|About Gulzarilal Nanda roots
Updated 19th June 2008 - Story added just below my signature at the end of this introduction - (cant get seperate "stories" section to work)
This website will contain the family tree and ancestral history of Ravi Mehta and of many other families related to Ravi and his ancestors. Ravi Mehta's paternal grandfather Shri Gulzarilal Nanda (Nandaji / Dadaji), was born on July 4, 1898 in Sialkot in the Punjab province of British India and died in Ahmedabad on January 15,1998 in his daughter Dr.Pushpa Naik's home at the age of almost 100 years. Nandaji was the Prime Minister of India twice: the first time after the death of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, and the second time after the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. Both terms were uneventful, yet they were important because of potential danger to the country following Nehru's death soon after a war with China in 1962, and Shastri's death after a war with Pakistan in 1965. A separate website on Nandaji will be made on www.primeminister-india.com but it has not been started yet. This website will contain interesting items which have never been published before such as images of correspondence between Mahatma Gandhi and Dadaji, antique photographs with national leaders, old books, letters, autographs and other memorabilia and souvenirs.
Ravi Mehta's father Maharaj Krishen Mehta, deceased on March 28,2006 at the age of 87, was the eldest son of Gulzarilal Nanda. Dr. Keval Krishen Mehta, his maternal grandfather, adopted him. Hence my surname is Mehta and not Nanda.Maharaj Krishen Mehta was a brilliant mechanical engineer in several different industries, an inventor of international repute and held a large number of patents for his designs. He was Managing Director of a company in UK for 15 years and executed vast projects in about 20 countries on all continents. Earlier he had lived and worked in USA, Canada and India. In the early 1960's he was the chief design engineer of Bhilai Steel Plant. A separate website on my father, outlining his interesting life will be set up in due course. Gulzarilal Nanda's daughter Dr.Pushpa Naik and her family were devoted to Dadaji and looked after him during the last 10 years of his life when he stayed with them in Ahmedabad.Dr.Chhotubhai Naik was a Cardiologist of the highest rank and physician to the President of India.Dr.Pushpa Naik personally ran a hospital in Ahmedabad on a voluntary basis for 40 years and is still active. It was her 87th birthday on 13th April 2008. The Naik family is very well known and has excelled in their respective fields: Tejus is a reputed Paediatric surgeon and established his own hospital in Ahmedabad, and Alankar is in the top management team of a Fortune 500 MNC in USA.Gulzarilal Nanda's younger son Narinder Nanda, was a brilliant electronic engineer in reputed government organizations. He is now in his early 80's and still works as an electronic engineer. His son Vivek Nanda has a flourishing practice as an Architect in London and has lectured at Cambridge in academic positions.
The Nandas are a Khatri clan from Eminabad near Sialkot in pre-partition Punjab. Their known history goes back to the time of Babar's invasion of Punjab in 1529 when the town was known as Sayidpur.Eminabad is known in history for Guru Nanak's stay there and his penance there when he made his bed on a heap of stones (Rohri), his capture by Mughal Emperor Babar, a miracle he performed there of getting his grain mill or chakki - which he was given as punishment to grind - work on its own and his subsequent release by Babar.There are Gurdwaras, including the Rohri Sahib and Chakki Saheb , and a Sikh community still living there whom I hope to be able to contact. The Sikhs and Khatris are historically closely connected - all the 10 Gurus were Khatris, Khatris used to make one of their sons a Sikh.Nandaji wrote a book on Guru Tej Bahadur, which I am trying to locate. Several generations ago my grandfather's branch of the family moved to a village near Eminabad called Baddon-ki-Gosain which as he stated himself is his own place of origin, although there is another piece of information which says he was born in Ghartal near Sialkot - the hometown of the Puris, his maternal family. This site has been started just recently, and will never be "complete". Contributions and corrections are most welcome by way of email to email@example.com or by clicking on "Guestbook" above. The expansion and enhancement of this site may be along the following avenues:
a) Origins and detailed history of the Nandas going back at least 500 years.
