Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Story of Geoffrey D Langlands

G D Langlands

This is the life story of Major Geoffrey D Langlands in his own words. I am posting this with so much pride and excitement as I have waited for this day for so long. Ever since I got to know about Geoffrey D Langlands he has inspired me, someone who has spent all his life for Pakistan in Pakistan even when he belonged to a foreign land and now calls himself a Pakistani. You must know the feel when people who inspire you actually talk to you, you can get to know them and tell people about them, it is like a dream come true for me. He is a true Pakistani hero someone we all should be proud of and I want to thank him for everything he has done for Pakistan, hope you live a long, happy and healthy life. - Raafay Awan

Early Life

I was born in Yorkshire (United Kingdom), on October 21, 1917 and was ten minutes younger than my identical twin brother. In 23rd October, 1918 after a period of one year my sister Audrey was born. My father was an employee in an Anglo American company in England. When I was only one year old, my father died due to worldwide Influenza Epidemic which killed about a hundred million people in 1918. After the death of my father, my mother took her family back to her parents in Bristol. There, in Bristol, my grandfather took the responsibilities of me and my family.

My grandfather, who was already retired, took up a new part time job in order to maintain the family requirements. The money which my grandfather earned was not sufficient so, my mother also went to another town for a job so that she could be able to fulfill their requirements. It was in 1930, life became more difficult for us when my mother working for 6 years with cancer, passed away.

At the age of 12, I lost my parents. I remember those days, When my father died I was one year of age so I did not feel, but when I lost my mother I became very upset and I can’t forget those worst days of my life. As I belong to a lower class family so it was a very tough time of my life without my parents as I loved my mother too much. I was little worried about my future after the death of my mother because no one had the energies to support me; as my grandfather was very old yet doing some job. After the death of my mother, the grandfather took full charge of children. But life created more difficulties for me. My grandfather who was the only support of my family, died on 25 December, 1932, leaving behind me and brother and sister to orphan grandchild. My grandfather very loved person and he never gave me the impression that I am orphan, He, at that age, was doing job. I can not forget his sincerity of love. After the death of my grandfather I aged grandmother took the responsibilities to look after me. She continued to provide home for us, but she was unable to do anything about our future.

Geoffery D Langlands
I don’t want to be a supermodel, I want to be a role model.
From the beginning of my life, I faced lot of difficulties. For an orphan it was too difficult to achieve a respectable position in life, but I had the courage to face all hardships. My childhood passed in deep sorrow and multifarious difficulties. However, I did not lose my courage and continued my educational carrier with unflinching struggle. I remember some of the interesting moment of my childhood.

On some occasions, I wished to buy those things which a child of my age wanted but due to lack of money those were not in my reach. I was aware of my family’s financial position, therefore, I never insist to buy those things. In those days it was hard to survive as I had little food to eat. However, my grandfather gave me undaunted support in those difficult circumstances.
School Life.

I started my educational carrier in 1923, at the age of six years. I had a dream to go to a good school, but due to my weak financial position, it was impossible to realize it. Nevertheless My dream proved to be true when some of my mother’s friends collected money and sent me to a good Upper Class School. I started my educational carrier at that school.

I was an intelligent boy and did not miss the opportunity which was being provided to me. I worked hard and became one of the best students in my class. That school really set me up for life to become a respectable person. I never missed any opportunity whenever I got a chance to show my abilities. The most favorite subject I think was mathematics, therefore, I focused on mathematics in my professional life. I loved my teachers, I showed respect to them and established friendly relations with them. I believe teachers are the architects of society. I always obeyed them whatever they ordered. I had friendly relations with my class fellows and helped them whenever they needed.

G D Langlands in Chitral

After returning from school I always revised my lesson and regularly completed my home work. Then I used to help my family in their routine work. I did not play games with my friends, brother and sister but I helped them in their school work.

I was happy with my life now because life had given him a chance to do something not only for myself and family but for humanity at large. I always remembers my mother efforts due to which I got admission in a good higher class school. I attributes all my educational achievements to my mother. At school I was not naughty as compared to other children. I always focused on my studies. I knew that life had provided me a golden opportunity to show my talent. In those days it was just a dream to receive education especially from a good high standard school.

I always gave respects to elders, obeyed them and helped them whenever they needed. I followed tough routine in every work and strictly followed my time table before embarking on any work. I always believed that time is precious and those who gave respect to time succeed in life. During my school life I attended my classes regularly and with great interest and that is why I became a successful person.

