KARACHI: A dedicated educationist and disciplinarian, Simon D’Lima, who remained associated with the St Patrick’s High School, PAF Model School, and St Peter’s High School during his lifetime, died on December 9, 2013 in the United States. He was 89 years of age.
For nearly seven decades, D’Lima remained an iconic figure in the lives of students as an ace mathematics teacher. He taught to thousands of students from the 1950s in the St Patrick’s School until his recent retirement as the founding principal of St Peter’s High School. “Besides his forte in math, D’Lima was an inspirational leader and a wonderful human being who cared for the poor and under-privileged,” recalled Menin Rodrigues, the general-secretary of the Old Patricians, adding that his tuitions classes from the very beginning comprised of students from all strata of society and those who could not afford to pay, he would tutor them for free.
“He [D’Lima] helped me in Math tuitions in 1968-69 until I managed to get through Matriculation – it was all because of him,” said one of his former students who is settled abroad. “We weren’t financially well-off back then so he took reduced tuition fees. He will be remembered forever.”
Tony Fernandes, an alumnus of the class of 1954, said that he owed his success in life to the wonderful educators at St Patrick’s, and D’Lima was undeniably among those gifted teachers.
D’Lima was also one of the favourite teachers of former military ruler, Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf, who being an old Patrician got ample opportunity of benefitting from his mentorship.
“My brother was a better student, so I would get punished and be made to kneel outside the class by Mr D’Lima for not scoring high in Math,” the army general had recalled while speaking at his alma mater in 2005. Being the president of the country at that time, Muharraf was invited by the Old Patricians, the school’s alumni group, in appreciation of his interest in de-nationalisation and successful return of St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Colleges to the Catholic Archdiocese of Karachi after a 33-year span. “Later in life I got around the subject and excelled in it, thanks to those reprimanding reminders I got from Mr D’Lima.”
The late D’Lima also taught former prime ministers of Pakistan, including Mohammad Khan Junejo and Shaukat Aziz, and scores of other luminaries and individuals at the three prestigious educational institutions.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2013.