Students of the Year 1960
Class IX of Tashi Namgyal Academy
Our Class of IX of Tashi Namgyal Academy, 60 years ago, could well be termed as the Formidable 40 – a bundle of hidden talents as the things unfolded slowly but gradually later in our life. In this golden eve of my life, I look at them with awe and admiration because of the grandeur, strength, etc. we led to lay the foundation of this premier educational institute in this part of the Himalayas.
Down the memory lane, it is nostalgic indeed to retrieve and pen down a few lines recollecting the school days six decades back. Further, it is a joy to share it before everything is covered in a thin veil by the dust of time and lost in oblivion. These are from my memories - something that had captured my mind pondering over many times for the last few weeks. It is an exercise itself to recollect and jot down the names of the ultimate 20 who made to the last batch of Matriculates, i.e., those who appeared for the School Final Examination in 1962 conducted under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. Thereafter, Tashi Namgyal Academy was divided into two – giving birth to Tashi Namgyal Higher Secondary School located at the far end of the Development Area. In fact, Sir Tashi Namgyal High School itself evolved into the premium educational institution of this Himalayan Kingdom, Tashi Namgyal Academy by the amalgamation of the two of the then existing boys schools known as Bhutia School and Nepali School. When I joined this school in 1956, it had passed through the first-ever turmoil that led to the resignation of the then Head Master R. L.Kapoor. Students like Krishna Chandra Pradhan, Garud Singh Lama and others had passed out that year thereafter. B. N. Singh alias M. A. Sir was the interim Head Master, M. A. Sir had welcomed my admission stating that the flow of knowledge is in opposite direction. People go to Banaras but me coming from there to the hills. He handed over the charge to a new incumbent V. N. Langer.soon thereafter. He happened to be the chief architect to transform the school into Tashi Namgyal Academy, himself becoming its first Principal. While L. M. Gurung alias P.T. Sir got we students work barbed wire fencing with eucalyptus and other saplings planted in the compound. Bidur La alias Carpentry Sir helped us carve out a map of Sikkim on the huge rock east of the playground, just near the upper gate. Many dignitaries including His Highness Sir Tashi Namgyal, Maharaj Kumar Saheb Palden Thondup Namgyal, Dewan N. K. Rustamji, Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, His Holiness Dalai Lama, Political Officer Apa B. Pant, Freedom Fighter Kaka Kalelkar were received here at this gate and passed through a welcome arch formed by the scouts from the school. Most of us went school barefooted in khaki shorts as Hawai Chappal or flip-flop slipper was yet to make an entry here. Black shorts and white shirt used to be our uniform for our weekly P. T. Class with all students divided into four groups named House A, B, C and D on Saturdays. It was only in Class IX that we got the first formal dress of navy blue blazer with a monogram inscribed with the motto Service through Knowledge besides white shirt, grey trousers and black shoes, but no ties. This colour continues till this date but the motto changed with the transformation. The first batch from Tashi Namgyal Higher Secondary School under the +2 system of education affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi appeared in 1965. Tashi Namgyal Academy reincarnated into a co-education institute under the Indian School Certificate earlier known to us as the Cambridge system introduced during the British regime.
Of friends who fared well, excelled and made exit while a few who left us soon within years thereafter. This is to pay a tribute to the array of achievers amongst us – a Gold Medalist, Municipal Chairman, some I.A.S. and I.F.S., a Padma Shri even, a tea tech, a Bamboo Expert worldwide, UNHRC official, some educationists, a Doctor, a Veterinarian, some Forest officials, some Police officers, some businessmen of repute, some leading Government Contractors and so on. If our life was a drama, each played the role assigned well and some fought their own battle in life to win and survive including that with dreaded cancer, renal failure and of life thus to bid adieu well ahead of many of us. Such is the ordeal of life one pass through before seeing the most significant pandemic of the century Covid 19 we are now passing through locked down for months together - of uncertainty, we do not know! We are but to overcome this phase too as everything good or bad has to end one day. No one knows yet when the vaccine to combat it comes out. Thus the fate lies shrouded in the veil of mystery as to when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, while efforts are on to unlock things back to normal, rather new normal!