Wednesday, November 27, 2019





PROF. PETER  RAINA (born1935)

Possibly in 1983 or 1984 i saw Prof. Peter Raina or Predimen Krishen Raina  at  his Shivpora house in Srinagar city. His father had died and he had come to Kashmir . He was closely related to  Justice  ML Kilam  , a respected  judge from Kashmir . Peter Raina's sister was married to Sh M L Kilam. And  Shri .Kilam  had told me many facets of Peter Raina's interesting personality.

Peter Raina's father ,Pandit Jia Lal Raina  'Taarivol'  was a very senior official in revenue department of J&K state  who had also visited Europe on some official assignment.
Peter Raina  or  Predimen  Krishen Raina ,a kashmiri Pandit who had his initial schooling in Srinagar's   National School where artist Bansi Parimu and  Padamshri Moti Lal Kemu were his close friends.Later ,  As a young boy, he  studied in New York , Germany and Oxford and finally did his doctrate in history  from Warsaw University in Poland. He taught history at Warsaw University.

Peter Raina is an internationally acclaimed  writer on history  who has authored more than 20  Books on Polish history, anti Communist movement  , Polish church and  politics  in Polish , a language that he mastered .He speaks fluent Polish .These books stand translated into various European languages. Apart from books he has written innumerable scholarly articles that stand published in various journals and magazines of the US and many European countries .

While In Poland , he joined a group of free thinkers who were opposed to  the curbs and restrictions imposed during communist rule. And for that he paid a heavy price.  Like other polish intellectuals who opposed the communist dictatorship in Poland , he was banished from Poland where he had been permanently  living since 1962  .  In Poland , his close friends included reputed writers like  Mieczyslaw Jastrun and Pawel Jasienic and national icon of the Polish church , Bishop Wyszynski.     Finally he moved to   Germany as an exile and taught at Berlin University and mastered   German language.

 In Poland ,he fell in love with a  Polish girl   Barbara Wyreszczynska, a pretty, blonde student at Warsaw University  and  married her in 1968. They were a wonderful couple. This marriage had a tragic end. A recent documentary on Peter Raina by a Polish film maker makes us to believe that his wife was possibly  killed by  Służba Bezpieczeństwa  , the Secret   police of the then  communist Government  of Poland.

Peter Raina is a truly  cosmopolitan. He felt at home in America, Oxford, Poland and Berlin . And like many, he searched for his place in the world. Polish director Bozena Garus-Hockuba has  explored the loves , work and life of Peter Raina in her documentary film, “They took his love away.”

Dr .Surrinder  Kilam , nephew of Peter Raina informs:

" He is multilingual . He knows Polish,German, Swedish , Russian, English and Kashmiri . A perfect gentleman and a Scholar. He likes Kashmiri food ,expensive Scotch and German beer . He lives in Berlin and keeps visiting Oxford."

Peter Raina's contribution to Polish life and restoration of democracy will go long in the annals of Polish history.

So long so much on Peter Raina.

(Avtar Mota)

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