Later on, he
married Mrs. Alia Khanum (an Afghani lady) in 1949
who bore him 3
children - Syed Iqbal Ali (686/Liaquat), Rehana
(wife of Mr. R.S.
Channa) and Furqana.
expired in Karachi
on 21 June 1986 of sugar and old age problems. His
widow Mrs. Alia Khanum now lives in Mississauga,
I would like to share with you a few details about our
dear late teacher , who used to teach us English back in
the 1960s. In fact, he was past his retirement age even
then, but he kept himself active.
Maqsood Sahib got his
M.A. in English, Political Science and General History
from Aligarh Muslim University in 1927. His room mate at
Aligarh was President Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan.
After passing out
from Aligargh, Maqsood Sahib chose the field of
education as his career. He worked in different schools
far and wide. He was posted to Afghanistan and the
northern areas and is well remembered by old timers
At the time of
Independence of Pakistan in 1947, he was still in
Afghanistan. Since his career was with the Education
Department of the Govt of India, everyone suggested that
he should go back to India. After considerable thought,
he decided to opt for Pakistan and moved to the NWFP
area. He loved to work in remote and small towns like
Mardan, Hangu in addition to Peshawar.
During this period,
he took his second wife as well from Afghanistan in
1949, namely Mrs. Alia Khanum (who was an Afghani).
Shortly after Ayub
Khan became President of Pakistan, Maqsood Sahib was at
his retirement age. Ayub did not forget his old friend
and room mate and wanted to see him well settled in life
after his retirement. So he offered to give an
industrial license to Masqood Sahib to set up a factory
for automotive industry. This did not go down well with
Maqsood Sahib. He had been a teacher all his life and
could not imagine being anything else. Some
friends suggested that he take the license and sell it
to any industrialist, which would give him enough money
to have a decent life. This was unacceptable ethically
to this great man. So he declined. Instead, he asked
President Ayub to get him another job as a teacher.
Maqsood Sahib had also been the teacher of
our Vice Principal Mr. S.S. Azim (who later on became the 3rd
Principal of Petaro after our departure). So we had the
honour of having been taught both by Maqsood Sahib and
In the meantime,
Mr. S.S. Azim's first wife
expired in 1962 and Maqsood Sahib went to Petaro to
condole him. That was when he met
Col. Coombes, who was
impressed by the depth of experience that he brought. In
addition, President Ayub also put in his recommendation
to Col. Coombes. Maqsood
Sahib thus joined Cadet College Petaro when he was
already past his retirement age.
Cdr. Firoz Shah became
the Principal, Maqsood Sahib could not get along well
with him. However,
it was the reverence of Azim Sahib and friendship with
President Ayub Khan
he continued to work there for so long. But when the
uprising against the President was at its height in 1969
all over Pakistan, Maqsood Sahib chose to call it a day,
and left Petaro at the beginning of 1969.
Around June or July 2007,
I received a call from out of the blue from a lady who lives
in Hyderabad and who identified herself as Mrs. Rehana Channa,
the second wife of our teacher
Mr. R.S. Channa. Mrs. Rehana Channa told me that she also happens to be
the daughter of (the late) Syed Maqsood Ali Sahib. (may Allah
grant him jannat).
She had attended the
celebrations at CCP in Feb 2007, and had poured over the
Golden Jubilee books. Those had brought back old memories.
She had been overwhelmed by the old memories of Petaro during
the celebrations and as described in the Golden Jubilee
publications and she wanted to share some of the reminiscences
with me. I was able to get a lot of information about her
father from here.
Masqood Sahib was short and used to wear very thick
eyeglasses. He could barely figure out who was who.
He was also an incredibly loving teacher and used to entertain
us by telling us some stories which none of us believed. He
would love to talk about "shikar" and we all came to know
about the famous (Irish born) British hunter Jim Corbett who
wrote many books on how he killed so many man-eating tigers
and cheetahs at the jungles of Naini Tal and Kumaon in India.
Jim Corbett was a legend in that regard. I remember reading
almost all of his books while I was at Petaro.
Maqsood Sahibís most famous story (which every cadet of the
1960s remembers) is how he
apparently was a better hunter in comparison to Jim Corbett. He
would tell us the famous story of how he shot 2 tigers with
one bullet. In the thick of the jungle, he was trapped between
these 2 tigers with only one bullet in his rifle. It was the
quick thinking on his part that allowed him to kill both of
them with that one bullet. What he did was that he pulled out
his knife from his belt and held its sharp edge in front of
the barrel and shot the rifle. The bullet split in two, and
that did the trick. Plus you must remember that the angle of
the rifle and the knife was so accurate that the two parts
flew in different directions to kill both the animals. (Sultan
Rahi must have heard Maqsood Sahibís story too).
It was his great marksmanship that allowed us to be his
students, otherwise he would have been feasted by the 2 tigers
many years ago.
We all used to laugh at the story, because Maqsood Sahib could
barely see beyond his nose with his thick eyeglasses. He also
knew that none of us believed the story, and we all used to
I got another call on 28 June 2008. This time it was from Maqsood Sahib's
younger daughter Furqana who lives in Karachi. She called to tell me that Mrs. Maqsood Ali wants to talk to me, and
requested me to call her. She gave me her home tel number in
Canada. Furqana told me that she is in close contact with Zuberi
Sahibís daughter and with Feroz Yusuf Khan Sahib family as
I indeed felt honoured that Mrs. Maqsood Ali had expressed a
desire to speak to me. So I immediately called the no. and
spoke to her. She was extremely happy that I had called as it
reminded her of the good old days at Petaro. What I hadnít
expected was that she has a very heavy Afghani accent. Maqsood
Sahib was from the UP, and it had not struck me that after so
many years of marriage, she would still have such a heavy
While talking, she made a request me to remind all Petarians
that two of her grand daughters (daughters of Rehana
and Furqana) are of marriageable age, and she would like to
see them married to Petarians. Her husband was a Petarian
teacher, her son is a Petarian and one daughter is married to
a Petarian teacher. She would like the Petarian connection to
go on to the third generation too.
Mrs. Maqsood Ali's telephone no. in Canada is
(same no. as her son Iqbal kit no. 686).
Maqsood Sahib died in 1986 in his very old age at Karachi and
is buried there.
May Allah grant him the choicest place in jannatul firdaus, and may his
progeny continue to be in the Petarian tradition.
Maqsood Ali flanked by Prof. Ch. Saeed Ahmed and
Prof. SS Azim - 1962
Ahad Khan, Prof. Zaman,
Prof. Syed Maqsood Ali and Mr. Talpur - March 1969