b) Role of the Nandas in the history of the Khatris.The Khatris and their various subdivisions provide fascinating material for research and it is clear they have been a capable community in the professions,administration,law, accountancy and business.
c) All aspects of the customs, traditions, life and culture of the Nanda clan, within the context of the Khatri caste.
d) Intersection of the histories of the Nanda clan and the geographical areas of Sialkot, Eminabad and Baddon-ki-Gosain in prepartition Punjab. All this applies during the rules of the various ruling dynasties / kings / governors of the Mughals, Sikhs and British, including Ranjit Singh and Gulab Singh.
e) The history of the branch of the Puri family which was Gulzarilal Nanda's maternal family and their strong connections with the Dogra royal families of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Rajas of Poonch.The Nandas were chief ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir governments for generations. This includes the story of Gulzarilal Nanda's father Bulaqiram Nanda, his stay in Poonch and his relationship with the Diwans of Poonch.There is a very interesting section from a book by Krishan Chandar, the well known short story writer who belonged to Poonch, telling the story of his (Chandar's) student days and escapades under his strict teacher Bulaqi Ram, and also the latter's unhappiness about Dadaji (Gulzarilal) reading newspapers and becoming involved in politics at the expense of economic stability and his family. Dadaji was very fond of his mother Ishwaridevi, whom Buaji (Dr.Pushpa Naik ) remembers meeting.I have met Bulaqiram Ram Nanda ,my great grandfather often in my childhood during vacations in Delhi. Ishwaridevi's brother was Diwan Gyan Chand who was very helpful to Bulaqiram in getting him a job as Headmaster in a school in Poonch. Bulaqiram stayed in Gyan Chand's house in Poonch initially before making his own arrangement. Dadaji studied in Poonch for several years and remembers it as one of the happiest times in his life.I can confirm that Poonch is an extremely naturally beautiful place. I have seen Diwan Gyan Chand's house and Bulaqiram's other house and old school in Poonch although all 3 were substantially renovated after the devastating earthquake in Poonch in 2006.
f) The history of the development of Kurukshetra by Shri Gulzarilal Nanda, restoration of hundreds of ancient monuments; the museums there including one solely dedicated to him.
g) Current status of the approximately 18 NGO's such as Bharat Sevak Samaj started by Gulzarilal Nanda and what happened to them. The story of the labour movement in Indore and the Nanda Nagar there.
h) History of the Mehtas my father's maternal family.
i) My mother Kanta Mehta's family was from Multan, now in Pakistan. Multanis have strong and stubborn personalities (me too) and a distinct culture and language.Incidentally they almost killed and seriously wounded Alexander the Great when he came visiting and he died several years later from the these wounds. They were very successful in many fields after moving to India during the partition. In future, historical and genealogical research on Multani families from my mother's side - the Ahujas, Katarias and Bagais etc and their culture will also be carried out.2 sisters of my maternal grandmother (Ramdevi Ahuja): Bhag Kataria,over 100 years of age, and Vidya Chandra almost 100 yearsof age are living in Delhi and we celebrated Bhag Aunty's 100th birthday in great style and hosted by her son Minna Kataria,in Delhi last year. A website of my maternal uncle Suresh Chandra Ahuja (Suresh Mama) who was blind, and head of the National Association for the Blind will also be made in due course. He was a reputed professional in the field of blind welfare, travelled overseas tirelessly and won several international awards. Swaran Ahuja my Mami, is a truly wonderful and unique lady who while pursuing her own professional career in the blind training field,devotedly supported Suresh Mama in all his endeavours. Suresh Mama passed away on 27th January 2007 .In their heyday they were both part of the Bombay "social set" and would have certainly been page 3 personalities if that concept had existed in those days.The 5 Kataria brothers (my mother's cousins) and their families have each blazed their own trails as industrialists, corporate top management,senior defense services personnel and in Medicine.My mother's cousin Satish Chandra was formerly the High Commissioner of India in Pakistan.
j) Ravi's wife Vrinda's famlly , the Capoors who are based in Hyderabad of Khatri origin,Dhaighar to be precise - higher caste than Nandas who are from the Bawanjati, Bawanjai or "52 clans" group of Khatris - and had close links with the Nizams in earlier generations.Her family history will be explored. Vrinda's father Dwarkanath Capoor was the Home Secretary in the Maharashtra governmentin the early 1980's.
k) Anecdotes, as many as possible will be supplied, to liven up the personalities. Time is running out since many of the people who have information are now very old.
l) The cycle trip which Mr.K Arun undertook for 5 years to South Asian countries as a member of the Bharat Sevak Samaj founded by Dadaji.
