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June 19, 2019

Tribute paid to educationist Dr Leitner


June 19, 2019

LAHORE: Speakers at a seminar at the Government College University (GCU) here on Tuesday paid glowing tributes to great educationist, Dr Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, PhD, LLD, DOL (1840-1899), first principal of the Government College, for his invaluable contributions in laying the foundations of modern education in Punjab.

“It’s very unfortunate that our youth knows not much about this great man who founded premier educational institutions such as Government College Lahore, Oriental College, Law College and Punjab University, etc. And, in fact all our government colleges and our central model schools flowed from the foundations Dr Leitner laid, said renowned author, poet Dr Tabassum Kashmiri while addressing the seminar organised by the Punjab Archives and Libraries Wing, S&GAD at the University’s Fazal-e-Hussain Reading Room.

Eminent scholar Dr Ikram Chughtai, renowned historian Prof Dr Tahir Kamran, Secretary Archives Punjab Tahir Yousaf, GCU Dean Prof Dr Sultan Shah, History Department Chairman Prof Tahir Mehmood and Punjab Archives Director Abbas Chughtai also addressed the seminar attended by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah, eminent philosopher Prof Mirza Ather Baig and a large number of faculty members. The speakers shed light on the personality, writings and educational policies of Dr Leitner who at the age of 19 was appointed as a lecturer of Arabic, Turkish and Greek at King’s College, London.

Prof Tahir Kamran talked about the early upbringing, education, family life of Dr Leitner and his interest in the eastern culture and values. He said Leitner established the Government College Lahore as a centre of liberal education.

Dr Ikram Chughtai said Dr Leitner had a great convincing power and could spoke and wrote more than 25 languages and dialects, and could recite the Holy Quran by memory.

The Punjab Archives Director said Dr GW Leitner, though a stranger in India, had spent many years in Muslim countries, and nowhere had he found a fitter field for his enterprising and versatile genius than on the Indian soil.

“The first thing which Dr Leitner did to carry out the object which he had in view was to establish a kind of literary club, called the Anjuman-i-Punjab at Lahore, consisting of European and native gentlemen. The chief business of the society was the foundation of the Punjab University College in 1870 and then its formal establishment as Punjab University in 1882,” Abbas Chughtai added. Prof Dr Sultan Shah shed light on Dr Leitner’s knowledge and love for Islam.

Prof Tahir Mehmood said GW Leitner stood for scholarship, higher education, academic excellence, and establishment of the institutions of higher learning.

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