MEMORIES OF SCHOOL DAYS AT RAILWAY TECHNICAL SCHOOL – PAGES FROM AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI
The Railway Technical School was established in 1889. In 1927 it was changed into a college and remains an Engineering college to this day. Portions of the old school survived till recent times and it was the site of the Mosque of Dara Shikoh’s wife. It was originally made for the children of the Railway employees to receive free education. Abdur Rahman Chughtai had many relatives in the Railway from his mother’s side. He got admission in it, along with his younger brother Abdullah Chaghatai. As Chughtai missed a year of education, both brothers appeared in the same examination in 1911. That is why confusion over their date of birth is generated for same reason. Abdullah appeared as regular student, while Abdur Rahman appeared as a private student. The irritation started when Abdur Rahman swept the examination by coming first in the Drawing class, and second, on the platform of Punjab itself. Before his death the artist had started an autobiography, and these are two pages from his school days, worthy of mention. We can attempt to picture this important memory.
The class was being promoted from 7th to 8th class. The Hindu Master wanted to know from the class of about 30/40 boys their plans for the future. Abdur Rahman was noting with dissatisfaction that no boys were interested in pursuing higher education, and their total interest was to find a job in the Railways like their father. Each boy was asked one by one. When Abdur Rahman’s turn came, his desire was to tell the Master that all he was interested was in flying kites, fishing in the river, as well as swimming in the river as well as ponds. But he knew he would get a thrashing, so he refrained from saying that. Instead, he said that he has not decided yet. Noted with regret that no boys had even an ambition of any kind. Only one other student accompanied him to Mayo School of Arts, but even then, the artist lost track of him. Of course, his brother Abdullah was interested in wood working and joined the Carpentry classes at Mayo School of arts. End of desire for all.
The autobiography is full of episodes and perhaps can be published one day in consolidated form.