Srinagar is not just a city. Not even only a district. It actually is both, but is definitely much more… This city is a civilization. A tale of centuries. About shrines. Dargahs. Temples, Gurudwaras and Churches. A lot many places. Lakes. River. Bridges. Hospitals. Missionary Schools. Colleges. Universities. People. All of them. A lot about them.
As an administrative capital of Kashmir, or a commercial hub, it offers opportunities and challenges to its inhabitants. For Gauri Kaul Foundation & our Healthy Heart Mission after going to 5 districts of J & K, and one in North East ( Manipur), it is time to go back home, and this time to the habitants who live in the Dal lake for centuries – a part of our culture.
Gauri was born in Srinagar. Not far from the famous National School in Karan Nagar. The mohalla is Chotta Bazar. In 1922. In the 1901 Census of the British Indian Empire, the population of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was 2,905,578. In the 1911 Census of the British Indian Empire, the total population of Kashmir, and Jammu, had increased to 3,158,126. by the time Gauri was born a decade or so later we were all of about not more than three million and some thousand souls. Ranbir Singh’s grandson Hari Singh, ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925, was the reigning monarch in 1947 at the conclusion of British rule of the subcontinent and the subsequent partition of the British Indian Empire into the newly independent Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. Kashmir was about its two centuries of subjugation and people’ struggle against the despotic Dogra Raj.
Nothing much seems to have changed in so many ways to this day except that Srinagar, a town then, is now no doubt a thriving city. Gauri Dhar was a younger sister of two brothers who in her teens got married in a zamindar family in South Kashmir village Hawal, Pulwama – the Kauls… In the early 1940s her husband left for his education in Lucknow and thereafter they moved and settled in Delhi. Since then home visits have been the biggest source of emotions and love. Now Gauri Kaul returns as a Mission through her Foundation to Srinagar and particularly to Shehr-e-Khas.
Our first healthy heart camp in the city is scheduled in Rainawari. The venue is the backwaters of Dal Lake. Mir Bheri Dal Moti Mahal. The target is 100 plus heart ailment patients registered through our partner NGO NowJawan Akbari Trust. NJAT as it is commonly known has been working in the backwaters of Dal Lake since 2010. We have previously worked with them after the September 2014 flood. From supplies of dry ration to medicines, sanitary napkins and menstrual hygiene management Projects, opening a library and book bank, free tuition centre for 500 students in 8th, 9th & 10th grade, starting a computer centre and many other social initiatives have been undertaken by us in close partnership with NJAT. In 2017 in a unique de-weeding drive more than 6 sq km of Dal Lake were cleaned by 1300 volunteers from the area. 168 shikaras were used. NJAT was again the main implementation partner of the project. It has a small office. A large group of volunteers and over a decade of deep entrenched social work in the Dal.
Gauri Kaul Foundation will aim aggressively at its No-heart Attack Mission 2025 in letter & spirit in Srinagar District. We look forward to regular health camps, seminars, academic research, institutional and individual partnerships for participating in good and quality health care in the city of Srinagar. All like-minded professionals are welcome to contribute and volunteer. The first healthy heart camp in Srinagar city will be conducted by Prof. (Dr.) Upendra Kaul, accompanied by his team of cardiologists – Dr. Abid Hussian, Dr. Muneer Tantray and Dr. Zubair Saleem, Senior Geriatrician.
(For details and registration on the free Healthy Heart Camp, on 28th March 2021 starting 9.00 AM you can visit NJAT office at Mir Bheri Dal, Moti Mahal or contact: [email protected] or call 8825043198)
Ajaz Rashid is social entrepreneur and CEO, Gauri Kaul Foundation