Padmashri Prof. Prithvi Nath Kaul, world known Library and Information Sciences Specialist, left this world on 31st August 2009. Following is a Tribute by his close associate Dr. Abdul Majid Baba
(Dr. Abdul Majid Baba, 51, is the Deputy University Librarian at the University of Kashmir. He was educated at the University of Kashmir and the Delhi University. A distinguished scholar, Dr. Baba has strong academic credentials in Library Sciences, having completed his M.A , M.Lib.Sc, M.Phil (Lib.Sc), Ph.D (Lib. Sc), and qualified in the first batch of the National Educational Test (NET) in 1986 conducted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India, and holds the distinction of securing the First Position in Library & Information Science. He joined the University of Kashmir in 1979 as Senior Professional Assistant and has risen up the ranks to the position of senior most Deputy University Librarian. He has participated in national & international conferences, and contributed in national & international journals and attempted three Books. His publications have been well recieved especially the paper, “Vajpayee-Musharaf Agra Summit: A Chronology of Events.” Dr. Baba is widely traveled in India & abroad. In February 2009 he recieved the “BHARAT EXCELLENCY AWARD” at a function in New Delhi at the India International Center.)
Prof. Prithvi Nath Kaul (Commonly known as P.N. Kaula in the Library Profession) was born in a lower middle class family at Haba Kadal Srinagar Kashmir on March 13, 1924. His contributions on Library & Information Science had come to my knowledge when I was a student of B.Lib.Sc. at the University of Kashmir in 1978. It was 1982 when I met Prof. P.N.Kaula at Lucknow during Indian Library Association Conference. A tall bald headed man to whom I had never seen before but apprehending him as Prof. Kaula.
I was introduced before this gigantic personality of the International Librarianship. At the first sight, he questioned me, are you same Mr. Baba from Kashmir University who has co-authored Library classification book with Prof. Moti Lal Wali. I told, yes Sir. This was the beginning of our close relationship. Later on, we developed Professional Relationship as well as Family Relationship. I feel it is my moral duty to present a tribute to such a great personality on my behalf and on behalf of the Library Profession and above all he was the son of the soil (Kashmir).
Prof. P. N. Kaula worked against the different positions viz (i) President Indian Library Association, (ii) President Indian Public Library Association, (iii) President Indian Association of Teachers of Library and Information Science, (iv) Chairman Council of Literacy and Adult Education, (v) University Librarian, Professor and Head Department of Library and Information Science & Dean Faculty of Arts Banaras Hindu University, (vi) Emeritus Professor (UGC) Lucknow University (vii) UNESCO Expert and Consultant, (viii) Counselor, International Council for Professional Education, (ix) Chairman, Panel of Library & Information Science (UGC).
He was honoured by several awards for his contributions in the field of Library and Information Science at National / International level viz Padmashri Award (India) Gold Medal- Mundi Beneficio Medal (Brazil), Deutsche Bucherei Medal (Germany), Commemorative Medal of Honour (USA).
Prof. Kaula was the Editor of two International reputed journals of Library Science viz (i) Herald of Library Science (ii) International Information, Communication and Education.
The Times Library supplement, London (UK) has described Prof. Kaula “one of the most influential Librarians in the world”. There will be hardly any country Prof. Kaula had not visited. He lectured in (27) countries and lectured in over (50) Universities including America, UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Canada.
International Prof. Kaula Festschrift volume has been published in honour of Prof. P.N.Kaula on his 50th birth day in 1974. The eminent contributions to this volume have rightly acclaimed him as a person of meritorious achievements.
He has authored 60 plus Books / Monographs, 6 Professional journals (Founder-Editor), Over 400 scholarly papers, over 400 reviews, 43 Bibliographies and 6000 notes.
