Tahir Khurshid Raina
A fortnight back I had an opportunity to attend *bicentenary celebrations of Sir syed Ahmed Khan organised under the aegis of *(J&K ALIG SOCIETY Poonch)* at Himalayan college RAJOURI. I was listening to some familiar speakers whom I am listening since years together . The tone, tenor and complexion of their speeches made over the years is quite fresh in my mind. One of the comments which was generally being made by them while speaking on the platform of Himalayan college was about *Farooq Muztar sb* as “” the sirsyed – e – pirpanchal region “. I am in no disagreement to acknowledge his contribution in the field of education in Rajouri. But what compelled me to put a caption of this writeup in ab interrogative form (?) is that for last many years I have also listened such speakers and others at the platform of *MET Baba Ghulam Shah Academy THANNA* describing *Mr . KHURSHID AHMED BISMIL* also as Sirsyed – e – Pirpanchal. Even at occasions they have moved far ahead in their generosity of words and accolades for his contribution . And even I have listened people describing *Jenab Molana Ghulam Qadir patron Jamia Zia-ul-uloom Poonch also as the “” Sir syed -e- pirpanchal ”
It’s very pertinent to mention here that I have decided to write on this issue not because of the fact that Mr Bismil is my father and I have to prove him by all means the only Sirsyed of Pirpanchal . But I felt it my bounden duty to set the record clear to be fairly presented to the younger and coming generations of the area to know the facts and then leave it them to formulate their fair opinion accordingly . Moreover it’s always expected from every honest witness to the facts to present the same in their true prespective .
Here, I must remind the readers and such speakers and opinion makers that Pirpanchal region comprises of district Rajouri and Poonch as a whole and all the three aforementioned personalties belong to pirpanchal region .
Fact remains that when someone is being personified as Sir syed – e- Pirpanchal , it is expected he has played a pioneer and superb role in the field of education , in the whole of the Pir Panchal region as Sir syed personifies superlative work in the field of education in South Asia.
Before I give you an account of the issue , I feel apt to tell you something about Sir syed with whose mission we are comparing and personifing the work of aforementioned personalties of our region.
“” Sirsyed”” educational mission started at Aligarh by laying the foundation of small school – *MAO school”*in 1875. In his lifetime he could laid down only the foundation of M A O college . It attained the status of a university in the year 1920 , much later the demise of Sirsyed. I am sure that the readers will be knowing very well this gospel truth that what made Sir syed as an epitome of modern education in the history of south Asian Muslims was not on account of the fact that he established a university with big buildings but for giving a lofty idea and laying the foundation of the movement which is popularly called *”Aligarh movement ” .* Being pioneer in this field he got the status in history for which he is being commemorated with reverence . Otherwise all big buildings of AMU which we see today and the university itself have come up as said earlier after more than two decades of his demise. So if Sir syed is the criteria to acknowledge someone’s contribution in the field of education, then honesty demands that his jouney and contribution must match with Sir syed’s legacy and it’s complexion as a whole.
In context of Pirpanchal region, my little appreciation of its educational scenario reveals that the concept of formal system of education for the first time started in govt run schools in 1950’s in some parts of Pirpanchal region when it comprised of one district only named Poonch . And then in late fifties and sixties the very feeble concept of education on the platform of these govt run schools got introduced to some other areas of this region. Our parental generation is ofcouse the product of this phase of schooling in this region and virtually comprises the first formally educated generation of the Pirpanchal . Ofcourse establishment of Degree college at Poonch in fifties played a historical and commendable role in shaping the educational scenario of Pirpanchal region as the very first educated generation of whole Pirpanchal region is the product of this college.
