Tag Archives: Funding

OCA Reunion (batch of 1989) : update

OCA Reunion (batch of 1989)

By Gursant Sandhu – Ibbetson House

I am so glad that I could make it for the Old Cottonian’s 1989 batch Silver Jubilee celebrations in Shimla, 18th – 20thSeptember 2015. I would like to share my experience with you so I have written this short article.

Firstly, I along with my batch mates are ever so grateful and indebted to our respected Headmaster, Mr Robinson who opened the School gates and hosted us for three days. We very much appreciate that our reunion was during a busy period in the School Calendar. My batch mates and I would also like to thank Mr & Mrs Robinson for all their hospitality. A very special thank you to all the Teachers, Administrative Staff, non-teaching Staff and also to all the young Cottonians who made our experience such a memorable one.

As soon as Kuljinder Bahia and I landed at Chandigarh airport on 16th September, we were greeted at the airport exit by Kamal Kishore. Although this greeting was meant to be a brief one, we had Kamal Kishore travelling with us to Shimla and his boxing skills from our School days could not defend or match Kuljinder’s persuasive skills.  In the next 24 hours, there were lots of phone calls finding out where our batch mates were, who is travelling with whom, have they left Chandigarh, what time will everyone be in Shimla etc. – the excitement was building up as some of us, for one reason or another, had not met since passing out of School. On the 17th September, Sam Grewal was speeding up to Shimla with Amit Bakshi, Sukhtep Arora and Ankur Rohtagi in one car followed by many others. By about 8 pm on the 17th, we were under one roof – at The Marina Hotel.

The first day (18th September) of our visit to School kick started with a very touching and a heart-warming chapel service.  The Headmaster in his speech confirmed that Kuljinder Bahia has donated 50 lakh rupees to the School and that these funds are held in the School’s Bank Account. From the Chapel we headed to the main Dining Hall for tea and a game of football which was of course won by the young Cottonians.  Although we were beaten, some of us bruised by falls, and admittedly followed by days of muscle and joint aches and pains, it was nonetheless the spirit of the game and the participation which we enjoyed. Seeing some familiar faces on the first flat after the game, namely Mr Robin Sinha and Mrs Kaul bought back some lovely memories.

I hope that the interaction session between the 1989 batch and the Upper Sixth Form was productive for the budding Cottonians who will very shortly leap into a very competitive world. Ideas about business, professions, academic routes, self-development etc. were raised. General aspects of life in School, the Cottonian brotherhood, inculcating discipline and English speaking within the campus were also touched upon. Visits to Chelsea, St Bede’s College, Auckland House, town leave etc. did not go amiss. Mr and Mrs Robinson opened the doors of the Headmaster’s Lodge for us for some enjoyable drinks (as a student, a visit to the Headmaster’s Officer or Lodge meant some serious and deep trouble!) followed by Headmaster’s Dinner in the Irwin Hall.  The whole day was full of activities, interaction and was thoroughly exciting.

Although we had a very long and tiring first day, we kept to our punctual timing and were on the first floor flat at 10am on the 18th September. Our match with the School XI cricket team started at 10.30, winning the toss we elected to bat first. The game which was witnessed by the whole School, Teaching and Administrative Staff did go in favour of the School team. Nitin Arora bowled very well and I could hear the cheering from the Cottonians, which included the shouts of “c’mon He-Man” (being Nitin’s school name). These cheers were probably instigated by the bubbly and jovial Abhinav Sikka (a keen tennis player from Kullu) and Inderpal Singh Dhillon Rakesh Thakur badly injured his finger. Many catches were dropped by us, including one by yours truly. All the action was caught by Amit Bakshi on his camera.

