Sunday, August 27, 2006

KTWV 07 Issue 18: I am being bombarded!

(Cross-posted on the Seventh Heaven Blog.)

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I am not missing. I am quite well. I am not very busy. I have just been lazing away my summer which is unusally hot. You can read more about this on my main blog.

Ashok (Tony) Jaitly.

I got an interesting email from my Stephanian/Cathedralite friend - Cathedralite 57er / Stephanian 61er Ashok Jaitly, more commonly known to all of us as Tony.

From: ashok jaitly
Date: Aug 23, 2006 4:07 PM
Subject: Touching Base
To: Jacob Matthan
Cc: HS Uberoi

Dear Jacob,

Hope all is well with you and the family.

Apologies for not being in touch for a long time.

However,some news that you would be glad to hear - my book 'St.Stephen's College - A History' was launched on 2nd August at the Maurya Sheraton here in Delhi. There was a gathering of about 300, mostly Stephanians, and a good time was had by all ! The atmosphere was very special with the kind of warmth and fraternity that you would expect from such a crowd of old College types particularly with the wine flowing-you can trust Stephs!

Rahul Bajaj released the book with Amin Saheb, Mani Shanker Aiyar and Bunker Roy reminiscing about their memories.Roshan Seth and my wife, Sabina, read a few extracts from the book which, I was relieved to hear,were well received.Incidentally,the book seems to be doing quite well at the bookstands although, for the life of me, I cannot imagine who would want to read about SSC other than our lot.

It would also please you to know that the book talks about Kooler Talk including your blogsite. !

I would love to get a copy across to you but how I know not !

One question from your recent blog -who was the Savage House captain of 1956 who came to St.Stephen's. As far as I recall I was the only one from the '56 batch in School to come to College that year - AND I would have you know I was Wilson House Captain - Savage? Can you even imagine ?!

Do get back. Warmest best wishes,

Details of the book written by Tony:
Author : Ashok Jaitly
Now : Rs.395 [For Delivery in India]
Publisher: Roli Books
ISBN: 8174364439


St. Stephens College, which celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2006, has a special niche amongst educational institutions of excellence, not only in Delhi but also all over India. Apart from its revered internal traditions, the College has also been an integral part of the social and structural changes that have taken place in the nation. And it has been the school for a long and impressive alumni list which includes sportspersons, writers, poets, actors, journalists, entrepreneurs, politicians, bureaucrats, ambassadors, techno-crats and corporate executives.

This volume, written by Ashok Jaitly, a former student, traces the history of the College from its original conception by the Cambridge Mission as an institution for higher education in 1881, through the travails of the freedom struggle, Partition, Independence and into the present world of relentless academic pressures, sporting compulsions and ever expanding opportunities.

During all these turbulent and exciting years, St. Stephens College has stood firm for certain fundamental values which celebrate cosmopolitanism, pluralism, a degree of iconoclasm along with an immense enjoyment of learning in the widest sense."Mahatma Gandhi or plain Mr Gandhi as he was then, first came to St. Stephens early in 1915... On the persuasion of... C.F. Andrews who was then the Vice Principal, he stayed in the house of Principal Rudra which continued to be his Delhi abode for several years. The Burra Sahibs house thus became the rendezvous for important national leaders like Rabindranath Tagore, Madan Mohan Malviya, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Surendra Nath Banerjee... It was here that Gandhiji, perhaps for the first time, enunciated his doctrine of non-violent non-cooperation or Satyagraha... It was here that Tagore completed his English translation of Gitanjali. And it was here that the pact between the Congress and the Khilafat Movement was sealed.

Most would agree that it could only have been idle minds busy in some devilish workshop which gave birth to Kooler Talk, the first purely student run rag aimed at providing an avenue for budding and froost - College slang for frustrated - Stephanian writers who could not find solace in the sedate pages of The Stephanian magazine. Sarwar Lateef, Roshan Seth and Peter Tubby Philip were the intrepid perpetrators of this plot way back in 1960... To add respectability luminaries such as Kamalesh Sharma, Shankar Menon, Swaminathan Aiyar, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Inderjit Badhwar were co-opted onto the editorial board while poor, unknowing Rev R.I. Shankland was persuaded to act as the figurehead editor.

About the Author:

Ashok Tony Jaitly was at St. Stephens College from 1958-61 where he studied Economics (classmates say, in exception), played football and badminton (teammates say, on occasion), was active in the Shakespeare Society (theatre-mates say, with trepi-dation), indulged in sundry other activities (conspirators assert, without hesitation) and made many lifelong friends. After completing his Economics tripos from Cambridge University in 1964, he was selected for the Indian Administrative Service and served in Jammu and Kashmir and with the Government of India on several interesting and important assignments, including a few which evoked some controversy. He retired as Chief Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir after a record tenure of more than five years, from 1996-2002. Currently working as a Distinguished Fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi on rural development issues, his primary concerns are water, rural energy and decentralized governance.
Some important points to note:

Tony has done me a great honour by including the reference to this blogsite and my Kooler Talk (Web Version) in his book. Thanks Tony.

Rahul, now a Rajya Sabha member, like Tony and me, is also a Cathedralite / Stephanian - 54er from Cathedral and 57er from Stephania!

Tony was not a 56er but a 57er. The 56er Savage House Captain who was also a Stephanian was my elder brother. The 58er Savage House Captain to join Stephen's was Peter Philip (also known as Tubby). I was the 59er Savage House Captain that joined Stephen's.

In the personal addendum Tony added that he is almost clear healthwise - for which I am greatly relieved.

I hope a Stephanian / Cathedralite passing through Delhi en route to Oulu will pick up a few copies (at my cost, please) and bring them to me. Do not want to deprive the author of his royalties!! :-)

Now the next thing Tony has to do is write a similar book about us Cathedralites - then the Seventh Heaven Blog may get some publicity. :-)