A thoughtSeveral years ago, when we were much younger...1984...I had come from the US to visit Mussoorie and of course went to the school. I sat on the bridge one evening and pondered about the school castle. I thought that it would be nice if I could buy the castle and renovate this into a nice residential structure but yet retain all its grandeur's. But what would I do with such massive structure?? I then thought of our friends and the association which we had made over the years with all the SGC fellow students.
SGC is an old institution but yet then we had no link to all our past pupils. We never really knew of where they go to after the school or what they made of themselves after leaving SGC, with the exceptional occasion, now and then, we would hear from the teachers or the principal of the accomplishment of a few or the death of one of our past pupil. I then thought that in the US, where I went to college, after leaving SGC, we have what we call St. John's (my college) Alumni Association. This is where we maintain records of all the past students and where they all come together once in a while to meet one another of their group or of the past students of each generation. The Alumni had a great team and made sure that all students from our college had access to all past students. This whole set up was a great thing and I thought then that we could form the same thing at SGC. This was how the whole idea of Manorite Alumni Association dream came about.
In 1986 I returned once again to Mussoorie after hearing that the Castle was up for sales. I very much wanted this castle because I would like to renovate it and build the Manorite Alumni at this place. That winter, myself organized a camping trip to Mc Kannas Park along with Saminath, Giglio Banerjee, Vijay Jobin Putra, Inderjit Bedi and several others. Upon arriving in Mussoorie, the first thing we did was went straight to SGC and took a good look at the Castle. All of us agreed that it was a great idea to start the Alumni. But then at that time many of us did not understand the word and the meaning of Alumni. I had to explain this to the group. I was very pleased with the still very sturdy structure and discussed the matter with Mr. Inderjit Bedi that the two of us should invest in this property. We very much agreed to the idea and very immediately started looking for the person in SGC who is responsible for the sale of this castle. We were told that this was Bro. Bergman.
So we went straight to N. Delhi where Bro.Bergman was then stationed at Mount St. Mary. We did meet him and started the discussion. The number was given at 12 or 13 lakhs, this I am not too sure. We negotiated for 11 lakhs but was turned down. That was all the money we could gather then. Anyway, by the time we knew anything, the castle was sold with out being told to us. Hence, we had lost our dream Castle to some party that had no sentiments to this monument which will always be in our memory till the last day of our lives. We were very sadden by this.
However, we did not stop at the idea of forming our Alumni. We went ahead and started gathering as many Manorites as possible and organized for a meeting at Mr. Rajesh Sharma's house in N.Delhi. It was here that we formally formed the Manorite Alumni Association and began gathering the membership fee right there and then. This of course was done long before the castle was sold. I can still remember many person present then.....for eg. Inderjit Bedi, Saminath Pandey, Rajesh Sharma and his family, brothers, Balbir Dhutt, Vernon Sheppard, A. Suri, Bro. William, Vijay Jobinputra, few other Paddus.......cannot remember their names and a few more ex students. Any way, I became the first permanent member on that date and I was very pleased that the my dream of forming an Alumni had come true. It is even getting better each year. Many thanks to many of our members who have dedicated their time to keep this on going. We now have many chapters, spreading across many countries. I am very happy of the out come and very happy now that many of us can now reach one another and share many of our good memories at the Manor House.
The beginningThe alumni was formally launched in the winter of 1986 at a meeting held at the Chelmsford Club, New Delhi. The initiative taken to form an alumni was taken by Bro. T.J. Muldowney and Bro. Stepehen the then Principal and Vice principal respectively. Manorites like Rajesh Sharma (Nacchu), Dr. Aditya Prasad,Umesh Vaish, Satish Kumar Singh, Late Anil Kapur, Ujjwal Sagar Suri, Vernon Shepherd and many more worked hard with the school authorities to draft the Constitution of the Alumni at many meetings held in Mussoorie and Delhi at the residences of these manorites. Bro. J.C.Carroll who was then the Principal of St. Joseph's Academy,Dehra Dun was the driving force and the inspiration behind the forming of the alumni.He took time off to attend these meetings and convince Bro. Muldowney to start the Alumni. Bro. Stephen is a manorite of class of '77 and was keen too. Bro. Stephen has since left the Patrician Brothers.
The first meeting in Delhi in 1986 was attended by around 60 manorites mostly from Delhi, Anil Kapur,Dr. Aditya Prasad,Harjinder Singh, Vernon Shepherd,Umesh Vaish,Satish Kumar Singh, Surrinder Agarwal (Chamanji's son) and a few others along with Bro. Muldowney,Bro. Stephen and Bro Carroll attended the meeting from Mussoorie. The constitution was adopted at this meeting and the first members were enrolled. The registration fees was fixed at Rs. 600/- with an annual subscription of Rs. 100/-.
The interim executive committee was also formed with Rajesh Sharma as the 1st Vice president and the others like Ujjwal Suri, Dr. Aditya Prasad, Umesh Vaish, Vernon Shepherd and others were included in the interim executive committee.
The formal election was held in October 1987 in School at the first AGM and Ujjwal Suri was elected as the Vice President and Dr. Aditya Prasad as the Secretary.
The elections were held every year at that time.
