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Speech by Hazar Imam at the Karachi University 1960-10-01

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Event - 1960-10-01
Saturday, 1960, October 1
Speeches Part II 1958-1963 published by Ismailia Associations for Africa 1964
HazarImam lays Foundation Stone of Prince Aly S. Khan Library, Karachi  1960-10-01
Aga Khan IV (H.H. Prince Karim)

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, Members of the Karachi University Syndicate and Senate, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Today’s occasion for me is one of both happiness and sadness. Happiness because I welcome and am very thankful for the chance to meet you to see your fine campus and to have the honour of laying the foundation stone of your new library.
It is at the same time a sad event because your university will always, in my mind, be linked with my late father. Apart from advocating Pakistan’s cause at the United Nations, he had one great ambition - to make this the most outstanding university in the country. On many an occasion he told me of his high hopes, but also of some of the problems he was facing. I wish that in our own way, my family and myself will be able to fulfil his most treasured desire.

Today, I would like to take this opportunity of speaking to you about some fields where your active participation in the national life could produce immediate, startling and far-reaching results, but at the same time, be well within your reach as students of this outstanding institution.

If I were asked today where lay Pakistan’s greatest potential for the future, my answer without hesitation would be – the students. It is upon them, upon their integrity, their intelligence and their moral fabric, that depends the future of their country. Though this is the dullest of platitudes, it is nonetheless true.

Throughout history, when the great empires broke up, whether it be the fall of the Roman or Byzantine empires or of the Caliphate, you will find that the youth had lost its dynamism, its personality and its imagination.
What better proof can we have than Pakistan herself? The Aligarh movement was guided by great Muslim statesmen, but it was carried by Muslim youth.

In itself the Aligarh movement could never have created Pakistan. What it did do was to give expression to a nation. It brought forth the true identity of the Muslims of India. It awoke the Muslim nation now known as Pakistan.

As for the state, it had to be created. After much bloodshed and brutality, sorrow and suffering, the state was born. Then came the true problem – fitting the nation into the state. This was done with deep pain and the millions who left India are still, thirteen years after partition, not fully settled.

But who is to blame? If anyone, it is history. Who could criticize because in the midst of this hurtful birth, the national cause was, for a while, obscured but never obliterated.

So much had to be done, so much feeding and reconstruction, so much creation. From the very choice of a capital, down to the printing of postage stamps that one can hardly even be surprised that for some time, there was wavering and questioning.

Now, once again, the national cause is clear. But it needs defining, educating, promoting. Who can do this better than the students? There is no point in laying the burden on the students of furthering the national cause unless they can be helped, guided and encouraged to do so.

Of course you can promote your national cause by packing it up and taking it with you to the Olympic Games. Some days back, a sad Indian paper headlined gallantly, “from Rome on the hockey final: there are no excuses - the better side won”. Your victory was indeed without appeal and to your wonderful hockey team, whom I look forward to meeting before I leave Karachi, I extend congratulations with all sincerity.

Everywhere of course, you will be Pakistan’s private ambassadors. But I am convinced that you can, and are, certainly able to be much more than roving missionaries.
I would like to suggest some areas where your active participation could produce brilliant results – results which will affect the future of this country over many years.

Pakistan’s geographical makeup is unique, being split into two widely-separated wings where the majority speak different languages. The economic problems are not the same in East and West nor are the needs and potentialities. Also like many other Muslim states, Pakistan has vast areas of semi-arid or arid land.
If the two wings are to live as a united country, they must have the closest and strongest bonds. Can you forget these bonds? Can you strengthen them? Are you fortunate in having some which exist already?

More than anything else, it is Islam which must unite us. Everywhere our standards and general practices in our daily lives must be the same. But I feel it is important to underline that it must be Islam in a living, everyday form. Here then, is an important part for the youth and students of Pakistan to play. Whilst studying their history, while learning their prayers, while forming their daily habits, they must make sure, that Islam is present and always present. It must be there in your spirit of brotherhood, in your spirit of honesty and fair play, in your business and contracts, in your Government and its Constitution.

Here then is a role for you to play of the greatest importance. By bringing Islam into all the facets of your life, you can create the same Muslim brotherhood whose unity and power made us the rulers of the largest empire ever known.

If East and West Pakistan are to tread the same path, the bond of Islam must be supported by a community of interests sweeping through all the secular interests in our lives, our trade and industry must be, on a national basis, and our health and education programmes on the same national footing. It is here that by close contacts between the students of the two wings, you will find common fields of interest and possibilities for common industries and business.

