Kaleem Bhai: Inspiring the LUMS community with a passion for Urdu language
Dr. Ghulam Moeen Ud Din, Adjunct Faculty at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, grew increasingly curious, every time he would see a young man from the LUMS Audio Visual (AV) staff, quietly stealing moments throughout the day to open a set of books and start reading. It wasn’t often you’d find a staff member on campus so engrossed in a book, almost transported by the words. Which is why one day, Moeen Ud Din walked up to this young man and asked him what he was reading.
This was the first of many interactions Dr. Moeen Ud Din would have with Kaleem Asghar or Kaleem bhai as the students on campus fondly call him. Kaleem bhai has been a member of the LUMS AV staff since 2017 and is a committed member of the LUMS family, who comes to University every day and completes all his tasks with great care and attention. After his shift ends, he dedicates his time to nurture a deep passion of his—Urdu literature. Kaleem bhai along with his job at LUMS is also pursuing a Masters in Urdu Literature at the Allama Iqbal Open University.
An only child of his parents, Kaleem bhai started working right after his matriculation examination. However, he took everything in his stride, continuing his education privately and looking for work opportunities that would provide him experiences to grow as a person. “It wasn’t just about the money, I would look at each opportunity and assess where I would get the chance to increase my experience and knowledge,” he explains.
Often he’d take up teaching jobs at schools or tuition centres, feeling a pull towards places of knowledge and learning, a major reason he applied for a vacancy at LUMS. And one and a half years later he finally got the interview call he was waiting for, “I felt the environment would provide me a lot of benefit in terms of my education and I would get the support I might need in my studies.”
The University’s dynamic ecosystem of world-class teaching, talented students and dedicated staff, has become a welcome home for Kaleem bhai’s educational aspirations.
Once Kaleem bhai decided to do his Masters, he found a kindred spirit in Dr. Moeen Ud Din. An acclaimed scholar of Persian and Urdu, and a poet as well, Dr. Moeen Ud Din was highly impressed by Kaleem bhai’s character and love of learning, “I would often lend him books that would assist him with his studies. He would very responsibly return the books to me and then take new ones. My interactions with him were interesting and sometimes we’d also discuss any issues that he might be having.”
It wasn’t just access to books and teachers that fed Kaleem bhai’s love affair with the Urdu language. He also thoroughly enjoyed the events organised by the Gurmani Centre of Languages and Literature on campus. “The Bazm-e-Adab sessions would really expand my Urdu knowledge. I also got the chance to meet writers and poets such as Anwar Masood and Amjad Islam Amjad and interact and learn from them.”
Kaleem bhai is now in the last semester of his Masters. Even though he is currently unsure where life will take him next, he is happy with the opportunities he is getting to enhance his understanding of the Urdu language and its nuances. He also wishes people, especially the younger generation, would put more effort in developing a relationship with the country’s national language. “Urdu is a part of our culture and heritage and it should be recognised and appreciated.”
His passion for Urdu is contagious. At a session of PULSS (Project for Uplifting LUMS Support Staff), an initiative by the LUMS Community Services Society, Kaleem bhai blew everyone away with his knowledge of the language. “Our session on Urdu literature revealed to us that Kaleem bhai was pursuing a Masters in Urdu, and by the end of the session he was teaching us things even we did not know,” shares Sarah Fatima, a member of the PULSS directorate.
Dr. Moeen Ud Din thinks that Kaleem bhai’s spirit of learning is something everyone should take inspiration from, “It is people like him who show us that regardless of their circumstances, it is our dedication, hunger, drive and passion that help us move ahead in life.”