In early seventies, Mr Khurshid Bismil after doing graduation as a private student from Poonch college went to Sopore Kashmir for doing his B.Ed in private college founded by *Late Prof Ghulam Rasool Bacha*. From there, he borrowed the concept of modern education and established a school at Thanna Mandi under the NAME , *M E T Baba Ghulam Shah Academy Thanna- Mandi Rajouri in the year 1976*. As got established in the name of a famous Muslim saint of Pirpanchal region – *Baba Ghulam shah Bhadshah (R A)* it became catchy and popular in the Muslim majority community of the pirpanchal region where there was no such potent example set earlier to be followed in the field of education . On Ist Nov, 1976 its foundation was laid down with thirteen students on its roll in a very small Cottage but with mountain of conviction . Out of these 13 tiny tots, student with admission no. 1 is a lady doctor serving in district hospital Rajouri , one among them was Dr. Wahida Prizem – a proud daughter of Pirpanchal region serving in Indian Navy and my admission number was 7. Thereafter Basee- ul – haq (I.A.S ) and hundreds of such illustrious alumnies are produced who are the shining stars across at the State national and international level. For reference Mr. Maqader Iqbal Shawl serving as computer engineer at Newyork US is the proud Alumni of this institution . And above all , its this very institution which made the poorest man of this mountainous region to realise the indespensability of modern education and thus to toil and earn to send his child to a school to study. This educational revolution owes its origin to this institution. It was the pioneer institution on whose platform a strong message of education for the first time was given in mid seventies . The then great personalties of the state comprising the then speaker J&K legislative assembly *Malik Mohid din , Prof Abdul Aziz Bhat then Retd Registrar of Jammu & Kashmir University and Prof Ghulam Rasool Bacha , founder of M E T Sopore Kashmir came to this institution to encourage Mr Bismil to carry on this mission . Not only this, all the great personalities of its time including Governor of J&K B. K. NEHRU* and *Major General Nariender singh* who later became chairman Sports Authority of India visited this institution and lauded the role of this first educational movement in the whole pirpanchal region . Many more towering personalities of the times visited it in its early days of its existence whose golden words said about it are quite fresh in the school log book.
People from all length and breadth of this region started taking cue from it for establishing educational institutions . Even people from Doda region came to Thanna Mandi to know the concept of private educational institutions . State cabinet in eighties headed by Dr. Farooq Abdulah had a full one day session in this school which was then functioning in *Mugal fort* which gave more impetus and recognition to this institution in the region.
Simultaneously the concept of *Baba Ghulam Shah University* was also conceived in early eighties on the platform of *Baba Ghulam Shah Academy* when we as students were made to contribute one rupee every month to a fund for establishing this institution and finally that gesture was culminated by donating a token contribution of Rupees *two lakh* to the university when the dream finally came true. This commitment is best reflected in the university *Tarana* written by Mr. Khurshid Bismel – the founder of Baba Ghulam Shah Academy.
This institution even started private college classes in eighties and established *Gold medal* scheme in its own institution and in the *Urdu Department of Jammu university*. It was a beautiful coincidence that Mr. Muztar was the first of our region to recieve it which was established by this institution . It was established with two fold purposes – one to promote urdu language and second to expand the horizons of this institution to other parts of the state .
It got some other sister organisations also in late eighties which included *ICDS* Programme started under the aegis National child development scheme , *National integration movement , Pirpanchal cultural forum, Himalayan Medical Mission* and many more.
The institution started its journey in 1976 when there was no such other educational movement in the area to play its role in this field.
Another hallmark of this movement was to start giving *Mohd -din- Bandey Award* to all those illustrious personalties of the pirpanchal region who render their best in their respective fields and bring laurels for the region. The *Raisen- de -etre* behind this award was to acknowledge such stars of the area who perform best in their respective fields and set a benchmark for new generation to follow and achieve. Those who are recipients of it includes – Molana Ghulam Qadir sb, shahbaz Rajouri sb , Farooq Muztar sb, Nisar Rahi sb , Pritpal Singh Betab , Anand Lehar and many more. This year it has been given to an illustrious son of the soil – Dr. Choudhary Masud – founder Vice Chancellor of BGSB University Rajouri.
