Chrysanthemum exhibition at ICU attracts flowers-buffs

Mohammad Elman

PESHAWAR: Being the student of Management Sciences Department of the Islamia College University (ICU) Peshawar, last week I walked up to my beloved historic institution in order to submit my assignment to my honourable teacher, I noticed there were a number of people gathered in the lawn adjacent to the Vice Chancellor Office. When I moved there along with my friends, I found that the wonderful annual exhibition of chrysanthemum (Gul-i-Daudi in local dialect) was luring drove of visitors. 

The magnificent Islamia College University each year arrange Chrysanthemum Exhibition but due to Covid-19, this year I was thinking it might not be held but contrary to my fears, the administration of the ICU conducted the exhibition this year too amid standard operating procedure (SOPs) of wearing masks, keeping social distance and allowing group of only 30 visitors that could enter the lawn at a time to see different kinds of chrysanthemum displayed there.

There I bumped onto with some of my professors and batch-fellows who had showed up there to enjoy the chrysanthemum show with their friends and families. We visited different sections of 75 varieties of chrysanthemum flowers displayed there. In the entrance gate of the lawn there was a banner hanged on which carried photos of chrysanthemum inscribed with welcoming remarks to the historic Islamia College Peshawar and in the lower corner of the banner precautionary note was put up regarding Covid-19 to follow SOPs before entering the lawn.

Entering the premises of the lawn, there we met a senior gardener Javid kaka, one of the 65 gardeners of the ICU. He shed light on the foundation and a little bit history of Gul-i-Daudi display at the Islamia College. He narrated that for the first time the chrysanthemum exhibition was started in 1984 and only teachers and students used to enjoy its view but way back in 1986 the administration of the College decided to launch it formally for the public view.

According to Javid Kaka, in the beginning, there were not many educational institutions in and around the Peshawar city but now the number had increased manifold. In the past, he said that the number of people visiting chrysanthemum show used to be in hundreds but now it swelled up to thousands as after 36 years of the exhibition and increase in the number of educational institutions also rope up.

Prof Dr Sareer Badshah, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Islamia College University, welcomed the guest-visitors and then led them to the venue of the display. Sharing his views he said that Islamia College Peshawar was known for its quality of education in the entire world and was also encouraging co-curricular activities on its lush green campus.

Mr Ali Hoti, the co-coordinator of chrysanthemum exhibition briefed us and other guest visitors on the show. He explained to us the importance of such activities and added that those students who had been passed out of the University should also visit the chrysanthemum display to enjoy the it and if they were in their final semesters, they may or not find such rare opportunity in their life to enjoy the chrysanthemum exhibition at the Islamia College.

Muhammad Khalid, a student of the ICU said that he along with along his classmates were lucky enough to have had such an event to enjoy during their student life in the ICU. He stated that it was a great moment for them to enjoy such an event because of hectic study hours and burden of assignments and busy schedule due to online study. The show, he said, gave them some relief in the wake of fear of second wave of Covid-19.

There we also met a girl-student, Shumaila Khan from Botany Department of the University of Peshawar, who was doing her M.Phil thesis on Peshawar’s flowers. She said that she found a great opportunity to study so many varieties of a single flower specie in the exhibition.

Fortunately, it was women day too, there were different representatives of women organizations turned up at the event to enjoy the flowers and shed light on the role of women in the development of society. Women faced different hurdles visiting such places, they said. Without women’s contribution, building a prosperous society was impossible. There were less opportunities for the refreshment and education in our society for women but with the passage of time people were going to accept the role of women in making the society prosperous, one of the women ambassadors, Shandana Imtiaz added.

Many fans of flowers were there from different walks of life and students from different institutions, including Peshawar Public School and College, Edwardes College Peshawar, Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology Peshawar, CECOS University Peshawar and Agriculture University Peshawar to enjoy the chrysanthemum flowers.

We took a round of all the sections of chrysanthemum and enjoyed the exhibition. It was a very charismatic day, the happiness on faces of people was awesome. People were capturing photos of different flowers but the focal point was the flex in the corner of lawn on which there were pictures of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his sister Fatima Jinnah and secondly the section of chrysanthemum which was in the centre of the lawn, on which the name of our great alma matter ICU was decorated with white colour chrysanthemum flowers, between the bunch of pink chrysanthemum flowers.

In the recent past Peshawar city experienced worst days of militancy and terror attacks, also as earlier discussed there were fewer occasions of enjoyment in Peshawar due to its increasing population and past terrorism era in the city had already rendered everyone full of depression and anxiety, such event could decorate smiles on the faces of people. I personally, all and sundry but especially children enjoyed a lot the exhibition. The great Islamia College should continue to organize such events and positive activities on its campus because it’s a great source of enjoyment for the masses and secondly, it has become now the most wonderful feature of Islamia College Peshawar over the decades.

The writer is a student of the Department of Management Sciences, Islamia College University, Peshawar.  Sciences of  

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