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PRESERVING THE HERITAGE OF TYNDALE- BISCOE AND MALLINSON SCHOOLS

This petition had 1,142 supporters


Situated in the heart of the Civil Lines at Sheikh Bagh, Srinagar, under the shadow of scores of mighty Chinars (some being more than 350 years old), lies the heritage of Kashmir, the Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Schools founded by the Church Mission Society (CMS), U.K. in the year 1880 A.D. These schools like  time-tested model schools, have the credit of serving the people of Kashmir for the past nearly a century and a half with Social Acceptance, Admiration and  Distinction and they continue to do so in modern times to serve over 7000 families whose children are studying in these schools, through their well sought after ‘activitybased’ curriculum for moulding the young minds of Kashmiri society in the lap of  God-given beauty of the valley of Kashmir with its Lakes and Mountains as well as excellent academic performance for many decades. At present the schools are administered as not-for-profit institutions by the TBMS (Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Society (Church of North India, Diocese of Amritsar, being successors of the CMS in India)), Srinagar which has a number of schools in the valley both in urban and rural areas covering the districts of Srinagar, Baramulla and Budgam. The Diocese of Amritsar along with 27 other Dioceses of Church of North India (CNI) run a network of hundreds of the finest Schools spread all over the country. The Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Society (TBMS) has plans to further its efforts in Enlightenment through Education in the remaining districts of Kashmir too. It has the distinction of establishing branches of TBMS in rural and semi-urban areas of Baramulla district (Shahjimarg, Tangmarg in 1996) and another branch in District Budgam (Humhama, in 2003) notwithstanding the difficult conditions in the Kashmir valley since 1990.

The mother schools of these branches are situated at Sheikh Bagh, Srinagar since CMS was gifted this piece of land by a well-known Carpet Manufacturer and Philanthropist of Kashmir Mr. Hadow and for many decades the schools were known as Hadow Memorial Schools. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir leased the same to the TBMS and that is where the schools stand presently.

Recently the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) have proposed a plan for further development of Srinagar city (2015-2035). In this it is proposed, among others, to develop the Lal Chowk area lying adjacent to the Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Girls Schools in Sheikh Bagh as a hub for Tourism under the banner of Public-Private-Participation (PPP) program of the Government of J & K.

The planners have not consulted the TBMS Society on the matter before putting up the proposal in public domain.

BISCOE AND MALLINSON SCHOOLS ARE THE BEST EXAMPLES OF PUBLIC-PRIVATE-PARTICIPATION (PPP): We, the Parents, Students (past and present), Teachers and over 550 members of the TBMS family, wish to draw the attention of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), the Srinagar Development Authority(SDA) and the Hon’ble Jammu and Kashmir Government to the fact that the Heritage Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Schools at Sheikh Bagh, are perhaps the longest serving Public-Private-Participation(PPP) endeavour since its inception in 1880 A.D. having helped in the development of the city of Srinagar in every aspect for the last century and half. Ask any Politician, Bureaucrat, Doctor, Engineer and all forward-looking Entrepreneurs to ascertain the contribution of these heritage institutions.

We the Parents along with over 7000 Students and over 550 employees of TBMS, wish to draw the attention of the General Public and particularly that of the Hon’ble Government of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to the fact that such a proposal of disturbing the outstanding heritage of more than 150 years of Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Schools at Sheikh Bagh may not be supported by the Society and Legal requirements as these schools are the longest serving formal  institutions in J & K. These schools were established much before the Lal Chowk business hub, as is known today, came into being.

We wish to bring out the following drawbacks of the proposed move:

HISTORICAL AND HERITAGE ICONIC BUILDINGS: Over the past 150 years these schools have existed and developed into model schools for the people of Kashmir evolving with times to keep up with the latest in academics as well as extra- curricular activities. The Public Interest has always been favorable for the Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Schools and the great demand of the parents to admit their children in these schools, year after year, is an evidence of the same. The business in Lal Chowk is also dependent on thousands of parents visiting the TBMS schools every day.

