Pukhtun Nama Desk News
In the year 1979, the Pakistani scholar won the Nobel Prize in Physics. His research on the theory of particle physics was very important and a prelude to the discovery of the Higgs boson. The Higgs boson is the particle from which the density of other particles is derived and was finally observed at 2012.
Abdul Salam was the first Pakistani to win the Nobel. His victory should have been recorded in the history of Pakistan, but forty years after his victory, the story of Abdul Salam’s life also disappeared in his homeland, largely because of his religious identity, which was very important to him.
Netflix has created a documentary about Abdul Salam to get his and Bravo’s attention. The documentary is also titled “Abdul Salam; First Nobel Laureate”.
Zakir Thawar, one of the film’s producers, said: “Abdul Salam was the first Pakistani to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. He was wearing a turban and even quoted the Qur’an in his speech after receiving the award.
The film shows his unbreakable commitment to three things, even in the most difficult of circumstances, which is physics, faith and nation.
Salam was born in the city of Jang, then part of British India, at the age of five.
His father was a teacher and said that his birthday would be the result of his divine inspiration during Friday prayers, because he considered this son better than other children.
Salam was exempt from household chores such as milking a cow and cleaning the toilet and therefore had a good time to hone his unique skills in mathematics.
Yet his childhood was not very advanced, he would say he had never seen a lamp or a group until he left his hometown of Lahore for college.
In college, Salam excelled in math and physics. He won a scholarship and went to Cambridge University in the UK.
He was one of the few people to study at St. John’s College in South Asia, but his love for the country led him to move to Lahore after completing his doctorate and become a mathematics teacher.
Salam was a committed Muslim throughout his life based on his faith. He would also listen to the Qur’an in his office in London. He did not consider religion to be a hindrance to his knowledge and even as a complement to one another. He would even tell some friends that God has put a lot of ideas in his mind.
Salam wanted to come up with the idea of explaining all the particle physics and this idea was also in line with his religious beliefs.
“We (theoretical physicists) want to understand the whole complexity of intangible matter with very few concepts of our own,” Salam said.
But Salam also admits that some parts of science, like the Big Bang theory, are not aligned with his beliefs.
As important as his religion was to Salam, it was also a source of suffering because he was a member of the Ahmadiyya sect, a victim of discrimination and mistreatment in Pakistan.
The Ahmadiyya sect was formed in the year 1889 in the Punjab, which was then part of India. Ahmadi Muslims believe that the founder of this group is Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Mahdi. But other Muslims do not believe this. “Ahmadi Muslims are law-abiding and compassionate, but still face various forms of persecution and discrimination, especially in Pakistan,” said Adil Shah, a Friday prayer leader for the Ahmadiyya sect in London.
In 1953, the problems of Ahmadi Muslims increased. Some groups in Lahore revolted against them.
The Punjab government put the death toll at 20, but estimates put the number at thousands.
In the year 1974, a law was passed in Pakistan that barred Ahmadis from being Non Muslims and deprived them of their rights.
In 2012, a group attacked two Ahmadiyya mosques in Pakistan, killing 94 people and wounding more than 120.
“Even if an Ahmadi greets you like any other Muslim,” says Adil Shah. He could face up to three years in prison. Ahmadiyya destroys mosques. Ahmadi destroys graves. “Ahmadi shops are looted and the government does not pay much attention to these incidents.”
Salam left Pakistan after 1953 insurgency. First went to Cambridge. But a few years later he went to London’s Apparel College, where he came to live.
Although Salam had left his homeland, he never left Pakistan and took part in some of the country’s most important scientific projects.
He launched Pakistan’s space program in 1961 and became involved in Pakistan’s controversial nuclear weapons program in the early 1970s.
When then-Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto enacted a tough law against Ahmadi Muslims in 1974, Salam also severed ties with the country’s government and later joined the ranks of fierce opponents of nuclear weapons.
Five years after Abdul Salam and his associates were declared non-Muslims, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics. According to the international community, he was the first Muslim to receive this honor, but he was not considered a Muslim in his own country.
previously on his grave the title board was first muslim winner of the Nobel Prize, but authorities removed the word “Muslim” from it.
Abdul Salam’s documentary maker decided to address the issue in his film: “Because it is both a story, a satire and a tragedy. Removing the word “Muslim” from the name of the first Muslim to win the Nobel. It’s a terrible insult to a shining star of this land. ”
Zakir Thawar says he and another filmmaker, Omar Vandal, first heard Salam’s name when he went to the United States for study in 1990s.
“When his fate was announced in the New York Times, his story was buried in Pakistan.”
When he read more about Salam, he realized that he had been overlooked because of his religion.
“We feel that the story of Salaam has the potential to bring people into the realm of knowledge,” said Mr Thawar. Since then, we have heard from many who have been inspired by Salam’s life story. ”
Salam was always committed to his country and Pakistanis despite all the suffering. He was offered British and Italian citizenship but remained a Pakistani until his death.
Adil Shah – who, like Salam himself, was born in Pakistan but immigrated to London because of discrimination, believes the practice is rooted in Ahmadi thought:
“Ahmadi Muslims, including me, love Pakistan and will always be ready to serve their nation.”
In addition to supporting his country, Abdul Salam was keen to help scholars from developing countries. For this reason he founded the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy in the year 1964. It also aimed to create an environment in which students from developing countries could connect with students from other parts of the world.
Thawar and Vandal worked on a film for 14 years to portray Salam’s life.
“We, two unknown, young and high-minded filmmakers, were hopeful and eager to do important and historic work,” Thawer said. The film manages to entertain as well as inform. Collecting, finding and transporting these images took a lot of time and energy, and we spent almost two years compiling them.
Thawar and Vandal also interviewed people who have never been on camera before. One of them is Professor Salam’s secretary at the ICTP Center.
Thawer says the family was very welcoming and allowed him to turn the notebook page by page and retrieve old family photos and movies:
“When more than a decade has passed on the project, people are eager to be part of your journey and cooperate with you.”
Ahmed Salam, Salam’s eldest son, talks about his father’s life in the film and says of the documentary: “It’s a unique film. It is the film of two very committed and loyal young people who wanted to tell this unique story to their 200 million compatriots. “Most people haven’t heard of Abdul Salam.”
The scenes in the film depict unfamiliar aspects of Salaam’s personality. His former colleagues in the research community talk about his habits and reveal where all these new ideas come from, such strange and sometimes very important theories that eventually won him the Nobel Prize in Physics.
Ahmad calls his father very loyal and says that one day Abdul Salam immediately needed a shirt. The store that provided it to him on time, went to the same store for clothes for the rest of his life.
But Ahmad also says that despite all efforts, the filmmakers have not revealed some parts of his father’s life:
“The film revolves around Pakistan, so there is no chance to talk about the arrogance and greed of the developed countries against the developing countries.”
Thawer believes that the importance of the film is now greater than they thought when it was made:
“At first we felt that this story had to be told, in order to inspire the children of our country, also because the Nobel Prize in Physics has not been praised by Muslims and should be recognized by the people, but by our work. Over the years, the situation of religious minorities in Pakistan has worsened and so has the situation in the Indian subcontinent, as the importance of this story has increased.
The growing fear of Islam in the Western world has also made this documentary more important, Thawar says, because the success of a Muslim shows that he also has knowledge in which the share of Muslims is very small.
Abdul Salam’s son, Ahmad, says his father encouraged developing countries to secure the future of their economies by investing in knowledge and technology, thereby accelerating and sustaining their growth with the support of developed countries. She is still alive years later.