A peek into Forman Christian College’s illustrious past quickly reveals many notable alumni. The remarkable diversity of professions in which these trend-setting Formanites have left their mark is exemplary. On occasion, this impact extends across families and involves multiple generations, leaving a lasting mark on both Forman and Pakistan. As I casually wind back the clock, my own family lineage narrates a story of three generations who have proudly served Forman.
First, my paternal grand-uncle Professor Muhammad Ashraf Siddiqi was an eminent experimental physicist who specialized in optics. Initially, he served as a demonstrator in the FCC Physics Department during the pre-partition period. Later he went on to become Physics Professor at Aitchison College (Lahore) and Government College (Lahore), becoming a colleague of Pakistan’s Nobel Prize-winning Physics Laureate Dr. Abdus Salam.
Recently, I discovered an 83-year-old letter penned by Professor Ashraf. Written in his student years, it was addressed to the Principal of FC College and sets forth a case for obtaining a Master’s degree in both Physics and Mathematics, given the complementarity between the two subjects. The historic document, dating to 1938, once again serves as a reminder of the huge impact that FCC has had on the intellectual history and tradition of our family.
Second, my father Professor Wasif Siddiqi was a renowned economist and proud Formanite whose research interests included international trade and development economics. He obtained his Master’s in Economics from FCC. Later, he taught for 23 years at FCC — 22 years during the nationalization period and then a year afterward, chairing the FCC Economics Department during 2005-2006. He also initiated the doctoral program in Economics at Government College University (Lahore), supervising the Department’s first Ph.D. students. After a career of teaching and research spanning more than 40 years, he retired from GCU in 2012; even then, he continued to teach and mentor students at GCU, this time in a new capacity as Senior Visiting Professor.
Many of the Formanites that Professor Wasif trained at FCC now serve as economists, bankers, educationists, and police officers within Pakistan and abroad. As an avowed believer in Sufi teachings, he is fondly remembered as a compassionate and caring mentor. In addition, the friendships that he cultivated at FCC remained important throughout his life. For example, Professor Aslam Yuhanna — father of Ms. Sarah Yuhanna, now serving as Assistant Professor in the FCC English Department — was one of Dr. Wasif’s close friends, having served FCC as both a professor and an administrator.
Third, my own journey into the professional arena started in 2016 when I received my first job offer from FCCU. I was fortunate to interact with some of the brightest youth of Pakistan at the intermediate level. I am also proud to have played my part in the restoration of the FCU Physics Museum, a project initiated at the suggestion of Vice Rector Dr. Ivan Suneel and completed under the supervision of Professor Tanvir Ahmad. The museum offers fascinating glimpses into Forman’s past while also opening a window on the development of science education over time.
Forman’s interest in both teaching and research also contributes in important ways to the ethos of this historic institution of higher learning. As a faculty member in the intermediate Physics department, I had a chance to contribute as a researcher specializing in theoretical particle physics. For example, last year I gave a talk on meson-meson scattering using potential models at the April Meeting of the American Physical Society. Similarly, this year I extended my previous work on meson-meson scattering, publishing a paper on the subject in Chinese Physics C.
In sum, I am grateful for the years in which my family history intersected with that of Forman Christian College (A Chartered University). As the sands of time slip by, I sincerely hope that FCCU will continue to attract the brightest minds of Pakistan, playing a decisive role in shaping the future of education (including science education) in Pakistan.
An article by former professor, Mr. Ahmad Wasif