Sunday, January 2, 2022




                                                              ( Swaraj Bhawan )
                                                             ( Tej Bahadur Sapru )
                                                                        ( Shyama Zutshi )
                                                                 ( Ranjit Sita Ram Pandit )    
                                                            ( Moti Lal Nehru )
                                                              ( Laddo Rani Zutshi )
                                                    ( Kashyap Bandhu with Nehru )
                                                                ( Hriday Nath Kunzru )
                                                   ( Pandit Brij Narain Chakbast )
                                                      ( Anand Bhawan )
                                                                         ( A. K. Hangal )




“Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.”  

 (Herbert Hoover



Being a princely state in British India , Kashmir remained almost detached and untouched from the upsurge of freedom sentiment and nationalistic ideology against the colonial rulers of the country. In the twentieth century , we find some agitations and unrest in the Kashmir valley but these were only against the rule of the then Maharaja . Muslim conference followed by the National Conference in the Kashmir valley confined its activities towards fighting against the Maharaja’s rule . At a later stage , the Indian National Congress leaders also supported the National Conference leadership in its fight against the Maharaja’s rule in the State . The quit Kashmir movement launched by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in Kashmir had the blessings of the Indian National Congress leaders. It was essentially aimed at forcing the Maharaja to step down and handover the administration to the popular leadership that had emerged during those days . Even if the British rulers didn’t rule the State of Jammu And Kashmir , the ‘Great Central Asian Game ‘ and the ‘Russian Expansionism’ in the Central Asia kept the British interests alive in Kashmir .The British rulers had set up a Resident’s office in the Kashmir valley. They had also got some frontier areas like Gilgit leased to them . The British officers interfered in the administration and affairs of the state apart from watching colonial interests on the frontiers of the Kashmir valley . Even the notorious Gilgit Begar can be partly attributed to the British colonial rulers .


Having said so , it is also a fact that the ‘Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora’ that kept moving out from the valley due to persecution and suppression and settled in the plains , joined the ‘Freedom Struggle’ of the country lock, stock and barrel. A few Kashmiri Muslims , who lived mostly in the then undivided British Punjab also joined the nationalistic forces of the country engaged in their fight against the British colonial rulers . The role of many Kashmiri Pandits in the freedom struggle of the country is second to none. History reminds us that many freedom fighters emerged from Allahabad , Lucknow , Lahore , Faizabad , Delhi, Amritsar and other places in the country where the Kashmiri Pandits had settled after moving out from the valley. Let us examine the role of some prominent freedom fighters from Kashmir .




The Nehru family of Allahabad has occupied a prominent place in the freedom struggle of the country . The Nehrus moved out of the Kashmir valley during the early 18th century . It is believed that their ancestor, Raj Kaul was the person who came out of Kashmir and settled in Delhi wherefrom the family later moved to Allahabad .This family from Allahabad produced some leading freedom fighters who not only joined the movement against the British colonial rule but led it at many stages 

and remained in prison for months and years .Pandit Moti Lal Nehru , Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru , Swaroop Rani Nehru ( wife of Moti Lal Nehru ) , Kamla Nehru ( wife of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru ), Vijay Lakshmi Nehru Pandit ( daughter of Moti Lal Nehru ) ,Krishna Nehru Hutheesingh ( daughter of Moti Lal Nehru ) , Gunottam Hutheesingh ( husband of Krishna Nehru ), Ranjit Sita Ram Pandit ( husband of Vijay Lakshmi Pandit ) and Indira Nehru Gandhi are some leading freedom fighters of the country that belong to the Nehru family from Allahabad .Ranjit Sita Ram Pandit translated Kalhana’s Rajatarangini into English during his confinement in the Naini jail where he was lodged by the British rulers along with his wife’s brother ,Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru . Gunottam Hutheesingh left a flourishing business to join the freedom struggle along with Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, his brother in law . The family donated their palatial houses ( Anand Bhawan and Swaraj Bhawan ) , land and jewellery to the nation.

In the 35 years from 1929, when Gandhi chose Nehru as president of the Indian National Congress session at Lahore, until his death, as prime minister, in 1964, Nehru remained—despite the debacle of the brief conflict with China in 1962—the idol of his people. And despite what is said about his belief in secularism and ‘Kashmir Policy’, Nehru remains the architect of Modern India . Indira Gandhi’s rule , despite the emergency chapter ,can be considered as a period of progress and development of India . She rose to the highest popularity after the liberation of the Bangla Desh. 




