This is Shriram Bhikaji Jatar’s Will. It was the 1800’s but our great grand-father (for some, their great-great-grandfather) made a Will. This is telling, considering that many people today in the 21st century don’t bother to do it.
Shriram wrote this when he was unwell. The five salient points from the Will are:
Shriram Jatar was a self-made man. He willed only what he had earned himself. He got nothing from his father.
He acquired real estate and also shares and promissory notes.
In his Will he returned money which had been kept in his safe-keeping by his half-brother, and he returned it with interest. This speaks to the high integrity of this man.
Everything in the Will is clear, including the liabilities. This made it simple for his heirs.
He made provisions for his daughter who was unmarried at the time.
The actual Will is reproduced here in image form.
(This Will was found in Bhausaheb’s papers and handed over to me by my father, Sudhir Jatar).
The Shriram Wada, a sprawling structure in the heart of Pune city, was bought by Shriram Bhikaji Jatar (SBJ) around 1890 on his retirement. It was bought from his own earnings. He did not receive any property from his father (Bhikaji). Shriram Jatar left this property to his sons and in the year 1927 approximately, Bapurao bought it from his brothers (a value of ₹20,000/- was placed on the Wada) after selling a property in Nagpur (documentation available with me.) After Bapurao’s death (1951), the Shriram Wada was sold.
It is a huge Wada with 3 floors and numerous rooms. It has entrances on two sides, as it straddles two lanes in Narayan Peth. There is a water well at the back. There used to be a cowshed with 3 or 4 buffaloes. The main entrance used to be from the north, but now it has been changed to the south. It used to be number 340, Narayan Peth, but now the number has changed to 387/388.
Lokmanya Tilak was a tenant here and the Wada has become known for this now.
Here are the photographs of the Wada. The front entrance has a board of the “Maharashtra Rashtrabhasha Sabha” which operates from this building. Unfortunately, this board hides the marble name-plate of our ancestor, Shriram.
The photo below shows the marble engraving of Shriram’s name. We asked the authorities to remove the board so we could take the photo.
My Grandfather Shriram Bhikaji and his younger brother Damodar ran away from their home in Wai to Pune, not being happy with the way they were treated by their stepmother. Both Shriram and Damodar were some of the earliest graduates (B.A).
Shriram was steady and solid whereas Damodar was brilliant but erratic. Both took to the Education field. Shriram joined the CP and Berar Education Department and rose gradually to become the Director of Public Instruction of CP and Berar. The British Director was being paid Rs 1000/- per month but this sum was denied to Baba (Shriram). Shriram protested by moving to Pune and staying on till he was paid the desired amount. He was paid the amount after a year or so and Shriram took up the post.
That was the era when the British were very eager to spread knowledge of the English language. Shriram did excellent work and his name was even mentioned in the British Parliament. It is thanks to people like Shriram Jatar that the English language has taken roots all over India. English is the reason why our country enjoys an advantage in the computer era over countries like China.
Damodar ended up as Headmaster of Satara High School. He was said to be addicted to liquor, which cast a shadow on his brilliance.
One of the fascinating and mysterious people in our family is Dr Sadashiv Bhikaji Jatar, the half-brother of Shriram Bhikaji Jatar. Sadashiv was born in Wai, Maharashtra, in 1872 and died in 1924 at the age of 52. In today’s day and age, that seems so very young! His story is interesting because it is mysterious. Born in a small village in Maharashtra, he was educated in England, studied medicine, and thereafter remained there, without much contact with any of his relatives in India. As of now, I do not have a photograph but if I discover one will certainly post it here.
He must have visited India but as no one of his generation is alive today, we do not know for sure. What we do know is that he was very close to his nephew Bapurao, the eldest son of his older brother Shriram.
Bapurao and Sadashiv may have been uncle and nephew but they were almost the same age (Bapurao was born in 1871). I guess that is why they were close. This is proved by the fact that in his will he left his money to Bapurao.
Not much is known about my mysterious second grand-uncle (he is my great-grandfather’s younger half-brother) because he spent his life in England and apparently did not marry.
This is a letter written by Shriram Bhikaji Jatar more than a hundred years ago, from Akola. He was a grandfather to those of Jatar origin who are in their seventies and eighties today and a great-grandfather to those who are of the next generation. You can perhaps read something of his personality from his hand-writing. It’s not entirely decipherable though!
(Photocopy of letter provided by Gen. S.C.N Jatar (Sudhir)
Jankibai, Yamutai Dev before marriage was married to Shriram Bhikaji Jatar, the patriarch of our branch of the Jatar family. Jankibai, popularly known as Aaisaheb belonged to the Dev family of Poona. Her brother Rambhaumama was our family’s religious advisor and astrologer, much respected by Bapurao and the entire family. His two sons Ganpatrao and Gajananrao were also popular figures in the family. The date or year of birth and even the marriage date of Aaisaheb are not known. She was not educated beyond primary school but she was a pillar of strength to her husband. She was mature, wise, kind hearted and yet strong willed, with a religious bent of mind.
There was a poem written on her by a family member which was given in a newspaper. Here it is: