Tag Archives: Letters from OCs

Open letter to Board of Governors, B.C.S. Shimla

I write to you with the attached letter, which was sent to each of the Members of the Board of Governors of Bishop Cotton School. It is my “last bugle call” as Chairman OCA (UK) but a “reveille” to all Cottonians with special emphasis on those Indians living in India, who can more easily make the journey up to the old School to see the situation as it is and with their support, ensures the changes are made to carry BCS successfully forward into the 21st Century.

With my thanks and best wishes to all Cottonians,

Gay Niblett
Chairman OCA (UK)

Chairman and Board of Governors
Bishop Cotton School
Shimla 171002 (HP)
India

4 June 2010

Dear Chairman and Board Members :

I address this letter to you on the occasion of my stepping down as Chairman OCA(UK) after 10 wonderful years at its helm. It is also a seminal moment in the history of our School, in the 150th year since its foundation.

No longer can we look back alone on its history, its tradition and its name on the CV of its pupils to set them apart in the world of globalised pressure and competition. The future demands a stronger, more pragmatic background, based on today’s exigencies and values.

I have been privileged to read Vijay K. Stokes (Rivaz 1948-54) treatise, “150 years of Bishop Cotton School – an assessment of the past – and the future” which should be mandatory reading for all members of the B.O.G. and the Staff of B.C.S. and would be a salutary and eye-opening document for all pupils of B.C.S. past and present. A masterpiece by a brilliant scholar, author of innumerable papers and publications and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers amongst many distinguished honours and for the past 20 years studying the culture of the area 50 miles north of Shimla.

Vijay K. Stokes, like the President of OCA(India) and myself was in Rivaz House, whose motto is ‘Sirvamus’. We all have the School and its future at heart and I quote three small extracts tying-in the past with the future which portray the thoughts of us all:

“… Some good things about (our) school years … irrespective of their background, a rigorous enforcement of the uniform and pocket-money, a strict enforcement of the leave policy and an equal treatment of all parents made all students “equal”. Personal integrity was considered important, as was telling the truth. One did not do underhand things – that was just not cricket! The School motto ‘Overcome Evil with Good’ was in consonance with Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals”.

“ … Mr ‘Tubby’ Whitmarsh-Knight – who set a very high standard as a role model for integrity and as a teacher – was the Senior Master and (my) House Master, the school was well run! Later, as the qualifications of the teachers declined, many of the good practices became rather lax and richer parents could ask for rules to be bent; the School tended to become more of a ‘finishing school’ for the rich” and finally :

“ … The focus of education must shift to training the mind to think – which is the essence of education – and to inculcate a sense of enquiry that best prepares persons for rapidly changing environments. THIS WILL REQUIRE HIGH QUALITY TEACHERS who can make science and mathematics more exciting than cricket (IPL not withstanding!) THE STATUS QUO WILL JUST NOT DO.

“ … WORKING OUT THE REQUIRED REVOLUTIONARY CHANGES IN EDUCATION IS CERTAINLY BEYOND THE KEN OF THE CURRENT STAFF.”

The vital points made by Mr Vijay K. Stokes are echoed by me and other OCs worldwide: a radical change in direction and control by the Board of Governors along with a change in attitude and structure in the running of the school; a delegated line of responsibility filtering down from the Headmaster via the Senior Master, House Masters (and teaching Masters) through Prefects to the pupils themselves must be clearly laid down. Only thus will there be mutual respect achieved with mutual responsibility.

Staff accommodation has to be made decent and acceptable enough to attract the highest level of teachers – who may be fewer but better.

Staff salaries must be increased substantially, commensurate with better qualifications and enough to attract teachers not only from the best in India but from outside India – cost of living adjustments will be taken into account along with leave and travel and the needs of families – not making it essential to have both husband and wife working, simply to provide a living wage!

The infrastructure of the whole school must be overhauled.

Classrooms, dormitories, bathrooms, kitchens, dining-room, recreation rooms laboratories, I.T. and Art, Engineering, Crafts, Hobbies, Theatre and other studies must be renewed and up-dated. Sports facilities improved immensely.

Class sizes must be restricted to 30 pupils per class.

The total number of pupils must be reduced to between 300 and 350.

Fees will have to be raised – without fear – to reflect the changes in the facilities and infrastructure and the upgraded staff.

The School has to compete not only with other schools in India but be looking to provide for schools from the UK and USA who are selling their brands worldwide.

Globally fees for boarding schools range between £25,000 and £30,000 per annum.

Marlborough College has set up schools in Malaysia and the USA. They are actively seeking partners in India. This is not just for the exchange of teachers and pupils. Harrow, Rugby, Westminster and Dulwich College have joint ventures in India and China or are seeking them. This also applies in the setting up of similar schools in the Middle East.

Over the past 18 months OCA(UK) has been developing a relationship, principally with Marlborough College but also with Rugby and Westminster – all schools associated with our Founder, Bishop Cotton (and could call on Harrow School as well) to try and integrate to exchange teachers and pupils between BCS and Marlborough College. The Master of Marlborough, Mr Nicholas Sampson, his Deputy and Mr Larry Lamont – who has met Mr Robinson at school – are keen to foment the relationship. It would be a travesty if all these efforts were not acted upon now.

