TO ALL MY FELLOW OLD COTTONIANS:
‘It is with great honour and privilege, I wish to inform you that I, Justice Rupinder Singh Sodhi (Retd.) of BCS Batch – 1962, House – Curzon, have taken over as President of the ‘Old Cottonians Association – India’ w.e.f. 1st April 2017 alongwith my new team members as below :-
1. Mr. Ashwani Singh Virk – Secretary, Mob. 9810194724
2. Neel Kamal Mehra – Treasurer, Mob. 9810784441
3. Mr. Vivek Bhasin – Jt. Secretary, Mob. 9899561236
4. Mr. Himmat Singh, Mob. 9828383183
5. Col. Uppi Gill, Mob. 9417801853
6. Dr. Ravi Toor, Mob. 9888890788
7. Mr. K.Vijay Singh, Mob. 9811056361
8. Mr. Suneel Bandhu, Mob. 9223349090
9. Mr. Mohnish Sharma, Mob. 9930992094
I also hereby appeal to all of you to enthusiastically take part in activities organised by any chapter of OCA(India) and show your true Cottonian spirit to support our fraternity worldwide.
Sincerely looking forward to a healthy co-operation and association from all old cottonians.
It is with great sadness I wish to inform all about the passing away of Dr Mathew Zachariah. I received information from his friend in Delhi, George Mathew (see messages below)
While I will share more details about this interesting man, it would appear, or so I speculate, that it was his kidneys that gave way. He had been on dialysis for some years now.
Dr Zachariah had an impact on so many of us. Some of what he taught us then 11 years old has stuck like glue for the rest of our lives. I even today live by the value system that he and some of the others inculcated in us. I am glad he touched my life and owe him a big thanks.
May his soul rest in peace. He was a good man, nay a wonderful man!!
I am sending below the message received from my friend in Ohio. Very sad indeed.
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: oommen thomas
To: George Mathew
Sent: Tuesday, 25 October 2016 5:48 PM
Dear G. Mathew
Very sorry to inform you that Dr. Mathew Z passed away 25th early morning 12.30 their time. All the children wife Saro and his brother Dr.Alex was also there with him. May his soul rest in peace.
Take care. Ani and Leela
Here is an obit for Dr Mathew Zachariah that appeared The Calgary Herald.
Mathew Zachariah May 24, 1935-October 25, 2016 Mathew Zachariah passed away on October 25, 2016. He was born in Tiruvalla, Kerala, India in 1935. He spent part of his childhood in Miri, Borneo where his father was an accountant with an oil company, returning to India with his mother in the early 1940’s when a Japanese invasion was imminent. He had and older and younger brother. His father suffered much during the war years in Borneo and died in 1946 on his return to India. In 1942, he was informally adopted by his mother’s older sister and husband, a childless couple, and raised as their son. In the early 1960s he moved to the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar to advance his post-secondary education, and in 1966 accepted the position of assistant professor with the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. He became an associate professor in 1969 and full professor in 1973.
Dr. Zachariah holds several degrees, including a BA in economics from University of Madras (1956), B.Ed from University of Delhi (1960), MS in Education, English and Social Sciences from State University of New York (New Paltz, 1962) and a PhD in Social Sciences and Education from University of Colorado at Boulder (1965). A comparative sociologist of education, he made significant contributions to academic services at University of Calgary as department head and associate dean in the Faculty of Education. He retired from the U of C in 2000 after more than three decades of service and was honoured as an Emeritus Professor of Education. He continued his community service activities, despite failing health.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a U of C Students’ Union Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching in 1985 and in 1999, a national award from the Canadian Committee of Students in Education for mentoring masters and doctoral students. He received the Alberta Human Rights Award in 1989, as well as the Internationalization Lifetime Achievement Award by the U of C in 2002. In 2004, Dr. Zachariah was named one of 114 leaders in the university community recognized for outstanding achievement. After his retirement, he was distinguished visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Menno Simons College in Winnipeg.
He was a prolific author and published many books, articles and essays to his credit. He has also published short stories and poems. The leitmotif of his life was to be a promote justice and fairness to people denied their dignity and were oppressed by the dominant economic and cultural institutions.
He was the first Canadian to receive the Honourary Fellow designation from the Comparative and International Education Society, USA (CIES). This honour recognized the contribution Dr. Zachariah has made to the development of comparative and international education throughout his teaching career, as well as the impact he has had on various academic and professional organizations.
