Wishing for you all the best in life.
Today, it is your birthday. – I won’t say how old you are – as at this phase in life, ‘age just becomes a number.’ And we both have reached that age in life! – I’m just amazed at how many milestones you have attained within these years.
Just a cursory look at what Wikipedia has to say about you, gives one an idea of what you are all about. I’m flattered to realize that you have always given time to any of my requests to speak to my dear friends here in Islamabad. (Just want them to have the few moments of enrichment that one feels whenever you speak.) I’ve watched you talk on a one-on-one or a one-on-five-hundred-persons sessions – both are the same!
Each one of your audience feels that you are talking to him/her only – and with all your sincerity. It doesn’t come difficult to you, as you truly are that. I’ve known you to share a washroom with your staff in your Teacher’s Development Center in Karachi. I’ve seen you eat with your staff too! I’ve seen you treat every member of your staff or friends or family like they are important to you. – Which is something new to this Pakistani culture. This is why when you say something one listens, because you truly do ‘walk your talk!’
I say ‘Sir’ to you, because you are my teacher, my guide, and a friend whom I have deep regard for. I pray that you may have a long, healthy, happy life, full of more fulfillment of your dreams and aspirations. I pray that you may continue having the happy family life with your wonderful wife and three talented children.
Abbas Husain, you were already a well-known personality before I met you for the first time, when I heard you speak in 1997 in Karachi. The lecture at PAF’s prestigious Air War College, was on ‘last twelve Surahs of the Holy Quran’. By now, you are literally known for your talk on this topic. I’ve also seen you refine the same lecture every time I’ve heard you on the topic. That is what I like the constant growth and development that you demonstrate in whatever you do. Which is the sign of a great teacher! You have a knack of making the ordinary into the extraordinary! (I mean, how much more can you know about verses which one has been reading again and again since childhood?) But when you put them together, a whole new dimension emerges from each one. You just go on connecting them together as they’ve never been connected before! So, well, it was then I found out you have initiated the first Teacher’s Development Center. Being a teacher myself, I realized how valuable such an establishment was.
It was the first of its kind.
My husband was posted to Islamabad in 1998. Some years later in 2005 I went to Karachi from Islamabad, giving up my teaching job, only to attend the Master Teacher’s Course. At MTC, I was a part of the MTC 8th batch. – That was a memorable hundred hours of intense training at your center. It is a one-month course. A time which was at once enriching and fulfilling. That is when, I had gone with a sprained ankle, and I was the only student who got an extra chair to place my injured foot on. We were the batch who sang in the break times and had a lot of fun too. I had gone there, a stranger, and found many friends, who even gave me an amazing birthday party. (I know you must have been behind it) During lectures, that morning, I knew something else was taking place in the TDC, but couldn’t imagine what. How could I know, you all would be busy trying to give me a surprise birthday party. When we went for the break, I found the room fully decorated – all for me. The rest of the class also joined up to give me gifts and it was real fun.
The girls (!) were encouraged to do aerobics for ten to fifteen minutes daily, during the breaks. Privacy was given to us all, the men were asked to leave the class room. One felt better, as the intense classes were daily 9.00 – 5.00 pm. I’d stay even later, as I’d gone all the way for this. It was my desire to learn as much as was possible. Sir would share his books with me, and talk about the many international writers he knew, including Gai Eaton Islam and the Destiny of Man. Martin Lings Muhammad and several others.
The personal library is available to all students and of course it is also a treasure house. I would love spending a lot of time there, specially enjoying the fact that I could borrow from here too.
We would often discuss writers, whom I’d never discussed with anyone, as only you had read them. Of course, you are a mine of information, and this keeps increasing as you get new books all the time.
Why wouldn’t it increase? You go all the way to South Africa to meet your own mentor who is a Dutchman. You gain your deep insight and have so many sources of your own knowledge. So, it was a pleasure when last month you delivered a beautiful talk on how to be anchored in a time of turbulence:
This is probably the best part of meeting you. Every time, there is so much more to learn from you. You have scholars as mentors in Pakistan also, especially in Karachi. Yet, your sense of humor is ever present. The jokes keep happening and coming in-between the serious stuff.
Back in June 2005, our whole batch was taken to Marriot for three days to attend a three-day seminar on Education, which was attended by world-wide educationists and was chaired by the legendary Anita Ghulam Ali. There were people coming from the US of A, as well as from India. Interestingly, the Indian educationists and ours found lots in common and found a great deal to exchange. As it was interactive, so the sessions were well attended. It was my first encounter with the world of educationists in an international forum.
By now, The TDC has taught over 30,000 teachers. – Whereas you have personally taught over 55000 teachers. To date there have been 17 MTC courses teaching 472 educationists. Lately, due to Ramzan dates falling in summer vacations (the time when the course takes place, ) there was a break. Luckily these began again from last July. This years’ MTC is to begin on June 25th and shall end on July 19th 2018.
It was a brochure for the course which I had seen on my principal’s desk, when I took the course. It was so exciting for me. Learning has its own euphoric moments which are rather unmatched by anything else. It is truly a eureka moment. A good teacher is one who is also learning, so she or he can realize, how difficult learning is, first hand. So, that there is more understanding with the students.
It is hoped that such courses are begun in Lahore and Islamabad also. The good thing is that teachers all over the country now benefit from this institution through their online courses for teachers. This information is available at the TDC Facebook page.
Abbas Husain, you are the advisor for many organizations like HEC, Roots School System, The City School, Beacon House, as well as many more. Your spiritual sessions and your audio tapes and information are available to all.
This is a good opportunity for me to thank you for always being there for me, with your timely advice. Your knowledge is so wide-ranged, it is a pleasure talking to you. One always learns. Stay blessed, as you truly bless us all with your presence and your attention. Happy birthday Abbas Husain, my teacher and friend.