Gandhi Ji used to say, “In India we have two types of people: those who work and those who get the credit”. Ethnic minority of Kashmiri Pandits, by and large, belong to the first category. Rarely have they received their due recognition for their efforts and contribution to the national cause. May be we are ourselves to be blamed. After all, the old saying is, “Do in Rome as the Romans do”. One has to beat one’s own drum to receive public appreciation as is the culture of Independent India. There are a number of persons from our community who have failed to receive due recognition for their untiring efforts, dedication and devotion they have shown to the development of literature, science and social welfare. One such person, who comes readily to ones mind is Shri P.N. RAZDAN (Mahanoori) an eminent educationist, a prolific writer, an innovative teacher and a great physical enthusiast who had achieved a number of milestones in the field of swimming, boxing, hiking, etc; during his youth.
Shri Razdan was soft spoken, gentle and modest person. But behind his simple, unassuming personality was hidden a man of great talent, grit and stamina; one who never compromised with his principles inspite of the difficulties and hardships he had to face. Shri Razdan was educated, during his formative years, in C.M.S. Central Biscoe High School at Feteh Kadal, Srinagar, a pioneer institute of modern education in J&K State. After his graduation from the Punjab University, the Mission authorities offered him to take charge as Senior Science Teacher of their high school at Anantnag.
He introduced multipurpose activities in the School Science Union. The alternate monthly meetings of this Union were culminated in yearly annual functions in which the parents, old boys, elites of the locality as well as Mission authorities from Srinagar would participate. His enthusiastic dynamism and progressive ideas that he put to practice made him very popular with the boys, parents and the intelligentsia as well as VIPs.
Shri Razdan, during his tenure of more than three years at Anantang, penned down the manuscripts of three books. M/S Ali Mohd and Sons, Srinagar published two of these- booklets dealing with High School physical science made easy. The third manuscript-a book on the Dogra rulers of the J&K State, however, remained unpublished.
Only after about six months stay at his new place of posting, Central Mission High School, Sheikhbagh, Srinagar, he was deputed to the Teachers Training Collage at the Prince Of Wales Degree Collage (Presently Govt. Gandhi Memorial Science Collage) at Jammu. Soon after completing his professional training and obtaining the B.T. degree he was transferred as Senior Science Teacher of Central Mission High School, Fateh Kadal, where his enthusiasm and dynamic activities fructified into his famous experiment of innovative science teaching. As a highly dedicated teacher he consolidated his experiments by becoming a freelance journalist. He started contributing articles, giving details of his experiments, in the top most education journals of the country from 1940 onwards. His maiden article was published in “TEACHING” one of the two yearly special issues of the top most journals published by Oxford University Press, Nicol Road, Bombay. This brought him substantive remuneration, which was more than his monthly salary at that time.
The series of articles published by the Punjab Education Journal, Lahore (now Pakistan), augmented with the selection of his articles published in other different journals of the time, in the country, brought him honour of publishing his book, entitled,” New Horizons In Education “ with a foreword by the then reputed educationist, diplomat and historian Late Dr. Tara Chand.
Yet another book of his, containing three one act-plays on science topics, to infuse interest on science amongst the aspiring students was published in 1948. T.C.E. journals and publications, Lucknow, published his two one act plays on science study. The third self-published book entitled “Progressive Education” with an introduction by Dr.L. Mukerjee, an internationally known psychologist and the then Chief Editor of “EDUCATION”, Lucknow, was brought out in the year 1962.
It was in recognition of his academic pursuits in the field of education that the reputed Patty Wardhan Christian Society of Poona, dedicated one of their many journals to record the profile of two well known educationists of India namely, Shri Vishveshria of Karnataka and Shri P.N. Razdan (Mahanoori) of J&K.
His professional activities and prolific writing did finally made the State Govt: in 1949, to offer him membership on the panel of eminent educationists constituted to write science text books for Middle Classes. Not only this but subsequently he had the honour of being offered the membership of the Academic Board for high and higher secondary schools of then J&K University which continued as such for the Board Of Secondary Education when it came into existence. This was followed by memberships of;
1. Syllabus committee for high and higher secondary schools,
2. Advisory Board of Govt; Teachers Training Collage, and
3. Committee for the revision of middle school textbooks.
As a member of the Executive Committee of the All J&K Teachers Union his paper “Side lights on Kashmir Govt’s Education Policy” though initially rejected, was ultimately accepted, after public intervention through vernacular newspapers and the co-educational policy was withdrawn from the very next session, to the great relief of the people.
Shri Razdan has also many textbooks to his credit. M/S Ali Mohd. & Sons, Srinagar, published seven of his books, which he wrote for high schools, and these captured the local University markets for over three decades. Three textbooks on biological sciences, for higher secondary schools, two of these with co-authors, published by M/S Kapoor Brothers, Srinagar, continued for several years.
Shri P.N. Razdan also worked as a part time lecturer, teaching Science and Nature Study to the B. Ed. students of the Gandhi Memorial Degree College, Srinagar, for about two decades.
