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.

Four Jatar ladies of yesteryear

During the old days, taking a photograph was an event. People got dressed up and went to the studio. I can imagine how excited these lovely ladies must have been when they decked up in their finery and trooped to the studio.

This photo was probably clicked before 1927, because 1927 was the year when Indira Jatar got married.

From Left to Right: Kumud Jatar [seated], Chandrabhaga (Chani) Jatar, Sarojini (Banutai) [seated] and Indira Jatar.

4 ladies framed

Chani (Chandrabhaga) and Sarojini were sisters, daughters of Kashinath Jatar (Bapurao), who was the eldest son of Shriram Jatar. Sarojini married Narsimha Laxman Inamdar. Chani died early, at the age of 18, of a heatstroke.

The ladies on either side of them are Kumud Jatar and Indira Jatar. Kumud was the daughter of Ranganath Jatar (Balasaheb), the son of Shriram Jatar. Kumud’s father, Balasaheb, passed away very early, when Kumud was a child. Later, Kumud married Shankarao Borgaonkar of Hyderabad. Indira Jatar was the daughter of Bhausaheb, and married Shri Bhalchandra Balkrishna Bhajekar. Thus, Kumud and Indira were the first cousins of Chandrabhaga and Sarojini.

I cannot help but wonder what these sisters and cousins talked about. They led stable and secure lives and had loving families so their hopes and dreams came true. Except for Chani, tragically.