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Historic schools of Kashmir

Post by on Monday, June 13, 2022

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Imparting education to thousands of students, several historic schools in Kashmir never budged to the onslaught of cultural transgressions instead continued to pass on the education and moral lessons to youth for decades.

The Rising Kashmir identified some of the historic schools in Srinagar that have been imparting education for nearly a century.

Historians believe that the Tyndale Biscoe School was started by Christian missionaries and was named after Canon Cecil Tyndale-Biscoe (1863–1949).

In 1890, the government allowed the school to shift to downtown and it was moved from the hospital premises in Drugjan Dalgate to a large house and compound on the riverbank in the middle of the city at Fateh Kadal. At that time the school had at least 250 student enrollments.

Later the then primary school was updated to middle school and in due course into a high school.

Another oldest school that has been imparting education since more than 122 years ago is Islamia High School.

The private un-aided school was established in 1899 at Rajouri Kadal Srinagar and has been upgraded to a full-fledged higher secondary school.

Most likely, the Islamia High School is the first Muslim school in Kashmir of English medium nature.

Reportedly, the school has a private building with 12 classrooms for instructional purposes. “All the classrooms are in good condition. It has 2 other rooms for non-teaching activities. The school has a separate room for Headmaster and Teacher.”

Currently, the school has eight boys' and girls’ toilet facilities. “The school also has a library with over 2000 books and is Children with Special Needs (CwSN) friendly.

Likewise, the Lal Ded Memorial School is also said to be one of the oldest high schools in Srinagar.

Located on the banks of the river Jhelum near the second Bridge at Habba Kadal, Lal Ded School was established by Dina Nath Nadim in 1947.

The school is named after the local saint Lalleshwari, commonly known as Lal Ded.

With the use of local skills, the school was built in a majestic style, especially with the Kashmir wooden crafts. “It was considered part of the architectural heritage of Kashmir.”

In 2009, the school building was demolished by a private builder to construct a shopping complex at the site. “A stay order was issued by the High Court after the building was demolished. The school has been transferred to a much smaller building in the area.”

Similarly, the St. Josephs School is one of the oldest private schools in Kashmir that is functioning in north Kashmir’s Baramulla area and was established in 1903.

The school was founded by Mill Hill Missionaries from London in 1903. The school has been upgraded to the status of a higher secondary school and has also started online education.

The school has produced famous politicians and top officials who have served Jammu and Kashmir earlier. The famous alumni include Mohammad Najibullah – Afghan President, Syed Altaf Bukhari, Kashmiri politician, and Muhammad Ashraf Bukhari, Bureaucrat. 

In Karanagar area of Srinagar, the National School was established in It 1938 and was headed by D.N. Raina.

In the meantime, famous Kashmiri historian, Zareef Ahmad Zareef told Rising Kashmir that the system of education in Jammu and Kashmir started in 1880 CE.

“The first and only missionary school that Kashmir had was Tyndale Biscoe School. The school was established in 1880 CE. Then in 1936 Presentation Convent School was established,” he said.

Zareef said, “Till 1881 we only had the Hindu schools in Srinagar but soon after the then government found that Muslims were keen to study and learn, the first Muslim school Islamia High School was established in Kashmir in 1899 at Rajouri Kadal. The Islamia High School was established by Mirwaiz Rasool Shah.”

He said, “Till then, we had the Vasant School in Barbar Shah, National School in Karan Nagar and Vishwa Bharti like schools only. Although there were some other schools as well, these schools were famous at that time.”

Zareef says, “After 1936, the Hari Singh regime established ‘Jabri’ schools wherein the students were forcibly enrolled into them with a motive to provide education to them. The regime was providing them with all sort of material free of cost to ensure that the students will show interest in the studies.”

“Then after 1947, M P School Bagh-e-Dilawar school was established followed by Rang-Tang School Nawakadal, Imamia Mission High School Zadibal,” he added.

According to the research conducted by one of the Assistant Professors, School of Education, Central University of Kashmir, Ganderbal, “In 1854, Reverend Robert Clark who was on tour to Kashmir, on return forcefully represented the needs of the Kashmiri people to the Christian Missionary Society in London.”

“He received much support for his views and a requisition was sent to the Christian Missionary Society to start work in Kashmir. It was decided that the first concern of these missionaries should be to work for the improvement in the deteriorated health of the people of the state,” it reads.

It also states that the popularity of the medical work of these missionaries encouraged them to pay attention to the astounding problem of mass illiteracy. “A change in the medieval educational system was brought in 1880 when the first school on modern lines was established by the Christian Missionary Society of London on the outskirts of Srinagar. The founder of the school was J. Hinton Knowles. However, the response was not satisfactory.”

“The school was later shifted to the city in 1890 and was named after reverend Biscoe, who took over in 1892. The school to this day is one of the foremost educational institutions in Srinagar and has played an important and positive role in bringing in and spreading modern education in Kashmir,” it reads.

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