Monthly Archives: November 2009

RLV update 26/11/09

11-26-09 [1]Dear  brother OC’s 

I attach some latest snaps of the developments further to my last correspondence. This is the construction of the kitchen, we have converted his verandah to a kitchen and then have managed also easier access to the toilet and bath.

He personally is keeping well and I am visiting him every day with his daily quota of fruits for him and his son as well. 

I will be out of town and in Delhi till the 30th of this month. Further developments will be communicated as expected.  

Enclosed pics show a comparison ” Before and After”.

Warm regards 

Karan Sarin
mob: 9816047047




WORK IN PROGRESS [click the small pictures for a full view]:

11-26-09 [2]11-26-09 [3]26-11-09 [3]

26th Nov 2009.

RLV update 20/11/09

latest snaps 025Dear Oc’s

Please find attached herewith snaps of the renovation being conducted at Roshan Lal Sir’s House.

The Plastering has been completed, the paint job will commence tomorrow. As you can see, the building material has reached the site for construction of the kitchen and renovation of the toilet and bath. Two masons are on the job and the painter will come tomorrow. We hope to shift him back to his house as soon as the paint job is over.

Accounts statement will be mailed by tomorrow.

Warm Regards

Karan Sarin

Spotlight on OCs: RAKESH CHOPRA

RakeshChopra-ocaRear Admiral Dr RAKESH CHOPRA.
IN, VSM (Retd) MSc (Madras University), MSc Nautical Science (Cochin University of Science &Technology), MBA (JBIMS, Mumbai), MPhil & PhD (Mumbai University) 

Dr Rakesh Chopra is an MSc from Madras University and an MBA from B school, JBIMS, in Mumbai. After an MPhil from Mumbai University was thereafter awarded PhD for his thesis on ‘The Strategic Significance of Oil and Gas for the Security of India’. Also an amateur historian, he is a member of the Indian History Congress in recognition of his being the Vice Chairman of the Maritime History Society of South India. 

He studied at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, and on graduation joined the National Defence Academy for a military career. After serving in the Indian Navy for 38 years he retired in the rank of Rear Admiral in 2006 and took up appointment on the faculty of XLRI Jamshedpur, as Professor of Strategy.

Dr Rakesh Chopra is also a Senior Visiting Research Fellow with the “Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War” at Oxford University. He is a founder member and on the Board of Directors of a think tank “Peace Operations Institute” in Washington DC, USA.

Dr R Chopra has also had a commendable academic and instructional career in the military. An alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, he has also been on the faculty as Directing Staff. He was a founding member and Chief Instructor of the College of Naval Warfare at Karanja, Mumbai, and the Chief Instructor of the Navigation & Direction School where officers specialize in the planning and conduct of maritime operations.

A specialist in Navigation & Direction and diving, he has navigated several ships, controlled aircraft from the carrier and commanded three major IN Ships. He has been the Additional Director General of the National Cadet Corps, Flag Officer Offshore Defence (FODAG), Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) and the Assistant Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), Joint Operations, Information Warfare and Weapon Systems. He has been involved with strategy and policy formulation and implementation as also human resource development for senior positions in the military.

He commanded a ship in the 1971 Indo Pak war in the Eastern Theatre and was a member of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka in 1988 where he was awarded ‘Mention in Dispatches’ for gallantry. Subsequently he was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal by the President of India for exemplary service.

He is a yachtsman of national stature; a qualified International Race Officer, a national judge in sailing and was the Hon Treasurer of the Yachting Association of India. He is an avid golfer. He is married and has two sons.

BCS Sesquicentennial – Collection of press-cuttings

img001BCS Sesquicentennial 2009.

Mrs. Dorothy Chahal and Mrs. Napinder Chahal collected as many press-cuttings as they could find in various papers and sent a bunch of these for all OCs to enjoy, especially for those who could not attend.

Thank you!

The collection is available in a PDF file to download [6.5mb in size, so please be patient while the file downloads].


 …My bags all packed, I’m ready to go; leaving on a jet plane.

Yes, making sure we were up (had set at least 3 alarm clocks); no one really slept; clock-watching every 20mins….agonizing…..and then dead tired, red, burning eyes at the shrill sounding ‘wake up’ call….exhausted. Finally getting there; checking in….the boarding card with your designated seat number. Security. Waiting…in the Departure Lounge.

