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There are schemes that are meaningful to the initiated, but otherwise unhelpful for example, Salam would be rendered as Salam. I have sim- ply followed common usage. The names of some places in the Indian subcontinent have changed over the years: in most cases I have retained the original name. Thomson, I.


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Ali, A. Singh, J. Budinich, P. Normally, such dreams would quickly evaporate, leaving no trace, but this one had startled him, its sharpness etched in his memory. The date also lodged in his mind — it was an official holiday, the birthday of the Emperor of India, the British King George V. Otherwise, daily life in the market town of Jhang in the Indian province of Punjab continued much as it had done for centuries. Mains electricity and other modern prerequisites had not yet arrived.

In the surrounding helds, gaunt oxen plodded in circles to drive wooden wheels that slopped water into irri- gation channels. Unhitched from the wheels, the same animals pulled overloaded carts along potholed roads. In front of their mud houses, women cooked on open hres fuelled by dried cow dung, which they had moulded by hand into cakes and left to dry in the sun. There were a few creaking bicycles. In another rare sign that an industrial age had arrived, the British Raj had built a railway line through the town, con- necting it with the city of Lahore, two hundred miles to the east, and the daily arrival of newspapers and mail at Jhang station was a major event.

The waters of the mighty Punjab rivers had been channelled into vast irrigation schemes, but subsistence farmers still cultivated their smallholdings and looked after their livestock.

List of Muslim Nobel laureates - Wikipedia

In this humdrum world, Chaudry Muhammad Hussain was a local schoolteacher, instill- ing the rudiments of English and mathematics to boys in a classroom almost devoid of furniture. In the midst of such dreary predictability, the dream burned in his mind. In Islam, vivid dreams are not wisps of subconscious fancy, for it was in such visions that Allah revealed him- self to Muhammad, who went out and changed the world. In all this there are signs for people who reflect.

List of Muslim Nobel laureates

Abdus Salam — the 6rst Muslim Nobel scientist For Chaudry Muhammad Hussain, the family was the sole predict- able means of social security. Even for a schoolteacher, existence was still hand-to-mouth.

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Benehts from the government or from the reli- gious community were rare. Parents would bring up children, as many as they could, for infant mortality was high, and only strong children could care for parents in their old age. Older children would also look after the younger ones. Giving birth in mud huts, attended only by their mothers or sisters, many women died in childbirth or from subsequent complications during their traditional six-week conhnement. Chaudry Muhammad Hussain, born in , knew.

His father, Gul Muhammad, had been respected in the community as a religious scholar and a hakim, or healer, but despite his medical knowledge had been unable to save his wife, who died when Muhammad Hussain the honorihc title of Chaudry was only acquired later, with status was just a small child.

When the girl was only six weeks old, Saeeda Begum died and Muhammad Hussain was alone again, but with a daughter to support. Although by now inured to sadness and deprivation, Muhammad Hussain, still only 33, was too young to remain a widower: his orphaned daughter did not thrive, and there was little help. After the Imam of his community activated a net- working system, a message arrived from a distant family in Santokdas, 60 miles south of Jhang, members of the Pathan Kukezai tribe.

In his dream, Muhammad Hussain had seen that his child would be a boy, a hrst-born son who would bring glory to God and honour to his family. But he would not be a warrior or a rich merchant: his achievements would be through wisdom and intellect more powerful than any sword or amount of money. In a world rich in tradition but bereft of visual stimulation, Chaudry Muhammad Hussain recounted his dream to his family and his Imam, who were impressed by his vivid- ness and emphatic detail.

Muhammad Hussain immediately began to make preparations. In the dream, an angel had said that the son was called Abdus Salam, a simple but honourable name. The Islamic faith attributes Allah, the Almighty One, with ninety- nine names, whose recitation is a powerful litany, an oral rosary.

In more ancient times, the appeal of these names — wisdom, honour, love, — had led many civilizations into creating a separate deity for each, worthy of targeted worship in its own right. There is no stigma attached to having one of these traditional names. On the contrary, they are most honourable. In the West, this article has been wrenched from its noun, and the name has been distorted to Abdul Aziz, implying an illogical hrst name, Abdul, and a second, Aziz. Chaudry Muhammad Hussain also followed a Muslim tradition of not using inherited family names. Family names were invented 4 Cosmic Anger.

Abdus Salam — the hrst Muslim Nobel scientist because there are many more people than there are forenames. In , as part of his drastic overhaul ot Turkish culture and traditions to amalgamate his new nation with twentieth-century Europe, Kemal Atatiirk made surnames compulsory. LTntil that point, most Muslim Turks had only their given forenames — just a few had surnames or had acquired dis- tinctive nicknames.

When Abdus Salam came to Britain, he discovered much that was unfamiliar and, to him, even bizarre.

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Later, as Abdus Salam increasingly assumed a man- tle of Britishness, he got used to people calling him by a totally artifi- cial name, although it must have jarred. He had observed that Western people go to great trouble to give their children sophisticated names like Christopher, but in familiar speech promptly abandon the mel- lifluous name and use the curt monosyllabic Chris.

