Salaam, Everybody,

On my first day at Chacha Shadi Baig’s workshop, his wife, Maasi Jiwaee pointed towards my schoolbag and said, “Hey, young man, are you not going to school ?”
” No ! ” said I.
” Why ?” she demanded.
” I just don’t like it.” I said bluntly.
” You don’t like it ! Wait till I go and tell your family you are truanting.”

Chacha Shadi Baig came to my rescue. He smiled and said, ” Leave him alone, Jiwaee. He’s welcome to learn my trade and become a potter.”
” Yes,” said I, ” I’d love to be that.”
And so, I became a regular visitor to Chacha’s workshop till – – – –1 November 2016

One day my class teacher, Master Nawab Khan, came to see my elder brother and told him of my absence from school for about two weeks.

After giving me a good dressing down, Bhai Jan summoned my cousins Habib and Riasat. and ordered them to escort me to school everyday, He authorized them even to beat me if I tried to dodge them. These two watchdogs strictly obeyed Bhai Jan’s orders. They even didn’t allow me to pretend illness.
Thus I was mercilessly deprived of my training to become a potter.
2 November 2016

Being forced to attend the school could only ensure my physical presence in the classroom. Mentally I was always out of the classroom, wondering what I would have for lunch, dreaming of the dishes of my choice, and waiting hungrily for the school to close. That was almost all the education I got in my first three years at school . Being a back bencher helped me escape the teacher’s notice.
In Class Four I suddenly came into the limelight.-3 November 2016

Master Abdul Hakeem was our class teacher in Class Four. He was our next-door neighbour, and had been a student of my grandfather. He therefore took special care of me. The first thing he did was to shift me from the back benches to the front row.

Master Sahib was a hard taskmaster. In addition to teaching his class at school, he also taught the whole class at home in the evening. He gave us quite tough assignments, and soundly thrashed those who failed to do well . After a few beatings, I began to work hard, though much against my will. Soon I came to be one of the toppers in the class. 4 November 2016

Taking a bath in winter was the most unpleasant task for me in my early childhood. All mother’s pleading failed to persuade me to take a bath. I would just run away the moment she approached me to give me a bath. Sometimes she got me caught by the ladies of the neighbourhood, and gave me a good scrubbing at the hand-pump.

When I came to Class Four, she sent a message to Master Abdul Hakeem, asking him to persuade me to have a bath regularly. Master Sahib, bless his soul, took it upon himself to give me a bath.

Everyday, at the end of the class at his home, he would lead me to the hand-pump, make me wear a dhoti, and place me before the pump. Two of my class-fellows held me tight on either side, a third worked the hand-pump, and Master Sahib applied the soap to the exposed parts of my body. This forcible daily washing continued to the end of winter. .5 November 2016

Master Shahwali Khan of Daudkhel was our class teacher in Class Five. He was a man of literary taste, and a very capable teacher. As Master Abdul Hakeem had already put me on the right track, I was no longer a back-bencher. I was interested in studies, and benefited a lot from Master Shahwali Khan’s competent teaching. He was not a hard taskmaster like Master Abdul Hakeem. He was affectionate and friendly. He was my first ideal teacher – 7 November 2016

Promised to be with you on Thursday, and here I am. Today, as my Urdu Post ” میرا میانوالی ” tells you, was a happy day for us. My son, Prof Muhammad Akram Ali Malik, has joined the English Department at GCU, Lahore. Earlier he was teaching at Government College, Model Town, Lahore. From today, by the Grace of ALLAH , he is a University teacher.
I am profoundly grateful to friends who have expressed their pleasure on this happy occasion with their “Likes” and kind “Comments” . May ALLAH Richly Bless you all.

The picture shows Prof Muhammad Akram Ali Malik at a shopping mall in Lahore – 10 November 2016

In Daudkhel school I had the special privilege of being the grandson of Moulvi Malik Mubarak Ali, as all the local teachers had been students of my grandfather. Being Moulvi Sahib’s son or grandson entailed VIP status, not only in the school, but also in the village at large, for my grandfather, popularly known as Moulvi Ji Sahib, was the universally acknowledged elder of the village. Our family was known as Moulvi Ji Khels. The name still holds.

Grandfather was a legendary teacher. He had been Headmaster of the school for many years, till he retired soon after my birth. Because of him, Daudkhel school was famous not only across the district, but also in the neighbouring district, Attock. Many boys from Attock had also been students of this school.

