My fair thoughts on Punjab University book fair
My fair thoughts on PU book fair
Lahore, May 29, 2008: The first book fair organized by the Punjab University made me happy as well as
sad. It was nice to see the new Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab University, Prof
Mujahid Kamran, making his earnest effort to resurrect the seat of learning from
IJT members who had been organizing their own book fairs in the PU. They were
never book fairs, as such; nor was this one any better. I found a lot of Islamic
propaganda material and some irrelevant titles. Only a few good publishers had
turned up at the fair to sell their books that may actually be called books. The
rest of it was nothing more than ink splashed on white paper in decipherable
There was not a single book that befitted Franz Kafka's
definition of a book "A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside
How truly applicable is Kafka's words are for the frozen
minds of students at the Punjab University. The IJT had taken over the faculties
of learning at the Punjab University towards the end of the 70s. Since then, the
University of Punjab has become a blind spot rather than a seat of
A misinterpreted creed of Islam was imposed by the
Jamaate Islami on the campus, putting a check on the very element of curiosity
that books arouse in the budding minds. Even the faculties of the departments
were not free to express and transfer the knowledge that has spread like wild
fire, changing the world altogether from what it had been only 50 years ago. Man
is reaching the perfection zone in every department of learning but at the PU,
the process of learning has remained retrogressive. Like the rest of the Muslim
world, this process had stopped at some stage and never advanced.
Puritanical Muslim rule in the Spanish peninsula brought an end to their
golden era and the same happened with the Ottomans in Turkey and Mughals in
India. I wonder if the legacy of the Mughals had been furthered by Dara Shakoh
instead of Aurangzeb, Muslims might have survived as one of the modern
But let's get out of the historical lament. There is a kind of
revival of learning in Pakistan. Institutions like LUMS, FAST and GIK are
producing crops of competitive students. The reins of the Punjab University,
which remained under the dictatorial rule of generals (lols), has finally been
handed over to an educationist. I have known Prof Mujahid Kamran since he was a
lecturer. You cannot call him an ultra modernist but he is in no way backward.
Hailing from an educated family, he is an enlightened person who knows very well
that the Punjab University needs a complete transformation. He is already facing
administrative problems in handling the fundamentalist group.
won't be alone in waging a different kind of 'Jihad', the struggle to revive
transfer of free thought, liberating the mind of students to think without
inhibitions, without artificial barriers and without impediments, liberating the
soul straitjacketed in the ritual of a religion.
The Punjab University
will have to go miles and miles. It must get a cue from the other institutions
in Lahore. It must benefit from LUMS which has accumulated one of the finest
libraries in Lahore. In terms of health minders, you are what you eat. In terms
of intellect, they say you are what you read. The books must be selected. It
should be a choice reading. The book fair had more trash than anything worth
"Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true
enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread.
the great Pakistani book readers and collectors was Barrister Khalid Ishaq. He
left behind some of the finest books, about 200,000.
It was he who told
me that "you are what you read". He donated about half of the best and most
costly books to LUMS. It is a treasure trove. LUMS teachers often provide
photo-copied reading package to its students.
At LUMS every course
module is replete with tests, quizzes and final tests. Why LUMS is at the top in
business and social studies is because its teachers always award grades on merit
and cannot be influenced by anything else than the output of students. The
Punjab University will have to follow the suit.
The PU is lucky to have
teachers like Syed Mansoor Shah who heads the IT Department. The highly
qualified teacher from the US can raise generations of experts by transferring
what he learnt abroad while doing specialization and teaching in the
I asked him at the book fair if there are any books relevant to his
subject displayed at the book fair, he nodded, "No". The PU must find good books
and see to it that they are not stolen and nor plagiarized.
been the biggest curses at the Punjab University. I'd wind up with one of the
best quotes on books. "To read without reflecting is like eating without
digesting." (Edmund Burke)
By MAK Lodhi (The News)
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IJT behind foiled attempt to hijack book fair?
Lahore: Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) activists tried to hijack the Punjab
University (PU) Book Fair, but failed due to the presence of heavy security and
More than a hundred IJT workers, wearing IJT badges and
distributing the student body's pamphlets, were present at the book fair
claiming to be part of the fair's organising committee. PU authorities refuted
the IJT workers' claims and said the university had 'single-handedly' organised
The controversial three-day book fair attracted more than 1,000
visitors on its first day. The fair attracted a lot of attention earlier this
month when the IJT had planned to hold the fair on May 12, but the PU
administration closed the university for four days to stop the IJT from holding
On Wednesday, PU vice-chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran and Prisons
Minister Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor inaugurated the fair. The administration called
in security personnel from a private firm and strong contingents of police. The
organising committee included several teachers, department heads and five bright
students from every department. Since the students were chosen on merit, many
IJT workers became part of the organising committee. This gave the organisation
a chance to claim partnership in the fair.
A group of IJT workers went
around the stalls noting the problems of publishers and those on the stalls. The
PU administration told them to stop, but in vain. Tension intensified when
Iftikhar Baloch, a PU teacher, stopped Zulqarnain, an IJT worker who was on the
organising committee, from distributing IJT's pamphlets at a stall. A group of
IJT workers gathered there and quarrelled with the teacher, saying that they did
not "consider him a teacher". However, the administration and security personnel
took control of the situation and the IJT workers dispersed.
official said that Zulqarnain was distributing IJT workers fake
entry passes. He said that some members of the organising committee were
supposed to deliver the teachers their entry passes, but the members distributed
the passes to their friends.
