By Iftikhar Hussain Jazib
Nationalized in 1973, Qandil High School for the Blind in Rawalpindi was established in 1958 as a private institute for the education and vocational training of visually impaired Pakistanis. Mr. Ghulam Murtaza Abbasi was enrolled as a student in 1959, after completing his studies he joined him as a teacher. Therefore, its stay at Qandil School includes 49 glorious years of its history. According to her recollection, the school was started by a Miss Fayson, her father was a deputy commissioner in British India, she returned to the UK after her nationalization in 1973. A founding member, the school’s first principal was Saeeda Habib Farooqi, Ms. Lt General (retd) SMA Farooqi, ophthalmologist. Baigam Farooqi vitalized the education of visually impaired students with great devotion and many national and international dignitaries visited this school under his leadership. The school changed location until it was permanently installed in a Kalyan Das Hindu temple in Kohati Bazar.
Abbasi was an English teacher at the school with a magnificent background in teaching English. He recalls that some British and American teachers were attached to the Qandil school, and an Irish Jane became his friend, she frequently took him to diplomatic events, a pleasure and an opportunity to develop her eloquence in English. The chances of advancing in high society put him in a privileged position for the rights of people with disabilities in Pakistan, he believes. Indeed, his splendid photo gallery is the illustration, he had meetings with Presidents, Prime Ministers and foreign ambassadors for the cause of the well-being of people with disabilities.
For me the role of Sir Abbasi is quite important, maybe I am writing these lines because of his brilliant English teaching skills. He advised me to listen to a BBC Urdu service program “Professor Grammar” to learn better English. In this pursuit, I got into the habit of listening to all the BBC broadcasts when I was just an elementary class student in school, a catalyst for developing expertise in national politics and relations. international.
Another unique highlight of Sir Abbasi is his marriage to a former Qandil school student, Ms. Shahida Tanwir. She did a master’s degree in Islamic studies and became a teacher at the Qandil school. Sir Abbasi and Madame Shahida were excellent teachers at the school and generous hosts at home for all the students. She is currently in charge of the Government Girls’ High School for the Blind in Rawalpindi, where around 88 visually impaired girls receive an education under her guidance. My closeness to this family was influenced by my father who was very impressed with Mr. R.’s fascinating personality. Abbasi among my teachers.
Abdul Jabbar was our science teacher at school, he was also a student at the same school. All the students loved him for his expertise in electronics, he could tune the FM radios to the PTV audio frequency, a major fun for us. We have always sought his advice on purchasing radios, recording and playback equipment.
Perhaps his major contribution to the students of Qandil School is the distribution of JAWS, a screen reader for computers that provides complete mastery to the visually impaired in all software environments. I also received my first copy of JAWS from Sir Jabbar in 2002. And it is relevant to mention here that I am writing this article in MS Word on my laptop with support from JAWS.
Certainly the friendliest teacher to all the students was the late Iftikhar Shaheen. He was a teacher of Braille, a tactile reading and writing system for the visually impaired. Its teaching method was quite unique for its necessity, it involved parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts of students for braille training. For me it was a great joy to watch my father learn Urdu and English alphabets in Braille from Sir Shaheen. His dedication was such that he even taught Braille after many years of retirement from service, and he hired a Quran teacher for the students for their proper religious education.
A Hafiz e Koran, the late Latifur Rehman was our math teacher and a literary in school. A kind of human computer, he could orally solve complex math questions up to grade 7. All the literary taste that I have is a gift from Monsieur Latif. After I appeared for my graduation exams, I went to school to see my teachers. Mr. Latif suggested to me, instead of wasting time, to become a member of the Rawalpindi Municipal Library, Liaquat Bagh and to prescribe me a list of valuable books in Urdu literature. Fortunately, I acted on it and this study remains a benefit for me in many ways.
Another amazing personality from Qandil High School for the Blind was the late Mr. Liaquat Abbasi. In our day, the only possibility for blind students to sit for jury exams was with a writer, 1st year in education. It was very difficult to find a writer at that time with this condition because all school exams start simultaneously in March. This problem remained her biggest concern at school.
He held a master’s degree in special education, despite meeting government criteria, the Department of Special Education did not appoint him as director, discrimination based on his visual impairment. He made a long legal effort and finally got justice from the Supreme Court of Pakistan. However, his first day as director of Qandil was a very fateful day, he had organized a Milaad, by the time he finished his speech on the Prophet (pbuh) the angel of death finished his work, that his soul rests in eternal peace.
When I was a student, Qandil Institute was the only secondary school for visually impaired boys in the region comprising AJK, KP and northern Punjab, and some students from central and southern Punjab also chose it for their education in because of its great reputation. It is thanks to the dedication and hard work of teachers that Qandil high school remains a high place of learning for visually impaired students, who are craftsmen, doctoral students. academics, university professors, government officials and lawyers in Pakistan. And teachers with the same vigor are sought in the special education department to maintain the level of education, a challenge that looks in the eyes.
The author can be contacted on Twitter @ radiant_j_007