Mohammad Yaqub Khan – Headmaster
Muslim High School, Lahore



[Extract from the Annual Report of the Muslim High School, Lahore, presided over by Mr. G. C. Chatterji, M.A., I.E S., Principal, C. T. College, Lahore.]

An educational report of this kind is supposed to be mostly an enumerating such facts and figures as pass percentages in various examinations, of scholarships won, of victories scored and trophies won and – nowadays of contributions made towards the various War Funds. You will bear with me if I do not put these in the forefront of the picture. Not that we have not quite a tolerable account to render of ourselves in these matters, but because we in this school consider these as the least part of education, occupying only a secondary place in the scheme of true education.

We in this school put more value on whether a boy tells the truth, whether he is getting practical training in honest living, whether he is clean in body and clean in mind, whether he loves his country and fellow men and even such paltry things apparently whether a boy has properly polished his boots, pared his nails and buttoned his shirt.

And this is how we do it. First thing in the morning, the whole school meets in the school compound – the staff and the students. The headmaster or some other senior staff member gives them a short, simple talk. This talk is nothing of the kind of a sermon. It just presents a golden page from practical life, past or present, breathing some moral inspiration or other. The effect is marvellous. The juvenile mind is special, receptive, and responsive to all noble stimuli, cautiously imparted. Every day, as I sit in my office, some boy or other comes up with things dropped by others – a book, a fountain pen, a penknife, even a good few rupee notes or coins, to be restored to the owner. This is a great thing. This tiny spark of truthfulness

and honesty kindled at this tender age is bound, in the fullness of time, to fan into a flame and light up their path in the ups and downs of life. There is an appalling paucity of men of this right stamp in the public life of our countrymen who can rise above their little selves and respect the feelings and rights of others. It is the business of our educational institutions to mould such men. We are satisfied that we in this school are doing our bit in this direction.

We have no discipline problem in this school. The atmosphere thus created is the best guarantee of a high tone of discipline. Teachers and students meet in an atmosphere of mutual respect and affection and work like a team. It is one of the tragedies of the modern education system that has robbed the relationship of the pupil and teacher of this element of sanctity. In the East the tradition has been to regard the teacher as a spiritual father, a Guru, who in turn looked upon the pupil as his son. They met in an atmosphere of moral and spiritual values. The West, whose system of education we have imitated, has commercialized every department of human life. It has commercialized education. What is the net result? We have strikes in our schools and colleges to say nothing of sanctity. The more these strikes there are, the more advanced the student community is supposed to be. What a mangling of one of the best elements of Eastern culture! I believe one of the most urgent reforms called for in the field of education is to banish this Western commercialized notion of education from our schools and re-assert the moral and spiritual values of education. The late Dr. Iqbal took note of this dangerous drift of Western culture as a whole in his line:

دیار مغرب  کے  رہنے  والو     خدا کی بستی دکان نہیں ہے

People of the Western lands! This earth of God is not a shop.”


As a rule, our Schools and Colleges meet in the workshop’s atmosphere with deadlocks, demonstrations and strikes. Education is certainly far too sacred a thing to be so prostituted. We may have the Western methods by all means. But so far as the general atmosphere is concerned, it must be surcharged with moral and spiritual values of the maktab of old. This would be the true nationalization of the system of our education.

I once had the privilege of visiting Dr. Tagore’s institution, and what struck me most about it was that there stood a beautiful little temple of spotless white marble in the centre of it. It symbolized the core of that institution, as it were. The students and the Professors, including the Poet, met there in a body and began their day with solemn adorations to the Creator. This brings light and cheer into the lives of students so sadly missing in our common Westernized schools and colleges. Why can’t the Department of Education issue a circular and require all schools and colleges to open their day by adjusting their mental focus towards God, the Common Father of us all? Why should it fight shy of a step like this? After all God-idea has been the anchor-sheet of the culture of the East.

I am not philosophizing. This is a most pressing practical need of our education if we do not wish to nurture our youth on the commercialized notions of life. Europe herself should serve us as a big warning post. I am not blind to the good points of Western culture. I know there is much in that culture that our youth must imbibe. There is one thing, however, in that culture that almost cancels all the good that it has. It is a soul-less culture. It is rooted in sordid matter, with no place for life’s Higher Spiritual Divine values. What is the net outcome? Greed, jealousy, competition, exploitation, aggression, warfare, bloodshed, robbing men of all peace of mind! It is this that we must shun as gall and wormwood. To quote Iqbal:


باین مکتب  بایں دانش چہ   نازی

کہ ناں در کف ندا و جاں زتن برد

Why do I feel proud of this sort of school and this wisdom? It has not put bread in your hand. Instead, it has taken away the soul of your body”.


We must restore the lost soul of our culture to our educational system and bring up our youth in that culture’s moral and spiritual traditions. I am sure if Hitler had been a student at the Muslim High School in Lahore, he would have been more humane, less arrogant of his racial superiority and less callous to the sufferings of his fellowmen.



(The Light – June 24 1941)