“A 100-YEAR JOURNEY – Centenary Celebrations: Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Garhdiwala, Hoshiarpur, Punjab (1921-2021)” compiled and edited by Sarbjit Bahga and Surinder Bahga, and published by White Falcon Publishing, Chandigarh has been launched recently. The editors Sarbjit Bahga and Surinder Bahga are alumni of this school and architects by profession. The book’s publication coincides with the 100th Foundation Day of the Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Garhdiwala (26.09.1921 – 26.09.2021).
The book – A 100-YEAR JOURNEY is an anthology containing an eclectic mix of articles and pictorial essays by some like-minded school alumni. Through these articles, the authors have penned down their memories in the school, exciting anecdotes, tributes to their revered teachers, and introductions to some of the noted alumni. The book aims to record the love and feelings of the authors about the school, which will encourage and motivate future generations of students and teachers. This treatise is not an exhaustive school history; it is conceived as a coffee table book. Indeed, it will be helpful to the posterity and will encourage many youngsters to compile a detailed history book on the subject. Budding writers may get inspiration from this book and will carry forward the baton of historical research. Surely it will go a long way in preserving the reminiscences of a genuinely historical marvel of quality education.
Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Garhdiwala, is one of the oldest schools in the region that is rendering an excellent service to the rural belt of Hoshiarpur District in Punjab. It was established in 1921 with the earnest efforts of visionaries like Subedar Sham Singh, Subedar Mall Singh and one other friend. These three retired JCOs of the Indian-British Army felt that education was the only difference between Indians and Britishers. Thus, they decided to start a good school in this region. Chaudhary Boor Singh, from a wealthy Garhdiwala family, donated the entire land (about 40 acres) to the school free of cost. A great Saint-Educationist, Teja Singh, laid the foundation stone of this esteemed institution on 26 September 1921. Sant Teja Singh, an alumnus of Cambridge and Harvard Universities, believed, “It is possible to impart quality education to the students of rural areas. We wish to see their minds informed, disciplined, strengthened – trained in somewhat the same way as per the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev.”
Another great visionary, Dr MS Randhawa’s significant contribution to Khalsa Senior Secondary School Garhdiwala, is in the form of a Library. It is named after great educationist Dr Harbhajan Singh. Dr Randhawa contributed financially from his pocket and inspired others to contribute to the establishment of this library.
The school was built in a piecemeal manner with the generous support and donations from many respectable people from this region. Sarbjit Bahga wrote, “When I see the school campus and buildings from an architect’s point of view, my head bows down in reverence for the creators of the school who were neither trained in Architecture nor Urban Design. Yet, they have created a campus with all the ingredients of the best educational campuses in the country. The courtyard planning, interlocking squares, flowing spaces, visual continuity, consistency in facade details, shaded walkways, natural ventilation, building-in-the-garden effect, exposed brickwork with endurance are some of the salient features of a well-planned campus. And this school has all these qualities plus many more.”
Surinder Bahga explains how the project was conceived and finalised, “About a year ago, during a casual conversation, my elder brother Sarbjit shared that our school is completing 100 years In September 2021. He suggested that we should float this idea with School management. We have spoken to many old school friends, teachers, and authorities. School Management formulated a committee to chalk out plans for Centenary celebrations. Proposals like the upgradation of the school entrance, creation of literature, installation of a statue of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur were finalised. Many ex-students, faculty, friends opted to donate to the cause. This book on school is a small contribution from Sarbjit and me for this noble cause.”
The book – “A 100-YEAR JOURNEY” is tastefully produced and printed on thick art paper with hardbound covering. It contains 80 black and white and 80 coloured photographs which showcase the long history of Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Garhdiwala. A 150-page treatise contains articles by about a dozen authors who are alumni of this school and have excelled in various fields. These include Gurkanwal Singh, Avtar Singh, Charanjit Singh Bahga, Harbans Singh Sahota, Jaswinder Singh Sahota, Rajwinder Singh Bedi, Gulzar Singh, Tejinder Singh Bahga, apart from the editors Sarbjit Bahga and Surinder Bahga.
Apart from this, the book contains brief biographical introductions to some of the noted alumni of the school. Pictorial Sections such as ‘School in Pictures’, ‘Group Photos – A Frozen History’, ‘Sweet Memories of the School’, and ‘Centenary Celebrations on 29-09-2021’ are other exciting features of this book. The last Chapter of the book contains a Punjabi poem, ‘Yaadan di Shatabadi’ by Gurpreet Singh Dhugga. It sums up the entire history of the school in a poetic version.
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