Thursday, August 1, 2013

THE VALIANT KASHMIRI FROM RAINAWARI KNOWN AS SAMUEL BAQQAAL


                                                                            






SAMUEL BAQQAAL OF RAINAWARI , SRINAGAR , KASHMIR


Rainawari area of Srinagar city has a Glorious Past .If it produced saints like Jeevan sahib , Miyan Shah sahib , Krishen joo kar, Zanana Zoyee and Zind Shah Peer , it was also the birth place of Taba Ram Turki ( 1776-1847 ) and Bhawani Dass kachroo ( husband or kashmiri poetess Arni- Mall ) both Renowned Persian scholars and poets of Kashmir .Taba Ram Turki was a contemporary of Gani Kashmiri .

Saiyed Mohd Madni who later came to be known ad Madin sahib in Kashmir had also settled peacefully in Rainawari before Sultan Zain ul Abdin made him to shift to his new capital Nowshera in srinagar city . Pandit keshav Bhat Jyotishi , A profound astrologer and a Sanskrit scholar who is responsible for documenting karm- kaand and various other religious texts for kashmiri Pandits also hailed from Rainawari. So did Jaffer Ali Artist (Reciepient of many awards ) the well known Papier Mache Artist belong to Hassanabaad Rainawari.


Mata Bhag Bhari an old Kashmir Pandit saintly woman also lived in Rainawari . Kashmiri Pandits used to worship Mata Bhag Bari as a saint of highest order. She has presented a Cloak to sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind ji on his visit to kashmir. Mata Bhag Bhari had worn her eyes out while weaving the white cloak for guru ji. It was presented to guru ji while he was camping at the site of present day Chhatti Paadshaahi Gurudwara in Saidakadal Rainawari. It is mentioned in so many sikh Scriptures that After receiving the Cloak ( Chola ) from Mata Bhag Bhari , Guru Ji shot an arrow into the ground and water gushed out . He took the water and sprinkled it on her eyes restoring her eyesight . Interaction between Mata Bhag Bhari of Rainawari and Guru Hargobind ji is well preserved and documented in almost every book written on Sikh History and Gurus .

History informs us that during Pathan rule in kashmir ,  Dila Ram Quli who rose to become a member of Qabul Darbaar was also from Rainawari. Not only an able administrator , he was a farsi ( Persian ) poet as well. 

Prof.PN Dhar well known Economist and the then Principal Advisor to Mrs Indira Gandhi was also from Rainawari. His father Vishen  Joo Hakim was a Headmaster in   Biscoe School in the times of the founder Tyndale Biscoe. This Hakim family lived in Sura Teng Mohalla  of Rainawari in close proximity to Mission Hospital .

T N Kaul ( ICS ) , Pandit Saligram Kaul ( Engineer known for his honesty and integrity who fined his own wife for misuse of Municipal water which was being used for irrigating kitchen garden by her . ) Pandit Prem Nath Thussoo (Eminent Educationist associated with Vishwa Bharti Institution ), Dr B K Jalali ( well known surgeon from Kashmir ), Samsar Chand kaul Ganhaar ( Noted ornithologist ), Shri Dhar Joo Dulloo ( Well known teacher who educated Ladakhis ), Ghulam Rasool Nazki ( Broadcaster and Kashmir poet ) , Farooq Nazki ( kashmiri poet and noted media personality ), Moti lal Naaz ( Kashmir Poet ) , Late Ghulam Ahmed sofi ( Amma kaandhur, well Known Sufiana and Chhakri singer of kashmir ), Eminent Artist P N Kachroo and Gokul Dembi ( Artist ) also lived in Rainawari . Noted Music Composer and Vocalist T K Jalali is also from Rainawari. Shyam Lal Saraf ( A Minister in Sheikh Abdullah's first cabinet after 1947 ) was also from Rainawari.  The illustrious kak Brothers , I mean the well known Journalist R K Kak ,  Journalist M L Kak , Bureaucrat S K Kak ( IAS ) and  B L  Kak  ( Author .. FALL OF GILGIT ) ) are also from Rainawari . Prof Amitabh Mattoo also belongs to an illustrious Mattoo Family from Rainawari .

