Prof. Ghulam Mohy-u-Din MBBS, PhD: A world renowned Anatomist and Researcher

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 Obituary Note

Prof. Ghulam Mohy-u-Din MBBS, PhD

A world renowned Anatomist and Researcher

Prof Emeritus Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar

Consultant Medical Specialist and Clinical Pharmacology 

Internationally renowned Anatomist Prof. Ghulam Mohy-u-Din was born in Hyderabad Daccan, India. He obtained MBBS degree from the Hyderabad Osmonia University. The medium of instruction was Urdu. He was a brilliant student having won many academic honours. Earned Ph.D. in Anatomy from the London University – taught for a short period at the Osmania University – migrated to Pakistan in 1956. In Pakistan, he was appointed the professor and the Head of the Anatomy Dept. of the newly – established Khyber Medical college Peshawar North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) now Khyber Pukhtun Khawa (KPK). He was not provided facilities to do research- his passion – was ill-treated to the extent, that a Lt Col appointed Military administrator of the college called for his explanation for buying chalks etc. without the administrators prior sanction. He resigned and moved to Liaquat Medical College Hyderabad Sindh. Again he was mal-treated – resigned and moved to Australia.

In Australia he got appointment in the Anatomy Department of a University Medical College, did a lot of research work – published many research papers in the prestigious international medical journals and earned enormous recognition and fame in international Anatomic Scientific Community. He was a Scientist- Anatomist, created new knowledge – advanced the subject. At Australia, he also taught in many colleges as a visiting professor, presented the research papers at national and international scientific conferences – supervised many PhD scholar’s dissertations.

From Australia, he moved to London University Medical Institutions. In the UK, he further advanced his research work and publications. His special interest was in the gastro-intestinal tract Anatomy – absorptive processes involving epithelia, villi their structure and function. He also used electron microscopy. He was very well known in the International gastro-intestinal specialist circles- continued presenting scientific papers in the G.I conferences. From London he moved to Nigeria, became professor and the head of the Department of Anatomy at the newly-established Lagos University Medical College at Lagos. The Lagos medical college was of international standard – its teachers were top professionals selected on international competition – external examiners for the professional exams were from the London University.

At Lagos I met him while on secondment to the Nigerian Armed Forces Medical Services – working as a medical specialist at the Logos Military Hospital. I used to refer patients with difficult clinical problems to the Logos teacher hospital professors for opinion – attended their grand-rounds, clinical meetings and conferences. The atmosphere at the college was very academic – teachers were well paid and respected, private medical practice was not allowed – there was a limited institutional medical practice. There was a significant research output. My wife Prof Khalida who was working as a civilian obs/gynae consultant at the Lagos military hospital also visited Lagos University Hospital Obs/Gynae teaching Unit.

The Lagos medical college had a top of the art well stocked library. In case, a book was not available in the library, the librarian would procure it from London by air and supply it to the doctor. Professor Mohy-U-Din was also a visiting professor to many universities in UK, Australia, Africa and Malaysia. He continued his presenting research papers at the international conferences, world over. He earned good name and fame for Pakistan – was extremely liked and popular wherever he served. Ironically he was ignored and forgotten in his adopted country.

The Nigerian authorities honoured him profusely – provided prestigious positions in the University –hierarchy. On reaching the age of superannuation, he retired. Prof Mohy-u-Din was also an Urdu scholar, wrote Urdu poetry and excelled in Urdu prose. He settled in the Irish Republic. He had one daughter who was working as a consultant in the U.K. Prof Mohy-u-Din also had superb command over English language.

He wrote his auto-biography in Urdu – published poetry and prose in Urdu Journals. I learnt a lot about the art and science of teaching from Prof Mohy-u-din which I again fully used on becoming the Principal of the Army Medical College and the Dean of the Quaid-e-Azam University Medical Faculty.

He gave least importance to monologue lectures and more to interactive conceptual teaching – discussions, analytical creative thinking, and problem solving practical teaching. He was mainly involved in research in which he used to involve his whole staff. In the Dissection Hall, he along with his teaching staff, moved from table to table, engaged students on practical work, discussions developing on their thinking faculties – also involving in clinical aspects structure/function etc. He acted on a proverb that a single picture is better than thousands of words. I introduced this concept in all the basic sciences departments integrating with the clinical applied aspects involving clinical also with the Basic sciences teachers. The Army Medical College was the first to start integrated teaching in Pakistan in 1989. He strongly believed that the basic education should be in the mother tongue.

Prof. Abdul Salam the only Pakistani Noble Laureate had to leave the country as he was denied opportunities for research – instead was asked to look after the College football team. He was invited to an International physics conference held at Bombay during vacations. He read a paper and got massive standing ovation. On reaching home, the education secretary, a bureaucrat asked his explanation for leaving the country without his permission. Dr. Salam was rudely refused the privilege of having residence. The Imperial College London welcomed him – the rest is history. Pakistan lost many brilliant scholars due to maltreatment at home.

Unfortunately even after getting the noble prize, the country treated him shabbily while in India, the Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indra Gandhi welcoming him, served him tea while sitting on the carpet. On Dr. Salam’s feeling over-whelmed by this gesture, she said “This is my way of paying respects to a scholar”.

We should change our attitude and pay respect to talent. We lost so many scholars, scientists, doctors, engineers and many other talented lot due to our maltreatment, thereby promoting mediocrity in the country.