The maturity of a civilization is reflected in the respect they have for preserving their history. After the British conquered India, they wanted to document all aspects of their new country and their subjects and in this they were thorough.Among the colonizers many of the individuals who did the studies were actually Indophiles and devoted students of Indian history and culture. The records they left behind over a 100 years ago are still useful and are not matched in quality and, accuracy any of the current work - sorry historians. Caste is viewed from a negative angle and rightly so for its discriminatory effect hence data on caste has for a long time not been asked for and collected in the Census surveys. However this amounts to loss of valuable information since caste is a historical /anthropological reality and is important for the study of the history and culture of communities. The tragedy and impact on families of partition, in terms of disintegration of their social fabric, is felt in full force when doing such a project; so is the disappointment with leaders of all sides for their impotence in avoiding partition and incurring such heavy loss of life. A huge variety of sources are being used for this project such as the following:
a) Talks with old people and relatives in many cities.
b) A large number of libraries in several cities such as the National Archives Delhi, Nehru Memorial Library, Delhi, the Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad,Kurukshetra Museum. c) Old surviving photgraphs, letters, souvenirs in the family. d) Visits to Pandas who are priests as well as genealogists and photos of their records, some in the script of the old western Punjabi or Multani (Lahndi), which was modified for Gurmukhi.Pandas in Haridwar and even more so in Peohwa near Kurukshetra have been able to provide family trees going back upto 10 generations ie back to the mid 1600's. e)Khatri associations and the Arya Samaj.
f)Organisations and NGO's started by Gulzarilal Nanda and people who still remember him.The numbers of Dadaji's devotees in all walks of life in every nook and corner of India and the affection and respect they express has never been experienced by me anywhere earlier.There was something of the highest class in the personality / spirituality of Gulzarilal Nanda which still finds resonance in those I meet. h)Pramila Kalhan's excellent book:A Life in the Service of the People. Regret she passed away many years ago but they still remember her well in Delhi.
I would like to thank immensely the following friends and respected elders who have helped or inspired me:
a)Mr.and Mrs.Madanlal Nanda of Mumbai who gave me a family tree.Mrs.Madanlal Nanda also gave me the words in Punjabi of the Puja that only the Nanda ladies do on the day after Nagpanchmi.There is a very interesting story behind this.
b) Mr.K.D.Maini, an author and historian of Poonch and Kashmir and his family in Poonch who treated me as a member of their own family.
c) Mrs Kusum Chopra and Captain Chopra of Ahmedabad who gave me valuable information on the Nanda family tree and Eminabad.
d) Mr L.M. Puri of Kolkata who inspired me by giving me a copy of his book containing the family trees and history of his extended family.
e) Dr.Rajesh Purohit,Director of the Krishna museum and the Gulzarilal Nanda museum in Kurukshetra.
f) Mr.P.C.Chib and Mr.Arun of the Gulzarilal Nanda Foundation,who have been close associates of Dadaji for decades.
g) Mr.Rajesh Chauhan , journalist of Kurukshetra who along with Mr.Arun K took a lot of trouble to guide me in Kurukshetra.
h)Mr.S.N.Bagai,of Delhi who has published a well acclaimed book on the History of the Dera Bagai's and gave me a family tree of the Multan Bagais - my mother's maternal family.He has kindly permitted me to enter all the genealogical charts in this site which I am now in the process of doing.
i) Many more people including close family,relatives,friends and office staff whom I have not mentioned individually.
