Memoirs of ID Soni
This 280-page, bi-lingual book is, in fact, a memoir in English-Hindi by a renowned educationist, social activist and a refined human being who is has taken up at his ripe age onerous task of being the President of a leading institution: ” Home for Aged and Infirm”, Ambphalla , Jammu. He is rendering a social service even at this stage setting an example.
The distinguishing feature of the book under review is major portion is devoted to anecdotes which present glowing ideas and ideals of high moral values from eminent role-models of prominent persons. These certainly inspire each and every reader and this is the merit of this book.
Mr. Soni, had a long and distinguished service in the J&K Education Department working on different posts and handling important assignments making his creditable contribution and superannuated as Deputy Director Education during April, 1983. Hard working and devoted person, he continued to serve the society in one capacity or other. He remained associated with NCERT/NIEPA as Project Direcotr in Jammu and Kashmir and later on worked as State Commissioner for Bharat Scouts and Guide upto July, 2020. And now even at ripe age of 92 years, he is holding the post of President, Home for Aged and Infirm, Jammu.
The book under review has its own style and format but the “Anecdotes that inspire” page at once attract the attention. In the Preface, Dr HL Sharma, a prominent Jammuite, has written the good word while Rameshawar Mengi, chairman, RM Institute of Education has underscored the great value of the anecdotes by great seers, saints and other eminent figures giving glowing examples and messages. Mr Soni’s two sons: Vinod Soni and Sanjay Soni as well others have given him helping hand in completion of this book.
In an interview, Mr Soni drew a vivid picture of his journey of life, career-graph and also his story of success and struggle. Despite many achievements, he is humble and decent. Asked about his attainments, Mr Soni gave credit to the Almighty and spoke about challenges still ahead to do his best till the last.
Answering a question, Mr Soniji said his long struggle and active association with Scouts and Guides movement and Education department has imparted strong impulse for high moral values, discipline and other virtues through tell-tale brilliant anecdotes and highly valuable messages for the people to adopt and follow. Talking about “Home for Old and Infirm”, he said that among amenities, fiscal aid is being extended to some needy and deserving old persons.
Born on April 18,1928 to Mani Ram Soni and Sita Devi Soni, he hails from Kathua district’s Bhaddu town, a place of natural beauty and and cultural centre, having many persons of high calibre and capabilities. After doing I.D. Soni, he started as a teacher in the local school and subsequently qualified privately MA and also did BT as well as Diploma from NCERT with which his career-graph in the Education gradually rose up. His family is a well-knit unit and all his kith and kins are well educated, well-placed and also making endeavours to contribute their lot for the society. Mr. Soni is man of simple living and high thinking with flair for creativity and effectively expressing his viewpoint.
One important chapter is on what type of education do our children need? Mr Soni has given candid views on this important policy matter. He holds the opinion that the new National Education Policy is a radical step which will go a long way to make our education relevant to the needs of the times and adds that it is blend of Shiksha and Vidya, the ideal of ancient system of education and also modern scientific temper and liberal outlook. He rightly argues that to usher into a knowledge-based society, we need genuine scholars and highly motivated teachers to take the centre-stage. He has definite viewpoint to education system : formal, informal and non-formal.
Moral values are important aspect. He firmly stands for peaceful co-existence in the prevailing scenario and under-scored importance of character building and man making. It is pertinent to state that his association with Education Department and also with the Scout and Guides movement has sharpened his standpoint.
The book depicts the biographical sketch of the author and give details of his activities and attainments. He included quite a number of photographs illustrating his achievements and family matters.
This book under review is finely printed on a fine paper and is quality product with a professional touch in its design and get-up. The memoir is interesting and informative as well as instructive. Particularly the narration of quotable and highly valuable anecdotes in English as also Hindi are worthy of all praise and appreciation.