(This part of the introduction to Jāvēd Ahmad Ghāmidī’s life, works, and mission has been written on the basis of his own writings, and contains a blend of excerpts from his book, Maqāmāt, which excerpts give the reader glimpses into Ghāmidī’s feelings and into happenings and events in his life).
Jāvēd Ahmad Ghāmidī received his early education at the primary schools of Pākpattan and Pakāsidhār (District Sāhīwāl). During his school days, he began learning Arabic and Persian from Mawlawī Nūr Ahmad. How this process was initiated and the details of what transpired can perhaps be best described in Ghāmidī’s own words:
I was in school but my father was not satisfied with my education. It was his wish that, with my schooling, I should also learn Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit. Something of that sort seemed impossible then. At that time, close to Pākpattan, there was an estate belonging to Mian Muhammad Hussayn Bodlah where my father had taken up employment. After working there for two or three months, he felt satisfied with the arrangements; so my mother also decided to move to Mian Bodlah’s village, Nānagpāl, to be with my father. This village is located around two and a half miles from the station for Pakāsidhār on the railway line going to Samah Satah. I was transferred from the MC Primary School, Pākpattan to a school in Pakāsidhār. This school comprised of a single room without even a floor mat! We would break branches from the bushes growing there in the wilderness along the railway line, and, after cleaning the floor of the school with leaves from these branches, sit down on the floor. There was a small mosque in the village. When my father went to offer his prayers there, he took me with him. Mawlawī [an honorific form for a person of religious learning] Nūr Ahmad was the Imām [head]and khatīb [one who reads the sermon] of this mosque. Now, when I recollect my thoughts, I get the feeling that he belonged to the Deōbandī school of thought. My father spoke to him about my education, to which he responded: “I can teach him Arabic and Persian.” My father was very pleased. After consultation with my mother, it was decided that after school, I would rest for a while and then go to the mosque for my ‘Asr prayer and, until Maghrib, learn Persian and Arabic from “Mawlawī Sahib.”
When we went to Nānagpāl, I was in grade three. Mawlawī Nūr Ahmad taught me until grade five. Under his tutelage, I covered Arabic up to Sharh- e Jāmī” (text book for learning Arabic ) and Persian up to Pandnāmeh by Shaykh Attar (Persian textbook ). When my grade five examinations were just around the corner, my father decided to leave his place of employment after an upsetting argument with “Mian Sahib” and returned to Pākpattan. I obviously also had to come back with him and even though my lessons with Mawlawī Sahib were discontinued, my interest remained alive. As they say in Persian: “A heart with devotion needs no guide.” I was always on the lookout for a teacher, and always found someone to help me continue covering Dars- e Nizāmī (a famous seminary syllabus) under supervision. By the time I was in grade nine, I had finished all the books on arts and sciences. I had examinations for grade ten approaching; so I now had to focus on studies diligently. As a result, my Arabic lessons suffered once again.