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"My tryst with Farook" - Prof. P.P. Shahul Hameed

posted Jul 15, 2012, 8:38 AM by ART Web Admin   [ updated Jul 15, 2012, 8:56 AM ]
My tryst with Farook

Prof. P.P. Shahul Hameed

It was way back on a rainy day in 1962 that I first stepped into the portals of Farook College, as a student of Pre-University course. The college in those days was just the tiled building behind the present main block. All around, the casuarinas whistled in the winds over the bare acres glistening in the rain…

When heavy rains poured outside and the lecturer’s voice became inaudible, the 'attender' would walk into the class room with the Principal’s notice: “The classes this afternoon are cancelled owing to inclement weather”, an announcement that would receive a reverberating uproar of welcome from the students. Back then, Farook College’s ‘salubrious climate’ and ‘studious atmosphere’ afforded us little opportunity to enjoy unexpected holidays – “those consolatory interstices, and sprinklings of freedom, through the four seasons” as Charles Lamb would call them: Holidays that came in the wake of student strikes, which used to gladden the dismal working days of students in other colleges, were few and far between in our campus.

The newest building of the campus at that time was the ALM Hostel, which was proudly dubbed the “Royal Hostel” by its residents, and I had the good fortune to be assigned a single room there. As a rule Pre-University students were not given single rooms in those days; but in my case there was a strong recommendation from my local guardian, who wielded some influence with the formidable principal of the college, Prof. K. A. Jaleel. But this was a secret unknown to the residents of the hostel. They thought that I was closely related to some member of the College Managing Committee; and for that reason I received some undeserved respect even from the very senior students. And generally the students of Farook College were ‘noble gentlemen and ladies’ (though young), and they were a cut above others. (I hope this hasn’t changed). “Ragging” was unheard of, and the new-comers received a lot of help and guidance from their seniors.

After four years’ studies in Farook College, I was away from the College for about two years, which I spent in Trivandrum for my PG course in English Language and Literature. Even before my results were out I was allowed to join the Farook College English Department as a Junior Lecturer. Pending the results the Principal gave me provisional appointment. On the publication of the results, he appointed me as Lecturer with retrospective effect; that is, effectively from the date of my appointment as Junior Lecturer. In other words, officially I became a Lecturer of English before I actually qualified for the position. I believe this is a unique experience for any college teacher in Kerala and I am personally indebted for this special favour to the magnanimity of those at the helm of my Alma Mater, Farook College at the time, most particularly to my Principal and Teacher Prof. K. A. Jaleel.

Thereafter I had been on the Farook College Staff until I retired from service as the Head of the Department of English in 2001 after a service of 33 years.

One of the happiest moments a retired teacher can have is when an old student comes along and thanks him for a class he had given decades ago. One such moment came to me recently, when an eminent public figure told me that he still remembers vividly my class on the English poem, “The Highwayman” (by Alfred Noyes) given some 30 years ago.

But for reasons typical of our country and clime, the meteoric growth of Farook College to its present stature would have earned it the status of at least an autonomous college, if not a deemed university.

May God Almighty take Farook College from glory to still greater glory through years to come