Who is Sir Syed-e-Pirpanchal ?

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.