An Army wife’s Night to Remember

This is an article written by Nilakshi Jatar née Bal* and published in the December 1996 edition of the Indian Express. It is about one of her personal war-time experiences.

We hear so much of what the soldiers go through that we often forget what the women and the family go through when their men are at war. They face it as bravely as any soldier would, even when they have little ones to protect.

Nilakshi's Article - 1971 War Citizen 10.12.1996

K. S. Sudarshan’s letter to my father

When KS Sudarshan (Kuppahalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan (1931-2012), took over the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), he reached out to people and invited discourse. He wanted to interact with the public, he said, and explain the RSS idealogy. That was why my father, Sudhir Jatar, wrote to him with several questions. This was 20 years ago.

The questions were short but the answers were long and detailed. And no, my father had never met KS Sudarshan before. He was a complete stranger to him.

My father wrote to him in the year 2000, before he started using email, and it was a handwritten letter. KS Sudarshan’s reply was a 5-page missive, and he dated it as “17.11.2000 A.D.” – rather quirkily. Today, A.D has been replaced by CE (Common Era).

Here is the historic letter, the pdf file of which is here.


What impressed me was how this gentleman wrote a letter in such clear, legible writing and also in such neat, straight lines. And then he wrote page after page with hardly any need to cross out and re-write. Being a writer myself, I know hard this is. One’s thoughts need be remarkably organised. These days we use email or Word, and this makes it easy to re-write. We re-write so often, we don’t realise the number of mistakes we have made or how often we have re-written.

How meticulous KS Sudarshan must have been, his thoughts so neatly arranged that they flowed out smoothly on paper without error.

Regarding the content, he has made some good points, although can’t say I agree with everything. Would love to know your views on his views.

Sudhir’s reminiscences about his older brother, Baba

In this article, Maj Gen. SCN Jatar (Sudhir), writes about his relationship with his elder brother –  Brigadier Arvind Nilkanth Jatar, MVC, AVSM (1923-1991), who was known as “Baba” in the family.

Brig. A. N. Jatar, MVC
Brig AN (Arvind) Jatar as a young man

My elder brother, Baba, as we all called him, was much more than an elder brother to me. Our relationship transformed over the years into one of mentor-mentee, especially after my father, Bhausaheb’s death in 1957, when I was only 25, and in the infant stages of my career.

My first remembrance of Baba is with his knee-length “half pant,” walking back at about 7 pm from Union Mission Tuberculosis Sanatorium to the house we were staying in Arogyavaram, Madanapalle, then in Madras Province and today, in Andhra Pradesh. This was on 4th May 1941.

The background to this is that my mother, Jiji, was diagnosed having TB sometime in late Continue reading “Sudhir’s reminiscences about his older brother, Baba”

To Indira Bhajekar – With Love, from her grandkids

Indira Bhajekar, Mothi Aai, to her five grandchildren, was the eldest of Bhausaheb’s children, and the granddaughter of Shriram Jatar.

The following nuggets about her have been contributed by her grandchildren: Rahul and Shivanand Bhajekar, Rama Kulkarni nee Raddi, Rewati Prabhu nee Raddi and Shrirang Raddi. Rama, Rewa and Shrirang are Neelima Raddi‘s children and Rahul and Shivanand are Ashok Bhajekar’s. Ashok and Neelima are Indira Bhajekar’s son and daughter respectively.

In the family photo below you can see Indira Bhajekar (extreme right) with three of her grandchildren: Rewa, Rahul and Shivanand.

L to R: Arvind Raddi, Rewa Prabhu, Neelima Raddi, Suneela Bhajekar, Rahul Bhajekar, Ashok Bhajekar, Shivanand Bhajekar, Deepa Bhajekar and Indira Bhajekar

By Rahul:

While most of her grandchildren called her “Mothi Aai,” I have, since the time I remember, called her just “Aai” – my mother was also called “Aai,” so sometimes there was a bit of confusion. Then again, I called my grandfather “Baba” and father “Dada,” which goes to show I probably copied a few things from my aunt, Neelima Raddi!

Almost every school holiday (Summer and Diwali) I travelled alone from Mumbai to Continue reading “To Indira Bhajekar – With Love, from her grandkids”

Brig Raghunath Jatar’s Mizoram tenure

We are usually more than eager to know the experiences of soldiers when they are posted inIN-MZ remote and unusual places, even if it isn’t a war-time experience. These accounts open our eyes to other cultures.

