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Zutshis of Bazaar Sitaram, Delhi

Dr. B. N. Sharga & Smt. Rajni Sharga

We should always remember the fact that a nation is known by its civilizational experiences, which are naturally constructed through noble missions and by the hard work of a few extraordinary persons, historically identified with age and century.  Such people who live and die for a cause have always been instrumental in the development of human values and ethos both at the national as well as the international levels.  Their qualities of head and heart get universal recognition and one can feel their loss only by adhering to their cherished ideals and by carrying out their unfulfilled mission.  One such outstanding personality was Allama pandit Tribhuwan.  Nath Zutshi "Zar" Dehelvi Yaadgar-e-Daag who was a poet and Urdu and Persian scholar par excellence.

According to the available records with the family members of "Zar" Sahab, his ancestors came from Kashmir to Delhi during the rule of Mughal Emperor Jahangir (1605-1627).  But, some how, they could not stay for a long time in the imperial city and again went back to their native place in Kashmir.

It was during the rule of Mughal emperor Shahjahan (1627-1658) that Lachdii Ram Zutshi again came to Delhi from Srinagar in Kashmir to try his luck and started living somewhere near Chandni Chowk.  Shahjahan shifted the seat of Mughal empire from Agra to Delhi known as Shahjahanabad at that time.

It was a customary practice during that period that the Mughal Emperor used to pass riding a well decorated elephant in a procession through Chandni Chowk once in a year.  It so happened that one day Pandit Gopi Nath Zutshi who was the son of Pandit Lachchi Ram Zutshi and who was well versed in Persian language was standing by the side of a road in Chandni Chowk area just to witness this royal procession with a great curiosity.  To his utter surprise he observed that the man heading the procession was showering abuses in Persian at the people who had assembled there to witness this annual royal ritual probably with an intention that nobody would know as to what he was saying.  But somehow Gopi Nath Zutshi could not digest this insult and he gave a most befitting reply in Persian to that man to settle the score.

The Mughal emperor became highly impressed by the sense of humour of Gopi Nath, his witty reply and his command over the Persian language.  The emperor then called Gopi Nath to his darbar and gave him some post.  Gopi Nath by his hard work and dedication subsequently became a Dewan.

Dewan Gopi Nath Zutshi had a son.  His name was Shiv Nath who like his father also had a thorough knowledge of the Persian language which enabled him to become a Raja in due course of time.  He was incharge of the administration of a state near Delhi.  In some records and books the name of Raja Shiv Nath Zutshi is mentioned as Mani Ram Zutshi.  He was an advisor to the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II (1759-1806 A.D.) The emperor bestowed upon him the title of "Raja" and a Jagir worth rupees 20 Lakhs with an annual income of around four thousand rupees.  He had three sons, one of whom was Shambhu Nath.

Shambhu Nath followed the foot steps of his illustrious father and in due course of time occupied an important position in the Mughal Court.  The Mughal emperor conferred upon him the title of "Rai Rajan" and gave him big jagirs.  This important Zutshi family of Delhi had their jagirs and properties in Delhi, Lahore, Ludhiana, Patiala, Jallandhar, Meerut, Agra and in Srinagar in Kashmir.

Rai Rajan Shambhu Nath Zutshi had a son.  His name was Sita Ram.  He also became a Dewan.  The locality Bazaar Sita Ram in Delhi was named after him where his ancestors had built havelis and houses for their family members.

It is interesting to note here that in some records the name of Shambhu Nath's son has been mentioned as Rai Brahm Nath who was affectionately called as Rai Budh Singh probably by a Sikh mother.

Rai Budh Singh lived a lavish life and squandered his family wealth.  As he was having a good knowledge of Persian language so he somehow succeeded in getting a job as private secretary and interpreter to Sir.  M. Elphinston who later on became Governor of Bombay province.  He retired from government service in 1809.  Though he lived in Muslim countries during his service for a very long time but because of his position he was not excommunicated from the Biradari by the orthodox Kashmiri Pandits.  He married a girl from Kaul family of Gwalior.