In 1989 Bro. Carroll joined St. George's as the Principal and that is when the activities of the Alumni got real impetus under his guidance and with his support. A huge exercise to modernise and augment the facilities in school was undertaken by him and the first task undertaken by him was to modernise the kitchen and dining rooms. In February 1990 Bro Carroll along with Satish Kumar Singh, Anil Kapur,Dr. Aditya Prasad and myself made a trip to Thailand to mobilise the alumnus there and we were there for a fortnight collecting together all the manorites in the region i.e. Singapore and Hong Kong too. Manorite H.P.Singh and his younger brother Jaspal Singh with Racchpal Madan, Inderjeet Narula, Daljeet Thukral, Charanjeet Sachdev and others put in a huge effort to collect all the Manorites in the area to culminate in the organisation of a Grand Banquet held in Bangkok attended by more than 300 Manorites along with their families. Bro. Carroll spoke at length at this banquet about his future plans for St. George's College. The highlights being building of new toilets, junior box room and gymnasium immediately and about his vision for a state of the art auditorium,library and an indoor swimming pool. He asked the Manorites to collect funds for the school as all these projects involved a huge sum of money which was not possible for the school to generate such funds. The Thai Manorites at the Banquet itself pledged more than 3 million Bhatts, major chunk coming from H.P.Singh and Jaspal Singh with each and every Manorite pitching in,most of them pledged 10,000 bhatts. The Box room and the gymnasium job was taken up and completed by 1992. After this the construction of the Library and Auditorium was started to be completed for the Patrician Centenary celebrations. The celebrations were initially to be held in October 1993 but had to be put off till April 1994 on account of the Mandal Commission agitation all over the country. A small get together was organised in October 1993 was held in school as most of the alumni from England and Brothers who had worked in St. George's had already made plans and was too late for them to cancel. This function was attended by about 30 manorites and their families, the most mentionable amongst them was Manorite Bill Lethorn who heads the England chapter and was instrumental in bringing the alumni there together and bringing them over.(Please get in touch with Bill to get his side on this trip).
Bro. Carroll stayed in St. George's till March 2000 and when on to build the grand swimming pool, the middle dormitories ( Classes 7 & 8 ) and renovation of the (class 10 & 11 dorms). Bro Carroll visited Thailand a number of times during his tenure and collected more funds for he swimming pool which was innaugurated in 1996. I am not sure but the Thai Manorites contributed 25 lacs for the pool. The gymnasium was named after Mr. M.C. wood and the Junior box room was named in the memory of Mam Caston on the request of the alumni. A souvenir was published on the occasion of the Patrician Centenary where in the Alumni and the parents donated generously to collect more than 20 lac rupees to fund the celebrations in 1994, the school had to spend no money on the celebrations which was a grand success. The Alumni on this occasion donated a Swaraj Mazda bus to the school to be used to transport Day Scholars as well as the School teams when they went out to play matches.
In 1994 Alok Swarup took over as the vice president of the Alumni with M.P.S. Khurana as the secretary and brought about changes in the working of the alumni. Main thrust was on increasing the membership of the alumni to begin with. All boys passing out of school were automatically enrolled as members. The registration fees was increased to Rs.1,000/- and the annual subscription of Rs. 100/- was done away with as it was not possible to collect it. The reunion of the Silver Jubilee Batch was also started in 1996 and was welcomed by the manorites and was a huge success. Efforts were made to get in touch with the Silver Jubilee class and get them back to school, it was not easy as most of the addresses available had changed, one or two were contacted and then through them the others were contacted and slowly it picked up steam. The biggest gathering was the 1972 batch, 29 old boys turned up in school for the re-union. Souvenirs were presented to the batch to commemorate the reunion. The class of '72 collected and donated 1 lac Rupees to the alumni for an ambulance to be given to school. In 1998 the Alumni donated an ambulance to school, a mahindra jeep fitted with all the gadgets along with a oxygen cylinder. The ambulance fully equipped cost around 4 lacs. 1 lac from the class of '72 and rest was put in by the Alumni.
Later a sum of Rs 85,000/- by one of the silver Jubilee Batch and a ALUMNI STAND was erected on top flat.
In 1992 the alumni instituted special awards for meritorious students in memory of Old Boys and Brothers.
The medals were:
- Bro Cummins Gold Medal for Manorite of the year. This award is given to the student who is good at academics as well as sports his behavior during his stay in scool is also taken in account.
- M.C.Wood Sportsman of the year, is awarded to the sportsman who has excelled on the field.
Other medals for athlete, footballer, swimmer, debater and cricketer of the year were also instituted. All other medals were silver medals. These medals were made for a period of ten years to ensure continuity of the same. The cost of the medals was donated by various manorites and Manorite Umesh Atree put in a lot of effort in getting the medals designed and fabricated in Delhi.
In 2003 the Sesqui Centenary (150 years 1853-2003) of the school was celebrated in which the alumni played a very active role in organising the whole event. The Nepalese ex students donated a bell to the school and sent artisans from Nepal along with the stone etc. from the Nepal to erect the same. Total cost of the bell and installation of the same was borne by the Nepalese Alumni. A new bus was also donated to the school on this occasion, again a Swaraj Mazda at a cost of nearly six lac rupees. The Principal during these celebrations was Bro. A.J. George.
The alumni has been holding its AGM every year in school to coincide with the sports day in October. Winter banquets have been held every year at various locations in Delhi and has been held in Chandigarh for the last 4 years.
It was felt that the bus donated to school in 1993 has become very old and needs replacement it was decided to donate another bus at the AGM held in school in October 2011. The bus has since been bought, this time a tata bus.