Home Anniversary Homage to Rai Bahadur Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani on his 106th Death Anniversary

Homage to Rai Bahadur Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani on his 106th Death Anniversary

Homage to Rai Bahadur Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani on his 106th Death Anniversary
Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani

Dewan Sahib’s demise, as mentioned by some authors of his biographies, was the result of a brief illness – fever with cold that he caught during a visit to his agriculture lands in Sanghar district.

By Nasir Aijaz

The 16th December was one of the gloomy days for the people of Pakistan as the terrorists had massacred innocent children of Army Public School Peshawar in 2014. The same day is known for the Fall of Dhaka in 1971 while for the people of Bangladesh it is Independence Day. And for Sindh, it’s the day when Rai Bahadur Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani, a great educationist, social reformer and father of Sindhi literature, left this world for eternal abode.

It was December 16, 1916 when Rai Bahadur Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khlnani passed away, but unfortunately, the day passed unnoticed by the people of Sindh.

On late Friday evening (December 16, 2022) I received a phone call from a friend Mr. Prakash Khilnani, settled in USA, who reminded me of death anniversary of Dewan Sahib. I must thank my friend who reminded me to write and pay homage to Dewan Sahib on his 106th death anniversary.

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Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani (Standing – 3rd from right) with Sadhu Hiranand, Mr. Gupta, Dewan Tarachand and Dewan Mitharam – Photo Courtesy: Book ‘Sindh Je Hindun Ji Tareekh’ (History of Hindus of Sindh) authored by Bherumal Maharchand Advani – first published in March 1947.

Dewan Sahib’s demise, as mentioned by some authors of his biographies, was the result of a brief illness – fever with cold that he caught during a visit to his agriculture lands in Sanghar district.

Bhiria, a small town in Naushehro Feroze district (formerly part of Nawabshah district) of Sindh was the hometown of Dewan Sahib (Born on October 5, 1844), but he had two bungalows in Hyderabad city as well as agriculture land in Jam Nawaz area, presently a Taluka of Sanghar district, which the British government had granted him as reward and recognition of his services, he rendered in the education, literature and social sectors, and therefore he used to visit both places after his retirement from government job. Dewan Sahib was granted 1160 acre land where he engaged local people to work and had setup a village for them to live.

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Rai Bahadur DewanKoaro Mal Chandanmal Khilnani (with white turban and beard on left) at 28th annual session of All India Congress held in Karachi in 1913. Muhammad Ali Jinnah and several others leaders from all over the India are seen here.

Sparing time from his social activities that included delivering lectures to the prisoners in jail, organizing Punchayats, writing and translating books besides taking part in educational conferences and also the meetings of All India Congress, he himself used to visit the lands.

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Dewan Kauromal Khilnani’s home in Bhiria – A view of a roam in the backyard. The building houses a family who got it in claim after migration from East Punjab, India in 1947.
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Outer wall of the home of Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani

Advocate Asudomal writes in the biography of Dewan Sahib that the last time Dewan Sahib visited the lands in the first week of December 1916 but he caught the cold while on the way. He also felt high fever and chest pain and therefore returned home. He felt some relief after taking some medicines but couldn’t recover fully. In the meantime, he was also diagnosed with lung infection and double pneumonia. One day when he took a bath, his condition deteriorated further and after a few days, he passed away at around 7p.m on December 16 in Bhiria. His Samadhi was built in a small park near his home in Bhiria.

Some of my friends who knew that Bhiria, the birthplace of Dewan Sahib is also my hometown, and close friendship of Dewan Sahib and my great grandfather Akhund Ismail, used to talk about him whenever we met. Mr. Ghulam Qadir Wassan, one of those friends, and a retired officer of Sindh Education Department, hailing from a village located near the agriculture lands of Dewan Sahib, often shared his memoirs of Dewan Sahib’s lands and a village of his peasants.

After the partition, Dewan Sahib’s agriculture lands were occupied by others – some refugees from East Punjab, India got it in claims against what ‘they left in India’. At some stage, the owners of same land changed from one to other as a result of sale and purchase.

The main gate of Kauromal Chandanmal Academy High School Bhiria, established by Dewan Kauromal in 1886. The school was taken over by Sindh government in 1967 and building was sold to a local family who used it for residential purpose. Photo taken from a book ‘Bahrawar khaan Bhiria – Tareekh Jo Safar’ (From Bahrawar to Bhiria – Journey of History) authored by Nasir Aijaz and published in 2019.

“Decades back, the village was known as ‘Kauremal Jo Banglow’ (Kauromal’s Bungalow), but with passage of time, the people abandoned this name, and new village with new name had emerged. Today, the village is called ‘Juman Shah Village’. Today, even the memories of Dewan Sahib’s village have erased. The new generations know nothing about the history of that area,” Mr. Wassan had told adding that the land is also owned by Syeds, Marri community people and others.

“These lands are located in Deh (Revenue Unit) Jamrau 64. The Jamrau is a canal which irrigates the lands,” he said.

And, in Bhiria, Dewan Sahib’s home and Authaq (guest house), maintained by his son Manohardas, who used to live in Sukkur, had been allotted to refugees from East Punjab by the government of Pakistan. These structures still exist, though in dilapidated condition, and are home to refugee families.

The Samadhi of Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal was built in a park near his home, but it was also occupied by a refugee family who demolished the Samadhi and built a home to live.

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The place where the Samadhi of Dewan Kauromal existed.

Dewan Sahib’s Samadhi had been erased, but his memories are still alive. The families living in his home and in house built over Samadhi, know very well to whom this property belonged. Moreover, a building, which housed Kauromal Chandanmal Academy (K. C. Academy) High School, established by him in 1886, till 1967, and a primary school established by him in 1902, still exist. The K. C. Academy building had though turned into residence of local people, but the primary school still imparts education to the children and a marble plaque inscribed with Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani’s name is affixed atop the building.

Dewan Kauromal - Primary School- Bhiria - Sindh Courier
The foundation stone bearing name of Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani, who established the Sindhi Boys’ Primary School in Bhiria in 1902. The plaque is still affixed on the front wall of school building.

In 2017, Rana Sher Muhammad Rajput, whose ancestors had also migrated from India, had organized a grand program in Bhiria in front of old K. C. Academy building to observe 100th death anniversary of Rai Bahadur Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnanany. I was honored at this program with a shield for being a member of Akhund family who not only had friendly relations with Dewan Sahib, but run the K. C. Academy School from 1947 to 1967 when the government of Pakistan took it over and built a new building for the school. My grandfather Akhund Haji Faiz Muhammad (Former Education Supervisor), father Akhund Qadir Bux, a teacher and later advocate, and Uncle Akhund Jamil Ahmed, run the school till 1967.

Read More: Life Story of Rai Bahadur Dewan Kauromal Chandanmal Khilnani  


Nasir Aijaz is a senior journalist, Chief Editor Sindh Courier, based in Karachi. He is author of nine books on literature, language and history including a research book on history of Bhiria titled as ‘Bahrawar Khaan Bhiria – Tareekh Jo Safar (From Bahrawar to Bhiria – A Journey through the History).   


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