In 1936, I completed my school studies and got high school certificate (12 classes). This was the time when I had to decide about my future, because I could not afford to go for higher education.

Work and Career.
My financial position did not allow me to continue my education further, I had to earn money for my family in order to make both ends meet. In 1936, I started teaching at a private school in Croylon near London at a meager salary of £ 5 a month. I had to conduct one hour journey to London to reach my job place. Later on I got admission in B.Sc programme at Brikbeck College, London University. Due to my job, I opted for evening classes, where in 4 lectures a week were delivered. In that private school, I taught mathematics which was his favorite subject from my school life. I loved teaching profession and I took pains in training my students. I was able to establish friendly relations with students which in due course of time benefited the younger generation. I learned a lot from teachings which helped me to build my future. Besides supporting my family financially, I but also completed his B.Sc. degree from the college of Brikbeck.

G D Langlands in Chitral

The outbreak of Second World War was another mile stone in my career. On September 1, 1939 German troops swarmed across the Polish Border and unleashed the first Blitzkrieg the world had seen. Hitler had been planning his attack since March – ever since German troops occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia. Britain and France had sworn to defend Poland. Honoring these obligations, the two countries sent ultimatums to Hitler demanding his withdrawal from Poland. Hitler declined to respond.The declaration of war on Germany on 3, September 1939 was announced by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. World War II had begun.

On the same day I joined the British Army as an ordinary recruit. He went to war under Lord Lovat’s command and then joined the British Army commando unit, I spent three and half years as commando sergeant. I was a section sergeant in C Troop 4 Cdo at the time of the Dieppe Raid and my section officer was Lt David Style, who was awarded the MC for his part in the action. Before taking part in the Dieppe Raid, I had qualified as a climbing instructor. I put my expertise to good use Whilst C Troop was based in the village of Bethesda, Snowdonia. So I took part in the Second World War from which I seeks a lot as I faced difficulties from my early childhood. The experience at minor age enabled me to face problems with courage.

For a school teacher to join an army was totally a different life. It was harder than normal life but I enjoyed it and faced it with courage. After spending three and half years as commando sergeant, I joined officer training was a bloody war and I faced a lot of problems during that war, where my friends were dying in front of me and I could not do anything for them. There came a time where I had to live without food and water for several days. I can’t believe even now that I am among those who survived. Once I and my friends were defending an area near Bethesda, when there came a sudden attack from the enemy side. Most of my friends were killed but I narrowly escaped. I was very sad at that time which I can’t explain in words. It is very difficult to kill someone but at that time there was no other option to survive. From that participation in war, I learned as how to survive and how to face difficulties when one is in trouble.

Arrival at the Subcontinent

In 1943, I got commission in British Army and was posted to India, In January, 1944, I arrived at India via sea route. I was put under the command of Lord Lavot’s Four Commando Regiment. I continued my services in the British Indian Army for almost three years. That was the time that struggle for independence was at its last stages, and on 14 August, 1947 subcontinent was divided into two independent states Pakistan and India. Somehow I fell in a sort of charm with this land and stayed back after independence.

Arrival in Pakistan (Services in Pakistan Army (1947 to 53)

I was one of the few British Army men who chose to stay in Pakistan after the partition of sub-continent. I came to Pakistan as a result of an agreement reached with the British officers. Under that agreement, the British officers were asked to stay on for one year to assist development of new army and they were given the rights to join Indian or Pakistani army. I opted to join Pakistan army.

G D Langlands with Muhammad Ali Jinnah
I have won many awards & I am very happy about this one that I received from Jinnah. Unfortunately picture is not clear.
In Pakistan Army, I was given the task of imparting training to the new national armed forces of Pakistan. It was a difficult task to train an army from the scratches but by my abilities I overcame those difficulties. My special task was to train those new officers who got commission in the Pakistan Army.30 He directly observed all the difficulties which Pakistan was confronted with. I was committed to my duty as a result of which I won over confidence of my high ups.

After completing my first tenure of one year, the Army Chief of Staff extended contract for another term of five years. During my job as trainer, I produced outstanding officers who served Pakistan in various capacities. When my job in army was coming to end, the Chief of staff of Pakistan Army General Ayub Khan, sent for me not to go back to England.

In 1954 I was appointed as a professor at the Aitchison College Lahore where I served for 25 years from 1954 to 1979 Aitchison College, Lahore, is one of the most prestigious educational institutions of its kind in South Asia. The original name of this college was Chiefs’ College, It was established by British Indian Government in 1864. Later on it was renamed as Aitchison College in recognition of services of Punjab Governor Charles Aitchison (r. 1882-1887).

