Lest we forget

“Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.”-Aristotle Once I was teaching MA Education students and during the lecture I mentioned the book ‘Can Education Do It’, authored by Professor Salamatullah, Head Post Graduate Department of Education during 1980s. While interacting with students from different departments of the University I observed that the present crop has no awareness about the great teachers of yesteryears who served University of Kashmir with utmost dedication and sincerity for decades.

As moral obligation I shot an email on the official mail of Vice Chancellor and Registrar on 12th April 2019, Friday 12:33:44 IST with the humble pray to create a gratitude page on the official website of the University titled Tribute Diary, and arrange memorial lectures. I attached  with email the profile of some eminent teachers of yesteryears for their kind perusal, the proposal is under active consideration. As a mark of gratitude I shall pay tribute to some great souls who worked tirelessly for decades to put University of Kashmir on growth trajectory. The list is endless, these unsung heroes with their exemplary service  have left a gravitational message for future custodians to serve their institution with a sense of passion  and strive tirelessly with unpunctuated faith to put their mother institution on growth trajectory.  To start with Khwaja Ghulam Ahmad Ashai  (Amla Ashai April 4th 1895 to November 13th 1964 AD)  is considered an eminent educationist. Appointed as the Special Officer in 1948, he played key role in establishing the Jammu and Kashmir University. He remained as the first Registrar and the Chief Executive of the University from 1948 to 1953. He held a Bachelor of Arts with first class distinction, a Bachelor of Teaching, Master of Arts Degree in Persian Language from Calcutta University and was a Chancellor’s Gold Medal recipient.

As a mark of gratitude on 13th April 1988 seminar in memory of Kh Ghulam Ahmad Ashai was organized by University of Kashmir attended by Professor Mushurul Haq Vice Chancellor, Professor Saif-ud-din Soz Registrar , Begum Abdullah, at the conclusion of the occasion road from Khalifapora (Khanyar) to Pandach was named as G A Ashai Road, memorable stone was erected which stands buried in history. Professor Kh Noorudin was a noted mathematician , he was former vice –chancellor of the University of Kashmir & principal SP College , in 2012 during International year of Mathematics memorial lecture in memory of Kh Noorudin was delivered and scholarship in his name announced at SP College . 

Professor Aga Ashraf Ali (1922-2020), truly a renaissance figure was a noted academician. He was enrolled at the Ball State Teachers College in Indiana where he did his PhD in comparative education. He was founder Dean & Head Post Graduate department of Education, member Bhagwan Sahai committee on education headed by J P Naik, chairman Board of school education, commissioner higher education, one thing to be noted is that the table he had procured in Dean chamber of Education department in 1967 on which he worked was used by subsequent Heads till date. During his last visit to University of Kashmir he had desired to visit his parent department, he was hosted by Professor  Mohammad Professor Iqbal Mattoo former Dean & Head KU Education at his residence within the campus. P N Kachroo was the Head department of Botany, University of Kashmir for eighteen years (1967-1984). Basically a cytologist and student of evolutionary botany Prof Kachroo adopted an  inter-disciplinary approach was  awarded Smith Mundt Fullbright fellowship ,Prof Mahshwari gold medal of Indian Botanical Society ,Prof A C Joshi memorial award, Prof  P N Mehra memorial award, he passed away on 11th April 2007. Professor Shamsuddin was Head department of Persian, joined University in 1952 held key position in University for more than 3 decades. He carried translation of many classical Persian works into Kashmiri and Urdu. He was awarded president award for his outstanding contribution to Persian language and literature. Professor  B.L Sapru served in the Department of Botany , was a man of simple living and high thinking, caring father and an able researcher, he expired on March 15,2017. 

