Seth Chhaju Ram

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Seth Chhaju Ram (1861–1943) was from Punjab, India and made a fortune in Calcutta during the British Raj period. A philanthropist, he undertook many social improvement projects. He financed the higher studies of Sir Chhotu Ram.

Early life[edit]

He was born in 1861 at Alakhpura in Bawanikhera tehsil, Bhiwani district, Punjab. His father was Chaudhary Salig Ram and had migrated from the village of Gothra in Sikar district, Rajasthan.

He was married twice. His first wife was from the village Dohaka who died from cholera. He had no son from his first wife. Then he married Lakshmi Devi of the village Vilawal in Bhiwani district and had children with her.

Career[edit]

When in his early 20s, Chhaju Ram met Arya Samajist engineer Raisaheb Shivnath Rai, who was very much impressed him. Rai took Ram to Kolkata and for some time Ram coached Rai’s children and also those of a businessman from Rajgarh.

The market in Kolkata during those days was dominated by Marwaris. Ram, who had a good knowledge of Hindi and English, did correspondence work for Seth traders and came to be known as munshiji (accountant). During this work he picked up knowledge of their operations and in particular of the dalali (brokerage business or commission agency). He began to trade in old bags and later shifted to the new bags trade. He was, by this time, counted as a known Kolkata dalal.

He earned great wealth due to hard work and polite behavior. He purchased shares in companies. Later he also took in hand the trade of jute and became known as the Jute King.

He was a strong believer in God. He spent a lot of money in social welfare works. He started many hostels, libraries and dharamshalas. He floated scholarships for financially weak and needy students. He financed higher studies of Sir Chhotu Ram. He was known as Bhamasah of kshatriya caste. The British government awarded him the title of ‘Sir’.

Bhagat Singh and Durga Bhabhi stayed in the house of Sir Chhaju Ram with the consent of his wife, Smt.Laxmi Seth. The arrangement was made by Sushila Didi, a revolutionary and comrade of HSRA who was hired as a private tutor to the Seth's daughter and given her own suite in the mansion. Another revolutionary Jaswant Singh (Jhanda Singh) too was living in hiding at the same time.

He died on 7 April 1943.