Story of Govt. High School Samba

The Govt High School Samba (earlier) later upgraded to Govt Hr Sec School Samba. Govt Hr Sec School (now shifted) to antother place. Excelsior/Nischint
The Govt High School Samba (earlier) later upgraded to Govt Hr Sec School Samba. Govt Hr Sec School (now shifted) to antother place. Excelsior/Nischint

B D Sharma
It was during the reign of Maharaja Ranbir Singh that some steps in the field of education on the modern lines were taken. He established a few regular schools and Pathshalas. The first Govt school in Jammu was established in 1860s and in Srinagar it was established in 1874. Traditional Education was used to be imparted in Sanskrit and Persian particularly in the religious institutions. Missionary Society of London also established first missionary school in Srinagar in 1890 and it was named as Biscoe School, first as Primary and then as a High school. The first high school in Jammu was established in 1890 and at Srinagar in 1892. A college was established in Srinagar in 1905 and in Jammu in 1907. In 1908 there were only four High schools in the then State, one in Jammu and three in the Valley.
In Jammu the High school was State High school later on rechristened as Govt Ranbir High School. Apart from it there were Middle Schools at Mirpur,Kotli, Bhimbar, Panjiri, Batala, Hamirpur Sidder, Manawar, Udhampur, Basholi, Hiranagar, Samba, Gurha Salathian etc. The second High School in Jammu region became functional in the year 1908 at Mirpur. In1909 the demand for opening of the third High School at Samba was formally raised. One prominent resident of Samba Commandant Khajoor Singh presented an application to His Highness the Maharaja at Srinagar for upgrading the Middle School at Samba into a High School. The said applicant”With profound respects submits the few lines on behalf of the Mian Rajputs as well as the other residents of Samba for your Highness’s perusal and favourable consideration.” Comm. Singh first of all conveys his gratitude to the Maharaja stating that “Samba had a vernacular Middle School until 1961, when your Highness’s kind attention was drawn towards its backward condition and Your Highness was pleased, to our good fortune, to have the school made an Anglo-Vernacular Middle School.” Bikrami Samvat 1961 corresponds to 1904-05 CE. In the Anglo-Vernacular schools English language was also taught as a subject. The applicant further submits in his application”Since that time the boys of Mian Rajputs have been evincing marked progress in education, so much so that besides other students of that school, four Mian Rajput boys are prosecuting their studies in the Jammu High School and it is most probable that the number of such students will be increasing in every succeeding year, provided certain facilities be provided to them.”
“Your Highness is well aware that our Mian Rajputs of Samba are of such straitened circumstances as,I am afraid, will, under present conditions, prevent many of our young and promising boys from receiving higher education in as much as their parents will be unable to bear the heavy expenses of Jammu town.”
“I therefore, as one of the Mians of Samba, who all support me, most respectfully solicit that Your Highness may be graciously pleased to sanction the grant of a High School being created there which will be a great boon to the residents there, in as much as higher education will be for lessexpensive than Jammu and the majority of the boys will be benefited thereby.”
No date has been mentioned on the applicationyet it can safely be presumed that it was presented in the first week of July, 1909 as the headquarter of Maharaja has been mentionedas at Srinagar and the Maharaja has forwardedthe application with his remarks to his Chief Ministeron 5th July, 1909.
While forwarding the application to his Prime Minister His Highness observed that “the request of the Mian Rajputs and other inhabitants of Sambhaseems to be reasonable. The School may, if thought necessary, and advisable by the Educational authorities be raised to the standard of a High School. If the State funds are not available for the purpose, the Rajput and other inhabitants of Sambha and the adjoining localities of Gurha and Garh may be asked to contribute half the expenditure for the purpose. The well-to do and moneyed Mian Rajputs of the ilaka should raise subscriptions or should give donations for the purpose if they were in earnest about the matter.” Maharaja repeatedlyspells the place as Sambha in the file. By Gurha he means Gurha Salathian and by Garh heperhapsmeans Garh Mandi of Samba proper or Ram Garh, then a famous village in Samba.
Since the order of Maharaja Partap Singh on the application was conditional and qualified so the authorities below made the most of it in delaying the grant of sanction for upgrading the Middle School.When the application with the endorsement of His Highness went down below to the Inspector of State Schools through the Chief Minister and the Education Minister, he reported backthat the proposal for raising the status of the Anglo-Vernacular Middle School at Samba hadpreviously been made by him but no practical steps were taken by the Department perhaps for want of funds. He, therefore,proposed an alternativeand suggested that in order to enable Middle passes of the Middle School Samba as well as of other placesto prosecute their studies, scholarships be providedto such of the scholars as might be willing to go in for the Matriculation Examination by attending some of the State High Schools. In order to justify his proposal in respect of Samba Middle School the Inspector stated that the financial implications for providing scholarships, were very meagre as the said School was not likely to turn out every year more than 10 Middle passes on the average even for several years to come because the roll of the 8thclass that year was about 5 only, and the number of Middle passes last year was only two.The Inspector further intimated that the people of Samba and the adjoining localities would be the last to undertake to defraying half of theexpenditure for upgrading the School or even a part of that in the face of the fact that the people of Mirpur who were better off, had not been called upon to contribute to the expenditure incurred in connection with the up gradationof the Mirpur High School during the preceding year.
