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Fellow Aitchisonians
Fellow Teaching Staff members
Fellow Principal Shamim Khan
Today is a unique day in the history of our college.
Today, for the first time, the Principal-ship of Aitchison College – an institution we all love so much - shall pass from the hands of one Old Aitchisonian to those of another.
Shamim Khan sahib studied here between 1956 and 1957. He returned in 1994 to become its 14th Principal.
I myself spent three years here, between 1950 and 1953. When I entered Junior School, Miss Gore was then its Headmistress. When I was promoted to Senior School, Mr Gwyn was still the Principal of the College.
A lot has happened to our College during the intervening years. It has grown and matured, rather as each of you is doing during your stay on this campus.
Today, sadly, Shamim-sahib leaves Aitchison again. For the second time in his life, he becomes an Old Boy.
Today, I am privileged to follow him. I re-enter Aitchison for the second time in my life, as a New Boy. I look forward to this second, more challenging association with our College.
There are a few amongst you who joined Aitchison soon after Shamim-sahib became Principal in 1994. They have been witness to the tremendous changes Shamim-sahib has brought in the academic standards, the administrative management, the development and expansion of the school, and to the elevation of the reputation our College commands here and abroad.
It would take too long for me to enumerate during this morning’s brief General Assembly all Shamim-sahib’s achievements during his long and productive tenure as your Principal.
If you seek a monument to Shamim-sahib’s Principal-ship, just walk around our Campus. Every school building, every classroom, each Curriculum, each year’s Academic Results, every shiny Sports trophy or shield are visible monuments to everything Shamim-sahib has done over the years to improve the College and its three schools.
In this selfless task, he has been aided by your teachers and all the supporting staff who work to make this campus run so smoothly.
Our Aitchison campus has 4 gates. Anyone who has tried to enter them without the right sticker will know how difficult it is. For you, Shamim-sahib, these gates will always be open, 24/7. You will never need a sticker.
Whenever you do revisit us - which I hope will be often - you may notice certain changes. That is inevitable. No institution – not even Aitchison - can afford to remain static. It is important to remain modern and up-to-date, and especially so when we are responsible for the education of boys who span an entire generation - from K 1 to HSc II.
But one thing, Shamim-sahib, I can assure you. We will ensure that all such changes are in consonance with your vision, and reflective of the ideals to which Aitchison has remained committed since it was founded over 122 years ago.
Whatever we may be able to achieve in the future, though, will be possible only because the foundations you are leaving for us are solid, sound, and secure.
We will always remember your contribution as the Principal, your strength and wisdom as a mentor, your humanity as a leader, and your constancy as a friend. You have been a role model and an inspiration to all of us.
Above all, we shall always remember your guidelines. I would summarise them as follows:
What matters here at Aitchison are not simply the textbooks, but the teachers who teach from them.
What matters are not simply the raw pupils we admit at Junior School but the process by which we educate our pupils.
What matters are not simply the results our pupils achieve, but the broader education we impart to them, the characteristics that distinguish our boys as proud Aitchisonians.
For all this, and much more than we can express this morning, we thank and salute you.
Muhammad Hamza Khan (E2 - G, Magsi House). It is your birthday today. Kindly come up to the podium, so that Shamim-sahib can present you a birthday card on behalf of the College.
From tomorrow, each one of you will receive from your class teacher a card on your birthday. It is our way of acknowledging your identity as an individual.
Before I conclude, I would like to thank all of those who have completed the Questionnaire we sent to your parents. We may not be able to implement all your suggestions immediately. At Aitchison, the impossible usually take a few days. Miracles take a little longer.
And now, Shamyle, may I ask you as the Head Boy to escort our Principal Shamim Khan out of this General Assembly?
And fellow Aitchisonians, may I ask you all to give Shamim sahib a standing ovation?
29 December 2008
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