The shockwaves of Rajnath Bhat’s departure are a testament to the profound influence he had on the society as a whole, leaving behind a void that will be hard to fill. During times like these, it's important to come together as a community to remember and celebrate the positive contributions he made during his time as a teacher and beyond.
Rajnath sir was originally from Nagam Village of Budgam, by profession a teacher. We saw the fist glimpses of this great man in early nineties during our school days at Govt Primary School Hafroo Bata Pora Chadoora.
He possessed not only excellent teaching skills but also a charismatic and approachable personality. He was dynamic, good-looking, well-dressed, and always had a smiling face which contributed to his popularity and the affection he received from students.
He became the darling of million hearts in a quick go. The way he made learning enjoyable and created a vibrant and positive atmosphere in the classroom is a testament to the dedication and passion he had for his profession.
During those days school excursions were truly special times filled with joy and camaraderie. The absence of modern distractions like media, internet, and cell phones likely allowed for more genuine and immersive experiences. In a way, it allowed everyone to be fully present in the moment, fostering a stronger sense of connection among students and teachers.
I remember one of the excursions which we had for Pahalgam, the ability of this great teacher to connect with students on a personal level not only demonstrated his teaching skills but also his caring and compassionate nature.
Rajnath sir had a special talent for turning ordinary situations into memorable and enjoyable experiences, leaving a positive and lasting impression on all those whose lives he touched. During this trip one of our bus went faulty, and suddenly rajnath sir started singing a Kashmir song “me chue basan ase gachi shaam yatie” along with the students. By singing this Kashmiri song he played a significant role in turning a potentially inconvenient situation into a memorable one.
During early nineties we lost the contact with this great teacher because of turmoil in Kashmir. I was a child and it meant very little to me at that moment. Every passing day would add to the sense of increasing awareness of turmoil and a feeling that the situation has become confusing or difficult to navigate.
After almost the gap of 10 years we somehow came to know that our hero has joined Radio Kashmir Srinagar as the same had shifted its operations from srinagar to Jammu because of the turmoil. Rajnath Sir's significant contributions to the Kashmiri language during challenging times, is indeed very commendable. This was the most joyous moment not just for me and my family, but for all his well-wishers.
Those days we waited for 7 PM to turn on the radio and listen the voice of our hero.
This line “YE CHUE RADIO KASHMIR SRINAGAR WAN BOOZIE RAJNATHI NE ZABEN KHABRE” always sounded like coming form heavens.
I had the luxury to know this great man very closely from last 8 years. The relationship with him has been filled with genuine emotions and moments of profound connection. The first time my ears got to listen to my hero after 27 years, was when he called me up from Lalchowk at a time of loss and mourning for his brother-in-law. I went in a rush to see my hero.
After couple of decades this reunion with Rajnath Ji brought back a flood of memories and emotions. This time Rajnath sir visited my home quite frequently. By spending quality time together which provided us an opportunity to learn more about his life experiences over these years.
I had an experience of visiting his house in Jammu when he was unwell. The kindness and warmth I experienced during those hours from him have left a lasting impression. Sheetal, my sister, was busy in other room and Rajnath Sir called her and said “Hatie yeoor yetai boie hay chue aamut” and that literally brought me to tears.
The moment I wanted to leave from his house he already took his car out to drop me. Despite my attempts to decline his offer and avoid inconveniencing him, he remained steadfast in his determination to see me safely to the hotel. During that half-hour drive, a flood of memories and shared moments lingered in the air, creating an indelible imprint that would stay with me for ages.
Very recently he again visited us and spent good time with us and alas we never knew this is going to be his last visit. I remember this time when I was taking him in my cab to his sister's house. I got the chance to ask my hero about the journey he had been through all these years.
I asked, why are you still rented in Jammu. He took a deep breath and replied that “my son this is a big pain that I am living with.” He said that the anticipation of a swift return to Kashmir, which he had initially believed would only take weeks, turned into a prolonged and unfulfilled hope. His expectation of government intervention to facilitate the return didn't materialize, and the dream of going back to his homeland lingered, unrealized.
The deep love for the land is evident in his decision not to purchase a house in Jammu, highlighting a unique and profound connection to the place. Despite this sentiment, he acknowledges the challenge of conveying this profound feeling to others, even his own family and friends.
The phrase "with this hope that I will be back soon to my home" suggests a strong desire and anticipation of returning to his roots. His mention of 30 years passing by in a flash underscores the swift passage of time, creating a poignant contrast with the enduring love for the land.
My hero you lived all the pain in this part of the world, may you live peacefully in the other part of the world.
Daye Rooznaye raez
By Syed Arshad Nadeem
Author is in the business of hospitality and tourism