Another thing that impressed me during my stay at Chakesar, was their love of Education. Chakesar had the first school in Badshah Sahib era after Wadudia School at Saidu Sharif. High School Chakesar was the oldest institution in the whole of present District Shangla. When the new modern building was constructed by Wali Sahib in the mid 1950s, the old building was converted into boarding house and students from almost all parts of the surrounding areas lived there for getting knowledge.
The State High School Chakesar was a co- education institution when I was there in 1958 as a visitor and later in 60s as State employee. Most of the girls stopped going to school after middle but some did continue upto matric. People were often inter related, so it was not considered out of the way. Girls of influential families were eager to learn but then the problems were beyond their capacity to overcome.
Chakesar had been the epic centre of Islamic Knowledge for centuries and the great Ulamas/Religious Scholars were famous far & near. Highly qualified teachers from great Institutions of Indian Subcontinent were from Chakesar. So the Masjids of Chakesar were centres of knowledge for hundreds of students.
Another virtue or otherwise, was their pride in their origin, Khels and fore fathers. Every clan claimed they were the blue blooded Pukhtuns as compared to other Khels. The State Government patronised each clan but equilibrium was hard to maintain. For example, in Civil Administrations there was one Hakim Amez Khan, a Tehsildar/Subedar Major Saifur Rehman from Begam Khel, Commander Afarin Khan, Captain Sultan Mahmud Khan, Subedar Major Ahmad Shah from Aimna Khel and Saadullah Khan Subedar Major from Ghwara Khel. There were two other Tehsildars, Failaqoos Khan and Humayun Khan but I do not know to which Khel they belonged.
I have pleasant and hard memories of Chakesar, some of which still are fresh. I wish if I could rewind time and revisit the old Chakesar of my boyhood.
After resting for five days, I felt relaxed and fresh. I presented myself to my boss. He was pleased to see me in proper shape. He was about to go to His Highness office for getting his approval and signatures on some documents and contractors bills.
I went to sit with my colleagues to know the latest developments in my absence. Our boss returned from the Royal office. He looked somewhat worried and exhausted. He called me to his room and offered me a chair. After exchanging some goodwill words, he said, “Sahib will visit the newly completed High School, Barikot. You will wait there to receive him and take him around. Do not worry a bit. I will be along with him. If something go wrong, I will handle the situation.”
I protested that I know nothing about the project, who was the contractor, what was the cost per agreement. But he insisted on my presence there and assured me nothing was going to upset me. Anyhow, I had no alternative but to obey his instructions. I went some three hours before the Royal inspection, got the area clean through sepoys of the roads and waited, a contractor Ayub from Ghalegey was there.
As the Royal car stopped at the gate of the School, I saluted and held the door for him. He glanced at me and then entered the school. The first room he visited was office of the Head Master, having attached bath. He got inside the bath, and he pulled at the sash cod hook to see whether it is fixed firm. It was not! Out it came in his hand. He turned around to me and asked, “What is this, Azim’s son.”
I said this was my first day to see this school and I had recently relieved from Chakesar. The contractor was standing close and Wali Sahib hit his mouth with that hook in his hand. He also expressed his displeasure on my boss and rather asked me to fine the contractor five hundred rupees. So I had a hair breadth escape. Wali Sahib left in bad mood, leaving my officer standing on the roadside.
His own pickup was parked a little away from the site. We climbed and returned to Saidu Sharif. It was late in the evening and he asked me to stay for dinner. We had rice and Kababs and a light refreshment. Then he asked the driver to drop me at my house in Afsar Abad.
Those years I had to do local supervisions and some projects at Manyar, Aboha and a big Teaching Block in Public School Sangota. These were hectic years and the time flew by so fast. But I did get time for my first romance.
My elder brother Fazli Wahab returned from India without bringing Sher Khan. He refused to leave India. My brother was now a seasoned hardworking young man. So he tried to seek a job somewhere. He did not like to serve in the State and went to Nawshehra where we had some relatives, found a job in Adamjee Paper Mills. He had also earned and saved money in India. He had changed the Indian Currency at Karachi enroute and had enough to afford marriage expenses by himself.
To Be Continued…