Born on the 12th of June 1942, at Karachi, then a small seaport and today one of the most populous cities in the world. Had an interesting childhood in many ways, but I have no intention of talking about it. After a lot of traveling, my parents decided to make my father's native town Kotli Loharan, District Sialkot, Pakistan, a relatively permanent base. It is a pretty little town, almost under the shadow of the Himalayas. If you ever go there, you will find a thriving industrial town in the middle of agricultural land. For centuries this town has been an enclave of industry in the middle of agriculture. My forefathers were sword smiths, and it is said that this village was a kind of a land grant, in recognition of their services. Now the swords are no longer important but surgical instruments still are. There is other industry too, during my high school days I worked for a firm that made padlocks.
I graduated from the only high school in my village in 1962. Then I had to leave town to read for my B. Sc. at Talim-ul-Islam College Rabwah, Pakistan. Rabwah is a dry little town, surrounded by the river Chenab. If you ever go there the bare sedimentary mountains will greet you. This little town is one big school of religion, which houses many other schools. After completing my B. Sc. in 1967 I went to Lahore to read for my Master's degree at the Department of Mathematics, University of the Punjab Lahore, Pakistan. From where I graduated in 1969. Lahore is not just a town it is a culture. There is nothing in the world that does not interest Lahori's, especially if it involves some activity. They are known to sacrifice a great deal only to get into some action. During my stay they were interested in toppling the then government in Pakistan. That they did and with that government went the stability of the country, but who cares. My education after the high school was possible only because I got sufficiently good grades to qualify for state scholarships, a meager sum of money but enough to keep me going. I thank the rather competitive system of education in Pakistan for this. Then, in 1971, I got a stipend from the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam to work on my doctorate at the University of London, UK. I completed my doctorate, under the supervision of Professor P. M. Cohn, in 1974.
I am somewhat independent and it is very hard to impress me. However, some people did impress me a great deal. My mother tops the list. She never went to a school, but for every situation she had a story with a moral and she fiercely watched over what her children were up to. Her faith and her religious beliefs have always been a source of strength for me. Besides, she taught me Urdu alphabet by writing them on the palm of her hand. My father was a high school drop out but I would love to be such a drop out. He was a mechanic by trade, but he did all the necessary research, in metallurgy, for his foundry workshop, he taught me a great deal about electroplating. On the intellectual side, he loved Persian poetry. I often found him reciting from Hafez and Saadi all from memory. I do not remember learning my English alphabet. So he had taught me that before I was two. To top it all he told me about reductio ad absurdum way before I went to high school. Hafiz Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the third head of the Ahmadiyya Comunity, influenced my life in more than one ways. He was the embodiment of love and he taught me to love even those who hate. His motto," Love for all hatred for none" is an internationally known slogan of the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam. If anyone found me generous in any way, it is Hafiz Mirza Nasir Ahmad's training. There was a time when some people were bent upon hurting me. I mentioned it to him. He said, "They do not know you. But your job is to serve them and to help them." I pray to God Almighty to give me strength to love fellow humans in the face of whatever comes my way.
There were other people who helped shape my life. That is my teachers. For some odd reason they all liked me as their student, even though some did not like my religious beliefs. As a teacher I too try to follow their example. I am indebted to them all.