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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Centenary of Aitchison College Lahore. (1986-8)

Aitchison College Lahore was established in 1886 as Aitchison Chiefs\' College for the grooming of the elite of the Province and the Indian States in the region. Only the sons of the esteemed Chiefs of Punjab and its adjacent States could seek admission and the College would award its own Diploma/Certificate, recognized by the British Raj as a license to enter any official career. The objective was to bring up local gentlemen in the traditions of British gentlemen through whom it would be easier and convenient for the British Raj to establish and stabilize itself.
However, with the passage of time in the 1930\'s Chiefs\' College assumed the role of a Public School where a gentleman of poise and balance with character and qualities of leadership was brought up to assume the command of the future. The education became more meaningful and broad based and the definition of the elite was extended to include the people who had achieved distinction in any walk of life: The army of servants which accompanied the early sons of the rulers disappeared and the boys had to look after themselves and go about in life on their own steam. The College started taking the regular Public examination conducted by the Cambridge University Syndicate. Thu educational horizon of the Institution got enlarged in all aspects including academics.
In 1947, the British left. The Sub-Continent was partitioned and the Independent State of Pakistan came into being and cast its own shadow on the set-up of the Institution and lent a new purpose and meaning to its undertaking. Now the objective was to produce leadership not only in the realm of politics but in professional. technical, scientific, administrative and industrial fields. The curriculum included the subjects of Science, Mathematics and Economics besides English, History and other Social Sciences in order to bring up gentlemen well-equipped with sound intellect and a scientific bent of mind necessary to appreciate and participate in the progressive and rapidly developing and technically sophisticated society of today and tomorrow.
The Institution has made its mark on the national scene by visible assemblage of leadership in all fields. It has produced politicians, industrialists, professional technocrats and sportsmen at the national and international level whose merit was recognized by their contemporaries. Aitchison alone has made such a significant contribution towards the development of the intellectual capability and scholastic education of the country that it can claim to be a seat of learning which aims at nothing less than excellence in whatever it undertakes.
Aitchison started with 12 students and 3 teachers in 1886. Today it has expanded within the Campus like a bee-hive containing 2500 students and 125 teaching staff. The other administrative staff exceeds 500. The 176 acres of the Campus were once full of gardens, orchards and fields but now these have been converted into the best playing fields/grounds and lawns ~f the country. The College Riding School comprisingA0 horses is the only School of its kind in the country. The riders of Aitchison are the live wire at the National Horse and Cattle Show every year.
Where it has stuck to its traditional set-up, it has also undergone a radical change in its outlook from within. The customs, traditions and habits of an institution are its character and they are being retained as such but the exploration of the mind is the focus of interest in the educational gestalt of Aitchison.
Aitchison is an ever-expanding institution and its aspirations and the will to achieve excellence extend beyond all conceivable horizons.
To commemorate the Centenary of Aitchison College Lahore, Pakistan Post Office is issuing one postage stamp of Rs. 2.50 value on November 3, 1986.