Former KU V-C Riyaz Punjabi dies, demise widely mourned

Srinagar:  Former Vice Chancellor (VC) of Kashmir University (KU) Prof Riyaz Punjabi died on Thursday after a brief illness at his Delhi residence.

Former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah former Union Minister, Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz, Peoples Democratic Party and V-C of KU expressed condolence on the demise of Padma Shri Awardee Prof Punjabi who breathed his last at his Delhi residence this morning.

Prof Punjabi has served as the VC, Kashmir University from January 1, 2008 to June 1, 2011.

He was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian awards, in 2011. He was granted an Honorary Professorship at the International University Vienna for his contribution in “Strengthening International Relations in the Sphere of Education in 2008.

He also won the Amity Academic Excellence Award from Amity International Business School, in 2009, the Fazil Memorial Award in 2009, and the Adbi Markaz Kamraz award in 2010. He held a doctorate in law and has authored a number of books and research papers. Prof Punjabi has also lectured in the universities and research institutions in different parts of Asia, Europe, Africa, Canada and Australia.

His death is being widely mourned by the literary and other sections of the society.

In his condolence message, Dr Abdullah who is in self isolation after his discharge from hospital yesterday said that Prof Punjabi was a true educationalist, an astute communicator, a brilliant orator and a seasoned author who believed in the intellectual integrity of universities which he held were the places for inculcating advanced learning and encouraging research to serve the people of the country and J&K in the best possible manner.

Dr Abdullah who has tested positive for COVID-19 twice said ‘Prof Punjabi’s passing away has saddened me. He was an intellectual bridge between rationalism and spiritualism with unparalleled depth of insight, profundity of scholarship, and ease of illuminating exposition. On his demise, I pay my earnest tributes to him.

I pray to almighty to bestow highest echelons to him Jannat and much-needed forbearance to the bereaved family to bear the inconsolable loss. I share the grief of bereaved family and express my solidarity with them in their hour of grief,’ he said.

In his message Vice president of the National Conference (NC) Omar said that an illuminating light has gone out of our lives. “He dabbled in various roles staring from philosopher to administrator, but people remember him for his outstanding contribution to the field of academics.

Prof Punjabi did a outstanding job towards improving the standards of research, teaching and diversification of courses in his stint as the vice chancellor of KU. He was and will continue to be role model to many aspiring minds. He truly exemplified the adage” the end product of education is a creative and free mind. On his demise I pay my earnest tributes to him and pray for repose to his soul in the Jannat. I express my unison with the bereaved family, associates and scores of students. May they have the required strength to bear the loss,” he said.

Vice-Chancellor University of Kashmir Prof Talat Ahmad, Registrar Dr Nisar Ahmad Mir and other officers and functionaries of the varsity Thursday condoled the demise of Prof Riyaz Punjabi, former vice-chancellor of the University.

Recalling the contributions of Prof Punjabi as KU Vice-Chancellor from 2008 to 2011 as well as his rich academic and literary pursuits, Prof Talat and Dr Mir prayed for eternal peace to the departed soul while expressing their deep sympathies and solidarity with the bereaved family in this hour of grief.

Dean of Academic Affairs, Dean Colleges, Dean Research, Deans of various Faculties on the campus, Heads of teaching Departments, Officers of the Registry and members from the ministerial staff also condoled the sad demise of Prof Riyaz Punjabi and expressed their solidarity with the bereaved family.

Peoples Democratic Party leaders also condoled the death Professor Riyaz Punjabi.

“We express our deepest sadness on the sad demise of Punjabi,” the leaders said adding that his death is a great loss as the deceased was of imminent personality of J&K. “His contribution to the growth and development of education system is immeasurable,” the leaders, adding that he has worked on many books.

They also offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved family and prayed for eternal peace to the departed soul and courage for the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss.

Those who have condoled include, Abdul Rehman Veeri, vice-president, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura Gen Secretary, Dr Mehboob Beg General Secretary, Nizammudin Bhat General Secretary, Abdul Hameed Kohseen State Sectarary, Arif Laigroo State Sectarary youth, Suhail Bukhari Chief spokesperson, Bari Andrabi DDC chairman Pulwama, Yaseen Bhat district president Budgam, Dr Harbaksh Singh DDC member  rouf Bhat senior leader and others

Meanwhile, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also condoled the demise of Prof Punjabi,  who breathed his last today in New Delhi.

Late Prof Punjabi’s was a well-known academician. His contribution to the development of Kashmir University will always be remembered. Tarigami expressed solidarity with the bereaved family.

“I feel extremely sad about the demise of Prof Panjabi who died this morning at his residence at Dwarka in New Delhi, after a prolonged illness” senior Congress leader Prof Soz said in a statement here this afternoon.

I had a long association with Professor Punjabi who finally settled at Dwarka in Delhi.

Professor Punjabi had long association with Kashmir University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University.

Prof Punjabi also edited a magazine titled International Peace Studies.

I feel sad that Prof Punjabi died away from many of his friends and associates in Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir, Prof Soz said.

Prof  Punjabi will be remembered in Kashmir long for his qualities of head and heart. (With inputs from UNI)

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