Personal account of an English Headmaster leading a school in the contested region of Kashmir in South Asia from 1962 - 1986

Twenty-Five Years in Kashmir

Headmaster on a Mission

John Ray

This book contains John Ray’s personal life account as Principal of the Biscoe School in the heart of Srinagar between 1962 and 1986. Intended as ‘something to give leaving students’, it touches on people and events in a very different age. Hippies, chief ministers, bishops and Kashmiri people of every background crowd the stage, set against the background of a school extraordinary in its range of adventurous activities. Jyoti Sahi’s drawings picture the now vanished Kashmiri scene and Wajahat Habibullah’s sobering foreword recalls the narrative from stories of a time gone by to consideration of the harsh realities of the present. 

Anyone concerned for Kashmir, or indeed for the pressures of living across cultures in today’s identity-seeking landscape, will find much interest here.

John Ray’s wartime boyhood in Surrey was followed by his five-year student life at St Andrews. MA (Hons) History and a Diploma in Education masked his passion for mountaineering. And National Service in the Royal Marines (Commandos) led to teaching (mountain expeditions and history) at Gordonstoun. In 1957 he moved to Lawrence College, Pakistan, as a housemaster and in 1962 became Principal of the Tyndale Biscoe School in Srinagar. Ray’s Christian faith had come alive during a difficult initial year in Pakistan. In 1970 he was ordained Presbyter in the Church of North India, later serving as Secretary of the Amritsar Diocesan Council. He was also the Unofficial Representative (Honorary Consul) for Kashmir to the UK High Commission, New Delhi. He was appointed OBE in 1979 for services to education and to the community in Kashmir. Returning to the UK he served in the Church of England Diocese of Birmingham as Deanery Missioner, continuing after retirement in active ministry across cultures there until 2014. He and his wife Dr Catherine Ray have been back in Srinagar in 2005 and 2012, and keep in regular touch with friends in Kashmir. They now live in Yorkshire.

£15.99 hb

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178 pp
October 2019
ISBN: 9781909930780