Lala Hargobind, a businessman migrated to Amritsar, Punjab in 1860 from Peshawar (now in Pakistan) and thus got the name Peshawaria. Set up a Sarai (Inn) called "Peshawaria Dharmashala" for the pilgrims visiting the famous Golden Temple in Amritsar. He was succeeded in the business by his son, Lala Chajju Mal who expanded the business of the family and moved into textiles. He constructed charitable inns at Haridwar and Vrindavan — two religious cities of India. All these inns still exist and are being run by "Peshawaria Trust " . The couple had five sons — Lala Kishan Chand, Lala Muni Lal who was Kiran's grandfather, Lala Dina Nath, Lala Sita Ram, Lala Madan Gopal, and two daughters Ram Bhejo and Lalto.
Lala Muni Lal and Pritam Kaur
Lala Muni Lal was the most dynamic person in the family. His close proximity to the British Government Officers, politicians and the business circle had earned him an enviable status in the society. The family prospered further and built many properties. People often approached Lala Muni Lal for ‘sifarish’ (recommendations) to various authorities, when in need of help. A great disciplinarian, Kiran draws her inspiration from him. Kiran's grandmother Pritam Kaur was a devout lady and a regular visitor to the Golden Temple. Kiran's father Prakash is third in a family of four sons, the others being Manohar Lal, Man Mohan, Narender and three daughters Banarso, Pushpal and Mahender. Kiran's paternal and maternal families were secular and strongly value based.
Prakash Lal Peshawaria and Prem Lata Peshawaria
Prakash, a sensitive young man was inclined academically, but was not allowed to continue as he had to join the family business. He however, had liberal access to the best of the clubs in Amritsar to pursue his interest in tennis. He married Prem Lata née Janak Arora, a brilliant student of her time. The couple had four daughters — Shashi, Kiran, Reeta and Anu. Both Prakash and Prem Lata had a vision ahead of their time and were in no way conventional in the upbringing of their daughters. They believed in giving them the best of the education which was not the trend of the times. Daughters then were considered liabilities, to be married off with hefty dowries. In fact, when Kiran's grandfather found out that the girls would be enrolled in a convent, he withdrew the family's allowances. But, inspite of these obstacles the girls got a motivating and enthusiastic environment in which they got to realise their potential, be it academic or sports, particularly tennis which they learnt from their father who had become an ace player himself. All daughters moved on to excel in their chosen vocations. Shashi in the field of philosophy and art, Kiran in uniformed services, Reeta in the field of psychology and Anu in law while having also played at the Wimbledon, Asian Games and the Universiad where she represented India.
The family suffered a major blow recently when Kiran's mother Prem Lata expired in May 1999. Kiran was extremely close to her mother, and the loss, in Kiran's own words,"is irrepairable". Her mother symbolized discipline, grit and determination. Kiran was once asked if she would like to be reborn to which she replied only if she had the same parents.
Brij , Kiran , Daughter Saina & Son in law Ruzbeh
It was on the tennis court that Kiran met her husband, Brij Bedi who was a member of the same club i.e. the Service Club in Amritsar. He was a University tennis player, a former farmer and a textile engineer by profession. He is a renowned social activist in Amritsar . He is known in the city for education of children of drug addicts.
They have a daughter, Saina who is also involved in community service. She along with her husband Ruzbeh N. Bharucha, is producing short films and documentaries. Ruzbeh is a journalist by profession. He is an author of five books to date and his latest book and film Yamuna Gently Weeps, pertaining to demolition of Yamuna Pushta Slums in Delhi has been released and internationally acclaimed. For more information visitwww.yamunagentlyweeps.com