November 03, 2012

Sacred Heart. St. Antony's. CSI School for the Deaf. Stories to Document


Rosella Stephen and her team at Indulge, the weekender of 'The New Indian Express' need a pat on the back.
Their fifth anniversary issue was out today and the 72-pager is certainly a 'must keep' issue for all those who know a tad less about this city.
Nooks for foodies, gracious life spaces for fashionistas, less known destinations for picnickers, joints for the eco-believers and more.
Anniversary issues are a challenge. And the journey they set to describe is even more interesting.
I am re-reading ' The School in the Park: A Hundred Years of Sacred Heart School', a coffee table book published for the centenary of this school in 2009.
The story of how the Presentation Convent nuns from Ireland came to Madras in 1842 is fascinating. Four months on an East Indiaman ship was quite a journey. As Rev. Mother Curran noted. ' Even during less turbulent weather conditions the vessel pitched so much that the passengers amused themselves by holding contests to see who could remain standing the longest . .'
I studied at a Presentation nuns run-school in Egmore's Pudupet area. St. Anthony's celebrated its centenary last year. A group of us have decided to publish a book on the school's history and re-reading Sacred Heart is essential.
Classmate Khaja has begun collecting black and white pictures. He enjoys the job because even as he collects data, he shows the pictures around and teases the alumni he meets - making faces go red, foreheads crease and smiles light up faces.
The stories of the Pudupet convent are fascinating and must be documented.
And I hope similar stories get documented in your lives and in the lives of neighbourhood institutions.
Later this month, St. Raphaels School in San Thome will formally celebrate its centenary. Run by the FMM nuns, the school's stories will also document the life and times of young girls in this area.
Also celebrating its centenary is the CSI-run School for the Deaf, also in San Thome. The old building that fronts the campus treasures lots of stories of pre-War days, of orphans and early school education and of course, education  of the less abled.
Closer, the Mahratta Education Fund is also celebrating its centenary and we hope to see a great souvenir/book from there.
It is time for people who head such institutions or have lived great lives to move away from adverts-packed souvenirs and hagiographic tales and use the occasion to document real stories and pictures.
How Pudupet changed from a Christian-Anglo-Indian neighbourhood to a Muslim one is another story. The record of that change will have its place in a book on the Pudupet school.

1 comment:

Leela Soma said...

Fascinating history of convent education in India Vincent. As always I enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing this little gem of info.