The hostel was always full to capacity. Grandfather himself worked as Hostel Superintendent. He was so strict about discipline that he lived in the Superintendent’s room in the hostel, and spent only Sundays at home. The residents of the hostel had regular study hours at night.

More of this tomorrow, InshaALLAH.11 November 2016

It was the privilege of being Moulvi Malik Mubarak Ali’s grandson that saved me from being expelled from the school for long absence during my days at Chacha Shadi Baig’s workshop.

Master Abdul Hakeem, however never spared me from punishment for my mistakes. That punishment changed me into an honest, hard working student.

In Class Five, Master Shah Wali Khan’s fatherly affection further polished my career as a student. I got deeply interested in studies.

In Class Six Hafiz Ranjha Sahib was our teacher. He too was a very competent teacher. Seeing my interest in calligraphy ( خوشخطی ، خوبصورت لکھائی) , he encouraged and guided me so that I could write like print.

Initially my interest in calligraphy was a gift from my Class One teacher, Master Mewa Ram, who was a great calligrapher. But soon he had to migrate to India along with other Hindus. Master Ranjha Sahib perfected what Master Mewa Ram had to leave incomplete.12 November 2016

In Class Seven I migrated from Daudkhel school to Government High School, Isakhel, where father was Headmaster. My elder brother, Malik Muhammad Anwar Ali, was also working there as an English Teacher. The rest of the family remained in Daudkhel. I spent the weekends in Daudkhel.

In those days each classroom in a government school had its own library, a cupboard full of books according to the level of the class. The British system of Education still existed in its pure form. It was really much better than what we have now. It gave us legendary leaders like Quaid e Azam and Allama Iqbal. Later we made a mess of it by introducing ill-planned reforms . Most of the good traditions of the British system were recklessly abolished. Alas, the classroom libraries too were not spared.
I used to borrow English books of stories for kids from my class library..That was my introduction to English literature.- 
13 November 2016

My class-mates at Government High School Isakhel regarded me as a VIP because I was the Headmaster’s son. My intimate friends among them were Najeebullah Hashimi, Malik Atta Muhammad Hiraya, Abdur Razzaq Khan, Syed Imdad Hussain Bukhari , Malik Muhammad Akram and Chaudhri Yaqoob Ali.

Every Friday one of us would have a tea party at his house. We couldn’t have our tea parties on Sundays, because I spent the Sundays at home in Daudkhel. Those parties were a delicious affair. I still miss the taste of some of the nice things we ate in those parties..

Najeeb Hashimi eventually retired as Principal of Government College, Isakhel, and passed away a few years ago. Atta Muhammad Hiraya retired as DSP, Punjab Police, and is now settled in Sheikhupura. Abdur Razzaq Khan was a cousin and brother-in-law of Attaullah Khan Isakhelvi. He retired as an Officer in WAPDA, and became a transporter. He too is no longer in this world. Imdad Hussain Bukhari became a Pir. I don’t know where he is now. Malik Akram retired from Pak Army. Recently I heard from a friend that he is settled somewhere in Sindh. Chaudhri Yaqoob, Tehsildar’s son, lived in Pindi when I met him a few years ago. He became a businessman. – 14 November 2016

Class Seven used to be a sort of break before the tough work of Class Eight which had a public examination arranged by the Education Department. So nobody took it seriously. I made good use of this break, reading English books of stories from my class library, and books of Urdu fiction stolen from my elder brother’s personal library. I had to steal those books, because Bhai Jan wanted me to focus only on my class studies.

It was then that I acquired my love for reading English as well as Urdu literature. It is through reading that I have, by the Grace of ALLAH, acquired equal command of both the languages. I can write freely whatever I like. I enjoy writing my English posts no less than writing my Urdu posts, . – 15  November 2016

In Class Eight I had to migrate back to Daudkhel as father was transferred to Rawalpindi as Assistant Director of Schools.
Master Rab Nawaz Khan was our class teacher in Class Eight. He taught us all subjects except English.

Mr Mumtaz Hussain Kazimi ( (younger brother of Prof Iqbal Hussain Kazimi) was our English Teacher. He was a wonderful teacher. He sharpened my love for English language into a craze. He was one of the earliest influences that shaped my lifelong career as an English Teacher.

