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Saturday, August 15, 2009

100 Years Of Murray College Sialkot. (1989-17)

What is now called Government Murray College, Sialkot and rightly takes pride in being the Alma Mater of the greatest poet-philosopher of the East, Dr Mohammed lqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, had a very modest beginning. It was initially started in 1868 as Scotch Mission High School situated in Kanak Mandi, Sialkot, but was, in 1889 graduated to the status of an Intermediate College at the request of the then Punjab Government.
Dr Mohammed Iqbal joined the said school in 1883 in the infant class, studied here till he matriculated in 1893. He was enrolled as an Intermediate student on May 5,1893.
The early history of Murray College is both interesting and singular. The Foreign Committee of the Church of Scotland was requested in 1883 to open a college in Lahore. It turned down not only the request of the Punjab Government but even an attractive offer of Pounds: 25,000.00 as financial aid by one Sardar Sarwat Singh for the purpose.
The said Foreign Committee, at that stage, perhaps could not even dream that destiny had, incognito, turned the scales in favour of the people of Sialkot.
In 1889, the Punjab Government again approached the said Foreign Committee to open a college at Sialkot. The then Lt. Governor of Punjab even earmarked a financial grant for the purpose. Consequently, in 1889, the Intermediate section of the college was started in the school building itself.
For 20 years, classes were met in the same building and by almost the same staff. The first Intermediate class (11th class) was started with only eleven (11) boys.
The teaching staff including the principal Rev. Dr J.W. Younqson consisted of only four members, incidentally representing all the four major communities of the undivided India. Moulvi Mir Hasan Sahib, Mr Narinjan Das and Sardar Harnam Singh.
They jointly taught seven subjects; English, Philosophy, Arabic, Persian, Maths, Chemistry and Physics. Of these, Moulvi Mir Hasan Sahib; the recipient of the title Shamsul Ulema; Dr Iqbal’s teacher and mentor, served the school and the college for a record period of sixty long years. We salute that great scholar-teacher.
In 1890, the total number of students on the college rolls did not go beyond 17. When the college moved to its present premises in 1909, the total number of students stood at 41 only.
With the shifting of the college to its present site, its name was changed to Murray College. It was necessitated by a legacy left by Captain John Murray for the college. The formal inauguration of the college was performed by Sir Louis Dane on October 27, 1909. At that time, Rev. John Waugh (1901 . 1914) was the principal of the college.
His successor, Rev. Dr William Scott (1914 - 1923) an untiring dedicated worker had to pull the college through the World War I. He was followed by the greatest ever builder and disciplinarian principal, Rev. John Garrett (1923 . 1947). He along with his wife Dr H. Garrett and brother-in-law Rev. Dr William Lillie (a famous scholar-teacher of Philosophy) gave the college the dignity, prestige and academic standard it had not enjoyed so far in the Sub-continent.
With the passage of time, the total number of students and teachers multiplied. In 1923, the total number of students was 180 a number that rose to 424 in 1929.
With the joining of Professor R.C. Thomas and Prof. C.W. Tressler; a great teacher of History and a stern disciplinarian in 1929, Biology was also offered as an elective subject at Intermediate level.
B. A. Honours, teaching in English Literature and Maths were started in 1921 followed by M.A. in Philosophy and English in 1942, whereas B.Sc. Physics and Chemistry were started in 1944 and 1946, respectively.
After Independence, Rev. D. Leslie Scott (1947 - 1956),who was born at Daska Sialkot, like his father Rev. Dr William Scott had to pull the College through really difficult times. Within a couple of years, however, the college was once again on its way to make its humble contribution in almost all the prestigious fields of national life.
In 1956, the college was given nationalistic touch and Professor R.C. Thomas (a reputed teacher of Botany and Zoology with 27 years of service to his credit) was appointed as the first national principal. He retired in 1964.
His successor, Dr F.S. Khairullah (with almost the same length of meritorious service as Professor Thomas) was an all time popular teacher of Poetry and Drama. He was a gifted orator, editor, writer, satirist and humorist. As an administrator he would not tolerate any outsider. No teacher could miss any class or take things easy in his days. He retired soon after the nationalization of the college in 1972.
After the retirement of Dr F.S. Khairullah, Dr Vincent A. Das (a pure product of Murray College), took over the principal ship of the college. His approach to all administrative and academic problems of the college was based on his rich knowledge and deep understanding of human psychology and relationship.
He retired last year after having served the college for 39 long years. Its present principal, Professor Ahmed Raza Siddiqui is another pure product of Murray College. When he joined the college as an undergraduate science student in September 1947 or later as a lecturer of Physics in September 1953, he could not have even dreamt that he was destined to be the executive head of the same college at the time of its centenary celebrations.
Once started with only 11 students, four teachers and seven subjects the college community has now swelled upto well over 2390 under-graduate and post- graduate students, 4 Professors, 15 Assistant Professors and 73 Lecturers. It now offers well over 20 subjects of studies.
The present generation of teachers and students thrice salute all those Church of Scotland Missionaries - the founders, the financiers, the administrators and life long teachers who dedicated their lives to the cause of education in this remote part of the world.
For them today, the Centenary Message of Murray College in the words of Lord Tennyson would be.
Contributed by Principal Murray College, Sialkot.
To commemorate the 100 Years of Murray College, Sialkot, Pakistan Post Office is issuing one stamp of Rs 6 denomination on December 18, 1989.