A chance was lost some 10 years or so ago, when Board Member Mr Deep C. Anand hosted a number of Marlborough pupils on a visit to India with Mr Martin Evans, Secretary of the Old Marlburians. Following last year’s 150th celebrations at Marlborough and the annual cricket match between Marlborough and Rugby – a team from Rugby came to India and was entertained in Delhi by the OCA.

So the potential exists. It must be nurtured.

India stands in the forefront of nations in I.T. and its sons and daughters occupy posts at the highest international levels in Banking, Science, Research, Industry and Commerce. It is to these posts that B.C.S. must aspire for its pupils and now is when it must act – taking the vital steps to renew and reinvigorate its great institution to meet these challenges.

Forgive me for writing at such length but the added inspiration given to me by Mr Deep C. Anand and Mr Vijay K. Stokes caused me to amplify and substantiate those views.

I trust you will consider, digest, discuss and act soon on our thoughts, which come from our hearts and the love of our alma mater and gratitude for all it gave us.

With very best regards,

Yours most sincerely,

Gay Niblett
Chairman OCA(UK)

BCS Sesquicentennial – Letter to OCs

21st October 2009

My dear Fellow Cottonians,

Bishop Cotton School, Shimla – Sesquicentennial Celebrations

I write to thank each one of you – all those who came and many of those who could not – for showing that the spirit of BCS remains alive in all of us.

The six days of celebrations starting with the OCA dinner hosted by Chandigarh Chapter on October 1st and ending with the Closing Ceremonies at the School on the 6th were an absolute delight and I am sure will remain a cherished memory in our hearts and in our lives forever.

Indeed, what a gathering it was! With over a thousand OCs from India and across the Globe – from UK, USA, Canada, Pakistan, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand – many of whom had made this memorable journey for the first time after leaving School! We have all come back from the experience with our spirits soaring, our memories refreshed and bonding reinforced. Let us not ever forget what our School means to us and what it has given us. Let us continue to OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.

I take this opportunity to especially put on record my appreciation and thanks to the Members of the Himachal, Chandigarh and Delhi Chapters of the OCA who gave their valuable time, effort, support and cooperation in ensuring that this grand event was such a resounding success. I also thank the OCA World Body for their unstinted efforts, contribution and, most importantly, their presence during the celebrations. And last but not the least, I thank each and every OC who contributed – whether in the form of personal effort, advice, financial resources or for just being there!

Wishing each one of you happiness, success, good luck and good health,

With my very best wishes,

Yours fraternally,

Deep C. Anand

BCS Living Treasures in Australia


An exchange of emails from OC’s in Australia, initiated by Rishi Rana:

Michael Pratt Lefroy( 1943 – 1951)
From: Michael J Pratt
Sent: 20-Feb-2009 9:05 AM
To: Rana, Rishi
Subject: Re: BCS Sesquicentennial Celebrations October 2009

Thanks received your recent e-mail enquiring whether we had received the earlier message regarding the 150 year reunion in October, well I think I received it and I responded to enquire the best way to travel from Melbourne. with particular regard to whether any any approved travel agent had been recommended.
There are several who arrange tours around the area but I am not really to interested in travelling around on buses.

Regards
Michael Pratt

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Peter Maidment Rivaz( 1941 – 1943)
From: Peter Maidment
Sent: 20-Feb-2009 9:21 AM
To: Rana, Rishi
Subject: Re: BCS Sesquicentennial Celebrations October 2009

 Hi Rishi,
I received it. Sorry I’m unable to attend.

Regards,
Peter Maidment. Rivaz (1941 – 1943)

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Peter Rollo Rivaz( 1934 – 1942)
From: Peter Rollo
To: Rishi Rana
CC: manjulrana
Subject: Celebrations.
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 10:48:11 +0900
Hi fellows…Many thanks for your circular. It is indeed great to hear from you and to know how things are progressing. Unfortunately, age has caught up with me and I am not in any position to be able to join in. However, as a very old Cottonian I would on behalf of all Aussie OCs wish you the very best of luck and hope that everything will turn out 110%…..
By the way Rishi I was Captain of Rivaz in 1941/42. That’s a long, long time ago. Wonderful days.

Cheers and God Bless.

img_0382
The Rollo Family

From Peter (Rollo) 1934 – 1942.

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Ian Claridge Lefroy( 1943 – 1944)
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 17:38:18 +1100
From: ianbev01
To: manjulrana
Subject: Re: FW: Sesquicentennial Celebration of BCS this year in October

Thank you, Rishi for all the info,

I will try to pass it on to the few OCS members I have had connection with in Australia.

I am now aged 73 but am still active in a number of things – still working as an Accountant from an Office under our house.