Hailing from a distinguished Kashmiri Pandit family, Tej Bahadur Sapru was born in Aligarh , educated in Mathura and at the age of fifteen joined Agra College where he graduated with BA (1894) and did MA (1895) in English. He then took Masters and Doctorate of Law degrees at Allahabad University. He was an Indian freedom fighter, lawyer, and politician. He advocated Swaraj but he was not in favour of unconstitutional means to achieve it. He was the President of the UP Congress Committee before leaving the party and joining the ‘Liberal Party of India’. Along with Surendra Nath Banerjee, V S Srinivasa Sastri and M R Jayakar , he represented the moderate group in the Indian National Congress. This group later formed the ‘Liberal Party of India’ . His party stayed within the constitutional realm for protests and contributed greatly to the cause of Indian nationalism. He was a key figure in India's struggle for independence, helping draft the Indian Constitution. He participated in numerous freedom movements like Quit India, Salt Satyagraha, Non-Cooperation Movement. He did commendable work to ensure civil rights and freedom of the press by repealing the Newspaper and Press Act and resigned when Gandhi Ji was arrested in 1922 to protest the violation of fundamental 



As India's leading constitutional expert, Sapru played a key role in drafting the Motilal Nehru Report (1928) in response to the all-white Simon Commission (1927-30). On many occasions, he mediated between various factions and tried to resolve deadlocks. As a lawyer, he fought cases like the Meerut Conspiracy Case and also defended the rebel soldiers of the Indian National Army. He had helped draft the Nehru Committee Report of 1928. A lifelong advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity and a staunch supporter of United India, he wrote this when the British decided to divide India, 

"I am afraid the division of India is not going to be the end of our trouble. I fear that may be the beginning of new trouble.”





Kailash Nath Katju was born in a Kashmiri Pandit family settled in Jaora State, which is now a part of Madhya Pradesh. He had his earlier education in Lahore. In 1905, he came over to Allahabad for legal studies and finally started practice in 1908 from Kanpur. From Kanpur, he shifted to Allahabad to complete his doctorate from the University of Allahabad. In 1919, he was enrolled as an advocate of the Allahabad High Court Bar. And as a case-winner, perhaps Katju held a record. It would need volumes to record Katju's brilliant performances and victories in the court, some of which have become legends. 

Katju went on to become an active figure in Indian politics. He was a member of the Congress Party and served on the Council of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and the All India Congress Committee.

A prominent lawyer, during the freedom struggle, Katju defended several political prisoners in controversial cases. This included the accused in the Meerut Conspiracy Case and the military officers in the INA trials. Due to his participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement, he faced imprisonment for 18 months. Katju was further detained in August 1942, during the Quit India movement, for nine months. After independence, Katju served as the governor of two Indian states: Orissa (1947-48) and West Bengal (1948-51) apart from being the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh ( 1957-1962 ). He also headed the Union Ministries for Law, Home Affairs, and Defence.


HRIDAY NATH KUNZRU ( 1887-1978 )


Hriday Nath Kunzru was a well known public figure , freedom fighter and parliamentarian of the country . He belonged to a highly educated Kashmiri Pandit family from Allahabad. He worked closely with Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya , the well-known freedom fighter of the country . He founded the Bharat Scouts and Guides . He was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India (1946–50) that drew up the Constitution of India. As secretary of Prayag Sewa Samiti , he played an important role in the organization of Kumb Melas in Prayag, Allahabad .


Initially, Kunzru had joined the Indian National Congress but soon he left that organisation and formed the National Liberal Federation (NLF) together with other moderate leaders like Madan Mohan Malaviya and Tej Bahadur Sapru. Kunzru became the organisation’s president in 1934.He singlehandedly raised funds amounting to Rs. 600,000 to build Sapru House, the headquarters of the Indian Council of World Affairs.






They were four sisters; Man Mohini, Shyama, Janak Rani and Chandra Kumari. Man Mohini, Shyama and Janak Rani were adventurous and highly talented girls .The Zutshi sisters knew horse riding , dancing , bicycling and also took music lessons. Chandra Kumari remained a housewife while all the other sisters along with their parents plunged into the freedom struggle of the country .


Hailing from an affluent Kashmiri Pandit family of Lahore , these girls were modern , educated and enterprising . Ladli Prasad Zutshi ( 1875-1954 ) , their father was a reputed barrister of Lahore, who along with his entire family plunged into the freedom movement of the country . He was a nephew of Moti Lal Nehru.

