Mumbai Pravashi Ashrayadata-5
Raja Ram Molasi: a symbol of cooperation
By: Bhishma Kukreti
When for a short while, this author was involved in Hindi film screenplay and dialogues, the author had a strong argument against the dialogue of the film Ladaka, “ emotion garibon ka hathiyar hai aur sahkarita is hathiyar ka paina pan hai” with the movie director. My argument was that emotion is not related to richness or poverty. But experiencing today’s situation that most of us are self centered and forgetting the importance of helping family members and community members, the author feels that he was wrong. Before independence, the Garhwalis or Kumayunis, in native places or far away in other places were more cooperative with each others than today because Gadhmayunis were having very low income as compared to the contemporary basic needs. The low income from agriculture produce was the reason that Gadhmayunis (Garhwali and Kumauni) used to help their cousins, cousin’s children, village inhabitants and their children, close or far relatives, area inhabitants for their uplifting in terms of income, getting education etc. Whatever, Gadhmayunis (Garhwalis and Kumaunis) have achieved today, socially, individually, collectively; it is because each Gadhmauni helped each other before independence.
The author feels that even the help of Gadhmayuni to his kin, close relative for getting education, getting jobs was a great help to Gadhmayuni society. Garhwalis in Mumbai and in Garhwal will remember Raja Ram Molashi for his great help to his family members, kin and other community fellows in sheltering, getting suitable employment, education and inspiring taxi community in Mumbai to have their own building Garhwal Darshan .
Among migrated Garhwalis of Mumbai, Raja Ram Molasi has the same importance in Kapolsyun and Maniyrsyun patti as Narayan Datt Jakhmola is important figure in Dhangu and adjacent patti. Both were contemporary, served British army together in middle east before coming to Mumbai . Both started motor driving together in Mumbai . Born in around 1884, in village Payasu , Kapolsyun of British Garhwal i.e. today’s Pauri , Rudra Prayag and Chamoli districts of Uttarakhand . Payasu is original village of Moalshi caste in Garhwal.
Madan Molasi , migrated Garhwali in Mumbai informed the author that Molasi were migrated from south Maharashtra to Garhwal in sixteenth century back. Payasu village is situated on such a hill, which is surrounded by seven water springs and with full sun shine from morning till sunshine. Many readers who have not gone to Garhwal will laugh on the word full sun shine from morning to sun shine. It means that there is no shadow of other hills nearby Payasu area. The sun shine all the day and seven springs around Payasu village means that Payasu has fertile land and agriculture productivity is or was high.
If we study older villages of Gadhmayun , we shall find some specific characteristics. The older village means that at the time of settlement , there was shortage of metallic vessels, clothing , bedding etc. so, the water source should be adjacent to the house, the land should be shiny that bare langot (underwear) for females and males is enough to protect human being from cold climate and the sun shine whole day means the land would be fertile (najilo jamin) . Still now, we may find the ground floor (ubar) below the plinth level in many Garhwali villages. Garhwalis call such rooms khadd-ubar ( khadd means pit and ubar means ground floor room, that is half-underground room). khadd-ubar were useful in protecting people of hill from sever cold in night. There is dense forest of oak, pines, rhododendron etc above Payasu . The geography of Payasu tells the basic characteristic of older villages of Garhwal i.e. shiny, with dense forest, nearest water source and half underground rooms.
Raja Ram was second son of Teeka Ram Molasi . Shobha Ram was elder brother and Maula Ram of Raja Ram . He had two sisters Jupa and Chitra. Unfortunately, both Jupa and Chitra became widow in their early youth and died without any successors. The successors of Shobha Ram and Maula Ram are settled in Mumbai
Raja ram completed his primary schooling under the guidance of famous teacher of the area Jaya Nand Thapaliyal from Kanskhet primary school (Maniyarsyun) . Around the end of nineteenth century or early twentieth century, Kanshkhet was the only primary school in Maniyrsyun and Kapolsyun. The older generation of the area still remember the teaching methodology of Jaya Nand Thapaliyal (Thapli, Kapolsyun) and his devotion for his area students that each student would become sahib.
