Saturday, November 24, 2007

Goethals Centenary Celebration

The school I attended as a boarder is a private institute ,established by the Congregation Of Christian Brothers in India (no doubt it has its American congregation as well).

The Irish Christian Brothers have been at the helm of management, after the Belgian aristocrat Goethals, gave up his worldly belongings and set up trusts to promote a Christian education in India in 1907. Its tucked away amongst 200acres of verdant temperate woodlands, halfway between Kurseong and Darjeeling.

Goethals Memorial School was inaugurated by the British Governor of Bengal, Sir Andrew Fraser in 1907. A special siding was built for the Governor's entourage to alight at Goethals, from the Heritage Toy Train -which was then the only means of transportation, barring horses and bullock carts. To recap history, the current Governor of Bengal had graciously accepted to repeat history, by riding the special train chartered for the centenary. The train ride would commence at Kurseong station, situated at a height of 4860 feet above sea level. The Himalayan Empress would then chug up the hill, carrying in its three bogies, the Governor, his entourage, the Presidents of all Goethals Alumni chapters globally, selected old boys in another, and the third with all the outstanding achievers of the present junior schoolboys.

The 20 minute ride , was enjoyed by all, as I provided a running commentary for the privileged bogey riders. A brief history of Kurseong, the advent of the toy train in 1881, the four panoramic tea growing valleys of the district- Kurseong, Mirik, Sukhiapokri and Sonada, and its specialties, and the ingenuity of the train's engineering , captivated all . Moreover,I am the President of the Home Alumni/ Kurseong, Darjeeling, Sikkim and North Bengal constitute a sizable percentage of all alumini members globally. The train stopped at the siding , elevation 5800 feet, where all were whisked off to the principal playing field(first field-the school has 5 more smaller fields for other sporting disciplines), where the march past , maze drill were held. I had anticipated around 50 old boys to participate in the march past, and had trained the Sikkim chapter, with Sonam Dorjee-who is a member of the Sikkim Planning Commission- and a dear friend to be the flag bearer of this contingent. Sonam , is a wonderfully uncomplicated man, in spite of his high position in society. Moreover he is an astonishing mimic, and I seriously think he's in a misplaced vocation, and would certainly been a runaway success in the Bollywood scenario.. Without hesitation, Sonam had participated in all the rehearsals, in spite of his tight and hectic schedules. UNBELIEVABLY 250 OLD BOYS MARCHED PAST, AND IT WAS BRILLIANTLY EXECUTED. ALL THE OLD BOYS UPHELD THE SPIRIT OF THE SCHOOL IN BREATHTAKING MANNER. THE CHIEF GUEST WAS SIMPLY BOWLED OVER AS WELL AS ALL ATTENDEES.

To all my blogger friends worldwide its my pleasure to treat you to a visual treat of the centenary celebrations. Enjoy it. Rajah Banerjee.


debanjan das said...


Myself Debanjan Das freelance photographer form Kolkata.Being a
photographer and nature lover me and my wife is very mush eager to
visit your place.We want to be witnessed by the whole procedure of tea trailing.
So if you send me a link from which
i can book rooms,that will be a ultimate pleasure for me.\

Debanjan Das

Aditi said...

I stumbled across your blog while looking for information on Makaibari tea estate.
I absolutely love Makaibari tea and CNN IBN just featured the estate and a gentleman called Rajah Choudhary, which is why I was looking it up on the internet.
If you don't mind me asking, how are you attached to the estate? Does your family own it?
I am an ex Helenite (ICSE 1994 batch) and it felt good to read up on Kurseong and Goethals :)

apj said...

hello sir,
i don't know if u can remember me.i got the privilege of your hosting some years back.i ,with my whole family and judicial magistrate of kursheong(who happened to be my father's junior)had a meeting with u.u served us with the great makaibari tea.i took photos with u and also of the rare variety of tea-plant-creature and the grand father clocks. :) u gave me your card,but i lost it.heard u have a deal with a hollywood production house?it's good to hear such news.i love my place and want it to be known by the whole wishes for u.

Blue People Tea said...

I came across your site, I am loving it!

I wanted to let you know the is giving away free tea if you sign up for their mailing list!*


chaku said...

Hello sir
i watch Makaibari Tea Estare on discovery channel and i loved it,
i love 2 visit ur place in future,
i like ur dedication about ur busines,such a wonderfull place.
i m roma from gujarat,i m s/w engineering student.
i love 2 join u in future and known u and makaibari very closely.