By Mohan Kishen Tiku
Mohan Raina was born in Srinagar in the year 1928 in the house of Pandit Shiv Raina. Shiv had a good reputation as a drawing-teacher. His son Mohan Raina learned A.B.C. of art and drawing from his father. He worked hard. After matriculation he got a job in the State Education Department in the text-book section. His work was greatly admired.
After some time, he was able to get a job of an Art-officer in the State Information Department. J.N. Zutshi, the then first Director General of the Department was greatly impressed by Raina’s art work concerning day to day publicity work of the department.
The Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly met in the winter capital of the state-Jammu in the year 1952. During one of its sittings, the Assembly felt the need of the new state emblem. This work was assigned to a select committee, which was to examine the question of designing the Emblem.
As desired by the then Prime Minister of the state Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, this work was allotted to the State Information Department. The department under the guidance of J.N. Zutshi, assigned this work to Mohan Raina. After sometime, the department submitted some designs to the committee. The committee duly considered various designs. The committee kept in view that a design would not represent any particular political party, religion, interest or class. It should be a people’s Emblem.
In this connection, the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly resolved that :
“…The Emblem of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be a shield-like figure with three equidistant horizontal strips and a full bloomed lotus on its top with two ploughs facing each other around its edges. The whole figure shall be surrounded by two years of corns with the inscription “Jammu and Kashmir” at its bottom”.
The designed Emblem done by Mohan Raina was submitted to the then leader of the House Sheikh Abdullah. He was happy to select the said design.
He moved the resolution in the Assembly, “The Goddess of Learning (Saraswati) as according to mythology has her abode in the lotus”.
‘This reminds us”, he added “Of the glorious past of Kashmir when the country was known as the abode of learning and extends a hope for the future when Kashmir will regain its glory”. The strips three in number represent the cultural regions of the state-Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The ploughs and the two ears of corns represent the majority of the state population. The lotus in the centre stands for purity and knowledge. “Jammu and Kashmir” below the emblem is a legend.
Recognition of the work-done by Raina, the state government sanctioned special four increments in advance and he was elevated to the post of the Exhibition Officer in the Information Department. The state government also arranged his visit to the Illinois University (USA) for further training for the subject he was doing for the department.
After brief illness, Raina passed away in Srinagar before 1987.
*(The writer is a journalist and is based at Mohinder Nagar, Jammu.)
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