Noted Urdu and Kashmiri scholar and  a  Sahitya academy awardee Prof. Mohd . Zaman Azurda is also from   Hassanabaad Rainawari. Nand Lal Wattal a  Renowned Urdu Journalist of J&K state and former Editor of Khidmat Newspaper was also from Rainawari. The list is endless.


Rainawari has another distinction of being home to Samuel Baqqaal. Baqqaals live in Kraalyaar Rainawari and One of their family members fondly known as Mama or Ghulam Mohd Baqqal Adopted Christianity much before partition of the country . He was a student of CMS Tyndale Biscoe School Srinagar , where probably , he came under the influence of some missionaries . He was later known as Samuel Baqqaal. 

Samuel was a brilliant student who after passing his matriculation from Punjab University went to Allahabad for further studies where from he did his BA followed by a BT degree from Lahore . In Lahore his name was published in a paper as a brave kashmiri who single handedly doused flames of a burning house and saved life and property .

After his BT degree , he joined CMS Tyandale Biscoe school as teacher . Soon the first world war broke out and Samuel was selected as Secretary YMCA to go to France and Palestine with British ( Indian ) Troops . He was the first YMCA Secretary to enter Jerusalem with lord Allenby. Due to his amazing qualities of Organization and leadership , Samuel became quite popular and was later moved to Afghan war front where he was joined by Pandit Shanker kaul ( Headmaster CMS School srinagar ), Bhagwan Das and Suraj Raina ( Both teachers in CMS school srinagar ) to work for YMCA.

Samuel Baqqaal was later selected by Maharaja of Mysore ( who was on a private visit to Kashmir ) for starting and heading a CMS school in Mysore .He did this job to the entire satisfaction of the Maharaja . In Mysore Samuel also started Mysore Boy’s scouts which earned accolades in India .

While In Mysore ,he received a letter from his CMS school friends that the world war had created enormous hardships for kashmiris from greedy and profiteering Galdhaars ( food grain sellers ), butchers , timber sellers and bakers who were backed by some government officials . The administration had actually failed to check black marketing in food grains . A food crisis had been created in Kashmir valley leading to many starvation deaths . Samuel Baqqaal rushed back to kashmir and the Maharaja of Kashmir appointed him as Executive officer State Granaries .His work to check prices and ensure smooth distribution through newly created Shalli stores ( Public Distribution System ) earned him respect and admiration. He now married a girl from Bengal . Samuel had three children from this Marriage , Two daughters and one son. The daughters were married in well off families while his son ( Poet Farooq Nazki from Rainawari informs me that Pran Nath was also known as Mathieu and Nathi ) had a pathologists shop in Maharaja Bazar Srinagar . They had cordial relations with their cousins living at Kraalyaar Rainawari.

This lone Christian family continued to live in Sura Teng Rainawari ( Near the Fire station ) in a grand building representing European architecture and style in about half an acre plot duly fenced on all sides with a tall brick wall . That made its total segregation from immediate neighbors . The family had their Christian friends visiting them from other parts of the city or from plains of the country .

My friend kuldeep Machama would visit the family and from him I came to know that Samual’s wife was living in plains . She was possibly a Bengali Christian and was fondly called Granny by the family members .His grandson Rafi sam Baqqal was also a brilliant boy and must be well settled in life. I went once to their house with my friend . The family had a very good library . I saw books of Alexender Dumas, Charles Dickens and Somerset Maugham kept neatly inside the Almirah . The family would go to church on Sundays and celebrate Idd, Deewali and Christmas happily. I have no knowledge of this family after 1990 .


Samuel Baqqal died of Pneumonia and is buried in Sheikh Bagh Cemetery Amira Kadal .



I end this post with some lines from a poem of Ali sardar Jafri ….

Me Ek Gurezaan Lamhaa Huun ,
Ayyam Ke Afsoon Khaane mein ,
Me Ek Tadapataa Qatraa Huun
Masroof e safar Jo rehtaa Hai
Maazi Ki Suraahi ke dil se ,
Mustaqbil ke paimaaney mein .
( Ali sardar jafri )

I'm a fleeting moment
in the enchanting-house of time;
I'm a restless drop
that travels
from the pitcher of the past
to the wine-cup of the future.

( Autar Mota )


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Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

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