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Friday, July 3, 2009

Centenary Command and Staff College, Quetta. (2005-5)

1. The Command and Staff College, Quetta, is the oldest and the most prestigious institution of the Pakistan Army. It was established temporarily in 1905 at Deolali, near Bombay in India by Lord Kitchener, Commander-in-chief of the British Indian Army. The Command and Staff College Quetta, is a modern military institution recognised the world over. Its atmosphere is steeped in history and tradition, yet perceptibly functional. It is a recognized keystone of Army’s professional education system with a student body of over 300 students, which include 30 officers from over 28 allied nations.
2. College Buildings. In the disastrous earthquake of May 31, 1935 which claimed 40,000 lives, the College fortunately escaped major damage. It was, however, decided to rebuild the Staff College in earthquake proof construction, but work on the main building could not begin due to various compulsions. Old building of the College was demolished on 26 March 1971 and a modern structure was built in its place. This new building, completed in 1975, with its unique clock tower, the flanking wings of the model rooms, the library and the auditorium, and the terraced garden in front, symbolises the commitment of the College towards dynamic growth and progress,while taking pride in the solidity of its glorious past.
3. College Emblems. Since the Staff College is concerned with inculcating professional wisdom in the students, ‘OWL’ was considered, at the time of its inception, to be the most appropriate symbol for the College. The emblem of the College perched on crossed swords. The OWL’, symbol of learning and wisdom, and the swords, the Greek God of War, combined, thus, depict the character of this institution; the seat of military knowledge and wisdom. The same emblem was retained till 1950 when the Latin motto “By the Pen as much as by the Sword” was replaced by the Persian Couptet, “Pir sho, beyamoz, Saadi”. This is a quotation from Saddi the famous Persian poet and thinker. Its literal translation is “Grow old by learning, Saadi”. When paraphrased, it means, “Go on learning and acquiring knowledge until you are old”. In 1956, as Pakistan became a Republic, the crown was removed. The symbol of ‘OWL’ which remained for 74 years, was replaced by much more significant and potent epithet, “IQRA”, which symbolizes the first word of command of the Almighty to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and, through him, to all mankind “IQRA BE ISME RABBEKALLAZI KHALAQ” (Read in the name of thy lord who created). It implies constant quest for multi-dimensional knowledge, application and effort. This centre piece stands emblazoned on a gold and silver base, which symbolizes molten earth in a perpetual state of evolutionary flux. Molten earth has been shown golden in the centre and light silvery at the circumference since a person of genuine scholarship and enlightenment ought to glow and serve as a beacon for others. The cross swords of the emblem are the traditional symbol of the Pakistan Army.
4. College Colours. Grey and Maroon are twin colours of the College since its inception in 1905. The College monogram, stationery, flags, crockery and magazines have traditionally been carrying the maroon and grey colours. The two colours have a special symbolic value.
a. Grey. First and foremost grey colour was the predominant colour in the war and tribal flag of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). As such it symbolizes a struggle for a just cause, grey, a balanced mix of black and white perfectly representing the essence of Islam. i.e. balance moderation and equality. Grey colour has also been universally associated with learning and wisdom, hence the term ‘grey-coats’ became popular for students of well-known schools in Europe. Grey colour also means experience (especially if it appears in the hair). Students of Staff Courses attain priceless experience in the art of warfare here.
b. Maroon. Maroon colour symbolizes the material heritage and traditions of the region in which the Staff College is located; Balochistan, the land of the warriors and horsemen. For centuries, the arid plains and mountains of this region have provided the canvass upon which countless tales of heroism and honour were written. The Baloch Charge was famous for its rapidity and brute efficiency. “KAI KAI BALOCH” was the battles cry. The brave tribesmen would die willingly to preserve the honour of their tribe. Their bodies would be bathed in their own blood, which would dry up and take on the maroon hue.
Pakistan Post Office is issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 5/-denomination on April 2, 2005 to mark the Centenary of this unique institution. The details given above are depicted in the stamp.