Departure lounges come in many facades, shapes, sizes; degrees from mundane to the opulent to the ultra-mod, ultra-tech or the stains on the fire-proof carpets of coffee, red wine and chewing gum, even holes after a well worn heel has ground the end of the ‘camels’ stub….ash. Grey, black, white.

When the young, the youth and the fountains of life are where they are, in their hurried journeys, the impatient gang waste but little time to sit and sip and shoot the breeze. They whizz through the departure lounge to head for their destinations pronto!

The sesquicentennial celebrations of Great Bishop Cotton School were the culmination of 150 years!! And what a celebration that was!!! To put it in clear terms; no other public school could have logistically made it happen; the reasons are myriad but there is no need to neither expand nor explain.

We moved through Departures and clambered on anything and everything from jaunty jalopies, to the latest flying machines and the ‘Old Cottonian Express’. As we waited in the Departures Lounge at Kalka so that the guys from Delhi and beyond would connect. The Red Carpet was laid and the banners hung, ‘four squares throughout our lives’ to the School Flag….and yes the Coolie….as when I asked him how long he had been working the platforms, his quick reply was ‘Sau Saal’. A hundred years and he looked sharp in his red garb, the metal badge strapped on to his arm and his Gandhi glasses. … Even the hydraulic buffers at the main platform looked the way they were a hundred years ago…and so did the Departure Lounge.

….and I am told, even today, right there, right now and in the late evening when you stand near the benches and look down at the second flat…you can still hear the laughter and screams and shouts of Ye Ole Cottonians who congregated at our sacred alma mater…..the 4th October 2009 was a Full Moon. The sesquicentennial was in full swing…..there is no stopping us now… even after we all have gone (through Departures) and left the sanctuary of School the pull is felt. For me at least.

Its Sunday the 8th of November 2009, Deje Sweden: We coaxed my Mother-in-law to pack her bags; then carefully removed her most prized and familiar possessions; two oil paintings, seven photographs of her grand children, a book shelf, her rodenstock sandals, her TV set and the ‘recent wedded photograph of her and her husband, 56 years ago. Yes, I placed all of these in her Departure Lounge before we walked her in, in her ‘A’ state. It felt extremely sad and heart breaking….yes this was her final gate, her final wait before the flight. A slow, slow wait.

I just pray to God. Please Sir; please do try not to give me the ‘A’ state. Because what I at least want when I am in the Departures Lounge is to REMEMBER and at the least, say: ‘Bishop Cotton School….You Gave Me Everything’

‘A’ state = Alzheimer’s

Vivek Bhasin
(Lefroy 1961-1970)

Cottonian ‘Mom’ Archana Sardana jumps for BCS!

Cottonian ‘Mom’ Archana Sardana has 2 of her sons at BCS and she jumped out of a plane in excitement when BCS turned 150!

And then yet again, for Curzon at 100!

Archana is a co-founder of Indian Sky Jumpers and Sky Diver Girl.
The vision statement of this organization is: The lady skydivers in conjunction with their male counterparts (civilian and military) will  ‘fall from the skies!’ as ‘Demonstration Skydivers’ at public / private events and   propagate the  cause of ‘Eye Donation’ and create mass awareness and motivation among the Indian  populace to gift ‘Sight’ to its 1.5 crore (15 million) blind which sadly include 20 lakh (2 million) children and try to make their country ‘Blind Free’.”

A message from Archana Sardana:

My boys are Pranav and Ayush Sardana in class 3 and 4 respectively and both are in Curzon House. They joined the school this year only.  I was to jump in the school ground but the chopper charges were too high . The Navy skydivers came and inspected the place etc. Thereafter I was to jump in  Indore on 19th  Sept but on reaching there on 18th night the sky diving camp got called off.  I had to fly back to Mumbai and take the next flight to USA. I had to do another 70 jumps to get a “C licence” before anybody would let me jump with the flags! I did that finally, and am back in Mumbai. In the bargain I missed the celebrations at BCS, but as the motto of Curzon House goes – “Action Not Words” –  we have kept ours. Infact this story which started on 4th March 2009 has to be told.  I will write a small piece and you may kindly put it up on the OCA/BCS web. 

