Srinagar, Aug 13 (UNI) The Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to rename an educational institution in Anantnag district after Sarwanand Koul Premi has been hailed by locals.
Anantnag residents believe the gesture will go a long way and connect the present generation with the past.
The government renamed 18 educational institutes, colleges and roads after security personnel killed in the area and eminent personalities from the region.
The Higher Secondary School at Soaf Shali in Anantnag was renamed the Sarwanand Koul Premi Higher Secondary School.
“It is a moment of great pride for the whole Kashmiri community. This is the best tribute to this son of the soil,” said a local.
Premi, 65, and his younger son Verinder Koul, 27, were killed by the militants in April 1990 after they were kidnapped from their home.
It took 32 years for the Jammu and Kashmir government to recognize the literary contribution of Premi, who was conferred the lifetime achievement award posthumously on Republic Day last year.
“Sarwanand Premi had not only overruled his family members but also ignored the advice of his friends to temporarily leave Kashmir at the very outset of the militant violence in Kashmir,” Rajinder Premi, his elder son, said.
“He believed that as a teacher and social worker, who had devoted his life to the welfare of his village, how could anyone harm him and why.”
Premi had written more than two dozen books and also translated Bhagwat Gita, Ramayana and Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’ into Kashmiri language.
“The naming of the school after him will connect us with our glorious past and rekindle the idea of harmony and coexistence,” said Ghulam Ahmad, a resident of Soaf Shali village.
“It is a great honour although belated. The family is still void of the actual compensation that they sought to receive post the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley,” Rajinder said.