“Unselfish empathy, compassion and care, without bias or discrimination, define the humanity in its best form. It is better to be a good human before becoming anything else. Expecting others to be good first, as a condition, before taking the necessary initiatives to be good does not help us or God’s earth.
The author’s late mother, Jai Kishori Koul (Rani), who passed on about ten years ago, at 63, helped him to be what he is now. Some of her teachings are as follows:
- Never wish bad for anyone, not even your worst enemies, as it may come back and haunt you one day. You never know the whole story – the bigger picture. You don’t know what wrongs you may have done in your past lives.
- If you can’t do any good to anyone, don’t try to do any bad also.
- If your right hand is helping anyone, your left hand must not know about it.
She was a noble person – a devoted mother and a natural philanthropist in her own right. Out of her savings from everyday household expenses, she would quietly help many close relatives and neighbours – through both cash and kind. The Divinity in her helped her to heal many people. Once she reattached and successfully healed the severed right-hand thumb of the younger brother of a mason, Khazar Mohammad, who constructed the author’s parents’ home at Rawalpora and many other homes in the neighbourhood. Following her shock demise, many Kashmiri Muslims flew to Jammu to offer condolences.
The author’s worthy late grandfather, Pandit Shamboo Nath Koul, was a reputed high school teacher (Mathematics and English). He would have tutored thousands of poor Kashmir Kashmiri students – Muslims and Pandits – free of cost. In addition, he also quietly sponsored the education of many poor students in the neighbourhood. In that sense, he was a hidden philanthropist. Anecdotally, on his demise, in January 1983, the Salal hydel project (at Dhyangarh, Reasi) had come to a standstill. His pyre, on the bank of River Chinab, is understood to have been more than 7-feet high. A senior Kashmir Pandit engineer, who sat on the top of the pyre to place his mortal remains on it, dislocated his shoulder while pulling it the up. His cremation was attended by thousands of engineers and allied project staff – a befitting farewell to an educationist who served selflessly.
The author’s worthy father, Mr Jawahar Lal Koul (Boba), who rose to be the Chief Engineer R & B (PWD), Kashmir (2000 – 2002), has also been quietly assisting many families – Kashmir Pandits, Kashmir Muslims and Dogras from Jammu, older people amongst relatives and in old-age homes, domestic helpers, orphans etc. Anyone who has been associated with him and his home has prospered in life. One could call him a shy philanthropist.
Lastly, the author’s better half, Prof Rekha B Koul, an academic, has her own hidden stories of philanthropy, which are quite humbling for the author.
Let us rise, transcend the man-made divisions and be humans, and try to make this world a better place for our children.” … Bill K Koul (6 June 2019)