My Experience at Hohai University and My Present Status——Dr. Babar M. Munir

 

After getting my high school certificate in Pakistan, I was awarded a scholarship by the Ministry of Education of Pakistan for higher education in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). The Scholarship was sponsored by the Government of the PRC under the Cultural Exchange Program.  

I went to the PRC for University education in 1982. The first year of study was devoted to learning the Chinese language (Mandarin) at the Beijing Language Institute (BLI). It is now called the ‘Beijing Linguistic University’. The Chinese language is very difficult so 9 months to learn it was not enough, but we all did our best to learn.  We still faced enormous difficulties while studying engineering courses in Chinese.

After completing the Chinese language course, I joined Hohai University in Nanjing as an undergraduate student in 1983. Our group was called the 83rd group. At Hohai University, I was admitted into the Department of Irrigation Engineering (Nong Tian Shui Li Gong Cheng). In my group we were 9 foreign students and there were about 70 Chinese students. Amongst these there were only a few girls. At Hohai University we were warmly welcomed by the university authorities. The authorities had arranged our residence within the university campus in separate hostels. These hostels were equipped with fairly good facilities and were only meant for foreign students. The university’s  ‘Foreign Affairs Office’ looked after matters for foreign students. On the second day of our arrival the university authorities arranged a dinner party in our honor where senior foreign students were also invited. The party was attended by the President of the university (Mr. Liang Rui Ju), the Chairmen of all Departments, Senior Professors and Officials of the Foreign Affairs Office. On the third day of our arrival we were given an orientation about the whole university infrastructure and facilities. On this day, the Chairmen of our Department also delivered a speech, which mainly focused on ethical norms and motivation.

We followed our course books written in Chinese, attended classes with Chinese students and all teachers delivered lectures in Chinese. All our respected teachers were very knowledgeable, polite, committed and devoted to their profession of academics and research. They always prepared their lectures well, delivered lectures with great enthusiasm, energy and sprit. They taught all topics of the prescribed syllabus systematically. Since our comprehension of the Chinese language was not very good, we foreign students faced enormous difficulty in following the lectures and reading course books. Eventually, though, with the full cooperation and encouragement of university authorities and our worthy teachers, and by our own commitment and work these difficulties were overcome. I must admit that without constant cooperation, encouragement and devotion of our teachers and concerned authorities it was nearly impossible to follow courses in the Chinese language.

If we couldn’t grasp certain topics in class lectures our teachers were always willing to arrange special lectures for just the foreign students. The love, assistance and tenderness, which I received from my teachers and university authorities, will remain an unforgettable part of my life. I had very good friendships with Chinese students. They all were very responsive, humble and ever ready to help us in all matters. Their brotherly relations and cordial attitude will certainly remain an exclusive chapter in my life. I really miss the best days of my life at Hohai University, my honorable teachers, my best friends and classmates, many of whom may now be in important positions.  I want to give my upmost admiration and my deepest gratitude to my thesis supervisor, Prof. Zhang Hong Chu. I prepared a hand written thesis on the “Design of Hydro Power Station” penned in Chinese. Professor Zhang was indeed a man of superb caliber in terms of his academic performance and ethical values. If I needed urgent guidance while designing and writing the manuscript he encouraged me to go to his house. He and his wife welcomed me warmly and provided me hospitality.

At Hohai University play grounds were vast and equipped with all kinds of facilities. I really enjoyed good times at the swimming pool. I loved to learn Chinese Martial Arts and Gong Fu. The university authorities arranged a coach for us but we could not learn much due to the age factor.

During those days (1982 - 1987) in the PRC, the life standard and living conditions were not very good. Being a young man aged 21 to 25, I was not mature enough, yet I could realize the direction and targets set by the Chinese nation. I realized that the government of the PRC was determined and had laid a strong foundation and basic infrastructure for future growth. I was correct in my assessment because the PRC has now emerged as a strong nation.

I present my heartiest felicitations and congratulations to Hohai University on its’ 100th anniversary and wish it millions of successes to serve its’ nation and the global community. I also pray for a long life for the PRC.        

After my graduation from the Hohai University in 1987, I returned to Pakistan. In the same year, I joined a Chinese firm, the ‘China Geo-Engineering Corporation’ in Pakistan as a Site Engineer. The firm was engaged in the installation of Tube-wells. After a few months I left the firm and joined the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET), Jamshoro, as a Research Assistant. This University is located about 170 km east of Karachi city. At the University, I worked at the ‘Institute of Water Resources Engineering and Management (IWREM)’. In 1988, I sought admission to postgraduate studies at the same Institute. I completed postgraduate studies in 1991 with the degree of Master of Engineering (M.E) in Hydraulics and Irrigation Engineering.   

In 1992, I was promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor and posted to the Department of Civil Engineering (CED) of the University. I continued my duties at the CED until 1995. After a few months at the CED I was transferred to IWREM. In 2000, I was promoted to the rank of full professor at the IWREM. Since then, I have been working at the IWREM as a professor and several times have also worked as the Director of the same Institute. Since 2011, I have also been working as the Director of Management Information System (MIS), at the MUET. My main engagements at the MUET have been teaching and research at the postgraduate level.I live happily on the university campus with my wife, two sons and two daughters.