Poster - 1 copy Poster - 2 copy Poster - 3 copy
Click the thumbnails for a large view

I am looking for support to attempt the Everest Skydive with the Indian Flag in May 2010 to propgate the cause of eye donation among Indians. Of my 2 jumps one will be with the Indian Flag and the other with the BCS Flag.I recently returned from the Drop zone from Nepal but only saw others attempting as I could not afford the cost of the jump. Pawning off a lot, could probably only just get me till there. But then anything for altitude !  I have 240 jumps to my credit, a “C license”  from United States Paratroopers Association and also an Advance course in Mountaineering from the NIM, Uttarkashi. My boys are in the best school in the world and that is the reason I can concenterate all my energies for the cause of “India Blind Free”. If you know anybody in the government or corporates who might be willing to assist kindly email me at

With regards,
Archana Sardana

Spot-light on OCs: Jai Joshi – Rivaz 1954-63

Jai JoshiJai Joshi, MD

Was at BCS 1954-63 in Rivaz.

An oncologist, hematologist and internist settled in Laredo, TX.  A graduate of Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Dr. Joshi was registrar in internal medicine at the Brown Memorial Hospital, and then specialized at the US National Cancer Institute in Medical Oncology. He was assistant professor of medicine and oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD for almost a decade, then at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, TX. The author of numerous publications, review articles and book chapters, he is also the proud recipient of esteemed teaching awards from Hopkins.

Dr Joshi has two sons: Amit, a graduate of Brown and a surgeon at Cornell,and Arif, a Wharton graduate and a Columbia MBA, who is now VP of  HSBC; they are both in NY city. Dr Joshi is married to Carmen, “his best friend – elegant, ageless, and laced in fineness”.  Paraphrasing Rod Stewart, for him, “she is a rhapsody, a symphony, and an essay in glamour; the warmest thing he has ever found

RVL Welfare Fund – update

Dear OCs

Roshan Lal Vashisht Welfare Fund

We are thankful to those who sent in contributions already. Appreciate your generosity.

However, some amounts that have been paid by OCs cannot be tracked and have not turned up in any of the 3 bank accounts [Palampur, Shimla, Delhi]. If you contributed already, kindly email the details of your payment/remittance to OCA Webmaster so we can track it as we don’t want any going astray.

Any amount is welcome.

For those contributors who wish to remain anonymous, please indicate this when making your contribution and inform me. We will ensure your contribution is listed simply as “A Concerned OC“.

Read: A message from OCA DELHI regarding their contribution.

Remittances should be sent to:

Account name : Old Cottonian Association ( OCA Himachal)
Account number: 050010100080130
Bank: Axis Bank
Branch : Shimla
GF/FF Durga Cottage
SDA Commercial Complex
Shimla -171009
Himachal Pradesh

OR mail your cheques at par/demand drafts to:

Dinesh M Sud
Shimla 171001
Mob.No. 94180 57500

or to:

Anil Walia
Hotel Himland West, Circular Road
Shimla 171001
Mob.No. 98160 17100

Further details about the fund are listed HERE

OCA Webmaster

Spot-light on OCs: Robin Aurora – Lefroy 1953-64

Vijay Khurana writes about a class-mate, ROBIN AURORA, who he met at BCS during the recent celebrations. We are struck by Robin’s very down-to-earth and special life-style in Rajgarh :

Robin Aurora

I met Robin Aurora for the first time since 1964, a gap of 45 years, in Oct this year. That meeting in School was brief and beyond exchanging pleasantries, commenting on our physical changes, we said little being distracted by so many friends and faces you had not seen in ages. 

