His primary love and obsession has been the children. Pioneer of the Indian chapter of the international effort to look after orphan children, Sh J.N. Koul is commonly and affectionality known as 'Papa Ji' amongst the children and his team mates. He has received many national and international awards for his contribution in establishing boarding schools for the
development of orphan children, commonly known as SOS chain of schools. 1989 brought a new diversion to his activities when the entire Kashmiri Pandit community was forced to leave Kashmir valley and he had responded to his deep sense of responsibility towards his fellow community members by plunging into a hectic activity of community service. His emphasis, from the very first day when he was elected president of All India Kashmiri Samaj-a confederation of many Pandit organisations, has been 'community development'.

He talks less of politics. And perhaps it is this attitude which initially endeared him to the various leaders of Pandit organisations constituting All India Kashmiri Samaj.The community development activities initiated by Sh J.N. Koul in recent years have been phenomenal. Through the help of SOS he started vocational training for displaced students in 1995. 11 students were then selected for training in computer software. All these students have completed their courses and are will settled now. Encouraged by the initial response the vocational training courses accommodated 40 students in 1996, 45 in 1997, 50 in 1998 and 50 in 1990. The training encompasses a diploma course in both computer software and Hardware recognised by GOI, department of electronics. These students, constituting about 40% female students, are also being provided with hostel facilities. For this purpose two houses have been procured in Faridaqbad. Koul has also initiated many self help and charity schemes in Jammu and Udhampur. An entire hillock in Anangpur village has been transformed into a meditation hill with a Sharika temple at the top. In Jammu Sh J.N. Koul has started a branch of SOS schools specifically for the children who were orphaned because of terrorism in Jammu province.

With the work going on at a hectic speed on the ambitious 'Sharika Bhavan' at Faridabad, Sh J.N. Koul has inspired a movement for institution building within in displaced community in exile. We here reproduce excerpts of a detailed interview with Sh J.N. Koul.

Q: Your inolvement in the activities of child development particularly the orphan ones must have suffered because of your involvement in community service.

A: My work in the community has not lessened my efforts in SOS. In fact my work with the community is in addition to that. However, I must confess that my primary love is children. Our community has passed through very difficult times. My own people are in difficult situtuation. I had to give a part of myself to them.

Q: Such a huge effort in diverse areas must be exhausting.

A: My concept of work is different. Work for me is joy. I do it because I love to do it. I always feel that I have lot of time. I see TV, I read books, I have time for a Swami. And mind it I travel of lot.

Q: The community development projects which you have initiated in a
sense appears to be culmination of your efforts in the field of social service'

A: No, I still have a dream project in my mind. As I told you that children are my basic focus. I want to develop an institution for those children who are 'slow'. You see I do not like the world 'mentally retarted'. This institution will endeavour to train these children so that they are back and at par with the mainstream.

Q: Who has been your inspiration'

A: Whatever I am doing I have inherited from my mother.

Q: There is a general impression that Kashmiri Pandit bicker a lot. There are too many leaders. How do you manage to work in such an atmosphere'

A: Many people tell me that there are so many leaders. Yes we have. Why should anybody have problem with this' Those who comment on this donot understand our community. We always strive for leadership not in a political sense, but in the general sense. Ours is a persuit for excellence which is not obvious. People donot appreciate the positive.

Q: What are those positive attributes'

A: We are not very fond of self-bragging history. This in itself is a higher level of thinking. There is a lot of innocence in our living. There is lot of effort towards developing behaviour. Ultimately we look for happiness and that we seek is a quality of our culture. Our religion does not remain a dictation. It is a part of us and grows with us. 'Charity' in our community has always been 'gupt'. The most important attribute of my community is that it has always cared for those who know but not for those who are rich. We have had tremendous upheavels for last 700 years. Yet we have developed a lot of humour which is a sign that we live.

Q: How do you visualise the survival of the community in present times'

A: The strengeth of our community is the belief that we can live which did not die with time. My roots are not in the place, they are in me. My community is not fond by a place but by ideas, persuit of excellence and knowledge. Place will mean very little for the survival of Kashmiri Pandits. Excellence is more crucial. Pursuit for a leadership role will keep us united and protect our identity.

Q: What are your views on the issue of 'return' of displaced Pandits'

A: Why do you ask me these questions' Why don't you ask this question to a Maharashtrian or a Delihite' Am I a guest here' Am I in a foreign country to stipulate how long I have to stay' I want to go back to my place of ancestors. But somebody is living there in my house. Sombody has usurped my land My house has been burnt. I have no authority over the situation there. To create conditions is not my function. In a civilised society it is the function of the government. I have suffered and somebody has to compensate. I am not asking for moon. In the meantime a decade has passed. I am not underrating anybody's efforts-societal or governmental. But I have a right to decide and nobody can deny me that right.


Hectic work is on for the construction of an ambitious community developmental project Sharika Bhavan by Kashmiri Sevak Samaj Faridabad under the guidance and presidentship of Sh J.N. Koul. We here produce the profile of the project for the benefit of our readers:-


  1. Common community facility for social and family events.
  2. Hostel accommodation for 70 needy girl students.
  3. Transit home for the sick and needy.
  4. Library for scholastic activities (heritage, art and religion)
  5. Magnificent Mandir complex of Ma SHARIKA.


Land are of 1650 sq. yards alloted by Govt.of HARYANA

Cost of Land fully paid to HUDA

l Project site centrally located in the vicinity of famed ROSE GARDEN

l Committed & dedicated team of members for project execution

l Construction started on December 13, 1998

Uteesh Dhar