Kashmir University & it’s lesser known history || LIVE IMAGE

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Every Kashmiri, in general, desires to serve Kashmir as well and as long as he or she can. At the same time a parochial element has emerged lately with intent to rewrite the history with a motive; misinform the facts and in the process obliterate the truth. In a way history is distorted with an ulterior motive as to appear accordingly in a biased colour by some of them who are at the helm of affairs .

Making one to believe as Cecil Earle Tyndale- a British Missionary and Educationists headed Missionary School Srinagar once said of Shanker Kaul, a teacher in the school ” What my friend Shanker Kaul does not know about Kashmir is not worth knowing”.  And  pseudo –intellectuals  carry it in the head and distort the history throwing caution to winds without fearing that  there are people  still alive who know the facts better than them. History cannot be perceived as one likes; it can either be altogether rosy or horrifying, like rose plant has a beautiful flower with it the thorn as well. Facts have to be taken in our stride in the spirit to admit what took place and how they turn about with time. Those who attempt to suppress facts and most of time get exposed places them in poor colours. 

History is the most benevolent dimension of humanity; but only till such time truth is not distorted. And once that happens, there is nothing more menacing than history to bleed mankind. It is sad that truth in and about Kashmir has been waylaid.  Its history has been taken hostage by distortions and hearsay.  

Pre 1947 history is well documented authentic and research is still on in various universities world over as this writer is well aware. Under the banner of Naya Kashmir reporters were mostly from Kashmir who did as the master told knowing full well that such reports full of misinformation and distortion? It was other day when it was said that Rajatarangni is a trash by the very scholar who has put in decades in Archaeology Department. 

Another instance pertinent to recall is. A couple of years during September attending two days Seminar on Aurel Stein organised by the Department of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir The University is nestled in Zabarwan mountain under the kind watchful gaze of Mahadeva mountains that are attributed to be the original site of the famous Shankar Pal, a rock with inscriptions of six commandments of Vedic ordain on the western bank of Lake Dal.  It is very much spread tastefully laid and raised every care has been made to keep its aesthetic value in consonance with its surroundings. 

A serene and peaceful atmosphere, one of the best spot of any university in the world spread over 1000 kanals of land in the centre of Srinagar city. Most congenial atmosphere prevails here. One longs with love to be here for years to ponder the marvels of history we have inherited thus far viz-a viz the World around. During   the three-day stay interacting with various intellectuals made me to ponder why the Kashmiris are traditional wilful ignorant who relinquish the facts and betray ungratefulness in the process. 

Everyone from whom the present writer inquired whose land it belonged to on which this University is built upon. And when the present writer shared the facts, hardly any one appeared to believe it or feign ignorance. 

 After the division Punjab University Lahore became part of Pakistan. And  to cater needs on this side  Eastern Punjab university was established at Solan .As regards students of this state, in 1948 clemency promotions were  accorded  and for 1949 session examination of J&K students were conducted by the Eastern Punjab university .Need was felt  that the  state should have its own university. 

Dr Karan Singh approached Dr Radhakrishan then Vice President a leading luminary. He agreed in principle at the same time conveyed that it was has been given to understand   by the State Government that time under Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah that no suitable land is available in the summer capital itself. Is it believable that at time no suitable land would have been available for a house of learning? Sheer apathetic approach of the government at the behest of the head of the Government, created a lackadaisical attitude   gave enough signals the proposal to have the University a building of its own was not a priority at that time with the Government. All doors closed   it was some time back in 1951 that Dr Karan Singh thought of donating their main palace building in Srinagar the Gulab Bhavan to the newly established Jammu & Kashmir University.

In a letter dated August 1, 1951 to Pt Nehru wrote Dr Karan Singh “You may be interested to know that I am considering donating the Gulab Mahal Palace to the University of Jammu & Kashmir. Our University, as you know, possesses no building of its own, nor has it the necessary funds to enable it to acquire or construct a suitable building. Gulab Mahal Palace will, I am sure, be ideally suited for a university. It is a magnificent building containing numberless rooms, several large halls and possessing lovely lawns. 

As a matter of fact, I am sure, I am sure, with its delightful situation, it will be one of the most attractive University buildings in India. It would give me very great pleasure to see it transformed into a flourishing university, and I am sure this gift will go a long way in enabling our University to achieve its lofty ambitions. Our private property is, however, under the direct control of His Highness. He has just returned from Paris and I have sent him a message requesting him to allow me to donate the building.

I am expecting a reply from him soon”. Dr Karan Singh also informed of his intention to both Pandit Nehru and Gopalaswami Ayyangar as well. Both welcomed and were pleased with the idea of Dr Karan Singh. Nehru even replied to Dr Karan Singh on August 3, 1951; ” I am glad to learn that you intend donating the Gulab Mahal Palace to the University of Jammu & Kashmir. That is the very best use you can put the building to and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated by the public”.

Dr Karan Singh had asked the Maharaja’s Private Secretary Bhim Sain Mahey to convey his desire to his father. However, Mahey never collected the courage to speak to Maharaja on this issue. Instead Gopalaswami Ayyangar wrote to the Maharaja and urged him to accept the proposal. Maharaja was furious and wrote an angry letter to his son disallowing the suggestion. y. Dr Karan Singh was anxious and restless to see his dream to have a University of its own. 

Concern for education for which Dogra rulers are known world over.  It was Maharaja Rambhir Singh who donated a sum of rupees 5 lakhs to the Punjab University Lahore. Which was established in 1882 the fourth university in the undivided India. Other three are Madras, Calcutta and Bombay all established in 1857. And he was top of the list of the members of the Senate of the Panjab University till his last breath. He is also credited with the founding of the Manuscript Library in the Raghunath Temple which has at one time 6000 rare manuscripts duly catalogued by Sir Stein, known world over. 

Again it has been the Dogra rulers who gave stress to education right from primary to higher education and the first state introduced the universalisation of education. It was February 21, 1912 that Maharaja Partap Singh had expressed that “I don’t agree to postpone compulsory education brought all modernity by way of establishing colleges and schools,. Hari Singh was first in the country to have compulsory education to all school going children, Established Jabbari Schools.

For some years there was no further progress in the matter and in the meanwhile Gulab Bhavan was converted into to the famous Oberoi Palace Hotel. However Dr Karan Singh did not forget his commitment despite 24/7 malicious accusation, uncivilized propaganda, against the rulers by the new set up, eventually donated 120 acre orchard near Hazratbal to the university and the site presently marks perhaps one of the most beautiful campus any university can claim to possess.

Raised by his grandfather Raja Amar Singh it was called Amar Singh Bagh. When he offered his own 1000 kanal orchard Government had no option to refuse the offer which killed two birds with one stone, first deprived Dr Karan Sigh of a huge orchard raised about century back by his grandfather with love and care and he had a sentimental attachment to it and other got the land free of cost at a prime location for intellectuals world over who shall be visiting it world to enjoy its unmatched natures beauty. 

He donated it free of costs for the purpose along with all its infrastructures existed then. With it Kashmir University Srinagar was born in 1950. From the Barrack like structures university started to function. Unfortunate instead in spirit of reciprocal gesture it should have been allowed to continue its name as Amar Singh Bagh .But was changed with   Nasim Bagh, the name called during the tyrants the Pathan rulers. Even there is no mention about Raja Amarsingh anywhere in the whole University complex.








 Bushan Parimoo
(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist and a regular contributor to this Website .)
(Feedback at: blparimoo@gmail.com)

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