In memory of Hashir Munawer…

Hashir Munawer

It was just another day, nothing different, the sun rose to the skies, the weather warming up by the hour, everything going on as usual. Less did anyone know at LUMS that there is a grave happening to unfold before the sun sets on this day.

Hashir Munawer class of 2007, due to graduate a year later than his batch mates was seperated from the program apparently because of an abrupt change in policy. (minimum CGPA increased to 2.8 from an initial 2.2). He killed himself by hanging himself to the fan by an iron wire. Another file closed from the craziness of this world. Period.

What caused this to happen? A happy go lucky kid, who was good at volley ball, done his A levels from a prestigious school in Karachi, who was known for caring for all that came his way, a smiling face. A few things his friends had to say about him. Why didn’t anyone talk to him about it? Who broke the news to him? Why didn’t they sit him down and talk about other options in life? There were a million and one things that could’ve been done, this was NOT inevitable! Where was Nashi Khan (Student Counsellor/ Psychiatrist)? Where were his faculty advisors? Who will answer these questions? Who will finally brush all of this under the carpet?

There have been 4 suicide attempts at LUMS in 2007 (Unconfirmed sources). Changing policies at the drop of a hat and then implementing them on graduating classes and not the next new intake, the insensitivities of a “perfect” world. Does this not happen everywhere? Students get kicked out of schools in their final years for O and A levels only because they are not performing “up to the mark”? Who defines success? Who defines this mark? Have we lost our values and basic regard for humans around us in this vicious cycle? a fourth grader taking as many tuitions as there are subjects. Is “winning” everything and “living” does not measure up?

 How Many Hashirs will it take for the blind, inefficient, cold blooded, policy makers at such universities and those that drive the society? Let’s just get it over with!

 May Allah forgive Hashir’s sins and give the bereaved all the courage in the world to live through this ordeal. Aamiin

23 Comments so far

  1. strayangel on April 24th, 2008 @ 2:40 am

    I didn’t know about the "abrupt change in policy". That just makes it too horrible for words. It should NEVER have been implemented for students who were already enrolled at LUMS. No new policy should ever be implemented on students who joined under different rules. This is not the first time they have done something like this. And 2.8, really? I don’t know what to say anymore. This needn’t ever have happened. It makes me so angry!

  2. papakhan on April 24th, 2008 @ 9:41 am

    dude, who ever wrote the article, the CGPA requirement remains 2.2- when youre on probabtion youre required to bring a QGPA of 2.8.

    but yeah im with you on the old batches being exmepted from new rules

  3. Tragedy at LUMS: Hashir Munawer « [The WeCite Blog] (pingback) on April 24th, 2008 @ 11:51 am

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  5. humbal on April 24th, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

    A few questions to add to the questions asked by the writer..
    Have we forgotten about God..?? Have we replaced what HE wants from us, with what a university / parents / society wants..?? Have we forgotten about our ultimate goal in life..?? Do we even know the reason for being in this world..??

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  7. Hasan Mubarak (hasanmubarak) on April 24th, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

    Totally sad and it haunts me to the edge. Still, what makes a man think taking one’s own life is the only way out. I must blame his friends and family too! Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Rajioon

  8. lifeofmansur on April 24th, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

    This is plain horrible. Pakistan has always placed emphasis on grades and "class positions" which I never understood coming in from abroad. Competition, (competition is good if it’s healthy), in Pak is extreme, and I know of students who have gone into depression, on anti-depressants, "think" about suicide because they can’t keep up with the gpa. A sudden shift from 2.2 to 2.8 is rather extreme.

  9. A for [pine]Apple (asmamirza) on April 24th, 2008 @ 11:33 pm

    Saddening when I read … and teh questions raised here are echoing thoughts of ours too :\

    Is the stress level to an extent that the kid thinks of (and execute)killing him/her-self is justifiable anywhere … why play with the stress levels of many … why not maintain a threshold for that?

    Ameeen .. may his soul rest in peace and the pain becomes easier for his family and near ones..!

  10. Suicides: A failing that needs identification « The Canvas (pingback) on April 25th, 2008 @ 1:49 am

    […] A failing that needs identification Two days ago a young man, Hashir Munawer, committed suicide on Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) campus in Lahore. The news […]

  11. Farrukh Ahmed (farrukhahmed) on April 25th, 2008 @ 3:19 am

    really sad……

    his father is a friend of my father-in-law and that’s how i heard the news.

    nothing should be too painful to lead someone to this point!

  12. alias (alias84) on April 25th, 2008 @ 7:51 am

    I spent 2 years in A’levels with Hashir. Met him only once after that in LUMS. Was painfully saddened to hear about his passing away. He was just not the kind of guy who would do such a thing!

  13. humbal on April 25th, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

    The pain would be greater for those who knew him. May Allah give strength to all those who knew him, to overcome this sorrow. Amin.

    I would also like to disagree with a few posts here. Instead of blaming the universities and stress levels, we should focus on mind-frames. Let’s just take this opportunity to tell us that

    "No matter what happens, never give up… Always keep fighting…"

  14. lifeofmansur on April 25th, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

    With all due respect to Hashir’s family and friends, I write the following.

