Lt. Col. Sir Nilkanth Shriram Jatar, CIE, DSO (and bar), from the IMS (Indian Medical Service) was the fifth child of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar and was born in Pune on 26 May 1887 (died 1957). He was also known as Bhausaheb, and he was my grandfather.
Neelima Raddi* has added another feather in her cap – she has written a book on three eminent personalities, two of them were her grandfathers and one, her husband’s grandfather (father-in-law’s father). Her book, written in Marathi, is titled “Sanchitache Tridal.” (संचिताचे त्रिदल). The book is about three great men – Sir Nilkanth Jatar, also known as Bhausaheb (1887-1957), Bandopant Bhajekar (1861-1927) and Rangacharya Raddi (1869-1943).
Neelima is the daughter of Continue reading “A story of three titans”
These photographs were taken during the unveiling of the photograph of Shrimati Vimlabai Jatar (popularly known as Jiji) at the Smt. Vimalabai Jatar Sabhagriha of Seva Sadan Society. She had a title: Lady Vimalabai Jatar because her husband, Bhausaheb, was knighted by the queen of England.
This is the photo of the school – the Seva Sadan High School. Jiji’s photo is here because her husband Lt. Col. Sir Nilkanth Shriram Jatar (Bhausaheb) paid Rs. 5000 in 1947 for the construction of the hall. Sudhir, Maj Gen SCN Jatar, who contributed this post, paid an additional Rs. 80000 in 2005 for renovation of the school. The good news is that this good work is being renewed. Seva Sadan renovated the Hall at their own cost for Rs. 16 lakhs! Now it has a seating capacity of 400-450 on chairs and 500-550 seated on the ground. Continue reading “Unveiling of Jiji’s photograph at the Seva Sadan Sabhagriha”
This beautiful sprawling bungalow, still standing, was the home of Lt. Col. Sir Nilkanth Shriram Jatar, CIE, DSO (and bar), IMS (popularly known as Bhausaheb) and is now occupied by a Judge of the High Court. This house, now called “Hiranyagarbh” was commensurate with Bhausaheb’s position at the Nagpur Jail. It was called “The Nest” at that time.
Bhausaheb stayed in this house from 1933 to 1946.
His second wife, Vimalabai Jatar (popularly known as Jiji and the mother of Bhausaheb’s six children, from 1933 to 1938, until she took ill with TB and started to live in a nursing home in Nagpur.
Air Vice Marshal Jatar (nick-name Bhayya), Dr. Sheila Bhagwat née Jatar, Dr. Usha Thakar née Jatar, lived in this house from 1933 to 1938, and Brig. Arvind Jatar (nick-name Baba) from 1933 to 1936 after which he joined SSPMS (military school at that time.
An elder sister, Leela Talwalkar lived here from 1933 until her marriage in 1937/38 to Dr. Arvind Talwalkar, the well-known orthopedic surgeon from Mumbai.
Bhausaheb’s eldest daughter Indira (Indirabai Bhajekar nee Jatar) also lived here and matriculated from St.Ursula’s, Nagpur. She was an educated lady, who got her degree from Fergusson College, even after her marriage.
Sadashiv (Balu) Jatar and Sudhir Chintamani Jatar (Maj Gen. SCN Jatar) lived here from 1933 to 1938.
Pictures and post by Maj Gen SCN Jatar, the youngest son and child of Bhausaheb.
My grandfather, Lt Col Sir Nilkanth Shriram Jatar, the son of Shriram Jatar and known as Bhausaheb in the family, was the recipient of many awards, and several of them were gallantry awards for bravery. He was also knighted by the Queen of England in 1946. The medals can be seen below:
He got several awards for distinguished service like the Star in 1914-1915, the War Medal of 1914-18, the War Medal of Wazirstan 1919-21, Medal for the Great War of Civilization 1914-19, the Medal George V and Queen Mary 1910-1935 and the Queen Elizabeth Medal 1935 (Coronation Medal).
However the Serbian Order of the White Eagle with Swords (a gallantry award equivalent to the Military Cross of the British Empire and the Vir Chakra of India) is one of his special awards. He got this in Mesopotemia while serving with the 8th Army. When surrounded by the Turks, and after the death of the unit commander, Bhausaheb took over the leadership of the infanty company although he was the medical officer attached to the infantry battalion. He held on to the defensive position and did not surrender until the 8th Army Commander, General Townsend, himslef surrendered the entire Army. The Battalion, and in fact the whole of the 8th Army was captured by the Turks. But Bhausaheb’s bravery was rewarded by the Serbs and later by the British. For this same action he recieved the DSO (Distinguished Service Order equivalent to the Maha Vir Chakra) from the British.
He got his second DSO (called DSO and Bar) during the fighting in the North Western Frontier. Here too he showed his bravery. In those days battles were fought from dawn to dusk in a designated battlefied and Bhausaheb as the medical officer was to treat the wounded on the spot. He was not expected to go deep into action but that is what he did. He would go in the line of fire to help the wounded and that was how he took seven bullets, one in his left wrist, and several in his right leg as he knelt down to help the wounded soldiers. Inspite of that he continuted to treat the wounded and finally had to be evacuated.
