KU faculty, alumni take a stroll down memory lane on Foundation Day

57 years ago, the varsity was shifted from makeshift campus on Princess Street to current premises

Karachi University Teachers’ Society (Kuts) organised a procession at the campus to relive the historical inauguration of the largest public sector university in the country. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: It was a stroll down the memory lane for alumni and faculty members who marched in a procession from the Silver Jubilee gate to the administration block of Karachi University (KU) along with currently enrolled students on Wednesday.

January 18 marks the foundation day of the varsity. On Wednesday, a large number of students, teachers, alumni and Huffaz-e-Karam recited the Holy Quran and marched till the administration block.

Fifty-seven years ago, when the university was shifted from its makeshift campus at Princess Street to its current premises, which was 12 miles away from the city centre, the then vice-chancellor, Basheer Ahmed Hashmi, led a processions with 30 Huffaz-e-Karam, reciting the Holy Quran, to inaugurate the new campus. Led by Maulana Ehteshamul Haq Thanvi, they walked in the form of procession from the main entrance of university premises to the old Convocation Ground, where the new administration building has been established, while reciting each chapter of the Holy Quran.

Karachi University Teachers' Society (Kuts) organised a similar procession at the campus to relive the historical inauguration of the largest public sector university in the country. Several alumni associations, including the Unikarians, also participated in the event. Maulana Thanvi's son, Maulana Ehteramul Haq Thanvi, led the procession. KU VC Prof Dr Muhammad Qaiser, the deans of various faculties and former VCs Prof Dr Zafar Saeed Saify and Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, along with a few of the alumni who were the part of the 1960 procession, participated in the procession.

Poet Prof Manzur Ayubi sang the university's anthem that he had composed and written in 1958 while Ejaz Rahmani recited his poem on the varsity, which was published in the university's magazine, Al Jamia, in the late 1960s.

After the procession, they gathered at the arts auditorium, where Kuts president Dr Shakeel Farooqi conducted the proceedings. Other notable alumni also addressed the faculty, students and alumni.

"[At that time, the university had [a] few hundred students and [a] few departments but by the time it has expanded into 57 departments and 19 research centres," said Dr Qaiser, adding that while there is a lack of facilities in many ways but it is the responsibility of the students, too, to make their university a better place.

The shifting

The university was set up in 1951 in three buildings with a few departments in Ranchor Line. The construction of the current premises at Princess Street started in 1958 when the then president, Iskander Ali Mirza, laid the foundation stone, said former VC Dr Siddiqui.

"There were no roads, no gate and no residential area when we came here and [we] were angry that why our VC had made us shift in this deserted area," recalled former MNA and federal minister Syed Safwanullah as he relived his experience of the procession after 57 years. The shifting was not the real challenge, he said, adding that there was only dust everywhere. When we sat for our first exams in May in this campus, they had to bring drinking water from the only available water tank, which had hot water, he said. He talked about how even when he passed out in 1961, there was no residential area from Hassan Square till the university and only babool or kikar trees could be found on the sides of the only narrow road.

In those times, only one public bus used to come on the route, he recalled. "[The] university had [its] own transport even in those times and we shifted from the makeshift campus to this new campus on the university's bus," he added.

Maulana Thanvi, Reema Siddiqui, Khaleelullah Farooqi, Saleem Mughal, Sultan Chawla, Aijaz Ahmed Farooqui and Prof Dr Fayyaz also spoke at the event.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2017.


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