After completion primary schooling, young Raja Ram got British army job. He took motor driving job. Raja Ram was brilliant in learning and learnt English writing and speaking knowledge very fast along with motor driving training. Raja Ram served British army in Iran -Iraq at the time of first world war. After first world war was over, Raja Ram was retired from the army. However, serving in army became a tool of understanding the importance of discipline, security (saving for future), alertness for future threat, hard working, cooperation and values in team building for young Raja Ram Molasi.
After retiring from army, Raja Ram came to Mumbai around 1923 in search of job along with Narayan Datt Jakhmola of Jaspur (Dhangu) village ,who was with Raja Ram in Iran-Iraq . Narayan Datt Jakhmola went to Delhi for a couple of years but Raja Ram stayed in Mumbai. He stayed in a dharmashala at C.P Tank for a couple of years. Those days, were hard days for Raja Ram Molasi. He used to take roasted grams with water for many days. Fortunately, Raja ram got diver job with Bolton, a Parsi seth, the owner of Bolton industry in Carl Michel road . That Parsi rich man was very much fond of horse racing (Darby) and won big money on the same day when Raja Ram joined him as driver. So, for Bolton seth, Raja Ram Molasi was a lucky person (good-omen ) and he always cared for Raja Ram or Raja Ram’s family members .Since, Raja Ram had good knowledge for English speaking and writing, Bolton’s owner, his British friends and his other English speaking friends became closer to Raja Ram. Frequently, friends of Bolton the Parsi seth used to offer gifts to Raja Ram in kind or rupees in tern of his driving capability , well manners and entertaining personality.
He called his cousin Bachi Ram from Garhwal and arranged for his motor driving training . Bachi Ram Molasi became an expert driver and later on took a job as motor driver. After a few years serving Bolton seth, Raja Ram decided for quitting job that he could have his own taxi. On that time taxi business was more paying than today. However, Bolton seth wanted that Raja Ram work for him because Bolton was impressed by Raja Ram ‘s capability for smooth handling of his European and other elite friends, honesty, hard work and on top of it Bolton believed that Raja Ram was a good-omen for Bolton industry. Raja Ram advised Bolton seth that his cousin Bachi Ram Molasi would work as his successor and then only Bolton seth agreed to relieve Raja Ram. By this time , Keshva Nand Molasi another cousin of raja ram came to Mumbai and followed Bachi Ram for taking motor training and becoming car driver for another Parsi wealthy man
Around 1925 or so, Raja Ram Molasi bought his own taxi with the help of a financier and from his own saving. Raja Ram Molasi was the first Garhwali in Mumbai to own a taxi. Later on, Bachi Ram joined Raja Ram in taxi business. Keshva Nand Molasi joined Bolton seth in place of Bachi Ram Molasi as driver. After Keshva Nand Molasi leaving Bolton seth, Shri Dhar Molasi from Payasu joined Bolton seth. Many other migrated Garhwali also served with Bolton industry because of influence of Raja Ram Molasi. Bolton was a well known name in Kapolsyun patti of Garhwal because of so many Molasi and other Garhwali working for Bolton industry.
