Life and Time of Lambodhar Zutshi: The First Generation KP Icon of Science || by bhushan parimoo || LIVE IMAGE

Ancestry and Family
 
 Everyone  during the intervening dimly lit  night  of 16th November  1896   was tense, passing  moments of anxiety in the house  of  Late Pandit  Mukund Ram Zutshi, a joint undivided  family  situated at Chinkral Mohalla Srinagar. Legend has it that Chin means China and Kral means a potter, thereby named as   Chinkral Mohalla .   Haba Kadal, named after the  legendary Kashmiri poetess Habba  Khatun, Kadal means the bridge in kashmiri. That night everyone in the family and in the neighbourhood were praying   for the relief of  Vishmal Dar , fondly called Kisser Ded,  wife of Pandit   Mukand Ram Zutshi , from the   labour  pains  by way of a safe delivery   .With the  last cry,    a male child was born  who  reportedly was said to be the  the only surviving child  and was named Lambodhar after Lord Ganesha .


The family astrologer Pandit Nila Kanth Razdan drew the horoscope and predicted that the child was blessed with a bright and illustrious life and career but added that he will hardly stay at his birthplace. The prophecy proved true as for most of his life Lambodhar lived in England and breathed his last there in London on January 14, 1964.
 
Pandit Mukund Ram Zutshi  was son of Pandit Amar  Chand Zutshi and was fondly called Mukund Joo. He  along with his elder brother Pandit Tota Ram served in the police department .While the  elder brother had proficiency in drafting the  mercy petitions   for the  criminals on death rows who  could be saved from gallows.

 

The younger one Pandit Mukund Ram was a Taftishi, the investigator, effective and efficient at his job of crime detection and investigation. Their eldest brother Tota Ram Zutshi was also in service of state police as a sergeant who was known for his good command and skills in crime detection. In those days the legend had it that between the two brothers no criminal could escape from the clutches of law. Mukund Ram  kept a hard watch both at home and around in the neighborhood  of both the  Muslims and  the  Pandits alike.


During autumn of  1840 AD, the great Srinagar fire destroyed the family completely and had to start afresh.Lambodhar  was born in  the new house, a four story roadside house which finally met the ground being gutted down in 1992 . Three of  his  cousins, junior in age  were ,Shamlal ,Balbadhar and Motilal. All lived under the same roof. Pandit Shamlal married Gunwati Shangloo  became Manager at  Port Salvage Depot in 1945 at Bombay. Balbadar left for the UK in 1936 to join Lambodhar Zutshi, in the real estate business. Pandit Motilal, in 1918, a first class in Bachelor in Arts with Math, started meagerly but slowly rose  to  the head the Karam Chand Thapper and Brothers group and finally by direct executive orders  of  Smt Indra Gandhi as Prime Minister  was appointed as Managing Director and Chairman of Hindustan Paper Corporation that time a 400  crore Government of India enterprises.
 
On one occasion Balbadhar   Zutshi ,on visit to Jagannath Puri Temple was refused entry as he looked a non Indian because he was of fair  complexion despite his recitation of mantras and even as a temple officer told him that non Hindus can recite mantras better than the Hindus.
 
The family believed that the  name Zutshi ,is an English version of Zitish or Zitshoo,for the convenience of postal address. It  wonders if Zitish had any connection with the Jyotishi clan, The  Zutshi   family ‘Zitish’ tree starts from one Gulab Rai Zutshi which dates back to around 400 years .For last 100 years tree  has not been updated as Zutshis  have since spread all over the world.


 In marriages in the olden times , not all families could afford maharen (bride) Pheran and Maharaj(groom) ,Achkan and Gond. Friends and relatives in need of such paraphernalia could borrow it from Zutshi's  including.cooking vessels .furnishings including samovar of  one hundred cup capacity was often borrowed on such occasions  


 A vacant plot of land in front of  the Zutshi house was left with no encumbrances for the purpose of use in the event of fire  or earthquake . On the death of  Mukund Ram the plot was occupied by local Muslims  who later claimed that it belonged to the Aukaf, the  masjid property.



                              with M.C .Chagla in London.
 Education.and Training 
 
Lambodhar  showed streaks  of  intelligence right from a young age. He passed his Primary School Examination from Babapora Middle School, standing first in the merit list. In 1911, he  passed his matriculation from the State High School at Dlwarar Khan Bagh Fateh Kadal and stood first in Kashmir Province.. He was helped to remain awake, during most part of night to study and  repeatedly awakened  by  the family elder  Haldar Kak, a cousin  of Amar Chand Zutshi. It involved the  simplified process , a novel method prevalent those days. A chord , one end  of which was nailed to the ceiling and other tied to Lamodhar  Chog  to ward off  dozing the moment his neck slumped  due to sleep. As a result it caused the jerk  to arrest  and ward off the sleep of the  young scholar. To sharpen his memory, he was   administered Brahmi in powder form along with a cup of   molten Ghee , while  standing  in Vitasta, neck deep, facing the rising sun.


