Not only being the cradle of knowledge, Dangiwacha town assumes central significance for producing the sheer number of scholars and eminent intellectuals in Jammu and Kashmir.
This village was settled long ago by exceptionally strong and intellectual man and saint Khwaja Muhammad Yusuf Shah, popularly known as Shahmo and Khwaja Sahib.
It was a dense forest covered with trees and bushes on all sides and was called Dandakwan. However, Khawaja Sahib made it his abode for worship, devotion and austerity. Subsequently, this forest took the form of a civilised settlement.
From the generation of Khawaja Sahib, God-fearing, religious elders, Islamic jurists and peacemakers continued to be born. Long ago, a primary school was established in the same village for the promotion and dissemination of contemporary knowledge of the time. This school was actually established on October 20, 1922, and it continued to progress, and in 1953, it reached only the middle level.
However, in view of the growing need amid rising size of the population, it became necessary to give secondary status to the school so that the poor parents could enlighten their beloved scions with the education, a process of enlightenment.
Keeping in mind the wishes and aspirations of the parents and elders of the region, the then Member of the Legislature, Syed Alauddin Gilani, made an effort, but due to unknown reasons, the public government of the time made its mind to upgrade school in Ruhama to Secondary status.
Although late Syed Alauddin Sahib was not against the opening of secondary school in Rohama, he was adamant for due and legitimate right to Dangiwacha in this regard.
While the government of the time was not ready for it, Syed Sahib’s courage, daringness and the spirit of persuasion of the people forced the administration to surrender before the public demand.
In this endeavour, Syed Sahib organised the entire region and raised the slogan of the people’s rights. An educational committee was established which was headed by Syed Sahib himself.
Among the members of the committee were Khawaja Ghulam Hassan Sahib (Numardar Dangiwacha), Khawaja Wali Joo Ganai, Khawaja Ali Joo Ganai, Peer Mubarak Shah Sahib Dangiwacha, Khawaja Ghulam Rasool Wani Sahib Dangiwacha, Muhammad Sultan Sheikh Sahib Yarbug, Sardar Diraj Singh Charaligund, Sardar Thakur Singh Charaligund, Khawaja Abdul Subhan Naikoo Sahib Rawachha, Abdul Ghani Dar Sahib Rawachha and Haji Mulla Qadir Dandoosa. The aims and objectives of the committee were as follows
» Continue to struggle to overcome the educational backwardness of area,
» Upgradation of the local middle school to secondary status
» Construction of a large and splendid building for the school
» Selection of a suitable site for the building and a wide field for sports activities for the students.
As was decided by the committee, on the one hand the representatives kept on taking the means to increase communication with the government, the people continued to meet the Minister of Education in the form of delegations. One day it so happened that the status of the secondary status of the school was granted.
Students coming from in and around Dangiwacha stressed on the need for teaching popular subjects. However, in view of the shortage of teachers in the school, teachers were recruited at their own expense and classes were started. These were the days when Mohammad Ramzan Sopori was transferred from Ruhama and sent to Dangiwacha.
The public called the transfer of Mr Sopori from Rohama and his posting in the Dangiwacha school as a conspiracy. They began to think that “Masterji” was planted to cool down the emotions of the people in Dangiwacha.
This thinking extended to such an extent that Masterji could not even find a rented accommodation there.
In those days, there were no roads and no transport. For nine months, Masterji kept coming and going to Sopore. When nothing as thought of by the people happened during this entire period, Khawaja Ali Joo Ganai forced Masterji to stay in his house.
Masterji also did not lose courage and continued to perform his duties with full honesty. People supported Masterji with full dedication and selflessness and in turn Masterji played a laudable role in fulfilling the public demand.
During this time, there was a long and wide area of Kahcharai land (grazing land) in the west of Dangiwacha, which people as the name suggested used for cattle. There was no other field suitable for school building. However, one day the members of the committee reached a unanimous decision to transfer 52 kanals of land from the same field for the school.
When all the arrangements were completed, the construction of the building propped up as a problem. Coming forward, Ghulam Hasan Shah, Numberdar Dangiwacha, and Pir Sulaiman Shah dedicated about 2 kanals of land from their own property adjacent to the school. This was spirit of goodwill and May Allah reward them both.
This is the area on which the school building was constructed. After collecting the donation, the committee ordered stones from Baramulla. Bricks of various types were also ordered. The timber was also approved by the government.
The building consisted of 12 rooms and a large hall. The construction was directly supervised by the educational committee members including Khawaja Ali Joo Gunai sahib, Pir Mubarak Shah sahib and Ghulam Hasan Shah Sahib. Some time Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah announced to give Rohama High School, there was great revolution in Kashmir.
In this revolution, Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad assumed the chair of the government and at the first opportunity he sanctioned the High School at Dangiwacha and transferred Pandit Raghunath Matku from Srinagar as Headmaster.
As the building was not yet completed, the high classes were started from the rented rooms available on the upper floor of shops located in the main market. Those students who had given up education due to being far away from Sopore and Baramulla were again attracted to education and got enrolled in the school.
Syed Alauddin Sahib and all the members of the committee kept on with their job with all dedication. Day and night, all the members kept trying for the development of the school in all aspects under the leadership of Syed Sahib.
Establishing close relations with children was a feature of Syed Sahib’s love and at the same time, a teacher Ghulam Ahmad Masoodi from Sopore was transferred and posted in this school. On Joining and exchanging greetings, Syed Sahib asked Masterji, how much is your salary?
Master Ji told his salary and Syed Sahib became silent. When they met again, Syed Sahib repeated the same question and the Masterji gave the same reply. According to him, he was confused as to why Syed Sahib kept asking about salary again and again.
One day, he addressed Syed Sahib and said that Syed Sahib, you repeatedly ask about the salary and by doing so are you comparing me with your member status? And said that despite the small salary, I consider my profession above all other professions, your position as a member of the assembly, the cabinet is too little in front of a teacher because a teacher enriches a student with the wealth of education and training.
According to the late Masoodi Sahib, Syed Sahib listened to his words carefully and during this time no frown appeared on his forehead. For a long pause, Syed Sahib broke the silence and replied that surely this is the teacher who creates leaders, philosophers, scientists, reformers, poets, writers, scholars. I wonder how you people serve the nation on this low salary and make the country educated. I wish the government understands this point of view. May all the teachers succeed in eradicating illiteracy.
Syed Sahib was one of the close associates of Sheikh Abdullah. He did not agree with Bakshi Sahib due to which he could not represent the public for a long time. Meanwhile, he also relinquished the assembly membership. The author remembers that in the Golden Jubilee celebration of the school my late father respected Master Ghulam Ahmed Masoodi wrote a pamphlet on it: “Golden Jubilee of High School Dangiwacha”. The then Minister of Education Khawaja Abdul Ghani Lone and Deputy Minister of State Abdul Qayoom of Charar Sharif were present at the ceremony. May Allah forgive them both. On the occasion a drama titled “Aste Routt Nokar” was played. Ghulam Nabi Shah, who retired as an officer in the police department, played the main character in the drama. This is all the historical background of the Dangiwacha School. Today we are celebrating the century of its inception.
This school has provided the society with such bright stars who have achieved recognition not only in the valley and the country but also at the international level.
My school: you are my pride- I owe it to thee. Long live further.
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.