Raja Ram took a room on rent in Fatima manzil, Forjet street near Bhatia Hospital and that room was the shelter for many Garhwalis first time coming to Mumbai. Later on Raja Ram and Keshva Nand Molasi jointly bought big garage in the same area on monthly rent for rupees ten per month. Kasha Nand Molasi of Payasu was true disciple of Raja Ram in terms of business orientation through taxi business. The garage nearby Bhatia hospital became a sheltering temple for hundred of Garhwalis coming to Mumbai. Garhwalis used to stay there for sleeping, washing dresses, bathing and used to have food nearby small dhaba or elsewhere. raja Ram or Keshva Nand Molasi never took rent from any person for living in the garage. This was a great service rendered by Raja Ram and Keshva Nand to his fellows coming from Garhwal in search of fortune. That garage in Firoja Manzil was so famous because of tens of Garhwali taking shelter there that whenever a new comer coming from Garhwal to Mumbai central and asking about “ bhai saheb! Yehan Garhwali kahan rahte hain? ( Where do Garhwalis live? ), the shop keepers and railway porters of Mumbai central used to show the address of Fatima Manzil to new comer from Garhwal. Hundred of Garhwalis from Garhwal took initial shelter in Mumbai before getting suitable job and a place for residing. The author calls this garage of Fatima Manzil Forjet Street as ‘sheltering temple’ for migrated Garhwalis in Mumbai. No body can complete the history of migrated Garhwalis of Mumbai without describing Raja Ram and Keshva Nand Molasi.
Raja Ram had to suffer a tragedy in his early age. He lost his first wife the mother of his sons-Shri Krishna Molasi and Hari Krishna Molasi. He remarried to Leelawati . Radha Krishna Molasi is the third son of Raja Ram Molasi from his second wife Leelawati
Samkhya Darshan , one of six Hindu philosophies does not vouch wealth as accomplishment but donating power as one great accomplishment among nine important accomplishments. Samkhya Darshan is definitely right because any person can donate only when the person is owner. This is the law of nature that you can donate only when you have something to own. For helping others, the person should create wealth. This was the philosophy of Raja Ram Molasi. He accumulated wealth and lived in prime flat in Forjet street throught his life. By increasing fleet of taxis he created wealth and property.
Raja Ram Molasi also started his transport business in Kotdwara (Pauri Garhwal) in 1939. Raja Ram Molasi bought two trucks and attached to Garhwal Motor Organization (GMO) Kotdwara. Madan Molasi (son of Keshva Nand Molasi) claims that these two trucks were the first trucks as vehicles to GMO. Raja Ram Molasi was one of the founder members of GMO . Raja Ram Molasi also bought a provision store or general store in Kotdwara. However, Raja Ram Molasi could not adjust himself with the different business realities of Kotdwara and different life style too. He came back to Mumbai in 1942 after selling his establishment of Kotdwara. It is true that those who worked in Mumbai find difficult for working in other parts of India. Mumbai is Mumbai and there is no substitute for Mumbai in India in terms of its professional approach in every aspect of life, its vibrancy, its love for living in any conditions -good or bad, hoping beyond hopes, a desire to win the world by accumulating wealth, innovation etc .
In 1958, he opened a motor training school -Republic Motor Training school in Forjet street as diversification business from taxi business .
He was good friend of Girdhari Lal Arya the real brain behind the dream of having Garhwal Darshan building where Garhwalis would live together in Mumbai. Raja Ram was first president of Garhwal Darshan Cooperative Housing Society Limited Jogeshwari, Mumbai.
Raja ram Molasi died in 1966 in Bhatia hospital.
If famous Garhwali pundit Rameshwar Kukreti or Satish Molasi (a great naukari dilau Garhwali) could earn wealth and fame in Mumbai , it is because of Raja Ram Molasi providing shelter to Rameshwar Kukreti and Purushottam Molasi father of Satish Molasi. Like wise, there is long list persons as Ghana Singh (Ghweeli), Kirti Singh (Ghweeli) , Kripal Singh (Gruhali), Gopal Singh (Dhaunri), Brij Mohan Kukreti (Dyusi, Manyarsyun) who came here on the base of Raja Ram Molasi , took shelter in Forjet street and created wealth for themselves. Migrated Garhwali will remember Raja Ram as the symbol of cooperation .
The life sketch of Raja Ram Molasi will always teach Garhwalis that the cooperative nature is necessary for create each type of accomplishments and wealth.
Copyright@ Bhishma Kukreti,Mumbai/India/12/03/2009