Tag Archives: History

BCS 161st Founder’s Day 2020

One hundred and sixty one years  today and my beautiful Alma mater remains steadfast on that spur of Simla looking towards the gap of Tara Devi, whilst the Heavens above look down and Bless our great institution…

The history of Bishop Cotton School is entwined with the history of India and Britain. Our school founded by Reverend Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton is the ground where I grew up from a five year old…. to what I am today.

At an interesting talk at Chatham House London by Mark Tully ( ex.BBC) on life in India, I was sitting amongst the rows of invitees and put my hand up when the Q&A* session started.

I must have asked something terribly relevant.. as Mr Tully started with “that’s a great question…!”

At the end of the event, someone tapped me very gently on my left shoulder. I turned to that side and saw a gentle hand with beautifully manicured nails, delicate long fingers that lead to a gorgeous arm and on to a very aristocratic Lady with coiffured silver-grey hair, a gorgeous face, a string of Mallorca pink pearls and a divine smile ….a whiff of Chanel No 5 and Pure Radiance!

“Excuse me“ she whispered coming closer …”are you the India High Commissioner?”….

I turned around towards her and stood up….we both smiling looking deep into each other’s eyes..

“ No Ma’am” I whispered back ..

“ I am not the High Commissioner, but I am an Ambassador …”

… she raised her well groomed eyebrow questioningly with an even bigger smile..

“ indeed I am an Ambassador Ma’am, an Ambassador of Bishop Cotton School**Simla” 

And that for us was said enough.

Wishing The Director,the Staff and All We Ambassadors** of Bishop Cotton School, felicitations on our 161st Founder’s Day.

God Bless our great institution; may it continue from strength to strength.

*Q&A session : When my class of 1970 sits on the stage in the Irwin Hall with the senior boys throwing questions at us like freebies ….. we will answer… “about the roads we took, the paths we chose, our lives experiences and whether we have reached our destination..

** Every week day at Chapel Service, just after the hymn was sung, the last prayer recited, we used to wait expectantly for Heady Goldie ( Head Master R. K. von Goldstein) to walk up to the alter to end the service with a very brief talk …..he always did… immaculately, striding forward in his three piece suit, oxfords and Head Master’s gown, he never failed us as we listened to his three minutes that consisted of a spectrum of thoughts, stories and events. The Brass hand grip on the Chapel door and more. What he ingrained in me was one of his impeccable sayings that resound in me every single day….. “ never ever forget young gentlemen… when you walk out of the gates of this great institution, always remember…You Are Ambassadors of Bishop Cotton School…”.

Vivek ( Bonnie ) Bhasin

Lefroy 

1961-1970

.. hurting deep and hard that my Class of 1970 will not make it to School this year to celebrate our Golden Anniversary. Deep and hard and heart breaking…

Crayon drawings of BCS – by Himmat Singh [1962 Batch]

Crayons by Himmat Singh [1952-62 Rivaz House] of our main school in 1958, before the fountain came up. Note the tin shed verandah ,before dorms came up!
[Click the pictures for a larger view]

One Hundred and Ten – yes we are – 110!

The Old Cottonians Association is 110 today the 13th of May 2020

UPDATE:
We received messages from Ashwani Virk and from Vivek Bhasin, quoted below:

Happy Birthday OCA – ‘Reflections’ on an Association :-

On a fateful day of ‘May 13, 1910, when Mr. E.O. Wisley, an Old Student of Bishop Cotton School in the years 1863-69, signed the ‘Roll of Association’, in Freemason’s Hall at Shimla, in presence of 16 other Old boys, he never thought that a number of 17 would go on to become 3000 strong after 110 years since its inception.

But it was no sheer coincidence that the day was ‘Friday’ and the date 13th and it was not meant to be their ‘Last Supper’. Rather, it was the beginning of many Dinners and Dances to be held in future with purposes – To established a bond of Union amongst old boys and present boys, To put an end to the stigma bureaucratic circle attached to the Indian education and With a promise that “should anything arise to occasion a demand for active services of its Old boys, the school has the satisfaction of knowing a number of them are to hand, not only willing but pledged, to assist by every means in their power”.

To express their solidarity and to give a visual expression to their pledge these 17 brave Old boys Presented the school’s Chapel a huge stained Glass Window depicting ‘The Good Shepherd’ which was installed within the Chapel on 19th October, 1915 making it the most significant relic in the school’s history and part of its Architecture.

I feel proud to state that there are only a handful of Old Student Associations all across the world whose timeline can boast of a more than a Century record.

