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St.Paul's school Darjeeling to celebrate 150 years of existence

Darjeeling : St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling will celebrate 150 years of existence this year and to mark the occasion, old Paulites from different eras from across the globe will be gathering in Darjeeling for a three- day celebration. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, School Rector Joy Haldar said, “Our past students known as Old Paulites have acknowledged the need to demonstrate their appreciation and rally themselves in solidarity with their Alma Mater. To do this, the Old Paulites from within the country and also from abroad will gather in the school for a three-day celebration- named Paulite Forever- from October 30 to November 1 to mark the occasion”. The school is expecting more than 250 Paulites with their families from different eras beginning from the late 1940’s onwards, to converge in Darjeeling, from Europe, U.S.A, France, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan among others, for the three day programme. The year 2014 marks the school completing 191 years of existence since its founding as The Parental Academic institution in Kolkata in 1823. 

However, the school was shifted to the present location near Jalapahar in Darjeeling in 1864 by Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton, who also founded the Bishop Cotton School in Shimla. According to the Rector, the get together had also become necessary to tell people not only in the country but also abroad that Darjeeling continues to be the educational hub in-spite of all the ups and downs the region has faced. “Our intention is also to encourage others that Darjeeling with its various heritage schools still is the centre of education in the country. Also the three day event is one of the many ways of the alumni to promote and take the school forward,” Haldar said. The attending alumnus will participate in various activities like cricket, football and squash matches, exhibition and photography session, concert, and matins with the present students. Two plays-Alladin and From Kabir to Kavi and award winning play created by Prannay Gupta, a former student will also be staged. “We have a host of alumni who have now become prominent people in their country. Gupta is also one of them and will stage a play with his troop. However, keeping various logistical issues in mind we have not invited ‘very distinguished Paulites’ from our school for the three day event,” said the Rector. 

Haldar refused to be drawn into the recent spate of disturbances due to political activities in the Hills which affected education institutes here. “See, some political realities of this area do have a role to play. We did fear the worst when the latest rounds of agitation happened but speaking for ourselves, we have not been heavily affected. We have a steady enrolment of 480 students which is good,” the Rector said, adding that parent’s mindset and mushrooming of schools in the country was more the challenge the institute was facing. The location of the school has mesmerized not only the students and their parents but has also held a fascination for the creators of various Hindi movies from Bollywood. ‘We feel proud to say that many of our legendary Bollywood movies have been shot in our school premises over the years. This profile not many educational institutes can boast of,” Haldar observed. Popular old Bollywood films like Amitabh Bachchan starrer Do Anjane, Mera Naam Joker with Raj Kapoor and Shahrukh Khan’s Main Hoo Na and Ranbir Kapoor’s Barfi from the present lot have been filmed in the school. 
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