(Boys of CMS school Fateh kadal near the school Ghaat )
(Rev. C E Tyndale Biscoe arrived in kashmir in 1890 AD to spread Modern Education through CMS schools located at Fateh Kadal in srinagar city , Sheikh Bagh in srinagar city , Anantnaag and Baramulla . He also fought for removal of many social evils and wrong practices from kashmiri society .The first bicycle that came to kashmir was brought by CE Tyndale Biscoe . During those early days, Whenever any kashmiri saw him on a Bicycle , he or she would run away calling it a Djjin. or jin. And some years Later bicycle became a preferred mode of transport in
Down Town area of srinagar city which comprises of localities known as Ali kadal , Zaina Kadal , Bohri Kadal , Wattal Kadal, Safa Kadal , Nawa kadal, Jamalata , Khanyaar , Baba-Demb,Bulbul Lanker ,Kawdara – Budhgair , Gurgari Mohalla, Nowhatta, Nawa Bazar ,Malchimaar ,Wazapora , Razouri Kadal , Khankaah e sokhta ,Fateh Kadal , etc.etc. has produced many bright and talented men in recent past who left their mark in various fields or professions . Men like Bakshi Ghulam Mohd, Durga Prasad Dhar ,Khawja Mohd Maqbool Pandit ( Wazir e wazarat and father of shri Mohd Shafi Pandit IAS Ex .chief secretary ), Renowned Unani medicine Practitioner Hakim Ahmed Ullah ,Dr Hafiz Ullah ( Died in an Aircrash ),Shiv Narain Fotedar ,late Shri J N kaul or Papa Ji ( Associated with SOS schools ), Ahmed ullah Shahdaad ( leading Pashmina Trader of the state . This Shahdaad family had their Business interests in Yarkand and china ), sufi mystic poet Ahad zargar , Moti Lal Misri ( communist leader ), Jia Lal saraf( sanskrit scholar who Translated Panchastavi to kashmiri ),Mohd Abdullah Tibbet Baqqal ( Renowned sufiana Musician ), Laxman Joo Tickoo ( Architect of Banihall cart Road ), Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq , Dr Ali Jan , Dr K L Chowdhary and many more names come to my mind. The list is endless . But One man from this down town area with a liberal and progressive outlook who was generously praised by Europeans was Shanker Pandit or Shanker Koul .
Shanker Kaul was born ( 1876-1963 ) in Koul family that lived in Sehyar Mohalla located opposite to Rehbab sahib in down town
In 1892 he joined CMS school Fateh Kadal as a student and later rose to become
Head Master of this school.. About him C E Tyandle Biscoe writes in his memoirs Srinagar
“I must express my thanks to my Headmaster Shanker Pandit BA who has allowed me to draw upon his knowledge of ancient history , and of various rites and ceremonies , both of hindus and muslims , with respect to birth, death , marriage etc. What my friend shanker does not know concerning his country is not worth knowing . He remained Head master for 40 years in the school. A very successful teacher in the classroom , but as a leader in all social services for the welfare of his country , he was superb. ”
“ He led the boys for social service during some wild fires in
city . He again led them during the epidemics of cholera in Srinagar Kashmir
. He was seen with boys of our school creating embankments when Jhelum
overflowed and created havoc in
city .To speak of shanker kaul’s life and the enormous useful work and the
brave deeds he performed would fill volumes .I can not count and tell you how
many poor and innocent kashmiri girls he rescued from some impure devils .” srinagar
He even worked amongst lepers and led the crusade against child marriage apart from being a pillar of support for widow remarriage movement . So much was this great soul loved by citizen of the city irrespective of religious affiliations that he was made honorable member of Municipality even when he was Head master of our school.. I again quote CE Tyndale Biscoe
"Shanker kaul led a deputation of old students of the school to his highness Maharajah requesting him to enact a law Permitting widow remarriage in his community but the request was turned down . Two years later he again tried his luck and met Mr Wakefield secretary to Maharajah and succeeded . The remarriage of Widows in Hindu community became a law. I never expected in my lifetime to witness this miracle.
Mr Shanker koul , our school staff and certain old boys, had been anxious for some time to have the marriage age raised in
Kashmir , so much suffering was
continually being caused through young girls being married to elderly men.
Shanker Koul sponsored a deputation from school to see His Highness Maharajah with the result that their request was granted
upto a certain point and the marriage age of girls was raised to fourteen .”
I CONCLUDE THIS BRIEF POST ON SHANKER KOUL WITH SOME LINES FROM A GAZAL OF URDU POET MAJROOH SULTANPURI :-
Jis taraf Bhi Chal Pade Hum aabalaa Paayaan e shauq
Khaar se gul Aur Gul se Gulsitaan Bantaa gayaa'''
Mein akelaa Hi Chalaa thhaa Jaanib e Manzil Magar
Loag Saathh aatay gaye aur Carvaan Bantaa Gayaa
(Autar Mota )
18th May 2013 . Time 11.15 PM Good Night …
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