Robin called yesterday.
Here is a brief update about a man, changed considerably in physical appearance. I would not have recognised him in any other milieu had Deepak Lamba not made the introduction. He became an orchard planter. He began with apples, moved to peaches but now harvests plums and apricots in Rajgarh. Changing temperatures have compelled him to move from one fruit to the next. Very visible evidence of climate change.
Robin’s father had bought this piece of land in Rajgarh several years go and, being the outdoor kind, Robin decided to cultivate the place which is about 40 miles from Solan. He has remained there for over 40 years. His wife, Neelam is a teacher. One of her sisters, Shashi Tripathi, was Secretary West in the Ministry. She has retired and is a now a Member of the Union Public Service Commission.  They have one daughter, Antara who is studying at NIIT and will soon leave her parents in search of further education and opportunities. Robin’s mother is still alive and lives with them. His brother Nagen, most unfortunately, died in an air crash in 1983. He was with the IAF.
I recall Robin as being a gentle person who built small but close friendships. Controversy never touched him. His was not the very visible face but was a person who, when he made up his mind, went at any task with a passion. It could be anything – to the biggest puff (his was truly enormous!!), which his comb, never out of reach, could raise; imitating JPS Kniggar’s foot steps of improving the strength of his wrists by lifting his bed, as he stood in front of it, during morning inspection, or to be the devoted custodian of the omlette cooking apparatus (pan, stove etc) . There was a meticulous manner in anything he did – in the clothes he wore (always “ironing” his trousers by laying them flat under the mattress at night!), his personal habits or simply the way he cleaned his large glasses.  He was the reliable person, dependable all the time (also one time partner, to Kniggar’s large comic collection! Montri was a part of this operation which then went on to include an enormous marble horde!!). His spartan habits have continued through life and the personality exhibits no sign of extravagance in the slightest detail. He was the well grounded, earthy individual and so it is today but perhaps more so in a profession that demands toil and patience 
Robin was a story teller and his fascination with Jim Corbett was something I still remember because those were the only books he ever read! His fascination for the outdoors would have him recounting tales of the encounter and the bon homie Badal’s father displayed with the dacoits (Man Singh!) who operated in the area near Bareilly. Robin’s father worked with The Dholpur Stone Company for a considerable period of time. He lost his father, a heavy smoker, to cancer. Robin retailed these stories in a matter of fact manner as occurrences that were possibly factual but they added a little adventure to life beyond the school’s boundaries. These were real life happenings to which he was privy and not the stuff from a fiction text. He was not prone to exaggeration and these episodes therefore remained as real life pictures from a credible source.
Robin’s encounters in the class room and the games field complied with the standards that were required to be met, never the extraordinary. He fulfilled his obligations and left no scope for any complaint. His creative instincts lay with the outdoors, an obvious passion, and art. He excelled in painting and like Tilak Raj Pawa and several others was chosen by Sasim Das Gupta, the Art Master, to send in their efforts to the School in London. You got graded for your entry and most of the guys Mr Das Gupta chose received appreciative certificates testifying to their talent. Robin’s devotion and interest in this subject was greater than any in other. He excelled and his pursuit in this hobby continues. He no longer uses water colours, and his pen and ink sketches are of a high standard to warrant their presence at select exhibitions. 
Robin cottage is appropriately called
Robins’ Nest.  He will be more than delighted to have any of his friends come over for a weekend. He told me, “Since you are so much on the net, just bring your laptop and I promise you will have the connection to allow you to operate your activities from this idyllic location” !! 

A note from Neel Mehra testifies to Robin’s life style. I think it would be the envy of a lot of us!! This is, of course, minus the Sudden Death incline.
Warm regards


Robin’s coordinates:
Skrone Orchards
PO Rajgarh
District Sirmour
Himachal Pradesh 173 101
Mobile: 98 16 49 46 01
E-mail: aurora.robin3 (he rarely uses it though!)

OCA HP Chapter – Welfare Fund

Welfare Fund

The H.P. Chapter of the OCA met under the chairmanship of Mr. Narinder Chauhan  on 31-10-09 and determined as follows :

  • A core committee is constituted to oversee the welfare of Mr. Roshan Lal Vashisht. The proceeds accrued on account by contributions for Mr. RLV’s welfare in the personal a/c of Karan Sarin are Rs. 75,000. Out of this Rs. 6,000 has already been spent on his welfare. The following are the members of the committee :
    • Mr. Arun Sawhney
    • Mr. D.M. Sud
    • Mr. Pritinder Singh
    • Mr. Anil Walia
    • Dr. Arun Sirkeck
    • Dr. Ram Kumar Sood (Rotary, Palampur)
    • Mr. Sandeep Kakkar, CA
    • Mr. Karan Sarin
  •  Mr. RLV has been temporarily shifted into a guest house and it is decided to shift him back to his house with immediate effect.
  • It was decided that a corpus will be formed with the proceeds accruing from the contributions by OCs. A certain amount, undetermined as of now, will be spent to make Mr. RLV’s house habitable. The interest accruing from the corpus in the form of a fixed deposit would be remitted to Mr. RLV and his Old Cotonnian child (a child with special needs) on a monthly basis through the committee constituted and involvement of OCs at Palampur under the guidance of Dr. Ram Kumar Sood at Palampur. The OC community will be kept informed of the contributions through information provided to OCA Webmaster for posting on the OCA website.
  • It was also thought prudent that individual efforts should ideally be coalesced into efforts of the HP Chapter of the OCA. All further proceeds are to be remitted to the OCA Himachal a/c as per the following details:-
    Account name : Old Cottonian Association ( OCA Himachal)
    Account number: 050010100080130
    Bank: Axis Bank
    Branch : Shimla
    GF/FF Durga Cottage
    SDA Commercial Complex
    Shimla -171009
    Himachal Pradesh