Dewan Sita Ram Zutshi had two sons.  The name of his elder son was Mohan Lal and the younger one was Kedar Nath, Mohan Lal was bom in 1812 in his ancestral haveli in Bazaar Sita Ram in a highly aristocratic and cultured family.  He had his early education in Urdu and Persian under the guidance of learned Maulvis at home.  He was then admitted by his parents in Delhi college in 1829 which was founded originally in 1772 as Persian College and was renamed in 1823 as Delhi College by the British.  Mohan Lal was the first Kashmiri Pandit to study English.  He completed his course in 1831 standing first in his class.  This Delhi College was again rechristened in 1881 as St. Stephen's College.

Mohan Lal was a very brilliant and ambitious person having a very handsome personality.  He joined the British service in 1831 and undertook long journeys to Arabian countries in connection with his job much against the wishes of his highly orthodox Biradari members especially Dewan Ajudhya Prasad as crossing the river Indus in those days was considered to be inauspicious with the result that Mohan Lal was excommunicated from the Biradari in 1834 for living in Muslim countries.

In 1844 Mohan Lal visited Egypt, England, Scotland, Ireland and Belgium.  He was a guest of honour of Queen Victoria in Buckingham Palace in England.  He paid a visit to Germany in 1845.  He married about 17 times; practically in every country he visited, he married the girls belonging to the top families of those countries.  But inspite of all this he became a highly frustrated and isolated person because of his total boycott by his own community members.  Even his close blood relations disowned him.  He felt so much depressed and dejected with his life that he ultimately embraced Islam and became a Muslim.  His Muslim name was Aga Hassan Jan.  He then married Haidiri Begum who was a niece of Mirza Sher Mohammad Khan of Delhi.  He died in 1877 in Delhi at the age of 65 years and was buried in Lalbagh near Azadpur as per Muslim rites on Delhi - Panipat Road.  He left behind five widows, four married daughters and three sons.  He also lived in Calcutta for a couple of years.

His younger brother Kedar Nath later on became a Rai Dewan of a state near Delhi.  He was considered to be an Arabic and Persian scholar of repute.  He was also an able administrator and used to command great respect in the society.

The name of his wife was Mallaji.  He had three sons.  Their names were Prithvi Nath, Bishambhar Nath and Onkar Nath.  This Zutshi family of Delhi produced men of eminence in the field of both administration and Urdu literature who had occupied key positions in different darbars all alon the Mughal period and had a lavish living.

In 1824 Lord Dalhousie brought his famous "Doctrine of Lapse" through which the British very cleverly annexed the territories under the occupation of different rulers and made them a part of the British territory.  Under this new doctrine the British confiscated big Jagirs of rulers of different states which were given to them by Mughal emperors.  The Zutshi family members also lost their big jagirs under this well calculated move of the British to capture power.  It seems that Rai Dewan Kedar Nath Zutshi could not bear all this humiliation and ultimately died in 1853 in his ancestral haveli in Bazaar Sita Ram in Delhi.

In the Mutiny of 1857 this Zutshi family moved to Meerut from Delhi where Tribhuwan Nath was bom in 1871.  The name of his father was Prithvi Nath Zutshi and that of his mother was Shyam Rani.  The Zutshi family then again shifted back to Delhi in their ancestral haveli in Bazaar Sita Ram from Meerut where Tribhuwan Nath had his early schooling.  He had a great inclination towards leaming Urdu and Persian language right from his childhood days.  As per family traditions, he learnt Urdu, Arabic and Persian language under the able guidance of Maulvi Rahim Baksh who used to live at Shahji Ka Chatta at that time and later on became Sir Rahim Baksh and Prime Minister of Bhawalpur State.  This Bhawalpur state acceded to Pakistan after the partition of the country in 1947.

