Tributes to Dr Teng

S P College 1964

Arvind Gigoo

I am in the final year of BA. Prof. Satya Bhushan teaches us Political Science. We, the students, are told that he has joined the university and that a new professor will come to teach us.
And one day a short statured blue-eyed well-dressed professor enters the lecture theatre/class room, introduces himself as Mohan Krishan Teng and tells us that he will come now onwards to teach us Political Science. He starts lecturing on Rousseau. He speaks very well. He is an excellent teacher. Students are silent and disciplined. At the end he asks us to read a book Political Philosophy written by Arora and Bombwall. I am sitting on the back bench with a note book and a crime thriller of Agatha Christie (I have forgotten the name of the book) before me. When the lecture is over he climbs the stairs, sees the book, touches it and asks me if i am reading this book.
“Yes, Sir.”
“See me when this period is over.”
I am a very shy boy. I am nervy. Of all the students he has asked me to meet him. And reluctantly I do meet him.
“What else have you read?”
“R L Stevenson, Picture of Dorian Gray of Oscar Wilde, Rainbow and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D H Lawrence, Nehru’s Letters from Father to Daughter, Chitralekha by Bagwati Charan Verma……”
“You should read Nehru’s The Discovery of India.”
Next day i buy The Discovery of India for five rupees. The book is still in my possession. I read it slowly. It opens my eyes.
Next day i go to college with the book and show it to Prof. Teng. He is extremely happy and pats me. He asks me to read Thomas Hardy and Edmund Blunden. I haven’t heard of Edmund Blunden.
I participate in a college debating contest. Dr. Teng is one of the three judges. I stand first.
Dr. M K Teng is a heavy smoker. And stylish too!
“Where do you live?”
“Sir, I live at Khankah-i- Sokhta in Safa Kadal.”
“Listen to me! I live at Chattabal which is near Safa Kadal. Come to my place tomorrow and have lunch with me.”
My professor is inviting me to his place. And lunch! I can’t believe.
I open the gate. I walk some steps. I see a big kitchen garden with vegetable plants. Water is flowing through a tap. I climb the stairs and am in the courtyard of the house. An old lady with blue eyes, his mother, is sitting by the window. She greets me and shows me the direction towards the first floor of the house. I enter the room. Dr. M K Teng is sitting there. He is wearing a kurta and pyjama. He is dictating something to a young man who is writing on the paper. Dr. Teng is talking about Maharaja Ghulab Singh. There are 10/12 more persons in the room. Dr. Teng talks to them too one by one. He is attentive and sharp and clear. There is no divided attention.
“Now lunch.”
Lunch is served. It is sumptuous. Mrs. Teng is very hospitable. Dr. Teng is talking to me as if I were his friend. He has made me comfortable. Mrs. Teng is very hospitable. She has nasal sound. She has a smile on her lips.
Dr. Teng asks me about my family. I name my grandfather, Madhu Ram Gigoo and my uncle Dwarka Nath Gigoo. He is thrilled.
“I know both of them. Your grandfather is an Arya Samaji and your uncle a poet and flutist. I will come some day to your place.”
My professor will come to my place! I don’t believe it.
And one day he does come to our place at Safa Kadal. Grandfather, uncle and Dr. Teng talk endlessly about this and that. Bhartiya Vidhya Bhavan, Swami Dayanand, Swami Shraddanand, Lucknow, communism, etc. Dr. Teng talks about communism with passion. He asks me to read a booklet Marxism written by Emile Burns. I get the booklet from Rathinder and read it. The arguments put forth in the book are convincing. Then i show the booklet to Dr. Teng. He clarifies many things. His mind is bent towards communism.
Dr. M K Teng is appointed at the Post-graduate Department of Political Science in the University of Kashmir. He is happy. He is a name in the university. He is respected by all the professors of the other departments and his students. His name and fame spread all around.
Time flies.
We hear of Marg Darshan, separate homeland and Panun Kashmir. They are the brain child of Dr. M K Teng. His contribution to the society and Kashmiri Pandit community is enormous, magnificent and commendable. He has authored many books. I have heard that a paragraph of his was quoted in the UN. He is an authority on the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the constitutional history of India. His memory is phenomenal. His narration of the happenings of the WW 2 is bewitching and mesmerizing. He talks about Article 370 in detail.
Dr. M K Teng is honest, fearless, noble and helpful. There is no malice in his heart. He is a clean man.
My Letter to Kashmiri Muslims is published in The Greater Kashmir. Dr. Teng has read it. He gives me a ring and says: “Your letter is very provocative. Be careful.”
This is his concern for me.
I go to his place and gift him my book The Ugly Kashmiri (Cameos in exile). He hugs me. It is a warm hug.
He leafs through the book, reads some cameos and smiles.
I tell him: “It will take you twenty minutes to read this book.”
“And hours to ponder over these sentences! I will circulate this book among my friends.”
Sometimes we meet on the road. We sit in a roadside restaurant, have coffee and talk. It is a delight to sit with him and listen to him.
I go to Dr. M K Teng’s place at Basant Nagar near Janipur in Jammu. His wife greets me. I enter his room. Dr. Teng, the legend, is very weak and walks with a stoop. But he is, as usual, mentally sharp and alert. He again talks about Kashmir and politics. He is sad because of the political happenings in India.
7th July 2019
There are many people at the Bantalab crematorium. Flames rise. And that is the end of a man of substance.