This is unfortunate that teachers are neither regarded by civil society nor by state institutions in Pakistan. Indeed, teachers not only architect nations but also foster their moral progress. Prof Ashfaq Ahmad once narrated a famous incident in Italy that he had to go to a court for not paying the traffic fine. The judge asked the reason for not paying the fine. When Prof Ahmad stated that being a teacher, he was busy, the judge and the audience gave a standing ovation. Prof Ahmad rightly believed that reverence for teachers is the prime cause behind the development of European nations. It is perhaps for underdeveloped nations, Jacques Barzun, an eminent American historian, stated that “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition”. Sadly, teaching profession exists in Pakistan, but it does not get the due respect it deserves.

Victor Hugo, a French novelist, writes: “He (teacher) who opens a school door, closes a prison”. Teachers are the torchbearers of nations. Only savage nations do not honor their architects. Aristotle, an ever-great philosopher, stated: “Teachers, who educate children, deserve more honour than parents, who merely gave them birth; for the latter provided mere life, while the former ensured a good life”. Sorrowfully, one professor from Multan, few years ago, and five professors from Lahore, few months ago, were blatantly dishonoured and handcuffed. Prof Javid Ahmad’s recent death in handcuffs shows that not only are the current teachers dishonoured but also the deceased ones. If this teacher’s demise in handcuffs has not pricked the nation’s conscience, the future surely seems bleak.

SAAD MALOOK,

Lahore, January 16.