Monthly Archives: December 2011

OCA UK Newsletter – Winter 2011

OCA (UK) Winter News letter

Capt. Vivek C.Bhasin
Greetings from the OCA (UK) Chapter

Greetings Dear Old Cottonians here in the UK and those across the Channel in Europe, those across the pond in the Americas both South, Central and North, those in the Middle East, in the great African Continent, the Indian ,Pakistan and Bangladesh Sub-Continent, SE Asia, The Far East and Oz and New Zealand.. ( I guess I have covered the Globe!)

We are in the third week  of December 2011 and its still beach weather here in Surrey….!! Though the trees have turned in to solid gold, red and pink and come raining down as I take my walks along the Thames here off Weybridge.  The mercury is languishing on its hammock and it’s a mild 10C, though the weather Gods predict, the milder it stays for a longer period the harder the on coming winter will be.  Yes it just snowed in the North and Scotland.

The year is rapidly passing by. …I have been admonished by Peter Stringer Sahib for running late with the newsletter and so its pen to paper.

Our Summer Luncheon on the last Saturday of June 2011 was a grand success and the congregation of Old Cottonians was indeed an amazing and welcome sight at the Bombay Brasserie. The diehards continue to make it across from the US, Australia, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Pakistan and India. We remain ever grateful to all who made it; especially D.C Anand, Anil and Lena Mehra, Ronny and Mrs Das, ALL our Seniors and Juniors, AND  Anil Bhasin, Homer Gill and Kuljinder Bahia( it requires tact and diplomacy to coax these three dudes to attend!) Also young Charanji, who is doing his Hotel Management in Switzerland.  Special tributes were paid to the Ladies by yours truly; these sweet and gentle wives of us OC’s who have endured and tolerated us through the ages… without them we would still be in shorts, house shirts, gym shoes and holes in our socks, forgetting to brush our teeth and apply Vaseline on our faces!

Our committee has not met that often but I appreciate the constant contact with Gursant Sandhu Secretary and Puneet Singh Treasurer. Sam Grewal another die-hard OC has set up the OCA (UK) Face Book page where all are welcome to become friends!!

I know for a fact that both Senior Committee members Raj Lamba and Vinod Nanda are always at our beck and call whenever we need them. Many young OC’s were invited by Senior OC Dr Daljit Jaijee and his wife Mohinder Pal to the Hounslow Gurdwara in October 2011 to spend some very divine moments in the midst of prayer and song.  Daljit’s Son and daughter-in-law were visiting from Australia and it was a wonderful evening spending time with the family. Daljit’s beautiful and gentle daughter too did a great job in organizing the event.  OCs who attended were Raj Mohinder Singh from Delhi, Rana Datar, Sam Grewal, Gursant Sandhu, Puneet Singh.

On Friday 02 December 2011 I drove down to Whyteleafe to meet Maggie and Peter Saheb. We spent a few hours enjoying each other’s company and I relished the samosas and the ‘Gaajar ka halwa’ that Peter had made especially for the occasion.  Que Rico!!

Honorary Life President Allan Gay Niblett continues to be a pillar of great strength to the fraternity. He has taken upon himself the task of strengthening ties between BCS and Marlborough College.

LETTERS from Old Cottonians:

So what I now wish to do is leave ample space for Allan Gay Niblett Esq., as he writes to me; his letter has great significance and is please be taken as addressed to ALL  of us: Continue reading

Partap Sharma – Biography

Partap Sharma [Curzon 1950-54] passed away on 30th November 2011. Known as the Golden Voice of India, Partap was always warm, encouraging and inspirational. The world will be sadder without him but greater for his contributions.

A Touch of Brightness: Biography of Partap Sharma

Partap Sharma: playwright, author, actor, director and commentator.

Partap Sharma born December 12, 1939 is an Indian playwright, novelist, author of books for children, commentator, actor and documentary film-maker. A gifted writer, Sharma covers a wide range of subjects and perspectives, and as a master craftsman delivers intricate ideas simply. Like Mahatma Gandhi, the subject of one of Sharma’s most applauded plays “Sammy!” Sharma found that uncovering the truth was not always popular. In Contemporary Authors Sharma explains: “Stories are perhaps a way of making more coherent and comprehensible the bewildering complexity of the world. I learn and discover as I write and I try to share what I have understood. This began with me when I was a child, before I could read, and when I needed to deduce a story to explain the pictures in a book. But that is just the technique; the aim is to uncover an aspect of the truth. The truth isn’t always palatable. Two of my documentaries and a play were, at various times, banned. The High Court reversed the ban on the play; it is now a text in three Indian universities and has been the subject of a doctoral thesis in drama at Utah University.


