Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Recollections of a Hyderabad Public School Alumni
My heart jumped with joy when I finally saw someone write about my beloved school - HPS (Begumpet) - and I did hear stories about it's Jagirdar College days from my dad's friends and Old Boys (for folks who don't know, that's what the HPS Alumni are called). I received an invitation from the Old Boys Assn about our Alumni Day / Reunion '09 on Dec 25th, '09 in Hyderabad and I heard it was very well attended as always. The featured photo (courtesy: Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet Alumni Group) is the Administrative Block and features Principal's Office, classes, Assembly Hall and Library.
“sitaaron se aage jahaan aur bhi hain,
abhi ishq ke imtehaan aur bhi hain,
tu shaheen hai parwaaz hai kaam tera,
tere saamne aasmaan aur bhi hain”
This couplet by Allamma Iqbal is not only true about our mascot, The Eagle, but befits our school too as it's motto.
My recollections of HPS take me back from 1970 Primary school to all the way to 10th SSc (yes we had a choice then to go for SSc or ICSE and onto 11th and 12th ISC and since most of my friends were going for SSc I too followed that path, what we call peer pressure here). Let me list my recollections below in points:
1. We were Boys Only school and it became a coed a couple or so yrs after we passed out. Most of my friends' sisters used to go to Saint Ann's High School in Secunderabad.
2. We had 4 houses, named after the Seats of Learning during the Indus Civilization, and they were Nalanda (Blue), Taxila (Green), Nagarjuna (Red) and Vijaynagar (Yellow). We still have the same houses and I was in Nalanda. We had these removable flaps with each color strip on it that differentiated folks of the 4 houses and these flaps went on your khaki school Shirts.
3. 6 uniforms? No we had 4 for different parts of the day. The white T-shirt, colored shorts (for each house), white socks and white shoes for PT; Khaki Shirt and Pants (khaki shorts for Primary school), black shoes and khaki socks for school; Black Jodhpuri coat and White Pants and black shoes for evening (prep time for studies and Homework) and then dinner and after about 30 mins after dinner, it was sleep time and we would change into night suits and go to bed. Prefects would go around all rooms to see everyone was in their beds. In fact, we had a very similar schedule like Hakeem Sahab noted in his email.
4. We Boarders had to endure early morning 5am PT every weekday - lucky Day Scholars didn't have to go through that until late afternoon PT (Physical Training). our P.E./ PT Teacher, Mr. Devadattam was the most hated guy (sorry sir if u are reading this) - didn't mean it that way but we hated your disciplinary ways, punctuality - one minute late entailed extra PT and possibly frog jumps (gosh it hurt the calves later), hard nosed training and perfection and that early morning cross country ((once a week) - we simply hated waking up that early and felt happy when excused from PT due to "fake" illness but them Mr. D was too smart to notice that too - that's why we feared him out of respect.
5. Boarders used to get Pocket money every weekend - Cadbury, Chips and cookies (not cash). And also we got magazines delivered to our dorms in the East Wing and West Wing - I used to get Sportsweek every week and offcourse we paid him. Laundry, Beds made up and shows spotlessly shined by the ayahs were some of the perks of the Boarding School. Every Saturday or Sunday was movie day in the Assembly Hall and once a month, selected good movies in the theaters, and last but not least, every year, we had our annual theatrical show at Ravindra Bharathi.
6. Boarders also got to go to A.P. Riding Club every fortnight for a stint of horse riding; watch cricketing greats like Jaisimha, Abid Ali sahab and others come to our cricket games, played at the Basalath Jah Cricket grounds in the back of the school property, adjacent to the Begumpet airport. Nawab of Pataudi's nephews, Aamir Bin Jung and Saad Bin Jung, Vivek Jaisimha, Anant Vatsalya and a few others were some of the cricketing stalwarts in my time. I also had the fortune to play with Vivek and Ananth especially.
7. It was a lot of fun while standing on the cricket ground - if playing on the boundary near the airport runway and just hanging out on weekends - seeing those planes take off. It was awesome and ear-splitting fun.
8. Some more memorable events used to be the Annual Day - complete with marches in front of the Chief Guest and parents, and then athletic competitions between the four houses. It was a question of pride to win the House Competition and be voted the All round Champion House.
