The story of Balasaheb Jatar

This write-up, photo and Family Tree have been contributed by Brig R.V (Raghunath) Jatar.

Ranganath Shriram Jatar, known as Balasaheb in the Jatar family, was born in 1882. He was the second son of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar. Balasaheb was married on 9th Feb 1901 (at the age of 19) to Maijiji Khandekar, daughter of Ganpat Gopal Khandekar, a Jahagirdar from Ujjain. She was known as Ramakaki in the family.

Balasaheb Family Tree
Balasaheb’s Family Tree

The thread ceremony of Balasaheb’s youngest brother, Abasaheb, was also held on this same day.

No details are available of Balasaheb’s childhood or school education in Akola. However, it is known that he had his college education at Deccan College, Pune. The college principal, Mr FW Bain, gave him a letter dated 30th Oct 1907, which was meant as a recommendation for him to join the Police Department of the province (then known as Central Provinces and Berar). The letter reads:

I have met no man, since I came to this country, whom I would more confidently recommend than Ranganath Shriram Jatar, a man thoroughly to be relied upon, a gentleman and a really good fellow. I regret that I cannot keep him with me in some capacity myself

Hardly any information is available of Balasaheb”s service in the Police Department. He was a Dy SP as can be seen from the attached photograph. He was tall, well built and had the bearing to be an ideal police officer.

Balasaheb is sitting on the extreme right

Unfortunately, while undergoing training at Saugor he caught TB from his roommate Akram Khan, which afflicted him for the rest of his short life. He did partly recover but only for a while. When he was well, he was fulfilling his duties at the Police Department and also at home.. He and his wife Rama (we all know her as Ramakaki) even looked after his nephew, Raghunath alias Tatyasaheb, viz Bapurao‘s eldest son who was also a TB patient.

When he realised that his ailment was incurable, Balasaheb resigned from the Police Department in 1916. By a strange quirk of fate, Mr Bain, the Principal of Deccan College, who-had expressed a desire to employ Balasaheb himself, had his wishes fulfilled but under tragic circumstances. Balasaheb was appointed as Superintendent of Hostels in Deccan College in Jan 1916. The post carried a salary of Rs 100/ per month plus free quarters.

In 1920, Balasaheb’s health took a turn for the worse and he wrote about it to his elder brother Bapurao on 2nd Oct 1920. He died in Poona on 20th Mar 1921 at the age of 39.  His death, followed by the death of his nephew, Tatyasaheb, two months later, cast a pall of gloom in the family.

Balasaheb was a great sport, fond of music and a fine all-round personality. It was really tragic that Balasaheb became afflicted with TB at such an early age because otherwise there is no knowing how far he would have progressed in life, given his remarkable personality. His death was an irreparable loss to the family.

Dying at a young age of 39 years, Balasaheb left behind his wife, Ramakaki and a young daughter Kumud (born 8th Dec 1908). They also had two other children, a boy, Nana, and a girl, Vatsala, both of whom had died early.

Ramakaki stayed for several years at the Jatar Wada – Shriram –  at 388, Narayan Peth. She was a short, fair lady, quite loquacious. She was rather ahead of her time because she used to read the English newspaper. She was omnipresent in all the family functions.

An incident has been mentioned in the family papers which occurred during Appasaheb’s wedding with Vatsala Mainkar on 20th May 1918 (Appasaheb was Bapurao’s son). The wedding arrangements were entrusted to Balasaheb and Abasaheb and for some reason, the Mainkars felt that the two Jatar brothers were being high handed. To mock him, the Mainkars presented Balasaheb with a “Pagote” which offended him.

4 thoughts on “The story of Balasaheb Jatar

  1. Very interesting and nicely written.
    I never knew that my great grandfather was in police department. I always thought he worked in Deccan college.
    Many times I feel blessed that my parents /grandparents /great grandparents were educated and forward looking, when I compare it with many of my friends whose parents /grandparents were not so lucky to get educated during British rule.
    Thanks for sharing.


    1. Yes, your great-grandfather and my grand-uncle, must have been quite a dashing character. What a tragic end to a promising life.


  2. It is always emotional to read about one’s great grandfather. If he had lived longer our lives too would have been different. My heart goes out for Dudhai who lived a very long life without her husband & after the death of our grandfather -her son in law- she stayed with her brother in Nagpur to await death. Yes she was very talkative & cleanliness freak who visited our house every week for her head bath. I remember it was my duty to keep a drum full of water on a chosen day for her.

    Liked by 1 person

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