Sharma was born in Lahore which was then part of India and is the oldest son of Dr. Baij Nath Sharma and Dayawati (Pandit) Sharma. Sharma’s father was a civil engineer who served as Technical Advisor to governments in Ceylon, Tanganyika and Libya and later retired to their ancestral property in Punjab as a gentleman farmer. This colourful Punjabi village forms much of the backdrop of Sharma’s novel, Days of the Turban. Sharma’s early education was in Trinity College, Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and then at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla. Sharma received a triple promotion and completed school at 14 before going to study at St. Xavier’s College, Bombay mainly because all other universities in India required a minimum age of 16. He is married to Susan Amanda Pick, they have two daughters: Namrita and Tara. Tara is, of course, known to many as the beautiful Bollywood actress, Tara Sharma. Sharma’s association with the Indian National Theatre, Mumbai, began in 1961 with the production by it of his first full-length play “Bars Invisible” and continued till the eventual production of the banned “A Touch of Brightness.” While working at his writing, Sharma freelanced as a narrator for short films and newsreels. In due course, he also directed a few documentaries for the Government of India. He was TV host of the popular programme “What’s the Good Word?” produced by Television Centre, Mumbai. One of India’s leading voices heard in narrations and commentaries on film, radio and TV, he has voiced many national and international award-winning documentaries and short films. He is known as the golden voice of India, and has often been referred to in the Press as simply ‘The Voice’. He is the voice on most of the Son et lumière shows produced in India, including the one still running forty years later, at the Delhi Fort, in Delhi.



  • The Surangini Tales
  • Dog Detective Ranjha
  • The Little Master of the Elephant
  • Top Dog
  • Days of the Turban
  • A Touch of Brightness
  • Zen Katha
  • Sammy!
  • Begum Sumroo

Staged Plays

  • Brothers Under The Skin (1956)
  • Bars Invisible (1961)
  • A Touch Of Brightness (1965)
  • The Word (1966)
  • The Professor Has A Warcry (1970)
  • Queen Bee (1976)
  • Power Play (1991)
  • Begum Sumroo (1997)
  • Zen Katha (2004)
  • SAMMY! (2005)

Documentaries and Films

Partap Sharma has directed some outstanding documentaries, as independent producer and for the Government of India’s Films Division, and Channel Four Television, U.K. His film credits include:


  • The Framework Of Famine, 1967, an investigation of how nature’s devastation is compounded by human corruption and inefficiency; banned for it’s “ruthless candour” then released after other documentary-makers protested.
  • The Flickering Flame, 1974, a study of the mismanagement of the energy crisis and its effect on the suburban housewife; banned and never released.
  • Kamli, 1976, a short film depicting the status of women in rural Indian society.
  • The Empty Hand, 1982, (co-directed) a prize-winning audiovisual about the art of karate.
  • Viewpoint Amritsar, 1984, co-directed a film about the Golden Temple and environs in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar.
  • The British Raj Through Indian Eyes, 1992, a documentary series telecast in 1992 by Channel Four Television UK.
    Part I: The Uprising of 1857.
    Part II: The Massacre at Jallianwallah Bagh 1919.
    The museum of the British Empire and Commonwealth, in Bristol, now has a permanent section entitled The Sharma Archive consisting of 30 video and 67 audio tapes made by Partap Sharma. Interviews and footage of Indian nationalists, freedom fighters and writers. Indian perspectives on the Raj. Some transcripts available (CDs, Videos and Cassettes).
  • Sailing Around The World And Discover America Yachting Rally, two video programmes directed by Sandhya Divecha and produced by Sharma’s Indofocus Films Pvt. Ltd. British Raj Hindustani Nazron Se, 1995-98, A Hindi TV Serial.

Children’s Film

  • The Case Of The Hidden Ear-Ring, 1983

Feature Films

As an actor Sharma played a role in the Merchant-Ivory film “Shakespearewallah”. Other films include the lead role in the following Hindi films:

  • Phir Bhi (1971)
  • Andolan (1975)
  • Tyaag Patra (1980)
  • Pehla Kadam (1980)
  • Nehru – The Jewel of India (1989)
  • The Bandung Sonata (2002) Filmed in China, Sharma played Nehru in this international film which was subsequently re-titled for release in China as Chou-en-Lai in Bandung.

Awards and Honours

  • Sharma’s literary genius was recognized at an early age, and he won numerous first prizes in school and university in debating, elocution and acting including first prize at the All India Inter-University Youth Festival, Delhi, in 1958.
  • 1971 National Award for the lead role in the feature film “Phir Bhi” which also won the National Award for the best Hindi film of the year.
  • Cleo Award U.S.A for best voice.
  • 1976 RAPA First Prize for best voice in radio spots.
  • 1992 the “Hamid Sayani” Trophy for a lifetime of all-round excellence in radio and television.
  • 2000 Ad Club of Mumbai Award for Lifetime Contribution to Advertising.
  • 2004 the “Dadasaheb Phalke Award” with the citation ‘the voice of India’ on behalf of 35 associations of professional cine workers representing all branches of the Indian film industry.

Biographical References

  • India Who’s Who, Infa publications, India.
  • Contemporary Authors, Gale Research Company, Detroit, U.S.A.
  • Asia’s Who’s Who, Asian Publishing House, India.
  • Dictionary Of International Biography, International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.