Between 1882 and 1883 young Tribhuwan Nath used to go to Hakim Ajmal Khan's house to take medicines for his ailing father where the famous Urdu poet of those days Nawab Mirza "Daag" also used to come almost daily to play "Chauser".

These frequent meeting at the residence of Hakim Ajmal Khan brought Tribhuwan Nath very close to the famous poet "Daag" and very soon he became a most favourite "Shagird" of "Daag".

Tribhuwan Nath did his matriculation from Mahendra College, Patiala around 1887 where his uncle Rai Bahadur Manohar Nath Zutshi was posted as a judge.  He did his F.A. and B.A. subsequently from Government Azad College, Lahore.  He studied Arabic and Persian in St. Stephen's College Delhi and then in Oriental College Lahore under the guidance of Mohammad Hussain.

After completing his studies he started his service as an Accountant in Lahore around 1894.  Later on he took up a job as a Lecturer in an Engineering College in a place called Gujrat in Punjab which has become now a part of Pakistan.  There he had a row over some trivial matter with the Principal of the college who was an English man.  In a fit of rage he slapped the Principal of the college.  This ugly incident became a turning point in his life as he had to resign from his job in 1924.  Consequently he came back to Delhi.  He then joined the Indra Prastha College Delhi in 1931 as a teacher of Urdu and Persian language from where he retired in 1956 at the ripe age of 85 years.  From 1924 to 1931 he served as an Associate Professor in Delhi University.

Tribhuwan Nath had the proud privilege of attending the special Darbar in Delhi in 1911 in which the coronation ceremony of King George V took place.  The British monarch was taken out in a grand procession from Hathi Khana one of the gates of Red Fort and which ended in Civil lines where a huge pandal was erected for this special Darbar on a plot of land where the old Secretariat building now stands. Because the present New Delhi was developed by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens much later when the British shifted the capital from Calcutta to Delhi after this Darbar in 1912.

A special railway line was laid from the Delhi Railway Station upto Civil lines to bring the invitees which included about 200 Rajas and Maharajas of the erstwhile princely states.

An interesting controversy developed on this historic occasion if the king himself accompanied by his Secretary of State was present in the country, it was argued then there was no place for a Viceroy too who was regarded as the representative of the king.  To circumvent this peculiar situation Lord Hardinge was then called as Governor General and not Viceroy.

It should also be mentioned here that Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore in this function presented a song "Jan gan man.........." personally to the king which was written by him in honour of the
visiting monarch.  This song later on became our National Anthem on the insistence of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru after the independence of the country in 1947.

In the evening a musical performance was arranged in the honour of the king.  The best musicians of India were invited to give their recital.  In over enthusiasm to give their best the musicians took about ten minutes in tuning their instruments which the king took to be the actual performance itself with the result that when the time for actual performance was about to begin the king got up and left the place thinking that he had heard enough of it.

Tribhuwan Nath married twice.  His first wife was a girl from Upadhya family of Top Darwaza, Lucknow.  He had a son from his first wife.  The name of this son was Dina Nath who was a Radio and  T. V. artiste.

Dina Nath Zutshi's grand son Rajendra Nath Zutshi alias Raj Zutshi now lives in Bombay and is working in Films, T. V. serials and commercial spots.  He married the sister of the famous film actor Aamir Khan.

As the first wife of Tribhuwan Nath died quite young so he married again.  The name of his second wife was Raj Dulari who was the daughter of Pandit Bishambhar Nath Kaul.  She was popularly known in the Biradari as Victoriaji.  She was also a poetess of repute.  Her pen name was "Bezaar".  She was a disciple of Nawab Masael.  The following Urdu couplets composed by her will give an idea about her imagination and literary taste.