Later,Mumtaz Kazimi Sahib joined the Local Bodies Department, and eventually retired as Assistant Director. I wish he had stayed on as an English Teacher. – 17  November 2016

At the end of the year we had to appear in the Middle Standard Examination. Our examination center was Government High School Mochh.

Mochh is about 15 km from Daudkhel. No direct transport service was available for Mochh. Therefore our teacher, Master Rab Nawaz Khan, decided to march us along a pedestrian route which was about 3 km shorter.

We were about 30. Four camels were hired to carry our bedding and provisions. The youngest four among us, including me, were allowed to have a ride on the camels, sitting atop the beds etc. That 12 km camel ride was a delightful experience.

Chacha Muhammad Khan, a friend of Master Rab Nawaz Khan, accommodated us in two large rooms adjacent to his shop. The examination center was an easy walk from our residence. – 18  November 2016

As you might have learnt from my Urdu posts, a surgical operation on my left eye accounts for my absence over the past week. By the Grace of ALLAH it was rather a pleasant experience. It was done at a well known eye clinic, THE EYES, in Shah Jamal, Lahore. The surgeon, Dr At’har Akram, removed the cataract ( موتیا ) and installed a lens in my eye through laser surgery. He kept talking to me pleasantly during the operation, directing me to move my eyes as required, and telling me about each stage of the operation. I felt a slight pain, just for a moment, at the end of the operation. But it lasted even less than a second. Thank ALLAH I’m back with you with a better eyesight. –  25  November 2016

And now let’s go back to the story of my chequered (full of ups and downs) educational career.
Before the break due to my eye surgery, I was telling you about our arrival in Mochh for the Middle Standard Examination.

We stayed in Mochh for about a week. The examination went off pretty well. After the examination we were allowed to go back home by whatever means we could manage, whereas the luggage would be sent back on camels.
I accompanied my friend Karam Dad Khan of Thathi on his bicycle. We reached Thathi around sunset. As it was too late to go on to Daudkhel, I stayed the night at Karam Dad’s house.
More of it tomorrow, InshaALLAH. – 26  November 2016

After breakfast at Karam Dad’s house in Thathi next morning, I got ready to leave for my home in Daudkhel. As no other conveyance was available, Karam Dad Khan offered to drive me home on his bicycle. Just as we came out on the road, a man coming from Daudkhel told us a lady in our family had died that morning.

“Ammi !!!” I cried, bursting into tears.

Mother was a chronic patient of asthma, and her condition was pretty serious when I had left for Mochh last week.

Doing all he could to console me, Karam Dad Khan ran his bicycle as fast as he could. It took us just 20 minutes to reach Daudkhel.

Just as we entered the village, I saw a man from our Mohallah walking down the street. I jumped off the bike and cried, ” Chacha, who has died in our family ?”
” Fazal Din’s wife,” said the man.
” Shukr hay,” I cried, smiling through my tears.
“Have you no shame ? ” thundered the man angrily.
” Sorry, Chacha,” said I remorsefully, ” I thought it was my Ammi.”
” I see, ” said Chacha with a smile, and passed on.

The lady was my aunt Khan Bano. I did cry a lot for her when I got home, for she had been very kind to me.- 28 November 2016

In Class Nine the Headmaster, Raja Elahi Bakhsh, taught us English. He was a great English Teacher. He sharpened my love for learning English. He became my ideal. At that time I didn’t know that I too was destined to become an English Teacher. I was so deeply impressed by him that 22 years later I dedicated my book Ali English Composition to him. How happy he should have been, had he been in this world ! But, alas, he had passed away a few years earlier.- 29 November 2016

In Class Nine, my cousin, Sajjad Hussain Malik, was our Science Teacher. He was a genius, deeply interested in the practical application of theory.

In those days science at Matriculation level comprised only Physics and Chemistry. Biology was not taught at that level.

Under Bhai Jan Sajjad’s guidance we prepared Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia, Chlorine, SO2 and HCl gases with our own hands. We also experimented with Phosphorus and Sodium.

On the occasion of Shab e Baraat, Bhai Jan taught us how to make fireworks (پٹاخے) . We made some very interesting fireworks, using Potassium Chlorate, Potassium Nitrate, Coal and Sulphur. It was a delight to make and use all these things. We also learnt some tricks in Physics. 30 November 2016

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