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    An Angel in Disguise : Sir. Geoffrey Douglas Langland

    Few people succeed in their life; very few sacrifice their success for their family; and a very few sacrifice their success and family for the benefit of humanity. G.D Langland succeeded in his life, sacrificed his family and career to serve humanity.

    Geoffrey Douglas Langland, also known as the blue eyed boy, was a Major in the British army who served as an educationist in different institutions of Pakistan. On partition, in 1947, Mr. Langland opted to remain in Pakistan and was transferred to Rawalpindi as  Majorin Pakistan Army.

    On completion of the tenure, Ayub Khan requested Langland to stay in Pakistan which he accepted.  He was offered a teaching job at Atchison College, Lahore, where he taught English and Mathematics. In 1979, he was offered the position of principal at Razmak Cadet College, in North Waziristan, KPK, formerly known as N.W.F.P.

    In 1989 he moved to the far flung area of Chitral with a dedication and commitment to provide quality education to the children of Chitral. He took the charge of Sayurj Public School, now known as The Langland School and College, Chitral, as principal. This school was established by Javed Majeed, former Deputy Commissioner of Chitral, with the collaboration of District Administration and the community of Chitral.

    When Mr. Langland took the charge as principal he revolutionised it as an educational institute. With the wit, vision and experience of Mr. Langland,  Sayurj Public School and College became an example setter not only in Chitral but in the whole KPK.

    Few of the many things which were the unique qualities are worth mentioning:

    The first and foremost is his motto of making education accessible to all. He, therefore, run the school with the minimum possible fee. If, in case, any student couldn’t pay that fee he/she was exempted from the payment. Majority of the needy students studied on scholarships. There was no difference between the well off and poor.

    As it was too difficult to fill the gap between the income and expenses, he coordinated with politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, etc. who used to be his students, to fill the gap, and thus monetary funds flooded to Chitral’s Sayurj Public School.

    Secondly, he signed MoUs with prestigious institutions like Forman Christian College, Lahore, Edwards College, Peshawar,  LUMS, Lahore, etc. to make them accessible to the students of Chitral. Many students graduated from these institutions on scholarships which other just dream of.

    Thirdly, he was an example of simplicity and dedication. He dedicated his life for the service of the people. He never lived a lavish life, instead he used the same bus used by students and lived in a simple apartment of two rooms. He salary which he drew during his tenure as principal was so meagre that an ordinary family’s breadwinner earned. He, even, spent that amount to pay the fee of those who couldn’t afford their fee.

    It reminds me a story, narrated by my teacher, now my colleague, is a testament of his wit, devotion, dedication and sacrifice.

    He narrates:

    “When I completed my M.Sc in Physics back in 2007, I was offered a position of lecturer in Physics at Sayurj Public School and College, Chitral, with a salary of PKR. 8,000. I had been offered the same salary at two other colleges, so, I hesitated to accept the job. After reading my facial expressions and also keeping the prestige and honour of senior faculty members,he made a decision which represents his wit, dedication and sacrifice. As the salaries of senior teachers were around seven and eight thousand, he didn’t want to degrade them by a hike in the salary of a junior teacher, so, instead, he deducted an amount of three thousand from his own salary, which was eleven thousand back in 2007. Thus, he ordered me continue which I accepted.”

    One can only imagine such high moral values of humanity and sacrifice which were unique qualities of only Mr. Langland. He not only kept the dignity of senior faculty members intact and at the same time secured the future of children by hiring a talented, young and energetic teacher.

    His dedication never diminished. Even at he time of his retirement he traveled to England and brought another English to continue the mission. His decision was filled with sincerity and loyalty, however, who knew that the last decision of Langland would prove to be his last unwitty decision.

    Today, we lost a blessing of God who was bestowed upon us as an angel in disguise for Pakistan and Chitral, in particular. His life, like a very few humane people, is worth following.

    Ihtisham Ur Rehman


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