Mohan Lal (Zutshi)

Mohan Lal (Zutshi)

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Mohan Lal (Zutshi)

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Mohan Lal () (1812 – 1877) was a traveller, diplomat, and author. He played a central role in the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1838–1842. His biography of Dost Mohammad Khan, emir of Kabul, is a primary source on the War.

He was born in a Kashmiri Zutshi family of Delhi. His father was Rai Brahm Nath and mother came from the Kaul family of Gwalior. Mohan Lal was amongst the first Indians to receive a Western-Style education at Delhi College. His travels took him to Central Asia, Iran, Khorasan, Northern India, Egypt and Europe.

His wife Hyderi Begum was a Muslim and a scholar. During the Indian Mutiny in 1857, she maintained a day book recording vividly the happenings and events in Delhi. Her diary was later seized and confiscated by the British government.

Mohan Lal retired at the age of 32, disappointed that he had not been properly rewarded for his singular contributions to the British cause in the First Anglo-Afghan War. His only brother, Kidar Nath, who was a Deputy Collector at Ambala died in 1855. Mohan Lal's later years were spent in obscurity and financial troubles. He is believed to have written an extensive diary, but it has disappeared.

Mohan Lal Zutshi was born into a Kashmiri Pandit family (Kashmiri Saraswat Brahmin). His father was from the Zutshi clan whereas his mother was from the Kaul clan. Mohan Lal Zutshi was a scholar in the classical languages of Persian and Sanskrit and this cam in handy when he travelled in and around the North-West of...
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