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Student days in Jaipur – with sports on my mind

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Chittur Veer Vaidyanathan was born in Churu (Rajasthan) in 1948, and grew up in Jaipur. After a successful corporate career, during which his work with his company led to an Export Promotion Award from the Indian Ministry of Textiles, he is now a developer of real estate near Mumbai http://www.universalbuilder.co.in/.  He lives in Mumbai with his wife Hemlatha; his son and daughter, both married, live in the U.S. His hobbies are swimming and traveling.

Before India became independent in 1947, Rajasthan had 22 Princely States, under British control. Some of these States had established good educational institutions. Jaipur was one of them.

St. Xavier's School for boys was founded in July, 1941 under the name of St. Mary's Boy's School. In 1945, it was transferred to the present site, and renamed St. Xavier's School in January, 1945.

There were some other reputed public schools in Rajasthan. For instance, Sadul Public School established in 1893 (earlier it was known as Noble School) by the Maharaja of Bikaner. Mayo Public School Ajmer was founded in 1895 by Earl of Mayo, Viceroy of India. Mayo's curriculum was similar to Eton College. BSP and BHS (Birla School) Pilani, Rajasthan founded in 1944 had a huge campus covering 100 acres, presently ranked amount ten prestigious institutions in India. Maharani Gayatri Devi (MGD) Girls school was the first public girls school in India. MGD was established in 1943. Ms. L.G. Lutter, a Scottish, was the school principal. She was awarded a Padma Shri by the Government of India.

 

St. Xavier Jaipur
Main entrance, St. Xavier School, Jaipur

Xavier's  was a good school academically.

Some of the notable alumni from Xavier's Jaipur are:

  • Admiral Madvendra Singh former chief of Naval staff
  • Former chief of Airs Saff Mr. S.P. Tyagi
  • Mr. Piyush Pandey Executive chairman of Ogilvy &  Mather India
  • Mr. Rakesh Hooja, Director General Indian Institute of public Administration
  • Mr. Goverdhan Asrani Bollywood Actor
  • Mr. Sidhant Vyas entrepreneur and Inventor of first Android watch
  • Mr. Subhash Mathur- former chief commissioner customs.
  • Mr. Vijay Bakaya former chief secretary J & K
  • Mr. Parthsarthy Sharma former Indian Test player
  • Mr. Satish Mathur Director General Maharashtra Police
  • Mr. Promod Tiwari former Director General of Rajasthan Police.

My mind was equally on sports.  At Xavier's, students who were interested in sports were attended equally well by teachers so that they do not suffer in studies.

The senior staff members I recollect were Fr. Gerald Grace (rector for school for 8 years) Fr. Cosgrove, Fr. Pinto, Fr. Extross, Fr. Williams, Fr. Francis, Mr. John, Mr. Brandon, Mr. S.N. Misra, Pandit Hukumnarain, Mr. A.A. Sayed, Mrs. Sarkar, Mrs. Alexander, and Mrs. Barar.

 

50 meters 1956-57

First Place, 50 metres run. 1956-57.


First place, various events. 1957.

At Xaviers, Fr. H. Birney was in charge of basketball. He literally gave his life for the game; he died on the Basketball court. He was also the Games Superintendent. Fr. Birney picked me for three field events for our 1957 annual school day sports. It was here I got the opportunity to record my performance led in three events. The three certificate of performance bearing Fr. Birney signature remains one of my most precious possessions.

I have a vivid and memorable recollection of a two-day cricket match fixture. It was a special event organized some fifty nine to sixty winters (in 19xx) ago on the grounds of St. Xavier High School between the Xavier's team and selected players from cricket clubs of Jaipur and Ajmer.

Xavier cricket field

Cricket field, St. Xavier School, Jaipur.

The school team was led by Shamsher Khan. He was an elegant athletic all-rounder, who also excelled in Basketball, Hockey and Sprint. The rival team was captioned by S.K. Zibbu, a regular Ranji Trophy player for Rajasthan and Central Zone. Zibbu was also one of the probable for the Indian Test team during the tour of Australia, led by Richie Benaud, of India in 1959-60.

Our school team batted first. By tea break, Shamsher had scored a century, supported in batting by Manoj Sharma, Subhash Prohit, Dutta and Rafiq Khan. They faced the hostile attack of Zibbu, Maulana and Shekar (first class cricketers).

Iqbal Khan (school bowling coach) and Rafiq Khan were Shamsher's brothers. The three Khan brothers were handsome lean and athletic. Their presence in the field evoked confidence. It was a period of classic cricket. There was more emphasis on technique and exerting skills to retain the crease. Judging the deliveries before stroking the ball all along the ground was the responsibility of a mature cricketer.

The combined team had two star players: Zibbu and a tall dark man nicknamed Maulana. He strode briskly to the crease on the fall of a wicket, bat tucked underneath the arm, brown cap and a white scarf around the neck.

Right there, cricket started for me.

I liked the paraphernalia. There was a masculine touch of massive power. Maulana clobbered several sixes battering three window panes of the rust colour stone school building beyond the square boundary. Fr. Cosgrove, one of our teachers, stopped abruptly while on his way to his quarters, and grimly mumbled "Thank heavens the school is on recess."

The match ended in a draw. We witnessed a memorable game. Several of my school mates and I remember this match even after 60 years.

For a long time, our school cricket was under the mentorship of one of India's former Test player, N. D. Marshall. Julian last name and his brother Hermen were sports coaches and teacher. Both of them represented Rajasthan state for the "Rovers Cup" and "Durand" national football competition. Dalpat Singh, Hanumant Singh, senior student of the school were first rate State-level football players of the state.

Football was a popular game in India during the 1960s. The Indian team under Chunni Goswami won the Asian games gold medal in 1962. I think 1951 to 1962 was the golden era of Indian Football. Our school used to engage playing with team of much higher level either with colleges or even team from other states in the country.

I attended the Mt Abu summer coaching camp for cricket for two years.

Mount Abu cricket coaching camp

Participation in Mount Abu cricket coaching camp. 1964

Then, I got selected to play on the Rajasthan University cricket team in 1966.

Ra Univ cricket

 

Later in 1967-68, I represented North Zone combined university team at Chandigarh.  I continued to play cricket even when I was studying for my law degree (LL.B.) in Rajasthan University.

 

Raj Univ circular

Rajasthan University Circular calling for a meeting to discuss the sports schedule. November 1970.

Epilogue

As I look back, I feel those days in school and college were full of both sports and academics. We did not have much by way of modern gadgets - phones, TVs. We traveled on our bicycles in the searing heat of Rajasthan. Still, it was a golden time to be young, and I loved it.


© C V Vaidyanathan 2017

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