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Distinguished scholar Agha Ashraf Ali is no more

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Srinagar: Distinguished Kashmiri scholar Agha Ashraf Ali, who tirelessly worked for the education of the people of Kashmir for decades, passed away late last night at his residence in Srinagar.
As per a family statement, Agha Ashraf breathed his last at 11:45 pm at his Rajbagh residence. There will be no congregational Fatiha/gatherings due to prevailing circumstances in the valley, the statement said. People have been requested to offer Fatiha individually and offer condolences to the family members through social media.
Born on 18 October 1922 in Khanqah-e-Sokhta, Nawa Kadal in Downtown Srinagar, Agha Ashraf grew up in upper-class feudal household with a rich legacy of excellence. His mother Begum Zafar Ali, herself an educationist and legislator, was the first female matriculate of Kashmir.
Agha was widely known as a public speaker. He spoke widely on history, education, culture and contemporary politics. Agha was an ardent advocate of human rights of Kashmiris. In December 1951 when Sheikh M. Abdullah appointed him as the inspector of schools, the young foreign educated Aga Ashraf started to overhaul the education sector right from the day one. His passion for education led him to take number of initiatives. After bulldozing the transfer mafia, Agha Ashraf set his sights on improving quality of education and increasing the reach. Number of schools were opened during those times. Not only in Kashmir, Agha Ashraf ensured that education reaches to other parts of the state too. In 1952 he went to Leh in a military packet plane sitting on a box to open first girls primary school in that region.
gha Ashraf was of the view that Kashmir is in dire need of good teachers and he took upon himself to do the job.
When it came to talent, Agha Ashraf never discriminated against anyone. The first lot he sent to UK for training were pandits.
In 1960 Agha Ashraf got a Fulbright fellowship and went to America for his PhD at Ball State University, Indiana. In 1992 When the then Governor G C Saxena nominated him to the state legislative council as MLC, Agha Ashraf Ali refused the ‘honour’.

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