It’s apt to mention that Muztar sb who too hails from Thanna mandi town in late sixties and seventies quite was obsessed with poetry and even released a literary magazine named *DHANAK*and he had then earned a good name in poetic circle of the state . However , later in 1980 he shifted to Rajouri and established *” Sher-e- Kashmir Academy “* in Rajouri town and started imparting education in this town where already one another private academy named — *””INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY “”* was then functioning but in a very low profile . Fact remains that being centrally located school coupled with the commitment and competence of Mr. Muztar , his institution progressed a lot . Now it’s a college with good infrastructure and impact worth to be appreciated.
Similarly in Poonch *Molana Ghulam Qadir established firstly a Madrsa named *Zia-ul-uloom* in seventies and later realising the indespensability of modern education also established a school imparting modern education. This attempt ofcourse was a great shift in our traditional madrsa education who had almost declared modern education as taboo for muslims and madrasas. So it’s ofcourse a desired and highly appreciable change brought out by Molana Ghulam Qadir sb in this region viz- a -viz madrsa education is concerned and set a maiden example to be followed by the Muslim clergy of pirpanchal region.
Now all the three afore discussed personalties hail from pirpanchal region and they have rendered their best in the region . May Allah enable them more to render their yeoman’s service .
To put the record straight , it’s apt to mention that *M.E.T Baba Ghulam Shah Academy Thanna Mandi* was the first strongly launched educational movement in the region who first lit the candle in the dense dark of illiteracy and how it performed on its academic firmament is briefly presented above .
However, On account of an unfortunate hostile situation that erupted in 1997 in Thanna Mandi which on one hand wrecked the whole tehsil Thanna Mandi , the worst casualty of this unfortunate happeng was this institution . All those who had always an evil eye on it and was feeling uncomfortable with its growth and message took it an opportunity to crush it. An institution with crore of assets and initiatives was wrecked within 24 hrs . It was though apparently devastated but those who engineered this whole colossal loss forgot that foundations of such movements are firstly laid in brains than get form of beam and bricks on the land. Inspite of stark colossal loss in 1997 to the institution, it resurfaced with full commitment and today it is being run in its two big palatial buildings on the bank of famous *SHAHDRA ROAD* and has recently celebrated its 42nd foundation day on first of Nov, 2017.
Though it’s stupendous pace stopped for the a time being and could not raise big buildings as compared to few others , does it mean it’s historical stature and charcter is to be undermined and it’s pioneer role has to be forgetten. Laying the foundation of first educational movement in pirpanchal region is the stark reality and can’t be overshadowed.
As mentioned in the start of this writeup, Sirsyed is not known for constructing big buildings but for laying a committed educational movement which became a source of inspiration for Indian Muslims .
If our opinion makers have choosen Sir Syed as a benchmark to judge the role of various people in the field of education then honesty demands that Sir Syed’s mission in its true sense be kept in mind while formulating opinion about role and contribution of the people working in the field of education . It’s an onerous task which should not be motivated and influenced by a particular situation and siting at a particular place with a special kind of audience around. Honest comment is always above board , based on honest appreciation of things and facts .
Fact remains – Be it the role of Mr Khurshid Bismil, Mr Farooq Muztar or Molana Ghulam Qadir* or any other personality of the area , they all belong to pirpanchal region and our role models . We must acknowledge their contribution in their true perspective .
Remember , Sir Syed is a name of vision , mission , movement , selfless service and absolute sacrifice . It doesn’t mean hiring some platforms and professional speakers for making sloganeering to be called *Sirsyed-e- Pirpanchal.*
Apart from these three iconic personalties of the region, there are plethora of others too whom we all know have played their marvellous role in shaping up this region . I salute them too and we must acknowledge their illustrious contribution as well. For us they all carry highest respect and honour.
Tahir Khurshid Raina