Monday, August 29, 2016



ZUTSHI SISTERS OF LAHORE .... FROM FASHION TO FREEDOM STRUGGLE.... . ( Man-Mohini , Shyama , Janak and their mother Lado Rani )

They were four sisters Man-Mohini , Shyama , Janak kumari  and Chandra kumari . Chandra Kumari ( Born 1903) was a little shy girl and was married in Handoo family at a young age. She came to be known as Chandra Kumari Handoo.  This Zutshi Family of Lahore was closely related to Pandit Nehru .Hailing from Affluent Kashmiri Pandit family of Lahore , Zutshi sisters were Modern , Educated and enterprising . Ladli Prasad Zutshi(1875-1954) , their Father was a reputed Barrister of lahore . He was a nephew of Moti Lal Nehru.Initially Ladli  Prasad practiced at Allahabad but later sometime around 1917, he along with his family moved to Lahore and earned name and fame as a successful Barrister.

         ( Photo Ladli Prasad Zutshi )

Shyama did her BA and joined Hindi Cinema . She was the first Kashmiri Pandit Girl to join films . She finally left the cinema and plunged herself into the freedom struggle of the country .And Manmohini ( Born 1909 ) is reported to be the most Rebellious child in the Zutshi family.She was born In Anand Bhawan Alahabad. She happened to be a favourite niece of Moti Lal Nehru . She was married in a Punjabi family and later came to be known as Manmohini Zutshi Sahgal..

Shyama was  married in a  affluent Chopra family from Punjab and came to be known as Shyama Chopra .


                ( Photo ..Lado Rani Zutshi   daughter of Jeevan lal Tikku  ..  1882-1968  )
                                                                ( Photo Manmohini Zutshi )
                                                       ( Photo Janak Kumari Zutshi )

                            ( Photo Chandra Kumari   with her husband Sri krishna Handoo )

Manmohini, Shyama and Janak Kumari  usually visited posh Mall Road ( Lahore ) for shopping along with their Mother Lado Rani .There used to be a Hotel known as “ ARAB HOTEL “ in Lahore before 1947 . It was just Opposite Islamia College .This Hotel was Frequented by elite of the city including prominent Artists,writers, poets and intellectuals. Zutshi sisters would be seen in this Hotel along with their Mother .

Janak Zutshi was a Post Graduate in English and taught at Govt college for women Lahore ( Joined in 1930 and later resigned ) .  Janak Kumari fell in love with Dr Jalil  Asghar and married him some months before the partition of the country though she never converted to Islam  . She was later known as Janak Kumari Asghar .The couple had no child .Dr jalil Asghar moved to Pakistan  in 1952 and janak died at  Lahore in 1997.

These sisters knew Horse Riding , dancing , Bicycling and also took lesson in Music .Manmohini was a post Graduate in History . 

Although  Zutshi sisters were always inspired by Nationalism of their parents yet one day everything changed suddenly for them. A lecture By Mahatma Gandhi in Lahore ( that these sisters heard with their mother ) changed their Life . The girls were suddenly fired by a deep patriotism and Nationalism. They decided to join their parents who were already in the freedom struggle.

Influenced by Moti Lal Nehru's family and  their own parents , Shyama and Manmohini were already participating in Anti Brtish agitations even during their college days . Shyama finally decided to quit  films .

Following Gandhi’s Salt March in 1930, Manmohini organized protests, demonstrated, courted arrest, and was sentenced to prison on three separate occasions. 

Lado Rani had joined Congress party in 1919 (Martial Law days ) and had plunged herself in Freedom struggle of the country. Her close associates were Parvati ,Atma Devi , Lakshmi Trikha and Kartar kour all  leading freedom fighters from Punjab. Parvati was the Daughter of Lala Lajpat Rai. Infact these women led by Lado Rani became eyesore of British Administration.These volunteers picketed foreign cloth shops ,Law courts and quarters of members of Legislative Assembly in Punjab.
Lado Rani led so many Prabhat Pheris in Lahore in defiance to section 144 imposed by British Administration.

On 15th December 1929, A Grand Flag Hoisting function was organised at Lahore by Freedom fighters .  Well known freedom Fighter Sardar Mangal singh Took about 2000 congress volunteers under his command and joined this event that was attended by almost all stalwarts of Freedom Movement that included Maulana Azad , M A Ansari , saif Ud din Kitchloo ,sarojini Naidu , Moti Lal Nehru , Jawahar lal Nehru ,Madan Mohan Malviya ,Jamna lal Bajaj , Srinivasa Iyengar , Vallabh Bhai Patel and many more .

Sardar Mangal Singh had carved out a Women Brigade from among his volunteers . This brigade had many women including all the three Zutshi sisters and their mother Lado Rani.

I quote Sardar Mangal singh GOC congress Volunteers Lahore session :

“ I had two main Lady volunteers as commanders . Lajyawati and lado Rani Zutshi. Lado Rani had brought her three daring daughters also. They were educated and fashionable . The call of Mahatma made the family to forget all comforts . A session was held on the Banks of Ravi till 12 o’clock. It was a grand success . Pandit Nehru Unfurled the National Flag.  Dr N S Hardikar was there . Pandit ji Danced in happiness with the Volunteers of Freedom struggle. I remember the Pathan dance that was performed by the volunteers ”

I quote From Bharti Thakur's Book " Women In Gandhi's Mass Movement " ( Refer page 93 )..

" On July 9, 1930 , Shyama Zutshi and Manmohini along with 25 other volunteers from Ambala and Shimla Picketed the Central the assembly in Shimla along with other volunteers of congress committee . They went in groups of two or three with black Flags hidden under the folds of their sarees and stood outside the gates of the Assembly Hall. As soon as Viceroy Lord Irwin came out , they took out their Black Flags and shouted " IRWIN GO BACK ". Forthwith they formed a small procession and marched to the Mall singing National songs .Back In Lahore , Manmohini , who was also the president of the students union Called for a complete Hartaal On 8 October 1930 as a protest against death sentences imposed on Bhagat Singh ,Sukhdev and Rajjguru and decided to picket Govt college for men , Forman Christian college and law College .Soon Shyama also joined and these sisters along with other women volunteers who stood at the gates of these colleges challenging the students to enter . Soon Police arrived and arrested them. When Janak Kumari heard all this , she resigned from the post of English lecturer Govt College for women Lahore and offered herself to court arrest. "

( Autar Mota )

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