Personal histories: attention Lahore buffs

I have received this letter from Suniti Mohindra based in the US, who is searching for many answers. This email was so interesting that I am publishing it with Suniti’s permission. I am going to look for materials but I would request the readers to help our friend in undertaking this amazing project. History is not the domain of the rulers only. Personal histories are even more important for they give us a humanistic vision of our past and the present. Please leave any information here in the comments section RR

Dear Raza Rumi,

I was researching for the history of Lahore the great City of Punjab where my grandfather Ralla Ram Mohindra came to for his college education in 1892/3 and while finishing his college he came across an advertisement in the local paper where the East India Company was advertising for educated persons for the development of the Railway in East Africa called the Uganda Railway. My Grandfather hailed from Malsian district Jullandhar from the Soodhan Mohalla his father being in the business of leasing land to the farmers and hence from a rich family that believed in Education and the values to be gotten wherefrom. My Grandfather without telling his father Lala Moti Ram (he was the only son) applied for this post was immediately called to Calcutta where he was given a crash course in Administration and telegraphy and with a handsome advance given a ticket to sail for Mombasa, Kenya to report to the General Manager George Whitehouse[who was later knighted]as the Railhead Station Master and took the Railway from Mazeras to Kisumu on Lake Victoria the period was 1896 to 1901.

I am putting together history of my family and was wondering if you may be able to help me in constructing the aura of the Great City of Lahore the then Capital of Punjab. I have pieced together some aspects but these only relate to the fact that there were four sections of the city etc. Is there any material that would help me grasp what the Metropolis of that time was and what great thing it was for some one from a village to come to this Great City, get Educated there and them get the dare devil outlook for adventure and exploration in a spirit of fearlessness to a distant part of Africa then known as KALA PANI.. my love for Punjab aside, the great adventure of my Grandfather and what motivated a young man in his late teens to embark on such a journey is what I want to get a handle on.

Any help from you would be most helpful and please accept my gratitude which I shall duly acknowledge for the courtesy extended.

With respect and regards,

Suniti Mohindra

9 responses to “Personal histories: attention Lahore buffs

  1. Hi Suniti:
    I was born and raised in Lahore, now living in Tulsa, Ok. My brother Dr. Ajaz Anwar, just retired from National of Arts Lahore, is a scholar of Lahore and it’s history. He had a radio program going for many years called ” naeen reesan shehr Lahore diyan. ” May be he can shed some light on this subject. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail or my cell 918-289-1365.

  2. Suniti your details about your grand dad remind me about by great grandfather Lala Ganga Ram Chatrath(family was originally from Sialkot) who also worked in Africa for some time on the British Rail projects.He later worked at various places(in Railways only) in what is now Pakistan.At one point he antagonised the British so much for his uncompromising stand on matters of principle that they decided to punish him.They posted him to places like Landi Kotal ( I am not sure if this is one place or two).It was a real outpost and their hope was that the fierce tribals of that area would kill him before he could finish the term of his posting.As things turned out he not only survived but made such good friends with the locals that they vowed to kill anyone(especially the British) if they tried to harm him.Lala Ganga Ram Chatrath finally built a house in Amritsar’s Barah Makan Islamabad locality and lived there till his death in 1956 at the ripe old age of 99.I have a few pictures of him.

  3. Dear Simply61(Mr.Chatrath

    Thanks for your response to my request to dear Raza Rumi. May I have your contact info please so I can reach you.

    I wonder if Lala Ganga Ram left any records and or oral stories of his days while at work on the Railway>

    Thanks for the courtesy.

    Kind regards

  4. Great idea! Love seeing a creative mind work and gain success!!!!!! Hope it continues to grow!

  5. Vijay K Chandhok

    I am the son of Lala Ganga Ram Chatrath’s youngest daughter Prakash Vati Chandhok and have heard the stories of his being posted in Quetta. There were lot of stories told by him and latter by his eldest son Faqir Chand Chatrath. The last time I saw Lala Ganga Ram Chatrath was in Dec 1952 when he.lived with Faqir Chand in Khatauli in Muzzafarnagar UP where Faqir Chand was manager of sugar mill. Most of the sories about him where about his honesty and one about him being kidnaped by the tribesmen of the area but released for him being ahoest guy.
    He was always up very early and made tea for himself when we used to visit him in Amritsar in early 1940’s, his wife had passed away at early age.
    Vijay Chandhok

    • Its aa small world. I believe the above comment refers to Jorbagh waley chhotey bhua ji. 🙂

      • Vijay K Chandhok

        It certainly is a small world, our son was updating his genealogy records by Googling Ganga Ram Chatrath and came upon this blog.

  6. Vikram Chandhok

    Hi Vandana – this is Vikram, Vijay’s son and the one who found your post (and your second cousin!). I would love to find out more about the family – I tried to email you but it looks like the address you posted above is not valid. I’m at vic dot chandhok at gmail dot com – please write and let me know your current email!

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