The Education Minister concurred with the report of the Inspector of Schools and the Prime Ministerobserved in his note dated 28th of July, 1910to the Maharaja Bahadur that “the proposal to raise the status of the School at Samba is not practicable from the financial point of view, and consequently no steps can be taken for the present.” The matter was placed before His Highness on 28th October, 1910 who overruled both the ministers and passed the order that “it would be a good thing if this school could be raised to the status of a high school next year for it will then place facilities within easy reach of the Mian community which largely inhabit the Ilaka of which Samba is the centre. The building which will cost a considerable amount may be taken in hand later on and the other expenditure does not seem to be prohibitive to the work being done. Of course the step would be possible if the funds permit but I trust an attempt will be made to make the provision of funds available next year. The question was under discussion since long and I wish something could be done next year for the school being raised to the higher status.”
After the administrative approval was granted, the case was processed for financialsanction, which involved the creation of one post of Head Master in the pay scale of Rs. 100-5-125 p.m., one post of Second Master (Rs. 80-5-100), one post of third Master (Rs. 70-5-80), one post of Science Master (Rs. 70-5-80), one clerk on Rs. 20 p.m., one Drill Master on Rs.20 p.m. and one Chowkidar on Rs. 7 p.m., the total financial implications per year being Rs. 4404 at the start of the pay grades. The Education Minister submitted the proposal to the Prime Minister who in turn “recommended and submitted to His Highnessfor favour of sanction being accorded to the proposal.”Maharaja approved it on 10th of January, 1911 inthesewords, “The necessity of having a High School at Sambha is admitted and the proposals make provision for the same. They are sanctioned….. Approval of the Resident in Kashmir be obtained.” The approval was granted by the Residenton 21st, February 1911 when he washead quartered at Sialkot, who, however, reduced the monthly pay of the clerk from Rs. 20 to Rs.15 p.m. and that of Chowkidar from Rs.7 to Rs.5per month while granting the sanction.
Thus the long journey of upgrading the Middle School at Samba ended and the ninthclass in the school started functioningfrom April-May,1911. This interesting story provides us the glimpses of the working of the Government of the time as also the picture of the social and economic milieu prevailing during the first decade of last century. Firstly, it is seen that the economic resources of the Dogra rulers were very meagre. Muchof “hi how ha” was raised by the ministers and officials while processing the case though the expenditure involved was meagre andthe Maharaja had shown his desire to upgrade the school right at the time of presentation of the application. Some people think that the paucity of funds for public welfare was due to the reason that the rulers were given to licentiousness. This could not, however, be said of Maharaja Partap Singh, who apart from being a God fearing person, was a man of simple and frugalhabits. It seems that the State was undergoing a financial crunchresulting from the disruption in the ruling set-up when the Maharaja had been divested of his powers by the English in the preceding years. Moreover, much expenditure had been incurred in the State on some majorprojects such as Ranbir Canal, Jhelum Valley road, Power Houses at Mahora andJammu etc. effecting the other sectors.
Secondly, the story refutes the contention ofsome people that the Valley wasbeing ignored by the Dogra rulers.There was no region wise consideration by the Maharaja. There were three High schools in the Valley as compared to only one High School in Jammu region till 1908. Even in 1915, out of the nine High schools functioning in the State, majority of them were in the Valley. Even the Collegewas first established at Srinagar and then in Jammu. Though the college at Srinagar had been established by the efforts of Dr Annie Besant on the persuasion of some Kashmiripundits of Lucknowyet financial assistance and other facilities like the land for the purpose were provided by the Maharaja. Moreover, the government took over the College after payment of adequate compensation shortly after its establishment.
The story of upgrading the Samba School further shows that very limited powers were being enjoyed by the Maharaja against the popular perception that the Dogra rulers were absolute monarchs. The Maharaja didn’t exercise the final authority even for sanctioning as minor an amount as Rs.4404. The approval of the Resident had to be obtained for the same. The Maharaja might be often muttering verse of Mir Taqi Mir “Naahaq Hum Majbooron par ye Tohmathai Mukhataariki:: Chaahtey hainso Aap Karen hainHum koAbash BadnaamKiya.” Interestingly, we come to know that theheadquarter of the English Resident during the winter monthsused to move from Srinagar to Sialkot instead of to Jammu. Our State had constructed a huge infrastructural complex for the purpose at Sialkot.
Another myth inhabiting the minds of some people was that the Rajputs used to get exclusive and preferential treatment at the hands of the Dogra rulers. Since the School was required to be sanctioned for an area predominantly inhabited by Rajputs yetthe Maharaja didn’tshow any undue favour to them. In fact His Highness desired that the Mian Rajputs of Samba should come forward to donate half of the expenditure to be incurred for upgrading the school. This is in contrast to the case of up gradation of High school Mirpur where no donations had been takenone yearearlier despite the fact that the residents of Mirpurwere far better off, being engaged in somewhat lucrative commercial avocationsin comparison to the people of Samba Kandiwho had modestmeans of livelihood.
It is also interesting to note that it was not unusual to narrateand relate castes andcommunities in the official proceedings. Thusthere is frequent referenceto Mian Rajputsin the instant case. Since the Mian Rajputs belonged to theBaradari of Maharaja, so it seems the officials, always past masters in Chamachagiri and Chaploosi, projected the issues as would look to benefit the nears and dears of Maharaja. Or it might be that the Rajputs were the sword arm of the State Forces and were often posted in far-flung and difficult areas of Ladakh and Gilgit. So there was a strong case for providing the educational facilities to their children back home. It providedgreaterjustification for upgrading the School in their area.
If we think of the scenario of education in Samba district today-with about a dozen colleges, a Central University and an AIIMS etc., we are bound to feel gratified over the progress made by us in about one hundred years.Onlyfifteen/twenty children (from two Middle Schools) came out as Middle passes inthe then tehsil Samba.And now the number of graduates coming out of collegesfrom the same area must not be less than five hundred every year.