Lunch on the second day was also in the main Dining Hall. It was delicious! There was then a brief stopover at Mr Bhardwaj’s office where we verified our ICSE marks as there was some banter about some students claiming more marks than what they had achieved, flicked through The Cottonian, general gup-shup. We had a few hours to kill post lunch, so most of us headed back to our nests. The masseur at Hotel Marina had a rather profitable day, given that by this time everyone was queuing for his service. Late afternoon, we witnessed a very competitive and enjoyable Inter-House Hindi Play Competition – a great job by all the students who participated, the organisers and the House Masters. At the request of the Upper Sixth Form boys, Kuljinder Bahia approached the Headmaster for town leave. This was immediately granted, so a good result for the boys. Another sumptuous dinner was laid for us in the main Dining Hall.

Day three (20th September) began with a Campus Tour. The Junior School has since 1989 been completely transformed. It was so nice to see Mrs Modi still active in her duties. Immediately after the Campus Tour, Kuljinder very generously donated an additional 10 lakh rupees for the development of Lefroy House cubicles! We enjoyed another lunch in School, this time with all the main school boys.

We hosted a dinner at Hotel Marina for the Headmaster, Head of Junior School, Senior Master, Second Master, Bursar, Administrative Officer, House Masters and all the teaching staff. By the time we started, the Shimla weather turned for good from a light drizzle to a dry one (although slightly cold). It was an honour for us that the such a large number of invitees attended. The Headmaster distributed souvenir plates, which had been sent all the way from Delhi by the OCA Delhi Chapter.

Kuljinder Bahia’s action of gifting 60 lakh rupees to the School is praise worthy.  It takes a huge heart to make such a generous gift, irrespective of how successful one is in his business or stable in his financial affairs. I hope that Kuljinder Bahia continues to contribute to his Alma Mater not only financially but also with his experience as successful entrepreneur. He is also liaising with the Marlborough College regarding an exchange programme for students and teachers, and we all hope that it materialises.

I take this opportunity to thank Mr Vijay Bhardwaj for many things, which include his dedication to the School and its past and present student’s, for always motivating and showing his students the correct and righteous path and for his politeness and humbleness. I have liaised with Mr Bhardwaj over the last 12 months or so trying to organise dates etc. for the reunion and as always I am grateful for the time he has given me, his guidance and support.

Thank you to Mr Dhaliwal, Mr Dinesh Thakur, Mr Danny Singh and Mr Gurprit Singh for their unbiased umpiring!

A big cheer and thank you to Mr Praveen Dharma for his time and effort in co-ordinating and supervising all the activities.

Kuljinder, Dhiraj Sardana and I left Shimla early morning on the 21st. Never shall I forget the memories attached to my batch reunion. Still kindled and strong are those friendships and bonds – which will never die.  I carried along the School Service book which I read regularly.

Please forgive me if I have missed anyone or any important aspects in this article, given that I have compiled this within a short time frame.

Before I conclude, I must thank those batch mates who made it to the reunion, including the day scholars and for all those OC’s who contributed towards the dinner hosted at the Marina Hotel. Sukhtep Singh, Pronthep (Pawanjeet) Singh and Umesh Pandey came all the way from Thailand, so the OCA Thailand Chapter survives!  I look forward to meeting all of you again, hopefully for the OCA (UK) reunion on 25 June 2016 in London.

Gursant Sandhu 
London

An appeal to help J&K

Dear Old Cottonians
We make a fervent appeal to all OCs around the world to donate generously to those ravaged by the floods in J&K.  Mr Junaid Azmi Mattu can give give specifics as to how donations may be channeled either by the OCA or by individual members.
Regards
BM Singh [President, OCA India]

Dear Fellow Old Cottonians,

I am staring at the haunting screen of my computer wondering where to start. I am writing to all of you spread across the world to describe a natural calamity that has devastated Jammu & Kashmir and displaced more than a million people, rendering most homeless as cruel, cold winters stare us in the face. The floods that inundated most of Srinagar City and washed away hundreds of villages throughout the length and breadth of the State have left an indelible mark on my heart and mind. Having survived an almost certain death during a rescue operation, I still come home guilty and anguished every night thinking of those who couldn’t make it.