Cheques at par/demand drafts can be mailed to:-

Dinesh M Sud
Shimla 171001
Mob.No. 94180 57500

or to:

Anil Walia
Hotel Himland West, Circular Road
Shimla 171001
Mob.No. 98160 17100

  • OCA Himachal appeals to all OCs to contribute generously to the cause as Mr. Roshal Lal’s house requires renovation, he is  very old , his son (an OC) is a special child and requires similar support and they need an attendant for the housework , hygienic needs and  medical expenses of both Mr.RLV and his son. They have no source of income.

This is for your information and necessary action. We request you to disseminate the information to the OC community so that the we can ensure a life of dignity for our beloved Hindi teacher, Mr. Roshal Lal Vashisht.

D. M. Sud

On behalf of –
OCA Himachal



Adventures of a COTTONIAN

(RIVAZ HOUSE 1948-51)

I clearly remember the warm sunny day in June, 1948 when my mother left me at the BCS. I was assigned to Rivaz House and the House Master Mr. JL Papworth put me in the care of Ranjit K Bhandari who helped me to settle down in the school and put me through my paces.

Then began one of the most wonderful and memorable chapters of my life. As all boys from Public Schools have similar memories, I would not dwell on the normal issues. I want to touch upon only five issues which stand out in 1948. 

1. Rule of Law:  There was absolute rule of law. All boys were treated equal regardless of their background and punished according to the gravity of their offences.

2. TUCK SHOP;  The centre of attraction was the Tuck Shop which was run by “Chippoo”, a versatile personality who did various jobs in the school and ran the Tuck Shop in his spare time. My mouth still waters when I think of the delectable Puries and the Burfies which Chippoo provided. The reason why I have mentioned “Chippoo” is that his name was a part of the school song and that it has some bearing on my visit to the school three decades later.

3. TOUGHNESS:  We were taught to stand up to the rigours of weather. There was no winter heating or summer cooling in the wind swept dormitories. In the month of March the school party arrived in Shimla by special train. Invariably it was the snow, hail or the sleet which welcomed our arrival. The moment we get off the train we were all lined up and told to walk all the way to school (whether it was snowing, hailing or raining). There was a scramble to reach the school first, as we could get the bed of our choice, which was on first come first served basis. The usual scramble was to get the beds next to the windows. 

4. CANING:  The most memorable or traumatic event in the initiation of a new boy was “caning”. I had been in the school a few months when my attention was drawn to the play ground. As I looked at the play ground, I saw my friend Jogi (name changed) running like a “locomotive with its tail on fire”. When I asked as to what has happened to him, I was told that he had been “caned”. Low and behold a few months later it was my turn to be “caned”. I had lost my report card and was informed that on Friday Week it would be my turn to receive the punishment, for the mortal sin of losing my report card.   I was called into the House Master’s study. Mr JL Papworth an otherwise genial House Master looked like the embodiment of the Devil. He told me that “Dhawan you have been naughty and will now receive your punishment”. Then he asked me to touch my toes. A few seconds later I received the first “wallop” on my back side. Mr Papworth let me feel the searing pain continue for a minute before I got the second dose and similarly the third. Thereafter he informed me that it was over. I catapulted from his room with lightening speed when I heard Mr Papworth’s  voice calling me back. He said “Dhawan you have forgotten something”. I was then made to bend down again and given another “dose”. Then realisation dawned on me that I had forgotten something very important. I turned around and told Mr Papworth and the Senior master who was witness to the canning “Thank you, Sir”, meaning thank you for canning me. So ended the first lesson.

5. The story of departure of the boys from Pakistan: Though I joined in 1948 yet every one talked with deep sadness of how the then school captain (H Aga) and the boys from Pakistan had to leave at short notice on 21st October 1947 and of the solemn farewell given to them in the School Chapel and the Irwin Hall.


There were also very many happy memories of the School, however, I shall not dwell upon them as I would like to narrate some of my adventures since leaving school. 

