In the year 1960, a slaughterhouse was under construction at brick level in the Hawal area of downtown Srinagar. Reportedly, elders in the vicinity, who were foresighted, thought it in the fitness of things to have an institution of higher learning at this place instead.
They impressed upon religious and political leadership and their request was honoured and acceded to by the people at the helm of affairs in the state governance.
Accordingly, structure of the building was re-designed. Small cells were dismantled, and classrooms, laboratories, and library halls were constructed.
We were witness to this change. A college was established under the name Islamia College offering streams like Science and Commerce. The area was a hub of cottage and small manufacturing units of rafal shawls, paper machie, carpets, namdas, wood carving, golden ornaments, copper ware etc., and as such was called Chota Japan.
Commerce education at that time was not taught in any college in Kashmir valley. Thus, Islamia College of Science and Commerce emerged as the premier institution of higher learning where Commerce education was first introduced.
It may be noteworthy to mention that Commerce education right from day one has been multi-disciplinary in its character. The curriculum consists of core areas, inter/multi-disciplinary, skill and value-added courses of study.
If on the one hand Accounting, Finance, Taxation, and International Business were taught, on the other hand, Economics, Statistics, Business Laws, Banking, Insurance, Management, Marketing and HRM also found due space in the curriculum.
The skill courses like Stenography and Computer Applications would expose students to practical training in the relevant labs and simultaneously soft skills like behavioural skills, communication skills, leadership /managerial skills, etc were also imparted.
For behavioural and moral upgradation, ethical studies formed an integral part of the curriculum. However, there was an option between Urdu and Hindi languages/ literature. Generally, Pandit students would opt for Hindi taught by Dr Nizam-Ud-Din.
One of our classmates namely Mr. Vijay Koul who later qualified final examination of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India opted for Urdu. Muslim students preferred Urdu as an ability enhancement course of study.
After professor Ajmal Ajmali, the Urdu Department of Islamia College was staffed by professors like M Amin Andrabi, Makhmoor Hussain Badakshi, M. Shafi Buch and Abdul Rahman Beigh.
Professor Beigh had a different style of teaching. He taught us some selected Ghazals and Nazams of Ghalib and Iqbal in the B.com second year. Though the syllabus for Urdu subject was limited, yet because of his deep understanding Professor Beigh developed high order interest in Urdu literature among students.
Dr Beigh was A gentle man, soft spoken, highly disciplined, and always well dressed, neat and tidy. He was an expert in innovative pedagogy which is talked about now under NEP 3.0. He did not carry a book in his hand as is seen generally with language teachers. He carried a piece of chalk and duster with him.
Without wasting time, he used to write a verse on the black board in good handwriting. When he used to call for attendance, the students would record the verse on their notebooks.
He explained a verse of Ghalib or Iqbal for days together with inter and intra comparative studies. He would explain it in reference to Goethe and Nietzsche (German poets), Keats (English), and Mir, Zouq, and Daagh (Urdu poets).
For every verse, he would always refer to inter and intra language literature from different disciplines in the classroom. Viidly we remember his note writing, full of substance. To quote one example, a verse of Iqbal like Dayaray ishq mein apna makaam paida kar, naya zamana nayi subhu shaam paida kar was taught to us for a period of one week.
He gave new explanations to old concepts. He was always found jubilant when students were engaged in any thoughtful discussion. He made us dynamic in character, visionary in outlook and positive in thinking. He always mesmerised the class by interpreting and re-interpreting thoughts.
Students enjoyed his class and always found that they were investing their time in studying Urdu language /literature. Dr. Beigh taught us love and affection for humanity and respect for fellow citizens while explaining Ghalib and Iqbal.
During that period, Islamia College of Science and Commerce Srinagar enjoyed the same status like Sri Ram College of Commerce Delhi and Sydnehem College of Commerce and Economics Bombay.
To quote professor Rehman Rahi: chani zahidas ti rindas bayi kenh faraq meh basan /Hu chui qatra dadi kreshan ye chhe malri malri chawan. Professor Beigh made drink from different oceans of literature.
The Islamia College of Science and Commerce has a strong alumni base. The ICSCians have been spreading over across sectors of economy / governing on top notch positions.
The hard work put in by the Professors in the college resulted in value addition in teaching-learning and evaluation processes.
The students used to be busy in the classroom for regular transaction of course content. In addition to this, they would play with ball, bat, stick etc., in the spacious field of the college.
It was usual that a college was abuzz with all activities from 10 am to 4 pm and Professor Beigh would always make himself visible on the campus playing with students different games both indoor as well as outdoor. He was widely loved and respected for his affectionate behavior.
Professor Beigh was born in the year 1948. He obtained MA (Urdu) from Kashmir University and Doctorate from Chaudary Charan Singh Meerut University. He wrote a number of books which have been prescribed by different universities in their syllabi.
He attained superannuation in 2006. After his retirement he utilised his time very effectively and completed many projects funded by different national level agencies.
He left for heavenly aboard on Tuesday, the 14th February, 2023. May Almighty Allah bestow His choicest blessings upon this noble soul. Ameen.To quote again professor Rehman Rahi
Meh che wyoun misaal ni manz rambei vaen khayal rawan
Authors are fortunate to be students of Prof. A R Beigh.
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.