Home Chitral British educator Geoffrey Douglas Langlands dies

British educator Geoffrey Douglas Langlands dies

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By Karimullah 

Karim Ullah

He visited Chitral in 1989 and established Sayurge Public School later renamed after Langlands Public School and College.  He got retirement in 2012, after serving the institute for 25 years as its founding Principal.

Chitral

A student weeping while paying adieu to Maj Geoffrey Douglas Langlands on his retirement after serving 25 years at the school in Chitral.

Geoffrey Douglas Langlands, a noted educator, and a former British officer has died in Lahore aged 101. He was admitted to a Lahore hospital.

“Born on October 21, 1917 and affectionately known to all as ‘The Major’, we acknowledge the life of a soldier, teacher, gentleman, story-teller, mountaineer and humanitarian whose life was devoted in service to others and especially his adopted country Pakistan,” Langlands School and College he founded, said in a statement.
“Aitchison College mourns the passing of Major Geoffrey Douglas Langlands, who left us quietly on Wednesday after a brief illness,” the institution announced on its official website.
Mr Langlands was posted to the Indian army during World War II, during the British colonial rule and stayed in Pakistan after partition in 1947 to help train the new Pakistani military. But his brief posting turned into more than seven decades in Pakistan, during which he left the army to become one of the country’s most revered teachers with Prime Minister Imran Khan among his students.

He served as principal and teacher in a number of colleges, including Razmak Cadet College from 1979 to 1988.

He came to Chitral in 1989 and established Sarurge Public School which was later renamed after him as Langlands Public School and College. The institute has been playing a major role in the educational development of Chitral.  He got retirement in 2012, after serving the Institute for 25 years as its founding Principal.

He was awarded three of Pakistan’s highest civilian awards — Sitar-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Pakistan, and Hilal-e-Imtiaz — in recognition of his contribution to the country’s education sector.

Social and political leaders of Chitral have expressed grief over the demise of Landlangs.

AFP adds: He was briefly kidnapped in the tribal areas, spent decades building a school in the mountainous northwest, and for years taught future Pakistani presidents and prime ministers, including Khan at the prestigious Aitchison College — known as the Eton of Pakistan — in Lahore.

Profiled repeatedly in the British media, which documented among other things, his daily breakfast of porridge, a poached egg and two cups of Lipton’s tea, he finally retired in northwestern Chitral in 2012 at the age of 94.

Langlands once told Britain newspaper Telegraph in 2012 of his experience being kidnapped while working as the principal of a cadet college in the Waziristan tribal district near the Afghan border.

A little girl presents bouquet to Geoffrey Douglas Langlands at Chitral.

 

He said the militants made him walk for hours through the mountains in winter to their village.

“The military could not assault the village because we would have been killed, so they got a party of elders to approach the kidnappers. They said, ‘Look, you can’t kidnap the principal.’ So they agreed to release me,” he said.
Khan — who, Langlands told the Guardian newspaper in 2009, “owes me quite a lot” — tweeted an old class photo from Aitchison when he was 12 years old.
“Saddened to learn of the passing of my teacher. Apart from being our teacher, he instilled the love for trekking and our northern areas in me,” he wrote.
“Pakistan has lost a great friend and a teacher of generations of its students,” tweeted British High Commissioner Thomas Drew.

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