I was born in a big Indian punjabi family as a first child after two years of my parents marriage. Our family was a big joint family. My grandfather Mr Makhanlal Kohli was fourth child and eldest son of the family. My great grandfather Mr Sadh Ram Kohli belonged to Shinkiari which was in Hazara district near Mansera & Abotabad (now in Pakistan) in North West frontier provience region.
Most families here were punjabis and belonged to ‘Khukhrain Biradari’ a special cast of punjabis with almost twelve sub castes in it. Language of people here was punjabi but it was a very soft and high version of Punjabi. Men and women of Shinkiari used to be very beautiful with sharp features.There were no schools here and children used to go to madrasas or in gurudwaras for learning. Where ‘Bhaiji’ a kind of priest of gurudwara used to give them basic knowledge. The language taught here were Urdu and Punjabi.
This was a very beautiful hill station full of natural scenic views with lots of streams which in local language villagers used to call ‘chashma’. Seprate streams were used by men and women for bathing.
Most of the time the village was covered with snow. During those months locked inside their homes women used to weave shawls and large bed spreads known as Bagh. The bright colours of embroidary were very attractive and eye catching. It was used in auspicious functions and was also given to a girl as gift at the time of her wedding.
My great grandfather lost his parents at a very young age of twelve years.Being an orphan now, he then started working for Ghanshyam Das and Saran Das two brothers who were big contractors of that area. Britishers ruling India used to give them contracts of forest clearance. My great grandfather was a very honest and trust worthy employee. He won the trust and hearts of Das brothers. Once these brothers fell into trouble. They cut more trees then ordered by officers. As a punishment they got two years imprisonment. While they were in prison my great grandfather took good care of their business. With his hard work he took the business to new heights.
After their return the Das brothers found a flourished business and were very impressed by my great grandfather’s honesty. Out of love and reward they helped him to start his own business. He started his general merchant shop and soon with his dedication and hard work he managed to get its branches and two other shops of cloth business.
At the age of 28 he felt the need to get married and married an orphan girl of a village near Rawalpindi. She had two siblings a sister Sita devi and a brother Harikishan. My great grandfather took good care of both of them too… Just as per his name he was a very simple, honest and big hearted man. He was very generous and kind too. Anyone who used to visit their village for business had to accept hospitality of my great grand parents. They used to provide free meals to even strangers, who used to come to that village. Haveli (a very big house) of Kohli’s was famous for its hospitality and generosity.