Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

Milchar

Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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Milchar
October-November 2003 issue

Kashmir's Silk Embroidery with floral patterns

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

 
  National Schools of Kashmir

  J. N. Kachroo

An Institution with a Mission - 2

(Click for Part 1)

In continuation to what appeared in the previous issue of Milchar, a brief account of the ups and downs of the Institution between 1938 and 1968 is attempted. Details are beyond the scope of this article.

     From early forties, Pt. Balkak Dhar was succeeded as president by Late A.N.Kak, a prominent lawyer, an MLA and the elder brother of R.C.Kak, the then prime minister of J&K state. Late Srikanth Kaul Vakil was the secretary till his death in mid forties, when S.D.Dhar, Conservator replaced him.

     The Institution had its golden period between 1938 to 1948. Following the opening of the Srinagar school, a large contingent of highly qualified teachers was inducted. Some of them were posted at Baramulla against some experienced ones, who were transfered to Srinagar. Thus both schools got a blend of experience and youth. This proved advantageous to both.

     The Baramulla school showed consistent performance. It grew in prestige and enhanced its reputation in the entire area including the present Kupwara district. It began to be patronised by the elite of the times. It had the unique distinction of being adjudged as an 'Excellent School', entitling it to a bonus of 25% of the grant-in-aid. Late N.L.Kitroo, an upright and reputed officer was the Inspector of Schools. His judgement was endorsed by the Director of Education, K.G.Saiydan after personal verification.

     The Srinagar school started with distinct advantages; its central location in Karan Nagar with a growing neighbourhood; the reputation of its parent institute; good will of the literate sections; qualified and experienced staff and government support. No wonder, it enrolled students from all over the city and from all the socio-economic stratas of the society. Some names of outstanding students of that period, given hereunder will bear testimony to the contribution of the two schools.

Crisis:

The tribal attack of 1947 was a blow to the Baramulla school. Its buildings were vandalised, its furniture, equipment, library and laboratory damaged. Its two senior teachers, dozens of students were killed. When the school reopened after the town was liberated, the roll had drastically been reduced due to migration. The staff was impoverished due to loss, death of relatives and arson. No feeder or hostel survived.

     The President of the institution, A.N.Kak had to leave the state because of political compulsions. S.D.Dhar assumed the role of acting president. The M.C. depended solely on the members of the core group.

     The institution faced a series of crises. Ignoring their chronology, they were:

1. The Srinagar school building along its contents, excepting basic records, was reduced to ashes in a fire. Thanks to late S.K.Kaul, not actively involved with the M.C., and thanks to the owner Late D.N.Mathoo, the building was reconstructed and the school housed back. But the school could not be furnished and equipped for want of funds.

2. In the name of nationalisation of private education, the government ordered suspension of grant-in-aid, and taking over of private schools. The management was taken off guard. After protracted negotiations, the government took over the Baramulla school, its movable and immovable assets (building and play fields) without any compensation to the rightful owners., the M.C., which retained the Srinagar school. The staff was demoralised. About 12 qualified and young teachers migrated from the Valley. Almost 25 teachers joined the government service. The M.C. slashed the salary of remaining staff by 25%.

     Imbued with the spirit of service and sacrifice, the resilient group of founders, with the belief that the institution would rise like the proverbial Phoenix, put their act together and decided to fight. The focuss of the mission was the service of the less privileged in the context of unfortunate deaths, old age of some and migration of a few. Non availability of young recruits added to their woes. However, they succeeded in retaining the services of three youngmen namely late P.N.Kuchroo, J.N.Patwari and the writer of this article. Unfortunately, P.N.Kuchroo died shortly after a few years. Keeping the size of the school in view, the number of eligible teachers was miserably inadequate. The management decided to hire on contract retired teachers. No means an ideal solution!

