M A I N   N E W S

Doscos to celebrate 75th anniversary
Neena Sharma

Dehradun, October 17
Amid the vast green expanse of the Chand Bagh estate here stands the Doon School, where boys come from all over India to study and which boasts of several famous alumni. Some of the men who are now shaping the political, social and economic destiny of the nation had spent hours scripting their moves on these very lawns. Nine of the country’s serving MPs who are old students of the school probably honed their communication skills while being part of the Doon debating society.

The school, which was founded in 1935 on liberal and secular principles, is often referred to as a nursery for politicians even as old-timers say that the school gained immense popularity with the ascent of Rajiv Gandhi. Now in its 75th year, the school continues to serve the burgeoning aspirations of a changing India.

“The Doon has over the years expanded and adjusted to changes, it has an in-built system to adopt and we are preparing the boys to serve a meteoritic India. We are also aware that government’s Right to Education Act entails 25 per cent reservation for the weaker sections, so things have to be worked out regarding its implementation,” said Dr Peter Mclaughlin, an Irish Headmaster of Doon School who joined last July.

The intense kinship experienced by students in South Asia’s most exclusive school creates strong alumnus ties and effective networking. When India’s youngest Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and a Dosco became the Prime Minister of India after the death of his mother, the first thing he did was to bring along his old schoolmates (Arun Singh and Suman Dubey) in his government, much to the consternation of old politicians who were taken aback by the baba brigade. “The school does have its share of famous persons; after Rajiv Gandhi, his son Rahul too studied here for a brief period. The Doon has always attracted the rich, but I must add that the school also offers scholarship to students whose parents may not be able to afford the fee,” apprised Sheel Vohra, former deputy head master of the school who is affectionately called Bond by the Doscos.

The school boasts of a unique student-teacher relationship which allows students easy access to their instructors. “In our teachers we found patient listeners, all my apprehensions used to dissolve after a chat over a cup of tea with my Hindi teacher,” said Ashvin Kumar, a filmmaker of ‘Old Terrorist’ fame and a Dosco.

The school provides all kinds of activities and opportunities for all-round growth of the students. It offers mountaineering activities with regular treks to nearby peaks. The strong mountaineering tradition was laid by Gurdiyal Singh, who taught geography to the boys and was even awarded the Padma Shri after he scaled the Trishul peak (23,630 feet). The Doon School Society Book declares, “Mountaineering is not just a physical exercise, it is also an exercise of the mind and spirit.”

Old-timers will happily tell you that the school inspired old Doscos from Pakistan to establish a similar school. in their country “The Chand Bagh school is inspired by the Doon and was founded by Lt Gen Ghulam Jilani Khan (retd) in 1998 in Lahore,” said Piyush Malviya, Public Relations officer, Doon School.

The gathering of old Doscos from October 21onwards to mark the institute’s diamond jubilee would be a reunion for old students from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India who once upon a time shared a common school. After formal inauguration of the celebrations by President of India Pratibha Patil, ‘bada khana’ and a host of other activities would keep the big boys occupied.

“There will be a lot of catching up to do, you must not forget that the decision to start the Chand Bagh school was taken during one of these reunions, I am sure they will have something up their sleeves this time round too,” chuckled Sheel Vohra.





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 |