I believe this tour will have a great impact on all the students and will be a source of motivation for us all
Visiting KU on a subject tour was indeed exciting and a learning experience. On 29th November 2023, a group of about 30 students from Govt. Degree College Sogam (Lolab), a far-flung but fertile area of district Kupwara, visited the University of Kashmir (KU) on a subject tour. The group consisted of 1st and 3rd-semester students having Islamic Studies and Urdu as Major Subjects, and we were accompanied by our teachers Dr. Tauseef Ahmad Parray (a renowned author and Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies) and Dr. Rafia Wali (a prominent Urdu short story writer; faculty member, Urdu), and a few other staff members. As it was a part of our curriculum activities, we visited KU’s Markaz-i-Noor: Sheikh-Ul-Alam Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies (SACMS), Allama Iqbal Library, Shah-i-Hamadan Institute of Islamic Studies (SHIIS), and Directorate of Distance Education (DDE).
We reached KU around noon after travelling for four hours from our college. The first place/Centre we visited was SACMS. At SACMS, we visited the library where Sheikh Ul Alam’s (R.A) work, contribution, etc. have been preserved. Manuscripts of various Sufi saints of the valley are also available in this library. While having interaction with the Chairman of the Centre, Prof Adil Amin Kak, and Dr Muhammad Ilham (faculty member, Islamic Studies at SACMS), they said the main motive of the Centre and its library is to preserve the works of Sheikh ul Alam and other Sufi saints and to explore them through different dimensions by conducting research in the Centre. On this occasion, the Centre gave us two complimentary copies of their annual Journal, Alamdar, and a special book was given to our teacher, Dr Tauseef Ahmad, as a token of love and gratitude.
After that, we visited Allama Iqbal Library, which was established in 1948 and since then has developed, and approximately seven (7) lakh books are available there in different sections and storeys. We were told that it is known to be the largest library System in the state, which includes books on different disciplines – natural sciences, social sciences, languages, humanities, etc. We also visited its Museum where ancient things like old dresses, old Kashmiri kani shawls, jewellery, etc. have been preserved.
Thereafter, we visited the Shah-i-Hamdan Institute of Islamic Studies, located in the picturesque Naseem Bagh. A very warm welcome was given to us by Prof. Salahuddin Tak (professor of Arabic who is currently heading SHIIS too) and other professors. We also got a chance to visit the library of SHIIS, which has a rich heritage of books of Quran, Hadith, Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamic history, Central Asian Studies, and other areas. It has separate sections for MPhil and PhD thesis and has some rare manuscripts as well. Prof Tak Sahab and Dr Bilal Ahmad Wani introduced us to the whole library. A good interaction among students and the professors of that department was also held there. Dr Nasir Nabi, Dr Abid Mushtaq, and Dr Bilal Wani shed light on the salient features and facilities provided by the department and also shared their experiences. After that, Dr Tauseef Ahmad was also invited. He shared his thoughts and journey of success (he has done his PG from SHIIS from 2006-2008). Refreshment was also served by the department to the staff and students, and at last, a group photo as memory was also clicked on the lawn of SHIIS. As a token of love, SHIIS gave us three complimentary copies of their annual research journal, Insight Islamicus.
We also got a chance to see the Directorate of Distance Education (DDE), in which we had a good conversation with different professors in the Conference Hall: Dr Altaf Anjum (Urdu) Dr M. Dawood Sofi (Islamic Studies), Dr Syed Ishfaq (Education), and Towseef Ahmad (Urdu). Dr Rafia Wali was also invited as a speaker, who also shared experiences with that department. Dr Rafia said that it was in this conference hall of DDE that she had presented her first short story and thus was a good feeling for all of us. Here, different professors interacted with us and provided an outline of the vision, mission, and different programs (PG, Certificate and Diploma courses) offered by the DDE in distance mode. In DDE too, we were served tea and snacks. After visiting these departments in KU, students had their lunch in the park on the bank of Dal, opposite the university.
The tour was very beneficial for the students. Discipline, decency and decorum were shown by every student throughout this journey, and it was possible only through Dr Tauseef Ahmad. We are grateful to our worthy Principal sir, Prof (Dr) Shamim Ahmad Dar, our college administration, and our teacher Dr Tauseef Ahmad for giving us such an opportunity and for taking steps to teach us “beyond the classroom”.
We had friendly interactions and good conversations with the teachers and professors in every department during our visit, and we learned much from this experience. Most importantly, we got inspiration from our teacher, Dr Tauseef Ahmad Parray, who has achieved many feats as a researcher, author, and teacher. Though it took three to hours from Sogam to Srinagar, we enjoyed this lengthy journey. I am very sure and believe that this tour will have a good and great impact on all the students and it will be a source of motivation for us all. It was indeed a great learning experience.
Peerzada Madiha is a 1st Semester student of Islamic Studies (as a Major Subject) at Government Degree College Sogam (Lolab), Kupwara. Feedback at [email protected]