HPS: A Heaven of Hockey And other Sports
What is common between Hassan Sardar, the world’s best centre-forward of all times and Safdar Abbas, reportedly the world’s youngest hockey international (he was a Class IX student when he played for Pakistan); the spearheads of Pakistan attack, Qamar Ibrahim and Kamran Ashraf; custodians of rare merit, Ahmed Alam and Ejaz Khokhar, the short corner specialist, Sohail Abbas who is in the same class as Bovelander of Holland and many others who have represented Pakistan’s junior and senior hockey teams.
They are all former students of Habib Public School, Karachi, and have earned their spurs in hockey on the School’s hockey grounds, making the institution a nursery of Pakistan hockey. Infact it is sometimes said that Pakistan’s hockey team is incomplete without a Habibian in its ranks. This is particularly true from the early 1970s.
The identity of a Habib Public School student is a boy with a satchel on his back and a hockey stick in his hand. No wonder, when Times of India Sports Correspondent, Uma Venkaraman was interviewing the hockey players of the Karachi School on their landmark hockey tour of India in December, 1997, and offered to postpone the interview to enable the boys to watch the Pakistan-India cricket encounter being telecast next door, they replied in unison, "We would rather talk about hockey with our "Didi", than watch cricket on the television."
Training in the skills of hockey is imparted by two experienced coaches right from Class I onwards on two well-maintained hockey fields and, occasionally, the astro-turf of the Hockey Club of Pakistan is hired to ensure better preparedness. The training is supported by participation in Inter-School, Inter-District and open tournaments and fine tuned at the annual All Pakistan tours on which boys have the opportunity of playing both against and alongside Pakistan colour holders like Shahbaz Ahmed and Mansoor Ahmed. In December, 1997, the hockey team of Habib Public School went on a 21-day tour of India visiting Delhi, Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Panipat and Faridabad playing hockey matches with schools, colleges, universties, clubs and public sector undertakings and creating a tremendous impact by their skills and discipline, both on and off the field. The high point of the tour was an hour-long meeting with Mr. I.K. Gujral, then Prime Minister of India. The tour was widely covered by the Indian print and electronic media.
This year the Habib Public School hockey team visited UAE to participate in the Independence Day Hockey Tournament, winning 3 matches, drawing one and losing one. The outcome of such tours can be guaged by the fact that immediately after returning from India. Habib Public School team participated in the first Khursheed Memorial Inter-School Hockey Tournament in which it scored 82 goals in five matches, with none scored against the team. The final match was won with a margin of 12-0.
But why hockey alone? In cricket, the son of the "Little Master", Test Cricketer Soaib Muhammad and UAE’s Captain at the 1996 World Cup, Sultan Zarwani, are former students of Habib Public School. With and without these outstanding cricketers, Habib Public School cricket team has won the Inter-School Championship from time to time. Similarly HPS’ Basketball team has been winners of All Karachi tournaments on several occasions.
Besides dominating the Athletics scene at Inter School and Inter District levels, Habib Public School has turned out two athletes of international standing – Ali Kamani, once Pakistan’s fastest man and long – distance runner and now a sports medicine specialist, Dr. Meesaq Rizvi. Dr. Rizvi is accompanying the Pakistan contingent to SAF Games as doctor shortly.
The School continues to maintain a 22-piece brass band and train its pupils on the various instruments, and a cadet corp which is trained for marching with rifles. In addition, facilities for gymnastics, table-tennis, volley-ball, base ball, soft-ball are provided to students who observe a full-day curriculam with a compulsory games period every day.
* Old Pictures
All said and done, it is in the provision of swimming facilities to its pupils, many of whom can ill-afford the fancy charges of exclusive clubs and five star hotels, that Habib Public School makes the most emphastic impact. In 1946, a young Indian businessman won the Western India Diving Championship at Bombay – the first non-European to do so. He was selected to represent undivided India at the 1948 London Olympics. His business commitments and partition prevented him from taking the trip to London, but when his family established a school for boys in Karachi one of his first task was to build a swimming pool in the School with filter plant, underground lighting (later damaged by misdirected Indian bombs) and a change-room. The young man was Rashid D. Habib and the school – Habib Public School.