Lambodhar  passed his Bsc, ,Hons, in 1919  from the Prince of Wales College Jammu, now called Gandhi Memorial College of Science , Jammu, standing first in Physics.in the university, those days it was Punjab university Lahore. Dr Vidya Sagar Puri,Dr Shanti Swaroop. Bhatnagar were his teachers who , later, also became his friends.  While  at Jammu,  Lambodhar founded Dogri Youngman’s Association for fight for the  rights of the State Subjects. Among  his classmates  who rose  and later became luminaries  and famous as  Dr Gashalal Kaul, the well known physician, Dr Govind  Ji Vaishnavi,, Director General Medical Services and  Mr Vasu Dev Zadoo , the first Kashmiri Pandit  Chief Engineer of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
In 1921,  an English mining Engineer  of J&K State Mr Middlemiss , in an opon competition awarded him a scholarship to study Mining Engineering in England,. Later Lambodhar after the successful completion of the course  received  A.R.S.M Mining,A.R.S.M ,Geology .A.M.I.M.M,,F.G.S at Royal School of Mining, Imperial College of Sciences. London. He returned to Kashmir in 1923 , but did not find any suitable opening and returned  back to England in 1925. Love for Kashmir and its development brought him back to Kashmir in 1927 , when he was appointed Engineer with a salary of Rs 600/- per month. It was sometime about  1929 that Lambodhar , he gave up  his state  job for the reason which he described  in his own words that “neither my proposal for  mineral development was considered nor was earning an adequate salary"


Marriage and Children
 
Before passing his matriculations, at the age of 15, in 1911, he was married to Radha Mal Khazanchi , Pitter Ded, from  Sathu, Srinagar, the daughter of Suraj Ram Khazanchi. Her mother's  name  was Kudmal Khazanchi. Long afterwards, it followed with the birth of a son  on the night of  August 20 in 1929,  on the auspicious occasion of Janamashtm the day Krishna was born so the child was named  Nandlal. He later came to be known as Dr Nandlal Zutshi,President. Kashmiri Pandit Association Mumbai, President All India  Kashmiri Samaj.  He married Sheila in 1957, the daughter of Nila Kanth and Prabhawati Kachru. Out of this wedlock, three children, all male were born.. They were named Anup,, Aroop,and Ajoy, who have since married and settled in the USA to the daughters of Girdhari Lal Matto, Autar Kaul and Pran Tiku, respectively..
 
After leaving  Kashmir, Lambodhar remarried Eileen Lord in England. From this marriage he had two children who were both medical doctors named  Dr ,Derek Hariram , and Dr Tevor Shankerlal.In 1944  Eileen died at Bombay. While Dr Derek had no children and Dr Trevor has a son Simon  and two daughters, Eileen and Elison. Derek was married to Mauray Write, and Dr Tevour married Anne.
 
In 1948  Lambodhar again married  Molly Mancrief, who was a woman of letters and a practicing occultist . They had a daughter Mavis  Zutshi married  to Chris Miller. Mavis has two daughters, Megan and Laurie.  All in all Lambodhar  has three sons, a daughter and 6 grandchildren. All carry the Zutshi family name.

 


Interests of developing mining  in Kashmir.


 On return from England in 1925, Lambodhar  prepared a scheme for the development of copper depoists in Gariti, Reasi with no prospect of a job in sight . He returned to England  in December 1926.  In 1927 he was offered a job of mining engineer at a salary of Rs 600 per month..


He worked on the excavation  of Sapphire mine, Neelam, in high abode tree line terrain, which was inaccessible due to lack of transportation.The mineral ore had to be carried on  mule backs and would take three days to reach the processing unit. His own report  stated that  'There were 200 men working as miners to support these, 200 carried food , 200 men carried water to  feed this  as encampment. a police inspector, a sergeant and a dozen constables enough to guard  the mines. At the end of the day police used to search all the workers, the sergeant searched the constables and the inspector searched the mining engineer and in turn the Mining Engineer searched  the inspector.


In  1938  at the initiation of  Prime Minister of J&K State Sh Gopala Swamy Ayyengar, asked him to come and submit a scheme for the  manufacture of portland cement. On arrival in Srinagar, Kashmii Pandits , accorded a warm and rousing reception to him, in Partap Park. People were hopeful that with his arrival some  unemployment problem of Kashmir shall  get solved.


