Laughter, the best medicine
Prof Rauf Parekh’s column (Nov 5) reminds me of an event of the early 1960s. Immediately after doing my MA, I joined the Philosophy Department of Karachi University as a lecturer.
Dr Ishtiaque Hussain Quraishi was then the vice-chancellor. I was teaching BA (Hons) courses. In one of the courses I set the question paper, and was examining the answer sheets.
One of my students was a native Scot who was perhaps Dr Quraishi’s adopted son.
As I started reading his answer sheet, I realised that the student’s script was absolutely illegible. I showed it the chairperson of the department and to other senior colleagues.
They all agreed that it was not possible to read his handwriting. The chairperson forwarded the matter to the examination department. Arrangements were made to send the boy to my office so that he could read out the answers and I would then award him marks. It was indeed a very embarrassing situation for this student.
Next year I set the examination paper of Ethics. One of the questions was, ‘Explain the Retributive theory of Punishment: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.
The British boy left the entire paper unanswered except one. He wrote:
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and a foot for a foot; my foot!”
Perhaps after this event he left Pakistan and went back to his native land.
On my part he provided me an occasion for a very hearty laughter not only for that moment but for whenever I recall the event.
PROF (Rtd) DR ARIFA FARID