I am delighted to say that a book project in which I was fairly immersed for a year or more has finally been launched successfully. “Glimpses of A Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale” has found a home in the website of the Old Lawrencians Association (OLA). It was formally released on May 22, 2017 at the AGM of the OLA by its President, Mrs. Rukhmini Reddy Krishnan, (Class of ’61).
The School, founded in 1858, is now over 150 years old. We therefore decided to break the informal history into three parts of fifty years each. Book 1 covers our Founder, Major-General Sir Henry Lawrence, KCB and the formative years of the school. It describes the first 50 years of this institution in the Victorian era of the British Raj. Here is the link for you to read Book 1 online wherever you are and whenever you wish to do so.
The Lawrence School, Lovedale ( Estd 1858)
The basic material was archived by Nitya Cherian Matthai who was in Lovedale for 40 years, seven years as a student (Class of ’77) followed by a teaching career which lasted 33 years till 2016. He also was the School Archivist which placed him in the best position to access material about the School. His partner in this writing project was Mr. Thomas George, another member of the school’s teaching staff. They started work on this around 2007, possibly even earlier.
It was my friend, Wing Commander Joseph Thomas, VM (IAF Retd) (Class of ’57) who first spoke to me about this book project in May-June 2015. He, Beena Belliappa (Class of ’70, then Secretary of the OLA) and I had a meeting with Nitya and later on I was sent the voluminous material made up of extracts from the archives and 100 years of the School Magazine, “The Lawrencian” including some nuggets from the inaugural issue of 1911!
From left to right: Joseph, Nitya, and Prem. Class of ’57, ’77 and ’67 respectively
Here is what OLA President, Rukhmini Reddy Krishnan had to say on releasing the book: “The School history book or “Glimpses of a Glorious Past” was the brainchild of Nitya Matthai, an Old Lawrencian, and Mr Thomas George. Both were teaching staff at the time, Mr George still is. They researched and sought material from the School archives and the ” The Lawrencian” magazine. It was for them a passion and though painstaking work…..in addition to their teaching responsibilities. The material was sent to Prem Rao who collated masses of material, rearranged and edited it adding considerable supplementary material. Joseph Thomas was instrumental in contributing researched material on Sir Henry Lawrence on which subject he is an expert. JT dreamt that this project see the light of day, today his dream and that of the team is fulfilled. Beena Belliappa encouraged the team and motivated them to carry on …… Then it was the turn of the OLA to assist and we suggested the book be uploaded to the OLA website. Almost ten years after Nitya and Thomas began their work, the first part of the book covering the first 50 years of our Alma Mater is being launched today.”
Many thanks to her and to Kartik Raghava Murty of the OLA Committee for arranging to have the book uploaded in the website etc.
It was a fascinating experience for me. I loved the subject and the work involved. From the perspective of a writer, I have covered on 8/8/2015 some of the challenges involved in such a project in my post, “Approaches To A Group Writing Project” here in this blog.
We are working on Book 2 which will cover the next 50 years from 1908 to 1958 when the School celebrated its centenary.
I hope you will drop by and read Book 1 of “Glimpses…” available for reading online here.