Legend had it that on mere tasting  a pinch of earth could identify the mineral composition  of the underneath materials unearthed.. In absence of an assurance for the development of all weather roads for transportation, the plant was not considered a feasible proposition.


Before leaving for England he met Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and told him that the problems of Kashmir are due to its small size, which could be compensated by a large scale industrialization.
                                          In 1959 Kashmir government wanted him to submit a comprehensive scheme for the industrial development of the State. However, no headway could be made in the scheme.
 
 In  the intervening years ,Lambodhar had following  engagements. In 1921, was in France on extraction of Aluminium mineral in South. 1926 formed an exploration company with Col Sir Augustus Fitzgcorge as Chairman and himself as a Mining Engineer doing consultancy work in England. In 1931  he worked as  Private mining consultant and also tried his hand in  property business. In the year 1936, he  set up a property owning Zutshi Park Properties  Ltd. In 1942, Lambodhar  took over as Director Non -Ferrous, Metals Bombay. During the time he was in England., Lambodhar again in 1944 joined .Hussein and Co  as a Director and started Dungerpur Mining Syndicate  with Maharaja Dungerpur  to mine  Soapstone and Asbestos. This enterprise gave   an opportunity to  jobs for half a dozen Kashmiri boys who at the time could not afford a living accommodation were provided in  his home Aden, in Bombay/


Lambodhar in 1962 submitted a project on mining and recovery of gold from auriferous alluvial terraces in river beds in Ladakh.Peepared a report for Financing of Mineral and other industries of Kashmir In july 1959  he prepared a Note on the Mineral Development of Kashmir, Appointment of a  panel of experts based on  Jammu province. Raw material for Portland cement, Sulfuric acid,, Rock Salt, Coal reserves, iron ore, Talc, pyrite and magnesium clay, Gypsum Gold alluvial deposits of borax, sulfur and salt  between Kargil and Drass  He wrote extremely  in press , pleading for construction of Railways in Kashmir, better means of transport and connectivity essential for economic development of the state. .In England he  helped Indians to establish homes and business and even helped with financial help..
 
Overseas Engagements and Development Focus on Kashmir


In 1950 Lambodhar  started the Kashmir Association for Great Britain, and Europe worked for  the consolidation of various Indian organizations and foundations..In 1962 with the help of Dr K.D.Kumaria, Sh .P.Zamaria, and Sh. K.K.Singh, established a Hindu Centre in London, and became its Patron. He also founded an Indian Defence Committee in London, after the war between India and China started. Met Pt. Nehru apprised him of the strategic importance of Aksai Chin, as a source of mineral wealth, the area Pandit Nehru declared as the area  where not a blade of grass grew ..In  1955 organized the public opinion in favour of India as against the propaganda by Pakistan and China.


He took keen interest  in the political affairs and the industrial development of Kashmir. Maintained a link  with Sh Sheikh Mohammadh Abdullah,Gulam Mohammad Bakshi, Dr Karan Singh, Kushok Bakula Rinpoche ,Mrs Vijayalakshmi Pandit, M.C.Chagla, Shiv Nanayan Fotedar and others who mattered . On occasions, some of them  were his personal guests  at his London residence  called Gulmarg.


Other interests


 Lambodhar also wrote in a high  Urdu  using typical expressions Tehzeti-u-Tanadum, with a good calligraphic hand.  On the occasion of Deshra,as a gazetted officer  he  presented a Nazarana of one pound to the Maharaja Hari Singh, at the Darbar ceremony. There are plenty of events and anecdotes connected with Lanodhar Zutshi. In 1928, fresh from England , he joined his father on Amarnath Yatra. Makund Ram was on official duty, on bandobast duty..They were also accompanied  by a Sanyasi known to the  family. At Chandanwari, camping for night he was told  by a Sanyasi that   science had a method  of converting base metal into gold. Sanyasi replied that it was known to Indians for centuries. However  the use of that knowledge was not allowed to be exploited for personal gain.


While on  stroll , accompanied by Syanyasi, through the jungle,  who  plucked  a few leaves from the plant, which later he could not spot, which one.Sanyasi crumbled the leaves with his palm, back at camp , and asked for a copper coin. covered the coin with leaves and enclosed it in mud from the river bed left in Dhoni to bake,.After a few hours of baking opened the hot mass,lo a gold coin emerged.
Labhodhar Zutshi lived for most of his life in the West but his heart lay always in his beloved Kashmir.


P.S
(The article has appeared in the latest ( July- September , 2021) issue of Neelamatam, the research journal of Nityanand Shastri Kashmir Research Institute, New Delhi.)







 Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website .)
(Feedback at: blparimoo@gmail.com)


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