Professor M S Want was the Head department of English University of Kashmir for 12 years (1964-1976), Professor Want was the first PhD in English from the State of Jammu & Kashmir. He pursued his research programme from University of Leeds UK under the supervision of Professor Bonamy Dobree. He passed away on 25th January 1983.Professor A A Suroor from AMU joined University of Kashmir as Professor Iqbal Chair in 1977.It was due to his pain staking efforts that Iqbal Chair was converted into a full-fledged research institute in 1979 and he became its first Director. He was awarded Pakistan President Gold Medal for his services to Iqbal studies. His contribution to Urdu literature and criticism earned him Sahayati award and Ghalib award. Professor Mohammad Amin Andrabi former Director Iqbal Institute had completed his doctorate under the supervision of Professor A A Suroor. Professor Amin is buried at Malarata Andrabi graveyard. Prof Ramesh Kumar Sharma was Head department of Hindi and Sanskrit University of Kashmir. He served as Dean Arts for two terms; Professor Sharma did pioneering work on comparative theology. Professor Mushtaq Ahmad Quershi served as the Head department of Chemistry ,as Director Quality Assurance cell of the University he played instrumental role in implementing best healthy practices & Quality benchmarks in University policies & practices. Professor Abdul Rehman Rather (Gold Medalist) had served as Head Department of Education & Psychology at University of Kashmir, has authored a book on creativity, measurement & evaluation, constructed & standardized dropout scale under the supervision of Professor Salamatullah & Professor Baquer Mehdi. He is buried at Pinglana Pulwama. Professor Moti Lal Lidhoo served as Head Department of Education was a core researcher, constructed & standardized Delinquency Proneness Scale for identification of Potential Delinquents & Non Delinquents. Professor G R Abdullah served as Head Department of Education strengthened the student –support –services of the department. Professor M L Wangoo served as Head Department of Education, authored book on population education, strengthened the extension & outreach wing and coordinated school education with university. Professor N.A Nadeem played instrumental role in career mobility of thousands of students with significant coming from low socio-economic –strata they  are placed as teachers, assistant professors, principals in colleges and universities. One day Prof Shah Manzoor Alam former VC visited education department in 1986 saw Professor Nadeem and Professor Rather engrossed in serious research work, told his escorts look I have given best teachers to the education department. Professor Abrar Hassan Khan served as Director Distance Education, played significant role in enhancing Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in Distance mode, while performing duty as Controller Examinations met an accident at examination block and was laid to rest near Kathidarwaza. Professor Abdul Rashid Khan served in Department of Zoology was former president Kashmir University Teachers Association &former Dean College Development Council. Dr(Er.) Mehraj-ud-din Dar former Director of IT & Support services of the University will be remembered for laying the foundation of e –governance platform at the University of Kashmir. Prof N A Shah from department of electronics and former dean colleges will be remembered as a good teacher. Professor M.K Taing discharged his duties at the University of Kashmir and was a distinguished philosopher, political think tank.

Professor Hamidi Kashmiri was the former Vice Chancellor of University of Kashmir; he has immense contribution to Urdu & Kashmiri Literature. Professor Abdul Aziz served as the Registrar & Controller of the Jammu & Kashmir University, he was a great administrator. Prof Qazi Ghulam Mohmad  was a noted mathematician , an erudite scholar at University of Kashmir , his son Dr Dawood  in spite of his falling health  served department of mathematics with utmost dedication, punctuality  and sincerity .After presiding over ‘Prof Qazi Ghulam Muhammad Memorial Lecture’ in the University organized by Iqbal Institute, Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi former Vice Chancellor said it was important to “recognize contributions of our predecessors and draw inspiration from them to move forward in life. Professor Majeed Muzmar noted scholar, academician served as Head department of Urdu, Dean Faculty of Arts, he served as the editor of research journal ‘Bazyaft’ of department of Urdu. Dr Fareed Parbati served in University of Kashmir authored 14 books and was ranked among one of the best writers in urdu language of the contemporary period. Professor Bashir Ahmad Dabla served as Head department of Sociology he was a noted social scientist & researcher of the valley. Professor Altaf Hussain Tak served as Head department of English University of Kashmir, Dean Faculty of Arts, he had edited, translated and authored 26 books which include Coleridge & Modern Criticism. Prof Mohammad Akram Mir served the Department of Law with utmost dedication and sincerity, he was a noted scholar who lived a very simple life, his nimaz-jinaza was led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at Tajdaar colony Zakura. Professor Manzoor Fazili, a noted academician, writer and columnist from Gamroo Bandipora taught at the post graduate department of political science Kashmir university from 1976-1982. There may be many blessed souls who had served University of Kashmir with selfless dedication but not reflected in this tribute diary, if Allah permits their names and contribution will be reflected upon in subsequent articles. I pray to Almighty Allah to place these blessed souls in evergreen gardens of paradise and the garden of this world where they worked and contributed scale new heights in scholarship and value inculcation. Their message to youth in toil and hard -work coupled with humility we flourish.

Showkat Rashid Wani is Assistant Professor, Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir