[symple_box] International columnist, political analyst and senior journalist Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui’s articles are published across Asia, Africa and Europe. He writes for The Moroccan Times, The Tunis Times, India Tomorrow, Kohram News, The Etemaad Urdu Daily and for news papers published from Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. You can follow him on Twitter at: @journopolana[/symple_box]
Education is the hallmark of a human being. If education is provided continuously for 160 years, it becomes an academic milestone! On 4th and 5th December 2015, All Saints’ High School celebrated 160 glorious years of its existence. This scintillating march of academic excellence started in 1855 in Hyderabad – the city of Nizams and the march continues till date.
Rt. Rev. Mgr. Daniel Murphy, at the age of 30, became the first Vicar Apostolic of Hyderabad during the 16th year of the reign of the Fourth Nizam of Hyderabad, His Highness Asaf Jah Nasir ud Dowla Bahadur. Two years prior to the Great Indian Mutiny, on the 11th day of June, in the year 1855, Murphy founded a school on the royal orders of His Highness Nasir ud Dowla Bahadur,the IV Nizam of Hyderabad and named it College of All Hallows after his Alma Mater in Ireland. It was then at Maretts Bunglow at Basheerbagh and educated only the English and the Anglo-Indian students of His Highness, the Nizam’s army staff.
Rev. Father Peter Caprotti was sent as its first Rector. Though the number of students increased, Fr. Caprotti had to keep shifting, and moved to more spacious buildings; first near the State Library, then to Asad Bagh and to Rumbold Kothe and finally settled down at the present premises at Gunfoundry, Hyderabad. As the school was not prospering the then Bishop Murphy recommended the closing down of the school and starting an orphanage in its place. But the profound vison, generosity and support of His Highness, the Nizam and his Prime Minister Sir Salar Jung, saw not only the growth of the school, but also to be declared as the best educational institution in Hyderabad. The opening of an orphanage took place the very next year. In 1870, there were 105 students in the school then known as Seminary and College of All Saints.
‘‘The Siddiqui rulers of the Asaf Jahi Kingdom of Hyderabad, popularly called the Nizams, had ensured that Hyderabad became a centre of educational excellence. At All Saints’, the medium of instruction was English though Persian and later Urdu was the official language of the state. All Saints’ lived up to the educational vision of the successive noble Nizams in providing educated citizenry of world-class standards.’’
Then as they say, the rest is history. All saints’ High School prospered so much that by 1953, four new branches including Little Flower High School had to be started to cater to the growing demands for admission into the ‘most prestigious school’ of the city. This march of academic excellence would not have been possible without the untiring efforts of all the Rectors from the first Rector Rev. Father Peter Caprotti to the present Rector Rev. Bro. Shajan Antony and the mesmerizing team of scholarly teachers from 1855 till date.
The present principal – Rector Rev. Bro. Shajan Antony’s dedication, dynamism and discipline have motivated the teachers and the students to do their best and outclass all competition. Bro. Shajan Antony is not an arm-chair principal. He is a visible personality, pacing up and down the multi-storied school complex to guide the destiny of the school in his 5-year tenure till date. He motivates the teachers and guides the students in class rooms, laboratories and the playground. My son Abdul Malik Ahmed Siddiqui of Class VI ‘C’ says that Bro. Shajan Antony keeps them on their toes all the time monitoring the progress of the students, which inspires them to do better and better in curricular and co-curricular activities. His brother Ahmed Abdul Aziz Siddiqui, who passed out from the same school five years ago, concurs with him. Bro. Shajan Antony’s friendly disposition and an infectious smile make him gel well with students, teachers and parents. Virtue Alone Ennobles is the motto of All Saints’ High School. Mashallah, Bro. Shajan Antony is man of many virtues!
It is interesting to note that Governor H. E Narasimhan was given admission in Little Flower High School and I was given admission in All Saints’ High School (under the same management) by Rev. Bro. Britto. Both of us have the honour of receiving double promotions to higher classes and ‘two chocolates’ each from Bro. Britto. The brilliant and much senior to me Narasimhan received double promotion twice. The Governor inaugurated the 160 years celebrations on 4th December 2015 and spoke highly of the very popular and loving Rev. Bro. Britto’s attending his swearing-in ceremony as the Governor and giving him ‘two chocolates’ on that eventful day also!
