Yesterday once more
Fourteen of the 18 classmates of the 1958
St Thomas batch reunite tomorrow
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

A picture of the 1958 St Thomas School batch and (right) the 1955 batch.
A picture of the 1958 St Thomas School batch and (right) the 1955 batch.

Dehradun, November 11
On a nostalgia trip, the 1958 badge of St Thomas will be returning to school on Thursday to share old memories.

When the 14 classmates come together, they will have so much to share and discuss. Principal RV Gardner will organise a special evening for them.

“We will hold a small get-together in the school. Junior school students and the staff will put up a small reunion function on November 13.”

When a student of the 1958 batch, Ranjana Malik from Panchkula, rang up the principal about the planned reunion trip, “ I was moved by the effort and the pain our former students had taken to locate their classmates. I then told them we would organise a small function for them. Since then my junior section and the staff have been busy preparing for the special day,” informed Principal Gardner.

An educationist and former MLA, he took over as principal in 1980. Before that he was heading a boarding school in Pune. His zeal to teach and serve the people of the state has led him to reject several job offers. An assignment in Australia was also turned down by him.

“I am happy to have decided to stay here and head St Thomas School. Money and other perks cannot compensate for the love and appreciation that I get here,” he said.

Vijay Dougall of the 1958 batch who resides at Herbertpur still remembers his English and geography teacher, Pamela Ghosh, “who was a stickler for discipline and all of us were terrified of her, while our mathematics teacher GC Khanna ensured that we had our fundamentals right.”

Thinking back, Dougall said it did not have a boundary wall. “ There were more open spaces, our library was limited to a few cupboards that satiated our hunger for knowledge and provided information about the world around.

“ The school was restricted to the main building. Today several blocks have come up and there are few open spaces.”

Looking forward to meeting his classmates (of the 18 only 14 would be coming), Dougall remembers the camaraderie they shared.

“The best thing about our class was togetherness and unity. Our class compromised six boys and 12 girls and all us were engaged in sports, be it boxing or football,” said Dougall.

While dating was a taboo those days, there was admiration for the girls. “ The high point in our life was, Mr Rick coming to the school armed with his 8mm projector showing us English movies and classics of the fifties in the auditorium.”

On the Dehradun then, Dougall said: “It was a rare sight to see five cars moving past the Clock Tower; there were few cars and people preferred to walk. it was an unhurried life that we seem to have left behind. The changing face of Dehradun has rattled several denizens who miss the city’s tranquility when people would retire by 6 pm.”



Another feline falls into fear trap
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 11
The carcass of a male leopard aged three or four has been found 300 metres uphill the Shanshahi-Makreti-Halka motorway on the outskirts of Dehradun towards Mussoorie. The feline seems to have been trapped in a metal wire loop placed by locals there.

Mussoorie forest division officials, who came to know of the incident at 8.30 am, found the dead leopard half clinging to the loop. SDO CP Sharma along with other forest officials managed to pull out the body.

“The leopard died of a heart attack caused by panic on getting trapped,” the postmortem confirmed. The body of the leopard was set ablaze.

The circumstances leading to the death of the leopard reveal the growing man versus beast conflict.

The trap was laid by villagers to avoid the leopard from venturing out into human settlements. However, there have been reports of villagers laying the trap for catching smaller mammals like the deer.

This incidence is not the first of its kind. In April this year, an injured leopard was found from Pestle Weed College area in close vicinity to the place of today’s incident.

This leopard too had got entangled in a metal loop but was saved due to the watchful eyes of forest officials. He had to undergo a long treatment.



Stamp-ed impressions
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Rajesh Varma with his collection of stamps.
Rajesh Varma with his collection of stamps. Tribune photo: Anil Rawat

Dehradun, November 11
With philately dying a slow death, a Doonite has taken up the cudgels to revive the hobby in this city of schools. Despite efforts to promote philately, there has been a steady decline in the number of keen pursuers of the hobby in Dehradun in recent times.

After achieving several aurels, Rajesh Verma has been working single-handedly towards promotion of philately in the city.

As member of the Uttaranchal Philatelists Association, Varma has been instrumental in conducting over 70 workshops on philately in the last five years and has held exhibitions in Dehradun, Mussoorie, Nainital, Haldwani, Kashipur and other parts of the state.

Varma believes that the only way to revive philately is to inculcate interest among school children at the right stage. He says there has been little support from the school authorities in this regard.

“Leave apart a few, most schools take little interest towards revival of the hobby,” he said. Already under pressure to deliver results, the schools seldom encourage their students to opt for extra-curricular activities.

In 1993, Varma was awarded Vermeil Medal at sixth India National Philatelic Exhibition. In 1996, he won the silver medal in the ninth Asian International Philatelic Exhibition held at China.

