Updated: August 31, 2021 11:22:23 am
“IT IS a privilege to be here in my alma mater. It is a place of my dreams. I pray for the well-being and progress of students of my college,” former Pakistan senator Muhammad Hamza had written in the visitors’ book when he had visited his alma mater, SCD Government College, Ludhiana, in 2015.
On Sunday, with the passing of the 92-year-old former member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and West Pakistan Legislative Assembly — SCD Government College lost one of its last alumni living across the border, one who had made Ludhiana proud with an illustrious career in politics in Pakistan — where he had moved during Partition in 1947.
Hamza was a member of the Senate of Pakistan from March 2012 to March 2018 and member of the National Assembly of Pakistan between 1985 and 1999. He had been a member of the West Pakistan Legislative Assembly from 1962 to 1969.
Born in Ludhiana in 1929, he and his family had their house on Brown Road in the city. He did his schooling from the local Islamia School. After moving to Pakistan, the family settled in Gojra of Toba Tek Singh district in Pakistan.
After pursuing two years of graduation at SCD Government College in Ludhiana, Humza had completed his final year from a college in Lahore — but his illustrious link with Ludhiana and his college has been well-preserved in documents at the SCD.
Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, his son Ikrema Humza, said that his father had tested positive for Covid on August 20, but had recovered. “However, in the past 4-5 days, his saturation levels dipped again and he died of post-Covid complications at our residence in Gojra on Sunday,” he added.
Ikrema said that his father was so deeply attached to his birthplace Ludhiana that after their 2015 visit, he was desperate to go there again. “He always used to recite the verse of Persian poet Sheikh Saadi and say: ‘A place where a person is born is better for him than being ruler of Egypt.’ He used to remember and miss everything about Ludhiana and his teen years he spent there.”
Ikrema remembers that even after becoming a senator, his father used to move around on a bicycle. “Till his death, he has lived in the same house where we shifted after Partition instead of moving to a bigger one,” he said.
Brij Goyal, coordinator, Boys Alumni Association, SCD Government College, while condoling the demise, said that Humza and his son had visited Ludhiana in 2015 when he also visited the college and left a note in the visitor’s diary.
“His visit to the college in 2015 has been preserved and documented in the coffee table book which has been published as a part of the college’s centenary year celebrations in 2020…Hamza was probably the last known living link of the college’s alumni from Pakistan who migrated in 1947,” he said.
Punjab Shahi Imam Habib-ur-Rahman Saani Ludhianvi, Humza’s relative, said that they had honoured Humza with ‘Fakra-e-Ludhiana’ title during his last visit to city in 2015. “He was the nephew of freedom fighter Maulana Habib-ur-Rahman and my maternal uncle,” he added.
Remembering that his father had learnt to live with the Partition but was never okay with the stringent visa norms and helplessness of people on both sides of the border to mingle and connect, Ikrema said, “He always said that these geographical borders were creations of politicians. My father remembered Ludhiana till his last breath and wanted to visit again, but we couldn’t do so due to his deteriorating health and visa issues.”
“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren and to do good is my religion,” reads the quote that hangs in Humza’s office, till date.
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