Dust of the land embodying embers of Chinar, impossible not to retain the sacred flame.
The most powerful force in the world today is neither communism, nor capitalism, neither the H bomb nor the guided missiles. It is manīs eternal desire to be free and independent. President John F. Kennedy (1957)
BISCOE SCHOOL SHEIKH BAGH, SRINAGAR - KASHMIR (Photo courtesy Pandit brother)
Biscoe´s efforts to educate and create consciousness in uneducated general public of Kashmir faced onslaught and sabotage from learned elite of minority community. Education monopolised by few even succeeded in poisoning the Muslim clergy against a "sinister plan of a Christian" to convert the local population. Biscoe fighting opposition and mischief supported by like minded enlightened few economically sound Muslims managed to start a school in the midst of illiterate population downtown city (Fateh Kadal, 3rd Bridge), controlled by Muslim religious orthodoxy, which by and by in spite of hurdles and impediments became a success story.
The State of Kashmir a Muslim majority was ruled by minority Hindu Maharajas whose despotic ruling tactics was overseen and watched by representatives (Residents) deputed by Her Majesty Queen Of England´s government in British India. The Resident´s job was to keep an eye on Maharajas as local Muslim population invariably complained to Her Majesty´s Government about atrocities committed by Maharajas supported by bureaucracy controlled by minority Hindu population. Though Kashmir was an independent country, the squalid miserable conditions and Hindu caste system a serious problem Tyndale-Biscoe embarked on a mission and used his own learned Christian values and western civic ideals to improve exploited and downtrodden Kashmiri society.
Tyndale-Biscoe´s educational philosophy was one in which conspicuous intellect, or cleverness, was valued less than the acquisition of more profound attributes and abilities. The high schooling placed emphasis on education, physical activities; mountaineering, trekking, boxing, boating, football, cricket, and swimming stimulating sense of courage, masculinity and physical fitness. Tug-of-War was generally a favourite of the students as it would be thrilling for the winning group to display a show of strength. The pupils were also engaged in civic duties, such as street cleaning, and in helping deal with flooding and cholera.
C.M.S. Missionary at Srinagar Kashmir played a memorable role not only in the education or sports field but multiplying educational institutions. These seats of learning opened in far-flung remote areas, opening of hospitals, dispensaries when medical care was unknown to Kashmir and more importantly create an awareness amongst people to fight for their rights and shun the attitude of being forbearing and tolerant to harsh treatment. Kashmir feels indebted and has always been looking for ways to thank this noble soul for doing so much good for Kashmir.
After British exit from India in 1947, he left for Rhodesia where he died in 1949. Biscoe married Blanche Violet Burges, daughter of Reverend Richard B. Burges, on November 02, 1891 and had four children. Rev. Biscoe´s son Eric Biscoe came to Kashmir and served his father´s institution as principal for few years.
Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah commenting on Cannon Biscoe says:"Canon Biscoe patiently and persistently tried to instil in our youth the spirit of self-help,esprit de corps and social service. It is a source of regret to me that I have not had the good fortune of passing through his school; but those who have been under his care as students feel joy and pride to be known as Canon Biscoe's boys."
CREDIBILITY OF "INCREDIBLE INDIA"
International Forum for Justice and Human Rights:
- 5084 people have been arrested
- 500 have been detained under (Public Safety Act)
- 30 schools have been set ablaze in last five months
- 250 to 275 militants operating in the Valley
FATEH KADAL (3rd Bridge) BISCOE SCHOOL
Tyndale Biscoe in his autobiography writes: "When I arrived at the C.M.S.school in Srinagar I found it full of the sons of Hindu ruling class, the top-dogs in this Mohammedan country. Over 90 per cent of the Kashmiris are Mohammedans. Those sitting before me in the schools were the sons of the slave dealers, not the slaves, for the Mohammedans did not send their sons to school as all Government service was closed to them." In order to thwart the claim made by newly born Pakistan on Kashmir, Nehru demanded Sheikh Abdullah's release from Maharaja Hari Singh's unpopular and despotic government who made Muslim majority a special target for oppression, suppression and coercion. Nehru did this not for the love lost for the local population but to win over Sheikh Abdullah who by that time had grown into a charismatic upcoming leader of Kashmiris.
Biscoe boys were exploited politically; be it Soviet Union´s premier Nikolai Bulganin (1955), later Nehru or Indra Gandhi, a Jehlum river procession was always put in the itenary displaying pomp & show to demonstrate to the world that Kashmir is an Indian territory.
Indian overtures towards Soviet Union were tactfully planned mainly to use USSR VETOs to frustrate rest of the world denying to hold the promised plebiscite in Kashmir. India's truculent behaviour paid dividends leaving Kashmir on the simmering burner.
Biscoe boys jumping from the roof of the school building to entertain visiting dignitaries. It was a treat for subjugated and poor inhabitants of Kashmir to come on the banks of river to witness some outstanding performances of the boys which they had never seen before. But India used that innocence of local population to their advantage to convince foreign guests that Kashmir wants to be a part of India.
Biscoe boys busy gearing up to follow the program of physical education. To maintain the physical fitness to be ready for any eventuality. Social work like helping out the needy had the first priority.
Biscoe boys on the banks of river Jehlum ready waiting for the call to extend help using the boats to reach the scene of some drowning accident or any calamity that local people could not cope with. Local population due to ignorance and uneducation always succumed to problems inflicted socially or politically had no clue how to defend themselves. Biscoe boys had the special training and duty to do their best to reach out for help they could render. Rev Biscoe, in a difficult situation, in person would seek the help from the Resident appointed by Her Majesty's government to oversee and keep the atrocities committed by despotic Hindu rulers under check.