The mutiple objectives for making this website are as follows:
a) To fulfill an inner need, perhaps to add some more meaning to life and pay respects to ancestors in some spiritual way to whom I owe the sum and total of who I am b) Keep memories alive of eminent people who have contributed to the country but are unjustifiably forgotten in the page 3 era of Shah Rukh Khans,and Virendra Sehwags. c) To document the history so it can be passed on to future generations as a common legacy of our extended family.
d) To have a focal point where missing information can be input by anyone viewing this site.
e) Provide contact information to enable networking.
f) To solve many puzzles and missing pieces in the history
g) Unearth many interesting facts and hitherto untold stories. h) Form a good base of information before making a trip to Pakistan? i) Encouragement to the younger generation to understand their roots.
I hope to make good progress on this project,so please keep coming back to visit.
As I said I have got the Nanda's family tree upto mid 1600's.Now the challenge is to fill the gap upto 1525 - please see the following extracts from the book by the British administator Lepel Griffin, dated 1907, Chiefs and Families of Note of Punjab:
"The Nanda Khatri family of which Ganga Bishen is the present representative, is of some antiquity.Ujar Sen , the first of whom any mention is made , lived in the reign of Babar Shah,and by a marriage with the daughter of a wealthy official of Eminabad in Gujranwala , whither he had gone in the train of the Emperor,established the fortunes of the family.His son Lakhu was adopted by his father in law , Devi Ditta , and on his death ,succeeded to his office of Kanungo ;and for several generations the office ,which was in those days of some consideration, remained with the family. etc.etc."
"The family is well known all over northern India by reason of the close connection for years past of many of its members with the Jammu and Kashmir State............"
(The connection between Eminabad and Jammu and Kashmir goes back to Ranjit Singh's time when he gave Eminabad as a Jagir to the Raja Dhyan Singh of Jammu.Since then the Nandas of Eminabad held important positions such as Diwan/Wazir under the Rajas of Jammu and Kashmir.)
"The family history goes back to Rai Ugar Sen of Bikaner,who was Peshkar or Secretary to the Emperor Babar , whom he once accompanied on a visit to the Punjab and marrying amongst the Kanungo Khatris of Eminabad in the Gujranwala district , settled there ..."
So did the Nandas originate in Bikaner ? and before Bikaner ?
But as of this moment the rest of this site may be inaccurate-so wait a couple of weeks
Ravi 9819576975, 022 26300663.
The Nandas and Baddon ki Gosain.
I remember as a child, my grandfather used to mention that he came from a place called Baddon ki Gosain in Pakistan. I have tried to piece together some account of the Nanda clan with particular reference to Baddon from conversations with old relatives and I will be ever grateful to them for helping me preserve these lost stories. The relatives mentioned and their relationships can be found in the charts in this site. I had spoken in detail with Mrs.Madanlal Handa (nee Sehgal) of Mumbai on 15th and 16th April 2008.Earlier I had visited them in their house in Worli.Mr.Nanda had found me when I had posted my fathers obituary in the Times of India in March 2006.Mr.Madanla's father was Wazirchand Nanda.Wazirchand's greatgrandfather, Ramjidas and Gulzarilal Nanda's great grandfather, Mayadas were brothers-their father was Jaikishandas.
I need to first refer to an earlier conversation with my Buaji Dr.Pushpa Naik in which she told me that her Dadi (father's mother) used to tell her that there was a Nanda Raja who was killed by the Muslims. His pregnant wife fled and sought shelter in some woods under an Akha tree/plants and also gave birth to her baby in the shelter of these plants. So from then onwards, the Nanda ladies do not touch or pick fruit/flowers from Akha plants but on one day of the years they fast and perform Puja (prayers) to these leaves/flowers/fruits. Now Mrs.Madanlal nanda informed me that this puja is conducted every year one day after Nagpanchmi (which is 5th day after the full moon) i.e. the sixth day after the full moon. The ladies fast on that day - have no roti but have chana and rice. They do puja of Beri ke Ped (beri plant/tree) and Akh ke ped (plant or tree of Akh). The prayer for the Beri plant is as follows in Punjabi, translated also to English:
Beri re Beri,
Tenu phal lage batere
Tenu patya di chan
Menu puttran di chan
Hey Beri Tree
May you produce plenty of fruits.