On a personal note, my long stint with ‘Old Cottonians Association India’ has been a very memorable one. During my journey I came across many Old boys, some Seniors and some Juniors with huge age differences but it was no surprise that there is this strange but an invisible connection between all of them which could be termed as a ‘happy bond of brotherhood’.

Since the year 2007 onwards till date, I have been associated with OCA India under various office capacities and have worked under many Honorary Presidents namely Mr. B.M.Singh, Mr, Sukhinder Singh, Justice R.S.Sodhi ( Retd.) and Mr. D.S.Jaaj. Each of them has worked tirelessly to take the baton forward from their predecessors. They all deserve a special applause and kudos to them for leading our Association with an example with their selfless service. The strength and cohesiveness of all our Association Members today is a standing proof of their hardwork.

I also take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. D.C.Anand -Chairman Emeritus of OCA India, on this great occasion for leading us all the way for so many years and setting up an exceptional example of true spirit of a ‘Cottonian’.

There are also many Senior OCs (whom I often refer to as the pillars of the Association in India), namely Jaspal Sawhney, Anil Mehra, Nakul Anand, Narinder Chauhan, Col. Wendy Diwan, Anil Advani and Mr. Vijay khurana, without whose help and able guidance OCA India would not have reached where it is today.

Also, a very big thanks to all the 5 teams of OCA India functioning under the umbrella of its Hony. President D.S.Jaaj & Justice S.S.Saron ( Vice-president) with the able support of Ajay Thiara (Secretary). Keep up the good work guys.

Once again my heartiest congratulations to all the OCs and OCAs across the world – OCA U.K., OCA Canada, OCA Nepal and OCA Australia on this auspicious occasion.
Stay Healthy and be Safe.
Ash Virk (Rivaz -1980)


 

Happy 110th Birthday OCA🙏
Old Cottonian’s Association 
Bishop Cotton School 
Simla

Friday the 13th of May 1910
17 young Cottonians got together at the Freemason’s Hall
on the Ridge SIMLA… 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/23268776@N03/5114675554/in/photostream

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sirwatkyn/3337566029/

As I send my Warmest Greetings and Felicitations to All Cottonians and OCA fraternities  the world over on our milestone, I spend a few moments exercising my grey cells remembering what an extremely special place my School was. 
 
Being a few months past five years of age when I arrived into Lefroy House with a roll number for life : 123! i can still recollect so many incidents during my time at BCS…the School was my anchor, my sanctuary and a place I can go back to in my mind and this feels peaceful.. sometimes my mind connects with the physical and I find myself back home.. back home to BCS wherever I may be, wherever I worked travelled and spent time in 120 countries as a mariner, wanderer, dreamer, and as a Cottonian.
 
An elegant lady Miss Marie Bonnaud who I knew until her ripe young age of 104 gave me and thus, ALL Cottonians a wonderful comment .. but that’s another story …!



Our OCA is special and has been nurtured by all of us amazing Cottonians. Some speak loud to drive the point home, some speak seldom and drive determinedly, most of us play a silent STRONG role fiercely protecting our sacred identity, our sacred space. We are all part of the brotherhood.

Others may beg to defer, but I strongly believe we do not need to bench mark ourselves against other institutions. As Cottonians we start our charity at home and with our Alma mater. We have today in our midst Simon David Weale Esq; as Director along with his smart wife Rebecca Weale. They are up in School fighting all odds to lay a global road map for BCS. In Corona Times a mighty challenge. 

Without interfering in the road map of our great School every Old Cottonian should pledge to partake in the further betterment of BCS…

You.. with a strong voice when instructed..

He …speaking seldom but driving determinedly…

And He.. playing his silent STRONG role fiercely protecting our sacred identity, our sacred space.

On our OCA 110th Anniversary I wish I was in the School Chapel feeling the stillness, the cool calm steadfastness and the Good Shepherd looking after his flock …

I was there…
You were there…
We were there…
We are there .. ALWAYS.
GOD BLESS BISHOP COTTON SCHOOL 
GOOD BLESS EVERY COTTONIAN ..

Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970

Down memory lane: Mr. Tuli / Mr & Mrs. Shankar / Mr & Mrs. Roshan Lal

BCS Founder’s Day
Year Unknown [between 1964~1976?]

Dr. Y. S. Parmar [first CM of Himachal Pradesh] meeting BCS Staff.

Seen in the photo [left to right]:
Dr. Parmar – Mr. Anil ChaudharyMrs. Chaudhary – Mr. Roshan Lal Vashisht –  Mrs. Roshan Lal – Mr. Gauri Shankar [shaking hands with Dr.  Parmar] – Mrs. Shankar – Mr. L.C. Tuli.

Photo sent by Rajiv Shankar -1962-1974 Curzon – [Mr. Gauri Shankar’s son]