“ Kahan Se Ib-tida Kii Thi,
Main Kahin Bhul Na Jaon,
Junoon Main Laut Ke Main,
Nakshe Kadam Dhund Raha Hun”
(Where Did It Begin From,
I Do Not Wish To Forget,
In Frenzy Do I Return In Search Of Those Footprints)
Exploring a Teacher’s life and journey is nothing less than a quest. For a Student his/her teachers are a repository of the visceral freedom and nothing can fill a void created by their departure. A Teacher is a guiding light for his students. One such Personality in the field of academics was Prof. S. Karan Singh. On 18th September 2019, the society lost a great academician and a Professor in Chemistry.
He spent three decades of his life teaching students from far-flung areas across the state. He was a Professor par excellence and a scholar with in-depth knowledge of Urdu and Persian literature. With a Masters in Chemistry, he was known for a different teaching methodology whereby he taught one of the most difficult subjects in the field of academics i.e. Chemistry in the easiest manner.
A mountaineer and sportsman of his time, Prof. S. Karan Singh climbed many peaks in the Pir Panjal region. He started his teaching career from the remote schools near Poonch and played an important role in providing accessible education to students across various villages. Such was his dedication and compassion towards teaching that at one point of his career he taught in two higher secondary schools in Surankote, at the same time. In his teaching career spanning over a period of 35 years, Prof. Karan Singh taught chemistry in Women’s college, Kashmir University and even in Science College, Jammu University. Students from Kashmir regard him as a teacher who could see the beauty in every culture.
He was instrumental in motivating the students from far-flung areas to take up competitive examinations like UPSC, UGC-NET and KAS. Many of his students were successful in qualifying various central and state-level competitive examinations. As a Superintendent in-charge, he established a framework for a larger public discourse on the issues related to mass copying in examination centres situated in far-flung areas.
Students from various colleges and schools remember him as a Professor who was humble and down to earth. One such student who is now a serving KPS officer considers his Professor the reason behind his success as he taught him the most important lesson in life i.e “There is no substitute to hardwork”.
“Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold”.
Besides his immense contribution in the field of academics, he also played a pivotal role in the overall welfare of the Youth of Poonch City. He helped in establishing the “Youth Welfare Vocational Centre’ and was also a member of the welfare committee.
He was also honoured by J&K Police in Poonch for his instrumental role and contribution in building up a statue in the memory of Late D.S.P. S. Manjit Singh, who sacrificed his life while fighting terrorists.
Prof. S. Karan Singh considered education as an important prerequisite for development in Society. He was not only a teacher in his academic life but in his personal life as well. Because of early marriage, his wife, Surmeet Sudan couldn’t complete her studies. But he knew the importance of education and thus guided her as a teacher and supported her for higher studies. Today, she is serving as an Assistant Professor in Ganderbal Physical Education College and has also worked on deputation as Deputy Director, Youth Services and Sports. She was also instrumental in implementing various government policies.
His vision for the future was the only reason that today his daughter, Tejasvit Kour is working as a successful entrepreneur and is running her own company by the name Annexal. His son Tejbhan Singh is a Masters in Science from Ottawa University, Canada.
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years. Every man’s life ends the same way but it’s their contribution towards society that matters. Prof. S. Karan Singh was a great teacher and a noble being. His untimely demise has shattered and devastated the entire society, his students and his dear friends. His colleague and good friend, Senior Professor of Botany, S. Mohinder Singh remembers Prof. Karan Singh as a “Harfanmola”.
Former Vice-Chancellor of Jammu University S. Mohanpal Singh Isher contemplated his untimely demise as a huge loss for the field of academics, for his students and fellow colleagues. Sh. Bansilal Sharma, a 1981 batch IAS officer from the state and a childhood companion of Prof. S.Karan Singh regarded him as a man full of life and zeal.
One of the renowned poets and brilliant writer from J&K, Dr Liaquat Jafri, who was both a student and colleague of Prof. S. Karan Singh has written a beautiful Nazm as a tribute to this great personality. It has a profound meaning and somewhere it relates to every soul touched by this Great Teacher.
“Buhat sar-sabz tha,aa’baad bhi tha
Wo mera hum-nafas,hum-zaad bi tha
Buhat masroof tha wo shakhs lekin
Usse har aik rishta yaad bhi tha
Ba’zaahir hansta rehta tha musalsal
Magar wo dard bhi, faryaad bhi tha
Nihayat khoobsurat hi naheen tha
Buhat dil’kash, buhat dil’shad bhi tha
Ajab rishta tha uss bande se mera
Wo mera dost bhi,ustaad bhi tha
Khudaya us ki ROOH ko shaad rakhna
Jahan bhi hai, usse aa’baad rakhna”
Dr Liaqat Jafri remembers Prof. S. Karan Singh as an incredible teacher who was strict on one hand and humble on the other.
Death is inevitable. At one point when society is mourning the death of this great personality, we should also draw inspiration from his personal and academic life.
Kanwal Singh is a columnist and an activist. He can be contacted at [email protected]