Behind the Curtains - Dr. Attya Mubarik Ex Prof Anatomy

Behind The Curtains
With Dr. Attya Mubarik

By Moeed Ahmed 
Taroob Latef

The Mother of a Thousand Daughters and Sons

The Jack of all trades; she was in her time Supervisor of the MPhil Program, Chief Warden of Girls Hostel, Staff president of KDS, First Member of Syndicate, Inaugurated the Histology Lab, was Chairperson of the Students and Scholarship Committee and whatnot.

The founder Principal of Gujranwala Medical College and commander of the biggest fan following in KE with the longest tenure that any Professor can boast, Dr. Attya Mubarik has a huge interest in world politics, calls KE her ‘maika’ and was rightfully hurt over being denied the VC chair.

She is the first person who was as enthusiastic about the interview as we were. Brave and honest, straightforward and funny she said things that others would think twice before saying and perhaps that is why she is the Most Popular Professor even 3 years after her absence and her fame only continues to rise.

She has served for almost 23 years in KE. The current big shots in anatomy today are trainees of Ma’am Attya, with Dr Nadia Tazeen being one of her pioneer students along with Dr Zahra, Dr Sami, Dr Yasoob, Dr Ameen and others.

1. Ma’am ap Ke mein Vc k ilawa sab kuch he thein?

Yes on that; I was the senior most Professor in Punjab, had been in KE for almost 38 years but              because of political reasons in Lahore I was not given the opportunity to become VC. I was                    disgusted. But let’s be honest:

“A woman has to have three time more qualities then men to become equal to them.”

I put my faith in God. The CM asked me to become the founder principal in Gujranwala and my colleagues and kids advised me that in light of my seniority I should not continue as HOD and leave to become Principal.

I was the youngest professor in KE when I was promoted.
In recognition of my services I was awarded the Fellowship Degree
by the College of Physician and Surgeons and Anatomy was the first
centre in KE to be recognized for post graduation.

2.   If given an opportunity of coming back to KE  as HOD, will you prefer it to your current designation?

Not at all. I will come back on only one condition i.e, if I am appointed Vice Chancellor (we never expected such a straightforward reply :P). But I will never come in anyone’s way.

When Asad was appointed Pro VC, he was very junior to me but was so respectful that may be this was the purpose of my decision that I should go lest I become uncomfortable. And I think my decision was very good.

Your current Vice Chancellor is a very competent and eminent person. I have no objection to his appointment. He must have been more competent than me if he’s chosen. I was the first one to congratulate him and im very happy at this appointment. But I will come back on only one condition, if appointed VC, otherwise, bachon se jo pyaar hai wo tu kabhi khatam nahin ho sakta.

About an year ago perhaps while I was standing on Hall Road, a bunch of final year  students gathered around me blocking the road and pleading, ‘’Madam! Please come back.’’ This is the achievement you have got. Even crores of rupees can’t buy that thing. Bachon se jo pyaar aap ko milta hai, wo apka zindagi ka aik sarmaya hai. I always pray to Allah k mujhe kabhi is sarmaye is mehroom na karna.

3.      Favourite actor?
Shahrukh Khan

4.     Favourite dramas?
Humsafar and Maat. I hate Indian dramas.

5.      Any favourite movie?
My Name Is Khan jaisi koi achi movie.

6.      How do you spend your Sunday?
I begin my day with the newspaper. Im very interested in sports. I know the achievements of Don Bradman, Lara, Jayasuriya, Majid khan and I know how Gary Sobers got a triple hundred.

7. Do you enjoy cooking? Favourite food item?
My family loves my cooking. My favourite is Fried Mutton and Aalo Gosht. 

8. Favourite holiday spot?
St. Louis and Pittsburg with children.

9.      Favourite players?
Javaid Miandad and Imran Khan.

     10. Why anatomy?

I never wanted to be an anatomist. I loved gynae and wanted to practice it. Girls are given top priority in gynae aur “sachi baat hai aj bhe larkiun ki sirf gynae ki he practice chalti hai”. But my husband never wanted me to work long hours and neglect home.

Always give priority to family life, baki
sari cheezein Allah de he deta hai.

 My children were small. I was young, newly married. Couldn’t really go against my husband’s wishes. “Do chaar saal guzar gaye hotay tu zara dimaag pakka hojata =P So I chose anatomy as an alternative and I told my husband that I would never leave my job.

I left my full time Gynae practice to dedicate my time to home. One thing that I have learnt is:

Hamari society mein kabhi kisi admi ko
apni biwi ko apne se upar jata hua
dekhna, acha nai lagta.

11. What do you think about the standard of KE? And its change from college to university?

Her answer was simple and touching: Our students make the standard. The students are the ones holding KE at the top. They are obedient, talented, out class in sports, speeches, drama you name it.

I am a graduate of FJ, I wanted to come to KE
 but seats for girls were being withdrawn and
despite high scores I couldn’t. I was my father's 
only daughter with 9 brothers. I promised my father:
 I will be a teacher in KE one day.

12. Do you think there should be a fixed no of seats for girls?

To be honest more than 70% girls do nothing and we are suffering from national loss. There should be a 50 50 demarcation at LEAST. My advice to girls would be that they should come here with the mindset that they will work. It’s true that it mostly depends on the family they go into jisko kabhe bhe nai kharab karna, job and career are nothing in front of family. But they should work after kids grow up, or teach from home, do something to contribute.

