Dr. Kamran Aziz and KE go a long way back. Needing no introduction, the former HOD of the Biochemistry department is a legend in his own right. A Dow graduate (1972), a huge sports fan and a true-blue patriot, Dr. Kamran is among the founding fathers who helped KE grow from a college to a university. A Lahore-based Kashmiri, Dr. Kamran secretly aspires for the Nobel Prize, does not have any political affiliations and still maintains the straight-backed, suited-n-belted elegance he was so admired for during his time at KE.
We caught up with Dr. Kamran during his visit to KE and as we expected, it was quite an interesting half an hour long chat with him.
Which institute are you working in at present?
How was the time spent in KE while you worked here?
Obviously, that was an ideal time. Although there had been some problems at the end but definitely, it was a beautiful time. There were very senior people working with me. It has always been an honour working in King Edward which is an institution of pride in the world, not only in Pakistan.
‘’Kemcolians are very dedicated towards education (which may not look apparently) and the level of their knowledge is very high as compared to the students of other institutes.They have inherited to seek the highest which is also their insignia. Obviously, they have no comparison.’’
You have worked in various institutes. How do you compare KE with other institutes and how were your years spent in KE as compared to the other institutes?
I think KE was prevented from reaching the level where it should have reached by now and I feel really sad about it. Refering to the glorious history of KE, he said, This institute has passed over 150 years and produced big names. It has no comparison with any other institute.
What difference do you find between Kemcolians and the students of other institutes?
Kemcolians are very dedicated towards education (which may not look apparently) and the level of their knowledge is very high as compared to the students of other institutes.They have inherited to seek the highest which is also their insignia. Obviously, they have no comparison.
How do you compare KE as a college and a university?
Definitely, KE has no comparison as a college. But as a university, many improvements are needed. The biggest unfortunate thing about KE has been that it was never shifted from its current location. The place where AIMC is situated was originally alloted to KE to build its new campus.
Do you think that upgradation of KE to university status has affected the standard of education here?
There has not been any affect on the standard. Rather, it has gained one advantage. If it had remained attached with UHS, it would have been a horrible experience. He added laughing, ‘’Waise bhi KE se sarrnay walay bohat se log hain.’’ (Ye cheez sir! :D)
Would you like to come back to KE as a faculty member?
Why not? I would love to. Its really an honour to be a part of this institute.
‘’Throughout my childhood, I had interest in aeronautic engineering and I wanted to be an engineer. My maths was very good too but unfortunately, I didn’t get good marks in maths in matric. So, my principal advised me to prefer biology to maths.’’
Did you become doctor by your own will?
Yes. Obviously. (Like a boss!)
If you were not a doctor?
Throughout my childhood, I had interest in aeronautic engineering and I wanted to be an engineer. My maths was very good too but unfortunately, I didn’t get good marks in maths in matric. So, my principal advised me to prefer biology to maths.
When Pakistan was created, most of the professors of basic sciences migrated to India, so there was a huge scarcity of a teaching faculty in the field. Karachi University came to the rescue and developed departments for basic medical sciences, which ultimately helped me opt for Biochemistry and then become part of the teaching body.
How would you rate Biochemistry department at KE?
Unfortunately the Biochemistry department of KE has not been given sufficient space. During my time here I had suggested a 9 crore project, which would encompass the departments of Biochem, Physiology, Pathology and Pharmacology. But that was not implemented despite being an excellent initiative. During my time in AKU, I helped them implement the Modular system of education and I would also like to see it brought into effect at KE because it hugely facilitates the students.
Would you say a few words about Sir Shakeel?
I have known him for 20-25 years. He’s a very hard-working, dedicated and honest person who is doing his level-best to work within the limited facilities provided to him.
Now time to ask some personal questions
Your favorite eating place?
I have no interest in food despite being a Kashmiri by caste and living in Lahore.
Your favorite sport?
I like football a lot. I lived in Karachi for quite some time and I think the Makranis there play the best football. I also like hockey. Iqbal Hussain who was the first international hockey umpire from Pakistan was the principal of my school. I also played tennis and table-tennis at university level and I think they’re beautiful games.
I am usually busy writing for scientific journals. I also use my time to help out the youngsters with any problems they have.
Tell us something about your family.
My wife is a Psychology graduate from one of the oldest institutes of Lahore. I have a son who graduated from UET and he is working with an international industrial development company.
Do you manage to take out time for your family?
Of course I do and I think it’s very important to take out time for your loved ones. (Aww! Isn't he the thorough gentleman!)
Do you have any unfulfilled wishes?
Nobel prize. (laughs!) I want to contribute a lot towards science and health and I have a lot of ideas and thoughts to share with the world but the requisite paraphernalia for research is lacking.
Who would you describe as your inspiration?
My father. He was a dedicated Pakistan Railway officer, who joined service when he was 19 years of age. He was personally commended by Gen. Ayub Khan for his dedicated service and patriotism.
Any favorite students you remember?
There have been a number of good students. I used to know the name of every student and all about him but I’m too old to remember now.
Your favorite holiday spot?
Northern areas of Pakistan
‘’Imran is a very nice, simple and straightforward person but he does not have the right people with him. They are cheating him.’’
Who will you vote for in the upcoming elections?
Koi hai is qabil? (laughs)
Naturally we went on to ask him the most obvious question next - if he supports Imran Khan, to which he replied, ‘’Imran is a very nice, simple and straightforward person but he does not have the right people with him. They are cheating him.’’
Does your mood affect the outcome of professional vivas?
No, it should never do so! The basic idea is that if a student is hard-working and making an effort, he should be supported. We should motivate our students so that they develop an interest in learning. I don’t think that the system of passing only a fixed percentage of students is justified at all.
How long does it take you to decide that a student has failed his viva?
It all depends on the student. Sometimes a student’s brilliance shows itself on the first viva question. Other times, you have to allow the students some time before they can be brought on the right track, so it varies from student to student.
Describe yourself in one word?
The inferior-most being of Allah’s creations.
Check out other interviews from Behind the Curtains Team!
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Dr. Attya Mubarik:
Dr. Rafea Tafweez:
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Dr. M. Zahid (Prof Pharma):
Anwar Kala (Anatomy)