Aiming for Everest, Sandeep does a double for now

CONGRATULATIONS once again Sandeep and all the very best for your aim to climb Everest next year. Captain Sandeep Mansukhani is an Old Cottonian of BCS 1992 Batch.
Aug 24,2014, 0600hrs, I was again standing on the summit of Mt.Stok Kangri (6153m), a beautiful peak which lies in the mesmerizing area of Ladakh, in north west India. I was tired and breathless but the overwhelming views of the Himalayan peaks around specially Mt Kun (7077m) – the peak which I summited in Sept 2013.

The feeling of scaling two 6000m peaks in just 4 days overcame all my fatigue.
A day before on Aug 22, 2014 at 1900 hrs, I summited Mt. Golep Kangri (5980m) – a quite technical and exposed peak located in the Zanskar range of the Western Himalayas, near the Karakoram range. Summiting both the peaks within 4 days and fighting against cold weather and treacherous terrain was definitely affecting my body but my training and my passion for mountaineering was showing its results.
Facing these new challenges will definitely be very helpful when I will go for my dream climb of Mt Everest (8848m) in 2015.Capt Sandeep Mansukhani
Emp Code 10618736
Mob: 09810220422

Surinder Singh [L 1950-1955] passed away 20 May 2014

We pray to God to give his wife Mrs Santokh Kaur and sons Taranjit and Manpreet courage to bear this great loss and look back on the years spent together with joy and gratitude.

Best regards,
Wendy [Col. R. Dewan]

Surinder Singh (Tommy).
Born on 20th Sept 1937 and passed away on 20th May 2014 (76 yrs 9 months)

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Surinder Singh migrated to Kalka, India with his family after partition in 1947. He joined BCS in 1950 and graduated from school in 1955. He was a Prefect of the Lefroy house with representation in Athletics and Boxing. Subsequently, he completed Mechanical Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University where he was also the editor for the University’s publications. After brief stints with Wilcox Buckwell (Larsen & Tubro) and ESSO (Bharat Petroleum) he joined the Indian Oil Corporation where he served for 30 years and retired in 1995 as Senior Manager – Aviation. His love for children drove him into taking up teaching assignments for the development of the bright future.

Tommy, as he was fondly named by his school friends, was in love with BCS all throughout his life and considered the school as his second home. He loved visiting school and would usually make unannounced nostalgic visits, be there for some time and talk randomly to a few school children before heading back.

Surinder Singh

Settled in Delhi since 1980, he met with a road accident in 2004 and underwent two brain surgeries post which he got diagnosed with Cryptogenic Liver Cirrhosis (NASH). He fought his illness with great determination and un-daunting courage thereby surviving much beyond his Doctor’s predictions. The Doctors respected him for his fighting spirit. During this sickness as well he visited the school and the associated events. His ever smiling attitude, humor and winsome manners were the key behind the fondness that the Doctors and Nursing staff developed for him. He passed away on 20th May 2014 at 1730 hrs due to multiple organ failure while being in coma during the last few hours.

Deeply missed by his family.

Santokh Kaur (Wife)
Taranjit Singh (Elder son)
Manpreet Singh (Younger son) & Harneet Kaur (Daughter in law) 

Vaneet Jishtu: bringing Ashtavarga back to the hills

Old Cottonian Dr. Vaneet Jishtu [Ibbetson 1972-81] is a Scientist at The Himalayan Forest Research Institute with a M. Sc. and Ph.D. in Botany with specialization in Taxonomy and Cold Deserts .

Here is the article recently published by Meena Menon in The Hindu:

Dr. Vaneet Jishtu is on a mission in Himachal, where invasive species are edging out native plants

As you drive up the Kufri-Chail Road from Shimla near Munda Ghat at a height of 1,700 metres, the untrained eye will only see the slopes dominated by blue pine.

But taxonomist Dr. Vaneet Jishtu is quick to spot the odd white oak among them. “Blue pine is an invasive exotic species which is edging out the local oak,” he points out.

[Photo: Meena Menon]

It is not only indigenous species like the oak that are being edged out but also the rich treasure of medicinal plants, notably the eight plants or ‘Ashtavarga’ that is part of the Ayurvedic formulation Chyavanprash.

Dr. Jishtu says that in Himachal Pradesh, all the eight constituents of ‘Ashtavarga’— Jeevaka, Rishbhaka, Meda, Mahameda, Kakoli, Kshirakakoli, Riddhi and Vriddhi — were fairly common till the turn of the 19th century.

Henry Collect records in his Flora Simlensis, published in 1902, that ‘kshirakakoli’ or Lilium polyphyllum, one of the Ashtavarga constituents was a common undergrowth of the deodar forests. Similarly, the seven other species were commonly found in open grasslands, shrubberies and in the forest undergrowth. It is surprising that in a matter of just about 110 years, wild populations of Lilium polyphyllum have almost vanished from the State, he said.

“It was after investing in large-scale surveys that I was able to locate a few areas where these herbs occur. I am also trying to grow them in ex situ conservation plots near Shimla. Since, the population of these ashtavarga species has dwindled and very few people recognise them, the companies manufacturing Chyavanprash or other formulations must be using their substitutes,” he pointed out.

Revival project

Dr. Jishtu has an ‘Ashtavarga project’ which aims at reviving these eight herbs. A scientist at the Himalayan Forest Research Institute, Dr. Jishtu’s arboretum at Potter’s Hill grows local species like the Indian maple and medicinal plants. His aim is to have at least 150 species which reflect the rich biodiversity of the Himalayas, where he has been trekking for the last 20 years.

In Himachal Pradesh, 47 medicinal plant species are on the Red list and 11 species are critically endangered.

While blue pine or Pinus wallichiana is an invasive species, it is very much native to the region, Dr. Jishtu said. It tends to be invasive under favourable conditions, like openings in the forests, where it replaces the original forest species.

The pretty yellow and white flowers which have covered much of the hillsides and roadsides in Shimla are also an invasive plant from South America (Solanum chacoense, a species of wild potato).

Such non-native species highly reduce the plant diversity of the region and as a result, indigenous plants are in danger of being wiped out, he said.

BCS No 1 Boarding school in the Country

Bishop Cotton School, Shimla is ranked India’s No.1 Boys Boarding School in the EducationWorld India School Rankings 2014. followed by The Scinda School, Gwalior and The Doon School, Dehradun.

For the past six years EducationWorld has been publishing the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings with C fore — the well-known Delhi-based market research and opinion polls agency. They rate and rank over 800 of India’s most high-profile schools on 14 parameters — Bishop Cotton School is first in leadership/ management quality, Disabled friendliness, Sports education.

The other parameters are as follows:

·       Academic reputation

·       Faculty competence

·       Teacher welfare and development

·       Academic reputation

·       Co-curricular education

·       Discipline and life skills education

·       Individual attention to students.

·       Parental involvement.

·       Infrastructure provision.

·       Quality of alumni/ students.

·       Value for money.

·       Community service.


Praveen Dharma