Monday, May 5, 2014





Photographs  Autar Mota

It was through the untiring efforts and  intervention of Annie Besant that Sri Partap college   was started in Kashmir in 1905 with M. U Moore as its first Principal  . He was followed by William Collie in 1908 .  In 1909 , Prof.Vanmali Chakarvarti  joined as the first Indian principal of the college. All the three persons contributed in developing this nascent institution into a centre of learning . They were followed by many more intelligent , sincere , hardworking persons who also contributed significantly in developing the standard of education and reputation of the college. From this list I need to make mention of Prof. Kanjilal , Prof. A K Kichloo, Dr Muhammed  Din  Taseer , Prof . S D Malhotra ,Prof. B K Madan, Prof. R C Pandita ,Prof. S L Raina , Prof. G A Ashai ,Prof. P N Qazi , Prof. Pana Lal ,Prof. J L Kaul,Prof. Noor Ud Din, Prof. Abdul Aziz , Prof. Saif Ud Din and  Prof Nazir Ahmed Khan . I  entered and left the college during the tenure of  Prof . Nazir Ahmed Khan .

I also  hold a strong opinion that  Kashmiri society shall always remain indebted to three persons for their immense contribution in making S P College Srinagar as an institution of Excellence . I name them as under

(1) I K Sharga ( Principal 1909-1921 )

Shri I K Sharga was a kashmiri from Lucknow. His ancestors were from Rainawari who had migrated out of Kashmir during the Pathan rule and taken up employment in the Darbar of Nawab Asaf Ud Daula of Awadh . Shri sharga was a professor of Philosophy in Government college Bareilly before joining S P college .He was an original thinker , Poet , philosopher and scholar extra ordinary who had written many books and a comprehensive Treatise on “Berkeley’s Theory of Vision ” . His writings had already attracted attention of Annie Besant and Prof. William Knight ( St. Andrews University Scotland ). He had a special love for Urdu and Persian literature that drove him close to Pandit Brij Narain Chakbast and Rattan Nath Dhar Sarshar ( well known Urdu Poets from Lucknow who were kashmiris ) and he became their close friend . Modern in outlook , Prof. sharga was an Authority on Vedas. He loved reading and reciting Urdu and Persian poetry . It was during his time in 1911 that S P College became a Degree college after he got it affiliated to Allahabad university initially. Later in 1912, he got it affiliated to Punjab University Lahore . At his insistence ,Chand Narain Bahadur from lucknow also joined S P college Srinagar as professor of English . He introduced science faculties in the college .Due to his strenuous efforts , MA classes were also started in the college for the first time in 1917.
He remained very close to Nedou family ( owners of Nedou’s Hotel ) in Kashmir .

Shri Sharga is responsible for starting extra curricular activities essentially debating in the college. He introduced celebration of spring festival of SOANT in the college apart from starting a common Tea club for Hindu and Muslim Boys where he would personally join them over a cup of Tea during mid day break. The college now had a cricket Team , a Mutual Benefit Society , a Dramatic club and an Excursion Club. It was during his time that the Magazine PRATAP was born . For his services to kashmir , Maharaja Pratap Singh presented him a Khilat.. He died ( Age 64 ) in 1930 at Benaras where he had shifted for his post retirement life to live with his son .

In a write up that appeared in 1955 annual issue PRATAP magazine ,Shri Hari Chand Kaul ( 1906 Batch student ) has written as under

“ Shri Sharga was a liberal man with modern outlook . He was a philosopher who always advised students to see the both sides of any issue that confronts them .His favourite sentence was “Much can be said on both sides” .Many students remmber this line with love and reverence even to this day. It cautions them against rash and one sided opinion formed by the generality of people, in the heat of the moment , in the moments of absent mindedness and on occasions when their self interests are involved .”

(2) L Macdermett ( 1921-1931 )

He was from Ireland and had joined as a professor of English when shri I K Sharga headed the college as its principal .

He immediately added two buildings to the college to create more accommodation for ever increasing number of students .He introduced daily morning Drill which he believed would help students to walk straight , stand straight and think straight . Reading room and library was enlarged and students were made to visit this centre . A troupe of Rover scouts was created in the college .

When Maharaja Hari singh ascended the throne in 1925 , a striking change began to take place in the field of Education in Kashmir . In fact , Maharaja desired Education for all . As ruler and as person , Maharaja was keen towards the education of poor Muslim children also . Accordingly he devised ways and means to make education attractive for children from poor and backward families . A scheme of Free / scholarship oriented Education was started for meritorious and poor students. Mr. Macdermett took lead in this direction and encouraged boys from all segments of kashmiri society towards Education . The college rolls increased enormously. Not only rolls but the teaching staff and the accommodation too expanded .

(3) Molvi Mohd Ibrahim ( 1931-1939 )

It is said that Maharaj Hari singh personally wanted  this learned teacher to join S P college Srinagar as its principal after the retirement of L Macdremett. Accordingly ,he was shifted from Prince of Wales college jammu to join S P College as its principal. He was quite popular teacher in jammu and was known for his progressive and pro student approach. Immediately upon joining at S P College srinagar , he created a students council wherein every student was free to put forth his grievance if any . He was a man of tradition who believed in highest standards in Education and personal conduct . A leader with an ability to carry everyone along, the reputation of the college as Institution of learning and a centre of excellence increased manifolds during his period. At his intervention, VCs from Punjab university personally visited the college on the occasion of annual convocations. Co education classes were also started as he championed the cause of Education for the Girl child . Girls started entering the college  for education . That was something new in the Conservative kashmiri society .

I conclude this brief post with Allama Iqbal’s lines ..

Ek Daanish e Nooraani Ek Daanish e Burhaani
Hai Daanish e Burhaani Hairat Ki Faraawaani
Iss Paikarey Khaaki mein ek shai hai so woh teri
Meray liye mushqil hai iss shai ki Nigehbaani……..

( Autar Mota 05.04.2014 ) )

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