The first Prefect’s Dinner in five years was celebrated at Edwardes College Hostel on the evening of Tuesday, 27 September 2011. The new prefects and office bearers of the first-, second- and degree classes were named and badged in the Shalimar Quadrangle, which was festooned spectacularly in lights and serenaded by a police-style band.
The five-year lapse in the traditional celebration was due to the fact that naming prefects fell out of use over the past five years, said Senior Warden Prof. Naveed Ali (Professional Studies), who organized the event with the help of Warden Prof. Taj Mashih (Urdu) and Warden Prof. Changez Khan (Computer Studies). The plaques with names of prefects, common room secretaries and mess hall chiefs in some cases had no names entered after about 2001 or 2002, a fact noted by incoming Principal Titus Presler when he arrived.
The current prefects and office-bearers are as follows:
1. Najeeb Ullah Senior Prefect
2. Kashif – Mess President
3. Irfan Ullah – Sports President
4. Usman Khan - Common Room President
2nd Year Prefects
1. Kalim Ullah - 2nd year Prefect
2. Jaffar Iqbal – Mess Secretary
3. Wasim Akram – Sports Secretary
4. Salman Khan – Common Room Secretary
1st Year Prefects
1. Imran – 1st year Prefect
2. Arbab Irfan – Mess Secretary
3. Farhan – Sports Secretary
4. Azaz Yousaf – Common Room Secretary
The Principal placed a badge on each as he was named before the 200 assembled Hostel residents, and Vice Principals Naseem Haider and Kalim Ullah congratulated them.
The evening began solemnly with student readings from the Quran and the Bible, followed by an introduction to the role of prefects delivered by Nasim Khalique.
Invited to speak as the guest of honor, Canon Titus delivered an address, “Hostel Life: The Heart of Edwardes College.” He noted that the first buildings were constructed in 1910 on the assumption that to be a student was to be resident in the Hostel, a vision that combined academic preparation with formation in community life.
Today, the 200 Hostel residents, all men, are a minority among Edwardes’ 2,800 students. “Yet still you are charged with keeping the heart and history of Edwardes College alive,” the Principal said. He noted that hostelites are those whose families live in distant places throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so they represent the diversity of the College, and many of the families live in constant danger from militancy.
“What are the qualities the Hostel environment can foster?” the Principal asked, and responded with five specific qualities:
– Friendship: Hostel provides the opportunity to develop friendships that can last a lifetime.
– Collaboration: Working together in academics, sports and projects. Examples cited included discussions of ideas arising in classes, sharing learnings form book, organizing study groups, the comraderie of sports and projects.
– Worship: Chapel and mosque are always open, and the Hostel years provide opportunity to cultivate one’s life with God.
– Kindness: The Principal noted that Hostel can be pleasant for the popular but difficult for those on the margins. “You may have a few particular friends, but try to be kind to all,” he said.
– Athletics: Nurturing the body as well as the mind is important, and the Principal said he was encouraged by how many students job and exercise early in the morning. He cited the example of Vice Principal Kalim Ullah, who still plays basketball with students, a habit he began when he was in Hostel himself.
A sumptuous meal was followed by music from the police-style band, with one drummer proving especially adept at tribal rhythms of the Pakhtuns. As enthusiasm for dancing rose, Vice Principal Kalim Ullah asked students from South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Bannu and Parachinar to come forward for the first dancing (Attan). “We all have suffered,” he said, referring to the toll that militancy has taken in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, “but these people have taken the brunt of it, so let them take the first dance.” After the tribal dancing another local band held students spellbound with Bollywood songs.
Prof. Kalim and others noted later that such an event of music and dancing is a rarity at educational institutions – or even anywhere – in Pakistan today because various radical parties tend to raise objections. “Only at Edwardes,” was the refrain.