One day my curiosity got the better of me and I tip-toed along the hallway in my house to watch my three younger siblings learning to read Urdu.
Their teacher was a bearded man, we called Maulvi Sahib, he had a book in front of him, it seemed he memorised the whole book. My siblings each had their own copy and were repeating the words after their teacher. Suddenly I realized my little brothers and sister could not read the words, but they repeated what their teacher was saying.
The teacher had his eyes closed and was reciting the words, his pupils were doing the same. To make it interesting he added a kind of lullaby tune.I waited for the lesson to be over, so I could find out how much Urdu my siblings learned.
Though I was seven years old, I had a pretty good idea, that Maulvi Sahib wasn’t a good teacher.
When the so-called learning was over, I pulled my sister aside, opened the book in the middle and pointed at some random words and asked her to read. She said, ‘let me go back to the first page.’
I said, ‘no, I want to know if you can read.’
My sister looked at me and smiled.
It seemed their teacher asked them to repeat the words after him, which they did, but they did not learn the alphabets. This was a waste of their time.
When I told my Dad the story, he was unhappy. He had a chat with the teacher.
Next day there was no sign of the teacher, my siblings were relieved from this fake learning. My Dad never hired another Maulvi Sahib to replace the first one.
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