Tribute to Our Ma – Dr Sheila Bhagvat

November, 2020

By Alka Pimputkar

On May 17, 2011, our beloved mother, Ma, passed. While it has been nine years since her passing, and it seems as if it were yesterday as the sorrow remains close to all our hearts.  She would have been 95 years old. One would wonder why so late in writing a tribute now, but its never too late to write about someone who sits in your heart forever.

Dr Sheila Bhagvat in the 1980s

Dr. Sheila Bhagvat, daughter of Lt. Col. Nilkanth (Bhausaheb) Jatar and Mrs Vimla (Jiji) Jatar, made a profound impact on every life she touched. She was born in Nagpur and spent most of her teen years in Nagpur. Sheila was a teenager when her mother, Jiji, passed away. Jiji’s wish for Sheila was for her to become a doctor.

Sheila finished two years at Fergusson college in Pune. She then went to Nagpur to spend her vacation while contemplating whether she should apply for medical school. But there was a small problem. Her father Bhausaheb was on the selection committee and she did not have the heart to tell him to step down. So, she confided in her elder brother, Baba, who came to her rescue and talked to Bhausaheb. He gladly stepped down so Sheila could apply for medical school. She graduated from G S Medical College of Bombay in 1947.

She met our father Dr Prabhakar Bhagvat in medical school. As the story goes, he spotted her playing tennis and then through a mutual family friend, Bhausaheb was approached, and the rest is history. My father loved and respected her and this set an example for many of that generation. Sheila, a successful OBGYN, wore multiple hats in her career and in her personal life.  While she conducted her successful medical and surgical practice, her hospitality for guests and relatives was exemplary. She was very well respected amongst family and friends.

She was an achiever in her career, yet a very humble and genuine person. She was soft spoken and stayed calm, yet firm, when needed. Her patients used to call her Devi. She had a flourishing practice in Thane.

Ma was a voracious reader and her love for poetry was second to none. Her favorite was Geetanjali by Rabindranath Tagore. She had a collection of spiritual and philosophical books. She studied Bhagwat Geeta and learned several chapters by heart, her favorite being Adhay/Chapter 16. She found solace in Dyaneshwari. She knew various aspects of the Bible as well as many Shlokas from Sanskrit. She loved the practice of yoga and she especially liked different types of breathing techniques. She knew as a doctor the importance of deep breathing for our health.

In her golden years, she learned how to use a computer, opened an email account and was on Facebook sending friend requests. This shows her determination and courage to face any change that came her way.

Sheila had three children: Alka (married to Ravi Pimputkar), Medha (married to Dr Vinay Dhavale) and Dr Milind (married to Smieta Dixit). By then she was called Ma, and she became Ma to so many.

She has five grandchildren, Dr. Gouri Pimputkar, Samir Pimputkar, Aditya Dhavale, Pathik Bhagvat, Minnat Bhagvat and seven great grandchildren. She was a mentor to her granddaughter, Dr. Gouri Pimputkar, who is now following in her grandmother’s footsteps as OBGYN.

All of us were blessed to have such a wonderful, loving and determined mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, in our lives. We miss her so much and will always have everlasting memories of her.

“………….and then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils.” William Wordsworth

                                                                                                                       

The Jatar Club at Durg

In the Jatar family, Bapurao stands tall, taller than everyone else. He was the backbone of the Jatar family, looking after and mentoring all family members. He was also a social reformer and educationist. He was the son of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar.

Kashinath Shriram Jatar (Bapurao)

This post is about a Club that he started in Durg (presently in Chhattisgarh State) called the “Jatar Club” which has been mentioned in this post as well, written by Chandu Jatar. The Club was inaugurated in January 1926.

These are some photos of the club, sent by Jairaj Jatar, Chandukaka’s son:

This club was started by Bapurao at a time when Indians were not allowed by the Britishers to use their clubs. Till today this club serves the community and boasts of a good pool.

This next photograph is of the foundation stone and this photo was provided by a gentleman named Parivesh Mishra who has written an article on the Jatar Club. He took a few points from our articles (on this website) on Bapurao and then he reached out to me with the link to his article and also provided the following photograph.

