Pakistan: Remembering Salam: The man we did not (and do not) honour

Pakistan Today: By Qudsia Aklaque: So many Pakistanis are delighted that our criminal neglect of Dr Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate, is not continuing. Pakistan’s premier academic institution, Lahore University of Management Sciences, with Dr Adil Najam as its vice chancellor, has launched a fundraising campaign to establish the Dr Abdus Salam chair to honour Pakistan’s brilliant physicist. What a tragic abandoning of a son who crowned the nation as he excelled globally in the task that Allah most preferred for his creation – the task of acquiring and indeed creating knowledge!

Little surprise that the amazing Dr Salam had so profoundly said of the Holy Quran that “more than anything else I know of, it speaks of the eternal wonder I have personally experienced in my own science” and then quoted this verse from Surah Luqman: “And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven oceans behind it to add to its (supply), yet would not the words of Allah be exhausted (in writing): for Allah is Exalted in Power, full of wisdom.” (31-27)

Genuinely great people have millions of stories about their greatness that do the rounds. But if you are lucky to have one that you personally witnessed then that’s what really stays with you. It’s fate’s gift to you, for life and I can boast of one such gift! In May 1989, barely a year into journalism, my editor Arif Nizami told me one morning that I had to interview the noble laureate the next day. Those weren’t Google times so for research on the grand doctor, I rummaged through the mega files. Next morning dressed in my best, deeply nervous and desperately trying to wear an intelligent look, I arrived at Dr Salam’s door. Welcoming me warmly with an innocent, endearing smile was Dr Salam sahib himself.

4 replies

  1. Pakistan: Remembering Salam: The man we did not (and do not) honour

    Qudsia Aklaque, Arif Nizami & Abdul Alim

    I wish to join you in the same flare of sentiment as you have about the proactive budge about Dr. Abdul Salam Chair – at LUMS. Lahore.

    Dr. Abdul Salam’s acknowledgement in Pakistan has become another TEDIOUS issue.

    Imagine, if you happen to ask an adolescent boy playing cricket outside Hazoori Park, “Do you know who Dr. Abdul Salam is” – the dead-sure answer you will get is YES, he won the Nobel Prize.

    Similarly the DEAD TRUTH is that everyone in Pakistan knows Dr. Abdul Salam (even in the remotest areas and places) – but IRONICALLY ENOUGH, the Politics in Pakistan has created such a sick atmosphere that people feel fearful to talk about Dr. Abdul Salam; in expressing what they truly feel about him.

    How painful and sarcastic it is to think that EVEN the Government of Pakistan has issued Postal Stamps for him.

    Again, the truth is that Every considerable Journalist; Every Politician of some standing; Every Teacher of some stature and Every Learned Person of any reasonable extent:–

    1. Knows it clearly as who Dr. Abdul Salam is;

    2. Has a Heart-Full of “GOOD SENTIMENT” about him;

    3. And also, understands that the Political Atmosphere INHIBITS any good expression about him.

    So who should be blamed -:- The People of Pakistan or The Politics of Pakistan – ????

    Leave alone whole of Pakistan and see the photo at the following link; wherein Mr. Altaf Gohar also appears to reflect his EXPRESSION OF PRAISE (holding his hand) – Khalid Hasan (on the right) of course, was beyond a doubt, a grand admirer of Doctor Sahib:

  2. LUMS Launches Fundraising Campaign for Abdus Salam Chair
    January 11, 2012

    The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) is proud to announce its campaign to create an Abdus Salam Chair at LUMS and encourages all to contribute to it generously to honour one of Pakistan’s greatest researchers and academics (you can donate here). Once funded, the Abdus Salam Chair will be a University-wide honour to be held by a Professor of international repute and distinction in any academic discipline who has already made major international contributions to his or her field of study.

    Read More at the following Link:-

    How to Donate

    Donations towards the Salam Chair can be made by any of the following:

    • Donate Online via Visa/MasterCard

    • Donate Online via PayPal

    • Contribute through Cheques/Bank Drafts

    • Wire Transfer

    • Donations by US Residents

    • Donations by Canadian Residents

  3. Nostalgic Notes:-

    {People of Taste may find many a good references in the monthly AnsarUllah and Khalid’s special editions after the demise of Dr. Abdul Salam}.
    Dr. Abdul Salam was a gifted child – He was delivered to his parents under divine revelations.

    He did exceptionally and so very well in his elementary; notwithstanding the shortage of the means and still above everything else, his acumen was comprehended by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih – II ra; long before his Famous Matriculation Result. He was a great lucky person for having received that revered patronage.

    (Late) Altaf Ahmad Gondal sound so clear in my ears; describing the last episode of the liberal era in Pakistan (late1950s) for hours at length, none stop; referring to the charm of Doctor Abdul Salam’s lectures at Government College Lahore and also at the special sessions organized at the Punjab University (old campus).

    That was the era when Dr. Abdul Salam (first time) decided to take residence in the UK; I am sure, realizing the limited scope he will be given for his work and also anticipating the whirling path of Pakistani politics.

    For some time, between 1962 and 1965, Ayub Khan’s Government solicited his services for the scientific advancements, atomic energy commission and suparco sort of institutions. But the fervor of the Government soon died down in the arms of Khan Ghulam Ishaque Khan – first as the Federal Secretary, then as the Famous Cabinet Secretary around Yahya Khan and then Bhutto and then General Zia’s trusted aide, power broker and eventual successor; who is said to have refused establishment of the Science Centre in Pakistan by Dr. Abdul Salam.

    Those were the days, when President of Pakistan was reported to have said to Dr. Abdul Salam, “I know you are far a better Muslim than I am, but it is the politics”.

    I also recall the PTV interview of (late) Munir Ahmed Khan, chairman atomic energy commission – soon after Dr. Abdul Salam’s burial at Rabwah; telling people of Pakistan as how Dr. Abdul Salam selected him and a bunch of other young Pakistani scientist for their higher studies – paid by him.

    At one time The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was said to be the largest financier of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy.

    Following institutions ARE OPERATIVE in acknowledgement of Dr. Abdul Salam, however, the Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan is in lead for housing THREE of them:-
    1. Abdus Salam National Center for Mathematics (ASNCM), Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan.
    2. Abdus Salam Chair in Physics (ASCP), Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan.
    3. Abdus Salam School for Mathematical Sciences, Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan.
    4. Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy.
    5. The Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Institute (EBASI).

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