Salam, Abdus Salam [1 of 2]

A two-room bungalow, the birth place of Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam, today stands empty, testament to the indifference, bigotry and prejudice surrounding the country’s greatest scientist. — Image by AFP. [In the picture, a boy draws water through a hand pump near the house of Professor Salam].



by Nayyar Hashmey


Today, the 21st of Nov. is the day when one of Pakistan’s greatest sons left us for ever. Today, this sixteenth death anniversary of that great Nobel of Pakistan, there are no meetings, no gatherings, no singing of our national anthem, no national songs, no speeches, long or short, commemorating the great deed of the man who was a nobel noble Pakistani from the backward district of Jhang in the Punjab province. But he, Dr. Abdus Salam was the man who not only brought the name of his backward town, but also the name of his country among the list of those illustrious scientists whose discoveries are many breakthroughs in the realm of science, discoveries that changed the life patterns, the welfare, the social as well as physical well being of the humanity not only in their home countries but throughout the world.

I being a Sunni by belief and having nothing to do with either the Qadiyaniyat philosophy or the one of those who oppose the Ahmadis, have a strong faith in Dr. Salam’s integrity as a staunch Pakistani and a great scientist and that’s what matters to me most.

I do not bracket people according to their beliefs, faiths or sects, for this is the deed, the creed and the color of the clerics. For me if somebody is a Pakistani, whether Muslim or non Muslim, is good enough to be credited as a patriot of the Pakistani motherland. On this yardstick of mine late Dr. Abdus Salam stands tall and distinct.

Another aspect of Salam as a Pakistani is his contribution in discovering the god particle. 
In a report titled:


Alexander Abad-Santos writes:

In any other country, we’d wager that the late Dr. Abdus Salam would be a national hero: he’s a Nobel laureate in physics and laid the groundwork for the biggest physics discovery in the past 30 years–the Higgs boson. That isn’t the case in Pakistan, where he’s been wiped from textbooks and history for not being fundamentalist enough.

“He belonged to the Ahmadi sect, which has been persecuted by the government and targeted by militants who view its members as heretics,” [Associated Press’ Sebastian Abbot.]

No doubt last week’s Higgs breakthrough is shining new light on Salam’s case and one more chapter in his illustrious biography.

“His grand unification theory of strong, weak and electromagnetic fields opened the gateway for the discovery of bosons and laid down the basis for this quantum electrodynamics project,” writes Anam Khalid Alvi for Pakistan’s Express Tribune.

And Khurshid Hasanain, chairman of the physics department at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad tells the AP, “This would be a great vindication of Salam’s work and the Standard Model as a whole.”

Ironically, we welcome many such people who belonged to the soil of Pakistan (Pakistan being the land of their birth), but they left the land of their mothers to places which offered them better chances, better opportunities to excel in their careers or professions.

Though they too deserve all our credit for owing allegiance to their birth in Pakistan and we respect and honour all of them, but what I can’t understand why men from showbiz, politics, performing arts and so many other diverse fields who originally belonged to this soil either out of political, religious, or some other reasons left this country, when they come here, are celebrated like demigods. But the man who was real son of this sacred soil who earned a name for his motherland, the man who was offered citizenship by so many countries and assured every facility to continue his work, who having spent all his life as a researcher in that great wilayat, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, when the Nobel Citation Committee entered the country of his research work as the United Kingdom, he asked the Committee to base their citation on his being a Pakistani and not a British scientist. He though had spent his life time in the United Kingdom felt more proud to accept his Nobel Award as a Pakistani in a typical Pakistani attire.

But all those credentials of an illustrious son of the Pakistani motherland, he being the man behind the great discovery, the discovery of the god particle, he being the only Nobel winner of Pakistan, do not qualify him to be even mentioned in our media, in our text books, not even a single word on the day this great patriot departed. I as a Pakistani if confronted with the spirit, the soul of that great Pakistani can’t face the spirit, can’t face the soul that’s Dr. Salam. Hum sharminda haen, Dr. Sahib! Hum sharminda haen!

We down our heads in shame because the great son of the soil of Pakistan is a persona non grata in his own soil, a soil which till last breath he proudly owned, proudly subscribed and loved.


Next: Salaam Abdus Salam [2 of 2]

Pages 1  2

You might also like:

1. Salam Sahab, we have failed you 2. Dr. Abdus Salam: Beyond Physics
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