100 yrs on, no bride in family wears red ‘chura’ - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Saturday, April 6, 2019

100 yrs on, no bride in family wears red ‘chura’


100 yrs on, no bride in family wears red ‘chura’

Vishav Bharti
Tribune News Service 
Amritsar, April 5

When Puran Devi became a widow at the age of 22 in 1919, her red ‘chura’ (wedding bangles’ set) was broken into pieces. The family has seen many weddings since, but none of the brides has worn a red ‘chura’ in the last 100 years; the only colour they know is white.

The death in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 45-year-old Lala Wasoo Mal Kapoor, who figures on Serial No. 49 in the list of martyrs, left its mark on almost every facet of life for the family.

“Fifty years back when I got married, I too wore a white ‘chura’. The same happened in case of my mother-in-law and my children have followed suit,” says Rama Kapoor, grand-daughter-in-law of Wasoo Mal. This ritual is made clear before a new match is arranged in the family.

Not only this, the rituals and festivals falling in the month of April are also not celebrated the way they would be before April 13, 1919.

Lala Wasoo Mal was a prominent cloth merchant of Karmon Deori area. He funded freedom fighters whole-heartedly and was even present at the famous meeting at Hindu Sabha High School a day prior to the massacre, says his great-grandson Sunil Kapoor.

As the story goes in the house of Kapoors, on the afternoon of April 13, 1919, just before leaving for Jallianwala Bagh, Lala Wasoo Mal did not forget to caution his wife that it was dangerous to go outside.

Two hours later, as the sun was setting, the entire city was gripped with panic as news spread that the protesters had been fired at. His wife, Puran Devi, panicked. “She would tell us that with a lantern in her hand, accompanied by her brother-in-law Hari Ram, she left for Jallianwala Bagh. Finding it impossible to reach there, Hari Ram returned after two hours. But crisscrossing the crowded markets, Puran Devi reached the Bagh,” says Rama Kapoor.

She used to tell her grandchildren that for the entire night, the injured got no help. She spent the night among the dead and injured. It was only around 6 am the following morning that some NGO vans reached the Bagh and started taking the injured to the Ram Bagh Civil Hospital (later re-named as Jallianwala Bagh Martyrs Memorial Civil Hospital).

Hit by a bullet, Lala Wasoo Mal succumbed to his injuries on April 19. “She lived on for 73 years after her husband’s death. But, till her last breath, she would fondly address him as Lala Ji,” tells Rama.

Puran Devi was still wearing the red ‘chura’ when she became a widow. Following the rituals, the women in the family broke the ‘chura’ into pieces. But the bigger problem was how to let it be known that she was pregnant. So, at the cremation, Puran Devi was paraded before the mourners and it was announced that she was carrying Lala Wasoo Mal’s child.

Sunil Kapoor says his grandfather, Bhajan Lal Kapoor, was born four months after Lala Wasoo Mal died.

Bhajan Lal joined the family business at a young age and Puran Devi started piecing together her life. Partition was one of the bloodiest periods for Amritsar. 

Bhajan Lal, the only common link between Puran Devi and Lala Wasoo Mal, died in 1947 while trying to save Muslim women and children from rampaging mobs.

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