    I am so distressed to hear about his death, that I wonder what made him think there was no way out except through suicide. Clearly we are not getting the entire picture here. Why was he graduating a year later from his batch? Someone needs to put up the entire picture before anyone of us can start blaming the university, parents, friends, society or whoever. Another thing that is bugging me is where were his friends? Did Hashir not confide his feelings to anyone of them? Did his friends not feel the need to raise an alarm if they had been confided to? Alias says "He was just not the kind of guy who would do such a thing!" and obviously something else must have been happening in Hashir’s life for this tragedy to occur.

  15. crazymonkey on April 26th, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

    That guy definitely must have had a some kind of psychological disorders. Some excessively depressed people appear to be alright from the outside, but inside there heads is a dark storm of chaos and confusion.

  16. chilbuli on April 27th, 2008 @ 1:42 am

    now after reading this for the first time i realized that i chose a very gud option of coming 2 UK for studies although i do hafta come back to face the cruel society of Pakistan where ppl dun care for others rather wat they care is their own rules and regulations whether its a top class government official or a lower class government clerk every 1 has their own rules to follow and ppl like us and like the one who took this extreme step of suicide are always trapped in these beaurucracies …..nothing had changed in past and nothing will change now so what i suggest everybuddy that you also start making your own rules and choose the path of life yourself rather any1 else choosing it for u coz then at the end u will also b hanging yourself like this guy and wasting your precious life for nothing …this life is a god’s gift so try to save it and respect it ….money , power , education, status , society ….these all bloody things r the part of life but then they r not the everything to live in this world ….based on my personal experience i have learnt that no matter how many conspiracies u have to face , how much criticism you have to go thru just do what you think is gud for you and then life wud b a hell lot easier for u ….i dunno and i think nobuddy can confirm it that this guy hanged himself because of LUMS but if its so then here i prove my point that as in our pakistani society ….especially in this era of new generation our families and cousins have competitions in studis , then jobs and then in the pays and this is wat makes most of the gulls n guys complex and they start feeling themselves inferior than others without taking in consideration the fact that every 1 has special god gfted ability and if one person has topped in his or her exams then not necessarily his or siblings or cousins wud do so ….so the same mite happened with that guy as he studied in A levels and oviously wud have got gud grades due 2 which got admitted in LUMS …then ppl , his peers , fellows and family cousins every1 mite have appreciated him and started expecting much out of him which is normally a disease in our society that if u study in gud place ppl start talking like " o so now u r among toppers lets c wether u top now or not "? and this is why a guy like hashir wud have thot 2 commit suicide so that no buddy cud say him anything bout his results ..anyways the moral of the story is that donot take things on ur nerves …’s just too short for these things to worry bout …. wat if u cant get into LUMS still there’s LSE and wat if u cant get in both still u have an option of going into many unis …..LUMS , LSE , NCA …these r not the end of ur life and yea think before u take such an extreme step …..ur life is not just yours ….it is a god’s gift and u hafta keep it safe for ur parents , siblings , family members and friends and ur one step cud ruin the life of many ppl ….wat if u wont get graduated u still have many opportunities but wat if u will die do ur parents have any opportunity …think bout it and make urself a promise that no matter how much failures u will hafta face u wont give up inshallah … the end let us all pray for his family and for him also so that his soul can rest in peace inshallah (AMEEN)!

  17. Fatima Shakeel (isl_fatima) on April 27th, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

    What am I to feel if not rage at a system that could drive a young human being to make such a desperate bid for escape? We need to reflect upon the questions raised by Hashir’s death, and upon ourselves as a society. Life shouldn’t be made this difficult for anyone.

    I went to school with Hashir. I didn’t know him well at all, but I knew he was a very nice, polite and charming kid. I hope he’s happy where he is now. My thoughts and prayers are with him, and his family.

  18. willyhendy on April 27th, 2008 @ 8:47 pm

    yes isl_fatima..
    here’s one that got away…..
    It is time schools, parents, exam boards, educationsists took this seriously….we dont want an "epidemic" of suicides lke the japanese schols onces uffered…and we dont need our own versions of Columbine/ Virginiatech enactments…but believe me i sense they are nwearby if we dont take matters in hand….
    hashir was a happy boy. I ddi not know him personally, and i was misinformed he had done his Os from St. Pat’s whenin fact he did them from kGS…we all mourn him nevertheless…

    I sense Hashir will not rest easy, thoughn I wish he would, unless achange comes….from the boards of LUMS, to those of the KGSs and PAT’s of our country…no child is safe from this lack of insensitivity of humanity…where we have no time for finding out how people really feel…

    A great tragedy for family, and frioends…i thin it is a tragedy for everyone, who has a heart and learns the lesson that empathy teaches…

  19. humbal on April 28th, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

    Although Chilbuli had a written a very nice comment, but I’d disagree with her / him, in the decision he / she took of running away from Pakistan.

    When there’s a fire in our house, we don’t run away and save our lives, we stay and try to save our family.

    Hope you get the message clear enough.

