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In the Beginning - A Brief History

Adamjee Science College is in Karachi, Pakistan, and located near Gurumandar and not far from the Quaid-e-Azam's mausoleum. The college is a legacy of Sir Haji Dawood Adamjee's family. Sir Adamjee was not only a very successful industrialist, but also a very passionate philanthropist and educationist and his family kept his passion alive. His sons, particularly Abdul Wahid Adamjee, deserve the credit for financing and building the college.

Adamjee Science College was inaugurated in 1961 by the then President of Pakistan, Field Marshall Ayub Khan. The two pictures on the right show the President and Abdul Wahid Adamjee at the opening ceremony. The college started with less than 100 students in the First Year (Class XI). The following year, in 1962, Second Year (Class XII) was added. Similarly, in 1961 a very small group of students entered B.Sc. I and as these students progressed, B.Sc. II was added in 1962.

The first Principal of the college was Prof A L Shaikh. He had a long and distinguished record as a teacher and as a educationist. Prior to joining the college as its first Principal he had served as Principal and professor in several well-known colleges and educational institutions. He served at the Adamjee Science College until August, 1972.

The first Vice Principal of the College was Prof B E Mirza who was also the co-author of one of the chemistry textbooks used in those days. He also taught some of the chemistry classes.

The college was staffed by very capable teachers. The Physics department was headed by Dr. Mastoor who became the second Principal of the college in 1972. Waheeb Saheb also was one of the Physics lecturers. Ms. Shahnaz Sheikh and Shamshad Saheb were English lecturers while Rizvi Saheb was the only Urdu teacher.

In 1972, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's government launched a Nationalization program. Along with several of the major companies owned by the Adamjee group, the college was also nationalized. The college became Adamjee Government Science College as of September 1, 1972. The tenure of Prof A. L. Shaikh, the first Principal of the college came to an end in August, 1972, just prior to the nationalization date. It is not known whether his retirement had any connection to the nationalization of the college.

Wikipedia has an Adamjee Government Science College page which has some good information including the list of the principals since the inception of the college

The original college building was a L-shaped structure without the auditorium in the south-west corner. The only other building on the campus was a small canteen building in the far northwest corner with a tin-roofed patio (which may be too fancy a word to describe the shed-like lean-to area) with the tables and chairs. Where the auditorium stands now, there were some peepal trees with benches underneath. Heated debates about the politics of the day took place under those trees.

The original campus had the L-shpaed main building with a makeshift canteen in the far corner across the open ground where the sports activities and other events took place. This is a 1966 picture showing a function being held in the open ground and the main building in the background. You can see Abdul Sattar Meghani (Executive Secretary) on the left, Prof B E Mirza (our first Vice Principal), Dr Mastoor (Head, Physics Dept), followed by 3 guests. At the end of the row is Prof A L Shaikh (our first Principal) being handed a program list by Aba Qasim, one of our classmates.

The canteen served as a major place for meetings, discussions, entertainment (specially singing by the talented Shakoor Victor during the 1964-66 years), and some memorable fights between students around the student union election times.

In 1965, a temporary storage building was constructed along the north boundary of the campus. The building was single storey and had asbestos corrugated sheets for roofing. There were 5 or 6 rooms in the building which were mostly used for storage of building materials used for the auditorium construction which had been under way since 1964. The eastern-most room in this temporary building was provided to the students for setting up the Lending Library which was to provide free textbooks to the students of the college. The Lending Library was a student grassroots effort headed by Javed T Siddiqui. This Library went into operation during the 1965-66 college year and provided hundreds of text books to the students.

It is not known how long the Lending Library remained in operation. Looking at the satellite pictures of the college now, the temporary storage building where the Lending Libarary once came into being has been replaced by a multi-storey structure. The view of the College compound now is shown below:

The audiutorium was completed in 1966 and was quite something. Its inaugural ceremony and some of the subsequent student functions were held there.

Here is another view of the College front:

There were a number of extra-curricular activities that the students engaged in. The debating competitions and Qirat contests were held commonly. The college also had some sports activities and during at least a couple of years, the hockey team did quite well.

The college facilities were kept very immaculate. Everything was new then and nothing was in disrepair. Looking at some videos of the college posted online, it is sad to see some of the neglect. Some it is to be expected in a facility that is over 50 years old, but the graffiti on the walls inside the building is disappointing to look at. But then this is now a government-owned and government-operated institution. The care and nurturing provided by the founders in the first decade will remain, as expected, unsurpassable. But it is great to note that academically the students of the college have consistently continued outperforming most of the other institutions in Karachi. Those of us who were part of the college in the beginning few years are in the sunset phases of our lives, and we have very fond memories of the college, our teachers, fellow students, and the friendships and relationships formed. And we are thankful to the younger generations of students and teachers who have kept the parcham (flag) flying high.

Do you know more about the College history? Can you fill in some of the gaps? Questions unanswered are:
  • What were the significant developments in the College history?
  • When did the College become co-educational?
  • Are there any pictures of the College available?
  • Are you aware of any write-ups in the local newspapers or online?
If you can add anything about the College, please Contact Us

Contributed by Humayoun Jawaid and Yusuf Agha Last Updated (YYYY-MM-DD): 2014-07-14