19th century houses of Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Ghulam Ahmad Ashai to be preserved

Recognizing the literary contribution of Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (1875-1933)– the renowned Islamic scholar and son of the soil, Department of School Education has decided to preserve Late Alama’s around 150-year-old residential house through retrofitting under the Department’s heritage conservation programme.

The Education Department has also decided to go for conservation of 19th Century building blocks housing Government Girls Secondary School at Ashai Kocha, Fateh Kadal Srinagar.

A high level meeting in this regard was chaired by Minister for Education Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari at his private office here today.

Besides Farooq Ahmad, the grand grandson of Moulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri, the meeting was attended by renowned conservation architects Ms Gurmeet Rai, Javed Ahmad Bhat, Professor and Head of the Department Civil Engineering NIT Srinagar, Mr Dhandapany a PhD scholar from IIT Chennai.

Highlighting the role of Late Alama Kashmiri, the Minister for Education said that his contribution as a scholar and his involvement in the field of education and social service shall be remembered for times immemorial.

Bukhari said Late Alama Kashmiri not only taught at a number of prominent institutions including Darul Uloom Deoband but the knowledge imparted by him across length and breadth of the country before returning to Kashmir and continuing to preach here shall be remembered till times to come.

The Minister was informed that Late Alama’s residence in Anwarabad-Lolab where his descendants continue to live till today is a three storey timber structure built in adherence to the seismic responsive vernacular traditional of building.

However years of disuse, lack of adequate maintenance, and incompatible interventions have resulted in severe dilapidation and the building is now in immediate need of conservation.

Regarding the second building at Ashai Kocha Fateh Kadal that the department of education has decided to go for conservation belongs to Ghulam Ahmad Ashai–the eminent educationist, bureaucrat, scholar and political thinker par excellence.

The Minister was informed that the project is pivoted around conservation, retrofitting, and upgrading of two connected mid 19th Century building blocks in the Government Girls’ Secondary School at Ashai Kocha, Fateh Kadal, Srinagar, that was initiated in 1966 and have been since run by the Department of Education, Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

Describing Ghulam Ahmad Ashai as a renowned educationist and a philanthropist, Bukhari said Late Ashai’s contribution as noted educationist political thinker and a social worker would be remembered in the annals of Kashmir history.    

He said that as a mark of tribute to the both legendaries, the department of education would go for conservation of both the sites under its conservation of heritage programme.

The architects informed the meeting that the conservation and upgrading plans for the two buildings would include emergency structural strengthening, consolidation, retrofitting and adaptive reuse in the form of an interpretation centre recognizing and celebrating the contribution of Anwar Shah Kashmiri in the culture of knowledge and spirituality in the valley.

The Minister was briefed the conservation programme formulated for the two projects would address functional concerns and conserve the historic, aesthetic, and technological values that the houses embody owing to its association with the illustrious scholars and educationists of Kashmir.

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