Chhaju Ram’s donation list seemed to be endless. But Chhaju Ram often used to say: he was doing the work which no one has done in his caste and God gives him many times more than what he donates.
Sat Singh (email@example.com)
Better known as Seth Chhaju Ram was a great philanthropist of his time and rose from a simple villager to be a business tycoon in the British India.
The ancestors of Set Chhaju Ram had come from Gothara of Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan and settled at Dhani Mahu of Bhiwani district.
His father Chaudhary Silag Ram had then migrated to Alakhpura village of Bhiwani district in 1860.
It was here that Chhaju Ram was born in 1861. On arrival in the village Alakhpura, his family was undergoing a lot of difficulty relying solely on farming. Chhajuram got his early education from the school at Bawani Khera.
After passing middle education from Bhiwani, he passed matriculation examination from Rewari.
Being a meritorious student, he continued to get scholarships in school but could not get further education due to the weak economic condition of the family.
He had a good grasp on Sanskrit, English, Mahajani, Hindi and Urdu languages. But his search for employment remained unfulfilled.
At that time there was a Bengali Engineer S.N Roy Saheb in Bhiwani, who hired Chaudhary Chhajuram for a salary of one rupee per month to teach his children’s tuition.
In 1883, when this Bengali engineer moved back to Calcutta, he invited Chhajuram to his house there.
On which he arranged the fare to Kolkatta from here and there and reached at the house of the engineer.
There he continued the tradition of teaching tuition to his children in the same way.
Around the same time, traders known as Marwari Seths started visiting Kolkata for business purposes. But they lacked the knowledge of English language.
Finding an opportunity to rise, Chhaju Ram started assisting them in the exchange of English-related trade, on which the Marwari Seths began to pay for it.
In a matter of a few days, Chhajuram became popular in the Marwari society by the name of a sharp accountant and a skilled master.
While handing the job of correspondence for Marwari Seths, he also learned some tricks related to trade, which proved to be helpful in making him a great businessman of that time.
After some time he started a small trade of Bardana (old sacks).
The purchase and sale of old sacks proved to be a boon for him, with the benefit of which he gradually started buying shares of companies in Calcutta.
As a result, he started getting recognition and being counted among the key traders.
Over a period of time, he gained influence in the business of jute and singlehandedly ruled the jute market. By the dint of his hard work, persistence and dedication, he was being hailed as Jute King.
For his increased stature, his name was being taken among key millionaires of those times and started calling him Seth.
He was the largest shareholder of 24 major foreign companies of Calcutta. He soon became the director of 12 companies.
Therefore, Punjab National Bank appointed him as its director but after some time he resigned due to not finding them for the new job.
He was a close family friend of Seth Ghanshyam Das Birla due to his Rajasthani roots connection, Birla’s children used to call him Nana.
A time had come when Seth Chhajuram had six magnificent and palatial houses in Calcutta.
Apart from this, he also built two magnificent palatial houses in Sheikhpura near Alakhpura and Hansi.
He had several hundred acres of land in village Sheikhpura, Alipur, potter’s Dhani, Kagasar, Moth, Jamani and Alakhpura villages.
He had cotton and peanut oil extracting factories in Khanna, Punjab. He built the Neeli Kothi for Chaudhary Chhotu Ram in Rohtak which still stands in the same color in the middle of Rohtak, which is currently in possession of Chaudhary former Union Minister Birendra Singh.
His elder son Sajjan Kumar was among the first few who bought a Rolls Royce car when it arrived in India in 1913. Even few kings could boast of purchasing the iconic car of that time for Rs. 1 lakh.
As per prevailing tradition at that time, Chhajuram was married as a child in Dohka village district Bhiwani, but shortly after his marriage his wife died of cholera.
The second marriage took place in 1890 in the Rangi family in Bilawal village of Bhiwani district, both of which fall in the village under the influence of Sangwan Khap.
He had three sons, the eldest of whom was Sajjan Kumar, who died at an early age.
After that two boys were Mahendra Kumar and Pradumra Kumar.
His elder daughter Savitri Devi was married to Dr. Naunihal, a resident of Meerut.
Ch. Chajju Ram was popular for doing charity at that time in the country and pioneered various social works for the welfare of people.
At that time there was no institution in which Seth Chhaju Ram had not donated, from Ravindra Nath Tagore’s ShantiNiketan University in Calcutta to DAV College, Lahore. Whether it is Hindu University, Banaras, Gurukul Kangri or Jat institutions of Rohtak or Hisar.
The present Jat College and CAV School of Hisar were built entirely by them.
He partly financed the education of peasantry leader Ch. Chhotu Ram who later went on to become the Messiah of Farming community.
In addition, he built many gaushalas and gurukuls.
He donated almost to all the big Congress leaders of that time.
Chhaju Ram’s donation list seemed to be endless.
But Chhaju Ram often used to say: he was doing the work which no one has done in his caste and God gives him many times more than what he donates.
As far as the town of Bhiwani is concerned, Seth Chajju built Lady Halley Hospital in the year 1911 at a cost of five lakh rupees in memory of his late daughter, where the Chaudhary Bansilal General Hospital stands today.
Along with this, he also built a gaushala and a primary school in Bhiwani.
Today, on the land of the same Gaushala, there is a Gaushala Market in the middle of Bhiwani and on the gate of the name of Chajju Ram and his son Sajjan Kumar name is among the donors.
When there was a severe famine in 1928, the people of Bhiwani city were dying for every drop of water.
On which the Tehsildars Ghasiram, Pandit Nekiram Sharma and Shridatt Vaidya of Bhiwani Tehsil reached Seth Chhajuram in Calcutta and narrated the agony of Bhiwani, Chhajuram gave them three lakh rupees to construct wells and steps.
But today it is regrettable that no monument and statue of that great donor was found anywhere except Hisar.