In 1997, he was awarded by CENTIPEX-97. In 2000, he continued bringing laurels back home and was awarded a special prize on his Olympic Games exhibits. He was yet again given the silver medal at the 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition ESPANA-06.

Since 2001, Varma has been the judge for the Stamp Design Competition organised by Uttaranchal Postal Circle.

But then buying first day cover involves expenditure, which is one reason why there is a perceptible disinclination towards adopting this hobby.

“The hobby is certainly expensive as it involves money. But it is not money that is forcing the children of today in keeping a distance from stamp collection, as they are ready to go out for other recreations and spend even more,” says Varma.

As an executive officer in the Republic of Nauru in 1990, Varma designed as many as 14 stamps, including a miniature sheet for the republic, an achievement of sorts by any Indian ever.

Taking into account his expertise, the government there sought his expertise for issuing and designing stamps. He was also national commissioner for Olymphilex 2000 at Sydney.

Varma is all praise for the role of Uttarakhand Postal Circle officials for their efforst to promote the hobby.



Eight more ambulances for city
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 10
By the end of March 2009, Uttarakhand will have a total of 108 EMRI emergency ambulances. Stating this at the launch of eight emergency ambulances, Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri lauded the effort of the company and the people engaged in rendering the services in the state.

He said that the service of EMRI would also be undertaken during the Kumbh Mela. He said that with 108 ambulances, the problem of lack of medical infrastructure in the hills would be solved.

Now, altogether 60 ambulances are in operation in the state. The eight ambulances will be operational in Bageshwar, Gangolihat, Takula, Munsiyari, Chakrata, Roorkee, Haridwar and Ghansalia and Chakrata.

Uttarakhand health minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal said that the services of EMRI would be available in all 95 development blocks of the state.

The CEO of EMRI Venkat Bengavalli said that Uttrakhand is the third state after Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat where the service have been launched.

Speaking on the occasion, COO of EMRI Anoop Nautiyal said that to mark the eighth anniversary of the state, eight ambulances have been launched.



Leaf From History
Roorkee ran India’s first train, to Piran Kalyiar
Vikas Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Roorkee, November 11
Roorkee may have little prominence as a geographical entity on the world map, but with the first train running between Roorkee and Piran Kalyiar, it sure has a place in the country’s history books.

Contents of the book titled “Report on Ganga Canal” published in 1860 (with the Indian Institute of Technology here), reveals that the first train on Indian soil ran between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar on December 22, 1851.

Authored by P.T. Cautely, the book maintains that during the construction of the Ganga canal, that was envisaged to solve the irrigation problem, a need was felt for a train between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar.

"While constructing the Solani aqueduct in Roorkee, British engineers felt the need to bring large quantities of clay and other material from nearby Piran Kaliar situated 10 km from Roorkee.

“This necessity compelled the engineers to consider the possibility of running a train between these areas," says Yogendra Singh, a librarian with the IIT, quoting from the book.

The book says the engine of the first train was brought from Britain in 1851, which was known initially as 'Jenny Lind' after a famous singer of that time.

However, it was renamed Thomson after the then Lt Governor of North West Provinces and it began its first journey in the same year.

At the outset, two wagons were attached to the engine with a capacity to ferry 180 to 200 tonnes of material.

The train would cover a distance of two-and-a-half miles in 38 minutes at four
miles per hour.

The train continued to provide service and remained operational for nine months until 1852 when the engine caught fire and was damaged. However, by then the construction of the aqueduct was almost finished.



Rooted-ness must for any progress

Haridwar Mahotsav has drawn several well-known personalities. It is, indeed, gratifying to know that residents of this holy town remain rooted to their culture and folk music.

In this day and age when people are moving away from their culture, aping the West, Haridwar Mahotsav has attracted young and old like.

Bhajans and folk music at the festival has had the young glued to their seats as much as their elders. The occasion saw the generation gap diminishing, even disappearing at times.

It is imperative that we teach our young to value our tradition and take pride in our roots. This alone will ensure a strong India.

Only the rooted can dare to develop wings and soar high. They alone have the confidence to make it big as they derive security and inspiration from who they are.

Hope your paper will give space to more such events. I see some hope in the media in bringing about awareness among our children about our rich cultural heritage.

The schools too do their bit towards meeting this aim , but by the time children reach college, they seem to succumb to outside forces like the satellite TV and the Internet, totally disregarding their culture.

I , therefore, implore you to give coverage to cultural events, with pictures, illustrations and interviews of artistes whose words can inspire our children to excel in arts.

Tarun Parihar

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words at [email protected] or write in at: Letters, Dehradun Plus, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |