DEV SAMAJ MOVEMENT IN LAHORE
A SEX SCANDAL ROCKS THE SERENITY OF LAHORE
Sexual harassment of a nurse of Aitchison Hospital
Tirith was a Hindu boy of Lahore, studying with the future legend M.A. Rahman Chughtai. They were very close friends and both were aspiring to be painters in the future. At that time there was a Drawing Mater at Government College Lahore, whose name was Bhagwan Devatwa (Shri Satyanand Agnihotri). Originally an engineer from Thomson College Roorki, he was associated with reformist movement in Hinduism. Divorcing himself from other events, he founded the DEV SAMAJ movement in Lahore on 16th February, 1887. They had a lot of property in Lahore which was left here as they moved in 1947 to other areas of the Punjab, including Bathinda and Chandigarh. Dev Samaj movement is still there in Punjab, India.
Dev Rattan was an important member of Dev Samaj. His eyes fell on a couple, who were living outside Lahore. Enamoured by the woman, Dev Rattan suggested to her husband to send her to Lahore for education and progress. He would take personal care of her and she would work in his own house. Dev Rattan declared the young beautiful girl as his own daughter. ‘Moon boli beti’. His designs were different. He was caught in compromising sexual episodes with her, and various people came up with complains against the Dev Samaj administrator, including the wife of Dev Rattan as well as the girl herself. When Bhagwan Devatwa heard of this, he kicked Dev Rattan out of Dev Samaj.
If things had been left there, it would have receded into nothingness. But Dev Rattan was obsessed with the girl and would not let go. On 16th September 1913 he wrote an article in the newspaper professing his innocence and telling the world she was a daughter to him. The Lahoris reacted very badly to this denial for there was first hand proof against the man. In march 1914, Shriman Amar Singh wrote a pamphlet against Dev Rattan. The fight was in full swing.
The girl used to work in Lady Aitchison Hospital Lahore and boys used to go to look at her., She was the headline in Lahore. Tirith and M A Rahman Chughtai on way home from Mayo School of Arts used to pass the hospital in an attempt to see the lady of the scandal. A sex scandal which started around 1906 and culminated around1914. The details really do not matter. But the affair brought a very bad name to the reputation of Dev Samaj itself.
It is interesting that DEV SAMAJ and DEV BAND have similar kind of histories of reformation. A link between the two movements may be there somewhere.