The world has been gradually evolving as a knowledge driven economy. Education, leading to wisdom and truth, has become driving force in today’s globalized society. It is an important pillar that determines the economic development of a nation. Nurturing the viable educational institutions by societies, up-skilling and imbibing values leading to human development help in shaping the destiny of our future generations who translate challenges into opportunities. The purposeful education has a major role in preparing human capital which is the great promise for the bright future of any society. This makes it is essential to promote higher order academic institutions to serve our society better enabling youth to stand competitive in rapidly changing globalized economy and calling for more sustained efforts in addressing the disparities of access to knowledge. As such, the knowledge industry in any society plays a significant role in human development-a key to overall advancement.
Interestingly, a teacher has been compared to a candle that consumes itself by lighting others. It is not an exaggeration that a teacher can change students’ lives through words, actions, wonderful teaching methods and curriculum. Thus, a teacher especially in the institutions of higher learning has a lifelong impact on his students. He plays a critical role in shaping the students’ ways of thinking, acting and approaching a field of study, enhancing their learning experience and chiseling their careers. Further, teachers nurture self-esteem, academic skills and inspire students to become the best citizens while acting as guides and helping students to be confident thus enabling them to enter the varied fields in numerous capacities.
Pertinently, Commerce and Accounting Education in Kashmir was started in the year 1961 when Islamia College of Science and Commerce Srinagar was instituted. Though at present Kashmir University, Cluster University, Central University Kashmir, different colleges and other academic organizations in the valley are engaged in dissemination of Commerce, Accounting Education and Research nevertheless Islamia College still remains a premier temple of knowledge in imparting Business Education. Since the days of its inception, the students of this institution have been taught by some leading Commercists and Economists of national repute who have shaped their careers some of whom are holding key positions in the state administration. Reportedly, a few faculty members appointed in the initial years have said good bye to this world while many more are still enjoying their post retirement lives. Amongst those who have passed away are Prof (Dr) Wajih-u-Din Jeelani, Prof Chuni Lal Trisal, Prof (Dr) Khurshid A Khan and Prof Baba Mohammed Yusuf Hamdani.
Prof (Dr) Wajih-u-Din Jeelani was a teacher par excellence. He was the first who joined as faculty in the Department of Commerce in 1961, thus becoming the founder of Commerce and Accounting Education in Kashmir. Originally from Barely (UP), having performed Hajj at the age of ten with his parents and being Hafizi Quran, Dr Jeelani was a pass out of Barely College (one of the prominent colleges of western UP and affiliated to Agra University wherefrom he later obtained his doctoral degree on Kashmir Tourism). He was a thorough gentleman, scholar, researcher, lifelong learner, patient listener, highly communicative and a dedicated teacher having friendly attitude with all other qualities of a good knowledge manager. As an enthusiastic teacher, he would teach varied subjects like Income Tax Law, Accounting, Indian Contract Act and Commercial Geography to his students to the best of his knowledge and to their best satisfaction and would always instruct them to visit his room for tutorials. Being Incharge of NCC and Secretary Sports Committee, Dr Jeelani would always remain alert and manage such activities effectively. In absence of play ground in those days in the College, he would conduct sports events at Eid Gah Srinagar. As College Staff Secretary, he would actively participate in meetings making things happen and thus used to command respect from his colleagues. His contribution in his area of specialization has been enormous. At a time when not many books were available on Commerce and Accounting disciplines, he authored books on Accounting, Business Studies and Commercial Geography to a great relief of student community. It is now that we realize his teaching pedagogy was quite unique. Dr Wajih-u-Din Jeelani left for heavenly aboard in harness at a very young age of 43 due to pancreatic disorder.
It may be indicated that Agra University, right from its inception until now, has been only an examination, evaluation and certification institution where there have been no teaching departments on the campus. The famous colleges in the western UP like Barely College, Agra College, Meerat College, Degree College Kanpur and Shia College Lucknow were all affiliated to Agra University. It can be inferred that Cluster University Srinagar and Cluster University Jammu are working on the pattern of Agra University.
Prof Chuni Lal Trisal was born in Trisal Village of District Pulwama. His family shifted to Kani Kadal Srinagar in early 1940s. He had his early schooling in the nearby school, did B Com from Jammu University, MCom from Aligarh Muslim University and MPhil from Kashmir University on Transport Industry with special reference to JKRTC. It is learned that he was the first Kashmiri having done his masters in Commerce from AMU and first Kashmiri who joined Islamia College with Commerce background. Prof Trisal had a unique nature, was a soft spoken person, patient listener and well-mannered teacher. He had a strong command in teaching Mercantile Law, Auditing, Economic Development and other allied subjects. While delivering lectures, he would never use chair or chit but always made full use of black board. He had a passion for books and would usually sit in the College Library during leisure hours. Being convener of the Library Committee, he would select and buy some unique books on Business, Commerce and Accounting. Alas! this treasure was burnt to ashes during the devastating fire that engulfed College Campus in 1990. Prof Trisal would regularly attend the College till he superannuated from active services in 1998. He breathed his last at New Delhi in 2014.
Prof (Dr) Khurshid A Khan was born at Nowhatta Srinagar in 1946. He had his schooling from Islamia High School Srinagar and pursued B Com through Islamia College where he was amongst the first few students of Commerce discipline. He obtained his M Com degree and later his Doctorate from AMU on the topic ‘Development of Silk Industry in Kashmir’. He started his career as lecturer at the Islamia College in the year 1969 and thereafter Department of Economics, Kashmir University on adhoc basis. Dr Khan joined Department of Commerce, Kashmir University, as faculty on substantive basis in 1978. As a conscientious knowledge worker and an excellent academician, he had a wide following amongst his students and colleagues for his human behaviour and application of pedagogical tools. His style of teaching Micro Economics and Managerial Economics was very interesting, captivating and rare in many ways. Dr Khan served as Joint Secretary of Kashmir University Teachers Association, member of the Executive Council of the University and held several administrative posts including that of the Chief Proctor. His sad demise at the age of 45 was a great academic loss.
Prof Baba Mohammad Yousuf Hamdani was born in 1940 at Khankahi Moula Srinagar. He received his early education from local government school. After graduating through Gandhi Memorial College Srinagar, he did his masters in Economics from Kashmir University wherefrom he later earned M Phil on ‘Wage Structure in the Public Sector Industrial Units of J&K State’. He was a voracious reader, an inquisitive scholar, a prolific writer, a celebrated poet with great qualities of public speaking and was loved by one and all. Reportedly, Prof Hamdani had written many articles in his area of interest. His unique techniques of teaching economics would always make students to ponder over varied issues and which is why he was very popular among them. He nurtured students’ confidence and self-esteem. At times, he would also act as guest faculty at institutions like NIT Srinagar. An important contribution of Prof Hamdani has been that “Aurad-e-Fatehiya” was translated into English under his guidance. He left for heavenly abode on in December, 2018 after having retired from services in 1998.
All these noble souls were great educators and influential role models who contributed immensely in disseminating, honing and sharpening the necessary accounting and business skills and attitudes amongst their taught. The saplings planted by them have already bloomed, are bearing fruits and would continue to do so for all times to come. Their students owe a huge academic debt to these eminent teachers which would never be liquidated. May Almighty place their souls in the best of realms and shower His choicest blessings upon them.
Authors are life members of islamia college alumni association. They are grateful to all those who provided the necessary inputs for the compilation of tribute.