NINETY TWO GLORIOUS YEARS OF COL BROWN CAMBRIDGE SCHOOL
Monday, 12 March 2018 | Jaskiran Chopra-
In March, 1926 the Colonel Brown Cambridge School was founded by Col and Mrs W Brown, for Indian boys. This is one of the oldest schools in the Doon valley which is the “Mecca” of school education.
The school ranks high amongst educational Institutions in India. It attracts students not only from all parts of India, but also from abroad. Being the oldest residential public school in the school city of Doon, the eighty two year old “Col Brown Cambridge School” located in serene surroundings in the valley, is an integral part of the history of the valley, known the world over for its residential schools.
It would be interesting to recall on this occasion that this school was started as a result of Col William Brown’s love for India. An Irish man of repute, with an enviable record of distinguished service both in the sphere of education and the British Army, Col Brown retired from the Army but did not want to leave India, the country he had adopted, served and grown to love passionately.
Col. William Brown and Mrs Brown were childless but loved children and during tours and postings ranging from North West Frontier Province to the South found time during their tenure to help children of Indian origin.
Col Brown realised that the British gentlemen and some of his colleagues had taken upon themselves to promote education, which was of selective nature i.e. privileged education and related facilities for their own and the fast emerging Anglo- Indian community.
It was under these compulsions that after having failed to break the British mindset, he teamed up with Dr Balbir Singh, a highly educated writer and philosopher of the Doon valley, wishing to promote education. With both Col Brown and Dr Balbir Singh being strong personalities holding independent views, this arrangement did not last very long.
They sat together and discussed ways and means of overcoming their differences, but soon realised that each one of them would be better off independently.
Col. William Brown along with five students moved into Dick House bearing property number 5 Dick Road, which in the year 1926 was up for rent or sale as Col Dick who was the owner of the Tea Garden had died.
The area where the school is situated and all the surrounding area of Dalanwala as well as the area across the Rispana River in those days produced Tea which was very popular in North India.
The Motto of the School “MAGNA EST VERITAS” was the symbol and guiding light for the future generations to come.
Simplicity is its beauty and translated from Latin it means “TRUTH IS GREAT”. Completing Ninety two years of its existence is a major milestone for an institution.
Some of the most well-known teachers of the Doon valley were associated with Col Brown’s down the years. These include Uggar Sen, Betty Hughes, S K Chatterjee and Dwejan Sen who was a well-known sculptor and Shanti Swarup.
In fact, Miss Oliphant who later founded the Welham Boys’ School also worked once at Col Brown’s School.
Col Brown School has a history of producing valiant army officers on top. General Hanut Singh, General Dependra Singh and General Bewoor to name a few.
The former Prime Minister V P Singh was an alumni (1941-46)and so is Veer Bhadra Singh. Old students include Gen (Retd) Dipendra Singh and Rear Admiral Harish Malhotra.
Actor Joy Mukherjee also studied at this school.
Set up in the spring of the year 1926, the school wasfor “Indian Boys” only. The students, during the first several years, were mainly princes and “jagirdars”.
Brown wished to provide them with a Cambridge education.
“India House” is the oldest hostel of the school.
In this block, three rooms used to be provided to the “elite” students who lived here in the pre-1947 era.
They used to bring along their horses, servants and cooks from home.
Col Brown died suddenly on April 18, 1942, leaving behind a legacy which passed through many caring hands including those of Col Thomas Francis O’Donnell who was the principal from 1942 to 1958.
New hostels like Ireland House, Col House and White House came up over the years. “The Tamarind Open Air Theatre” of the school is popular in the valley.
Today, the school, carrying with it the glorious past, is moving along with the times and making efforts to keep alive up the “Brownian Spirit” of “Magna Est Veritas” (Truth is Great).
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