The real complete  man.
Malavika Sangghvi /   Mumbai December 03, 2011, 0:42 IST

Partap Sharma, who died this week, was a polymath: author, playwright, documentary filmmaker, anchor, actor, voice-over artist and more. His titles were many, but it is for other qualities that I would like to remember him today.
The first is courage. When his award winning play, A Touch of Brightness, was prevented by a regressive state from leaving India to perform abroad, Partap, refusing to be cowed down, engaged Soli Sorabjee to argue his case. They won the case — seven years later — and the play about a woman in Mumbai’s red light area went on to get international success and recognition.
That should have been ample evidence of Partap’s grit: nine years ago, after he was struck down by a debilitating attack of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema which left him wheel-chair bound and in need of a constant supply of oxygen, Partap once again refused to allow circumstances to dictate his story. He went on to record Macbeth, Julius Caesar and The Merchant of Venice in his famous voice, enacting all the parts — even the female ones!
More inspiring was the fact that this man, struggling to breathe, began to sing! “I always had an ear for music, but when I was told that it would be therapeutic for my lungs I started learning it seriously and the result was a series of songs for my family which have been collected as ‘Home Songs’.”
If courage was his anthem, humility was his calling card. Partap wore his achievements and accolades (a Dada Saheb Phalke, a National Film award, a Thespo lifetime achievement award) lightly. Struggling to speak from his hospital bed while receiving yet another award (this time from Dr Vijaya Mehta) it was edifying to hear him say, “People should look for the affirmative in every creative work that they critique, so that the creator gets encouraged.”
Partap himself was nothing if not encouraging, his lovely home by the sea was open to all: celebrated litterateurs along with struggling poets, confused writers, footloose students and hungry neighbours.
If these qualities were enough to make him larger than life, it was his swashbuckling sense of self-actualisation and adventure that made him a hero to many. He was a black-belt Karate expert, a rider of bare back horses, a solver of neighbourhood crimes with his famous Alsatian Ranjha of the “Dog Detective series”, the owner of a magnificently restored shiny black Mercedes-Benz, an above-average chess player, an aficionado of books and ideas, and a lover of Mahabaleshwar where he would disappear for long writing spells. I could go on. But suffice to say that the copywriter who came up with the “Complete Man” sign off, could well have had Partap in mind. But that is not all. Above all, it was for Partap’s qualities of decency and grace that he will be cherished, His human qualities outstripped his considerable material and creative success. It is fitting that he died surrounded by his daughters, the lovely Namrita and Tara, and their families, his many friends and in the arms of his devoted wife-comrade-companion and champion Sue. Two days before he died, I met her at his bedside in the ICU. I remember thinking that she had gazed at him and stroked his face with the tenderness and love of a young bride.
Every man should aspire to live and die like that.

[Vijay Khurana adds: For those of you have lived or know Bombay, Malavika Sangghvi is the daughter of Mrs Khanna who ran Samovar at the Jehangir Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda. Partap’s daughter Tara Sharma is the well known actress.]

The Biography is an extract from, where you can read more about this great man.

EDITOR May 28th 2012
Here is a letter from Tara, Partap’s daughter :

Thank you so much for your kind words about Dad. As you can imagine it’s devastating for us but I truly believe Daddy is with us always and it is only the body that is resting. Words cannot express how much Daddy means to me and us as a family and how inspirational, brave and loving he was and is. He touched so many lives and his rich legacy continues to do so. I write about Daddy often on my blog and am grateful he got to meet both my kids and he knew my sister Namrita’s baby was soon to be born. On behalf of my Mum Sue, sister and our husbands and kids thank you and do keep writing your thoughts on Dad to me, it helps me keep him alive.

Warm regards,


Karen Ann Monsy interviews Ruskin Bond

Karen Ann Monsy interviews Ruskin Bond [Bishop Cotton School 1943-1950 Ibbetson House]. As published in the Khaleej Times WKND Magazine of 9th December 2011 reproduced below. The original article photos and can be read here.

From Ruskin with love
By Karen Ann Monsy

Sixty years on and with pen firmly in hand, Ruskin Bond proves he’s still as capable of enchanting readers as he was when he first began.

of screaming fans in a tent packed beyond seating capacity. That an audience could 
be just as captivated today by the man whose storytelling first fired up their imaginations as little children decades ago was a testament to just how popular an Indian author by the name of Bond — Ruskin Bond — could be.

With over 300 short stories, essays and novels to his name, it has been his irresistible signature of unassuming wit and simplicity more than anything else that has forged much of the bond between the Mussoorie-based novelist and his readers. Considered an icon in literary circles, the 77-year-old of British descent was recently declared due to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Delhi Government. To his cheering fans at the Sharjah International Book Fair last month, he stated simply: “Without readers, there cannot be writers. If I’m famous, it’s because of you.”

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