Zulqarnain said that he was a PU
student and had been selected for the organising committee on merit. He said the
teachers were victimising him for being sympathetic towards the IJT. He said the
IJT workers were also PU students and had the right to participate in the
'IJT, PU agreed to joint venture': Talking to
us, PU IJT Media Secretary Imran Kiyani said that the administration
and the IJT had agreed to organise the event jointly. He said that 40 IJT
workers were members of the organising committee and were present on various
stalls. He said the PU administration had wasted Rs 500,000, which it had paid
to the security company.
No IJT help: PU Public Relations Officer (PRO)
Shabbir Sarwar said the PU administration was holding the event without help
from the IJT. He said the event aimed at promoting a 'book culture' in the
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the Prisons minister said, "The
nations that love books last long and progress in every field of life." He
appreciated the PU for organising the fair instead of letting it be conducted by
a student union.
PU VC Dr Kamran said the government should organise such
events to attract students towards books and said that such events "could help
bring about an educational revolution". The stalls sold books giving up to 50
percent discounts. A first-aid centre was also set up where PU Health Centre
doctors and students were present. Several notable publishers set up stalls at
the book fair. These include: OUP, Dogar Publishers, Book Home, Al-Faisal Book
Publishers, Function House, Takhleeqat Nastaaliq Publishers, Rabia Publishers,
Adabi Publishers, Iqbaliyat, Minhaj-ul-Quran, Al-Ikhwan Publishers.
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LUMS to host conference on Indo-Pak issues
Lahore: Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) will organise a two-day conference titled 'The Pace
Between Pakistan and India on Model of Post war Franco-German Rapprochement' on
The conference is meant to dig out the common grounds between
the two countries, on which they can develop friendly ties like World War II
archrivals (Germany and France) did after thousands of civilians and soldiers
The LUMS spokesperson said on Wednesday that the
Social Sciences Department would organise the conference in collaboration with
the French Embassy and an NGO, Hanns Seidel Stiftung. He said foreign delegates
with a grip on the reconciliation between the two European neighbours would
speak on the occasion.
He said the speakers would analyse the peace
process between India and Pakistan and discuss its flaws. He said they would
also recommend solutions to fix the issues between the two countries. He said
Social Sciences Department faculty Prof Muhammad Waseem would coordinate the
Muhammad Shoaib, a LUMS student, said his class fellows were
excited to take part in the conference and were going through the history of
Franco-German reconciliation and India-Pakistan rivalry.
researchers, educationists and students should come up with a genuine and
progressive solution to the issues between the two countries.
another student, said healthy ties between the two nuclear powers had a
multidimensional impact, as it was not only essential for peace and stability in
the region, but also economic growth. She said that the two governments should
listen to their scholars instead of depending upon their armies or politicians
in this regard. She said, "Politicians and armies of both countries have been
deliberately lingering the issue for the last 60 years." Daily Times
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Long wait for result of scholarship exam
Toba Tek Singh: Hundreds of primary class students, who appeared
in annual scholarship examination held under the Punjab Examination Commission
(PEC) in Nov 2007, are still waiting for their results.
Some parents of
these students told reporters here on Wednesday that their children had been
promoted to Class VI but they were not being paid scholarship because of delays
in notification of their results.
An official of the education executive
district officer (EDO) said that 2,243 candidates, including 1,237 boys and
1,006 girls, took the examination but the PEC returned result sheets of around
50 per cent candidates to recheck names and roll numbers of the candidates. He
said the rechecking process was in progress and lists would be dispatched to the
PEC after a through verification of particulars of each and every candidate. He
said that results of the remaining 50 per cent were also being compiled.The
parents urged Chief Minister Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa to direct the PEC
officials to notify the results immediately.
Meanwhile, Education EDO
Malik Bashir Awan on Wednesday visited Pirmahal Government Boys High School No1
where hundreds of answer sheets of middle standard examination candidates were
gutted due to a fire in a schoolroom being used as central marking
The marking staff told the EDO that the fire broke out apparently
owing to a short-circuiting after they had left the room. The EDO, however,
ordered an inquiry into the incident.
LHC: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on
Wednesday cancelled Punjab special education secretary's orders transferring the
vice-principal of the Federal Government Sultan Bahoo Special Education Centre,
Jhang, as Multan special education district officer.Mahmooda Kausr had moved the
LHC challenging her displacement and said that her husband was an officer posted
at Toba Tek Singh and on her request, the federal government had placed her
services on the disposal of Punjab government to post her as headmistress of the
Government Deaf and Defective Hearing School, Toba Tek Singh, under its wedlock
policy. She said that the Punjab chief secretary ordered the same but later on
she was appointed as Multan special education district officer in sheer
violation of the orders of the chief secretary.
The court said that the
petitioner's three-year deputation period was meant for Toba Tek Singh only and
not for any other place, so the orders of her posting at Multan were nullity in
the eye of law and the petitioner was entitled to be posted at Toba Tek Singh
for a period of three years from the date of her deputation.
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GCU asked to regularise contract teachers
Faisalabad: The Academic Staff Association of the Government
College University (GCU) has demanded that the university regularise the
services of contract teachers and initiate a housing scheme for faculty
A general body meeting of the association here on Tuesday with
its president Mudassar Butt in the chair unanimously approved the constitution
of the association and formed a three-member election body headed by Mass
Communication Department Director Dr AR Khalid. The election body would make
arrangements for the annual election.
Members of the association said
contract teachers were very much concerned about their future. They said the
situation required the administration to refrain from further appointments and
expedite efforts for the regularisation of contract faculty members. They asked
the university administration to initiate a housing scheme for faculty members
and give them loans for construction of their houses.
said some unscrupulous elements were using its name and dispatching letters to
the chancellor against the people appointed on contract. Dawn
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