My Dear Hamid,
I was at TI College for two years 1952-54 when it was at Lahore but received my BA degree in its first convocation at Rabwah. Later, in 1957, I also taught at the college for three or four months before joining the Civil Service of Pakistan in the September of that year. Both periods had a bearing on my character and career disproportionate to the time spent in the college. The presence of the Principal Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad was overwhelming and caring. He commanded affection and respect without asking for it. The future even then seem to beckon him to an exalted responsibility. I had the singular honour of being his only student in political science and then headed the students union and edited the English section of the college magazine.
Among my teachers (who later were also my colleagues for a short while) I count Chaudhry Mohammad Ali, Sufi Basharat Rehman, Dr Naseer Ahmad Khan, Dr Sultan Mahmud Shahid, Dr Naseer Bashir, M.A. Khalid, Ch. Ataullah, Mirza Khurshid Ahmad and Maulana Abulata Jullundhri. Akhwand Abdul Qadir and Abbas bin Abdul Qadir (Shaheed) were among my teachers but when I returned to teach in 1957, the former had retired and latter had left to join the government education service. Each one of them was worth his weight in gold, some much more.
I learnt recently that Iftikhar Ayaz now of Britain is the same guy, two years junior to me, who was secretary of the college union when I was it’s president. At the 2005 UK Jalsa I also ran into Afzal Turki who lost the election to Iftikhar though he was in my camp.
You are right! I do come across my students despite a teaching stint of just four months unexpectedly and in all parts of the world. I saw Pervez Pervazi, an Urdu scholar and a gregarious character for the first time after 1957 at Toronto last summer. Almost 20 years ago on an extended tour of Europe I landed in London with an excruciating tooth-ache and that too on a Sunday. My host and cousin C.M.Khalid took me to the only dentist in that metropolis who would possibly agree to see me. He did and detected the source of pain which had earlier eluded some advanced dental hospitals of the continent. That apart, dentist Waliullah wouldn’t hear of a fee for he had been my student. One could not expect a better reward just for four months of teaching quarter of a century later.
Permit me to end this message on a poignant note. The college since nationalization has fallen into ruins both in academic and physical terms. Its alumni, especially those living in Europe and North America, owe it to the community and the country to mount a huge campaign to get it back and make it a kind of Abdus Salam’s “Trieste Centre” in Pakistan. With best wishes for your venture,
10th December 2005