Behind the Curtains With Prof. Dr. Rafea Tafweez - An interview with H.O.D. Anatomy

Behind the Curtains
With Dr. Rafea Tafweez

By: Moeed Ahmed & Taroob Latef

The Ring Leader of the biggest Department of KEMU

She has taught and worked at PGMI, LMDC,
FJ and KEMU, you name it.

Top female graduate of AIMC with a dream to get a phd in anatomy Dr. Rafea Tafweez calls herself a “mom’s child”, enjoys hanging out at HotSpot with her children, admires the very handsome tennis champ Bjorn Borg and likes running her department as a family. 

It was a very hard job convincing her for this interview and an even harder job writing it down, but we are very glad we didn’t give up any time soon. Poised and thoughtful yet strong and opinionated she is in every right the Woman of Today.

Favourite movie?
A Beautiful Mind. From the last couple of years.

I don’t watch movies a lot, don’t really have time.

The only movies I watch are the ones my kids

urge me to watch, esp my daughter.

Favourite Actor?
Favourite actorrr…
 (and that’s exactly how she stretched it long, we got no answer ;)
*Amitabh she mentioned was very far from her favourites.)

Favourite Sport?
I follow tennis and football.

Favourite Cricket Player?
I used to like watching Majid Khan. He was the hot favourite of our era. (On our prodding she related very strongly that she never had a crush on Imran Khan)

Do you listen to music?
Quite a lot (Now that’s a head turner =P) I listen to Dave Matthews a lot. Also Jagjeet Singh, Nusrat Fateh, Lucky Ali who I think has a very different voice.

Any favourite song of Dave Matthews?
It won’t be appropriate to share it with you. (Haha, we had a good laugh with her at this!)

The scoop that we stumbled upon was when she told us that:
My son plays really well, guitars and stuff.

 I have no idea where he gets it from but

seems like he has a natural talent. His 

songs are the ones that I enjoy the most.

Do you watch dramas?
No! I can’t stand them. Im amazed how crazy ppl are about them, they are so depressing and artificial. Except dirty politics they depict nothing. In spite of “effort”, I can’t stand them. (LOL at that)

Why do you think everyone loves KE even when they are not graduates from here?
It’s like a family for me here because I have spent a lot of time. It is the environment. There is a sort of feeling that with comes from every place. Very accommodating. I have been very fortunate in the kind of people that I have worked with here. Although I didn’t join Anatomy as a choice yet it feels like home, there’s a sense of ownership and you start loving this place. And I want to keep the same atmosphere alive now.

When did you decide to become a doctor?
If I tell you the real story you will be like can a person be this foolish. I was a good student and in 9th grade I was put into science, I’m a mom’s child and I asked my mom if it was okay and she said yes and yes it was.

Do you think it’s a good profession for women?
It’s not an ideal profession but it’s a good one.

‘I did my house job in medicine and gynae.

In 6 months I had done two C-sections

and most of the procedures.’

Was it tough studying for phd?
pHd was my dream. I was influenced by many people who had pHds and coming from a family of 6 or 7 phDs. I tried very hard to get this programme started. I appeared in the first test when it did finally start, many left because the system was so flawed. But one thing that I did do was I didn’t leave. My synopsis was approved and lost thrice. And every time I re-submitted it and re-appeared for the interview.

One of my reasons of going to Lmdc was that

 I had to complete my phd. Because all private

 medical colleges were ready to take me on my

 own terms.

Considering that you are a paragon of ambition and professionalism, how do you balance it with your marriage? (We thought girls could get a leaf out of her book)
I have been very fortunate that I have very encouraging in-laws and my husband was the one who pushed me when I lost hope during my phd. Obviously I had to do it on my own but they gave me no resistance, if I didn’t have physical support I had their huge mental support.

And when we said and I quote : so we must

choose our in-laws very carefully?

She laughed and said yes

but I didn’t really choose my inlaws myself.

Do you think there should be a fixed number of seats for girls in mbbs?
YES! You may not like it but I resented the decision of open merit because it solved one problem and created another. And the problem created is: there is nobody left to work in the rural areas. 70-80% girls are happy sitting at home, there are more number of vacant seats for boys and they can easily choose not to go to remote areas.
Most of the doctors are working only for salary and just pulling along while this profession needs devotion, sincerity.

How many children do you have?
Two daughters and a son. Both daughters have become doctor while the son is in 2nd year of Medical

Any particular habbit of your children that annoys you?
She took a long time to think and came up with a typical motherly answer :P

When they are over demanding at times. They undestand the situation that I’m  a working mother and then when if they ask me to do small things for them and be available to them, it gets a little annoying.

Are you a strict mother?
I’m a very lenient mother.

I’ve spoiled my children.

