Jinnah University for Women: A Seat of Higher Learning Dedicated to Educating Women
By Dr. A. Khan
Chicago , IL
“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.”
Quaid-i-Azam, Address to the Muslim University Union, Aligarh (March 10, 1944)
Jinnah University for Women, Karachi, is the first seat of higher learning established for the uplift of women in Pakistan. The project was the brainchild of Moulvi Rayazuddin Ahmed, the founder of Anjuman-e-Islamia Trust. Moulvi Sahib, a direct descendant of Sufi saint Hazrat Sheikh Saleem Chisty, was born in 1906 in Agra, the city of the magnificent Taj Mahal, and the abode of intellectuals and poets. He attended the Aligarh University. Moulvi Sahib was a proponent for the female education; he firmly believed that status of people in a society could not be changed until young girls were educated. His visionary ideas promoted female education. He established Mahmooda Niswan School for girls and a library in Agra. Moulvi Sahib also took active part in the freedom movement led by the Quaid-i-Azam. During a visit to Agra, Quaid-i-Azam graciously allowed Moulvi Sahib to use his name for a college which Moulvi Sahib was planning to establish in Agra.
After migrating to Pakistan Mouvi Sahib played a pivotal role in establishing educational institutions in Karachi. With the Rs.20,000 he had collected in Agra, Moulvi Sahib established the first girls’ school in Pakistan Chowk, Karachi. Then he went on to play a pivotal role in establishing seventeen other educational institutions which included Jinnah Polytechnic, Jinnah College and Rayaz Girls High School. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, allotted land for the Jinnah College. Mohterma Fatima Jinnah took personal interest in the project and donated money for the construction of a Science Block. During the 1970s most of institutions established under the leadership of Moulvi Sahib were nationalized. Moulvi Sahib had to reinvent the wheel again. He fought legal battles for getting his institutions back. After the Jinnah Polytechnic was returned to him, Moulvi Sahib established the Jinnah Postgraduate College for Girls.
Moulvi Sahib faced many hardships and uphill tasks in realizing his dream of building educational institutions. He physically participated in the construction of the Jinnah Post Graduate College for Girls, and got it affiliated with the University of Karachi in 1985. Finally, on June 2, 1998, Moulvi Sahib’s dream of Jinnah University for Women (JUW) was fulfilled when Hakim Saeed, then governor of Sind, and one of the great philanthropists, gave the charter for upgrading the college to the University level. In this regard the Sindh Assembly had passed a bill earlier on January 22, 1998. Thus, the Jinnah University for Women became the first institution dedicated to promoting higher education for women in Pakistan.
Since its inception the University has granted four PhD degrees in various scientific disciplines. Prominent educators like Prof. Noor-us-Saba Chughtai (who passed away last year during Hajj pilgrimage) had served as the chancellor, and Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmed Hashmi (former Chairman, Department of Physics Department, University of Karachi) had served as the vice chancellor of JUW.
Currently, Jinnah University for Women ( www.juw.edu.pk) offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of Computer Science, Information Technology, Pharmacy, Business Administration, Commerce, Mass Communications, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Education, English and Economics. Presently JUW library is soliciting book donations; text and reference books, and journals related to science and technology, pharmacy, commerce and business administration, can be sent to VC, JUW, 5-C Nazimabad, Karachi, Pakistan.
JUW is also currently soliciting visiting scholars and faculty for short term teaching assignments in the areas of computer science, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy and microbiology. Interested scholars can get further information by writing to Vice Chancellor, JUW, Karachi, at firstname.lastname@example.org .