Shyama did her BA and joined Hindi cinema . She was the first Kashmiri Pandit girl to join films . She left the cinema and plunged herself into the freedom struggle of the country .Shyama (1910 -1953) was married in an affluent Punjabi family and was later known as Shyama Chopra . And Man Mohini ( 

1909-1994 ) was married in Sehgal family from Punjab and later came to be known as Man Mohini Zutshi Sehgal .Man Mohini was a postgraduate in history . 

Janak Zutshi was a postgraduate in English and taught at the Government College for Women, Lahore ( Joined in 1930 and later resigned to join the freedom struggle ) . Janak Kumari fell in love with Dr Jalil Asghar and married him . She came to be known as Janak Kumari Asghar. Along with her husband , she moved to Pakistan in 1952 and the family settled at Lahore. Ali Asghar was an ICS officer. 


A lecture By Mahatma Gandhi in Lahore ( that these sisters heard with their mother ) changed their lives .Influenced by Moti Lal Nehru and their parents, Shyama and Man Mohini were already organising agitations and picketing against the British rule during their college days . Following Gandhi’s Salt March in 1930, Man Mohini organized protests, demonstrations, courted arrest, and was sentenced to prison on three separate occasions. 

Lado Rani Zutshi had joined Congress Party in 1919 and was actively involved in freedom struggle . Her close associates were Kartar Kour and Parvati both eminent freedom fighters from Punjab. Parvati was the daughter of Lala Lajpat Rai.


On 15th December 1929, a grand flag hoisting function was organised at Lahore by the freedom fighters . Sardar Mangal Singh took about 2000 Congress volunteers under his command and joined this event that was attended by almost all stalwarts of the freedom movement that included Maulana Azad , M A Ansari , Saif ud din Kichloo ,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 from Bharti Thakur's book ( page 93) " Women In Gandhi's Mass Movement " :-


" On July 9, 1930 , Shyama Zutshi and Man Mohini along with 25 other volunteers from Ambala and Shimla picketed at the gate of the assembly in Shimla along with other volunteers of the Congress committee . They went in groups of two or three with black flags hidden under the folds of their Sarees and stood outside the gate 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 , Man Mohini , who was also the president of the students union called for a complete Hartaal on 8th October , 1930 as a protest against the death sentences imposed on Bhagat Singh ,Sukhdev and Rajguru and decided to picket Government College for Men , Forman Christian College and the Law College . Shyama also joined and these sisters along with other women volunteers stood at the gates of these colleges challenging the students to enter . Soon the police arrived and arrested them. When Janak Kumari heard all this , she resigned from the post of English lecturer at Government College for Women, Lahore and offered herself to court arrest. "




 Pandit Bishen Narain Dar was a freedom fighter who  belonged to a prominent Kashmiri Pandit family from Lucknow. He was the nephew of Pandit Shambhu Nath , the first Indian Judge of the Calcutta High Court. The ancestors of Pandit Bishan Narain Dar left the Kashmir Valley in the first half of the 19th century. His grandfather, Pandit Hari Ram Dar was an Akhbar Navis in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.  


Bishen Narain Dar went to England where he practised as a lawyer. While living in England ,Bishan Narain Dar understood the proper meaning of independence and the suppression of his countrymen by the British colonial power. It was in England that he vowed to launch a crusade against this injustice after he returned to his country . He wrote articles and delivered fiery speeches against the British colonialism .He was elected the president of the Indian National Congress for one term in 1911. Bishan Narain Dar's younger brother , Ratan Narain Dar was a well known Urdu poet from the United Provinces . And Tika Ram Dar from this family helped the revolutionaries during the first war of independence in 1857. He printed pamphlets against the British in his printing press and distributed these in Lucknow city. After being noticed by the British intelligence officers , he secretly migrated to Benaras and started this activity from that city.


JEEVAN LAL KATJU ( born 1889 )


 He was the father of Yashodhara Katju well-known actress of Hindi cinema. He belonged to a well educated Kashmiri Pandit family of Lucknow. For some time, the family had shifted to Lahore wherefrom Jeevan Lal moved back to Lucknow where he was appointed on a senior administrative position by the British Government. Jeevan Lal Katju resigned from his government job and joined the freedom struggle of the country . He was a well known Congress leader from the UP. He was married to Kailashwati 

( sister of well known Urdu poet and Judge of Allahabad High court Late Anand Narain Mulla). The family was closely related to Nehrus of Allahabad. He also suffered imprisonment during British rule.