During those days the British were trying very hard to capture the North Western Provinces of Afghanistan as it would open the route into Central Asia. Later it was the Russians who succeeded afer World War II. They again lost out when the Taliban with the help of the US had a regime change in Afghanistan. This is known as the ‘Great Game’ and it still continues.
As Bhausaheb lay in bed wounded, it was necessary to amputate his leg as those days there were no antibiotics or penicillin. His leg had become gangrenous. Later he told his children that when he lay in the hospital bed, his CO came to see him and in his presence asked the doctors whether Jatar would live. The doctors said that yes, he would, and the CO said, that if he had died, he would have recommended him for the Victoria Cross. Bhausaheb was just 32 years old. He had an artificial leg fitted in England.
Bhausaheb later was awarded his second DSO for this bravery. He was the first Indian officer to recieve the DSO and bar. The DSO is equalivalent to our gallantry award, the MVC (Maha Vir Chakra.) Later in 1938, Bhausaheb also got the CIE (Companion of the Indian Empire award) which is roughly equivalent to our Padmashree award. Our family has three CIEs. Grandfather Shriram, Bapurao and then Bhausaheb. This is some sort of a record.
Bhausaheb’s elder brother when Bhausaheb lay in hospital. These are the contents of the letter which was written on the 6th of January 1920:
Dear Mr. Jatar,
Further to the wire I sent you this morning, I write now to give you further particulars I can of your brothers wounds. The battalion was out yesterday as covering party for construction of a permanent piquet some distance from our present camp. The enemy had evidently been lying up in the nullah waiting for our retirement, and as soon as withdrawal commenced he opened fire. Several men of the advanced companies were wounded, and in endeavoring to recover their bodies a number of other men were also hit, there being a heavy fire on all those who exposed themselves.
Under these circumstances, Capt. Jatar himself went forward very gallantly, and was himself wounded. Whilst being carried away he was again hit twice. His brave conduct, however, did very much to help in a very much difficult situation, and we are very proud that he was attached to this regiment.
Your brother’s wounds are severe. He is, however, getting on well, and I hope will be fit for evacuation in a very few days.
Capt. Jatar had, during the few months he has been with us, made himself a great favorite with all ranks, and officers and men will all miss him greatly.
We sympathize heartily with you, and wish him very speedy recovery.
If I can give you any further information I shall be only glad to do so.
Col .V. A . Parrett. Capt. AdJt.
Bhausaheb was a much respected figure in the Jatar family and this post makes it clear as to why. He was devoted to his family. His physical description: Height: 5 feet 8 inches. Complexion: Fair. Imposing mustache.
(Contributed by Nita with inputs from Sudhir Jatar)
His Master’s Voice
The gramophone displayed here belonged to Bhausaheb. He purchased it sometime in 1919 after his return from active service in Mesopotamia in World War I. We presented to Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum on at Pune 30 December 2002. It is displayed prominently in the Museum.
The above painting is of Nipper the dog, who was born in Bristol in 1884 and so named because of his tendency to nip the backs of visitors’ legs. When his first master Mark Barraud died destitute in Bristol in 1887, Nipper was taken to Liverpool by Mark’s younger brother Francis, a painter. In Liverpool Nipper discovered the Phonograph, a cylinder recording and playing machine and Francis Barraud “often noticed how puzzled he was to make out where the voice came from.” This scene must have been indelibly printed in Barraud’s brain, for it was three years after Nipper died that he committed it to canvas.
Nipper died in September 1895, having returned from Liverpool to live with Mark Barraud’s widow in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey. Though not a thoroughbred, Nipper had plenty of bull terrier in him; he never hesitated to take on another dog in a fight, loved chasing rats and had a fondness for the pheasants in Richmond
Park! In 1898 Barraud completed the painting and registered it on 11 February 1899 as ‘Dog looking at and listening to a Phonograph.’
The enclosed painting is the finished product that hung on the wall of Gramophone Co., Ltd. It was first used as a trademark in 1900 in England and was called “Dog and Trumpet.” In May 1900, Emile Berliner, inventor of the disc gramophone, visited the company and so admired the painting that he returned to the United States and began using the trademark before he had registered it as “Nipper and the Gramophone.” He did register the trademark in the U.S. on May 26, 1900 and also in Canada soon afterward. Berliner founded the company that later became the Victor Talking Machine.
(Contributed by Sudhir. Maj Gen. SCN Jatar (Retd.)
Late Lt. Col. Sir Nilkanth Shriram Jatar, CIE, DSO (and bar), from the IMS (Indian Medical Service) was the son of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar and was born at Pune on 26 May 1887. He was also known as Bhausaheb.
Bhausaheb was educated at Pune High School, Pune; G. S. Medical College, Bombay; and University College, London. Obtained LM&S in 1911. He went to England in January 1913 to appear for the examination for admission to the Indian Medical Service (IMS) and was commissioned in the IMS on August 1, 1914. Acquired MRCS (England) and LRCP (London) degrees in 1914.
He was shorter than his brothers (they are six-footers!). He was five feet eight inches tall and fair of complexion, with a moustache.
