Monday, September 13, 2021

SAIF UD DIN KITCHLOO : THE UNSUNG HERO OF INDIA'S FREEDOM STRUGGLE

                                              


THE HERO OF JALIANWALA  BAGH , AMRITSAR......DR SAIF UD DIN KITCHLOO ( 1888-1963)

." The story of humanity is never a story of religion alone. Our history is full  with details as to how assertive religious identities have brought gloom and misfortune for human beings.I oppose the very idea of partition as It is neither in the interest of Musims nor Hindus.It can  only be delivered with blood of millions of Indians and  mad violence. It is against the idea of lasting peace in the subcontinent and Asia. Generations of Indians will pay the price for this blunder on our part. A wall and institutionalised hatred can never deliver peace and stability. I am surprised that my friends in the Congress have also opted favourably for this resolution. I can only feel sad and lonely in case you surrender nationalism to communalism."

( Dr.Saif ud Din Kitchloo said this on  demand for Pakistan.)

Dr Saif ud Din Kitchloo was out and out a nationalist leader who fought against the  British Raj.He was from a well settled Kashmiri Muslim family of Amritsar.He was General  Secretary AICC and also headed the  Punjab unit of AICC before partition.A hero of Jalianwala Bagh , he spent more than 14 years in prison during the  British Raj.A Gandhian, he built Swaraj Bhawan in Amritsar that became a hub of  Hindu Muslim unity. Along with Nehru, Master Tara Singh ,Habib ur Rehman Ludhianavi, Satguru Partap Singh and many more leaders, he unfurled the national flag at Lahore on the bank of  Ravi in 1931..He was a founder member of Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi.

After 1947, he lived in Delhi and associated with the Communist Party of India. He is the unsung  architect of Indo Soviet friendship at initial stage. The Russians awarded him with Lenin Peace Prize. He was a close  friend of Madan Lal Dingra and Dr Satyapal , both great freedom fighters from Punjab.  Toufique, his only son , survives from his family.Toufique lives in Delhi and worked previously in Poland ,Germany and  Ethopia.Toufique ( born 1932) has also written a book on his father. Dr Kitchloo did his schooling in Amritsar whereafter he completed his   B.A. from Cambridge University followed  by  a Ph.D. from a German university. He returned to India to  start his legal practice.
Dr.  Kitchloo died in 1963.


In 2002,I was informed by one Dhani Ram Sharma (age  85 years ),  who would call on  the Lawrence Road, Amritsar branch of our bank ( where I was posted  ) as to how on every Ram Navmi day , Dr Kitchloo  would lead Ramnavmi procession of Hindus in the city. In fact I came to know many things from this elderly person.He also informed that there was a Kashmiri Brass Band owned by a Kashmiri Muslim family  in the city that was always in demand in marriages for its excellent Shehnai players.  According to him , Dr Kitchloo had a huge mansion in old Amritsar city in Karmuwali Deohri .After 1947, he never claimed the property and desired that it be allocated to some Hindu refugee from Lahore while he himself moved to Delhi. Shri Dhani Ram Sharma also informed me that Kashmiri Shias in Amritsar had a  Imambara and a  graveyard in Sultanwind Road area .The Kashmiri Muslims of Amritsar were educated and  engaged in  Shawl business and government  jobs.Some leading lawyers of the city were from  Kashmiri Muslim community  who later moved to Lahore. Two famous lawyers of Amritsar were Kashmiri Muslims who belonged to Manto family.Then you had the well known Dar and Butt families  . There was a Zargar family who were well known goldsmiths .Sh Dhani Ram Sharma also informed me that  Pandit Dwarka Nath Kitchloo of Amritsar belonged to a wealthy  Kashmiri Pandit family engaged in  Saffron and Shawl business .Tikoo family was another reputed family apart from Mattoos who built the  Kashmiri Shivala at Farid chowk ,he informed. The Shivala exists even to this day and is  located in the busy commercial area inside the Hall gate.

(Avtar Mota )


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