At the National Defence Academy,  1954 to 1957

At the National Defence Academy we had four Cottonians, JN Rudra, Robindra Dewan, Prabhat Chand and myself. We were all very close and were able to withstand the rigours of the Academy routine with tremendous resilience. Though there were only four of us yet we made our presence felt and we were recognised as the ‘BCS boys’. Prabhat Chand had the distinction of commanding the passing out parade at Indian Military Academy. Not many schools can boast of this distinction. He was slated to win the Sword of Honour; but had the courage to stand up for his subordinates and as a result narrowly missed that coveted honour. However, his selfless act drew a great amount of admiration from the officers and the Cadets of the Academy. 

Congo 1962-63

In 1962 I was selected to be a part of the Indian Brigade which was to take part in the United Nations Operations in the Congo. We went by Ship to Dar-e-slam and from there we were inducted into the Congo. In the Congo we did a bit of soldiering. A well known action or battle if you can call it at that which was publicised in the world press, was the “Crossing of the River Lufira”. My Engineer field Company had first constructed a Ferry for crossing of the Troops across the river followed by a Bridge to replace the one demolished by the retreating Katangese. The rapidity with which this was done enabled our troops to capture the town of Jadot Ville leading to the surrender of the Katangese forces. A reporter from “Time and Life” came to interview us. In addition to the battle experienced, he asked me stories of my background, the Partition and the School where I had studied. When I mentioned BCS in passing he exclaimed that it was more than a mere co-incidence that the senior most General Officer Commanding United Nations Forces in Katanga, Maj Gen Prem Chand and his junior most Engineer Officer Lt Harish K Dhawan were both from the same School, BCS.

Mombasa – 1963 

On the return journey we were to board a troop ship at Mombasa. While transiting at Mombasa my father who was then the High Commissioner in Uganda had given me an address to meet his friends “The Sondhis”. They invited me for a dinner at their place. My visit to the Sondhis was turning out to be a disaster. They were the big Tycoons of Mombasa and I was only a Lieutenant, the lowest rank in the Indian Army.  My only claim to fame was that my father was the High Commissioner of Uganda. Just as the dinner was coming to an end, their mother the Dowager Mrs Sondhi asked me politely as to where did I do my schooling. The moment I mentioned BCS the whole atmosphere changed. I was treated like a deity. They had all studied at BCS. Immediately we started talking the same language. They phoned up the large BCS community in Dar-e-slam, Mombasa and Zanzibar of my visit. They then organised a get together of the BCS clan just for me. We discussed the school, it’s Masters Freddie Brown, Mr. Murray and our other masters. They narrated how all the well known families of East Africa would send their children by sea every year to BCS. They have since made a great name for themselves and their School in East Africa and in UK where many of them are now settled. 

At the Foot to the Changla Pass (Ladakh, 1966)

After the 1965 war I was posted at a place called “Shakti” at the base of the Changla Pass. I was then commanding a Boarder Road Construction Company and we were building and developing the road across Changla Pass located at a height of 17500 feet which was then the highest road in the world (leading into Chushul Lake, on the border with China). The temperatures in winter reached -40 degree. One day I got an invitation on Ladhakhi New Year’s day for a meal with Mr Tashi who was the village elder of the nearby village called “Chimre”. When we went to meet Mr Tashi, he welcomed us to his Drawing Room and made us sit down on a lower Platform. On a raised Platform in front of us was a heavily decorated Chair which was empty. Mr Tashi told me that that chair was meant for his young son who had been ordained a Lama. The story he unfolded was that when his son was born the Head Lama of a Monastery across the mountains had died and that the people from that Monastery had come and said that his son was the incarnation of the Lama who had passed away. Therefore in his house there was always an elevated place where his young son would sit and his father had to sit on a lower platform. When I asked him as to where was his son now he proudly took out the photograph of a 10 year old boy and said he is now “studying in BCS Shimla”.

Kashmir, Sopore, 1972

After the Indo Pak War of 1971 I was posted in the Kashmir Valley at a place called Pattan on the road from Sri Nagar to Baramulla, (close to the line of control). Those were relatively peaceful times i.e. that was the calm before the storm. The only piece of entertainment we would normally get was to occasionally see a Movie in the nearest town of Sopore – which incidentally now-a-days is the hot bed of extremists activities in the Valley. I was a Major at that time and had always problems in getting a proper seat as they were generally reserved for senior officers. One day during the interval I happened to talk to the owner and the topic turned to his son. He told me that he had sent him to study at BCS. The moment he heard that I was also from BCS all things changed. Me and my colleagues always got reserved seats with free snacks in the owner’s reserved box, much to the discomfort of my protocol minded senior bosses.

