A good and pious life

Ganga Rewachand Sadarangani passed away yesterday in Mumbai, just a few days after her 101st birthday. She had led a good and pious life. The essay below was contributed by advocate Ashok P Shahani to The Amils of Sindh

At ninety-eight still a beauty

Ganga Aunty was born on Shivratri day, 7 March 1920 in Hirabad, to Kundanmal Motumal Thadani and Kimat. Her brother Lal was born five years later. Kundanmal and his brother Kotumal were Sindhworki businessmen and they had a diamond jewellery store and cloth business in New Market, Calcutta. Ganga remembers the Bengali manager who used to help her father as though he was his own son. When Ganga was ten, the family moved to Hyderabad where they lived in a spacious home on Bhaikhanjichari. Her maternal grandparents were Nebhraj and Dyanibai; her masi was Lakshmi (Lacha) and her mamo, Dayaram, had also gone to Sindhwork.
Ganga was a good-looking young girl with blue eyes and sharp features, striking even today. She was a student at Piggot Girls’ School at Hirabad. Many sought her hand from her father and in 1938, she married the one whom she also loved and admired. Rewachand Sadarangani was the son of Diwan Chattomal. His brothers were Tikamdas and Chandiram and his sister was Kimatbai. The family owned tracts of land at Tando Allahyar and Chattomal travelled to his bunnyoon from the railway station on his horse. They also owned the Capitol cinemas in Tando Allahyar (about halfway between Hyderabad and Mirpur Khas), Tando Adam (near Hala) and at New Market in Calcutta.

Rewachand and Ganga Sadarangani soon after their marriage

Ganga and Rewachand’s wedding was held at Akal Bunga Gurudwara and Ganga recalls that their wedding included a brass band, a horse-drawn carriage and over a thousand guests. It was the marriage of the year and they were offered more than a hundred pakhars – ceremonial dupattas.
At Partition, Ganga and Rewachand escaped to Jodhpur. From there they moved to an army camp in Ryles Siding, a railway siding for disembarking soldiers of the British Army. As more and more accommodation was developed for displaced people from Sindh this came to be Ulhasnagar Camp No 3. Rewachand was the first President of the fledgling Ulhasnagar Municipal Council. The first roads and civic amenities were initiated by Rewachand; he was also the President of Balkanjibari at Ulhasnagar. He and his brother Tikamdas owned the Victory Ice Factory and other properties. Their family was the first in Ulhasnagar to own a car (a Hindustan Landmaster), and their spacious home contained the tikana of their Guru Sain Hariram Sahib which had been adjacent to their home in Hyderabad. Tikamdas, also a zamindar in Sindh, lived in great style there. He was well known as a polo player. Interestingly, his grandson Vicky Nihalani is also a well-known contemporary polo player.
In 1964, Ganga and Rewachand shifted to a double flat in Sukh Sadan, behind Sachkhand Darbar, near Sion Sindhi Colony. They adopted Lal as their own son because Ganga’s mother had died young and requested Ganga to take care of him. Lal passed LLB from Government Law College, Bombay and took up the practice of law. He married Mohini, daughter of the well-known Karachi doctor, Sundardas Hassomal Gursahani, at the newly-constructed Sachkhand Darbar in 1957. They had three children, Neena (1958), Geeta (1960) and Sudhir (1963). Neena’s husband Vinod is the grandson of Harkisondas Malkani of BHU Banaras. Lal died in 1983 and Rewachand in 1991. Ganga listens to Shabad Kirtan from the Darbar and does Paath twice every day. She reminisces the past and the long-lost family wealth but is always conscious that “it could have been worse”.

Ganga and Rewachand on their farm in Sindh

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