My wife Beverley and I go to the Indian Tea and Curry Restaurant, Pacific Highway, Turramurra (20 minutes drive from here) for an informal meal (2nd Tuesdayof the month) as Present or Past Bellringers and Partners at St James Anglican Church, Turramurra. We had been going for a year before I discovered that the owner Nana was an Old Cottonian! In fact a few years ago we had an Old Cottonian Dinner at which regrettably we could only muster 4 OCs – very few seemed to have settled in Sydney.

I actually went to BC Prep School in 1943 for a year after my mother died in Shimla. I then moved to Rawalpindi to live with my uncle who became my Guardian My father died in Ajmer in1936, a year after I was born and my mother became Housekeeper to a number of Viceroys – we lived in Viceroy’s House, Delhi and Viceregal Lodge in Shimla until my mother’s death.

In 1945 I and my Uncle’s family moved to England and I lived there until I was 16 when I moved to New Zealand (on my own) and lived there until 1959 when I came to Australia where I married a local and I’ve lived here ever since – interrupted fr ten years by a divorce, after which I re-married someone else and have lived in Sydney since.

Seven years ago we went to India and spent three days in Shimla, visiting BCS where Col Diwan found the page of the Registration book where I had been enrolled at BCPS – it was quite an emotional moment for me!

Kind regards,

Ian Claridge
19 Merlin St, Roseville NSW 2069

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Dick D’Abreu Curzon( 1936 – 1946)
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 16:10:24 +0900
From: bpbb9334
To: manjulrana
Subject: RE: Sesquicentennial Celebration of BCS this year in October

G’day Mr Rishi,

Thanks for the email in regards to the Bishop Cotton School 150th celebrations that will take place in Simla. I was forwarded your email through George West whom I am in regular contact with in Perth Western Australia. I was in school with Malcolm Petters. Peter Rollo and George West, and we have been in close contact for many years as we live in W.A. My time was from 1936 to 1945. And I enjoyed a happy school life. My working life was with the Australian Army and Air Force from 1946 t0 1976. I had 30 years of ‘Service Life’ and left with my superannuation and a war disability allowance. At 81 years of age, although I live a reasonably healthy life, I am unable to travel long distances by air any more. I would have loved to say that I would be over for the school celebrations, as even though I left school 64 years ago, it all seems like yesterday. We have also had kind invitations to attend the celebrations in the U.K. By the OC’s committee there, many of the older boys I still remember. I regrettably had to decline.

I wish you and all the OC’s organizing this big event every success. I am pleased to know that the school traditions and standards are much the same as when I was a boarder there.

My best wishes, Dick D’Abreu.

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Date: Sun, 1 Mar 2009 17:29:50 +0900
From: bpbb9334
To: manjulrana
Subject: RE: Sesquicentennial Celebration of BCS this year in October

Hi Mr Rishi,

Malcolm Petters is the oldest of us in W.A. He and Fred Brown were good mates in school and played hockey together for the school team. I knew Fred when he was an older boy in school from 1936 to when he left in 1939. He then came back as my House Master of Curzon in my last year of school. Malcolm left school in 1939, when he joined the British Army in Deolali, (not too sure of the date) I met up again with him in Perth W.A. Malcolm is not very well these days as he is getting on in age. His wife Evelyn looks after him at their home in Perth. Peter George visit him frequently, while I try to visit him from Bunbury whenever we come down to Perth. His email address is petters@xxxxx His wife Evelyn now answers his mail for him…a very nice lady. Peter Rollo can be reached at COP007@xxxxx  He is going quite well, but like me has slowed down quite a bit. George West is at gdwest33@xxxxxxHe was a few years younger though I knew him in Curzon House in 1945… 
 new_pa1 
In my younger days!!!

 

new_pa2 
At age 81!! 

Hope this can help your research… Cheers, Dick.

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William Cartwright Rivaz( 1941 – 1944)
From: william cartwright
To: manjulrana
Subject: RE: E-MAILS
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 22:29:23 +0900

RECEIVED YOUR E-MAIL MANY.MANY THANKS, PLEASE KEEP INTOUCH, ALL THE BEST.

WILLIAM (BILL) CARTWRIGHT RIVAZ 1941 TO 1944

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Hitesh Uberoy Rivaz( 1948 – 1955)

From: Hitesh Uberoy 
Sent: 20-Feb-2009 7:38 PM
To: Rana, Rishi
Subject: RE: BCS Sesquicentennial Celebrations October 2009

Hi Rishi.

Glad to learn you are in Adelaide. I’m in Sydney. My Mobile No. is xxxxxxx. Both my sons are here. Elder Vikas is working as B.D.M with Avnet, an American Security Software company, his wife is in Medicare. Younger Vishal is with Dyno Nobel, the explosives Gigiants and his wife is in Railcorp.

Yes I knew R.K.Simha, Prashida, Prabal {who was a year my senior and Om who was my batch mate. They were all Rivazites. Next year we were together in Delhi University.

I have just returned after a 3 months holiday in India. In Delhi, 12 of us OC’s got together for Lunch at the Golf Club.

i have a couple of relatives & friends in Adelaide. One is a Deputy Director at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dr. Yugesh Caplash.

Do keep in touch.

Warm Regards,

Hitesh