The following report is written by Brig. R.V Jatar (Raghunath) about his Mizoram tenure. Raghunath Jatar is the son of Abasaheb, and the grand-son of Shriram Jatar.


In 1967, 13 Kumaon completed a peace tenure in Gaya and moved to Agartala, with me as the Offg Comdg Offr (CO). It was scheduled that within a few months we would relieve 5 Para, located at Aizawl, the prime town in Mizoram where the District HQ was based. Prior to Continue reading “Brig Raghunath Jatar’s Mizoram tenure”

Samirran Jatar’s heroic win against a Russel’s Viper

Samirran was sitting on a rock at his friend’s farmhouse, talking on the phone when a Russell’s Viper bit him. The viper came from behind and put the fangs in deep into the right hand.

This snake is also one of the genera responsible for causing the most snakebite incidents and deaths among all venomous snakes on account of many factors, such as their wide distribution, generally aggressive demeanor, and frequent occurrence in highly populated areas

samirran(Samirran is the son of Dinkar (Kumar) Jatar. Kumar was the grand-son of Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao), who was the eldest son of Shriram Jatar,  (link to the family tree of Shriram.) Samirran has a brother, Udaiyan .)

Samirran then held the snake’s head with his left hand and tore the snake’s fangs out. While doing so, the fangs grazed his left thumb – and poison entered there too. This snake is usually 3-4 feet in length and has a stout body, so not easy to hold it.

He then held on to the snake because he says he knew that hospitals prefer to know which snake has bitten the patient.

What presence of mind and bravery!

His friend then drove him to the nearest hospital – with Samirran HOLDING ON TO THE LIVING SNAKE.

That hospital said they didn’t have anti-venom. Imagine what it must have been like to walk into a hospital reception with a living snake! Continue reading “Samirran Jatar’s heroic win against a Russel’s Viper”

The Borgaonkar ancestral home

The Borgaonkar family is the family which Smt. Kumudini Borgoankar nee Jatar, married into. She married Shankarao Borgaonkar and was the only child of Balasaheb Jatar, the second son of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar. Shankarao was from Hyderabad. He and Kumudini had four daughters – Pramila, Saral, Achala and Leela and one son Bal Borgaonkar.

These photographs and information given below was provided by Pramila Desai’s son, Ranjan Desai, the grandson of Kumudini, and great-grandson of Balasaheb Jatar.

The photos below are of the Borgaonkar home in Hyderabad. Continue reading “The Borgaonkar ancestral home”

On the greatness of Bapurao

Yashwant Bhagwat has sent in an article, which he wrote on Bapurao (Kashinath Shriram Jatar), and it was published in Maharashtra Times Pune on 10/10/17. Before I paste the article here, this is what he wrote to me (Nita) on email (by KS he means Bapurao and NS he means Bhausaheb).

My father always used to tell me about K.S. and N.S. Jatar. I unfortunately could not see K.S.Jatar in person but I have talked to N.S. Jatar when I visited Neelsadan. We feel that these people and their families acted like messengers of God. The very fact that I at 83 still remember the good deeds of Jatars shows that they were worthy of worship. Good people come into life do something good and fade away without ever advertising about their deeds and expecting anything in return.
Yashwant Bhagwat M.E ( Civil )

In a comment here at this link, he has also said: Continue reading “On the greatness of Bapurao”

Memories of my grandmother

By Sonavi Kher Desai (the daughter of Indira Kher (née Malti Thakur) and Vishwas Bal Kher.) She has one sister, Shubha Cama (née Kher). Malti Thakur is the daughter of Kamalatai Thakur (née Jatar).

My grandmother, Kamalatai, whom we called “Mothi Aai,” was the eldest daughter of Bapurao,  the eldest son of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar.

kamala tai and hubby
Kamalatai with her husband Krishnarao

She was the epitome of a “grandmother” – plump, warm, caring, and always ready to pamper and feed her grandchildren. I have two very vivid remembrances of her.

I recall a visit to Nagpur (where she lived) when I was around five. The Nagpur house in Dhantoli was large and spacious. It had a tower and a beautiful rose garden that was Papa’s (Krishnarao Thakur’s) passion. He tended to the roses himself. The back of the house had a large courtyard and an open verandah. Near the back gate was an outhouse inhabited by Papa’s friend and his family. The two little girls of that family (if my memory serves me right, Shobhana and Kalpana) were my play-fellows during my stay. Mothi Aai, of course, used to feed us delicious foodstuff out of her large dabbas stocked in the kitchen.

