Udham “Bhani” Rai

 Udham Rai (c 1902-1992) was known as “Bhani” by her family.  She represents the thousands of wives who were left behind in Punjab after their husbands left the country beginning in the 1890s. Bhani Rai lived apart from her husband, Chanchal Rai, for 62 years. Bhani never received a formal education.  She raised two boys, Sohan and Mohan, together with her brother and her mother-in-law in a village in Punjab.  In 1989, she joined her husband in Yuba City at the very end of her long life.  Chanchal and Bhani would pass away within a year of each other.

Photos courtesy of the Rai Family.


Udham “Bhani” and Chanchal Rai, 1990, Yuba City.

“Bhani” Rai with her two sons, 1950s, Punjab, India