G D Langlands in Aitcheson College

The main purpose of this college was to impart education to sons of rulers of princely states, land lords and other influential people. It has retained its character over the years, maintaining the public school tradition of providing an education that uses academics, sports and co-curricular activities as tools for character development. Once again I chose my favorite profession of teaching which I had left after joining the army. I loved Mathematics and Algebra and that has been a part of my life for a very long time, writing with chalks on the black board of my school. 

In Aitcheson College Lahore, most of the teachers were British who were educating the children of Indian tribal royalty before independence.

During my teaching period there, I focused myself to mathematics, the subject I loved the most, and I fully satisfied my students by my teaching methods. I always was a cooperative teacher and gave full support to the students and my students also loved me. I was very happy with my job in Lahore. At Aitchison College I taught those students who later served Pakistan in different field of life.

I has a long list of students, who, after graduating from Atichison, occupied vital positions in civil as well as military bureaucracy, politics, business and other professions. My illustrious students included, among others, former President Faruq Ahmad Khan Leghari, former Prime Minister Zafar Ullah Khan Jamli, Present Governor of Baluchistan Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, ex- Governor and Chief Minister Baluchistan Muhammad Akbar Khan Bugti, former Chief Ministers Baluchistan Taj Muhammad Khan Jamli and Jan Muhammad Jamli. Similarly Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Syed Hamid Raza Gillani, Ministers Sikandar Hayat Khan, Barrister Aitzaz Hassan, Faisal Salah Hayat, Makhdoom Shah Mahmud, Asfandiyar Wali Khan, Mir Rustam Khan Jamali, Muhammad Owais Khan Laghri, Members of National Assembly Mia Gul Adnan Aurengzeb, Amjad Ali Noon, Member Provincial Assembly Shahjahan Ahmad Khan, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Majid Jahangir Khan and Ramiz Hassan Raja were included in the long list of his pupils.

G D Langlands with Imran Khan

Of all the students, I liked Imran Khan and Zafar ullah Khan Jamali. Imran Khan owns me quite a lot. Everyone knew he was going to be an outstanding sportsman but I told him that if he wants to be a leader, he would have to focus on his lesson. He was an average student, not so focused on his studies because he always was busy with his cricket.

I recall Zafar Ullah Khan Jamali as a kind hearted person.

In 1979, I had to leave the Aitchison College because I was asked to do an even tougher job, teaching in the Razmak Cadet College of North Waziristan. Since I was a mountaineer, therefore I accepted the offer to serve in mountainous area. I did try to marry someone in Pakistan, but every one was interested to settle in England while I had decided to remain in Pakistan for ever.

Serving Razmak Cadet College from (1979-89)

In 1979 I received a short letter from the Secretary, Education, Government of NWFP inviting, him to join Razmak Cadet College in North Waziristan I accepted the offer and had to leave my comfortable job in Aitchison opting for a difficult job in the Tribal Area. It was not an easy task to establish Cadet College at a remote place like Razmak. Razmak is situated in the tribal area of North Waziristan. It lies towards South-West of Bannu at a distance of 120 kilometers. Before partition, Razmak was a British Army station. After partition, it was housed by Pakistan Army, Shawwal Rifles and Frontier Constabulary. Here Cadet College was established in 1978. Its building is spread over 154 acres40 Razmak was not an easy place to live or work in However, I was fond of facing challenges.

I joined the institution as a teacher and very soon was elevated to the post of Principal. I was a good administrator and through hard work and ability, I improved the administration and academics of the college. Hardly after a year, in 1980, I fallen prey to the lawlessness of Waziristan.

G D Langlands with Ayub Khan
The shortest man is me and I am standing right next to brave General Ayub Khan.
I was kidnapped by some tribal men for getting their demands accepted by the government. I disclosed that the kidnapping drama was staged by a tribal chief who lost election to his rival. By kidnapping me, the chief wanted to reverse results of the election but in vain. The kidnappers weren't bad sorts. They lined up with their Kalashnikovs, then they wanted one with me in it. Later they invited me to join them in shooting at target practice, handing me a gun. It didn't seem to occur to them I could turn on them, although I would have had to kill 16 of them. The captivity did not last long and I was released after six days. For me, it was an adventure but for government it was an ordeal.

After me release, the President and Army Chief, General Zia-Ul-Haq invited me to lunch in Peshawar. The President intended to send me back to London but I refused and resumed my duties in Razmak. His students had a great affection and love for me. Mr. Arif Mahmud was his student at Razmak Cadet College in 1980.

