An alumni group to revisit its school after 50 years
The very thought of an alumni group – 15 of us – of Netarhat Residential School – 2nd batch (1955-61 ), revisiting alma mater after 50 years, gives an awesome feeling. The objective is to reconnect with the past – emotionally, and this time more intimately while commemorating golden jubilee year of our passing out.
This group is quite excited about everything – touching reverentially the land and the school campus that shaped the course of our respective journeys; the very ambience and the environment to be felt and imbibed, yet again; the nostalgic days spent there decades ago for us to be able to relive now. All of us most eagerly await the moment when we descend on Netarhat (Jharkhand) on Oct. 11, 2011, and spend a couple of days with the school family. This time round we are joined by our better halves to see for themselves why Netarhat means so much to all of us.
Nestled on top of the Netarhat plateau, this school commenced its humble beginning in mid 1950s – a 100% Bihar government funded project was conceived by its first Chief Minister (late Shri Krishna Sinha) and his team of Education Minister (late Shri AN Sinha), Chief Secretary (late Shri L P Singh) and Education Secretary (late Shri J C Mathur). A detailed project report was then prepared by F G Pearce, an English educationist. And it got eventually translated – the school came into being on No. 15, 1954, with a batch of 60 boys (10-12 years) and nearly half a dozen teachers led by its first Principal – Charles Napier, an Englishman – all having assigned the privilege of making pioneering efforts to realise the dream its founding fathers had in mind. Yes, it was a dream beginning on a dreamland – Netarhat, an undulated land at approx 3000 ft above sea level, 96 miles from Ranchi and its nearly 25 km final ascending road journey ending up on a flat table- land nearly 8-10 sq km area. It provides all the thrills and enjoyment mother nature has to offer – the green Sal forests all over, beautiful waterfalls lying nearby and above all its salubrious climate round the year, are all too enchanting.
Netarhat School was a dream project for reasons more than one – entry at class VI level for boys (10-12 years) through written tests at district headquarters followed by counselling. It stuck to Hindi as the medium of teaching, had framed a variable school fee structure depending on the boys’ parents’/guardians’ annual income - this meant that there wasn’t any bar to quality education if a boy simply possessed merit and competed successfully. The concept of 20 boys housed in a hostel, named ‘Ashram’ with hostel superintendent, a teacher designated as ‘Ashram Adhyaksh’ and his wife, as ‘Ashram Mata’, the teachers to be addressed as ‘Shrimanji’ and Principal as ‘Pradhanji’ – all were kind of revival and replication of the gurukul days of our bygone Indian civilisation.
Now thinking in hindsight, it was a well thought out concept that served initially for the pre-teen boys to have a feeling of home away from home, subsequently cemented the teachers – students bonding – the ‘guru- shishya’ tradition apart from establishing a very strong inter-personal relations among students of every batch.
Netarhat School is now credited with having produced scores of top quality technocrats, scientists, doctors, administrators (IAS, IPS, IFS and Allied Services), Defence personnel (Army, Navy, Air Force), Academicians (Vice Chancellors, Professors), Banking professionals in the service of the nation and this process continues as before. Its alumni as Netarhat Old Boys Association (NOBA ) has a strong networking of over 5000 members all over this country and beyond in the US and UK and many other countries.
Hail , hail Netarhat