Finally the folks who inculcated the discipline and imparted knowledge that made us the proud alumni of our beloved school were not only our parents but also the teachers, right from kindergarten to high school. I cannot recount all they did for me but I can certainly give them shoutouts - to name as they come to mind and I may have forgotten some names too - Primary School Matron Mrs. Saleha Begum and West Wing Boardng school Resident Master, Mr. Jayanand; school teachers Mrs. D'Souza, Mrs. Seshadiri, Mr. Sai Sunder, Mr. Madani, Mr. Sadiq Naqvi, Mr. TJ Benhur (He was hard taskmaster who literally helped me in my English grammar and as did Mrs. Luther), Mrs. Luther (English), Mr. Prasad, Mr. Cherian, Mr. Solomon Jacob (his sartorial sense was legendary and his ties collection was amazing), Mr. Mathai, Mr. Sambasiva Rao, Mr. Chandrashekar, Urdu teachers Mr. Sadathullah Khan and Mr. Tajummul Hussain, our vice-principal, Mr. NRK Murthy, PT teacher Mr. Devadattam and offcourse, and our wonderful principals - Mr. Watson, Col Puri and HL Dutt. And a host of others whom I remember by faces but can't recall their names - my apologies to them.
Inspite of the privileges of studying in such an institution, we were not spoilt or lazy, and guess were brought up, with an eye to the future, to be independent and flexible in all environments Life may present in future. Hope you enjoyed my recollections.
Mohammed Sadathullah Sayeed
HPS Alumni - Class of '78
Written in response to the following email by Mr. Hakeem Akbar Ali Khan (U.K.)
J A G I R D A R' S C O L L E G E
Hyderabad Public School
Jagidar college was established in 1922/23 by Mr Masood Ross (Imad ul Mulk's son or grand son).
Imad Ul Mulk was one of the Prime ministers of Nizam the 7th's Hyderabad.
Jagirdar college was a great institution. Discipline was well maintained.
Besides highest education, physical activities were equally important.
Students had to getup very early in the morning for drill, by the time they were back, their shoes used to be polished, beds were made.
Jagirdar college had its own hospital, laundrette, barber, Bakery, Kitchen, best meals were served hygienically by waiters at dining table. Every thing used to be freshly made.
Breakfast: Porridge or Cornflakes, fried eggs, butter eggs or omelettes. Choice of hot drinks, tea, coffee or Oval-tin & hot toasts were served.
Other school/college students loved to play sports with Jagirdar's college so they can have deliciouslunch & snacks.
Even when Jagirdar's college students used to play outside the college the treat used to be the same.
Lunch/Dinner: Soup of the day, delicious hot main course, had great choice of every thing, plenty of side dishes. some times at lunch a dish was made of sliced lamb's tongue, students who had this dish still remember its taste & say they never had any thing like that else where.
Fresh seasonal fruits. Ice cream was served in kaunla (Tangerine shell) always home made soft ice cream was made with seasonal fruits.
Egg rolls, curry puffs, Samosas, cakes and biscuits for tea. Every thing use to be fresh at all time.
College use to have Friday full day school& Saturday 1/2 day off but no student wanted to go home.
Students were divided in to 5 houses (Groups), Yellow, Green, White, Blue & Red.
There were 6 uniforms worn a day. At 5am the day started with a whistle and everybody had to be alert and present on the grounds wearing white singlets, white shorts, white socks & white shoes. 5am to 5.30, 5 days a week.
After PT every body had to take a shower, then be ready for breakfast in Khaki shirt, Khaki shorts khaki stockings & Brown shoes.
Breakfast used to be from 8am to 8.30 & then separation till 9am .
School bell at 9am. 9 to 11.20 am two periods of 40 minutes each. Interval for 20 minutes.
Then 2 periods before lunch. Lunch use to be served from 1pm to 2pm, then 2 more classes, 4pm school use to finish for the day. Wash face have tea.
Then changed into game's uniform according to the games played. White for cricket each game had its uniform. Tennis, cricket, football, Hockey. Sports use to finish at 6pm then shower.
Evening out fit use to be Black Shairwani, White Kurta & Pyjama. Week ends white shairwani.
From 7pm-8pm home work (preparation) . Bell to invite for dinner at 8pm-9.30pm. Then the last bell for bed, every body in sleeping suit.
Dhobi use to come twice a week so our parents had to supply enough uniforms as per school's uniform list.
Even after such an ayesh every body was trained to adjust in every environment.
There was no religious/cast bar, everybody was very friendly.
College's jacket was Dark Blue, light blue & yellow.
Every Wednesday there was a cross country running for 3 miles. A commander use to follow. At weekends, one morning swimming & next day horse riding.
For kindergarten minimum age was 5 years. Some students were studying up to the age of 22.
Every Jagirdar had to pay 10% of his income regardless they had children or not, they sent their children to college or not.