The person who very few people are aware of today and who we can undisputedly call “Founder of Scientific Journalism Pakistan” is Mr. Azmat Ali Khan.
Many novice and clumsy essayists today, when they begin to write about scientific journalism, often forget about both the serious efforts made in the past and the services of their elders. Whenever someone claims that there is no scientific journalism in Pakistan, I would like to present to him the history of Pakistani scientific journalism which started long before the establishment of Pakistan. At the time when the first regular Urdu language quarterly scientific journal “Science” started publishing from Aurangabad (present-day India).
Also, very few people are aware of the unknown but truly great being who for the first time understood, learned, and devoted his entire life to scientific communication and promotion of scientific journalism in Pakistan. The person who today we can undisputedly call “Founder of Scientific Journalism Pakistan” is Mr. Azmat Ali Khan.
And I don’t know of anyone, but today my identity as a “scientific journalist” is in every respect due to the kindness of the respected teacher, Mr. Azmat Ali Khan. Whether it is Karachi or Islamabad, Italy, or Australia, Delhi or Doha, there is no place where I have not had the opportunity to stand by the side of local and international scientific journalists, and I consider myself only a disciple of Azmat Sahib. It may not be worth it.
Yes! I was a disciple of Azmat Sahib, I am a disciple, and I will remain a disciple of Azmat Sahib till my death. May
Allah exalt their ranks in Paradise (Amen).
They ask who is “Azmat”?
Now you will ask who is Azmat Ali Khan? You sir I am writing this to acquaint the new generation with the greatness of the great name, Mr. Azmat Ali Khan. This is a reference to a person who, from his youth to his death, spent 60 years of his life on an important national mission, but without the desire for reward and the need for praise.
Azmat Ali Khan was born on June 5, 1931, in Rampur. He completed his primary education at Zulfiqar School (Rampur) and his higher secondary education at Raza Inter College (Rampur). He entered Aligarh University in 1950 to graduate. From here he obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in 1954 and migrated to Pakistan. After coming to Pakistan, Azmat Sahib joined the teaching staff of Urdu Science College. In those days, for the first time, the subject of geology was introduced at the higher secondary level. Azmat Sahib from Aligarh had a B.Sc (Hons) in Geology (Geology), so he offered his services for teaching Geology and became the first Urdu language teacher in Pakistan. gone.
In those days, Urdu Science College and Karachi University used to be face to face at the place where the Abdul Haq Campus of Urdu University is today. Azmat Sahib took full advantage of the proximity of Karachi University and Urdu Science College and till the end of 1950, he obtained an MSc degree in Chemistry from Karachi University twice.
In 1956, the late Major Aftab Hassan, a former colleague of Baba Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq, along with some of his friends, decided to follow the example of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s “Science Society” in Pakistan in the 19th century. Establish a “scientific society”. At the same time, it was decided to launch a new bi-monthly journal, Modern Science, to bring science to the masses.
As a young member of the Scientific Society, Azmat Sahib was included among the editors of “Modern Science”. Later, when the Scientific Society expanded its activities and started holding annual science conferences at the national level, some of the heavy responsibilities of its management and administration were also placed on the shoulders of His Majesty.
From the founding of the Scientific Society until its de facto demise in 1993, a total of 27 annual National Science Conferences were held. Scientific research papers presented in Urdu were the hallmark of these conferences. Due to their organization and good management, these conferences are still remembered as the most important scientific events in the country. However, very few people are aware that the majority of the research papers presented in Urdu by the scientists and women at these conferences were translated from English into Urdu. The translation, standardization, and presentation of these scientific dissertations were attended by Azmat Sahib with his full energy and attention at every stage. Other administrative responsibilities for the annual science conferences were in addition.
Similarly, when the first “National Science Fair” was held in 1956, Azmat Sahib was at the forefront of arrangements. The foundation of scientific exhibitions and fairs in Pakistan was laid with this fair.
In the same years when the Association of Pakistani Scientists and Scientific Professionals (PASSP) was formed, Azmat Sahib was one of its early members. From the platform of PASSP, Azmat Sahib also played a very important role in organizing many conferences, workshops, and seminars. (Azmat Sahib remained associated with this institution till the last days of his life, while he was also entrusted with the care of the affairs of PASSP Trust.)
Later in 1964, when the Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) decided to publish a general scientific journal called “Caravan Science”, the then Chairman PCSIR, Dr. Salimuzzaman. The anthropological gaze of the late Siddiqui also chose Azmat Sahib. Thus, under the editorship of Azmat Sahib, in June 1964, the quarterly Caravan of Science, PCSIR’s subsidiary “Scientific Information Center” (SIC) began to be published, but in 1974, a Secretary to the Government of Pakistan. The caravan ordered the closure of science as a waste of time and “loss of national wealth”, thus extinguishing an unparalleled lamp of scientific journalism in Pakistan.
After the Caravan of Science, Azmat Sahib’s services were transferred to PJSIR (Pakistan Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research) as Editor. This is a research journal of PCSIR which is in English. There is a difference between a research journal and a general scientific journal, but Azmat Sahib’s creativity came in handy here as well. From 1974 to 1991, for seventeen years, Azmat Sahib was the Editor-in-Chief of PJSIR, during which time the magazine was given the standards required for any international research journal (Primary Research Journal). The timely monthly publication of PJSIR during this period is also particularly noteworthy. Unfortunately, since the retirement of Azmat Sahib in May 1991, the magazine has not reached the standard and regularity that has become the hallmark of the magazine in the last 17 years.
Efforts for scientific journalism
For the institutionalization of scientific journalism in Pakistan, Azmat Sahib also developed a curriculum of scientific journalism to introduce at the level of MA Mass Communication in Pakistani universities, and several times in different universities. Also submitted for approval, but no results. Raqam himself is an eyewitness of the last twenty years of these efforts of Azmat Sahib. And it also bears witness to how the officials of Karachi University and the so-called “Urdu University” used delaying tactics to prevent scientific journalism from becoming part of the curriculum. Surprisingly, in 2007, the World Federation of Science Journalists launched its experimental scientific journalism course.