Excerpts from Parivesh Mishra’s write-up (the articles in Hindi has been appended at the end of this post)

If you are proud, your spine is strong, you don’t compromise with the principles, you will be remembered in history for some reason…both started a club in a small house…laid the foundation stone…the date was 4 January 1926. And since then the Jatar Club has been establishes as the district officers club. Khairagarh’s king donated a billiards table…swimming pool was made…the head of the club is the district collector…

There was not much information on Khan Bahadur HM Wilayatullah although there is information on his son, HM Hidayatullah, who was the sixth Vice President of India (1979-1984) and 11th Chief Justice (1968-70). Regarding HM Wilayatullah (who inaugurated the Jatar club along-with Bapurao) his son’s wiki page mentions that he was a renowned Urdu poet a gold medallist of the Aligarh Muslim University.

According to the wiki:

He served till 1928 in ICS and from 1929 to 1933 as member of Central Legislative Assembly. 

He must have been a colleague of Bapurao’s.

(By Nita J Kulkarni)

Here are the images of the articles written in Hindi by Parivesh Mishra who has written these for local publications:

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

Family photo from 1935

This is an old photograph taken at the time of Sushilatai Nanal’s (Bapurao’s daughter) wedding sometime in 1935, and that was 85 years ago! It has been surmised that the photograph was taken at Gokhale Hall on Laxmi road, which used to be hired out for weddings in those days.

I think it’s an amazing photograph because it has someone from almost every branch of Shriram Jatar’s family. Me and my father, Sudhir Jatar, sat down to identify these people and it was great fun! I hope you have as much fun as we did when we saw the cute baby faces of those whom we knew only as elderly people.

Each one of the people in this photo has a life story which I hope to be able to put on this website one of these days. I have some, but far too few!

Sushila Nanal's wedding
At the wedding of Sushila Nanal née Jatar

KIDS: 1st Row from the bottom, sitting on the ground, from LtoR: Sharad Jatar, son of Appasaheb and grandson of Bapurao, (with Chandu on his lap); Jairam(Bhaiyya) Jatar (son of Bhausaheb); Yashwant Inamdar (son of Banutai and Annasaheb); Balkrishna Jatar, son of Abasaheb; Usha Thakar née Jatar, daughter of Bhausaheb; Padma Dani née Thakur, Kamalatai Thakur’s daughter and Bapurao’s grand-daughter; Sheila Bhagvat née Jatar, Bhausaheb’s daughter; Saral Thakkar née Jatar, Abasaheb’s daughter; Sudha Dhawale née Jatar, Appasaheb’s daughter; Sadashiv (Balu) Jatar, Bhausaheb’s son, Ashok Bhajekar (Indira Bhajekar’s son; Arvind (Baba) Jatar (Bhausaheb’s son).

2nd Row sitting LtoR: Kamlatai Thakur née Jatar (Bapurao’s daughter) with daughter Malti Kher née Thakur in her lap; Satyabhama Jatar (née Khandekar, Abasaheb’s second wife); Aavdabai Bhupatkar née Jatar (Bapurao’s sister and Shriram Jatar’s daughter); Kashinath Jatar (Bapurao); Bal Borgaonkar; Sushilatai Nanal née Jatar (Bapurao’s daughter); Appasaheb Nanal, Uma Jatar née Bhoptakar (Bapurao’s wife); Vimalabai (Jiji) Jatar née Dixit (Bhausaheb’s second wife); Radha Jatar née Leela Shevde (Appasaheb’s second wife); Malti Jatar née Phadnis (Babukaka’s wife and Bapurao’s daughter-in-law).

3rd Row standing ladies. From LtoR: Sindhu Kher née Thakur (Kamalatai’s eldest); Sindhutai Joshi née Bhupatkar (Aavadabai’s daughter); Leela Talwalkar née Jatar (Bhausaheb’s daughter); Kumudtai Borgaokar née Jatar (Balasaheb Jatar’s daughter); Sarojini (Banutai) Inamdar née Jatar (Bapurao’s daughter); Indira (Indutai) Bhajekar née Jatar (Bhausaheb’s daughter).

