Sahib on his last visit to Rampur went to Raza Library, one of the four National Libraries in India and spent a day there. He had a good know of the development of the breed know as Rampur Hounds, a hunter`s favourite. To visit this Library you have to take permission from HRD Ministry, New Delhi

My earliest memories of Dadi was that she confined herself to her small room where she had a Mandir also. One maid was always with her.Whenever she wanted to talk to somebody she used to call and it was deemed to be a previlage. She was a frail, old but whatever she said was an order. Everybody was in awe of her including Dadda, I was told. I was perhaps the last one to have an `Bismillah` at the age of 5, the start of learning. Dadi had called Maulvi Sahib who tied a thread on my wrist and held my hand to write urdu alphabets on a wooden slate and thereafter gave me apiece of sweet and asked me to touch Dadi`s feet.

We had three Bua`s. Eldest Bua was married in Banaras and Phupha was the first engineer of BHU`s engineering college and had five sons. Rakesh has circulated our family Lineage chart starting from my great grand father and she is mentioned there. If I am not mistaken, Sunil is married into her extended family.

Manjhli Bua was married into a big Zamindar family (Big Landlord) of Najibabad perhaps and had lot of property in Chakrata near Dehradun, Bhind and Chambal in M.P., mainly agricultural land. She was a brave women living alone in farm land of Bhind after she became widow. She was well respected because of her status in surrounding areas. She was well read and very proefficient in Urdu and Persian and used to correspond with her Bare Papa regularly.In fact all our uncles and perhaps all buas knew only urdu taught by Maulvis in the house. Her son Pria Bhai sahib was an IP officer, Police service equivalent to ICS of British times. He was overlooked for promotions during his carrer. He had a grouse against his mother. Famous decoit  and robber of those​days Man Singh used to come to her farm in Bhind every time she was there and touch her feet out of respect and stay on for a few days with his gang doing bhajans and pooja. Pria Bhai always pestered his mother to send him a message when he comes next. She never obliged him. Man Singh had given her a promise that there will be no decoity in places where her son was posted. She used to visit Rampur often but Bari Bua came only once that I remember.

Very little is known about Choti Bua as she died early. She was married to Shri. Satyawadi of Allahabad. He was once Collecter of Customs Bombay in British Times. He had a Rolls Royce car as his official vehicle with a flag. Shri. Shiv Bahadur ( Bare Lalla sahib) used to mentioned about enjoying ride in that car. I am still in touch with her daughter Chobijiji whose son is Head of The Deptt. Of Radiology MAMC, New Delhi and other son is working with NHPC at senior position. One son from Phupha`s second marriage, an IAS officer retired as Chief Secretary Karnataka.

I have written in brief on the history of DH. I think today only Suresh Sahib, Robi Sahib will able to comment the veracity of what I have written. I shall be writing on Bare Papa, Babu and Uncles in the next article.

From Ravish Bahadur

Baboo (Brij Bahadur) memories by Robi Khare

Baboo was a man of few words. Most respected by one and all in the whole family. Every Sunday he spent with Dadi at Dewan House. Part of his salary must come to Dadi, he made sure. BBC news 0530, he will never miss, his cup of tea and hukka was found ready well in time before he occupied his chair. Bhanoo was his most loyal obedient servant to ensure all his timely requirements. May it rain sunshine summer or severe winter he will reach on bi-cycle by 0430 every morning without fail. An example of true KHIDMATGAR. Firstly he never gave opportunity to be asked to do it will be found done just in case before you summoned he will be present with whatever was the requirement of that hour.  So observant.

Baboo was very fond of children. Could not see any harsh treatment to any child. Maluvi Sh. used to come to teach all at Dewan House, and was very strict with a cane. If at all Baboo saw this canning taking place he used to get very upset and take Shimbu Sh. and others with him. But next day Maluvi Sh. will reach there on bi-cycle to fetch them and ensure class is conducted. Class was conducted on a big TAKHAT all of us and kids from mohalla also used to attend his class.
All his brothers used to call upon him and used to take his advice. Once Naney Chichha found him scaling road up and down in front of his banglow, reason Baboo gave I have been asked by angry Kalu Ram (who was his weekness) to get out of the house. Unending incidents of his simplicity.

Raza Sugar factory was closed on the day of his death, he commanded such tremendous respect.

Bareilly remembered – by Ratna Raj


Ratna Raj (Asha bua’s daughter, Bhaiya Chacha’s grandaughter) on May 5th, 2010

Quote Edit

I haven’t seen the Dewan House but have heard so many stories about our family and the grand house we had. I keep telling my kids about our heritage . Just last week I was remembering the house our family had in Bareilly and was yearning that we should have sold it to somebody who would have preserved the grand house ( its hard to find a house like that nowadays). I would have proudly showed it off to my kids. I hope we can do something about “The Dewan House” and show it off to the world proudly!!
Anybody from our tree in US ? I would love to get connected!!
Ratna

——

Sunil B Satyawakta on May 11th, 2010:
Yogesh- Ratna is Asha bua’s daughter (Bhaiya chichcha sh.’s grand daughter)

—- Ratna: I recently found this photo in our album Circa 1965 – (Yogesh):

I fondly remember visiting the Bareilly house in 1970s:
Once while attending Usha Bua’s wedding and the second time your mama
- Arun’s wedding in Bareilly in the early 1970s.

