Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Memoirs

Memoirs M. Shahjahan Bhatti Sunday, September 23, 2012 Childhood: Among five brothers and two sisters I was the fifth child. Everybody including my neighborhood believed I was a kind of genius. Outwardly I felt pleasure but feared I was not. I had to work hard to get first position in every class. My teacher liked me. All boys wanted me as a friend but only sons of influential people came closer to me. Abdul Latif , Jalilurrehman Qureshi and Saadat Ali used to visit me on bikes during evening time. Shakil and Qaiser were among them. My childhood was absolutely delightful. I enjoyed reading newspapers and books from libraries. Peshawar University: After my school days where I was always at the top, I joined local college. I liked Math and Physics but friends of my eldest brother wanted me to join pre medical classes. I studied Zoology and Botany with English and Urdu. Hardcore Communists flooded the college. When I was in class 8 I wrote US embassy at Karachi to help me find pen pals in America. It helped me improve my English. Patricia Kaslyn from New Jersey and Linda Sexton from New York were my new pen pals. It gave me a lot of pleasure to read their letters. To day I realize this was the biggest blunder of my life. Government agencies projected me as an American agent. All roads to my success were closed. Many a time I met physical assaults. I remained cool because I knew nothing about what was going on around me. Through Taher Sherani and Bashir I made friendship with Jehanzeb, son of local police boss. Taher got admission in Polytechnic and Jehanzeb joined Islamia College in Peshawar University. Though I was a merit scholarship holder at the college but I was not happy with the quality of education. Jehanzeb promised help so one night I left Dera Ismail Khan and came to Peshawar. I stayed at a hotel for few days. Jehanzeb helped me get admission in Islamia College and stay at Osmania Hostel. Abu Hantash was my roommate. He was a Palestinian. Once he got sick in the middle of the night. I didn’t know Arabic. He spoke some English. I informed Musarat Hussain, the Warden. He asked me to take him to Dr. Awal Khan who after checking gave him 2 Aspirin tablets. Hantash cried over this cheap treatment but soon got well. Zia urrehman and Aurangzeb became my good friends. One evening I was reading Thomas Hardy in Botanical Gardens under the window of my room. The principal of the college appeared from nowhere and spoke to me in Pashtu. He asked me if I could read Thomas Hardy. I told him that I have read writers like Dickens, Virginia Wolf and D.H. Lawrence. He was impressed and wanted me to come to his office next day. Sahib Zada Zubair asked me if I had any problem in the school. I told him about hostel dues, he called Shrin, the accountant and my dues were wiped out. He phoned Dr. Qyum of Philosophy Department to give me an hour lecture of Philosophy every day. Saint Helen’s School Azmat Islam challenged me to join his school. I liked him as a handsome and intelligent boy. He was studying in 7th class in the school. I accepted the challenge and appeared before Father Rev. John Klover. By first day in a senior most class girls and boys was very encouraging. I was given subjects like English, Biology and General knowledge. My students loved me as a hero. From 1980 to 1985 I enjoyed status of an honored teacher. I had very pleasant relations with Father. Once I asked him to build a new school. He was worried about fianc├ęs I told him that money is in the brain. He laughed and wanted me raise a loan of 3 million rupees for a start. I said okay and visited Ummer Farooq for this loan. He agreed. We started the project and contract was given to an ex student Shahzaman of Chirat. With consultations with Father I ordered printing of Lottery Tickets. Dutch Embassy, Saudi Royal family and provincial government financed it. I supported Free world against Ex- Soviet Union in Afghanistan. I feel proud to Teaching staff was at war with each other. Rasheed Khan Laghari resigned from school and informed me that in your absence Father speak against me. This frustrated me and I asked Father J. Klover to give me a certificate of performance. He said I couldn’t quit. I was furious. I met his friend Dr. Kalamuddin and told him the story. He promised to help. Father John Klover gave me a certificate with good remarks. In my house there was no proper place for me. Therefore I launched Students Counselor near John’s Hotel. .

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