Mumbai Pravashi Ashrayadata-3
Anand Singh Negi : always modern in thinking
By- Bhsihma Kukreri 9/3/2009
Anand Singh Negi of Jakhnoli village (Maniyarsyun, Gangasalan, Pauri Garhwal) belonged to abrave famili of Guradi Negi. Negi was a position of above captain in Garhwali army. Neg means an honour from the kingdom. It is said that once the Garhwali king was in rounding for revenue collection, a Guradi bhud (very strong and brave man) broke the strong metallic chain of a guard of king. Impressed by Guradi’s physical strength and braveness , the king honored the whole caste Guradi as Negi.
Negchar is derived from Negi word. Negchar word was very common word in Garhwal before the time of Indian independence. Negchar means a faithful person or an act of faithfulness to the kingdom. Negchar also means the act of human beneficial work.
The Guradis of Jakhnoli are not original from Jakhnoli but migrated from Saroda-Maroda (Maniyarsyun) near the bank of river Nayar and is situated a couple of miles away towards north east from Vyaschatti and four five miles below Bangghat and Satpuli. Nayar valley is very fertile land in Gangasalan . People from other areas used to marry their children with the children of Nayar valley that they will get fish and rice from their relatives live around Nayar valley. Saorda-Maroda is very fertile area in terms of agriculture land, irrigation facilities because of Nayar river, forest produces, wild animals and different fishes of different seasons of Nayar river.
If Nayar valley of Gangasalan is blessing for inhabitants it was also a curse for the same inhabitants. There was a common proverb in the area, “ jaddoon man naunyal thupri bhorik ar rudyun man sabi safachatt” (you see children everywhere in winter season but every child dies in summer). In past when the medical facilities was not there, due to sever heat, the children death rate in Nayar valley area was very high. Once, two hundred years back, the cholera spread in Saroda-Maroda area. The inhabitants of Saroda-Maroda fled here and there. A family of Saroda-Maroda fled towards north of and stayed in the jungle of Jakhnoli hill of Maniyarsyun . This Guradi family did not return to Saroda-Maroda because the area was better in terms of safety for children in the summer season. The water from rivulets (gadan) and springs (chhwaya) was also available in and around the area.
The migrated Guradi family from Saroda-Maroda did hard work for cutting the forest, digging the land for agriculture uses. The Guradis were so hardworking community for agricultural, horticultural, vet nary, collecting forest produces, hunting etc that Jakhnoli used to be called a very fertile village (najeelo gaon).
Anand Singh Negi born in Jakhnoli in 1922. He was fifth child among seven sons of his parents.
His grand father Muli Singh was a great bhud (brave, wrestler or warrior) of Maniyarsyun in terms of strength and hard work and father of Anand Singh Negi , Makar Singh was a known personality as highly industrious farmer (jimdar) of the area.
Though a big joint family, the Makar Singh family was a prosperous family in terms of crop yields, collection of forest produces for fulfilling the needs of human food , fuel, animal foods, protecting materials for agriculture farms, wooden agricultural appliances, hunting capabilities etc. Now, the question arises about the reasons behind the migration of people like Anand Singh Negi from Garhwal. His elder brothers were educated at least up to middle from Kanskhet school the oldest middle school of Maniyarsyun and were serving in arm forces or were having other jobs in Dehradun. All his brothers left Garhwal because of education. Anand Singh could not study above third standard because family required him for farm jobs. Nothing was wrong for Anand Singh to be busy in farming. He never felt the hardship of farming. His problem was quite different and this problem of joint family was quite prominent in Garhwal or in India at that time. Many times, the person wants psychological consolation and counseling but joint family or tradition does not allow such consolation or counseling and in such case, the person choose to escape from the house or rebels against the norms. The elders used to ignore the young Anand Singh and his wife Durga Devi. Young Anand Singh left his village for Mumbai just because of ignoring treatments from elders of joint family.