There are heart-rending stories – of a bride’s body in her bridal dress that was fished out days after the floods, of an entire wedding party of fifty disappearing into the waters including the just-weds, tales of mothers jumping into the furious rage of the floods after infants were pulled out of their laps by the gushing fury and swallowed by the waters forever. I have seen people die and disappear up close during the darkest hours of the floods when there were no rescue boats to pull people out. I took a rescue boat into the worst hit area in Srinagar (Jawahar Nagar) the first morning after the city got drowned up to two floors of water and saw people clinging on to straws and stuck on steep rooftops in some of the most affluent neighborhoods of the city – the fabled ‘Paradise on Earth’ – now a big vast pile of crumbled and crumbling houses. Their cries for help, their wailing and their screams will remain with me till I am alive.

Unofficial estimates of the death-toll keep getting revised every day as more and more bodies surface from the receding waters. In my estimation around 1,000 to 1,200 people must have lost their lives in the State. Around one million (10 lakh) people are displaced and homeless with their clothes, food, ration, belongings all swept away. The damage to both public and private infrastructure is incomprehensible and could be upto 100,000 crores.

Entire localities have been devastated. Our hospitals in the city were up to two floors under water – ruining expensive diagnostic equipment, destroying blood-banks and sweeping away supplies and stocks of medicines. The night the Jehlum waters breached the embankments, almost all critically ill children in our Chidren’s Hospital died for want of oxygen and incubation. Numerous pregnant women lost their lives due to complications resulting due to lack of access to doctors and emergent care as Srinagar’s Maternity Hospital got flooded up to the second floor and became inaccessible.

Now, while the rescue operations have officially concluded, we are looking at a human tragedy the scale and magnitude of which is incomprehensible. Hundreds and thousands of people are without drinking water, food, warm clothes and shelter. The threat of epidemics and water-borne diseases looms large over the capital city. The Tourism and Private Sector is almost entirely wiped out – rendering a death-blow to the State’s Economy after we had just started to recover from the devastating political turmoil the State had witnessed. New roads, bridges, public infrastructure, buildings, schools, dispensaries – everything seems to have been swept away like it never existed. Around 1,200 government schools have been swept away – floor, ceiling and roof in the fury.

I write to all of you – my brothers – not as a politician and certainly not as a resident of Jammu and Kashmir alone. I write to you as an Old Cottonian who believes that we could and should all pool in and organize an effort true to the charter, motto and spirit of Bishop Cotton School. This is unambiguously one of the worst National Disasters to have hit India in recent history – comparable perhaps only to the Gujarat Earthquake. While the Government, the Armed Forces, the Air Force has done and will continue to do all it can – this tragedy merits an enormous civic action and effort. Numerous NGOs and thousands of individuals from across the country are pitching in – some even having flown in to personally assist and help. And every hand, every penny and every single quilt that we receive is one small step towards rebuilding and rehabilitating the lives of a million people.

I make a humble appeal to all Old Cottonians’ Associations across the world to contribute and organize a systematic charitable response to this almost apocalyptic catastrophe in India. While the OCs in Punjab could help by collecting and sending off rice, flour and pulses, the OCs in Delhi for instance could focus on bedding, clothes and medicines. A lot could be done by OCs in USA, UK, Canada, Australia and elsewhere too. Once the wheels are in motion initially, we can then organize and delegate distinct areas among various OCA groups and chapters – attempting to put forth a holistic, comprehensive relief and rehabilitation effort. I request Presidents of respective OCA Chapters to come forth and help in coordinating an Old Cottonian’s Operation in response to this challenge thrown our way.

Let us all please help in overcoming this tragedy and rebuilding lives.

Regards,
Junaid Azim Mattu
Lefroy, 2003.

Spokesperson – J&K National Conference
Mobile: +91-941946600
Email: junaid.msu@gmail.com

OCA India – admin office?

