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AFP
October 7, 2010
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Ghora gali

World

AFP
October 7, 2010

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Known universally as GG, Lawrence College was founded in 1860 to provide practical education to the orphans and the children of British soldiers. Sir Henry Lawrence had obtained approval in 1846 for the establishment of such "hill schools". These "asylums" were meant to avoid the heat, unhygienic conditions and disease of the barrack rooms and provide proper education. It is the oldest residential institution of its type in Pakistan.
Sanawar, the first school, was founded on April 15, 1847 by Lawrence and his wife Honoria on a 6000 ft high ridge near Kasauli, the oldest co-educational boarding school in the world. Established in 1850, Mt Abu Lawrence School was closed down after 1947, it is now a Police Training Academy. Lawrence School, Lovedale (near Ootacamund), Tamil Nadu, was founded on Sep 6, 1858 and the fourth in 1860 after Lawrence's death the Deed of Trusteeship" was executed in Calcutta on July 27 1859 in Ghora Gali, Murree, as Lawrence Memorial Asylum. Founding Principal, Rev H W Tabernacle, served from 1860 to 1863. There were 356 boys and 124 girls as students when it became "Lawrence College" in 1927. The girls section was transferred to Saint Denny's School Murree in 1949.
To quote extracts from verses written (and sung to the tune of "Davy Crockett") by my good friend in school, late Javed Wali Mohammad:
"Lies on a mountain top above GG
Greenest place around beautiful Murree
Decided to build it in Henry's memory
And it was erected in the 19th Century
Lawrence, Lawrence College
King of the Public Schools
Found a place where the air was good,
Snow-capped mountains solemnly stood,
The snow melted and the warm winds came
The flowers of spring filled the woods with flame
Never, Never Give in
King of the Public Schools."
At a height of about 1950 metres (6397 feet) on a pine-covered spur and spread over an area of 140 acres about 4 km from Murree, the college is closed for three months from

December to February, being snow-bound during cold weather. Divided into three schools, the Junior, the Preparatory and the Senior School, it is an elite institution with time-tested, glorious traditions in the fields of academics, sports and other extra-curricular activities. I consider myself fortunate to be called a "Gallian", entering Senior School in Form 7 in 1958, I left in 1962 after completing my Senior Cambridge and FSC. In 1961 the then principal Mr Charlesworth chose former Federal Minister Interior, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, my Peake House roommate from 1958 to 1962, and me to be the youngest house prefects ever. Aftab, Muhammad Salim Khan and myself (all from Peake House) were the three Gallians who joined 34th PMA Long Course together in May 1964. Stand-by for RMA Sandhurst, runner-up for both Sword of Honour and Norman's Gold Medal in PMA, I also had the honour of winning the Tactics Plaque. Salim Khan went on to become a major general.
Peake (now Tipu) House got its name from Rev G C Peake, principal of Lawrence Asylum for thirty years (1874 -1904). Australian Rev Wightwick, principal (1910 - 1921), gave Wightwick (Babar) House its name. Walker (Jinnah) House was named after Rev W Eyre Walker, headmaster from 1907, and principal during 1921-1922. Wright (Iqbal) House got its name from Rev W Wright who succeeded him.
The first Pakistani principal being Ch Abdul Hamid from 1952 to 1955, the second, from 1959 to 1961 was my health-science teacher Mr Moinuddin Ahmad. Mrs Moinuddin Ahmad was my beloved teacher for both English Language and Literature. They are amongst those I have dedicated my 8th book to, called "The Gathering Gloom". The most well-known and admired headmistress of Junior School was Miss Glegg, and who can ever forget our sick ward matron, old faithful Ms Sargon?
Principal Thurley's (1949-1952) words presented by him in an Honour Board are still displayed in Lawrence Hall.
"To set the cause above renown
To love the game beyond the prize
To honour, while you strike him down
The foe that comes with fearless eyes
To count the life of battle good.
And dear the land that gave you birth.
And dearer yet the brotherhood.
That binds the brave of all the earth.
Today and here the fight's begun.
Of the great fellowship, you're free,
Henceforth the School and you are one,
And what you are, the race shall be."
"Ready to obey our country's call, whether it needs us in peace or in war", three Gallians gave the supreme sacrifice during the 1965 War, Major Raza Shah (SJ), my own hero Capt Zahurul Islam Afridi, SJ and Lt Habibur Rahman. Zahur was tasked by his father, Col Taifurul Islam Afridi, a good friend of my father, to look after me when I entered GG in 1958, and he did. Promoted as Captain on Sep 21, 1965, he embraced martyrdom two days later near Wagah. Three Gallians laid down their lives in the service of their country in 1971, Capt Ejaz Alam Khan (nicknamed younger Tumble), Maj Zafar Ali Khan and another Gallian hero of mine (and fellow Sialkoti), Maj Sabir Kamal Meyer. Sabir was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat twice. His brother late Col Saeed Kamal Meyer was very, very special.
To quote from Brig Asmat's Ode to the College Centenary 1985.
"Like an arrow from the bow.
Remember Gallians you are one.
In the solar-system like the sun.
Leaving GG your work's not done.
Then work has actually just begun.
The battle of life you will win.
If you remember "Never Give In."
The age of happiness and emotional indulgence, every activity in GG was aimed at developing the multidimensional growth of our personalities. Character-building, sportsman's spirit, and above all, unflinching faith in our college motto, 'Never Give In' inspired us to face the trials and tribulations of practical life with courage and perseverance. The hallmark of Gallians is that they are not simply bookworms, but also all round best performers. As the first Pakistani POW ever to escape from an Indian POW Camp in 1971, the Lawrence College motto "Never Give In" contributed to keep me going. Former PM Zafarullah Khan Jamali is a good friend, Maj Gen (r) Inayetullah Khan Niazi, Brig (r) Jaffer Khan and Brig (r) Rao Hamid have always been my role models. So were late Brig Z A Khan and Brig Asmat Beg Humayun, both colleagues in my business. Fabulous human beings, they were outstanding in all senses of the word. It is my proud privilege that Brig Asmat remains a colleague today.
Present principal of Lawrence College, Air Commodore (r) Farooq Kayani, brought a large contingent of young Gallians to my book launch in Aug 2009 in Islamabad. An outstanding academic and administrator, Kayani continues the amazing Gallian tradition of the college being served by successive superb principals. We celebrate 150th Lawrence College Founder's Day (1860-2010) under his dedicated oversight. Not able to be present in person, I will certainly be there in spirit, "proud of the Bright Blue and the Gold, colour of our Hearts and that of our Soul".
(with thanks to Dr Mohammad Asif, my Peake House roommate (1958-1959), who wrote the wonderful book, "Never Give In").

The writer is a defence and political analyst. Email: [email protected]

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