You will receive the shade/protection of your leaves.
I will receive the protection/shade of my sons.
The puja to the Akha tree was like this (said by the first wife who is childless so far and shares her husband with a second wife)
Akha re Akha
Na pai savakka
Chichadia muh pakka
Saukan meri darui
Main manje chadh kar sui
The third line above was said to be a filler without any meaning
Hey Akha tree
Let there not be shortage (or want)
Have the second wife ejected
I will mount the bed for my delivery.
Mrs.Madanlal Nanda mentioned the following additional points of interest:
a) The Nandas are from the 52 houses grade (bawanjai ghar) of the Khatris. b) Usually a mangalsutra is not worn but golden bangles on hands are essential after marriage.
c) For marriages only Rs.1.25 was offered to fix it.
d) The Pandas of the Nandas in Haridwar are Suraj Bhan (son of Ravi Bhan), Pandit Ramakant and Pandit Dushyant.They are called Lakkadwale.
e) Her sister Janakidevi (also married to Nanda) is in her 90's and lives in Chandigarh.I spoke with her on the phone but did not obtain any new information.
Incidentally the fruit of the akh tree, a small round fruit called datura is worshipped and is offered to Shivji .It is poisonous but Shivji does not mind and can handle it.
I had three long telephone conversations with Mr.Dharamvir Nanda.His grandfather Jhandemal Nanda and Gulzarilal Nanda's grandfather Diwan Chand were brothers and sons of Mayadas Nanda.His address is B63 Gujranwala Town Part 1.Phone 27229219.Gujranwala was a few miles from Baddon and their residential society in Delhi was formed by refugees from that area. He is in his 90's but absolutely articulate mentally clear and affectionate. I had three long telephone conversations with him on 30/4/2008, 6/5/2008 and 15/6/2008, which are combined and recorded below. Later I'll take care to make a better flow of the story.
Eminabad was the main town of the Nandas.Baddon ki Gosain was about 10 to 15 miles away. In Baddon there were many Gosains (gurus, sadhus, holy men). There were no Khatris in Baddon and the Gosains wanted to have Khatris in Baddon and this appears to be one of the reasons that some of the Nandas shifted to Baddon. (Note the Khatris were pretty useful people to have around generally because they were resourceful, educated, and good at business as well as at administration.) The Nandas later bought land in Baddon.The Gosains had a senior Baba Saindas Ji who wrote a version of the Granthsahib.
Medieval India Literature: An anthology by K. Ayyappapanicker-Sahitya Academy, 1997 has some more information on the Gosains.Saindas's version of the granth was called Granth Gosain Gurbani.Guru Nanak and Saindas met each other - Nanak sang Sukhmani and Sodar and Saindas sang Gian Rattan, and both mutually enjoyed these. Incidentally there is a Saindas Anglo-Sanskrit High School in Jullender.Gosain is from Goswamy in Sanskrit-lord of the senses.
Another reference in The Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and the North West by H.A. Rose - 1990:
Bhagti (or Bhaoti, on another page - probably typo error), a Gosain sub-sect or order, said to have been founded by Kanshi Ram, a brother of Saindas. The latter was a Brahman Bairagi whose son Ramanand has a has a shrine well known in and about the Gujranwala district, a Baddoke.His sect has many followers among the more respectable Khatris and Brahmans of Lahore and its neighbourhood....