Last Row standing men. From LtoR: Krishnarao Thakur; Abasaheb, Bapurao’s younger brother and Shriram Jatar’s son, (holding son Prabhakar); Annakaka, Bapurao’s son; Jairam, Bapurao’s attendant; xx unknown person; Annasaheb Inamdar, Bapurao’s sister Godutai’s son and Shriram Jatar’s grandson; Bhai Thakur, Kamalatai’s son; Bhalchandrao Bhajekar (Indira’s husband and Bhausaheb’s son-in-law); Jagganath Inamdar (Bapurao’s sister Godutai’s son and Shriram Jatar’s grandson); Nilkanth Jatar (Bhausaheb, Shriram Jatar’s son and Bapurao’s younger brother) holding Sudhir; Panditrao Inamdar, Bapurao’s sister Godutai’s son and Shriram Jatar’s grandson); Vasudev Jatar (Appasaheb, Bapurao’s son); Shantaram Jatar (Babukaka, Bapurao’s son), holding his second son, Mickey.

Shri. Narhar Laxman Inamdar (Annasaheb) & Smt. Sarojini (Banutai) Inamdar née Jatar

The following write-up has been contributed by Shrikrishna (Bal) Inamdar. He is the son of Sarojini Inamdar née Jatar (Banutai), who was the daughter of Kashinath Jatar (Bapurao), who was the eldest son of Shriram Jatar. He is also the son of Narhar Inamdar (Annasaheb), who was the son of Shriram Jatar’s daughter, Godutai. Godutai married Laxman Inamdar (popularly known as Babasaheb).

By Bal Inamdar

Respected Bapurao Jatar had a liking for his sister’s son Narhar for his academic inclinations. Annasaheb, in turn, adored Bapurao and regarded him as his role model.

Annasaheb had a brilliant academic career. He was M.A. First Class First in Sanskrit. At a young age, he had vowed not to serve the British Empire, but start his own institution for the public good. Bapurao encouraged him and Annasaheb started New High School in Amravati. Dadasaheb Khaparde, an eminent social worker and a big landlord in Amravati, was of immense help.

When I visited Amravati in 2017, after nearly sixty years, I visited the school also. The then Head Master was thrilled to know who I am. We got to talking and the peon brought one old Board on which names of all headmasters from inception were written. I was overwhelmed to see that the first name was of Annasaheb and the year was 1924. It means Annasaheb was only 25 years old then. (Born on 6th July 1899). I used to be excited to read the nameplate on our door, N.L. Inamdar, M.A., B.T., T.D. (London) – almost half the alphabets!

Annasaheb married Bapurao’s daughter Banutai in 1927. Banutai was also good in studies and had a liking for music and literature. She also had a flair for writing. She had later translated the book, ‘Kashmir Princess) in Marathi, which was published in the prestigious “Kirloskar” magazine in parts for over a year. I wish she had completed graduation. Her horizon would have widened.

Annasaheb worked on a meagre salary all his life without Provident Fund, Pension or other retirement benefits. After all, it was his own school!

But the brunt had to be borne by Banutai, as she came from an affluent family. It must be said to her credit that she managed the household very efficiently in the limited sources available. She never let us feel that we were poor (when in fact, we were poor). She maintained our middle-class dignity with poise. She never asked Bapurao or anybody else for financial help. Appasaheb Jatar, her elder brother, and his family was, however, a great emotional support to her.

They had three children: Yeshwant left for England for naval training when he was hardly 20 years old. Sulabha (fondly Tai) was also good at studies and had a keen interest in Music & Dramatics. Banutai encouraged her to obtain a Sangeet Visharad degree. She also participated in plays and other cultural programmes staged at the time of Annual Social gathering in S.P. College, Pune. I remember one play vividly in which Sulabha acted. It was Acharya Atre’s “Bhramaacha Bhopala”.