Around 1940, Anand Singh came to Mumbai with Puskar Singh Rawat of Kaindul village (Dhangu-Langur, Pauri Garhwal). Kaindul village has very significance for Hindus. Sati Savitri got back the life of her dead husband from Yamraj the deity of death in Kaindul area.
Anand Singh Negi took the same root for livelihood as other newly Garhwalis used to take in those days in Mumbai. Anand Singh started to clean the taxis and motors from the day one reaching to Mumbai. He used to cook food for somebody that he gets food free in retern of cooking. The taxis were his sleeping rooms in Petrol pump of Nana Chauk. From the earning of taxi cleaning, Anand used to send money to his family in Garhwal and used to providing fees for learning motor driving. However, the money earned by motor cleaning was not enough for fulfilling three needs that is training fees for motor driving, sending money to his family in Garhwal and his own small needs in Mumbai. Therefore, he used to take other jobs like working as metth for road construction or building construction too . After a couple of years he took job as driver for private motor driving and later on started taxi driving. On those days, taxi driving in Mumbai was better paying job than working in mills or shops. He lived with hardship in Mumbai at initial stage. These harder days taught him the importance of money and the consequences of education. At his initial years in Mumbai , his other educated brothers were better off in terms of respects and money . This difference of social respects and money did not became the cases of envy for Anand Singh but the medium of encouragement or motivational factors for earning more and arranging best possible education for his offspring.
By his hard work, simplicity and honesty he could get more earnings and could save some money too. Around 1952-54, he bought taxi and became the owner of a taxi. He took a loan from a gentle Marwari in Dadar , Mumbai. On that time, state or private banks did not offer loans for taxis . He used to drive his own taxi for more than twelve hours a day and all thirty days in a month. The loan was to be repaid on monthly installments (hafta). His hardworking mannerism and physical capability paid the dividends and he could repay the loan within three years. Here, the author would like to discuss about Marwaris . The Indian intellectuals used to criticize Marwaris or money lenders in various medium and forums in India due to socialism thinking. These communist thinkers can tell about requirements of comforts and social services for the Indians but could never tell us about the source of money and productivity enhancement. However, the Garhwalis and Kumayunis of taxi driving profession will never forget the helps of Marwaris, Sindhis or Sardars like family ( predecessors of owners of Maharashtra Electronic Worli and Gandhi Electronics Dadar) for purchasing taxis in Mumbai. These money lending Marwaris,Sindhis or Sardars might have charged more interest but their way of offering loans was simpler and easier than banks to migrated Garhmaunis who were not having any money with them.
Slowly, his income started stabilizing and Anand Singh purchased a kholi (room of chawl) in partnership with Pushkar Singh Rawat in Pundit Chawl Dadar. This chawl room became the sheltering point for hundred of Garhwalis till his death in 1989. Anand Singh Negi did hard work for earning through taxi driving profession.
Anand Singh Negi was a true disciple of his predecessors who helped Garhwalis in settling in Mumbai. In 1963, this author happened to be in Mumbai for short period and he saw the rooms in Pundit Chawl of late Anand Singh Negi, Chakra Dhar Kukreti (Jaspur, Dhangu), Ram Dayal Chauhan (Nagar Aswalsyun) , Sundar Lal Kukreti (Masan, Tihri Garhwal) and Shri Krishna Barthwal (Taidi-Pauri Garhwal) as ‘ashrayasthal (sheltering place) for hundred of migrated Garhwalis. These gentlemen used to offer the place without charging any rent to (mostly driving community) migrated Garhwalis for taking bath, washing clothes, a hook to each person for hanging one dress and if any person has a box . These migrants used to sleep under the staircases, on the road or in taxis. You could see ten hooks with khaki dress of migrants hanging in the rooms of above mentioned persons.
Today, no body can judge the importance of the helps the above gentlemen were rendering services to their community fellows in Mumbai. All the above gentlemen were having their families with them. Their family members were deprived privacy due to offering helps of asylums to others.
