A Life Story

Shri Jagan Nath Kaul was born in 1924 in Srinagar. After doing his Master's in Economics, he joined Delhi Administration and rose to the position of Chief Probation Services and Assistant Director of Social Welfare before going to Case Western University to study child care. In 1963, he met Dr. Hermann Gmeiner, who was visiting India, and went on to establish SOS Children's Villages of India with the support of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The first SOS Children's Village in India was built at Greenfields in Faridabad in 1964, with over 200 children. Today, nearly 200,000 children directly or indirectly impacted by SOS and its allied activities and programmes know him simply as Papaji, or father.

He unerringly combined a belief in social change with a faith in the good will of all people to help each other and help themselves. He never thought of what he did as charity, but as empowerment. He simply wanted to enable people to use the skills and resources he believed we all possessed -- no matter rich or poor. He succeeded in involving thousands of Indians to contribute towards the cause of children. A firm believer in the partnership of the State and the people, he never hesitated in standing up for the rights of children in need. He maintained that, “by bringing home a child, we reaffirm our faith in life and the basic goodness of mankind.”
He was associated with various Government and Voluntary agencies engaged in childcare and was also Member - Senate, SOS Kinderdorf International, Austria; Expert Committee for Care and Rehabilitation of Destitute Children, Government of India; Executive Committee Indian Council for Child Welfare; Vice President - Association for Social Health in India and President - Defence for Children International, India.

In addition to this work with children, he was a rallying point for the Kashmiri community, both in Kashmir and all over the world. He worked tirelessly for his community, building schools, temples, libraries and organizing community members to come together.

To us, he was a loving father, grandfather and an amazing human being who inspired us, and will continue to inspire us, always.

Selected Awards

Padma Shri – 2000.
Rajeev Gandhi National Sadbhawana Award - 1998.
Twentieth Century Achievement Award – 1998.
Shiromani Award - 1996.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy Teachers Award - 1984.

Papaji passes away

On the 16th of December at 5:45 am, Papaji breathed his last in Faridabad. After a life of service and grace, the end came peacefully during the wee hours of dawn at Fortis hospital, where he was battling cancer. The cremation took place on the 16th of December. He was survived by his wife, Shrimati Indira Kaul, son and three daughters, their spouses and grandchildren.

The family thanks everyone who have extended their prayers and thoughts.

A prayer meeting will be held between 4:00pm - 5:00pm at the Chinmaya Center, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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SOS Children's Villages Blogger said...

Mr. Kaul's life was a shining example of how one man can positively affect the lives of our world's children. I admire him and his vision for a better society, and I'm proud to belong to the same organisation that Mr. Kaul served so long and well.

With deep respect,

Hugh Linnehan
SOS-Kinderdorf International

vkaul said...

I had the fortune to work with Papaji as the General Secretary of Kashmiri Sewak Samaj, Faridabad. It was a great inspiration to be in his Company and see him work in such a detail to make anything and everything that he touched into a grand success.

He would be up and ready at 9 AM to toil for the day. His welcome smile was a source of immense motivation and his sense of punctuality was unparalled. Rarely, he would show anger when things would be messed up by his juniors.

Papaji achieved so much in so little a time for the welfare of the Children in spite of systemic lethargy, laziness of the majority and the limitations of shortage of truly motivated co-workers who could man all the projects that he initiated from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari, India. He was a great visionary, who interspersed social work with humour to charge up and motivate his co-workers.

The Nation awarded him PadmaShri, a recognition that came a bit too late in his life.

Papaji deserves a better recognition and there by the powers that matter will demonstrate that they do care for the uncared Child.

Papaji needs true recognition for his glorious role in Child development and care through building SOS Children's Villages of India as the largest and most efficiently run children's NGO in India.

Vijay K. Kaul
Ex-General Secretary
Kashmiri Sewak Samaj
Cell#: 91-9763715464

Anonymous said...

Dear "Papajee" became a beacon of light and brightened the path that we, the family of S.O.S. Children's Villages of India shall follow. The noble person's spirit will always guide us to achieve the aim of S.O.S. Children's Villages : Every forsaken, neglected child needs a home, brothers and sisters and a loving, caring mother!

With deep respect & regards,

Rachna Kachru (Zooni)
SOS UDAYAN Adoption Services
New Delhi.