Page 14 - Gujar Mal Modi
P. 14

Meanwhile little Gujarmal’s father was married for the third time to the daughter

              of a well-known family at Patiala. As ill  luck would have it, the third wife too died
              after a year of married life without leaving any issue. When the father married his

              fourth wife, Rukmini Devi, daughter of Mr. Bansi Dhar of Mahendra Garh, when
              the young Gujarmal was only 2½ years of age. It was under her loving care that

              the child received real motherly affection.

              By the time Gujarmal was four, his father had established his business at Patiala.
              In those days the modern system of pre-primary schooling was not in vogue.

              During the early years, therefore, the young child was put under the care of a Mau/
              vi at his private coaching centre. In those days education in such single-teacher

              coaching centres, established privately, was free. In return for the instruction giv-
              en, the students paid in kind in the shape of grains and other household goods.

              It was under the care of the Mau/vi that the young Gujarmal, though the son of
              an affluent family, started learning the Mahajani style of writing. After complet-

              ing one year of pre-school education, the child, at the age of five, was admitted
              to a local school.

              The grand-father of the child was a staunch believer in discipline. He wanted the
              child to be admitted to a Sainik School to become a soldier. But this was not to

              be. The grandfather died in 1913 when the boy was studying in class VI. Destiny
              had ordained for him an altogether different path - the path of industry. And

              rightly so, because, as later events proved, in the field of industry Mr. Gujarmal
              Modi acquitted himself extremely well by creating the infrastructure for new and

              diverse industries in those areas which had hitherto been thoroughly backward
              and undeveloped.

              Persons who had the occasion to watch the young Gujarmal grow up confide

              that right from his early days he had started showing unmistakable signs of a
              promising career. While his other friends at school appeared to be book-worms,

              the young Gujarmal could be seen engaged in new and uncommon pursuits.
              One person who had watched him during his school days from close quarters

              states that upto his eighth standard, the young Gujarmal used to get two paise
              (three paise in the new decimal currency) as pocket money each day. Those were

              the days when the first World War had just started and inflation and rising prices

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