Gilgit teacher given hero’s sendoff on retirement
Sher Babar Khan honoured at graceful farewell ceremony for changing fate of backward area through education: Many of his students are serving at senior positions in top institutions
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The civil and military officers in Yasin Valley, Gilgit Baltistan organised a graceful ceremony in the honour of their retiring schoolteacher Sher Babar Khan on account of his 42 years long substantial contributions to the propagation of education in the area.
On their way to the school, many civil and military officers, who are also proud and diligent students of Sher Babar Khan, were holding the bridles of the horse that was trotting towards the school, carrying Mr Khan on its back, reported BBC.
Addressing the ceremony that was organised at Yasin High School, a place where Sher Babar Khan spent many years of his life teaching the children of the area, Mr Khan said: “I belong to Yasin Valley. My father was a Subedar Major in the Pakistan Army. I completed my education till Class-VIII from the middle school in the valley. I had walked 100km in the snowfall to take the Class-VIII examination.”
He added, “I completed my matriculation from a high school in Gilgit, and went to Lahore for completing F.A. which I unfortunately couldn’t. I returned home and applied for a teaching job in a state-run primary school which I secured successfully, for a very few people were educated till matriculation in our area back then.”
He stated, “I had got a job in my own area, and I was well aware of the importance of education. I turned my profession into a mission which was to change the fate of my people through education.”
He explained, “When I started my first job at a primary school, there were only six students. My first salary was Rs500. The school was in worst condition; its walls were about to collapse. There was no place for the students to sit and study. There was literally nothing.”
He added, “I used to walk across the area in search of children grazing cattle and herds of goats and urged them to take admission in school. Thereafter, I would visit their parents and tried to convince them to send their children to school.”
Sher Babar Khan said that after the struggle of a brief period of time, parents of the area started sending their children to the school where he used to work hard with their education and also teach them basic morals and etiquettes.
He added, “After a brief of time, I was commended by the higher authorities and transferred to a middle school. When I left the primary school, there were 150 children studying there.”
He maintained that he got the same success later at a girls’ school too.
On the occasion, Ghiyas Ali, a grade-19 officer in the Education Department and one of the students of Sher Babar Khan, said that majority of the people of Yasin Valley owed a great deal to Mr Khan who not only gave them education but also showed them the path to progress in life.
He said that many of his students were working at very high and respectable positions, and all of them wanted to say a farewell to their teacher in a graceful way to show their gratitude and affection to him.
Ghiyas Ali said that Sher Babar Khan served in the schools of Yasin Valley during the most part of his life. “He wanted every child to take interest in education. He used to adopt different methods to make every child become interested in education. He would take information about the background of every child; he tried to understand interests of a child and worked hard with them.”
He stated, “I honestly believe that many people are earning a respectable livelihood due to honourable Sher Babar Khan. He also changed my life.”
He informed participants of the ceremony, “I joined the same school as a grade-15 teacher where I was a primary class student of Sher Babar Khan. Mr Khan warmly welcomed me in the school and expressed high hopes from me. Upon being encouraged by him, I took a competitive examination and was recruited as a grade 18 officer in the Education Department. Now, I am serving as a grade 19 officer in the same department. This was the sight of a teacher which changed not only my life but also the life of my family.”