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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Gora vs Gora leftover

Under the British Raj, making parents pay double the fee would have been in accordance with the oppressive regime. As funny as it may sound, this isn’t Lord Mountbatten’s era; this is Shahbaz Sharif’s time. And I’m glad our kind of Gora won the writ game this time.

The prestigious Chief’s College was built by the English Raj in the 1800s to educate the children of the treasonous nawabs of this land. It still stands today as one of our biggest colonial hangovers. Landlords, politicians, bureaucrats, business people, big names in law, doctors, Molvis, media people, and even known underworld players all wish to have their boys in this college and in the same breath denounce the Raj. Aitchison College is a status symbol.

Someone needs to conduct research on the admission office data of the college to understand what type of kids have attended the school, especially in the beginning, and what relation they have with the powerful of today. I’m sure you’ll find traces of the same lineages and similarities of the people in power today.

It was embarrassing to see the kinds of people who stood up for the principal. This just goes to show how deeply rooted we are in our colonial background. The principal was due to retire in August. What I think really happened is that throughout his long tenure, the principal was constantly interfered with and he decided to really hit the brakes while he was due to retire soon. But it was the wrong request he put his foot down on, and it was the wrong man he was messing with.

Trained to rule by the English Raj itself, only Ahad Cheema knew in spirit what this tug-of-war was really about. It wasn’t about the fee; it was about challenging the writ. And he saw flashes of the British occupation. And why wouldn’t he? It was Aitchison College that was in question. It is also so profound to realize that since the inception of this college, which spans hundreds of years, it was Ahad Cheema who demolished a colonial policy. No one else either thought about it because of their colonial mindset or they did and tried to change it, but the Raj prevailed.

Around the world, committees, courts, and tribunals all side with students very acutely. They implement decisions to ensure students stay connected with education. Students around the world get mind-boggling exemptions, concessions, and leverages that sometimes don’t even make sense to a logical mind.  You go to any court and it would declare that parents should not have to pay double the fee if the child is sent to another city or is undergoing treatment in a different country due to which he is studying in a different school.

The principal was getting 4 million rupees in salary. After thinking awfully too much, it was clear to me that this amount of salary was given to him only because he was a Gora. The salary was like a tribute to the glorious legacy of the Raj. How many Vice Chancellors of this country get this much salary? I ask Syed Babar Ali, who I’ve heard resigned from the BOD of the school, how much do you pay the LUMS VC? And why?

So the principal refused to attend the BOD meeting. Not once. Then he refused to present requested documents, which is close to refusing accountability. Then a team was made to visit the college, which was not entertained. Even VCs of universities are bound to comply with the orders of BODs or the syndicate. BODs are serious business. And here we had a college principal who condescendingly shrugged the entire system off his blazer like dirt. And only Ahad Cheema could see what the principal had done. No one shrugs the system. I’m amazed he wasn’t terminated in the first place for not complying with the board of governors.

For the critics who say that the policy was implemented because it was Ahad Cheema’s children or else it wouldn’t have happened, I agree. Remember, in Pakistan, justice is snatched and delivered to the weak by the powerful. And if this is the case, we should thank Ahad Cheema. He did a great favor to other families too.

So the principal, getting 4 million rupees in salary to look after a living artifact of the British Raj, rebelled against the same system that was once enforced upon us by them. And the person who made sure that the rebellion against this Raj was crushed was a product of the Raj itself.

This is a sight.

Ali TM
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Ali TM
Ali TM
Ali. TM is the Editor in Chief of othernews.pk platforms. He is a Pakistani journalist, documentary producer and teaches journalism at various universities in Lahore. He is a silver medalist in MPhil Mass communication and has reported and edited for a number of English print media organizations in Pakistan.
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