Respecting Teachers: Lahore’s Last Statue Standing?

Posted on December 21, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Architecture, Education, Society
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Adil Najam

Our friend Darwaish posted this picture at Metroblog Lahore claiming that it is the very last statue of a human figure standing at its original location in Lahore (outside the ‘old campus’ of Punjab Univeristy).

I have no reason at all to doubt his claim and am fairly sure that he is, in fact, right. But I wanted to check with our readers if this is indeed so. Do you know of other statues; in Lahore or elsewhere?

(I recall that discussion on an earlier post about a Gandhi statue outside the Sindh High Court that now stands in the Indian High Commission; and someone on Lahore Metroblog hinted that now there are many new statues all over the major cities – mostly of Ronald MacDonald and Col. Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken!).

This statue, by the way, is of Prof. Alfred Woolner who was a long-serving professor of Sanskrit, as well as vice-chancellor of Punjab University between 1928 and 1936.

Being in the same profession as Mr. Woolner, I am intrigued by this picture at many levels. For example, it is ironic that the statue of a professor has been vandalized by what seems to be a student organization of some sort. Whatever this may or may not tell us about the state of statues in Pakistan, it also says a lot about the respect that professors once held in our society and now do not.

Only yesterday, Mast Qalandar was writing in these columns about Islamia College Peshawar and the discussion led to a conversation on the contribution of Prof. Hubert Michael Close, one of the College’s remarkable professors. We have, of course, also been talking recently of cheating professors at Punjab Univeristy. One wonders if there are still professors in our colleges and Universities who are revered as Prof. Woolner here, or Prof. Close at Islamia College, were.

I have a tayya (uncle) who alway very proudly, and rightly proudly, tells me that his teachers were Sufi Tabassum and Faiz Ahmad Faiz. I know there are still many who should be revered and who excel at the craft and art of teaching. Yet, do we as a society even think that teachers are worthy of respect? And, can a society that does not respect teachers, even be considered respectable?

19 responses to “Respecting Teachers: Lahore’s Last Statue Standing?”

  1. javed says:

    very interesting article. thank you

  2. Dr. Akbar says:

    The statues went away in the 1950s and I do not think they are coming back but we do not need them. You can name buildings for people you want to pay respect to. Or have monuments without statues of people. The point is respect, not statues.

  3. Darwaish says:

    The statue has survived all the madness so far probably because its not very visible from main mall road. There are so many people i know who have never noticed it. strange but true :).

    I hope it doesn’t become too popular, thanks to ATP, otherwise its days are numbered in my view.

    This whole thing got me interested in mentioning some of the other statues of Lahore. Like there used to be a bronze statue of Queen Victoria that was placed in the pavilion of the Punjab assembly chambers. It was removed in 1951 and later Mr. Bhutto got a bronze replica of Holy Quran placed there in 1974 before the famous OIC summit. Then there was a marble statue of Sardar Diyan Singh in Diyal Singh library who was also the owner of famous Diyal Singh Mansion. Sir Ganga Ram’s statue stood outside Lahore Museum and I read somewhere that later it was dumped into the parking lot of NCA and from there it just disappeared.

    Perhaps the most controversial statue was that of Lord John Lawrence (viceroy 1864-69 and Punjab’s former governor general). The statue, placed in a small garden near the Punjab High Court, generated huge protests in 1920’s because it displayed the following inscription: “By which will ye be governed: by the pen or the sword?â€

  4. Moeen Bhatti says:

    There used to be a statue of an old solider,who fought in World War 2, and got Queen Victoria Cross in the Army Mueseum(near GHQ). He was from Baluch Reg. I saw it like couple of decades ago, I am not sure if its still there.

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