I have a friendship with them and trust in them. I keep a check on them without them knowing it and I’ve never found them going against the principles which I have set. I go out of my way to accommodate them and fulfill their needs. But this is my side of the story. You should ask them. Maybe they are very dissatisfied with me.

Do you think you are a better mother or a better wife?
Again this question is supposed to be asked to my husband and my children. I try to do justice to both of these relations. But if I have to make a choice, I prefer to go for my children.

Ma’am Rafea’s take on what makes and breaks a Prof Viva

Do you think examiner’s mood affects the outcome of prof viva?
Definitely (a prompt and honest reply :P)

At what point in a viva do you decide to fail a student?
When the basic concepts are lacking, only then.

 If the student lacks the basic concept

required in the long way for understanding

 medicine and surgery etc,

then I think a student should repeat.

Do you think you always do justice with the students in the matter of passing and failing?
Yes. According to my limitations, I am never unfair to my students. In all sincerity, I try my level best to be just.  But you students are a better judge of it.

The most popular trait of yours amongst students regarding your conduction of prof vivas is that you give ample amount of time to think.
Because I want to dig in and find the core of knowledge. If somebody is unable to recall due to examination stress and anxiety, this factor should be abolished.

I think that an appropriate amount of time

 for an answer is the right of the student.

 We shouldn’t assess in a fixed time or on one angle.

Have you ever passed a student who deserved to be failed?
There are certain other aspects. When I see that a student has gone to a level where if he or she is failed, his career and especially his psyche will be affected so badly that he may not remain a useful member of the society. Then I overlook and pass.
Laikin is ka matlab ye nai hai k mere saamnay pretend karna shuru kar do (she added laughing)

What is your opinion about the evaluation system that we have considering the fact that many deserving and hardworking students fail in substages and stages and vice versa?
There is no flawless examination system. The flaw of ours is the factor of bias and lack of time. With over 325 students, examiners don’t have sufficient time to fully assess the students and one can only try to be unbiased. And ofcourse it matters how dedicated a certain teacher is in trying to assess a student.

Our batch (Batch 2015) has been on your hit list in particular. 49 supplies in 1st year and 29 in 2nd year. Any specific reason for that?
Your class was very good. I don’t think you deserved as many supplies. 
I won’t go into details. There were certain factors which were beyond my control and you were the sufferers. I was not the final paper setter and you didn’t get the paper which I had proposed. 

Don’t you think that anatomy staff treats the students unfairly sometimes like debarring for no good reason?
She laughed and said you are spoiled like my own children. Our teachers esp Prof. Tuqqaya used to be even more strict, unpredictable and firm and used to do all this and a lot more.
She went on to tell us very interesting details Prof.Tuqqaya’s sudden new rules and strictness

Rate the following out of 10.

 Yourself as an examiner:               7
  Yourself as HOD:                           6.5
Current 1st year as students:        4
Current 2nd year as students:       6
   Ma’am Attia as HOD:                    6.5

Your favourite holiday spot?

Your specialty in cooking?
 My children like my Chicken Manchurian, Chicken Alfredo Pasta and Seviyon ki Kheer alot.

                                              Somebody asked my husband this question

and he said, ‘’Whenever she cooks,

she cooks very well.’’ 

Any prank that you got caught for? Were you a naughty kid?
I was adumb child. Very laadli. I was extremely quiet and very obedient.

My mother told me that my dad

(who died when I was 7) used to say,

 “She’s so dumb. I’m afraid if she’ll

 be able to do matric.”

(Well, we are sure your dad must be really proud of you now).

Any crazy stalkers during your student life?
Not really. I wasn’t that attractive or prominent in my class. (she laughed)

Your hobbies?
I like everything related to stitching, knitting, embroidery, painting etc.

Do you like shopping?
No (that’s so unlike women :P)

What do you think is the worst part of being HOD?
You have to show your anger quite a lot (she laughed) which I hate to do. You have to give even nasty remarks to many of the subordinates which I hate to do.

Describe yourself in a sentence.

I would like this question to be answered by my students

and please don’t be polite in making your statement.
(So please feel free to comment below :D )

Message to the students
Have faith in yourself and be true to yourself and your profession and if you do that I don’t think there is anything between you and success.

Check out other interviews from Behind the Curtains Team!

Dr. Asad Aslam:

Dr. Attya Mubarik:


  1. *respect*
    6 points for current second year <3

  2. No doubt she has improved anatomy a lot but when were in basic sciences mam mehr was HOD physio nd she was the hot fav of all of our class ...mam rafia I believe checks papers very justly ( I know 90 percent of my class fellows won't agree though)

  3. Ali Husnain HashmiJune 26, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    u hv got a vry strong personality.....

  4. This is BEST (Y) !!
    Loved Reading it :)

  5. she should arrange teachng skill camps for teachers.........our anatomy teacherz hv knowledge but know nothing about teaching.......they r wasting our time


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