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Educational progress of Frontier Province (18th Apr 1948)

Reply to the Address of Welcome Presented by the Principal, Staff and Students of the Edwards College, Peshawar on l8th April, 1948.

Mr. Principal, Members of the Staff and my Student-friends,

I am no stranger to this Institution. I came here, as your Address rightly records, in 1936. Well, perhaps many of you do not know what happened then, but, Mr. Principal, the sympathy and the kindness that your Institution showed me at that time, I shall always remember. I was, to put it one word, literally dismissed from this Province in 1937. But that did not dishearten me, I came again, I believe, in 1945 or 1946 during the time of the last election. I found then that there was a great change, but, unfortunately, on that occasion also we were defeated. I do not like to remind you of unpleasant things. My young friends, ladies and gentlemen, I would say one word and it is this that this Province of yours had to undergo a lot of suffering and trouble, but it was ultimately saved by the Grace of God. Today, I am happy to see better things here. What more can one really expect than to see that this mighty land has now been brought under a rule, which is Islamic, Muslim rule, as a sovereign independent State. Now, we have much more difficult task ahead–how to reconstruct, how to build it up and how to revolutionise and re-model the past legacies from which we are suffering, namely, the mentality, the character and the evil customs of which we have been the victims for a century or more as slave people.

Mr. Principal, everytime I came, your Institution was kind to me and today, you were good enough to pay me a compliment of the highest order. I thank you, your Staff and my young friends. I am very glad to note from the address of the development of this Institution. The history of your College is one, which any student should feel proud of. It is very gratifying to learn of your many activities in the realm of education and the spreading of knowledge and learning amongst the people of the Frontier. In your Address, Mr. Principal, you have touched on subjects to which I am paying close attention. I am glad you are giving a new re-orientation to the system of education. I entirely agree that instead of turning mere clerks and Government servants, your College is now offering suitable subjects for students, which would enable them to take their places in commerce, trade, industry, banking and insurance business. It should be the aim of our Colleges to produce first class experts in Agriculture, Zoology, Engineering, Medicine and other specialised subjects. Only thus shall we be able to come to grips with the problems that are now facing us in the task of raising the standard of living, especially of the common man. The interest of Frontier Province is naturally close to my heart. Its affairs are more directly the concern of the Office that I have the honour to hold. I can assure you; therefore, I shall watch with great interest what this Institution is doing to help in spreading education amongst the people of this Province. I am very glad to note that the Provincial Government and your Prime Minister are looking after your Institution so well and extend to you their help and guidance. Mr. Principal, this is the most refreshing note that I have observed in your Address, a thing that is generally very rare. It is when you say, “we do not mean to take this opportunity of placing our needs before you, because we are being very well looked after by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Khan Abdul Qayum Khan, who is a great source of inspiration to us”. This is, as I have said, very rare. Generally every class, every section, every association, every individual is used to a system and a method. It is either full of praises and flattery, which is demoralising, or it is full of grievances and complaints. Most of the Addresses are nothing, but petitions and prayers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not blame you. It is the fault of the system under which we have been working and which has so demoralised our people. They do not see they cannot realise what a revolutionary and basic change has taken place. Now, you have not to submit petitions and prayers. This Government is your Government. But every Government is slow to move with regard to its policy, with regard to its program. The Administration moves in a particular way, and this applies to every sovereign independent Government. No doubt, I do not claim that ours is a model Administration. Far from it. I do not say that our Government has, within the few months that we have been in power, been always right. No, far from it. There is plenty improvement in our room for Administration and in those who are in-charge of the Government, the Ministers in the Provinces and at the Center, including myself. Everyday we learn, but now I want you to keep your heads up as citizens of a free and independent sovereign State.

Praise your government when it deserves, Criticise your government fearlessly when it deserves, but, do not go on all the time attacking, including in destructive criticism, taking delight in running down the Ministry or the Officials. They are not now bureaucrats. This is not a foreign Government that you should take delight in exaggerating things, in indulging in destructive criticism. This is your Government. It is quite different from its predecessor. Therefore, appreciate when a good thing is done. Certainly criticise fearlessly, when a wrong thing is done. I welcome criticism, but it must be honest and constructive. Mind you, by that method you will improve matters more quickly for the benefit of our own people.

Mr. Principal, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for the honour you have done this and me is the third time that you have received me so warmly. I hope in future also, I shall have the honour and the opportunity of visiting your Institution.

Pakistan Zindabad

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