Vijay Khurana writes:
It is with great sadness we just learnt of the passing away of Mr Mushtaq Masih. He passed away last year. Our deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife and their family members.
Mr Masih joined BCS in 1958. I think he was one of those teachers, like Mr Roshan Lal, who came to Simla from Palampur with Rev Dustan when he joined the School as Headmaster.
Until Mr Masih’s induction into the School’s staff, BCS never had a sports coach. Just prior to his entry the School had employed Mr Kumar, ex- Indian Navy, as a PT instructor but he did not remain long. Mr Masih was the first sporting coach at BCS. Until his entry there was no coach for athletics with most of the training being conducted by teachers who had an affinity for a particular sport e.g. Mr J D Williams (Soccer), Mr E A Cuzen (Cricket) or the famous Mr V E O Carville (Boxing), formerly with the Burma police. Mr Masih made a difference to the track and field events, especially the short distance sprints. Standards improved and as Inderjit Singh “Badal” (Lefroy 1951-63) testifies on the obituary page for Mr Masih:
“Badal Singh 338
Sincere condolences to the entire family ,
Mr Masih was my Athletics coach at Bishop Cotton School Simla” in 1962/63 And helped me improve my 100 yard dash and to break the school record ….. I will always remember and be grateful to him 🙏”
BCS also began to fare well at the Inter- public school meets at Patiala which for the most part was usually dominated by YPS, Patiala. We attributed that dominance to their significantly older ages than the acceptable average for boys in school.!! However, in later years with somewhat more professional training inputs by Mr Masih the results began to be visible. His impact was greatest with those who ran the short distance but the long and medium distance runner seemed to gain little. Some of them still remember, with a degree of remorse, their potential never being fully exploited. Mr Masih was no task master and his approach, in his inimitable rustic style, was always persuasive. He gave you the direction but the incentive and urge to win had to be yours. His influence was visible and some of his methods probably endured after he left BCS in 1966 or thereabouts.
Mr Masih during our time also coached the soccer and hockey teams as Govinder Singh (Ibbetson 1953-3) recalls:
” Mr Masih was a very helpful and friendly person to all athletes. That’s how I remember him. He spent one entire afternoon teaching me to improve my goalkeeping for the upcoming Sanawar match.
The obituary does not mention BCS.
I’m sure we all wish him well in the hereafter, and his family in Canada”
Mr & Mrs Masih retained their connections with BCS and Simla and would visit whenever they were in India having emigrated to Canada. His connections with BCS endured and I notice his wife and he were guests of honour at an OC lunch in Ontario in 2005. (http://www.oldcottonians.org/canada_31905.htm)
Looking back, Canada attracted a whole load of talented men and women from BCS – Mr Sasim Das Gupta, Mr Mathew Zachariah, Mr & Mrs Goss, Mr & Mrs Mal, Mr Ramesh Tiwari ,& Mr & Mrs Masih. Rev & Mrs Dustan simply went home. They were Canadian citizens !! They all contributed in a significant way to that country with some of them holding positions of great scholarship and eminence. In the process, all of them without exception, created wonderful and financially rewarding lives.
Mr Masih went a bit further than sports education to become an entrepreneur in the restaurant business. That was a trait he never exhibited but shows how remarkably well talent blossoms given the opportunity. Rest in Peace, Mr Masih and thank you for all that you did for us !!