Sitting with Old Uetians
I believe we learn more from experienced person, than from books. It is always great to be surrounded with men, or women for that matter who have the world of experiences. And who can have experienced the world or reality of life than the older people. I really enjoy sitting with them who have worked, lived and experienced this world. I enjoy listening to them and just listen without saying anything. This is can be because I didn’t get much time to be with my grandparents. They left this world very early, when I was young and had no idea of life. May Allah bless all of them and give them highest place in Heaven.
So, what can be more educative sitting than with your old universities fellows? We surely can share some stories or experiences. I graduated from oldest and largest engineering university of Pakistan, which is University of Engineering and Technology Lahore. Historically, Lahore has been a centre of cultural heritage for many civilizations. It successively served as regional capital of many empires; the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, the Ghaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th century, the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, the Sikh Empire in the early 19th century, and it was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj in the mid 19th and early 20th century; and my university, short as UET is located at the heart of this cultural city.
Just like Lahore, the history of UET goes way back. It was initially Railway Workshops which was built in 1890s. Then for the training of its employees classes were also built. The technical education started in 1921 as the ‘Mughalpura Technical College ’, later it became the ‘Maclagan Engineering College’, a name given to it in 1923. In 1932 it was affiliated with another old University, the Punjab University and started awarding Bachelors Degrees. After independence of Pakistan in 1947 university grew more and in 1961 it was named “West Pakistan University of Engineering Technology, Lahore” with it’s another campus in Dhaka (now Bangladesh). After 1971 university was officially named University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore; abbreviated as UET Lahore which still exists.
You can guess that just like its history, university must have produced great scholars and professional with various experiences over the period of time. I had a chance to meet some of them, all together at one place. I was once invited to dinner at one of my relatives and to my surprise every person sitting there was ex-student of UET Lahore and had studied there at different times. They were sharing their university experiences with each other, it was blessing in disguise.
One of them graduate from UET in 1953, I wasn’t even born at that time. He spent most of life in Pakistan Railways and even after his retirement he is still respected in his field, still visiting and providing consultancy even outside Pakistan. One of them graduated in 1987, I was 3 years old at that time. It was time when political tension was high in Pakistan and politics have entered in universities. He talked about protests, boycotting of exams which led to delaying of his degree.
But most interesting experience was from the one who graduated from UET in 1971, the time when East Pakistan was separated and became Bangladesh. He was bright student; though he was admitted in UET Lahore but was transferred to UET Dhaka as exchange student on scholarship. According to him, his provisional passing certificate says East Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology Dhaka but his degree is awarded by University of Engineering and Technology Lahore.
He shared while reminding his past, when he took his final exams in UET Dhaka; the 1971 war broke out between Pakistan and India, which ended with creation of Bangladesh. At war-time Pakistan Air Force took all the Pakistani students from Dhaka in C130; the large cargo airplane used by air force which flew them to Srilanka as India was not allowing Pakistan to use its air-space. After couple of days he was taken to Lahore. Then University of Engineering and Technology Lahore decided them to award degree with its new name.
Amazing! I was surprised to learn that time make you experience so many things which we never imagined of. One day may be, I will be retired 70 years old engineer and sharing my university life experiences with my juniors. Who knows!? Life is a big university of its own teaching you at every step.