I had written two lines on each member of the Jatar family with whom I had interacted personally. It was titled Jatar Kul Swabhav Darshan – attributes of Jatar family members. Banutai liked it very much but also scolded me as she felt some comments may sound offensive to some. But then she herself said, ‘No, retain this as it is. I know you have no intentions to offend anyone. On the contrary, you thought of writing about them because you have respect and affection for them’. She was a woman of substance. I still possess that piece which is dated 19th January 1963 i.e., I wasn’t even 18 years old – a juvenile offender, you may say.

Annasaheb was appointed Chairman of the Sanskrit Commission by the Government of India with headquarters at Bhandarkar Research Institute at Pune. He inculcated an interest in the Sanskrit language in me. He was disappointed when I missed the Jagannath Shankarsheth scholarship by just two marks. But I told him that I have scored the second highest and got the Beedkar prize, which may have placated him somewhat.

He had submitted a report to the Govt. of India on why Sanskrit should be made compulsory in schools. He explained how neither the language nor its grammar was not as difficult as it is made out to be. He insisted that it is a language of knowledge (Dnyan Bhaasha) and subhasheets in that language were an invaluable treasure. He believed that it can become the language of the masses, even if not used daily in ordinary conversation.

He was also actively associated with Maharashtra Rashtrabhasha Sabha where Dasukaka Bhupatkar was a member of the managing committee in 1957-58. Annasaheb had great admiration for Dasukaka for his writings in chaste Hindi and his contribution to preparing of school textbooks.

The family house, “Shriram” at 388, Narayan Peth, Pune, was sold to Maharashtra Rashtrabhasha Sabha.

My parents did not leave any property or money for their children. But they gave us an invaluable wealth of good Sanskars, which lasts much longer than any material wealth.

I still cherish them!!!

A family photo of Bapurao’s sister’s (Godutai’s) children and spouses with Banutai (centre). The wives are sitting directly in front of their spouses, except for Chottitai who is sitting in front of her brother Nanasaheb:

inamdars
L to R (standing): Sadashiv (Nanasaheb) Inamdar, Purshottam (Panditrao) Inamdar, Narhar (Annasaheb) Inamdar, Vishwanath (Vasantrao) Inamdar, & Jagannathrao Inamdar.
L to R (sitting): Yamuna/Indira (Chhotitai) Talwalkar née Inamdar, Kusum Inamdar née Bhat, Sarojini (Banutai) Inamdar née Jatar, Leela Inamdar née Amberkar, & Prabha Inamdar née Deuskar.

Chandrabhaga – a star which shone brightly (1907-1925)

By Raghunath Jatar

chani
Smiling, happy and brilliant Chani

Today I am writing about a star in the history of the Jatar family which shone brightly, in fact, dazzled, and streaked across the firmament much too soon.

Chandrabhaga, popularly known as Chani, was born in 1907, as the third daughter of Bapurao, i.e. KS Jatar, who was the eldest son of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar. (link to his family tree). Chani was younger than Kamalatai Thakur and Anasuya Garde, whereas she was older than her sister Banutai Inamdar and Sushilatai Nanal.

Chani was very good at studies and received the Radhabai Paonaskar scholarship and a silver medal for standing first among girl students at the Matriculation exam held in March 1924. She was probably studying Continue reading “Chandrabhaga – a star which shone brightly (1907-1925)”

WG. CDR. Madhukar (Mickey) Jatar, VRC, VM (1934-1985)

By Capt. Sanjai Madhukar Jatar

It is Memorial Day Weekend in the USA, so this memoir is timely in remembering my late father, Wg. Cdr. Madhukar (Mickey) Shantaram Jatar, VrC, VM. This is also a salute to all the members of the Jatar and extended family who have served illustriously in the Indian Armed Forces over the past decades.

My father was the second of four sons born to Dr Shantaram Kashinath Jatar (Babu Kaka) and Mrs Malatibai Jatar. I don’t recall much of his childhood except that he graduated from Nutan Marathi Vidayala in Pune and played competitive cricket as a pace bowler.

