Remembering a philanthropist

Ravi Rohmetra
Duggar Land has produced politicians, academicians, social Workers and leaders of caliber, prominent amongst them is Dr. Lal Chand Gupta.
This is the tale of a towering personality who worked selflessly for the cause of the people. A personality who shared weal and woes of the needy. He was a friend, a guide and a social worker. Born on 13th April, 1904 the main aim and objective of Dr. Lal Chand Gupta remained to help and uplift the victims, sufferers and families below poverty line. He never backed out in fighting for social work and in helping the masses without creed and caste. The feeling of helping and supporting the masses especially poor was so deepened in his heart and mind that he always loved to face all kind of odds or eventualities for the pleasure of others. He always believed that service to humanity is the service to God. This is the basic reasons that the poor masses remember him as their God-father and his name is being taken with great love, respect and honour. During his life time he was counted amongst the great personalities of Jammu. In 1918, his father came to Jammu started his business here. He established a firm under the name of Shanker Dass, Bodh Raj which became one of the reputed firms of Jammu.In 1926 Gupta Ji was married to Beera Devi daughter of Beli Ram of Sialkot. Smt. Beera Devi was niece of great Social Worker Lala Desraj Ji. In 1931 Gupta Ji established “Gupta Eye Lotion” and it brought his name and fame. He sold “Gupta Eye Lotion” at 2 Annas per bottle in Jammu City. He never charged any consultation fee from the patients. In 1945, he got his daughter married in a very simple and solemn manner which was highly appreciated and praised by masses in the State. This came as news in all leading papers of the time. The total number of Baraties invited were seven who were served with “Sarson Ka Saag and Makki-di Roti”. In dowry to his daughter he gave five suits of Khadi Clothes, one suit was gifted to his daughter by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. During the ceremony loud speaker were used for the first time in Jammu & Kashmir State which was brought from Sialkot. For the development of masses he formed “Public Sudhar Sabha”.
Thereafter its name was changed as J&K Social Sudhar Sabha of which he became that President. He remained Dy. Chariman of Gandhi Seva Sadan for 17 years besides being president, member of various social organizations. In 1947, when Pak occupied Kashmir refugees came to Nagrota, on the advice of Maharaja Hari Singh Ji, Gupta Ji established a camp and provided free Medical treatment to refugees. Due to his efforts a gate was constructed at the sacred place of Mata Sheela Devi in Tehsil Samba and also an idol of Mata Sheela Devi was installed in the Temple. Dr. Lal Chand Gupta through J&K Social Sudhar Sabha installed the statue of Sher-E-Duggar Lal Hans Raj Mahajan at Hans Raj Mahajan Park. In the said park is also installed the statue of Dr. Lal Chand Gupta. Gupta Ji exerted duly for development of Sanasar, Patnitop and constructed formed, a pond was named after him and is now known as “Lal Chasma”.
The water of which was loved by the then President of India Zakir Hussain who received the water in bottles from Jammu. The other adjoining ponds in Sanasar were given the name of his family members viz Shanker Chesma, Beera Chesma. Besides this, he remained associated with Khadi movement in the State and worked tirelessly to emphasize Khadi for individual use for the self reliance of mother India. He even presented khadi suits to his daughter on her marriage.
In 1948 he started a weekly paper under the name “Gupta” and in 1952 he started news paper “Inquilab” through the medium of which he raised the voice of masses before the Administrative Authorities. In May 3 1980 Dr. Gupta, the great son of the soil expired.
He will always remain alive in the hearts of those associated with philanthropic activities as their “Guiding Star.”