He was an Anglican all his life and became more active in the life of his church after retirement.
For details go to
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Dear Old Cottonians
I am writing to you all today with pleasure and pride as our long-pursued aim has now turned into achievement. OCA Nepal is finally official!
On 27 May 2016, Mr. Sukhinder Singh, President, OCA, accompanied by his wife and Col. R. Dewan, visited us here in Kathmandu and witnessed the official inception OCA Nepal.
Lead by Mr. Prabal SJB Rana, batch of 1954, the first President of OCA Nepal, 24 other Nepalese OCs and their wives attended this event. Although small in number, with 47 registered Nepalese OCs, we all Nepalese OCs are very happy to have established OCA Nepal and we look forward to taking our association to greater heights.
I have attached a few pictures of the event along with this email.
We would also like to encourage Nepalese OCs around the world to join us. They may inquire by emailing: email@example.com
[click for larger view of the photos]
Here are the names of the ones present in the group photograph from Left to Right and from Bottom to Top:
Bottom Row (Seated):
1. Silika Shakya-Rajbhandari / 2. Saloni Rajbhandari-Pradhan / 3. Mrs. Sukhinder Singh / 4. Puja Chitlangia-Kabra / 5. Shivani Jajodia / 6. Yumena Shrestha-Pradhan / 7. Palija Shrestha-Rajbhandari.
1. Rohit Man Pradhan / 2. Ayush Rajbhandari / 3. Amish Man Pradhan / 4. Bishal Rana / 5. Nanda SBJ Rana / 6. Prem Gurung / 7. Sukhinder Singh / 8. Pundrik Kabra / 9. Prabal SJB Rana / 10. Deewaker Piya / 11. R. Diwan / 12. Robin Rana / 13. Sabin Rana / 14. Siddhartha Jajodia / 15. Ashish Rajbhandari / 16. Anmol P. Singh / 17. Sailesh Shrestha / 18. Subodh Das Shrestha.
1. Nuraj Batajoo / 2. Pulkit Kabra / 3. Shreyans Shethia / 4. Sobit Aggarwal.
OCs in Nepal, register here
Humayun Khan was born in 1932 to a Pashto-Hindko speaking family in Abbottabad, Hazara Division in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP, now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). His father was a District and Sessions Judge at the judicial commissioner’s court in NWFP, which is now known as the Peshawar High Court, and his mother was a homemaker. Mr. Khan’s paternal family is from the Yousafzai Clan, hailing from the village of Amazogray in Mardan. They were landlords with ownership of over two hundred acres of lands in the village that depended on wells and rainwater irrigation systems for harvesting wheat. Mr. Khan’s maternal ancestors hail from Dera Ismail Khan and Peshawar. They were traders engaged in businesses with merchants from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Mr. Khan spent his early years of upbringing in Peshawar with two elder brothers and two younger sisters, and at age seven, he was sent to boarding school at Murree where he studied for two years. In 1941, he was enrolled at the Bishop Cotton School in Shimla where he studied until Partition. Recalling life at the boarding school, Mr. Khan says that there were about two hundred boys from all faiths and backgrounds. “It was considered one of the best public schools. There was a great emphasis on teachings of morals and ethics like fair-play, being truthful, and self-sufficiency. I was always a good student and used to be first in the class,” recounts Mr. Khan. He was also an avid cricket player and competed on the school’s team. “We’d study in school for nine months out of the year and then be with our families. There was no such thing as discrimination in our school. We were never looked upon each other as anything but fellow classmates,” Mr. Khan recalls.
Speaking of his experiences at home during the holidays, Mr. Khan mentions that he enjoyed the traditional Peshawari way of life, including the food bazaars and the hujra (courtyard). “It used to be a romantic life. We would dine at my grandmother’s house, where she used to have these stoves on the ground. She would sit on a low stool all day and cook for the entire family. We never used knives or forks on the table,” he says. Mr. Khan spoke Pashto and Hindko at home.
At the time of Partition, Mr. Khan was at school in Shimla. “On June 3, 1947, all the senior boys were invited to the house of the senior master to listen to the broadcast on the radio, where Jinnah, Nehru and Baldev Singh spoke. We were so out of touch with reality there — we really didn’t take much interest in it. When the trouble started we remained unaware of it. We heard about riots in Shimla and Punjab but our political knowledge was heavily limited inside the school,” Mr. Khan remembers.
