Friday, December 12, 2003

Botanical garden controversy

Professor Zulfiqar Gilani, Vice Chancellor of Peshawar University, in his letter (Dawn 10 December) makes a sweeping statement when he says,"To set the record straight,there is no botanical garden [on the Islamia college campus] and there never was none (sic)."

Not true!

I am not sure if there is a botanical garden now but I know for certain that there was one in the 1950s and 60s. I was a student of Islamia College Peshawar from 1953 to 1956 and lived in the Hardinge hostel. The Botanical Garden was located next to our hostel, and everyone living in the Hardinge, icluding Mr. Gilani's elder brother, Iftekhar Gilani, could not have missed seeing it. Later, when I was teaching at the university in the 1960's the Botanical garden was still there. The vice chancellor needs to look at the record before setting it straight.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Islamic History --- a correction

Letter to Dawn published on December 11, 2003

I want to point out a factual error in Professor Anwar Syed’s otherwise well-written and readable article “Interfaith dialogue” (Dawn, Dec 7).

The great Abbasid caliph Al-Mamun’s name was not Mamun Al-Rashid, as mentioned in the article. It was Abdullah Al-Mamun. Abdullah was his given name and Al-Mamun was the title he assumed on becoming caliph, a practice followed by all the caliphs of the Abbasid dynasty.

Al-Rashid was the title of Al-Mamun’s father, the famous Harun Al-Rashid of the Arabian Nights.

New York