Tributes - Sh. Jatender Zutshi
|Jatender Zutshi |
Homage to late Shri Jatender Nath Zutshi, who passed away in California in June 2010:
Shri Jatender Nath, my eldest brother-in-law, was always known as Papu ji to all in the family. For me, he was my “Elder Brother Figure” in my early age. Over the years, this relationship transitioned into a bond of friendship. We were close friends for many decades, sharing good and bad vicissitudes of life in Kashmir, in Jammu, and here in US.
Papu ji spent last 30 years of his life in comfortable retirement in US, together with his life partner of 65 years, with his their loving and caring sons, daughters & grand children. He loved living in California, which always reminded him of the excellent landscape and climate of Kashmir, where he spent his active youth. While living in US he was very much a part of the local KP community & had many friends from among the KP Seniors. Besides that, he spent a lot of his time at the local Senior Center where he made friends with many indigenous seniors.
Every one who knew him appreciated his affable, affectionate and friendly nature. He had that rare quality, the simple goodness of a good human being. Always optimistic, for him the glass was always half full. He brought laughter & happiness in the lives of people he associated with. Rarely, if ever he got upset with anyone, it was very momentary; he never harbored any ill will, rancor or grudge against any one. His core principle of life was “Live & let Live.”
Even though he moved to this foreign land at a late age, he tried his best, and succeeded, in being self reliant and independent in his day to day activities, to spare trouble to his children.
He was proud of his Indian heritage and ancestry, but at the same time he was very appreciative of the life & the system in this country. He always wished that the mother country, India, would succeed in emulating the same. He gave due credit to the local people for their discipline and civic sense; their honest and straightforward dealings; their prompt service; their acceptance of foreign seniors as equals; the health care and other benefits provided by the system to foreign seniors at par with that provided to the native senior population born & brought up here.
Papu ji’s life in Kashmir, prior to moving to US, exemplified the early portents of troubles and turmoil KP’s were to face in their native land later on. He had moved away from his parental home in Srinagar at a young age to start his life & family, managing the ancestral land in Sopore. He was known there as Jat Lal. He was very popular & friendly with the local Muslim population.
In 1947, the Pakistani raiders attacked Kashmir, and took over the areas up to outskirts of Srinagar. Raiders looted the KP homes & properties, and massacred hundreds of them in the towns they occupied. By chance Papu ji’s family had come to Srinagar a few days before the attack, but unluckily he himself was stuck in Sopore. He got the word that the raiders were looking for him, and he had to hide in trenches for many days to escape certain harm. That was the first time he found that, while some good Muslim friends helped him escape the wrath of raiders, many others well known to him, looted his house and actually helped the raiders in their search for him.
Later on, in 1951, radical Land Reforms were enacted by the Sheikh Abdullah government. Papu ji, like many other land owners, was deprived of hundreds of Kanals of his land, without any compensation to tide over the consequent hardship. Being a devoted family man, he had to find alternative means of livelihood for the family. That is when he tried his hand at contracting & transportation business.
Later on, over the years, many political events took place in Kashmir. Religious fanaticism, instigated from across the border, started spreading fast in the valley. Relationship with the local Muslim population continued to deteriorate. Around 1963 there was another major upsurge of anti-KP sentiment among the local population. The trucks he owned were targeted and attacked by local persons well known to him. That was when he decided to bid farewell to Kashmir, and he migrated to Jammu along with the family.
Way back then, 25 years before the mass KP exodus of 1989, he had sensed the shape of events to come, and he used to say that continued safe survival of KP’s in the Valley for long, was doubtful.
In Jammu his efforts were to give a good education to his children. With God’s blessings he succeeded in that. When they settled in the US, he together with his wife moved to join them. He was blessed with well deserved love and care from his devoted wife, children & grandchildren who served him very well in his older years. May his soul rest in peace.
Bansi Lal Tikku
"Jatender Zutshi was not just a father to me but in our journey of life, he always stood behind me like a true friend. He was a source of strength and tried to shape my personality through his actions and deeds. I wish I could be half as warm, positive and strong like him." -
With his wife Lalita
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