Syed Mir Hassan (1844-1929) belonged to a religious family of eastern physician
but didn't opt for that profession for reasons of aesthetics; likewise he also refused
to take up a career as traditional prayer leader because he didn't wantto live on
charity. Much to the horror of his family he ended up teaching at a vernacular
school run by missionaries. At the age of nineteen he also visited Delhi to meet
the famous poet Mirza Ghalib, and later became
in person on numerous occasions.
Mir Hassan did not believe in discipline by the rod, and his answer to a principal who once
asked him why his class was noisy, was,"I am teaching the kids."When faced with the task
of teaching English (a language he didn't at all),he brough t the dictionary and invited
pupils to join him learning the new tongue.he taught literature through comparison of couplets
from Urdu, Persian, Arabic and Punjabi.
Iqbal was known to consult him even long after leaving the school, and obtained the title of
Shamsul Ulema for him when he himself was offered knighthood in the early 1920's.
Asked whether his teacher wrote any books, he made the famous reply,"I am the book he wrote.