In India we have Prof. Kaula Endowment for Library And Information Science formed on 13th March, 1975, the birthday of Prof. Kaula and its Head Office is at Guntur (Andhra Pradesh). The Endowment has decided to award “Prof. Kaula Gold Medal and Citation” to a person who distinguished himself as a Librarian, Documentalist or a Teacher of library & Information Science at International Level. Some distinguished persons all over the world have received the Award selected by the International Award Committee. The Endowment has decided to institute a similar award for Indian Librarians and Information specialists. The award is named “Ranganathan-Kaula Award” and is awarded to an Indian Professional who has made distinct contributions in the field. Prof. Rangnathan is regarded as the “FATHER OF LIBRARY SCIENCE” and Prof. Kaula was his DISCIPLE.
If we will look at the journey of Prof. Kaula from Srinagar to other parts of the Country / World, he started his career as a Librarian in DAV College, Srinagar and had returned after receiving training from Prof. (Dr.) S.R. Rangnathan. He transformed his mission of life and started a campaign for Library development in the J&K state-May 1946-August 1947. He unlocked the almirahas of books and kept Library open upto 6 p.m. He wrote and published (108) articles in the State Press- “Khidmet”, “Hamdard”, “Desh”, “Nav Yug”, “Ranbir”, “Chand” and “Kashmir Chroncle”. He drafted the scheme for the Library Development of J&K State as well. He wrote a small book: “Kashmir me Ilmi Inqlab”.
He laid down the mission of his life in the following Urdu couplet:
“Har Raz Ko Bay Niqab Karna Hai Mujay
Har Zara ko Aftab Karna Hai Mujay
Gareeb Jahil Bay Bus Logoo Ko
Ilm Say Baar Yaab Karna Hai Mujay”
“I have to unfold the secrets of the world:
I have to transform every atom into a sun:
To the poor, ignorant and down trodden people
I have to enlighten them with knowledge”.
He wrote and published poems on education and Libraries.
He was invited by the then Vice-Chancellor to draft the plan of the Jammu and Kashmir University Library and also prepared a Library Development Plan of the Sri Pratap Public Library at the invitation of the then Education Commissioner.
In 1947, he received an order from Birla Education Trust, Pilani appointing him the Librarian in lecturer’s scale and joined there. Later on, he joined Delhi University Library as Junior Library Assistant leaving the post of Librarian that was in higher scale. It was simply to work and learn from Prof. Dr. S.R. Rangnathan who was at that time in Delhi University. Prof. Kaula took this risk leaving the higher post. From Delhi University, he rose to higher positions. Though Prof. Kaula spent most of his life outside Kashmir, but he could not afford to forget his land of birth. While remaining outside, Kashmir was always in his mind. He used to come Kashmir off and on. He depicted its scenic beauty, cultural heritage and secular nature of its in habitants through his writings. I used to meet him off and on during seminars / conferences and had telephonic conversations; he always used to discuss Kashmir regarding its educational and Libraries development.
Prof. P.N.Kaula was very close to late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. The State of Jammu and Kashmir would have enacted Library bill / act and the Library development plan prepared by Prof. Kaula and submitted to the then Prime Minister late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1951. Unfortunately political developments changed the priorities in the state. The then Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had agreed to enact Library act, but before it could be done, his ministry was dismissed in 1953. Later when he became the Chief Minister in 1975, he immediately appointed a Committee vide Govt. order No. 1867 GD of 1975 dated 18-09-1975 to go into working of the Department of Libraries & Research and also to recommended improvements which were necessary to run the Department on Scientific lines.
Last-time,I met Prof. Kaula at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during International workshop held during January 24-25, 2009 where he had to deliver keynote address. He was looking very weak and the Vice-Chancellor of AMU supported him while coming on the dice. But there was no change in his voice and Prof. Kaula was famous for his voice.
Prof. Kaula settled at Indra Nagar, Lucknow. By passing away of Prof. Kaula, important chapter of Library & Information Science has been closed. If we describe Prof. Kaula, it can take hundreds of pages. Even the World’s First D. Litt thesis in Library and Information Science has been written about his works, contributions and impact on International Library and Information Field.