Anand Singh Negi might have helped hundred of Garhwalis in many ways as sheltering, offering financial helps, arranging jobs for new comers, getting driving licenses from RTO, offering guarantees to those interested in buying taxis on loan from money lenders, buying rooms in various localities of Mumbai and other acts of various needs. Tens of persons like Balram Singh and Jagdish Singh of Taidi (Banelsyun), Amar Singh of Thangar (Langur), Jagdish Riyal of Taidi (Dhangu) , Sudan Aswal of Maniyarsyun, Shobhan Sing of Kaindul cannot return Anand ‘s obligations for helping them in various fields of life.
Anand Singh was also involved in running cooperative financial institution (from government point of view, it may be not illegal but not authorized one) . Migrated Garhwalis and Kumayunis of Mumbai call this method as ‘society’. People deposit money on monthly basis as recurring deposit and the money collected every month is lent to needy people on nominal interest. Running a ‘society’ requires responsibility and honesty too. To run a ‘society’ was definitely a social service among Garhwalis and Kumayunis in Mumbai. The small deposit by members becomes big amount and that collective amount is a great help for borrower. This types of funding requires trust among all members and the person who run it.
Anand Singh Negi was very much active in the functioning of Kumayun Cooperative Credit Society and now, his daughter in law Mrs. Rajeshwari Arvind Negi is active in functioning of this cooperative society. Rajeshwari Arvind Negi is daughter of great migrated Garhwali Bhuwanesh Negi of Thane .
Anand Singh Negi was very much active in functioning of Mumbai Taxi Union and by his involvement in this Union was also a helping element for Garhmayunis of taxi profession. Being an active member of executive committee of Taxi Union, he could help the taxi diving community in getting fast clearance for many hurdles in regional transport office , sanctioning loans from many financial institutions and other helps required in taxi business.
Anand Sigh was also a supporter of social institution like Garhwal Bhratri Mandal. His contribution in building the Garhwal Darshan in Jogeshwari Mumbai is well known among knowledgeable Garhwalis .
Anand Singh Negi was not an educated person but he had a foresight for future. He was well aware about better education for his children. He sent his wife to Dehradun along with his children that his children could get better education. His all children studied in Children academy and Saint Thomas School Dehradun. He believed that the basic responsibility of each parents is bettering the education for their children.
He was always helpful to the youth of his area who require financial and moral helps for higher education. He lent financial aid to many his relatives that they can pursue their children for higher education .
From investment point of view, he was ahead of his contemporaries in taxi profession. He never thought that he will return to his village for retirement and this aspect was the reason that he purchased twenty beegha agriculture land in Nehru Gram Dehradun, built a bungalow in prime location of Dehradun -Race Cource and purchased flats in Garhwal Darshan. This investment is nothing but the witness of his thinking for future.
All his children (two daughters and three sons ) were well settled at the time of his death. Unfortunately, his second son Arvind Singh died in his early forties. His one grand daughter is higher management executive in a multinational , another grand daughter did MBA from IIM and is manager in a MNC in Mumbai. His elder son is manger in a nationalized bank in Dehradun and his youngest son Manwar Singh is working in a foreign air-line company after retiring from naval force. His elder daughter Kalawati is a housewife in Dehradun and younger daughter Leelawati is a top executive in hospitality industry in Delhi.
Raku Bhatt , a prominent personality among migrated Garhwalis in Mumbai used to say that biggest contribution of a Garhwali for the society is to earn wealth or becomes rich for himself that he does not need help from others and becomes capable enough to help others. Raku Bhatt was right that a person can offer shelter to thers only when he owns shade for sheltering. Anand Singh Negi earned money and reasonably, parted his earnings and precious time for society too. Garhwalis will never forget Anand Singh Negi for his contribution as ashrayadata to the Garhwali society.
Copyyright @Bhishma Kukreti, Mumbai, India/10/3/2009