Brij Narayan Chakbast was born in a Kashmiri Pandit family from Faizabad wherefrom the family migrated to Lucknow early in his life. A lawyer by profession, Chakbast was acutely conscious of the socio-political conditions of his time which is borne out by his active participation in creating Kashmiri Young Men’s Association, establishing Bahadur Library, expressing his views on Home Rule, and joining a host of other issues and activities. He joined Lucknow Bar and emerged as one of its most distinguished members. His career as a poet and an individual of acute socio-political consciousness was cut short with his premature death following a paralysis at the Railway station in Rae Bareilly where he had gone to argue a case in the court of law. Chakbast is respected and remembered as a distinguished Urdu poet . He was also a freedom fighter and expressed his opinions and anguish against the British rule in some patriotic poems , essays and speeches . Joining many Moderates   in their protests against the Rowlatt Act , he resented the atrocities committed in Punjab in 1919 . He wrote this in (January-February-1920 issue )  Subh-e-Ummeed  :- 


The resolution passed by the moderates’ conference regarding the need for justice to the oppressed of Punjab is very comprehensive and forceful and is resentful shout to awaken the present rulers from their deep slumber. How much better would it have been had a resolution of a similar type been adopted on the platform of the Congress.”


  He was actively involved in the Home Rule Movement .He defended many young men involved in the freedom struggle during the British colonial rule.




Two Kashmiri Pandits namely Dina Nath Zadoo and Kanti Chandra Zadoo from the Zadoo family of Kashmir, were associated with Neta Ji Subash Chandra Bose and his INA. Dina Nath Zadoo and Kanti Chandra Zadoo were born in 1916 and 1918, respectively, to Prof. Jagaddhar Zadoo ,the first Kashmiri scholar to work with Japanese and Russian Sanskrit scholars. Dina Nath Zadoo worked as the Captain in the Indian National Army (INA). He fought in Malaysia. He died in 1986 in India. Kanti Chandra Zadoo was engaged by Neta Ji as his personal secretary sometime in 1945. He is believed to have been on board the same aircraft which mysteriously crashed in 1945 near Taihoku, Japanese Taiwan, resulting in the death of Subhash Chandra Bose and Kanti Chandra . Unfortunately, no research has been done in this area by any person to present details beyond these references. 


The Zadoo family from Kashmir has always been daring and nationalistic in their outlook . Prof Krishna Misri ( Zadoo ) , who got herself enrolled as a volunteer in the women’s wing of' National Militia' set up by the supporters of the National Conference to fight the invading Pakistani 

tribal raiders during 1947, belongs to this Zadoo family. This resistance group was also known as the Women’s Self Defence Corps (WSDC) . She must have been a young girl of 13 or 14 years at the time of the tribal raid in Kashmir . Prof Krishna Misri's real brother ,Pushkar Zadoo was also martyred in 1947 during the Pakistan sponsored tribal raid.


DR SAIF UD DIN KICHLOO ( 1888-1963 )


." The story of humanity is never a story of religion alone. Our history is full of 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 Muslims nor Hindus.It can only be delivered with the 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 Kichloo said this on the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan.)


Dr Saif ud Din Kichloo was out and out a nationalist leader who fought against the British Raj. He was from a well-settled Kashmiri Muslim family of Amritsar whose ancestors were Kashmiri Brahmins . A student of sharp intellect, he completed his bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and obtained his doctorate from Germany. Thereafter , he returned to Amritsar and started practising law. His revolutionary aspirations dated back to his Cambridge days, when he actively participated in a society formed by Indian students to discuss India’s colonial woes. It was through these meetings that he met Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.


Dr Kichloo was the General Secretary of AICC and also headed the Punjab unit of AICC before the partition of the country . A hero of Jalianwala Bagh , he spent more than 14 years in prison during British rule. 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 was associated 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 , both great freedom fighters from Punjab .




The ancestors of Mir Abdul Majeed are reported to have migrated from the Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar in the early part of the 19th century. He belonged to a family of shawl weavers that traced its ancestry to Kashmir .Born in 1900, his father's name was Mir Faiz Mohammad. The family lived in Lahore’s Mochi Gate locality . 


