13 August 2015 marks the 112nd Birth Anniversary of Surendra Nath Jauhar. Born as Sikandar Lal on 13 August 1903 in the village of Vahalee (now in Pakistan), he received his education at Dayanand Anglo-Vedic High School and College. After his matriculation he changed his name to Surendra Nath Jauhar. At the age of sixteen, he joined the freedom struggle of India. He participated in the defiance against the British Martial Law Regulations. As a member of the District Congress Committee at Delhi he organized the boycott of foreign cloth throughout Chandni Chowk and also read out the Congress Independence Day Pledge and Resolution at the Clock tower. The British Government arrested and tried him in six courts. He was confined in the Central Jail at Multan (now in Pakistan) for fifteen months. He established his business venture ‘S. N. Sunderson & Co.’ which flourished under his able leadership. In 1939 while on an all-India tour with Prof. Indra Sen, he visited Pondicherry for the first time and had the Darshan of the Mother. This was ‘the supreme discovery’ of his life; to quote his own words: ‘… I lost my heart and won the soul and the real life.’ The Mother too had absolute faith in him and authorized him to make collections for the Sri Aurobindo Memorial Fund in 1951. He started building the Delhi branch of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the land he had purchased between 1938 and 1940 and it was formally established on 12 February 1956. The Mother too had told him: “This place will house the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch, and there certainly will be a Shrine for which I have been keeping Sri Aurobindo’s precious relics.” On 23 April 1956 he founded ‘The Mother’s International School’ in the premises of the Delhi branch of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Within a year of its establishment, the school had 200 students on its rolls. In 1956 he established the Mirambika Free Progress School. A dedicated servitor of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, he passed away on 2 September 1986. In 2011 a five-rupee commemorative postage stamp was issued by the Government of India in his honour.
Dr. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar aptly remarks about Surendra Nath Jauhar: ‘The Sikander who became Surendra Nath Jauhar, the Arya Samajist and Gandhian Satyagrahi who became an ardent Aurobindonian and self-absorbed practitioner of the Mother’s Yoga for life’s change and world-transformation, and successful businessman and dealer in building materials who became the architect of the Delhi Ashram and the missionary teacher-registrar of the Mother’s International School, the boy from the Jhelum District in whom native intelligence was doubled with the deeper intuitions of the soul, who made his whole life an adventure of consciousness spanning the whole rainbow arc from the physical to the spiritual, — it was as though all these leaps forward, all these quantum jumps into the unknown, added up to the single integral movement from Here to Eternity.’ (The Spirit’s Manifest Home, pp. 82-83)
As our humble homage to Surendra Nath Jauhar, some of his photographs have been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation. We are extremely thankful and grateful to his daughter Ms. Tara Jauhar for sharing these invaluable photographs with us.
With warm regards,