He is now on the strength of Islamia College University Peshawar.

Arrival in Chitral

After serving Cadet College Razmak for ten years my contract expired in 1989. I shifted to Islamabad where many institutions offered him job. However, finally I was assigned the task of setting up of a Cadet College at Pallandari Azad Kashmir but I could not undertake the task. In the mean time, the then Deputy Commissioner of Chitral Mr. Javed Majid approached and requested me to set up a school in Chitral. Initially Mr. Javed Majid allotted government guest house to the proposed school. It was not an easy decision to settle in a far flung place like Chitral. I like challenges. I knew about the area because I used to come to Northern Areas including Chital with Aitcheson College hiking teams.

Moreover he knew that Chital needed his services more than other parts of the country. So I accepted offer of Mr. Javed Majid and joined Sayurj Public School in September, 1989.  The original name of the school where I started my work was Sayurj Public School Chitral. Sayurj is a Chitrali language word which means eagle. It was established in 1989.

G D Langlands with School Kids

 A group of British volunteers led by Miss Jullet started teaching there. Later on it was renamed as G.D Langlands School and College. Chitral attained a respectable position in educational development after starting from the graze. Chitral lagged behind other areas of Pakistan in the field of education. For years, a single school i.e. High School at the state head quarter Chitral was imparting knowledge.

It was established by Muhammad Nasir-ul-Mulk, the then ruler of Chitral in 1940-49 Now a days, it is called as Government Centennial Model School Chitral. The school has contributed a great deal in producing a cadre of professionals e.g. doctors, engineers and teachers and so on. These professionals later on played their role in running the front line departments when Chitral became part of the federation of Pakistan in 1969.

After merger of the State with Pakistan, there were few Government schools in Chitral. Reluctantly literacy rate and quality remained poor. To improve quality of education, it was necessary to build private sector schools in the District. In early 80s Aga Khan Education Service took an initiative to establish schools in Gilgit, Hunza and teachers training programme in Chitral. From Chitrali community, Ashraf-ud-Din was pioneer in private school system who established Chitral Public school in 1982.

Then other people followed suit and a mushroom growth of private schools was noticed. In the field of education the private sector has also played an important role. In private schools, the medium of instruction is English and often good educated teachers are appointed. These schools have given a good support to the cause of education and have maintained interest of students in their studies.

G D Langlands leaving Chitral

Starting from class four; this School was upgraded to class eight in 1993. In 1995, it was elevated to high school level. In 1995, the number of students increased and there was no class room in the Xhang Bazaar campus for such strength. In August, 1995 a new building was constructed on Garam Chashma Road, nine kilometer away in the suburb of Chitral city. For this purpose, I purchased land from Shahzada Burhan-ud-Din at a cost of Rs.4 million. Under my supervision, the construction was completed. The boy’s portion consists of twelve rooms and the girls section was located on the upper storey of one wing having similar capacity. I spent six and half million rupees on the construction. The new campus was meant for the senior classes.

In 1997, the school was upgraded to higher secondary School and F.Sc. classes were started. As a token of recognition, Surj public school and college was renamed as Langlands School and College in July, 2006. After starting F.Sc. classes the strength of students increased year by year and in 2007 the number of students reached up to eight hundred. Currently, there are almost 900 students studying in Langlands School and college. The strength and standard of the school increased rapidly and it got recognition from the community and the government. The Langlands School and College has a motto “There is always room for improvement”. Till compilation of this paper there were 50 teachers and 900 students on the strength of the school.
When I came to Chitral in 1989 I made it clear that if they wanted a high standard public school it must not be just for a small section of the elite, but must serve as wide a section of Chitral population as possible right down to at least lower middle class. This meant that the fees had to be kept at a very reasonable rate, in order to avoid the complaint that good education only available for the rich. After our small start in F. Sc, in 1998, number started increasing year by year and with it expenditure increased to maintain high standards and our financial reserves went down. I spent time in 2003 in preparing with the help of a very senior advocate of Supreme Court suitable documents for setting up the Langlands Endowment Trust. Approval was given by the CBR (Central Board of Revenue) in March 2004 and I went to Prime Minister, Zafarullah Jamali, and requested me to grant the first donation. The Prime Minister was generous enough to donate Rs. 10 million grant.

