Dr.Salam and Heer: Jhang Connection
Doctor Abdus Salam was awarded Nobel prize in physics in 1979 jointly with Glashow and Steven Weinberg. After Einstein, theoretical physicists all over the world are trying to unify all the physical forces like electricity, magnetism and forces residing inside a nucleus and gravity.
They have succeeded in unifying all except gravity which is defying all the efforts. Just as in Hinduism we believe that God is one but it’s manifestation are many. They also got the Nobel in this area of research.
He was born on 29 January 1926 in Santok Das in the Sahiwal District but grew up in Jhang at his grand parents place. Does the mention of the name ring bells in your heart? Yes it is the same place where Heer of Heer Ranjha immortal love belonged to.
The whole family was in the education. His father was an education officer in Punjab. The family had converted to Islam. They belonged to Ahmediyya sect which was declared by Zia-ul Haq as non Muslim.
When he was taken to be admitted into school, teachers found him fit for fourth class. At age 14, Salam scored the highest marks ever recorded for the matriculation examination at the Punjab University. He won a full scholarship to the Government College University of Lahore, Punjab State.
His father wanted him to join indian Civil Services. He could not because of his poor eyesight which was a mandatory requirement.
He won scholarship from Cambridge university and completed his BA degree with honours in Mathematics and Physics in 1949. Although he received offer to do research there but he returned to Jhang.
He taught is Pakistan both mathematics and physics. He started teaching at the Imperial College, London which he accepted. The 30-year-old, youngest ever assistant professor of Imperial College, London, was a Pakistani now.
He was brought back by Zayin Khan and made the scientific advisor. He drafted the scientific policy of Pakistan. Founded Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission of Pakistan.
Although he was once a non entity in Pakistan due to his being from Ahmediyya sect, his heart was always in Pakistan and he arranged for scholarships, which helped hundreds of Pakistani scientists’ to educate themselves abroad. His contributions are innumerable.
Although, he was highly respected scientist abroad he was an outsider for Pakistan. All efforts were made by the future administrators who buckled under religion to ease out his memory from Pakistan. He was offered the nationality of all those countries whose asylum seekers, today, lead the criticism on his faith.
After he had received the Nobel Prize, he chose to visit Lahore, In a public gathering, someone commented that Jhang was initially famous for Heer and now will be famed for Abdus Salam’s Nobel Prize. He remarked that there are hundreds of Nobel Laureates but only one Heer!!