In early October of 1947, Mountbatten visited Shimla and spent one day at the Bishop Cotton School, as Mr. Khan remembers. “At lunch, the headmaster told him that he had 40 ‘odd’ boys who ought to be in Pakistan. Mountbatten advised to let those boys stay until they complete their studies. However, our parents in Pakistan were extremely worried. Some of them, including mine, were in powerful positions. They approached the then-acting governor of NWFP and urged them to get their children back from Shimla,” Mr. Khan says. In late October, the governor arranged a special convoy comprising of trucks under the supervision of Gurkhas to pick up the boys from Shimla. “We were loaded onto the trucks and taken to the Ambala Cantonment where we spent the night in barracks. The next day, a Dakota airplane was arranged by the governor to pick us from Ambala from where we flew to Lahore, and then Karachi. Some of the boys had families in Lahore and they were reunited with them. Some of them were flown to Karachi. There were seven of us from Peshawar, and we were dropped off at the Lahore airport and picked up by Mr. Leghari, the Commissioner for Refugees.”
Mr. Khan and the other boys stayed at the commissioner’s home for two days and slowly started to understand what was happening. “We didn’t initially realize the danger we faced because everything had always gone so smoothly for us, in our state of isolation. Two of Mr. Leghari’s sisters, who were students at the Auckland Girls High School in Shimla, had also travelled to Lahore, but by car. They had told him in our presence what they had seen on the road — the refugees and the violence. That was my very first impression of what was going on outside the walls of our school,” Mr. Khan recalls.
From Lahore, Mr. Khan and the other boys boarded on a train procured by the commissioner for refugees, and Mr. Khan was eventually reunited with his family at the Peshawar railway station.
“The clashes in Peshawar had died down by the time we arrived. My mother had very close relations with Hindu families. We used to virtually live at each other’s houses. My mother’s best friend was a Hindu lady. When I returned to Peshawar, I found out that they were all gone but had left their valuables — cars, furniture and carpets — with us,” Mr Khan recalls. “Some of the families managed to send representatives to Peshawar from India after Partition, so we were able to give them the belongings. Unfortunately, we’d later heard that these folks were looted at the border,” he says.
Sharing his observations on post-Partition life in Peshawar, Mr. Khan says that behavior patterns of the middle class remained very “English” for several years after their departure. “Even though there were very few Englishman left, the clubs and the cinemas kept going for several years after Partition and so did the civil structures — only now they were managed by Pakistani posts. We didn’t really find much of a difference in life. The roads and neighborhoods were safe. As boys, we used to go to the cinemas on bicycles at night. We did not live in any fear of being harmed,” Mr. Khan says.
Mr. Khan continued studying for his bachelor’s degree at Lawrence College, and then at the Edwardes College in Peshawar for one year. In 1950, Mr. Khan went on to study economics and law in the Trinity College in Cambridge, graduating with honors in 1953. His degree was later converted into a master’s degree, and in 1954, Mr. Khan joined the Lincoln’s Inn and became a barrister of law. “I had dreams of being a successful lawyer but my complete lack of knowledge of reading legal documents in Urdu held me back,” he says. “At the Bishop Cotton School, we were only taught lower Urdu [basic alphabets and conversational phrases].”
In 1955, Mr. Khan became an officer with the Central Superior Services of Pakistan for the Frontier Cadre and offered his services for seventeen years in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas [Waziristan and Malakand]. After 1971, Mr. Khan, secretary for the North West Frontier Provinces government at the time, was transferred to the foreign services office where he served for another eighteen years, beginning from his posting in Soviet Russia. In 1984, Mr. Khan was sent to India as the Pakistani High Commissioner. “Apart from Shimla, I’d never known India. This was my first chance to discover the country,” he says. He recounts his tenure in India to be the most difficult in the midst of Indira Gandhi’s assassination, and the resulting violence.
In 1961, Mr. Khan married Munawar Humayun Khan. (Read her story here: http://on.fb.me/21p1DGn They have three daughters. Sharing his thoughts, Mr. Khan offers, “We should…focus on the politics of reconciliation, instead of confrontation.”
This interview was conducted by Story Scholar Fakhra Hassan. The summary above provides a brief glimpse into the full interview. The complete video interview is expected to be public in 2017. Browse more stories on the STORY MAP: http://www.1947partitionarchive.org/browse
Hamayun Khan was at BCS Simla from 1941 to 1947 in Rivaz House.