(L to R) Asha, Mamta and Sneh Khare  From Mamta Bahadur

1948 – Rampur Group Diwali Photo

Thanks to Suresh Sahib, Madhuri bua, Chandrakant phoopha  and Sunil’s efforts, we have an update to this picture caption on the picasa album, but I thought it would be good to put it here in the post. Rakesh is about 6-months old – his birthday is Feb 14th, 1948 and this picture was taken on Diwali, there are two group of photos as some of the family was not there on the first day.  I have pasted the caption comments  below.

Contributions by Daddy (Suresh Sh.),  Madhuri bua and Chandrakant Phupha:

From RajeSahab_album

Center is Dadi, her left, Munni Bua (Srita Satyawakta’s Dadi, Dunni / Chunni Chacha’s mother), Brij Bahadur (Anne Tauji’s father, also known as Babu), Nanneh Chichcha ( Pratap bahadur father of Rajjan Chacha) . Dadis’s right, Bhagwati Bua, Bare papa (Shyam Bahadur), Shamsher Bahadur (father of Birender tauji, Prema Bua and Sarla Bua).

Standing behind from left – Shibban Chichcha ( Satyendra Bahadur), Neelam bua, Chhoti bua , Chhaprewali chachi (Birendra Tauji’s mother), Bhopalwali Chachi (Arun Chacha, Munan Chacha, and Asha Bua’s mother), Nai Chachi, Sandilewali chachi, Prema Bua, Bhaiyya Chichcha, Rajjan Sh., last row:standing from left: Kusum bua, Kaluram chacha. Madhuri bua, Bimla Bua, Krishna Bua, Birender tauhji, Shambhu Chacha, Bhukku Chacha
Sitting in front: Sushila bua, Shakuntala bua, Sarla bua, Robi Chacha, rest not known.

“sunil Apr 30, 2010 9:20 AM It has taken them entire evening to find out who’s who”

Many thanks to the Lucknow team, the effort is applauded.
Also many thanks to Raje-Sahib and family for scanning these pictures and sending them to us from London.
Cheers !!
-yogesh -
This Photo has the missing family members:


From RajeSahab_album

1948 Diwali Photo – Sheoraj Bahadur & Satyendar Bahadur Family -
( Front L to R) Children – Dinesh Bahadur, Vibha, Asha(Blurred), Arun
Seated: Chandrawati (Bhauji), Badi Amma, Dadi, Rakesh (baby), Manjhli Bua, Shakuntla (Bhopal wali Chachi)
Standing – Sheoraj Bahadur, Shashi, Indu Krishna (Baby Bua), Sneh (Anga), Satyender Bahadur (Shabban Chacha)

Dinesh Bahadur – Wedding Album

From Dinesh Wedding 1976

Dinesh Bahadur (Mister)’s wedding January 1976, was the last large getogether and  celebration at Dewan House where everybody came as evident from this family group taken at Khas Bagh during reception. I have scanned these pictures from one of the photo albums we have, although I recall there are a quite a few individual couples pictures that were taken that were not in this album.

Please feel free to submit more wedding celebration & albums to me.
I would like to request Robi Chacha’s wedding album from Dec 1969 where Andrea put together a lovely album with individual photos of each family .
Robi Chaha  is visiting San Francisco this month, so we will try to get these scanned and uploaded.

best regards and love to all.
-yogesh-

Remembering Thakur Baba – by Robi Chacha


This family group is an interesting photograph. Saw it first time. The tree in the back ground is famous NEEM tree very very old and famous in Rampur as it had a kind of creep growth on it with high medicinal value. Just six inches of it boiled in water used to be medicine for so many ailments. Entire Rampur when in need of it, used to come to Dewan House, even though they were shouted upon by Thakur Baba, care taker of Dewan House who was not all the time so generous specially if you did not address him with respect.

Dewan House history will be incomplete without mention of Thakur Baba, Maharaj (Shyam Lall) and Achey Mian. They all served at least four generations at Dewan House.  Thakur Baba could scold even Papa, such was his place in the family. Only Dadi he used to address properly being ‘Malikan’ rest were all younger to him and by virtue of his seniority and Dada’s chief man no one dare misbehave with him. Otherwise very very affectionate, Rakesh specially was his favourite whom he addressed as Basanti Babu, as he was born on Basant Panchami and played maximum with him, Thakur Baba put up with all his activities like dirtying his clothes wetting them and so on but he was never angry, such was not the case with other kids.

He used to go to Kosi  river Ganges every day to take his bath walking miles and miles and used sand instead of soap to clean his body. He was very fond of money would lay bets and see to it that he wins irrespective of the consequences. He drank carosine oil and won the bet. Moradabad was 17 miles away from Rampur, Babu had an urgent letter to be delivered, he gave Thakur Baba train fare up and down, Thakur Baba pocketed this money and marchingly went and returned in the evening. Such were the stories. For  trimming the beard barber used to charge one paisa. He will get his beard trimmed and for months will not pay him. Each time barber came to collect he will hide inside DH and tell us to tell Barber “Thakur Baba ghar main nahin hain.” (Thakur Baba is not at home)

Bari Bhabhi  and Neelam Gege were the most trusted by him as he gave his kothri  keys to them only. On his death when kothri was opened he had all his salary savings of silver rupee coins and all imported Thans etc. material given to him by Rampur State, as uniform for his Safa which he saved and kept using same old one most of the time.  Bhabi/Neelam Gege got a dream that he as a snake was supervising his assets. Immediately all his last ceremonies, Daswan etc. were performed and his nephew who used to stay in Kathghar was called and handed over all his belongings.

More later
love
(Robi) Chacha/Mama