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Bonfire, songs to mark hill school anniversary

Posted by Ramesh Khati on November 3, 2009


Former students at the autumn ball in Dow Hill on Sunday night.

Kurseong, Nov. 2(The Telegraph): Former students of Dow Hill School and Victoria Boys’ School from different parts of the country converged here over the past three days to sing their praise for “the school of our happy childhood days” and renew their links with friends and teachers.

The 130th anniversary of the two sister schools ended with a bonfire on the playground of DHS, 3km from here, on a mildly chilly early winter night yesterday. After about four hours of dancing at the autumn ball in the school gymnasium, the 150-odd alumni sang their school anthems — “Dow Hill to thee we hymn our praise” and “Victoria, Victoria” — holding hands around the fire.

“Every time I hear or sing the school songs, it gives me goose pimples. Every passing year only makes the heart go fonder for DHS and VS,” gushed forester Praveen Katwal, who had studied in both the institutions.

Boys study up to Class III in DHS, while girls continue till Class X. Victoria School has classes from IV to X. Alpana Lal and her sister Anjana, both ex-Dow Hillians, came all the way from Lucknow to be part of the reunion.

“We had a great time; even my son is enjoying the experience. I talk so much about my school at home, I had to get him here,” said Alpana.

Darjeeling-based rally organiser and part-time actor Vikash Pradhan, who was away in Itanagar on assignment, journeyed for over 30 hours to catch the last couple of hours of the get-together. “I am coming straight from the NJP railway station,” he said.

Calcutta resident Suvobrata Guha (Basu), who had come with his wife and son, was all praise for the North Bengal and Sikkim chapter of Victoria and Dow Hill Alumni Association (Vadha), which had organised the celebrations.

“Kick-starting the celebrations from Darjeeling was a brilliant idea. DHS and VS are not just the pride of us students, but of the entire Darjeeling hills,” said Guha, who is a shipping executive.

Vadha secretary Manoj Chandra Rana said the schools deserve heritage status. “We will endeavour to secure such a status for our schools. Our chief guest at the inaugural ceremony Manish Kumar (director of development project, Unicef, Delhi) has promised to work with us in this regard,” he added.

The two schools were set up in 1879 by the British for the education of the children of government officials on the lines of public schools in England. They are the only government-owned ICSE residential schools in Bengal.


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