DEROGATORY STEP: We all know that modernization does not happen at the cost of losing your heritage. The bench rule for such planning must take into consideration preservation of what is already worthy and hereditary. The Educational Hubs are among the first concerns of any society along with Health and other essential services in a metropolitan city like Srinagar. Any displacement of a Heritage Education Institution developed as a result of over a century of hard labour on the part of dedicated luminaries may not be sustainable and may result in great irrevocable loss to the society and the people of Kashmir.     

TBMS – AN IDEAL READYMADE SMART CITY SRINAGAR INSTITUTION: On the contrary, the iconic, well maintained and modern infrastructure of the Tyndale-Biscoe & Mallinson Campus, is a readymade project to fit into the proposed smart city of Srinagar with digital connectivity in all branches of the school functions in offices as well as academics with an ultramodern Management Information System (MIS) through its Human Resources Department (HRD).

SAFE AND SECURE ENVIRONMENT FOR CHILDREN:  Any proposal to relocate affecting the TBMS from Sheikh Bagh, Srinagar can be highly disturbing for   thousands of Public members, as parents  have the satisfaction of placing their children, very young Boys and Girls, in the TBMS campus at Sheikh Bagh in Amirakadal Constituency which is a safe, central and convenient place in Srinagar, best recognized by the public itself who prefer their children to be admitted in these institutions. The calm and serene atmosphere of these institutions is being proposed for change changed into the chaos of a tourism business hub without any consideration for the contribution these institutions have made to the modernization of Srinagar and that of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

On record, the Tyndale-Biscoe Boys and the Mallinson Girls School have never participated in any activity other than Educational and Co-curricular, which might have posed any kind of Law and Order problem for the administration throughout its existence for past 15 decades.

 ALL ROUND DEVELOPMENT HUB: The campus at Sheikh Bagh has been developed over the last century to provide a suitable ambience for the conduct of all types of modern educational and co-curricular and extra- curricular activities necessary for the all round growth of children from age 3+ to 19+ years up to Higher Secondary (+2) level. This heritage is an asset for the state of J & K and TBMS has the distinction of being the best and most favoured comprehensive school of the valley of Kashmir.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS: There are hundreds of trees including exotic ones like old and young Chinar, Mulberry, Walnut, Kashmiri Poplars, Pine, Herbal plants, and Evergreens. The Playing fields with beautifully laid lawns & gardens surrounded by green bushes on this campus are absolutely necessary for purifying the air we breathe in, in a densely populated area full of shops and traffic environment of Lal Chowk outside our boundary walls which came into being only because of these beautiful institutions. Building hotels in place of existing Heritage Educational Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Schools at Sheikh Bagh, will definitely further increase the Human Foot Print in an already Calm and Serene atmosphere of the Sheikh Bagh area in Lal Chowk which provides a breathing Lung by the thousands of green trees, bushes, lawns and parks so beautifully maintained by the painstaking efforts of the Management of TBMS for the last many decades. The Schools have preserved the Environmental richness of the Lal Chowk area which has only become a much more crowded place because of the mushrooming growth of shops and shacks all around the School campus much after it was started. The over 50 large buildings on the Sheikh Bagh campus of TBMS are aesthetically placed to accommodate Classrooms, Staffrooms, Libraries, Laboratories, Computer and IT Education departments for all age groups both for Boys & Girls separately. All this has been an effort in bringing the best to the society in Srinagar at a great cost of hundreds of crores  to the management who have seen to it that these schools remain the best in the state providing such activities as Cross Country Run, Camps, Trekking and Mountaineering, Swimming in the school swimming pool as well as the famous Dal Lake, Regattas, Boating, Skiing and Co-Curricular activities like Debates, Quiz Competitions, Dramatics, Music, Seminars, Workshop opportunities to each and every Student. Each of the above-mentioned activities involves over 4000 students & staff at a time.    

