It is a difficult task to write an introduction about a teacher who happens to be the talk of the town, specifically a perennial celebrity based on his academic work. When a university professor grows into a philanthropist, emulating him within the confines of academic achievement becomes a difficult task.
Working in the media sector also gives me an additional lens to zoom into the writing, teaching, research and electronic work of Professor Farhat Basir Khan, Director of the Center for Mass Communication and Media Studies, Jamia Hamdard University, which is one of the top ranking Universities of India for academic excellence. I remember contacting Professor Farhat Basir Khan popularly known as FB Saheb way back in 1999 when I joined my first electronic news media company in the same city. It so happened that I had to identify some media experts as part of a news program and FB Sahib then emerged as one of the oldest university faculties across the country, which greatly influenced the field of information, communication and photography. He used to be called the “Father of Indian Photography”. His 50th-anniversary audiovisual commemorative production for UNICEF India and tutorials for the University Grants Commission and National Council of Educational Research and Training is another feather in his cap.
He configured and designed comprehensive and progressive curricula to such an extent that it attracted the attention of various countries, students and scholars studying mass communication courses on the campus, and is considered a historical event in the field of education.
A man known for his reticence, he never spoke for himself and deliberately avoided media attention, regardless of market demand. He rightly says in his admonition that he is not a propagandist. Partially analyzing his works, we find that he is not curious to focus on the traditional teaching method like many others; he thinks differently as a result, many new areas of knowledge came to light. He theorized the foundations of media studies within teaching and learning methodology. In the expanding world, media communication studies have become a broad field of study, covering the lives and cultures of different continents with enormous diversity and presenting new challenges.
With all these open and closed academic activities such as workshops, conferences, media lectures, electronic reporting, stories, research and writing, participation and organizing events, Prof FB has been a nomad all his life. The facts of this particular aspect of his life are known only to some of his close friends and partners. He constantly travelled to different countries and created communication, which according to him is an initiative to create a dialogue between civilizations. In addition to lectures at various universities and other educational institutions, he moves as a bag packer and cracks unknown geographical horizons. He encounters different civil societies, cultures, languages and forms of speech as he travels through the suburbs of European, Australian, African and Central Asian countries.
Professor FB has accumulated hundreds of splashing experiences over the last three decades through his cat’s wide and wild journey as a speed bagger. He believes in the saying “the traveller gathers honey” which is reflected in his book “The Game of Votes” which appeared in Paper Back Edition in 2019.” As a reader of the book, I can perhaps conclude that Prof FB is one of the rarest pushover thinkers and a creative genre, in India and the world. The University where he is serving has provided him with a full-fledged arena to conquer new milestones and create history.
It has been rightly said that a good teacher is not only expected to master the subject and to ignite the art of teaching but he is considered a torchbearer of his time. Such teachers can undoubtedly introduce the best knowledge and culture to understand the society. We relate the significance of Professor FB and his eye-opening and bold theories on education and the development of intercultural understanding through mass communication. He has the right to be proud of high-profile media persons, serving the best media brands in the world, who were his students a few years ago. It must be recognized that students are the best representatives of their teacher’s flight.
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