Ustad Rehbar: The story of a librarian in Hunza

Published: August 1, 2013
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Teacher and librarian Mohammad Rehbar. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB

Teacher and librarian Mohammad Rehbar. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB

HUNZA: Mohammed Rehbar is a teacher and a librarian in Hunza valley with an insatiable thirst for words. His love for learning made him collect old newspaper clips when he couldn’t afford the luxury of books.

Apart from serving as a school teacher for 34 years, Rehbar is also responsible for setting up the first library in the area, and is considered as an institution by the residents of the area.

Mein hoon Muhammad Rehbar, mein hoon Pakistan (I am Mohammed Rehbar, I am Pakistan), says the Hunza resident.

“I even have a newspaper that mentioned Quad-e-Azam’s death at that time,” he says. Rehbar also has a collection of newspapers containing important news, such as the creation of Bangladesh or the changing governments in Pakistan.

He says that people from the Hunza valley started taking interest when he first opened his library in the area, including illiterate elders that would come to the library and listen to Rehbar reading out the newspapers.

“It’s more of a resource room than a library. Rehbar’s resource room hosts the entire history of Pakistan,” says head teacher at FG Girls High School in Gulmit Muhammad Hussain.

Locally known as Ustad Rehbar, the librarian provides the locals with a vast collection of newspaper articles, photos and archives on various subjects.

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This film is part of Black Box Sounds production, an initiative specializing in production aimed at social and development issues, behavior change communication and mass awareness since 2006. For further information, you can visit their website or Facebook page.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Queen
    Aug 1, 2013 - 5:09PM

    Respect for people llike Mr Rehbar.

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  • Noor Pamiri
    Aug 1, 2013 - 5:27PM

    Ustad Rehbar is a dedicated man who has devoted his life for the promotion of education in the region. Well done Black Box for documenting his views and thank you Express Tribune for posting it online.

    He is a real hero because he has not done it for personal glory or any other motive.

    Feel proud to be his student.

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  • faisal
    Aug 1, 2013 - 7:08PM

    Hidden gems of Pakistan!

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  • Basarat Kazim
    Aug 1, 2013 - 7:09PM

    Yes, Ustad Rehbar is Pakistan. A Pakistan that wants to read, connect with the world, and stand tall and proud in the comity of nations.

    Would be grateful for Ustad Rehbar’s contact info. Would like to invite him to Lahore for Alif Laila’s seminar on Setting Up Community Libraries

    Basarat Kazim

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  • Umair
    Aug 1, 2013 - 7:49PM

    One Day InshaAllah I will visit your library, Ustad rehber your are great…. Salute to You……….

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  • Z.A.Zulfi
    Aug 1, 2013 - 9:42PM

    One will have many success stroies of this kind when visits the northern part of Pakistan. These People have set precedence in the highest literacy rate in the country and elsewhere. Other parts of the country should come to learn from these people. They lack the basic amenities of life but they are more aware thean the people in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore or any other metropolitan cities in the world. Salute to them. Reaching the top on the world largest mountain, mount everest by a female villager is a recent phenomenon.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Aug 1, 2013 - 11:07PM

    A very illuminated and humble man Janab Rehbar sahib. He is not merely a teacher from profession rather a pedagogue out of an inner conviction who all his life shed light of knowledge.

    The Way is the goal! Confucius

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  • Fdh
    Aug 1, 2013 - 11:43PM

    A true hero!

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  • mobeen
    Aug 2, 2013 - 12:26AM

    it is high appreciable, this man devotion and passion and love with history of his country. in real sense he is doing his job. the thing which impressed me alto is his self reliance.he did not complain about the lack of resources or did not ask for help from anybody.thumbs up man
    it would be very kind if you people(express tribune ) provide me his address so, in future if i wound get chance to visit Hunza I ll meet him .

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  • Sajjad Haider
    Aug 2, 2013 - 12:59AM

    Ustad Rehbar… a truly unsung Hero… Salute to him

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  • Tamatar
    Aug 2, 2013 - 2:00AM

    This is an archive, not a library.

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  • Saleem Khan
    Aug 2, 2013 - 2:50AM

    Ustad Rahber is a trend setter in the teaching profession as well in establishing a library in this mountain region of the world, where communication is still a big challenge.I feel proud for his dedication to his profession on enlightening the minds of his students through practical steps and leading by example.He is also awarded with the highest honor of “Salam Teacher” by president of Pakistan.I will be happy when majority of our teachers follow his foot steps in sharing knowledge and wisdom.

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  • ghulam Karim Sakhi
    Aug 2, 2013 - 11:35AM

    One of our best teacher that you have given us vision and courage.Today we succeded to a level due to your tirless hard work, we are proud of you ustad Rehbar sab and also other teaches including ustad Sultan Ali, ustad Ibadat Shah and ustad Ali Pana. The best teacher’s that I have learent from in Gulmit school but later up to the university level in Pakistan and Canada I never experenced such devoted and kindfull teachers.

    Good luck and God bless you all !

    kind regards,

    Ghulam Karim Sakhi
    Edmonton AB,
    Canada.

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  • Darjat
    Aug 2, 2013 - 7:11PM

    what a great human being! A very humble and kind person..has always given priority time for others with special focus on education. A true ustad…. demonstrating live example of respect, supporting others and initiating activities of the sorts what he believes in. I ham happy to see it. Thanks to black box and express tribune for highlighting work of this wonderful volunteer.

    Recommend

  • Darjat
    Aug 2, 2013 - 7:20PM

    what a great human being! A very humble and kind person..has always given priority time for others with special focus on education. A true ustad…. demonstrating live example of respect, supporting others and initiating activities of the sorts what he believes in. I am happy to see it. Thanks to black box and express tribune for highlighting work of this wonderful volunteer.

    Recommend

  • Nazia Rehbar
    Aug 3, 2013 - 11:26AM

    Thanks to those who contributed towards the success of this documentation and appreciated my father.Special thanks to Sound Box and The Express Tribune!

    Recommend

  • Ali Anwar
    Sep 3, 2013 - 8:22PM

    Great teacher and social worker.

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  • Aafiyat Nazar
    Sep 19, 2013 - 7:45PM

    He is my favorite teacher…..I have been to University met many highly qualified teachers…and found very few like him….rather he is one of my best teachers.

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  • Sep 27, 2013 - 7:13AM

    Rehber Usta is a role model, a rare gem in the picturesque mountains, a real change maker…Thanks for the production team for preserving his work. It would have been great if the film makers would have showed us more resources in his library and school than sowing the physical beauty of Hunza.

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