Ye nai k bacha baad mein karen aur career career karti phirein.
Bacha pehle, career baad mein!
Baad me hota yahi hai tmhari gaari, meri maa ka sofa;
lekin bacha dono ka hai!

13.On what criteria do you fail students?

I have examined all colleges. Punjab ka shaid he koi college ho private or government that I haven’t examined. And kemcolians do stand out among them.

“Anatomy is an extremely lengthy and tedious subject. Unko kya ata hai us pe pass Karen, kya nai ata us ko chor den. Kya khayal hai?!”

14. So are you lenient?

Leh no no I was not lenient at all. Ab meine exam lya hai aur saray bachay pass hain tu mein kya karun, janpuj k fail kar dun, hain?!

15. Why embryology?

It was not only embryo, it was 1 in 3. I would teach a little bit of gross, histo and embryo all together. But I have this thought. Gross anatomy is facts, radial nerve ja rai hai tu ja rai hai, mera koi kamala nai hai. Same with histology. But embryo is an imagination and that is the challenge of the topic.
What a fascinating thing that aik cell tha,and it became a human being!

16. We have heard your lectures used to be very interesting? One of your famous talk being: Larkaun aur larkiun ko 1st 2nd year mein alaihda rehna chaye, 3rd year mein interaction karni chaye phir agar shadi karni hui tu mein karaun ge!

Im always there to help them. Koi harj nai hai agar kisi ko koi pasand hai, koi buri baat nai hai. Meri baat sunein apne kahen na kahen tu shadi karni hai na, kyun meri bachi bahir jaye, kyun na meray he kisi bachay k sath uska kuch ho jaye. 

Why not? Mera tu idea ye hai k apni bachiun
ko idar he rakhna chahye, kyun ye larkay
dusri larkiun ko dekhen bilkul nai dekhan chaye,
apni larkiun ko dekhen pehle.

 17. Favourite students?

I remember so many but mein un ka naam le kar bakiun ko naraaz nai karna chahti.

18. On our persistence: Any KDS performers that you remember?

Sarah, Waqas, Annum Asif, Ali Jon. Always on their toes. All rounder students. It was thrilling to watch their plays.

19. Do you miss hostel functions?

I started this tradition. The best time of my life has been with my students in hostel. What I remember was that 1st yr wali bachian ro rahi hoti thein k ham kidhar agaye hain aur farewell wali hostel chortay huay ro rai hoti thein. It used to feel really good.

20.   How was your tenure as HOD?
Zabardast. Zabardast! Zabardast!!!

21. What is the best thing about being HOD?

When I was made an Assistant tu ammi ko kehna “Maa jee nai na, jidon associate banan ge tab he maza aye ga”.

This is human nature. I have always been thinking ahead but when you get that professor’s chair, the fascination disappears.
You have to take everyone along with you.  I never considered my Assistant and Associate Professors, or my whole staff as brothers or sisters but my children because with brothers and sisters, you may have a sense of competition but not with children.
That’s the secret of my enjoyment as HOD, ‘sab k sath pyaar’! But if there was some wrong deed done, I didn’t spare.

22.   What is the most difficult thing about being HOD?

Nothing. There is a solution to everything.  Mujay tu bohat maza he aya hai.

When I came as HOD, a couple of teachers were pointed out to me to be fired. I said okay. After a day or two, I was again asked. I said “doctor sahib agar tuahday chaar bachay hain, aik nikama hai, unhu bahir sut do ge? Agar te sut do ge tu bolo. Nikamay walay se tu zyada pyar hojata hai. Those teachers are still teaching and have proven themselves.

I was HOD Anatomy in PMC when people warned me not to go saying ‘wahan har waqt strikain hoti hain’. But even in that khatarnaak zamanay I went. Ke tu halwa tha after PMC.

23.   Who do you think has been the best VC or Principal of KE since you joined?

I should be diplomatic here =P But they all were very honest and hardworking. I had the best relations with each of them.

24.   Tell us about your children.

I have 4 daughters. All are doctors and married to doctors. 3 are in America and one is in Pakistan.

25.   How does it feel being a grandmother?

Zabaradst. It’s a wonderful feeling. Best feeling of my life.

26.   How were you as a kid?

I was the only daughter. I was very close to my father and oe thing that was always at the back of my mind was i didn’t want to do anything that would hurt him.

27.   If you were not a doctor?
I always wanted to be a doctor, since I was 2.

28.   Message for the students.

Acha insaan bnein. Respect your colleagues, be good to them and they will be good to you too.

Remember this choton se pyar karna aur baron ki izzat karna, isi mein sab kuch hai. Dil me khuda basta hai, kisi ka dil na dukhayen.


  1. The best interview I've ever read in my life. :)
    For you Mam,
    #RESPECT :)

  2. good, usually we give interview for seek of interview. but real interview contain , affection, emotions, hardships, leadership, motherhood , equality among the colleagues and last but not least the distinction . excellent great peoples have full of adventures in their life .

  3. Hassan Tariq BhattiApril 27, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    thanks kids u brought back my 1st prof days,in final i was so nervous that when madam asked the fellow student to leave i left along with him.she called me back and after a bit of admonishing she asked me to have a sip of water and man what it was i dont know all the fear just went away and by the time i was done with viva i realized she asked me everything in head and neck and i didnt drop a single question,she was and is a mother to us and i choose surgery as my carrier madam attiya,sir khwaja azeem and sir riaz warriach has been the biggest influence upon me


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