On the tour of Pakistan in our final year 1970 we, four girl students were accompanied by our lady lecturer, Ms Mirza. Fareeda (Ali) Javed could not accompany us for reason I don't remember. Ms Mirza was the only female lecturer in male originated atmosphere. Until 1964 NED Engineering was all men staff and students....something like 'men's clubs' we read about in books.
Being young and naive during that period we did not appreciate nor understood how brave Ms Mirza was, facing this dilemma of entering the dragons' lair daily. She was a gentle, soft spoken and a reserved lady.
We were placed with Electrical Engineering group as it had the smallest number of boy students.
On reaching the lake at Kala Baugh, all the students decided to take boat rides on the placid blue lake. Ms Mirza was a superstitious lady and did not want to go on water however calm it was. She had been told that her death will be on water. Ms Mirza refused to accompany us and moved away from the boat. Her not accompanying us meant we could not go as well. In the meantime the boats carrying the brave young men was becoming smaller and smaller, we could hear their happy laughter, they did not care nor waited to see if we were coming. The more we pressed Ms Mirza the more reluctant she dug in.
In order to remove her fear Rukhsana (Siddiqui) Zubeiri enquired from the boatman: 'How deep is the lake?' , the guy responded that 'It is not very deep', as none of them really knew the depth. Hearing this Madam turned pale, now more firm in her decision not to go. We were getting desperate, time was precious and we wanted to enjoy the boat ride. We held a quick conference and decided to walk/drag Ms Mirza quickly so she could not get a chance to think. We crowded her and practically carried her to the boat, pulling her by the shoulders playfully. When she saw there was no escape she silently sat down, ill at ease, in the boat. We then jumped in sitting on either side of her to make her feel bit safe and gestured to the boatman to be quick before madam revolted.
In short we had a very pleasant half an hour on the beautiful lake. We avoided looking at her though her coloring got better with time.
Later on we told her we were very sorry and blamed each other for our insane behavior. It was so much fun then and we still keep thinking of it. I hope she is smiling from heaven with us, after all she had a great adventure.....
There is a saying 'If you fall off the horse remount again to overcome your fear' ...Thank you madam...you stand tall.
Madam Naseem Tahir Mirza taught us Engineering Economics in our third year. She was in charge of student affairs for quite some time and, of course, the "patron saint" for all female students.
She died fairly early after retirement and buried in Scout's Colony Graveyard near NED University. I remember her very special congratulations when I became a professor at NED in 1990, and then on another occasion came to my house to see me when I had fractured my elbow.
I had no special realtionship with her and was of no help to her when she wanted to buy an epidioscope (an optical projector used to project light reflected by objects onto a screen or wall. It is also called opaque projector and is not the same as the overhead projector which works with transparencies).
Related to her while I am reminiscing, bad comes with the good. After so many years it still remains distasteful. The society in Pakistan is more vicious than many others, not because other societies are made of angels, but most of the time people are not bothered with you or they have no time for you. We have on the other hand all the time for others, find their faults, shortcomings and all that. After Madam's death we had a condolence meeting in the main auditorium at NED University and all those who knew her better were asked to speak about her. One of her colleagues took the mike and made remarks that were not quite pleasant. He said that Madam had been briefly married once but chose to end the marriage. He also remarked that she had actually graduated in Persian literature (from Lucknow?). The inference was that this caused a grave harm to the cause of engineering economics. I thought the remarks were absolutely sick.