  20. chilbuli on April 28th, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

    @ humbal …
    dude its not about running away its always about availing an opportunity as i said before, Pakistani people including me cant think optimistically otherwise u wont have said this even after reading that my final destination is inshallah Pakistan …..believe me or not but u have 2 accept the reality that our society sucks and its just because of us …. we have been accepting the rules and regulations as it is and not taking any initiative ….our universities and colleges focus more on grades and CGPAs whereas in UK unis and colgs give damn 2 ur grades and they try 2 develop ur skills and knowledge this is y none of our pakistani university is in top 500 in world ….now dun say LUMS is…. because then u mite have a lack of research … now if availing a better opportunity is running away then yea i have ran away like imran khan did …init?he has studied in UK and is currently a chancellor of Bradford university but still is in Pakistan so is he not the 1 who ran away …but when something represnting bout Pakistan comes then u ppl say o yea v r proud dat imran khan is pakistani …on one hand u r critisicing he being studying abroad and on other u r proud of him ….wat kind of diplomacy is it ? being a pakistani v cant appreciate anybuddy for what they did…if some1 has gone abroad for studies then without even giving a single thot v will spit out o yea u ran away ….i appreciate the study system in Pakistan as wat i have learnt from Pakistan is a lifetime but the policies of pakistani universities really sucks….lets suppose u have been given a choice of LUMS and UK …..and for instance u wont get admission in LUMS den wud u consider studying in a category C college in Pakistan and not anywhere in UK…now plz just for the sake of answering dun say yes because u also know u will say NO ….so den shall i say that u r running away from Pakistan …huh so think before u speak !

  21. lifeofmansur on April 29th, 2008 @ 8:46 pm

    I think Chilbuli should be given the benefit of doubt. I don’t blame him/her for going to the UK for studies. I would do the same if I were the same, because having seen the educational institutions here, I am appalled too. Sometimes we need to go abroad, learn new things, and come back to Pakistan and implement those new ideas to help this country progress. There is a brain drain problem, and the government needs to do something about it to prevent an excess of talented young people leaving the country.

  22. firaas on May 7th, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

    Honestly speaking, my heart goes out to Hashir and his family, friends. I know what it feels like to struggle academically and watching everyone around you doing well in studies and having active social life even when they also end up rote learning, cramming at the last minute. I think everyone has a role to play, the university, your family, friends, peers.

    I believe depression is inevitable in college because of the amount of competition for grades, positions. Speaking from personal experience, your poor academic performance despite your best intentions is one thing, but to see everyone else doing well around you make your self esteem and sense of belonging go down even worse. But what really becomes the limit when the same bright students who are doing well around you show an arrogant attitude towards you, offer no moral support at all, offer no help, guidance to your academics. I understand it is not possible for every student to help another but atleast dont show attitude, be a little humble and dont be over proud of your excellent academic grades and feel that it makes you better than him.

    Second, i think every institution should have mandatory student counsellors. There should be different type of counsellors, academic counsellors and pyschological counsellors. Students should be required to meet with them as frequently as possible and all discussions should be confidential. I believe with this system in place, such incidents can be minimized and avoided in the future.

    Third, Family. Although it would be wrong to point all the fingers at his family, at this time i am convinced they must be going through a very very terrible period. But i believe for every student Family support is so crucial, Just watch the Film “Tare Zameen Par”. I believe this film should be advertised shown to every family, school, college. I have never been academically successful in my life, i have gone through really difficult phases, periods in which i had real doubts about my ability to succeed at the highest level, but i am most grateful for the most wonderful family support i had. My parents have always been proud of me irrespective of my grades, sure they would be dissapointed but they never behave as if its the end of the world for me, likewise i am aware of my responsibilities and always try my best.

    I think everyone should be involved, family support is crucial, friends are irreplacable and you always need to talk about all your problems, never keep any problem hidden, it just becomes uncontrollable, you can learn so much from the other person around you, Fellow students and peers especially bright should get rid of their superiority attitude and their selfish concern for their own grades only ( I am sorry but i have very little respect for people who are brilliant in studies but make fun of people who arent so academically gifted and refuse or show no interest in helping them, this is what differentitates a person who is brilliant in studies and a person who is a good human beeing with a good heart). Finally Universities in my view should develop a little bit of empathy as well, administrations should have open door policies for students, so called rules and regulations should not become practicing tools for dictatorship.

    May Allah grant Hashir’s eternal peace to Hashir’s soul and forgive him, and may Allah also grant Hashir’s family the strength to overcome this grief. In my view, this is a hidden but a seriously developing issue. Grades should certainly not be everything in life.

  23. lifeofmansur on May 8th, 2008 @ 12:28 am

    Firaas, thank you for saying all what you have. Clearly, it’s a little bit of everything that helps a student survive: family support, student counselors, friends/ peers who are more interested in other’s well being and not putting them down. I agree with you, grades certainly should not be everything, but sadly, in Pakistan, grades, what uni you go to, what job you hold, how much you earn etc is all that matters. People need to rise above this, and give more importance to what the person is like, and not what grades they have, what degree they have etc etc . Wishful thinking, isn’t it? :)

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