He arrived in India in September 1914 and was posted to Lucknow and served as a Medical Officer with British Station Hospital, 28th Pioneers and 16th Cavalry. He went with the 16th Cavalry as a Captain as part of the Indian Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia in February 1915.
From 29 April 1916 to November 1918, he was a POW (Prisoner of War, when he was imprisoned by the Turks at Kut-El-Amara. The total number of Indian prisoners was 7 medical officers, 6 assistant and sub-assistant surgeons and about 4000 men. The treatment meted out to the prisoners by the Turks was inhuman, especially to the Indian Hindus.
More than 50% of the officers and men who were captured died due to epidemics of Typhus and relapsing fever mainly during June to December 1916. 20 % of those who recovered became unfit for any future work as there was permanent damage to their health. Many of them died in the first winter due to lack of shelter, food and clothing. Most of the prisoners were kept half-naked.
The Turks used to throw raw beef at the Hindu prisoners. It was a cultural and religious shock to most Hindus who had never eaten meat before, leave alone beef. Almost all the Hindus came from orthodox families. The prisoners were also forced into hard labour like constructing railway lines. The medical personnel did not get to do any medical work. Dr (Captain) Jatar survived only because he was mentally and physically very robust.
Bhausaheb was a highly decorated officer. One of these awards was the Distinguished Service Order [(DSO), equivalent to the Indian Mahavir Chakra (MVC), in 1917, and was Mentioned in British Despatches several times. Bhausaheb got this in Mesopotamia as a member of General Townsend’s Army. The reference to this is in the British Medical Journal. (BMJ) and it says:
THE following awards are announced for distinguished service in the field with the Waziristan Force, India:
Bar to D.S.O.
Captain Nilkanth Shriram Jatar, D.S.O., I.M.S., attached 2/76th Punjabis, Indian Army.
For gallantry near Kotkai, on 5th January, 1920, when, during a withdrawal under heavy fire, he rendered valuable assistance in bringing in wounded, and, whilst doing so, was himself severely wounded. (D.S.O. gazetted 4th June, 1917.)
Bhausaheb was also decorated by the Serbian Government with the Serbian Order of the White Eagle with Swords [equivalent to the Military Cross (the Indian Vir Chakra)]
When World War I ended, Bhausaheb returned to India on posting in December 1918 to the Indian Station Hospital, Jubbalpore, only to have another taste of war. He was called upon to serve with the Waziristan Field Force in October 1919.
Seven bullets wounded him in his leg and two on his hands at Kotkai, Waziristan, on 5 January 1920. In the action, he was awarded a Bar to his DSO. Being an Indian, he was deprived of the highest gallantry award – the Victoria Cross.
The bravery of Capt. Jatar was something of a legend. It was said in the IMS that Jatar was like a tiger and was found where the fire was the hottest. After his right leg was amputated above the knee on 5 May 1921, he came back to India and was seconded to the Jail Department at Nagpur. in the erstwhile Central Provinces & Berar in 1922.
You can read all about his awards here.
He was promoted to the rank of Major on August 1, 1926, and was promoted to the rank of Lt. Col. on 1 August 1934 and appointed as the Inspector General of Prisons, CP & Berar. He was stationed in Nagpur, and you can read about his house in Nagpur.
Bhausaheb was awarded the Order of the Companion of the Indian Empire on 9 June 1938. He was “dubbed” a Knights Bachelor by Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India at New Delhi on 9 March 1946.
About his personal life, his first marriage was to Bhagirathi alias Durga, daughter of Mr G. R. Moghe of Sion, Bombay on 15 May 1907 at Pune. They had three children, two girls and a boy. The boy passed away in infancy. The elder daughter was called Indira and the younger one was Leela. Both are now deceased. Bhagirathi Jatar died at Nashik Road on June 3, 1922.
He married again, this time to Vimala Dixit Golwalkar, daughter of Mr B. S. Dixit of Saugor and Allahabad, on September 2, 1922, at Nagpur. She was popularly known as Jiji. Jiji or Vimalabai died at Union Mission Tuberculosis Sanatorium Arogyavaram, Madanapalle, then in Madras Province, on May 4, 1941. She and Bhausaheb had six children, four boys and two daughters. Arvind (Brig. Jatar), known as Baba, Jairam (Air Vice Marshal Jatar), known as Bhaiyya, Balu (Deputy Secretary in Maharashtra government), Sudhir (Maj Gen. SCN Jatar), Usha (Dr Usha Thakar) and Sheela (Dr Sheela Bhagvat).
Bhausaheb married for the third time, this time it was to Mainabai, widow of Mr NS Bhagwat of Gwalior, and the daughter of Mr Goti of Dewas, on September 24, 1941. Bhausaheb was on a wheelchair, having lost a leg in the war, and had several young children to look after. Therefore he felt that it was appropriate to marry again. Maina was known as Mai in the family and died on April 12, 1986, at Pune. They had no children.
There is also a reference to him being awarded the DSO in the book “The Indian Army: A Brief History.”
Inputs by Maj. Gen. (Retd) S. C. N. Jatar and Shrirang Raddi.