The question immediately arises – how are you, the students of Karachi University, to find out what common interests and hopes you have with the students of, for example, Dacca University?

Exchange programmes are certainly effective and you may wish to set up a system whereby a small number of students of Karachi University could do their first year here, their second year in Dacca and receive their degrees at the end of their third year here. Then, of course, there are sports competitions. It would be easy, and it has surely already been done, to organize inter-wing primary school sports and the same for the secondary and university competitions. But still more should be done, to create a sense of national unity particularly by better and more complete methods of communication.

For example, as far as I know, there is only one newspaper which publishes in both wings. I would suggest here that it might be worthwhile, commercially and otherwise, to see whether a certain number of newspapers in West Pakistan and a number of papers in East Pakistan could unite, pool their resources, use each other’s advertising contracts, and publish large editions carrying news of both wings in nearly equal proportion. They could charge higher advertising rates in keeping with their increased circulation and at the same time they will have drawn the two wings closer together.
You may remember earlier, I said, that Pakistan, like many Muslim states, had many barren tracts and therefore, needs water. Certainly the recent and happy Indus Waters Treaty will help the situation, but I think most people would agree, if I said, that Pakistan could use a great deal more water than she has presently at her disposal.

Some of you may be aware that only about ten days ago, a plant was opened in Guernsey which transforms half a million gallons of sea-water into fresh water every day. Naturally, Pakistan could not afford to go into such a scheme unless the amount of water produced was sufficient to irrigate a large tract of land and also if the cost per gallon were infinitesimal.
Science may not have taken us this far in September 1960, but it may well have done so by September 1965 and more probably by September 1962. Many of you will still be in this University.

Again, you may know that an atomic plant has just been built on the Ayrshire coast in England. Here again, to make the project interesting to this country, we would need the power to be produced at practically no cost, apart, of course, from the capital outlay.
And lastly, you will have heard of solar batteries. It seems to me, that if the West is already using these new scientific discoveries in its industrial projects, it means that these inventions are commercially viable and do, in fact, produce good results.

Considering all the recent discoveries about fissionable material, solid fuels and the knowledge that the outer world will soon be a reality and not a dream in man’s life, it brings the industrial projects, I have mentioned, a great deal closer to us.
Would it not be possible for Pakistan to set up an organization guided by university professors and graduate students to keep in the closest touch with these new developments? Such a body could advise and guide Pakistan’s new industrialists to quicker, more effective and cheaper methods of production.

Considering your coastline, the possibility of conversion of seawater into freshwater in vast quantities and cheap power, surely something wonderful could be done. If many of us complain about the climate, why should we not take some revenge on nature and put the heat to good use by turning it into energy, which could eventually be harnessed to industrial projects.

Here is one field where the students in this country and those who are working on scholarships abroad can make a contribution of the greatest magnitude to the national cause. You will be working with the men who have invented these new processes; you may even invent some yourselves, or improve on ones which have been taught to you.

This, I suggest, is a field where a little bit of initiative today could save years of transformation from old to new methods in the future. And, of course, transformations are always expensive. These scientific discoveries, adapted for commercial purposes, do not restrict themselves to seawater conversion, solar batteries and atomic reactors. They exist in radio communications and in printing, two fields, which if used with wisdom could certainly help you strengthen the sense of national unity between the two wings through the press, television and radio.

And new inventions exist in the industrial use of radioactive isotopes – just recently it was estimated that in twenty years’ time, the widespread use of these isotopes could save the United Kingdom 70,000,000 sterling annually in industry. But even in England, those qualified to speak, feel that there is no sufficient knowledge, nor use made of these new developments.

I hope you will not think that this new technical world should be accepted and left aside as something which will serve others, but not you. On the contrary, through your contacts in it, through your knowledge of it, through your having been part of it, let it serve you before others. Vigilance by a relatively small, but highly qualified group of professors and students in these new fields could, I think, be of immense benefit to this country in the years ahead.

Soon I feel sure, other countries will be looking to Pakistan and asking “how did they do it.” You will not only know, but will be the answer.

Some men can work all their lives and still end in utter failure. Others can work for only a few years and obtain the most remarkable results. I am convinced that if you take it upon yourselves to adopt the national cause, to foster and guide it, it will be to you that people will be looking in the future. In this work I will support you and my family and myself will be always available to help you achieve your high aims through this university. In your national aspirations and in your personal ambitions, I wish you the fullest success.

May Allah give you the strength and wisdom to fulfil the national cause in all its forms, to give it life and reality and to build it into your future and the future of Pakistan.

Thank you.
(source Speeches II

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