A common thread unites a disparate group of great Pakistanis, each of whom has made a mark on the nation’s landscape. What does Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan have in common with Adnan Sami? What links the mild-mannered Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to the fiery Akbar Bugti? The answer lies in a single educational establishment at the heart of Lahore, which has produced some of the finest gentlemen in Pakistan: Aitchison.
Aitchison produces the perfect gentleman. An Aitchisonian exudes a well-cultivated air of confidence without appearing conceited. This is combined with unassuming intelligence and a sense of purpose. However, more than anything else, a good Aitchisonian is almost always gentlemanly — embodying all the values that it implies.
The school’s traditions and philosophy of what it means to succeed, may not always produce better scholastic rankings than other premier schools but it does result in the Aitchisonian having a broader breadth of experience and a more rounded (some might even say more charismatic) personality.
Sportsmanship as much as sporting excellence: the school’s philosophy has always been that healthy bodies make healthy minds and that sportsmanship as much as sporting excellence is key to building character.
With the sprawling campus spread over 200 acres, Aitchison College is one of Pakistan’s largest educational institutes. On first setting gaze at the splendour of the architecture and vista of green grounds, fellow students from visiting rival schools are left in speechless awe (and possibly, a lifetime of envy).
History connecting the past with future: Aitchison College’s iconic Old Building, designed and built by Sir Ganga Ram, is quintessential Lahore of old, with the power to take its beholders on a trip through time and thoughts of great past students who had graced the school.
Unity, faith and discipline at Aitchison: while some of the brightest in Lahore and Karachi may attend LGS and KGS respectively, diversity defines Aitchison. The school takes particular pride in the fact that there is representation not only from Punjab, but also from Balochistan, Fata, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. The school’s scholarship system ensures that children from every social background attend Aitchison. If the rest of Pakistan could be as harmonious as Aitchison despite its ethnic, sectarian and social diversity, we would be a different country. Despite a multitude of backgrounds, all are united in upholding the motto “Perseverance Commands Success”.
Aitchison College’s singular focus on building character and devotion to duty shines through in producing success stories in almost every sphere of human activity. That the alumni have excelled in a vast array of callings and careers speaks volumes for the school’s ability to draw the best out each of its students
At Aitchison, there is hunger for innovation but respect for tradition at the same time. When the foundation stone for the college was laid on November 3, 1886, Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison said, “This is an institution from which you will banish everything in thought and word and act that is mean, dishonourable or impure, and in which you will cultivate everything that is virtuous, true, manly and gentlemanly.”
Even after 127 years, Aitchisonians aspire to live up to these inspiring words and each in his own unique manner succeeds in doing so.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2013.