Sunday 12 October 2014

A visit of 'The Hindu' family to Allahabad

My aunt, Mrs. Saroj Mukherji, now 83 years old, who lives in Calcutta, is the only surviving child of my grandfather, Dr. K.N.Katju ( who had 6 children, my father, born in 1910 being the eldest, and Saroj Bua, as I call her, being the youngest, born in 1931). Saroj Bua is here in Delhi these days and is staying with me. 

She told me the following story :

In 1942 or so, ( which is before I was born in 1946 ), during the Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years at Allahabad ( Prayag), some family members of the proprietors of 'The Hindu' newspaper ( the Kasturi family) came from Madras to Allahabad to bathe in the Sangam. They did not want to stay in a hotel, and so my grandfather, who was known to them, asked them to stay in our house at Edmonstone Road ( now Tashkent Marg).

 There were two ladies in the family, one of whom could speak English, but neither of them could speak Hindi. They were very orthodox, and insisted that they have a separate kitchen, where they would cook their own food, probably because they had learnt that Kashmiri Pandits are non vegetarians. So a separate kitchen was arranged for them, where their food was cooked by a cook whom they had brought with them from Madras The cook could write a few words in English, and would write his requirements ( of vegetables, etc) on a chit of paper, and would hand it over to people in my house. They ate their food on plantain leaves. They had brought their own rice with them, and refused to use the basmati rice in our house, since they said that they ate par rice or half boiled rice, i.e. rice which had been boiled when its husk had not been removed ( and boiled again later ). They wore silk saris, with gold belts. Once they invited my family members to eat with them. While they cooked their own food in their separate kitchen, they would join the ladies in my family in cutting the vegetables

 They stayed in our house for a few days, and every morning they went to bathe in the Sangam, my grandfather having arranged for their travel by car to the Sangam, which is about 5 or 6 kms. from our house.

 I have sent an email to Mr. Ram, former Editor in Chief of 'The Hindu', and Mr. Ravi, the present Editor in Chief, asking them to find out who were his family members who had come to Allahabad in 1942 during the Kumbh Mela. It would be an interesting matter for research.

 My grandmother, Mrs. K.N. Katju, ( who died in 1944), once stayed for a month in Chennai, in a rented house arranged by the Kastoori family, and bought jewelry from a shop called Suraj Bhan. I wonder whether the shop still exists.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog. I liked it. I love Allahabad and people there. They are very fun loving and generous. There are around 215 places to visit in Allahabad. Check out direct Delhi to Allahabad flights also.