Keeping Alive the Legacy of a Popular Teacher
By A.H. Cemendtaur
Speakers and audience at the prize distribution ceremony held at the NED University Auditorium in Karachi
When Professor Mohammad Nauman died unexpectedly in an asthma attack in 2009, his demise sent shock waves across various alumni groups of the NED University. TheUniversity had not only lost one of its finest teachers, the greater society had suffered the loss of a caring person who understood the importance of social work.
Koshish Foundation, a non-profit California corporation, comprising mostly of NED graduates, decided to establish a program that would keep the social work legacy of Professor Nauman alive. Koshish Chairman Suhail Akbar (also known as Muhammad Akbar Suhail or Muhammad Suhail) and his associates (Raghib Hussain, Safwan Shah, Asghar Aboobaker, Awais Nemat, Amer Haider, Kausar Talat, Rehan Jalil, Sohail Abbas, and others) came up with the idea of Nauman Social Responsibility Initiative (NSRI) Awards, annual grants that would be given to team of students taking on social welfare projects. In a couple of weeks funds were collected to create an endowment of over one hundred thousand dollars.
The program was announced in April 2010; from a plethora of applications received, four teams were chosen to pursue their respective "social responsibility" projects. On Saturday, January 22, 2011, a prize distribution ceremony was held at the NED University Auditorium to recognize the completed work of the selected teams.
The prize distribution ceremony, emceed by Usman Rohail, started with a recitation of Qur’an by Sabih Ahmed Zakai. Koshish Foundation Karachi Coordinator, Muhammad Faysal Lakhani, thanked NED University administration, and in particular, Dr. Abul Kalam, NED Vice Chancellor, for allowing Koshish Foundation to start the Nauman Social Responsibility Initiative at the NED University.
Dr. Shams-ul-Haq Pro Vice Chancellor; Madam Neelofur Master; Dr. Muzaffar Mahmood; Controller Student Affairs, Mr. Sohail Fazil Usmani; Chairman, Department of Electronic Engineering, Dr. Shoaib Zaidi; Koshish Karachi Chairman, Jamal Rajput; and Mr. Safi Ahmed Zakai were also thanked for their cooperation in driving the program to success.
In his speech, Vice Chancellor Dr. Abul Kalam welcomed NED Alumni to take on programs for the betterment of their alma mater. He said since becoming the Vice Chancellor in 1997 he allowed NED faculty and staff to do whatever positive things they wanted to do for the University.
The first prize among the groups competing in the Nauman Social Responsibility Initiative was given to a seven-member team that worked on making a low-cost motorized wheelchair. The second prize went to a team of students that educated school children on environmental issues. Four students who worked on a technique for detection of landmines using infrared cameras won the third prize. The fourth prize was given to a team of students that made a cell-phone based program to benefit from Karachi bus routes database.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Shoaib Zaidi said in the short time he knew Professor Mohammad Nauman he found Numan to be a thorough gentleman; he said Professor Nauman knew how to have a debate on an intellectual level without taking anything personally. He said it was a wonderful recognition of Professor Nauman's social work that his students had established an award in Nauman's name.