Our Science Mashter
I am too tethered to childhood. Is it wrong, I do not know? Cannot say because it is too dear to me. In the wildest of dreams, I cannot think of separating it from my being.
I love every minute, I have lived and often dream of reliving every day of my childhood, boyhood and school days. Often while dreaming about those fabulous days, I become as possessive as a damsel about his beloved, believing that every space of his belongs to her. On seeing totems of our culture and the metaphors of its essence that shaped our childhood, crumbling like ‘towers of Babylon ’, one is painfully agonized.
To my agony, I have been a mute witness to the destruction of many symbols of our spirituality and dignity. I was a silent witness to the pulling down, with its entire sanctified ambience the shrine housing Moe-e- Muqaddas. That for centuries had echoed with hymns by great Persian and Kashmiri masters. On seeing the abode of Gani- the poet of dignity, billowing into smokes of dust deathly silence over took me. I used words to protest but do words matter where arrogance of power and hubris roars like guns in the battlefields.
It pains me to see the citadels of our struggle including my school suffering insensitiveness of the powers that be and people who count. My alma mater for all purposes has been the first centre of institutionalized struggle against communal, discriminatory and brutal monarchial rule. It was from here only that the banner of revolt was first raised against occupation of religious places and converting them into garrisons and granaries.
Some days back I was disturbed on seeing the sinking building of the science block of my school. During my school days, it was an iconic building for its architecture and elaborateness. No other school in the city had such an elaborate science laboratory. Thanks to our science mashter Ji. Like images inside a bioscope, faces after faces of many contemporaries at the school that made to the top as medicos, engineers and architects started rolling before my eyes. Many of them betrayed their land for making fortunes in the West but many true to the soil preferred to stay back and serve the people. Names of scores of boys that were senior and junior to me still live in my memory. I remembered Kashi Nath Koul that great science teacher, who continues to live in the memory of a whole generation of doctors and engineers.
Those days, it was after class eight that the students chose their streams of subjects. On the pattern of matriculation examination, the Board of Secondary Examination conducted the class eight examinations. I think ours was the last batch of class eight students that appeared for the Board examination. The post examination period that was about two month was always a great fun time.
The stream of science and physiology was popularly known as ‘full science’, the combination of science and drawing or science and Urdu was named as half-science. Most meritorious student took “full-science or full-medical”, largely those with lesser merit took “half-science”. In our school, a smaller number of students took Persian, Arabic and Urdu as their streams of studies after class eight. Many of the boys who took languages as their streams of education either dropped out without even passing matriculations or took to business after passing tenth class. Only a few took to higher studies. Some made it to the top in handicrafts, one of the traditional occupations of our part of the city that contributed immensely to the economy of the state.
In shaping personality of the science students and putting them into a mould, the role of science master Kashi Nath Koul was immense. Since when he was teaching in the Islamia High School, I have no idea but he had been there much before I got admission in class three. He was there when the first “popular” Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir for his bias had stopped grant in aid for the school and all its twenty branches in the city. Moreover, the school was run on the public donation and teachers were paid meagerly. The peanuts salary did not dampen commitment of our science teachers and others. He was an intensely serious teacher who remembered every students by name in his class…………..
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 8 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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