Struggle for survival :

The period between 1949 to 1953 was the worst, with no funds. August 1953 political events brought some hope. Grant-in-aid was restored. But the revised rules complicated the proceedures to earn grants. The school hardly managed the salary expenses, no capital investment was possible. The following were the main features of the Struggle Period:

a) Luckily most of the students on roll in 1950 continued with the school

b) Admission in lower classes dwindled, especially from the neighbourhood and the middle class. To make up the numbers, admissions were liberalised. Quality of the new entrants could not be controlled. 9th and 10th classes grew in numbers beyond what the faculty could hold. Academic standards declined. The quantitative results tended to touch the nadir. The only silver lining was offered by some exceptionally bright students who would lend some semblance of quality to the otherwise poor show.

c) Again the old guards, especially late B.D.Kaul rose to the occasion. He persuaded late S.K.Kaul to take over as President. Other members of the M.C. were Justice J.N.Bhat, P.N.Kaul IFS, Conservator (Secretary), S.D.Dhar (Actt), J.N.Hashia IPS, G.A.Burza, MLA, G.R.Dar, Joint Director Education, as government representative and the writer as employees' representative, D.N.Raina, J.N.Misri and S.L.Raina as ex-officio members. The Committee took a historic decision of retiring all employees who were 64 plus, on April 1, 1969. Only D.N.Raina continued in his service for sometime more. He took over as the Principal and I was designated Head Master in my own grade and pay. The task of reconstruction started from 1969.

     During the period ending 1968-69, the following (positions they held at that time or in due course of time are shown in brackets), brought honour to themselves and to the school. The list is based on my memory. Omissions are inevitable, but not intentional. The details are subject to amendment.

Ghulam Mohidin Shah and Harbans Singh Azad  (Cabinet Ministers), P.N.Kaul, R.C.Raina and Prof. Nasarullah (Chief secretaries), M.S.Pandit (Ex Financial Commisioner, now Chairman, Muslim Auqaf Trust), Mir Mukhtar Kanth, Dr. O.N.Wakhlu and Dr. O.N.Kaul (Principals, REC, Srinagar), M.L.Shalia (Central Railways), J.L.Kak (CPWD), M.L.Mattoo (BPCL), S.N.Kaul, B.L.Misri, C.L.Mattoo, G.R.Lone (Chief Engineers), Dr. Assadullah Lone (Principal, Medical College, Lahore), Dr. Hameed Karra (Director, medical Education), Dr. A.K.Kaul (Principal, College of Dentistry), Dr. H.K.Koul (HOD, Pathology, Medical College, Srinagar), Dr. R.K.Chrangoo (Surgeon, Medical College, Jammu), Dr. Nissar A. Wafai, Dr. Naresh Kaul, Dr. B.L.Kaul, Dr. Ashok K. Kaul (all working abroad), Dr. Ajay Dhar, Dr. Wali (AIIMS), Allah Bux (DIG Police), Late Dr. Duni Kumar Razdan (Director, Gardens & Parks), K.L.Zutshi (Chairman, NHPC), Rajen Kaul (CEO, Arya Communications), M.K.Kilam (ED, ONGC) Dr. C.L.Kaul (ONGC), B.M.Kher (GM, ONGC), Surinder Kachroo (GM, WTC, Mumbai), P.K.Wattal (Head, Processing Division, Nuclear Recycle Group, BARC), Romesh Kachroo (VP, Arya Communications) T.K.Bhan, M.K.Khosa, Kuldeep Raina, R.R.Khosa  (all engineers working at different places), S.K.Kaul (HPEB), Late Moti Lal Misri, Late Tika Lal Taploo (Social/political activist), Late Bansi Parimoo, Veer Munshi (Artistes), M.L.Kemmu (of Banda Pather fame), Late Virendra Razdan, Chand Dhar (TV artistes), Dr. K.N.Pandita (Director, Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University), Prof.Hassnan, M.L.Kher (Zonal Education Officer), Dr. R.K.Tiku (SKUAST), Surrinder Tikoo (Manager, Central Bank), Prof. B.L.Raina (Maths), Dr. Ravi Raina (Research Laboratory, Jammu), B.K.Das (Principal, M.Dass School, Jammu), Prof. M.L.Raina (now in USA), Dr. B.K.Moza, Dr. Ashwini Chrangoo.

     Some of the above responded to my earlier appeal. I expect more to oblige.

(To be concluded)



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