ZUTSHI SISTERS OF LAHORE …. FROM FASHION TO FREEDOM STRUGGLE…. . ( Man-Mohini , Shyama , Janak and their mother Lado Rani )
This Zutshi family of Lahore was closely related to Pandit Nehru .Their fourth sister Chandra kumari was a little shy type of girl .Chandra kumari (Born 1903) was married at a very young age in Handoo family .
Hailing from Affluent Kashmiri Pandit family of Lahore , these girls were Modern , Educated and enterprising . Ladli Prasad Zushi ( 1875-1954 ) , their Father was a reputed Barrister of lahore . Ladli Prasad Zutshi was also enrolled at Allahabad Bar .He was a nephew of Moti Lal Nehru. Shyama did her BA and joined Hindi Cinema . She was the first Kashmiri Pandit Girl to join films . She finally left the cinema and plunged herself into the freedom struggle of the country .And Manmohini ( Born 1909 ) is reported to be the most Rebellious child in the Zutshi family.She was born In Anand Bhawan Alahabad. She happened to be a favourite niece of Moti Lal Nehru .She was married in Sehgal family from Punjab and later came to be known as Manmohini Zutshi Sahgal .Manmohini was also a post Graduate in History .
Shyama (Born 1910 ) was married in an affluent Punjabi Khatri Family and was later known as Shyama Chopra .
The three sisters usually visited posh Mall Road ( Lahore ) for shopping along with their Mother Lado Rani Zutshi ( Tikku ) .There used to be a Hotel known as “ ARAB HOTEL “ in Lahore before 1947 . It was just Opposite Islamia College .This Hotel was Frequented by elite of the city including prominent Artists,writers, poets and intellectuals. Zutshi sisters would be seen in this Hotel along with their Mother .
Janak Zutshi was a Post Graduate in English and taught at Govt college for women Lahore ( Joined in 1930 and later resigned to join Freedom struggle ) . Janak Kumari fell in love with Dr Jalil Asghar and married him . She came to be known as Janak Kumari Asghar. She died in 1997 .
These sisters knew Horse Riding , dancing , Bicycling and also took lesson in Music .
And then one day everything changed suddenly . A lecture By Mahatma Gandhi in Lahore ( that these sisters heard with their mother ) changed their Life .Influenced by their father , Shyama and Manmohini were already in the freedom struggle even during their college days . Shyama finally left films . Along with their mother, These three sisters plunged totally into Freedom Movement .
On 15th December 1929, A Grand Flag Hoisting function was organised at Lahore by Freedom fighters . Sardar Mangal singh Took about 2000 congress volunteers under his command and joined this event that was attended by almost all stalwarts of Freedom Movement that included maulana azad , M A Ansari , saif Ud din Kitchloo ,sarojini Naidu , Moti Lal Nehru , Jawahar lal Nehru ,Madan Mohan Malviya ,Jamna lal Bajaj , Srinivasa Iyengar , Vallabh Bhai Patel and many more . Sardar Mangal Singh had carved out a Women Brigade from among his volunteers . This brigade had many women including all the three Zutshi sisters and their mother Lado Rani.
I quote Sardar Mangal singh GOC congress Volunteers Lahore session :
“ I had two main Lady volunteers as commanders . Lajyawati and lado Rani Zutshi. Lado Rani had brought her three daring daughters also. They were educated and fashionable . The call of Mahatma made the family to forget all comforts . A session was held on the Banks of Ravi till 12 o’clock. It was a grand success . Pandit Nehru Unfurled the National Flag. Forgetting comforts , every leader had his entire family in the movement . Dr N S Hardikar was there . Pandit ji Danced in happiness with the Volunteers of Freedom struggle. I remember the Pathan dance that was performed by the volunteers ”
I quote From Bharti Thakur’s Book ” Women In Gandhi’s Mass Movement ” ( Refer page 93 )..
” On July 9, 1930 , Shyama Zutshi and Manmohini along with 25 other volunteers from Ambala and Shimla Picketed the Central the assembly in Shimla along with other volunteers of congress committee . They went in groups of two or three with black Flags hidden under the folds of their sarees and stood outside the gates of the Assembly Hall. As soon as Viceroy Lord Irwin came out , they took out their Black Flags and shouted ” IRWIN GO BACK “. Forthwith they formed a small procession and marched to the Mall singing National songs .Back In Lahore , Manmohini , who was also the president of the students union Called for a complete Hartaal On 8 October 1930 as a protest against death sentences imposed on Bhagat Singh ,Sukhdev and Rajjguru and decided to picket Govt college for men , Forman Christian college and law College .Soon Shyama also joined and these sisters along with other women volunteers stood at the gates of these colleges challenging the students to enter . Soon Police arrived and arrested them. When Janak Kumari heard all this , she resigned from the post of English lecturer Govt College for women Lahore and offered herself to court arrest. ”
Zutshis had close and cordial relations with Noted Artist A R Chugtai and his family.They were also close to Artist Amrita Shergill’s family..
Courtesy : Autar Mota