He started the Urdu newspaper Mehnat-Kash and worked closely with Bhagat Singh and Comrade Dhanwantri of Jammu when they launched Naujawan Bharat Sabha. He became vice President of NBS with Sohan Singh Josh as its president. He joined Dr Satyapal and Dr Saif ud Din Kichloo ,Abdul Salam Rafiqi (another Kashmiri and great-grandson of Quddus Gojwari who helped Birbal Dhar to escape to Lahore during the Pathan rule in Kashmir ) and many other leaders in leading anti-Rowlatt agitation in the entire Punjab. All these leaders were imprisoned and shifted to Dharmshala from Amritsar. Abdul Salam Rafiqi was exiled by the British to far off Timor Island in Indonesia. Before that, he was kept in Burma where he discovered Bahadur Shah Zafar's grave. Sometime in 1941, Rafiqi died in Indonesia. 


The British tried him as a co-conspirator in the famous Peshawar conspiracy case of 1922 for depriving them of their sovereignty over India. Mir Abdul Majeed was awarded one year's hard labour in prison later extended to three years. He was also imprisoned in the Meerut Conspiracy case.

Along with Lala Kanhaya Lal, Hans Raj, Abdul Aziz, Gurbux Rai, Dhan Singh and Rai Ram Singh , Mir Abdul Majid was on the dais on 13th April, 1919 and had also addressed the mammoth crowd when General Dyer opened his guns on unarmed gathering in Jalianwala Bagh, Amritsar . Dr Saif ud Din Kitchloo , Dr Satyapal and Abdul Salam Rafiqi were in prison then.



 A K HANGAL (1914-2012 )


Avtar Krishan Hangal was born in a Kashmiri Pandit family of Peshawar . From Peshawar , the family moved to Karachi. He was also associated with the communist movement of undivided India. He remained in Karachi prison for two years from 1947 to 1949 and after his release came to India and settled in Mumbai. In Mumbai , he acted in several plays staged  by IPTA before joining films . From 1929 to 1947, he joined many agitation and revolts against British rule .As a student leader , he led the group of students in Peshawar to protest against the ‘Jalianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar. At Karachi also , he led many protests against British rule and courted arrest several times .He was related to Kamla Nehru , wife of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. In 2006,the Government of India awarded him  Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi cinema .


KASHYAP BANDHU ( 1899-1985 )


His real name was Pandit Tara Chand  ‘Bulbul’ and he was born in village Gairu, Traal in Kashmir. He worked for many social evils in the Kashmiri society and also organised Kashmiri labourers in Lahore where he stayed for some years till 1930. In Lahore , he came into contact with the freedom fighters, revolutionaries and the Arya Samajis and participated in many agitations against British rule . He also became very close to some leading freedom fighters including Moti Lal Nehru . He formed the first' Kashmiri Mazdoor Board' in Lahore. Acting on the advice of Allama Iqbal , whom he visited frequently, Tara Chand became the first secretary of Kashmiri Mazdoor Board ,Lahore sometime around 1927 . The board organized a massive rally in Ludhiana that was addressed by Pandit Moti Lal Nehru. 


He returned to Kashmir in 1930 and kept himself busy with the eradication of many social evils from the Kashmiri society. Both, Kashyap Bandhu from Kashmir and Dhanvantari ( another freedom fighter from Jammu ) find lavish praise in the book, ‘ Torn From Roots: A Partition Memoir ‘ by Kamla Patel. 


These freedom fighters inspired and motivated others to fight injustice during British rule. They made people aware of their rights and powers .There are many other names from the Kashmiri Pandit community who have been associated with the freedom struggle in various capacities and this list could become endless . Some of them are known while others quietly faced hardships and sufferings for their motherland. Their unimaginable sacrifices, hardships, pains, and hard work gets an eternal salute from people. I conclude this  write up with ‘ Pushp Ki Abhilasha ‘ , a patriotic poem of Makhan Lal Chaturvedi .


Chaah nahin meinn surbalaa ke 

Gahanon mein goondha jaaoon 

Chaah nahin premi mala mein bandh 

Pyaari ko lalachaaoon 


Chaah nahin samraaton ke 

Shav par he hari daala jaaoon

Chaah nahin devon ke shir par 

Chadoon bhaagya par ithalaauoon 


Mujhe tod lena van-mali

Uss path par dena tum pheink 

Matrbhuumi par sheesh chadaane 

Jis path jaayein veer anek “


( Avtar Mota )



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