Muslims living in close association with Westerners have learned to live with such habits, A turban in Stockholm 5 and following the example of Atatiirk 6nd it convenient to adopt west- ern-style family names, inherited from one generation to the next. His name is not the only problem. In , what had been British India was torn into two new nations — India, with a majority Hindu population, but with no official state religion, and a new Muslim coun- try, Pakistan. Salam became a citizen of Pakistan while he was an undergraduate at Cambridge University.

It was a nation into which he was thrust rather than born.


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To refer to Pakistan as a geographical location before makes no sense, and to refer to a Pakistani as hav- ing been born in India requires clarihcation. But at any time in his life, Abdus Salam was always a child of a vast subcontinent, stretching over some kilometres, as far as from London to Istanbul — from north to south, and from west to east; proud of its own history, traditions and culture.

Cut off from central Asia by the high mountain chains of the Karakoram range and the Himalayas to the north, and by desert to the west, the Indo-Gangetic plain has felt continual tides of invasion and migration through the sluice gates of the lower mountains to the north-west — the Hindu Kush, Kirthar and Suleiman ranges, with their valleys and passes. Many biographies trace the lives of people with humble origins.

Such modest backgrounds may be unfamiliar to some, or even most, read- ers, but they are nevertheless understandable. In the case of a Punjabi Ahmadi Muslim boy living in a two-roomed house with no electric- ity or running water, this is less obvious. However, readers already familiar with the history and culture of the Indian subcontinent could enter the book at Chapter 4. Going from one extreme of obscurity to another, Abdus Salam became an elementary particle physicist, a sci- entist whose business it is to work out the natural calculus of matter.

So 6 Cosmic Anger. Abdus Salam — the hrst Muslim Nobel scientist the book also has to explain our understanding of another very unfa- miliar world, the microscopic quantum domain deep inside the atom. The force of electromagnetism can be harnessed to turn mighty machines. Less visibly but far more importantly, it is the interaction that holds together atoms, the smallest components of everyday matter. Abdus Salam showed how electromagnetism is linked to another subatomic force, the weak interaction, whose existence only became clear in the twen- tieth century.

Much less tangible than electromagnetism, the weak interaction within the atom is no less important in the grand scheme of things.

PTV (1996) A Great Scientist - Dr Abdus Salam

It is ironic that when Salam was 6rst taught about electromag- netism at school in Jhang, there was no electric light. All reading had to be done in the daytime or while crouched by an oil lamp. The teacher pointed out that to encounter the mystical phenomenon of electricity, his pupils should take the train to Lahore, several hundred miles away.

Few did. And at that time, even in Lahore nobody knew of the sub- atomic weak interaction. Charting the progress of science has many difficulties and pitfalls, and has to tread a narrow path between comprehensibility and sci- entihc correctness.

Book Cosmic Anger Abdus Salam The First Muslim Nobel Scientist 2008

Tracing the development of a scientihc idea is awkward. Scientists, even the best ones, are frequently confused and sometimes wrong, and progress can be erratic. Ambitious strides for- ward can overstep the mark. Milestone papers are usually written in a contemporary context that reflects current preconceptions and confusion, and can be difficult to understand in retrospect after all the confusion has evaporated. Even after this happens, vestiges of the original approach remain, memorials to a previous age.

Keyboards are no longer mechanical, but the bizarre QWERTY key arrangement remains, a reminder of once- inadequate technology. So it is with theory. Much valuable scientihc work also investigates unexplored openings only to hnd an intellec- tual impasse. There is no map into the unknown, and someone has to explore each possibility diligently. For him, science was a form of devotion, his reverence to a higher power. As a Muslim he was in a minority in Hindu-dominated British India, one that over centuries had carved out a fragile coexistence.

But like a dormant volcano, this tolerance could be deceptive. One of the achieve- ments of British rule in India had been to weave a diverse tapestry of races, religions and cultures, from the dark Dravidian-speaking peo- ples of the South to the Indo-Europeans of the North, and inhabiting such a wide range of climates, from the jungles of Kerala to the snowy ramparts of the Himalayas, into a dominion apparently more cohe- sive than several European experiments in nationhood. As the move towards Indian independence gained momentum in the mid-twenti- eth century, many held that this ethnic and religious diversity should remain a vital part of India.

But even in the middle of the nineteenth century, some Indian Muslims had become sensitive to their status, always dependent on the goodwill of the majority and on their own acceptance of being a minority, and began to work instead towards a goal that eventually became a separate Muslim state. When Pakistan came into being in , it ripped apart the flimsy patchwork fabric of the subcontinent. Voluntary migration became enforced exile, rekind- ling religious intolerance that had never been far from the surface.

In the resulting bloodbath, half a million people were killed. Their problems began later. They belonged to one of the smaller of the 72 sects of Islam, the Ahmadis, a minority within a minority. In Hindu-dominated British India, such an obscure sect had never been very visible. In the Punjab, conflict had been a triangular affair between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.

But in the new Islamic Pakistan, with Hindus and Sikhs now having fled, the Ahmadis became more visible and were soon the victims of vicious intolerance.