HERITAGE GRAVEYARD OF THE BRITISH TIMES and the present CHRISTIAN CEMETERY: Just adjacent to the Sheikh Bagh campus of the TBMS is the over 200 years old heritage cemetery which is well maintained and looked after by the TBMS traditionally. It is not only a sacred and sensitive place for the Christian (Both Catholic and Protestants and other denomination Christians) Community in Srinagar but also the descendants of thousands of people all over the world who have their dear ones buried here. It also provides yet another green space with hundreds of trees (Chinar, Pine, and many exotic plants) for the otherwise choking environment of Lal Chowk.    

SCHOOLS SERVING THE COMMUNITY AT ALL SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC LEVELS: The Schools are a boon for parents from all over the city of Srinagar from Downtown to Civil Lines. Parents find it the most convenient location as the schools are situated at a walking distance and it is easy to leave their wards in the safe and protective care of the schools’ teachers and support staff. There are thousands of small and big shops around in Lal Chowk, Abiguzar, Maisooma, Kokar Bazaar, Lal Mandi , Tulsi Bagh, Jawahar Nagar, Raj Bagh, areas of Amirakadal Constituency whose majority of children, both boys and girls, are being served by these schools being the most centrally placed institution which is at walking distance.    

IDEAL SCHOOLING CLIMATE CREATED BY SELFLESS EFFORT OF LEGENDARY TEACHERS: The academic infrastructure of hundreds of Classrooms, Staff Rooms, Libraries, Laboratories for all subjects, Sports arenas, Swimming Pool, Open Air Multiplex capable of seating 2500 students, Halls and Auditoriums, Information Technology parks, offices and administrative blocks, developed over the last century and yet modernized to meet the latest requirements of modern education at an exorbitant cost and are very difficult to replace. This is the result of nearly a century and a half selfless efforts of a galaxy of Principals, Administrators and Teachers with legendary names like Canon C. E. Tyndale-Biscoe , Master Shanker Kaul, Miss Muriel P. Mallinson, Rev. John Mead Ray,  Master Salam-ud-din, Miss Premi Gergan, Master Sat Lal Razdan, Master AM Mir to name a few. The latest incumbent  Mr. Parwez Samuel Kaul and Mrs. Joyce Kaul have been painstakingly caring for these campus schools and supervising their growth from about 2000 students and 150 staff three decades ago (1985) to over 7000 students, staff and workers presently along with two Branch Schools set up in 1996 & 2003.

GALAXY OF ALUMNI: The Academic and Curricular Activities of these schools are the best comparable to  anywhere in the country, and students and teachers from these institutions have held the highest of positions in the State, Nationally and Internationally, who have a great sentimental attachment to the physical location, classrooms and playing fields of these schools as their Alma Mater.

 THE CITY CENTRE, LAL CHOWK: Being the city centre, Lal Chowk is helped in generating a large number of foot falls for the hundreds of shopkeepers and vendors by the TBMS students and parents and their families every day of the week when they have to drop and pick up their wards from these schools. This greatly helps these entrepreneurs of common masses in their business both small and big. The administration has wisely regulated the timing of schools early in the morning and in the afternoon so as not to interfere with the traffic movement at the appropriate time. In any case, the school does not contribute to any traffic movement as it plies only a very few school buses from Lal Chowk. The school administration is discreetly encouraging admission to those students preferably who live in the neighborhood and can send their wards on foot as the school is so centrally located. In the light of the above submission, it may not be wise to ignore the contributions of these great institutions and think of relocating them, which may result in total collapse of the historical heritage provided by Biscoe and Mallinson Schools at Sheikh Bagh, Srinagar.

The administration may consider the fact that there is a great demand of admissions in these schools where only one in tens of aspirants are able to be admitted, the planners will do a yeoman service to the society in Kashmir by providing an additional piece of land to set up a second phase of Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson Schools in addition to the present campus at Sheikh Bagh for imparting quality education as per past experience by these institutions, in the coming decades rather than upset the present peaceful location at Sheikh Bagh.

Humbly Submitted by the Parents, Staff, Students and Alumni of TBMS


(The above text has been taken from a letter by the Principal and Director of The Tyndale Biscoe and Mallinson Society, Mr. Parwez Samuel Kaul to all stakeholders)

 



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