"Kabr phir mazhabe Hindu mein nahi hoti hai
Kuch nishan tumko na milega mere mame ke baad.
Pilate rahten hain jhothi sharab dushman ko
Laga ke hontonse apne dikhadikha ke mujhe
Who aiye per laga ke muddai ke saath
Jali kati karen baten chirah chirah ke mujhe"

Tribhuwan Nath by his second wife Victoriaji had four sons and two daughters.  The sons are Jag Mohan, Ratan Mohan, jawahar Mohan and Dr. Anand Mohan whereas the names of the daughters are Brij Rani and Anila.  The most peculiar characteristic of this Zutshi family is that it produced five reputed Urdu poets.

Though Tribhuwan Nath started composing Urdu poetry from a very young age but under the able guidance of "Daag" he soon blossomed into a well  refined Urdu poet with no match among the other contemporary Urdu poets of his times in Delhi.

Initially he started composing his poems under the pen name or 'takhallus' "Shameem" mainly based on romanticism like. other Urdu poets which he continued upto the age of 45-50 years.  But after meeting Pandit Amar Nath Madan "Sahir" who was living in Bazaar Sita Ram around 1924 and was mainly doing the. translation work of Hindu religious books in Urdu his whole concept towards life was changed.

He then started composing Urdu couplets under a new pen name "Zar" containing high philosophical thoughts.  Due to his profound knowledge of Arabic and Persian language, people used to call him as Hazrat Maulvi out of sheer respect.  He composed over a lakh of Urdu couplets and translated all the three "Geetas" in poetic form in chaste Urdu.  The following Urdu couplets composed by him will give an idea about his style and command on the grammer of poetry writing.

"Mile the Zarse hum
Ab to mar gaya hoga
Tadap raha tha per I
Nam lab per.katil ka"
Phola Phola gule zakhme jigar hai
Saheel-e aabyaari chasme-e-tar hai
Nahin aakhon mein koi bhi sameta.
Bohot oonchi teri nichi nazar hai
Lagi angraiya lene jawani
Na aanchal ki na daman ki khabar hai
Kamai umr bhar ki zar apni
Yahi le de ke ik zakhm-e-jigar hai

The main style of his poetry writing was Urdu couplets carrying four lines known in Urdu as Chau Gazla.  He always composed his poetry in Chaste Urdu within the prescribed parameters of poetry writing using idioms and metaphors for ornamentation of the language.

The following Urdu couplet was composed b him before his death

"Ulfat paras Zar ka
kasbe kamal kya
Duniya ko chor char ke
Yade khuda mein hai"

In 1937 Delhi Literary Society gave him the title Kadre-ul-Kalam Allama-e-fun in recognition to his outstanding contribution in promoting Urdu, Arabic and Persian language.

The Ministry of Education of the Central Government gave him scholarship till his death for his valuable work in the field of Urdu literature.

During his college days in Lahore he used to take an active part in sports.  His most favourite games were cricket, hockey and badminton.  He also had a great love for horse riding.  He had a great fascination for playing Polo.

He died in Delhi in his ancestral Haveli in Bazaar Sita Ram on 7th October 1965 after a long illness at the ripe age of 94 years.  A very large number of his admirers both Hindus and Muslims took part in his funeral procession from his Haveli upto the cremation ground.

To commemorate his death a special number of Nidai Itihad in Urdu edited by Warsi Aziz was brought out on 1st November 1965.

He made a distinct place for himself in the field of Urdu poetry writing and literature by sheer hard work and dedication.  The enormous work done by him to enrich and propagate Urdu language has no comparison.  The lovers of Urdu literature in the subcontinent still take his name with great respect and admiration for his valuable contributions as a poet and as a teacher of Arabic and Persian language.  Such great men are bom rarely on this earth.

His son Jawahar Mohan Zutshi now lives in Rajaji puram, Lucknow and another son, Dr. Anand Mohan Zutshi "Gulzar" who is himself an internationally by renowned Urdu poet now lives in NOIDA district, Gaziabad.   

Kashmiri Writers B.N. Sharga
 

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