>>More research to do
He had a dream that he will have a son but that the child will go away at the age of 14.A son was then born and called Baba Ramanand. When Ramanand turned 14 they wanted to get him married. Ramanand went to a garha (matka, vessel), kept his stick in it and disappeared. The stick grew to become a beri tree. Saindas remembered the dream that his son will go away at the age of 14.There was a tank outside the village where cows drank water. There was a person in the village that had TB and he was told to bathe in this tank and his TB then got cured. Thereafter the Nandas had a big temple of Ramanand called Tombrisaheb temple built there. The temple was supposed to be a copy of the Amritsar temple along with a big tank. The English also respected the mandir. After partition, the people from Gujranwala Town society in Delhi have been back to visit the temple and it is quite easy to get the visas and make the trip. They say the temple otherwise stays locked up by the authorities usually because it was found that if a Musalman plucked and ate a berry from any of the trees there he died. This finds a connect with an important story of the Nandas in a following paragraph. After Baba Ramanand disappeared, his mother used to be very sad, so later Ramanand agreed to meet her every night. Then she was happy and started looking happy and people asked her why she was looking happy and it slipped out from her that she saw Ramanand everyday. When Ramanand got to know of this he stopped coming to see her. There was an incident when the Gosains put out a big fire in the market and thereafter there was 3 days leave annually to mark the occasion. The Gosains went to "Kabul near Peshawar"(as per Dharamvirji) and set up an outpost there. The returning Gosains were referred to in mirth as Kabuliwalas.
The Gosains could not be the gurus of the Nandas and did not accept the Nandas as chelas (disciples) because they considered them brothers. Their mohalla was next to the Nanda mohalla. If Nanda ladies went to another village, the Gosains would treat them as their own daughters. The Gosains who came to Delhi after partition set up a temple in Delhi whose address is 104 Uttam Nagar, Z Block and it has an office. It has an office. One of the descendants of the original Gosains is one "Mahantji" who stays in Ghaziabad but comes to Uttam Nagar now and then. There are functions in the temple to mark the occasions they used to in Baddon.
>>> Find out details and dates.
In Baddon there were 2 big festivals (melas) every year, one for Saindas and another after the wheat harvest (gehu kati)
Once a year there was a big fair (mela) for 3days (~ 18th May?) in honour of the Gosain guru, Baba Ramanand, when people from outside came and free food was offered in every house. There were singing competitions.
Dharamvirji also mentioned a Swami Ramtirth >> more details required.
In Baddon the houses of 4 Nanda families Jhandemal, Mayaram, Bulaqiram/Diwan Chand Nanda and Nandlal, were all in a row. The area was called Nanda Gali/Mohalla. Baddon had a primary school but he later went to Gujranwala for High School and to learn English. Some other families in Baddon were the Kochhars and the Narangs - both from the Arora caste. Gokulchand Narang was the first person from those parts to get a BA and later the English made him a minister. Dharamvir's father was the second person to get a BA. Gokulchand later had many factories and became famous. He also had a sugar mill in UP and he set up the Narang Bank of India which was later merged with the United Bank of India in the early 1970's.Gokulchand Narang was "Sir" and "Dr." and not only a successful businessman and industrialist but also a scholar, politician and reformer. Lala Mool Raj Narang was father of Gokul Chand Narang. Companies including Delhi based Narang Industries Limited are still active.
>>>to contact Narang current generation.
Lala Kakaram, Tarachand and Dharachand mentioned in old records were likely from the Narang family. In the same records one Bholaram Saindas is mentioned. Dharamvir worked for the Narangs in Gujranwala. During partition he took out people in vehicles from the factory. They also took out the granth, which was of the highest importance to them and published it in Delhi. Dharamvir's granth was borrowed by someone and not returned. It was believed if you read the granth you pass your exams. They have published an abbreviated book, which contains sections from the granth. They are planning to republish the full one in July. The Mahantji must be having a copy of the full one for his own reading and I could ask him for an extra copy.
These families were totally vegetarian and had lassi, homemade butter, dahi, and parathis. They did not eat tomatoes. They started eating non-vegetarian food only much later. However even Gosain children sometimes ate eggs outside with other children for fun. Other food was normal like rice vegetables, dal etc. An interesting Nanda custom was that when a male baby was born he was not clothed normally but was wrapped up in a sadhu's cloth until his first tooth appeared. Another Nanda custom was that the during marriages the boy was brought to the girl's house a day before the barat arrived and then when the barat arrived he joined he sat with them. This was to ensure that even if the barat were held up the shagun would not be delayed.
The joke was " Eminabad Diwanon ki, Gujranwala pehelwanon ki and somewhere else shaitanon ki". The Rajas and Diwans were based in Jammu - Kashmir was developed later.
>>> check with Dharamvirji
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