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Monday, September 5, 2016

Teacher's Day : Hindu High School / Samarao School and remembering patriot VO Chidambaranar

Of the four mada veethis of Thiruvallikkeni, the farthest is Singarachari Street – one could not miss this old building opp to Punjab National Bank ~ a school, “ Samarao School” ~ an elementary school in existence for perhaps 100 years or so!


Guru Vandana means “Reverence for the Teacher” – it is the thanksgiving from a student to a teacher, expressing his or her gratitude. Do you remember the Names and can you recollect the faces of your teachers at your Elementary school and in Secondary school .... have you ever met any of them after coming out of school.  Can you recognise them and would you stop, spend time to pay reverence, if you are to have a chance meeting with them ?   

Nation’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modiji  has saluted the dedication and commitment of all the teachers, on Teachers' Day. Prime Minister has also paid his tributes to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the Former President of India, whose birth anniversary is celebrated today as Teachers' Day across India.  How has your teacher influenced you? Share your anecdote and read what many others have written about their teachers", the Prime Minister said.

Those  in Chennai – know well this road connecting Beach Road [Kamarajar Salai] from Gandhi statue to Gemini flyover [Anna Membalam] ……it is Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, named after Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who had strong association with Madras.  As a mark of respect and to recognise teachers’ contribution towards the society, most countries celebrate Teachers’ Day. In India, we observe it on September 5, the day teacher and President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Virswami was born.  Born in a poor Brahmin family in South India in 1888, Dr Radhakrishnan rose to become one of the most influential thinkers of Modern India.  He was a teacher of philosophy at the Madras Presidency College and was popular among his students. He was the first Vice-President of India and the second President of the country (1962-67). In April 1909, he was appointed to the Department of Philosophy at the Madras Presidency College. From 1936-39, he was the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University.

Punjab’s first Lifetime Achievement Award for Teachers will be jointly awarded to Sister Mirabell (98) and Swaran Singh (72) for their exemplary service in the field of education. The awards will be distributed on Teachers’ Day states New Indian Express.   Swaran Singh is the principal of a unique institute – one that is both a school and college, in Gurdaspur. Swaran left his teaching job at the government middle school in Harchowal village in the same district to start his own senior secondary school in 1986. From an initial strength of 14 girls, the school now serves 5,000 students.

This day (5th Sept)  for sure should rekindle the memories of another great patriot who underwent untold sufferings at the hands of British… more than a century ago, his speech at Thai Poosa Mantapam in the bed of river Thamirabarani at Tirunelveli [on the night of 9th  March 1907] sent shivers and he was convicted under sections 124A & 153A of Indian Penal Code by the Bench consisting of CA White & Miller. In that famous speech, he had thundered “"As soon as the English people set foot in India, poverty also made its appearance in the country. So long as the foreign Government exists we shall not prosper. So long as we continue to be the servants and slaves of foreigners we shall have to endure hardships.”

One of the primitive implements for extracting oil is bullock powered oil press. It is no engineering marvel – it has a large wooden mortar with a groove encircling its tucked-in waist, into which a broad plank with open semicircular end fits. A wooden pestle of a size proportionate to the mortar rests on it; the other end is connected to the broad plank. The power required to move, rotate and crush the ingredients is supplied by oxen – which generally is a retired old animal no longer capable of pulling cart or ploughing. To ever imagine replacing the animal with a man would send chill on the nerves. But for the cruel British Govt, that was one way of punishing the young and brave who dared to openly challenge them.

The Great man is - Vandanam Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai ~ more famous as VOC or Kappolottiya thamizhan,  was born on 5th  Sept 1872. His father was the eminent lawyer Ulaganathan Pillai in Ottapidaram, Tuticorin Dist. Like his father, he also became an advocate and often pleaded for the poor. His exemplary fighting qualities made him establish the “Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company” during Nov 1906 by purchasing two steamships ‘S.S.Gaelia’ and ‘S.S.Lawoe’. This indeed is an exemplary act when somebody can imagine the stringent measures and imperialistic attitude of the Britishers who crushed any such activity by brutal force. By running ships, he challenged the monopoly enjoyed by the British India Steam Navigation Company, formed in 1856.

5th Sept marks his 145th  Birth day. I for one is not for celebrating birth days of those persons who are no more. Still, today  would remain a day worthy of remembering and recalling his commitment, strong will and sacrifice. The young generations of India should read his life as an example of resistance, strife, struggle, suffering and sacrifice.

The photos at the start are of N Samarao School in Singarachari Street, Triplicane where I studied till 5th standard ~ 1974.  My class teacher was Mrs Bhagawathi, whom I still remember and admire. Recall that those days, my teacher was travelling from Katpadi.  The big building had two floors + ground ~ only wooden benches would separate classes.  From there to the sprawling imposing Hindu High School was real transformation.  The board at  famous Red Building at 149 Big Street, Triplicane, Chennai 600 005, would read :
“Be Proud of Your School – Let your School be proud of you (by your deeds)”
the main building and the building opposite


A landmark by itself – an imposing structure - bricks and saffron coloured walls with Indo-sarsenic architecture has inspired many and created many worthy students.  Hindu High School was  founded in 1852 as Dravida Patasala for Tamil boys;  later amalgamated with The Hindu Andhra Balura Patasala for Telegu boys. The school was for long, considered as one of the best schools in the Madras Presidency and was once the feeder school to Presidency College, another institute of formidable repute of yore. The School boasts  of many  illustrious personalities  and has had great teachers shaping the destiny of hundreds of students.   Though there is so much of history, the unsavoury fact is – the no. of students are dwindling year by year and some rooms are kept locked for they are no longer required. !!!

Paying tribute to teachrs, here is a photo of class in progress at  SYMA Tuition centre Growth…..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Sept. 2016.

2 comments:

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