Lala Deen Dayal


Lala Deen Dayal (also written as 'Din Dyal' and 'Diyal' in his early years) was born at Sardhana near Meerut in 1844. He studied at the reputed Thomson College of Civil Engineering at Roorkee (now IIT, Roorkee) and graduated at the top of his class scoring 258 out of a maximum of 260 marks. In 1866 he became an estimator and draughtsman in the Department of Public Works Secretariat office in Indore. During the course of his job he developed a keen interest in photography and was encouraged by Sir Henry Daly, the Agent to the Governor General for Central India.

In 1874 he photographed the Viceroy Lord Northbrook, and in the following year 1875-76, he photographed the royal visit of the Prince of Wales. Impressed by his talent, Sir Henry took Deen Dayal along with him on his tour of Bundelkhand.

In 1882-83 Deen Dayal again toured Bundelkhand with Sir Lepel Griffin who was then the Agent. His photographs of palaces, forts and temples in Gwalior, Khajuraho, Rewa and Sanchi were splendidly reproduced by the Autotype carbon process in Sir Lepel Griffin's book Famous Monuments of Central India (London 1886). He subsequently took a two year furlough from his official duties in order to concentrate on completing a series of views. Meanwhile he had opened studios in Indore ( around 1874), Secunderabad (around 1886-87) and Bombay in 1896. He sought retirement from the PWD in March 1887 and by then had been the Head Draftsman and Estimator for many years.

By far his most wealthy and flamboyant patron was Mahbub Ali Khan the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, who appointed him the court photographer in 1894 and anointed him with the title of Raja Bahadur Musavir Jung. Similar appointments by a number of Viceroys followed culminating with the royal appointment to Queen Victoria in 1897

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Over 50 people were employed in the three branches and part of the business was supervised by Deen Dayal's two sons Gyan Chand (1867- d.1919) and Dharam Chand (1869-d.1904). In 1892 he opened a Zenana studio, probably the first in India at the Secunderabad studio. Deen Dayal breathed his last in July 1905 preceded by the untimely demise of his wife a couple of months earlier. The mantle of running the firm was taken up by the able hands of Gyan Chand and he continued to do till his death.

No.13682    Lala Deen Dayal with his sons and Staff   15-12-1895

Bombay Gazette, Friday 7th July, 1905

Account Of Lala Deen Dayal

As written by his grandson Ami Chand Deen Dayal in 1982

Autobiography in brief