Monday, September 13, 2021




" 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 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)
           ( Dr Kitchloo with Sardar Patel )
     ( Dr Kitchloo with freedom fighters at Amritsar)

Dr Saif ud Din Kitchloo was out and out a nationalist leader who fought against British Raj.He was from a well settled Kashmiri Muslim family of Amritsar.He was General . Secretary AICC and also headed Punjab unit of AICC before partition.A hero of Jalianwala Bagh , he spent more than 14 years in prison during British Raj.A Gandhian, he built Swaraj Bhawan in Amritsar that became a hub of Hindu Muslim unity.

After 1947, he lived in Delhi and associated himself with the Communist Party of India. He is the unsung architect of' Indo Soviet Friendship ' at its initial stage. The Russians awarded him with Lenin Peace Prize. He was a close friend of Madan Lal Dingra and Dr Satyapal , 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 Saif ud Din Kitchloo died in 1963.

In 2002, I was informed by one Dhani Ram Sharma , (age 85 years at that time , who would call on Punjab National Bank, Lawrence Road ,Amritsar 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 during marriage season for its excellent Shehnai players. According to him, Dr Kitchloo had a huge mansion in the old 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. The property was damaged in 1947 communal frenzy.This gentleman also informed me that Kashmiri Shias in Amritsar had an Imambara and graveyard in Sultanwind Road area .The Kashmiri Muslims of Amritsar were educated and engaged in Shawl business and other government jobs.Some leading lawyers of the city were from the Kashmiri Muslims 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 Dwarika 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.

(Avtar Mota )

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