Langlands School and College
I simply played my role and contributed to the best of my abilities.
In October 2005, I called on President General Musharraf in Rawalpindi. The President approved Rs. Fifty million grant for Langlands Endowment. I received the amount through Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz. The amount was deposited in fixed deposit in a bank bringing in Rs. 4.5 laces a month. That amount has enabled me to pay better salaries to the school and college staff. It is very difficult for a discipliner like me to keep my subordinate happy. However, my colleagues recognize my abilities and good behaviour. The Vice Principal of Langlands School and College Chitral, Mr. Abdullah said that he enjoyed working with me.

As I mentioned earlier, many politicians, legislators, ministers, prime ministers and even a Pakistani president were my students. On visit to my simple and small residence in Chitral, one can see his carefully framed photographs with army generals and heads of state particularly General Ziaul Haq, General Fazli Haq and General Pervez Musharraf. The Pakistani government recognized my commendable services by awarding me with prestigious civil awards. In 1987, President General Zia-ul-Haq decorated me with Sitara-e-Pakistan. In 2004 I received the same award from President General Pervez Musharraf. On 23rd March 2011, President Asif Ali Zardari awarded me Hilal-e-Imtiaz .This award was given to me for my services in the field of education.

The way government of Pakistan rewarded me for my selfless service was really praiseworthy. I leads simple life and even at the age of 95, I am healthy and fit.


  1. A really, really inspiring autobiography. This man will not stop at anything to improve the lives of Pakistanis. I salute you Mr. Langlands; you're more Pakistani than any other Pakistani I've met in my entire life. Pakistan will forever be in your debt.

  2. "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" from 12th Class Syllabus should be replaced with the life of living legend "Geoffrey Douglas Langlands"
    Uncle Geoff, I Can't thank you enough for serving Pakistan.
    Hat's Off !

  3. I love you, Mr. Langlands, and the people of Pakistan can never thank you enough for all your services. Thankyou for sharing this highly inspirational story (with raafay and us).

  4. It is people like Mr. Langlands that keep misanthropy an affair of the books. Your story is not only inspirational, but it gives hope. I would like to show my gratitide for all that you've done.

  5. Brig. Farouk PashaAugust 8, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    I had already read about Mr. Langlands but this one is a detailed account and very inspiring. I wish there were some more people like Mr. Langland . Sir,you have done a tremendous work for our people and we'll be forever indebted to you.You deserve the greatest respect for being so selfless and focused for a people who could give you nothing back except respect. I am so happy that they have not shirked from that.Pakistan salutes you. And we all love you.
    Brig. Farouk Pasha

  6. Thank you for serving this country I am so glad still we have true paksitan loving ppl here in pakistan I salute your contribution for this country

  7. I salute you for your services in the field of education. I am a school teacher. Your biography inspired me alot. We as Pakistanis can not pay to the great person, Mr. Langlands. We are proud to have such a nice person in our country.

  8. Beautiful. I only knew remotely about him, and after reading this, the respect I have for him increased tenfolds!

    Thank you for remembering people like him

  9. Beautiful and nothing but sheer respect for this gentleman, the account of his life could be used as an example on how one should live and make its life useful for some many people around. No wonder he is a living legend. RESPECT.

  10. Thanks for staying in pakistan sir

  11. Hats off and salute to Sir Langland, truly inspiring its not a story of a man - its a love story of a man with the humanity ..... and with the land he owns more than us.

    Thanks Raafay Awan for letting us know what virtue really is.

    We owe our highest gratitude, love, and respect to this legendary gentleman. Wish I could reach and meet him someday.

  12. I am v impressed. People like you are the real gifted assets for Pakistan. We are proud of you and salute your contributions for this country.

  13. What a great person and endless efforts for Pakistan. Long live and GOD BLESS YOU. AAMIN

  14. i loved your war stories in the class every Friday, you were the best teacher i had in Aitchison. the expedition we all took to peshawar all the way to shah ganali pass and too K2 was the the most amazing part of my life. when i was in Saigol house you were my Banker and kept my money and wrote on a small book how much i had left. i was there from 76 and ended up in kelly house, my name is Humayun Pirzada, and i am in Debt to you for the rest of my life. God Bless you for being a great and generous man.

  15. i loved your war stories in the class every Friday, you were the best teacher i had in Aitchison. the expedition we all took to peshawar all the way to shah ganali pass and too K2 was the the most amazing part of my life. when i was in Saigol house you were my Banker and kept my money and wrote on a small book how much i had left. i was there from 76 and ended up in kelly house, my name is Humayun Pirzada, and i am in Debt to you for the rest of my life. God Bless you for being a great and generous man.