My blessed father Mohammed Jameeluddin Siddiqui accompanied me on the day of interview for admission into Kindergarten (KG) at All Saints’ High School. I vividly remember those loving moments. My illustrious brother Mohammed Amjad Ali Siddiqui was already a student at All Saints. My father sacrificed his material comforts and invested in our education. Alhamdulillah, it is paying dividends to this day as a useful citizen. My parents taught me that love and loyalty to the motherland is part of the Islamic faith. My teachers at All Saints’ cemented this belief that patriotism and love of our beloved country India comes before everything else. It is heartening to note that this imbibing of the patriotic fervor continues till this day. At the 160 years celebrations too, students presented a military formation and saluted the national tricolor flag as seen in the picture below:
The notable alumni of All Saints’ include top administrators, politicians, policemen, doctors, engineers, scientists, army men, businessmen, sportsmen and now women too, musicians, judges, journalists etc. Former Chief Secretaries Government of Andhra Pradesh – Mohan Kanda, Shravan Kumar, Squadron Leader Syed Shahid Hakim Olympian footballer, former High Court Judge S. Saadathullah Hussiani, E. Ismail, former judge, India’s former cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin, Abid Ali, Venkapathy Raju, Abdul Azeez, Noel David – all cricketers, eminent journalists Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, G. K Marar, national politicians Sitaram Yechury, M. Shashidhar Reddy, former Mayor of Hyderabad Zufikhar, playback singer Hemachandra and the new singing sensation Mohammed Irfan, international female Karate champion Syeda Falak Quadri– all learnt their ropes at All Saints’ High School.
Bro. Thomas Aquinas’ pungent chemical smelling classes in Chemistry, Mrs Martena David’s moral science stories, Mr Dhruva Raj’s social studies lessons, Mr Aziz Ansari’s mathematical humour, Mr Pandit’s Hindi language skills and hard punches on the back, Mr Shastri’s Telugu pronunciation imitated by me and the class bursting out in a roar of laughter, Bro. Mathai’s pinching our armpits till they bled, Mrs. Jugta Ahluwalia’s Hindi poetry and fixation of the class towards her beautiful feet, Mr J. V Paul’s impeccable English lessons and conversation in chaste Urdu, Mrs Ahmedi Begum’s spirit of scientific inquiry, Bro. Joseph’s cricket coaching are all etched in our fond memories. I owe my English language skills to J. V Paul Sir at school and later Prof. A. V Suresh Kumar, my M. Phil and now my Ph. D Guide and Mentor. My recognition in journalism –first at The Deccan Chronicle and later at The Moroccan Times is verily all due to them!
My classmates and batchmates – Idris Qasim – the class monitor, whose toe was broken by the mischievous Vijay and Shiva as Idris recalled yesterday, the naughty Muneer, who held his breath while smelling a pungent chemical, detected and punished by Bro. Thomas, Taher’s mathematical accuracy, T. T Abdul Salam’s deft moves as a football forward, soft-spoken N. Deepak Raj and lively Vasunder Pershad’s nudging me for more space in the crowded bench, Syed Mujahed Mohiuddin’s loud laughter, P. Tony’s pranks, Yella Reddy Joseph’s talcum-powdered face, Masood’s round face (laddu), Anees-Yunus brothers duo coming to school with maternal grandmother, Mazher-Manjeet moving together with trademark smiles, M. A Majid and G. A Sajid’s cracking jokes and poking fun at classmates, watching of the film Qurbani at Venkatramana theatre with the late chhota Majid (May Allah bless him), Mir Azam Ali Nasseri’s monitoring by his legislator father, Khader’s discomfiture at not being able to defend the goal post, fracturing of bones while playing football –prompting J. V Paul Sir to express his concern: Ek chhote goale ke peeche bhaagte, bhaagte, haddiyan tod lete. Mai tumhare Valid Sahab ko bulaaonga! (You run after a small ball, break your bones. I will call your fathers), the red ice-ball licking fun at saintly Habib Sahab ki Bandi (Cart) and having a race to reach the bus stop first, at the end of the school hours are now cherished memories! The only surprise for us is that Ajay K. Das has become a grandfather at this young age!!
All Saints’ High School has nurtured many hundred thousands of tiny tots and made them blossom into respectable citizens and human beings without any distinction of creed, caste, colour etc. during the last 160 years. Now, there is room for romance too with the school turning co-educational! India’s future is absolutely bright and safe due to the efforts of the Monfort Brothers’ managed Catholic Missionary Schools – All Saints’ High School, being one of them. The Catholics have rendered invaluable services to our beloved country. The ideals of democracy, secularism and socialism are the legacy of the All Saintsians. The march of academic excellence by All Saints’ High School will continue to inspire and motivate the future generations forever.
Long Live All Saints’ High School! Long Live India!!