The picture of Haji Ghulam Hassan Bacha that stays with me, after his sudden & tragic death, is that of an able administrator, who always wore his vast administrative skills lightly on his seemingly frail shoulders. In his case unbending courage of conviction and fierce moral integrity enabled him to stand rocklike in adverse conditions.
To my mind his most endearing trait was his ability to listen in a spirit of humility. Once convinced of the rightness of the cause he would not yield; he would rather give himself to it completely. He often said righteousness is the ornament of knowledge.
His death is too cruel a blow to our hopes of being able to make a difference. Pen is reluctant in writing him ‘Late’; he was a living legend indeed, who shall continue to live in the hearts of his colleagues.
Though a silent personality by nature he was a very good orator. His speeches used to be precise, to the point, and meaningful. He always disliked gossips, noise, vanity, negative criticism and ostentation. He believed in Iqbal’s verse- Aadmiyat Ehtiram -e- Admi.
Haji Ghulam Hassan Bacha was the co-founder of Muslim Education Trust (MET). He was the chairman of the Trust. G.H Bacha Sahib, an automobile engineer, was the younger brother of renowned person, Professor Ghulam Rasool Bacha. Being the most credible institution in the valley, MET was the first choice of the University where examinations and contact classes were conducted.
During inspections and arrangements for contact classes for BEd we met Bacha Sahib on several occasions. He was a visionary figure, a compassionate human being, and it all reflected in his behavior. Once our contact classes for BEd were held in the upper floor of MET.
There was one disabled girl enrolled for the programme. Sensing her problem Bacha Sahib shifted the contact classes to ground floor. He had excellent administrative skills.
Once there was a delay from the University in supply of bukharis and coal to the contact center located at MET. The contact classes were in progress, and Bacha Sahib personally arranged heating arrangement for all the classes so that students did not suffer.
Generally our distance learners do not have access to library of the contact centers. Baccha Sahib directed the librarian of the MET institution to allow the students of distance education use the library of the institution. As per norms of distance education the head of institution is the programme director during 20 days contact classes, and is entitled to remuneration.
It is on record that Bacha Sahib never claimed any remuneration for himself, but whatever amount was disbursed was used for the development of the institution.
Under the dynamic leadership of Haji Ghulam Hassan Bacha we always received broad based panel of well qualified resource persons and counselors from MET Sopore, so that excellent student support services were provided to the students.
I had observed him making inspections and frequent rounds during conduct of sessional and examinations so that the sanctity of examinations was maintained. He always talked in a missionary spirit. It is on record that the remuneration bills of the resource persons we received from MET Sopore for years were always marked correct when cross validated with time tables, qualifications of resource persons, teacher attendance registers and inspection diaries.
During contact classes he interacted with our pupil-teachers and gave them lessons on character building and value inculcation. Whenever department of distance education approached him for accommodation and other logistic support for execution of our programmes he gladly signed the letter of consent, never concerned or asking about monetary benefits.
A poor disabled girl from Dangiwacha Rafiabad was admitted for the BEd programme. She could not afford to deposit the admission fee in a single installment. She got a letter from Bacha Sahib addressed to then Vice Chancellor Professor Riaz Ahmad Punjabi, requesting the girl may be allowed to deposit fee in 2 equal installments. Without any red-tape and complicated procedures, and sensing it is the last date of completing admission formalities, Prof Riaz Punjabi directed the Director Distance Education to allow the student to deposit the fee in four equal installments with fifty percent fee concession. Decades ago the MEd scholars of Department of Education had conducted a detailed study on the role of MET Sopore in the uplift of downtrodden masses of the society. People from different walks of life visited him and shared their problems. He gave them patient hearing and tried his best to resolve the dispute among the parties.
Sensing local youth are going astray, their recreational outlets stand choked, drug addiction is on rise, he once directed the then principal MET Baghat Barzulla to keep the spacious school ground open for local youth after school hours so that they are engaged in sports and other constructive activities. He was a great advocate of arranging co-curricular activities for children for their overall development. In conclusion the vision and contribution of great personalities remains alive in our hearts. One cannot forget the immense contribution of Bacha Sahib in shaping the minds and thoughts of large masses. His sagacity, compassion, and far-sightedness to spread the light of education will be remembered for ever . Times will see that MET grows from a sapling to a might Chinar.
Dr Showkat Rashid Wani, Assistant Professor, Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.