After his exodus to Jammu in the year 1990, Shri P.N. Razdan like many others of his community members suffered a lull and spent his time brooding. Innovative person within him, however, resurfaced and he ones again indulged in his academic pursuits. The three books he wrote and completed thereafter have since been published and are entitled “Gems of Kashmiri Literature and Kashmiriat”, “Ticklish Stories” and “Nand Bab (the mystic saint of Kashmir)”. The J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages approved the first two of these books, sanctioning subsidy for publication thereof. His book “Hindi in Kashmir” tracing the history of appearance of Hindi in Kashmir was also considered for the Sahitya Academy Award. Alas, his fourth book entitled “Trio Of Frustrated Love” with reference to Haba Khatun, Arni Mal and Rasool Mir, remained unpublished due to his demise under tragic circumstances in October’ 2003.
Last but not the least, his level of satisfaction as a teacher is described in his own words as follows “Unawares, despite the formidable multiple odds I had to face all through, I still feel proud of having been a teacher. With the multiplicity of co-related hobbies, I could enthuse my taught with interest in their learning process by innovative methods. Unawares, the unknown, unostentatious and imperceptible, subtle honour appears to have been mysteriously bestowed upon me by some divine heavenly powers that be. This has enabled me to play the game of education with dedicated devotion during my teaching career. This has enabled me to feel fully satisfied with my teacher’s role.”
by Justice Janki Nath Bhat & Prithvi Nath Razdan (Mahanoori)
Edited by: Prof. Gopi Kishen Muju
Who is there in Srinagar who has not seen at one time or the other, a quick-walking, queer-looking nimble man with a big hat on his head and a tight belt round his waist, taking long strides in quick succession along the streets of the city and elsewhere ?
Swami Nand Lal
(Nand Babh ji)
This thin tall man, with a big walking stick in one hand and a bunch of papers in another, was none other than late Swami Nand lal Ji of Nunar Village. A couple of his devout disciples who followed him often found it hard to keep pace with him. Son of Raj Guru of Maharaja Amar Singh, Shri Shanker Sahib and his wife Subadhra Ji, Swami Nand Lal Ji shifted his residence from Purshyar, Habba Kadal, Srinagar to Nunar Village, near Ganderbal enroute to Tullamulla, to live with his brother who was adopted by his maternal aunt there. He was employed in the police department and posted at Ladakh. His return from Ladakh proved to be a turning point in his life. He took to spiritualism and became a mystic saint.
A large number of outstanding miracles are attributed to him. Some of these miracles are described in the following pages. The writer was deeply impressed by the spontaneous display of love and affection shown towards Swami Ji's mortal remains invariably by all sections of people irrespective of caste and creed, the high and the low alike while these were being carried through the city to the cremation ground at Karan Nagar, Srinagar in an elegantly decorated truck. Pedestrians, householders, shopkeepers ranking the road stood up in reverence showering flowers, small sugar balls (shirin) etc. on it in plenty as a mark of deep rooted respect for the departed soul.
He showered his munificence on all and sundry who went to him. There were no barriers of caste, creed, colour or religious beliefs in his holy Darbar. Members of all communities flocked to him and were equally benefitted with his spiritual bliss. He saw one of his pious Muslim admirers rise to the highest office of his choice and when their time came to part with this mundane world for good, he said to him (the disciple ) " Dear one, we have to go home now ". Pointing to himself and to his devout Muslim disciple, he said to him, "Two coffins are needed, one for you and one for me". What a prophecy. Soon the Muslim admirer died and Swami Ji flowed him due course. Reference to a coffin for Hindu looked odd at the time. But on his demise in 1973, at New Delhi, Swami Ji's mortal remains had to be embalmed and put in a coffin before being flown to Srinagar for final rites.
Ishwarswaroop Parmaswami Nandlalji Sahib Kaul
by P. N. Razdan (Mahanori)
Ticklish Stories by
Sh. (Late) P. N. Razdan (Mahanori)
© P. N. Razdan (Mahanori)
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The fragrant flower garden of our great land tinged in the beautiful mosaic of variegated hues, irrigated by sacred rivers, fed by a fertile soil and enriched by mineral wealth, oceanic gems not for lassitude of luxury nor for evil designs but effectively guided by vigorous spiritualism of ancient heritage of India for self-confidence, self-reliance and similar positive 'Selves' to stem the tides of destructive storms of pseudo-secularism, fundamentalism, Communalism and such other negative 'ism' that tend to flicker out the consumed candle stick of Indian civilization at the end.
This in turn envisages a high degree of patriotic zeal to firmly knit together the fragmented, patchwork quilt of national integration to bring out and revive the cohesive union of warmth of hearts and constructive logic of minds with a keen eye on humanistic, domestic and international harmony in unison with global union of brotherhood vis-à-vis the humans and the ecological balance of the hydrosphere to reap the fruits of the bounty of natural gifts.
May you heed ... ???
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