Sunday, November 19, 2017
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peace from pakistan

It is always a pleasure to welcome people from Pakistan; and incidentally, all those who come here are usually ambassadors of peace and goodwill because they know about the importance of  our common social and  cultural roots. I may have a hundred things to say against Pakistan.

But somehow I cannot think of criticising Lahore or Karachi which I have seen and where we lived in my childhood. They are all very, very pleasant memories. I have broached this subject on reading a news item about the visit of  a four-member team from FC College Lahore  to attend the  Nobel Laureate Science Conclave  2013 at IIIT-Allahabad. The team comprises two MPhil students Mohd Danish and Raheel Shamir Farhat and two teachers Farha Hameed and Mohd Azeem. They feel that among other things education can serve as a great bridge of friendship between the two countries.
I was particularly thrilled to read that they were from Forman Christian College, Lahore because my father studied there and he would tell us so many interesting stories about the college.I may mention that Charles William Forman founded this college in 1865. Prior to that  Forman had first founded the Rang Mahal School , the first English-speaking school in north India. This school added a college department in 1865, which   later on became  Forman Christian College.  In 1972, the college was nationalized by  Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. In 1987  the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that the seizure was illegal.

I recall an interesting anecdote that was revealed to me by my father. He said that once a British professor from London arrived at FC College as guest lecturer. He was to stay there for some months. Those were the days when freedom movement was raging in the (undivided)country. So the  local students would ridicule him by calling him ‘Ullu da paththa’. He  once asked someone what ‘Ullu da paththa’ meant. He was told that it is a highly adulatory term-- a term of endearment used normally for those whom the people adore and hold in high esteem.
Time rolled by and then the Professor had to finally go back to UK. By then he had become very popular among students though they continued to use that term of endearment whenever they saw him. Glowing compliments were paid to the departing professor. Then finally he got up to speak. He spoke at length dwelling on his experiences and then, finally thanking them, he said, “From my heart I wish to express my appreciation to you all for the kind hospitality that you have shown. You have all been wonderful Ullu Ka Paththas’. There was a loud roar of applause. That was the professor’s way of telling them that he had seen through their naughty game. I hope the team from FC College enjoyed itself in Allahabad.

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