Ags Harka Bahadur

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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6 kms from Kargil is AGS Harka Bahadur. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides and a river flows below. When I entered school compound saw this beautifully painted wall and said to myself, this must be a really place to study. The idea of an Indoor Games Room appealed too. School was set up in 1995. Classes from Nursery to 10th.

Before we drove to school paid respects at Harka Bahadur Memorial. Subedar Harka Bahadur Rana saved Kargil for India. "During 1948 war the most fearful battle was fought for Khera bridge which connected Kargil with India. Pakistanis had captured Kargil, were well entrenched. The 1/5 Gorkha Rifles were engaged by a strong force of Pakistani defenders at Khera bridge over the river Shingo. Capture of the bridge seemed impossible till Subedar Rana and his brave men decided to cross the Shingo river, take the fight to the enemy in the positions and beat them into surrendering or retreating. Then it was Pakistan on the other side of the bridge, today it is atleast 5 kms away. Jai Mahakali! Ayo Gorkhali!" To read full story Click here

Class in session. Students were curious, who is this person taking our pics. Had to do so without disturbing class. Class has posters of fruits in English and Urdu. School has 22 teachers and one Principal.

Loved this games room, reminded me of the one we had in our society back home. Girl on right plays pretty well, her smashes were worth watching. Chess is a thinkers game whilst carom is fun. Really liked the concept and layout. Wish all Army Goodwill Schools have such a facility.

Class in progress. This is like any other school where students come to study and play. School has 444 students of whom 45% are girls.

Overview of school. Left is Auditorium cum Motivation Hall. School might be perceived as a collection of sheds by some but saw quality education being provided there.

What a wow Hall. There is a huge white screen at end of hall.

Class in progress. As on date of visit, August 2016, school fees per month for boys are Rs 220/ for up to class 5, Rs 230/ for class 6 to 8, Rs 250/ for class 9 to 10. For girls the fee is 50% of what boys pay.

Laboratory mein class in progress. It has the lots of teaching tools and equipment. Again well laid out, neat and clean.

Playroom. Loved this. Wish had taken a close up of these very cute children and a pic from right corner. Most kids were too busy to even notice anyone coming or going. Activity room was created in collaboration with State Bank of India. The Army contributed equally if not more.

In Library - again well stocked. School is affiliated to the Jammu and Kashmir Education Board. An affiliation to CBSE requires fulfilment of certain conditions, which the school at present might find it difficult to meet.

Girl second row - loved her look. The other kids seemed a bit distracted.

Idea of having a BEST CLASS is a very good one. At regular intervals and based on certain parameters a class is determined as BEST. It is a initiative that needs to be replicated across all schools, not only the ones run by the Indian Army.

Painting Competition - student work on display. AGS Harka Bahadur provides Quality Education in remote area of Kargil.

Class in progress. Did not want to disturb so not entered the class but curiosity there.

Recess time, kids playing. They ran out of their classrooms just like I did in my younger days. Found kids to be enjoying themselves, in and outside classrooms. Perhaps Subedar Harka Bahadur is blessing every child who comes to study in this school.

View from school. Bottom of pic is a bunker where children took protection when there was shelling. Artillery shelling took place regularly till 26th November 2003, the day Pakistan announced unilateral ceasefire and we decided to reciprocate. What you see is the Old Silk route connecting Kargil with Skardu.

Military Hospital Kargil. Started in July 2008. The hospital mainly caters to the needs of the Army. It has a laboratory, X ray and physiotherapy facility plus dental treatment. It is a 44 bed hospital. App 20 odd civilians walk into the hospital daily.

ICU in hospital. Locals provided with free consultation and medication. Common sickness in region are gall bladder stone, skin diseases and eye problems.

Dental chair. Very popular with locals. Hospital caters to needs of people who come to hospital. Wish the Army started a Mobile Medical Van which reached out to villages in interiors where no government facility exists knowing very well that it is not the Army''s responsibility. It will earn a lot of goodwill though.

From AGS Harka Bahadur we drove for about 45 minutes to AGS Badgam ie at a height of 9000 feet. View enroute.

Overview of AGS Badgam to give u idea of terrain. School has 7 teachers whom an Army vehicle brings from Kargil everyday. School was started in 2002. As of date of visit had 122 students of whom 45% were girls.

Class in progress, classrooms small as students few. Classes start from Lower Kg going up to 5. After passing out from here children go to Govt High School Badgam or AGS Harka Bahadur.

Class in progress. School is closed from 15th December to 15th March because of snowfall and weather conditions.

Note the look on face of each child.

Class in progress.

Loved the look of kid right in front and in the next row. So sweet.

Computer Training Centre, has 6 computers. Kids basically learn MS Office. The teacher did a one year diploma from the Kargil Computer Centre i.e. run by the Army. Computer training held for students of class 3 to 5.

Group pic at school entrance. Admire the Indian Army for running a school at this altitude. Most kids come from villages in the vicinity.

AGS Harka Bahadur had this wonderful thought that is universally true.