Visit to the School in 1978:  Somehow after I left school for almost 30 years, I had no occasion to visit the school. In 1978 when the Engineer Regiment which I was commanding had sent a Field Company to the Hindustan Tibet Border for reconstructing the defences damaged in the earthquake, that I had a chance to visit the school enroute. It was a nostalgic visit, full of memories.

When I asked the Rivaz House Master, Mr. Hakim, as to what was the news of Mr “Chippoo” he motioned to the play ground at an elderly gentleman basking in the sun. I went up to him and shook his hand and told him as to who I was. His words shook me like a thunderbolt. “Dhawan – Rivaz House – 1950”. Here was a man who had seen us in our teens and hundreds of boys had passed through to the school during the 30 years and yet he remembered who I was. This was the high point and most memorable part of my visit.

Chandimandir, 1978

When my Regiment moved to Chandimandir from the Valley, my neighbour was the Station Commander, now late Brig Shiv Dev Singh. One day we were informed that his son would be coming from Australia and was to be married to an Australian girl and we were invited to the wedding. When I met the groom (Pet name Beanu) I realised that he was also from the BCS and he narrated to me that there were a number of old Cottonians in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia and they have regular get togethers and were particularly proud of their school heritage.

North-East, 1982

While I was posted as Chief Engineer Border Roads in Nagaland I tried to locate one Peter Sema who had been with us in the School. Though I could not locate him yet I found that a large number of Naga boys from respectable families along with their counterparts from Manipur and Arunachal were studying at the BCS.


What I want to bring out in this is that there was something in the BCS, its name and traditions that people came from all over India in fact all over the world came to study at the school. They have since all done well in life, and kept the flag of the school flying wherever they have gone.

There are many more tales I have of our get togethers in Delhi of the special carmaderie when we meet an old Cottonian. This is something of which we can be rightly proud of. Using the phrase of one of the most respected Army Generals (Army Commanders) used in another context. “I can proudly say that I was a lucky man. I was lucky to be a Cottonian not everyone can have that luck”.

Contributed By:

Brig H K Dhawan (Retd)    
1948-51 (Rivaz)         



I still remember the day almost 10 years ago and the series of events which occurred on that day. It was a typical day in May with the warm blistering heat of Delhi when I received a call from D.C Anand’s office. How he traced me is itself an achievement as it was almost a decade since I had any direct contact with him or with my alma-matter. This was an invitation to a gathering of Cottonians in Delhi to meet “Freddie Brown” our Head Master of yester years.

As we drove towards the Taj Man Singh Hotel my excitement grew. The moment we were ushered in to the seventh floor reserved room I saw the familiar faces of Wendy Dewan, D.C Anand, Vinnie (Toti) Aggarwal, my mind went back to June 1948 and I could see my self sitting in the school dining hall with The RIVAZ House Captain, (Late) IVOR HITHCOCK calling the Roll and moving to the Head Master’s table totally oblivious to the cries of the “ATSOM”. And this is how the Roll call went.

Anand – Bhow – Bhandari – Brent Ford – Chandu Lal – Chandu Lal – Cursetji – Dewan – Jain – Harinder Singh – Kohli – Kirschener – Kirschener – Mehra – Mehra – Murphy – Murphy – Naginder Singh – Nakai – Nakai – Preet Mohinder Singh – Raghu Raj Singh – Rudra – Rudra – Renzing – Sarda – Sarda – Samuels Lal – Samuels Lal – Sinha – Dhawan.

Those of you who were in Rivaz House in 1948 would bear testimony to the roll call. However, names of some of the persons who were in the Rivaz house in 1948 but did not figure in the Roll call are listed below:

I.M Khosla (Because he was a day border).  The others were the boys who stayed in the dormitory above the “Head Master’s House” (with their special privileges) as they also missed the daily evening roll call at the main dining hall. Some of the names of these others which come to my memory are – Ranjit Puri, some of the Patiala boys & other boys from the erstwhile princely families.

Over the years even though almost half a century has passed we have directly or indirectly still kept in touch.

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