For several years Habib Public School prepared swimmers for junior nationals with the crowning glory achieved when Saleem Raza was declared Pakistan’s junior champion in swimming. Lately, the School has won the Sindh Open for the eight years on the trot defeating the traditional rivals, Karachi Club, Karachi Gymkhana, Karachi Grammar School and Aqua Club. Save for a couple of swimmers from outside, the entire Sindh team at the Nationals, both Senior and Junior levels, is based on Habibian swimmers who perform very creditably against the "professionals" of the Army, Navy and Wapda. Some of the young Habibians have broken records set by the Pakistan Captain, Kamal Masud, in their respective age-groups. In Sindh Swimming Javed Taqi, Haris Bin Jabbar, Husain Youshe Murad, Asim Shafiq Baig are today household names and all of them belong to the Habib Public School.
* New Pictures
The sports record of Habib Public School could be the envy of any educational institution of any level. Yet, the sports department of the School refuses to rest on its oars and constantly strives to achieve a higher level of performance. The School Inshallah hopes to build an indoor gymnasium, a squash court, a couple of tennis court etc. in the near future to provide more varied sporting facilities in the institution.
HPS's Creative Club
The aim of education is to groom the young students, our future generation, to meet the challenges of tomorrow as responsible citizens. As such, in Habib Public School, equal emphasis is laid on co-curricular activities instead of just learning.
We, at Habib Public School, try to maintain a harmonious balance between the academic and co-curricular activities.
In Habib Public School, we have various societies and clubs carrying out their activities throughout the year as per a planned schedule. These societies and clubs include English Literary Society, Bazme Adab, Islamic Society,Science Modelling Club, English Writers Forum, Film Appreciation Club, Stamp and Coin-collecting Club, Drama Club, Sindhi Literary Society, Art Club, Environment Club etc.
During the recent past the performance of our English and Urdu Societies has been exceptionally good. These societies are responsible to hold All Pakistan bilingual debates every year since 1992. The speakers and debators trained and prepared by these societies participate in local contests and also in All Pakistan debate or declamation competitions regularly and brilliantly. Asad Raza stood first in an Inter School speech contest at Arts Council of Pakistan last year. Yasir Yousuf got first prize for his English speech at Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur in 1998. Asad Raza was declared the best speaker in an Inter Collegiate debate organised by Cadet College, Petaro last year.
We have bagged the running trophy of All Pakistan bilingual debate organised by Hyderabad Public School by winning it for three consecutive years: 1994-95-96. Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur, invites Habib Public School in All Pakistan Iner Collegiate bilingual speech contests being held for the last 3 years. Habib Public School is the only School invited as a special case keeping in view the calibre of our young speakers.
In 1997, a young Habibian Shariq Hussain scored the highest points in the history of Sadiq Public School Bahawalpur in Urdu speech. He was offered free admission in Sadiq Public School which he turned down saying that he is satisfied and happy with Habib Public School. Presently Habibian Yasir Yousuf, Asad Raza, Fahad Mujeeb (Eng.) and Shariq Hussain, Essa Ansari and Faizan Hassan (Urdu) are outstanding in debate/speech contest.
Our Drama Club has also staged some very good plays both in Urdu and English.
The last Parents’ Day was organised in the year 1995 when a large number of parents and some very special guests came to witness it for two days. It was a fantastic show to be remembered for a long. First time in the history of Pakistan a television serial consisting of 13 episodes titled ‘School Kahani’ was recorded in the background and on the locations of Habib Public School. This serial has been telecast thrice on public demand. Students of the School who acted in this serial were highly acclaimed. These days this serial is being telecast again on PTV (Sattellite) and many of our ex-students living abroad are watching it with a great interest.
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