Dear Fellow Cottonians,
 
All of you must be aware that our OLD BOYS ASSOCIATION  has already completed 100 years this year. No mean achievement.

Our OCA is even older than some famous public schools,who recently managed to hog media limelight.
We all had a very successful 150 year celebrations of our school founders. As the 150 years were celebrated with such spirit and gusto, lets now work out an agenda for the future of OCA.

We have such exceptionally bright old boys, who are well connected and doing extremely well in life who can contribute  their ideas, to make the OCA an self sufficient and independent body.
Its been a hundred years, and we still do not have our own regular office/place where we can meet and call our own.

We are indeed very grateful and indebted to Mr.D.C. Anand, who for all these years has been providing us his hospitality, generosity and facilities at his office complex  at 1 Aurobindo Marg.

Is it not time that our Association plans to have a regular office complex ? We saw how old boys displayed their love and generosity to donate such large sums for the school’s 150 year celebrations. I think its time again to show your love for the OCA and come out to give your thoughts  to make a better and bigger OCA. I  am sure with our old boys being so well connected we manage to get some land allotted in the Institutional Areas in the NCR region.
From there on, we can build brick by brick, so at least the next generation of OC’s can have a place to call their own – THE OCA HOUSE.

THESE THOUGHTS ARE OF MANY LIKE MINDED OC’s, but we would like many more of you to give your ideas and suggestions.

Cheers
Vijay Singh (Kuttu)

RLV Update 13-Dec-09

RoshanLal043Dear  OCs,

Mission Roshan Lal Sir  “GREH PRAVESH” almost accomplished!

Attached photo of his ready house. Being Monday tomorrow we cant do much. Though we hope and look forward to move him to his house by the day after.

Needless to say that this has been possible with all the efforts of all OC’s.

Please look into the snaps of how the house was, and where he will be be moving into now.   

Love  and care to all those who’ve been in touch and those who’ve been there behind the scenes!!!

Rgds – Karan Sarin.

 


Here is the list attached in Excel format, of funds received in Palampur a/c and in the OCA Himachal a/c. 
There could be minor discrepancies as I have tried my best to link the receipts in the a/c with the confirmation mails.
OCs are requested to please check those UNTRACED remittances and let us know details so we can correctly allocate these to your name.
Please email webmaster@oldcottonians.org

Rgds – Arun Sawhney.

 

OCA UK funds a school library to assist 2005 quake victims

OCA United Kingdom

Following the tragic disaster of the earthquakes in Pakistan in 2005, the Old Cottonians Association (UK) decided to raise money for an Appeal Fund to go towards the construction of a new school in the devastated area of Pakistan. Dr. Humayun Khan took it upon himself, with his wife, to administer these funds to their best use.

We now have a photograph of the plaque and there are also those of the school itself, showing the results of our contribution to this most worthy cause.

oca-uk-pakOur contribution mirrors the deep and lasting feelings of brotherhood which those educated in Bishop Cotton School Simla carry with them over the years. This feeling which crosses borders of country, race and religion, is one of the pillars on which the school was founded and manifests itself to this day. Our Annual Reunions, held in London, bring OCs from East and West, North and South and for us the camaraderie and memories of our schooldays bring us together, shedding the years and reviving and strengthening our friendships, borne of years of ‘suffering’, joy and proximity of annual periods of nine months together in the heavenly setting of then) pine-clad Simla!

So we are proud to have been able to be of some humble assistance in the rehabilitation of young children in this most important of their requirements – the chance to be educated.

We now look forward to seeing a number of OCs from Pakistan joining us from the UK, along with others from around the world, in Simla at the beginning of October to celebrate our 150th Anniversary.

We also send our greetings and best wishes to all those young pupils in their new school for a happy and successful time, which will hopefully lead to a bright future, helping them to cross the borders of country, race and religion.

Gay Niblett
Chairman
OCA (UK)