The school Hobby Centre
The School Hobby Centre Ah! The Sir Syed School Hobby centre! Its discussion would not be complete without describing the teacher who ran it. Sir Majeed Qamar was then a middle aged gentleman. Suave and well dressed. He was of a pale brown complexion, had thinning hair and liked to dress in neat shirt and trousers that used to have a coat during most parts of the year. He would sport a tie on most days. He had deep artistic eyes and used to speak in a soft lilting voice. He never taught me formally but we would occasionally get him as a 'fill-in' teacher when our regular teacher was absent. Sir Majeed Qamar was quite a craftsman when it came to the use of camera. He was therefore affectionately called as Majeed 'Camera' by the naughty amongst us. He was aware of his nickname and used to not mind that at all. His main task was to promote the sense of finer arts amongst students. Photography, as I have told you, was his forte but he would also promote painting, air crafts modelling, sculpture and other modes of art. For this, we would arrange for the activities to be notified on school boards and if you were of such inclination, you would go and get yourself registered with his good self. It was amazing to see how group activities would give students new ideas and promote a healthy atmosphere where the skills could be nurtured and honed. Sir was always encouraging his students to think originally and out of the box. I remember that he on one occasion he started the discussion that music is actually encouraged in Islam. I was only in class 9th at the time and for me music and religion were quite separate topics. Getting intrigued by the rather unusual topic, most of the boys gave their opinions. He was not satisfied with any of our points. He then turned to me and I, thinking on the spot, came up with the argument that music was actually OK in Islam as the Holy Prophet (MPBUH) used to encorage recitations of Na'ats in his presence. Sir did not dismiss my point but added that Qira'at of the Holy Quran was actually musicality of an extremely high standard. Most of us had confused music with instrumental music. Sir very gently and expertly guided us to think in terms of understanding that music meant rhythm. It was a concept that was much bigger, was present in the Universe at a much vast scale and was beyond tabla and sarangi. Encouraging such originality was his special talent. Sir also had a sense of humour and was mostly smiling. On one occasion, he was looking at the pictures which had been shot by a student. Admiring one picture of a boat in the Rawal lake with Margallas in the background, he praised the student and said, " There is a lot of depth in this". Another boy who was present in the room quipped, " Depth in the lake sir?" Sir Majeed burst out laughing, " Depth in the photograph mister!" Hobby centre used to be the abode of the artsy students in our school. And it was made a success by the dedication and comittment of one great teacher. Ours, mind you, was not a fancy fee paying school. It was a Federal Government school which educated students who came from army backgrounds and from the middle class families of Rawalpindi. Sadly, we have not built upon those healthy traditions. Does anyone know if it still exists?