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Prof. Chaman Lal Sapru

A dedicated teacher, an authority on cultural history of Kashmir, a journalist and a well-known social activist, Professor Sapru has many firsts to his credit.

He received his early non-formal education from his father Pandit Tarachand Sapru, a well known educationist who was one of the first graduates of Jammu and Kashmir state. His prominent students include Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and T.N. Koul (former diplomat and foreign secretary). 

Prof. Chaman Lal Sapru
Prof. Chaman Lal Sapru

Professor Sapru graduated from earstwhile J&K University, did post-graduation from Punjab University at Solan. He has distinction of being the first graduate Hindi language and literature from the earstwhile Kendriya Hindi Mahavidyalaya, Agra, now known as Central Hindi Institute. He has also the distinction of being the first Hindi lecturer in J&K state where Hindi was introduced as one of the elective subjects in the Colleges, through his untiring struggle. He led a delegation to the Official Language Commission headed by B.G. Kher in 1956 and got Hindi recognized at various levels in the State. Through his efforts he got National Hindi News bulletin relayed from Srinagar station A.I.R. also.

Professor Sapru has the credit of starting and editing the first Hindi monthly magazine Kashyap published after independence in 1959 and later starting a quarterly Hindi journal Satisar from Kashmir. 

He has encouraged and guided many Hindi scholars and writers of modern generation in Kashmir. The first Hindi post-graduate of Ladakh and presently the Principal of Govt. Degree College, Leh, Dr. Dorjey Tswang and the first Kashmiri-speaking Muslim post-graduate Hindi officer at Doordarshan Kendra, Srinagar, now a correspondent of BBC Abdal ahamed Mehjur (grandson of great Kashmiri poet Mehjoor), were taught by him and persuaded to qualify for the post-graduation degree in Hindi language and literature. 

Well-known short story writer Dr. H.K. Koul has rightly called him as Mahaveer Prasad Diwedi of Kashmir for his pioneering work in the propagation and development of Hindi and Kashmiri language in the Kashmir Valley. He guided 40 Rashtra Bhasha centers, wherefrom more than 38000 Kashmiri-speaking Muslim candidates learnt Hindi and appeared in various Hindi examinations conducted by the Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Samiti Wardha founded by Mahatma Gandhi since 1956.

Professor Sapru organized historic National function/seminars such as Vivekananda Birth centenary (1963), Prem Chand Birth centenary (1980) and Sher-i-Kashmir S.M. Abdullah National Seminar in Kashmir.

Apart from contributing to the literary movement in the valley, he is involved in the various educational activities. He became first youngest elected member to the earstwhile J&K University Senate in 1959, is member of Kashmir Women’s welfare trust founded under the inspiration and guidance of Dr. Annie Besant, which runs two premier Girls Institutions Vasanta and Kashyapa girls High Schools in the valley. Besides a member of Hindi Shiksha Samiti, G.O.I. he has been a member of the Hindi advisory comities of Ministry of Defence, Steel & Health. 

Author of eighteen books notable are SANTOOR-KE-SWAR, KESAR-AUR-KAMAL & RAMAKRISHNA KATHA AMRYATH, etc. Professor Sapru is recipient of many State as well as National Awards and Honours, notable among these are Sauharda Samman (U.P. Govt), Best Book Award M.O.H.R.D from Govt. of India & J&K. State Academy of Art, Culture and languages, and Hindi Academy of Govt. of Delhi. Etc.

After exodus from Srinagar, where he served as Professor and H.O.D. as well as Principal Govt. Degree College at Baramulla, he headed department of Hindi Govt. Camp College (University of Kashmir) at Jammu. After retirement, besides his research work on Kashmiriology, he remained actively involved in media. He remained advisor to the popular weekly tele-magazine --- “KASHMIR FILE”. Presently he is an honorary editor of a widely circulated monthly socio-cultural journal Koshur Samachar from Delhi.

Prof. Sapru is founder secretary of Ramakrishna Ashrama, Srinagar and presently member managing committee Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi. He was also member of the Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust founded by Maharaja Gulab Singh.

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