The highlight of my visit, however, was a “Bahuli cha lagna”. We had two dolls to play with, a girl doll and a boy doll. We also had an entire “bhatukli” set, which Mothi Aai had probably got for us. I don’t know whose happy idea it was to get the dolls married but it sure kept us busy for days! My friends and I spent hours planning out the “marriage” ceremony. The muhurta was fixed, menu decided, and clothes made for the doll couple from bits of zari cloth that Mothi Aai dug out from somewhere. We even had a “limousine” ready for the couple (a dilapidated old pram, actually, which was all newly togged up). Mothi Aai was an active participant in our juvenile excitement. She allocated a small area in the compound to us for our event.

On the day of the marriage, which was to take place in the afternoon, she cooked the food and filled it in our bhatukli vessels. She had even organised a tiny “chulha” in our mandap for us to warm the food. Mothi Aai, of course, attended the wedding. Somebody officiated as priest and the ceremony was conducted. It was followed by lunch in the bhatukli thalis. I do not recall the other guests. Needless to say, we had a great time. The wedding was a grand affair and the newly-married couple, dressed in their finery, was paraded around the compound in their limousine. (I’m afraid I do not know whether they lived happily ever after!).

My other memory of Mothi Aai and Papa is their visit to our house in Bombay. They were staying with my maushi and came across to our house to spend the day. I was then around seven years old. My mother had informed Mothi Aai that I had recently learned to light the gas and make tea. So that afternoon she insisted that I make tea for her. I hesitatingly obliged as she secretly watched from behind the door. I brought out the teacups and then waited apprehensively for the verdict. Savouring her cup of tea, Mothi Aai declared that it was the best tea she had ever had! It made my day! A month later, after she had returned to Nagpur, my mother received a letter from her. At the end of the letter was a message for me saying that she still remembered the best tea she had ever had!

Mothi Aai passed away when I was nine years old. My interaction with her had been very short and limited. But her memories linger with a sense of kindness, warmth, and love.

Visit to Borgao

This has been written by Bal Borgaokar. His father Shankarrao Borgaokar was the grand son-in-law of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar.

For more than 50 years I have been responding to questions about how the family name ‘Borgaonkar’ came about, to people here in the USA. I was told by my father that he took this family name of Borgaonkar, about a century ago, when he and his cousins came to Pune to continue their High School education at the New English School in English medium, as Gulbarga had Urdu medium instruction in the then Nizam’s Dominions.

He did not like the name Kulkarni, Continue reading “Visit to Borgao”

Anecdote from the life of Bapurao (Kashinath Jatar)

Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao)

Kashinath Shriram Jatar, the eldest son of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar was a great family man and great achiever as well. By nature he was kind and helpful, as this post illustrates.

In a book  called “The Course of My Life ” by CD Deshmukh, he mentions Bapurao and reveals his helpfulness. CD Deshmukh (Sir Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh, CIE, ICS)  was an Indian civil servant, and the first Indian to be appointed as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in 1943 by the British authorities. Deshmukh was Union Finance Minister from 1950 until 1956

Here is excerpt from the book in image form:

Excerpt from The Course of My Life by CD Deshmukh
Excerpt from The Course of My Life by CD Deshmukh

(Compiled by Nita Jatar Kulkarni)

Interesting anecdote about Bapurao

In a book called “The Course of My Life ” by  CD Deshmukh ( who was a distinguished member of the Indian Civil Service) there is a mention of Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao), my grand-uncle (grandfather’s brother).  This was probably the first time C. D. Deshmukh met Bapurao who later became a great friend of the Jatar family.

CD Deshmukh later became Finance Minister of India and resigned on the issue of Bombay in Maharashtra because Nehru was not agreeing to it. CD Deshmukh also served with Bapurao’s younger brother Bhausaheb also in erstwhile CP & Berar. There are photographs of CD Deshmukh in our family album.

This post is about how CD Deshmukh met Bapurao and the pleasant experience he had because Bapurao was most helpful to him. The excerpt from the book can be found here  and this is what he says about Bapurao: Continue reading “Interesting anecdote about Bapurao”