Dr. Abdus Salam : rebellion against religious Fanaticism

 
As a teenager who grew up being brain washed in government administered and enforced schools, our syllabuses always forced us to believe how exceptional our country. I was forced to believe how Pakistan is the most intellectually enriched country with a past full of saints, emperors and philosophers. But somehow they the system forgot to mention about a forgotten legend Dr. Abdus Salam.These were the times with no Internet no source for juvenile minds to clear facts and figures.


There is a paragraph in a book of Physics how he got Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979. But we have to ask ourself is it enough to pay a tribute to humble patriotic genius like Dr. Salam. How do Dr.Salam`s faith have anything to do with his work for the progress of the mankind ? I guess this is a question even our educational policy makers cannot answer. History books are a part of educational system to learned you last, to find a identity, the greatness and the weak links in your history. Keeping students away from facts is like tempering with minds.

Wonder how we denounce mind controlling in madrasa but some how we end up following the same paths. None else than Zia manipulated fanatic ideology in society is to be blame that created a hollow society, covered with a blanked of Islamic fundamentalism. Zia avoided Dr. Salam's company during Dr. Salam work and visits in Pakistan. Zia did not wanted to be seen and photographed shaking hands with Dr. Salam. It was a time of humiliation and embarrassment for Zia to shake hands with a member from the faith against whom he passed discriminatory laws (Ordinance XX).
In December 1979, on his arrival in Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad He was received by junior army officers who were military secretaries’ top provincial governors and the President. Convocation of the Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad summoned to bestow on him the.
Honorary Doctorate of Science was canceled because of. The warning from the students belonging to the right-wing Jammat-i-Islami to disrupt the function, and the venue was shifted to the hall of the National Assembly. In Lahore his lecture arranged to be held at the campus of the Punjab University had to be moved to the Senate Hall in the city because certain groups had demonstrated a day earlier and threatened to murder Salam. The University of the Punjab refused to honor him with a degree. The Government College did not invite him even to be it its precinct.
Book The Coffee House of Lahore by K.K Aziz

Pakistani society demoralized him to make educational lectures in Universities while Universities from all around the world was offering honorary degrees. Dr. Salam gave lectures in numerous Universities of Arab Muslim world.

A year later when he was in India five Universities gave him honorary degrees, including the Guru Dev Nanak University of Amritsar where he delivered the convocation address on 25 January 1981 in the (rural) Punjabi, and the University had, on his request, brought to Amritsar four of his old teachers who' had taught him in Jhang and Lahore. The Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, invited him to her residence, made coffee for him with her own hands, and sat on the carpet throughout the meeting near Salam's feet, saying that was her way of honouring a great guest. Later in his tour of several Latin American countries, including Brazil, he was received everywhere at the airport by the head of the State.
Book The Coffee House of Lahore by K.K Aziz

 In 1986 the Director General ship of the United Nations educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) fell vacant and nominations were solicited. Salam wanted to be considered and everyone was sure that he would be elected. But the rule was that a candidate must be nominated by his own country. Pakistan nominated Lt.-General Yaqub Khan, a retired army officer. Both Britain and Italy offered to nominate Salam if he agreed to become their national. He refused. The Pakistani General received one vote. A French woman member of the electorate, when pressed by her government to vote for the Pakistani candidate, resisted, protested and then resigned, saying" An army general will run the UNESCO over my dead body."
Salam died; full of honours and laurels from across the world, on 21 November 1996 in Oxford. His brother who lived in Lahore asked the Government if it would like to provide protocol on the occasion of the arrival of the coffin. There was no response. He was buried in Rabwah on 25 November at 11.00 A.M at the foot of his mother's grave. I have provided these details of Salam's life and career because his biography is not available and few of my readers would know how he lived and worked. Now for my reminiscences of him.
Book The Coffee House of Lahore by K.K Aziz




Professor Dr. Abdus Salam, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1979, science advisor to Government of Pakistan (1960-1974), founding director of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission(SUPARCO),received the Sitara-e-Pakistan for contribution to science in Pakistan (1959) and founded the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy which was renamed as The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in the honour of Salam in 1997.

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