Tuesday, February 12, 2019




( Photo Avtar Mota  2009)

“ Where is  Sri Rupa Devi Sharda Peeth School ; The big Building   near Raghu Nath Mandir ? “

“   I don’t know. We have come from  Baramulla District  . We are new to this area .”

“ Where is  Sri Rupa Devi Sharda Peeth School ? “

“ I don’t know . I am new to  this locality . There is one  private  school in  newly built  rooms  in  that old temple . Some Petha or  Peetha school ? Ask some   old shopkeeper .  There that man is the old resident of this locality .   Please , just go and ask him. Only he can tell you correct location .  ”

“ Where is  Sri Rupa Devi Sharda Peeth School ? “

“   Rupa Devi  Sharda Peeth  School for  Girls was here in  this Raghunath Mandir premises.  That  big old white school building , which you may be looking for ,  got  completely destroyed  in a devastating fire during   peak militancy  period. So you can't find it anymore. Many Pandit women come and weep here  as they don’t find their old  school building  anymore  .  Dr  S N Dhar and his wife  Dr Bimla Ji ( Dr Vimla Dhar )  helped in  reconstruction of   some  rooms that you see currently. They gave money from their pocket for everything that you see at the spot .  They wanted that the name  of this grand old  Pandit Institution  should not die . A school for children is being run   here now.There is no Pandit teacher or student in the school now. "

 "  Thank you . Nobody could guide me properly over here  ."

 "After buying property left by Pandits,  unknown people have come to live in this locality now  .These people  know  nothing about Rupa Devi Sharda  Peeth  School ? What can they tell you ?  “
                                        ( Parmanand Ji, founder of the institution )

And in 1953,  late  Parmanand  who retired as Accountant  General ,   used his GP Fund and other  terminal dues amounting to Rs60000/= for construction of  the school building that is nowhere to be seen now . It was   named  after his daughter Rupa Devi. He was very much interested in   imparting  Sharda and Sanskrit  knowledge  to  girls apart from creating a centre for  research  in ancient texts   . Apart from being a girls high school, it  was  a premier institution for learning Sanskrit  language . Sri Daya Ram Shastri , a Sanskrit scholar from Udhampur was the first incharge of this  Peeth . Shri Jagan Nath Braroo Shastri , Shri Badri Nath Kala , Prof Kashi Nath Dhar and many more scholars were also associated with this  institution.  Some  Muslim Girls also  read  Sanskrit in this school .   For many years ,   degrees  were awarded to students  through examinations conducted by  “Bharatiya Vidhya Bhawan “ . The school also awarded degrees of Praagya, Visharadh and  Shastri to its students . Parmanand Research Institute  headed by Prof Kashi Nath Dhar was an affiliate institution. Many research papers and translations have been undertaken by Parmanand Research Institute under the stewardship of Prof Kashi Nath Dhar .This institution had a rich library with many rare Sanskirt and Sharda manuscripts. 

                                                        ( Prof Kashi Nath Dhar )

After the death of Parmanand Ji ( the founder ), it was converted into a regular girls school  .  I can name  many well known names who have studied in this school .  

Well known Hindi writer Smt. Kshama Kaul commented  on my face book  as under   :-

“This is my school. Great school. It flows in my veins . The very name of the post caught me and couldn't resist myself from writing these words. In Dardpur I have made heartiest mention of my school. I am in tears. Hey  Ram!”

 Shri.Mohammad Sidiq wani commented on my Facebook post as under  : -

“ One amongst alumni is my spouse (Prof/Dr) Mahbooba who studied in the institution and learned Devanagari script (Hindi) to proceed for career and gaining fame as a classical artist . We intend to volunteer in any genuine initiative taken for restoration of the bruised image of this institution.”

Prof Sanjay Kaul ( USA )  commented on my Facebook post as under :-

   Avtar Ji , Dr. Vimla Dhar is still running this school from her personal funds and you understand how difficult it gets ! The old school building got completely burnt and no government help was provided !”

Shri Ram Krishen Sadhu commented on my Face book post as under :-

“Pandit Parmanand was a noble character, an extraordinarily brilliant student who topped M.A. mathematics  in those times, a brilliant and honest civil servant, an academician, an outstanding Sanskrit scholar who initiated and guided Dr Karan Singh into the study of Sanskrit and scriptures. This is what Dr Singh has told me. The death of his daughter Roopa Devi was a great shock to him. He invested all his savings in this institution which he wanted to develop into an outstanding research centre. All that got destroyed in the flames of terrorist fire and Raghunath Temple which was a heritage area is almost non existent today. More than the money which was spent by him, the loss of the rich library including rare books and manuscripts which he transferred to the Peeth were also  lost .”

I n her book, “A Kashmiri Century: Portrait of a Society in Flux.” , Khemlata Wakhlu writes  this :-

“With the burning of the school, some of the world's rarest books and manuscripts — in Pali, Sanskrit, Persian, Hindi, Urdu and English — all went up in smoke! The greatest treasure of Kashmir — the ideas and words of wise and erudite seekers over the ages — which had all been kept intact in the premises of school, were gone. There was nothing left. Everything was burned to ashes."

  Dr  Vimla Dhar (w/of Dr. S.N.Dhar. ) happens to be the granddaughter of  Parmanand Ji the founder of the institution.  And her husband , Dr S N Dhar  spent 83 days  in the captivity of terrorists   when he was  kidnapped . He wrote a book “Eighty three days : The Story of a frozen river” on this  torturous experience .


                                                              (Dr S N  Dhar)
Dr S N  Dhar was kidnapped in March 1992c by Al Umar Mujahideen , a terrorist organization responsible for many  innocent deaths and kidnappings in the Kashmir valley .

( Avtar Mota )


* Sri Parmanand Ji has also been a teacher of Dr Karan singh. He taught Sanskrit to Yuvraj Dr Karan Singh. Dr  Karan Singh pays glowing tributes to Sri Parmanand Ji in his autobiography.

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