Photo on the right: L to R Sitting: Chandu, Malti Jatar (née Phadnis), Babukaka, Mickey. Standing: Padmakar (Pad), and Dinkar (Dinky) Continue reading “WG. CDR. Madhukar (Mickey) Jatar, VRC, VM (1934-1985)”

Some thoughts on my mother – Kumudinibai Borgaonkar née Jatar

Kumudini Jatar was the daughter of Balasaheb Jatar and granddaughter of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar. She was married to Shankar Rao Borgoankar and they settled in Hyderabad. 

By Digamber (Bal) Borgaonkar

kumudini young
Kumudini before marriage

We children called her Aai. She was born on Dec 2, 1908, and died on Feb 14, 1994, in Pune.

She went to High School in Nagpur, in CP and Berar province of British India, Later on, along with her first paternal cousin, Banutai Jatar Inamdar, she attended Fergusson College in Pune for a couple of years. She got married in Kulbarga (formerly Gulbarga, in Nizam’s Dominion) Karnataka in 1927.

She was named Parvati by the Borgaonkars, I remember that because Mai, wife of my father’s youngest uncle, Gopalrao (Kaka), who brought up my dad, used to call her by that name! I was not aware of very many weddings taking place in a bridegroom’s hometown but that was my parent’s life! Both of my parents were raised in ‘fatherless’ homes by their uncles in the paternalistic society of India.

My mother underwent 7 pregnancies in little more than a decade. I was the only son in the middle of 4 sisters as we grew up. Both of our grandmothers lived with us because my parents were their only children. My paternal grandmother was a ‘Sowli’ lady. She had my father in her teens and her husband died a few months Continue reading “Some thoughts on my mother – Kumudinibai Borgaonkar née Jatar”

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”

The Jatar Deul in West Bengal

Jatar Deul

The mysterious Jatar Deol is a tall brick structure in West Bengal. It is 65 feet tall and has been declared a monument of National Importance and is under the guardianship of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

It is mysterious because no one really knows why it was built in the midst of dense forest over a thousand years ago. Was it an isolated building or was it part of dynasty about which no one knows about? Or was it built because of the patronage of a rich man? Historians are not sure. What they do know is that a copper plate found in 1875 (since stolen/lost) suggests that it was built in 975 AD by Raja Joychandra. Unfortunately, nothing much is known of this person. There is also speculation that it was built as late as the 18th century.

Historians are also unsure as to why it was named Jatar. Continue reading “The Jatar Deul in West Bengal”

Dr Mayadevi Gurtu – a woman of mettle

This post was made possible because of inputs from Brig RV (Raghunath) Jatar, Bal Inamdar, Sheela Jatar, Vidya Chand, Veena, Lalita and Vidula. 

Saree-image-1
A representative image

Rangutai, from the Deo family from Thane, came from a well-respected family. She became a part of the Jatar family in 1918 by marrying Tatyasaheb, the eldest son of Bapurao (born 1894). Thus Rangutai became Janaki Jatar.

Unfortunately, her husband Tatyasaheb had TB as a young man. Although he had recovered a little, his TB came back and a few years after his marriage he passed away at the age of 27, in 1921. Tragically, Janaki was left a young widow with no children.

How old could she have been when she became a widow? We have to assume that Rangutai was several years younger to her husband because that was the custom at the time. If Tatyasaheb was 27 years old at the time of his death in 1921, it is likely that Janaki was barely 21 at the time, if not younger, having married him when she was a teenager, as was the practice during that time. Thus we must assume that she was born sometime in 1900 or possibly even later.

Janaki was lucky to have been married into a progressive family like the Jatars. Bapurao, the eldest son of Shriram Jatar, was her father-in-law, and encouraged her to complete her LCPS (Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery). This medical degree, given after a 5-year course (as in MD) was a qualification conferred by some universities during British rule in India. Bapurao must surely have seen some spark in her, believing that this lady was as capable as anybody else. Encouraging her education was the first step towards her independence.

Janki vahini, as she was known in the Jatar family, was a short lady, slight, with quick Continue reading “Dr Mayadevi Gurtu – a woman of mettle”