From Bishop Cotton School to a hut

121Roshan Lal Vasisth (84), a teacher who served the reputed Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, from 1960 to 1985, is hand to mouth these days. He has no source of income and is surviving on a meager pension of Rs 300 per month being given by the state government.

He was a Hindi as well as an English teacher at the school. Prior to that, he served in another premier institute –St Paul High School at Palampur, where Duston was the head. With the elevation of the latter to principal of the BCS in 1960, he took Vasisth along to the school where he remained a faculty member for 25 long years.

He was also the warden of the school hostel “REMOV”.

Ironically, the BCS just completed its 150th anniversary celebrations with pomp and show this week. However, it failed to recognise the contribution of some of its heroes who took the school to new heights. So much so, many former teachers of the school were deprived of an invitation from the school authorities.

This writer visited the native village of Vasisth where he lives in a small hut.

While talking to the writer, he narrated his long experience at the BCS. He said he was very happy to see that many of his students like Naveen Chawla and others were a name to reckon with. He quoted names of many Indian and foreign students whom he had taught. He specifically remembered Goldstein, the then principal of the BCS, who was a British, and lauded his contribution. However, he said he was hurt as he was not invited for the special occasion this week.

He regretted that after his retirement in 1985, he was never remembered by the school. He was struggling to earn his bread and butter but there was none to look him after.

However, a few of his students had been visiting and helping him once in a while. Vasisth suffered a major setback a few years ago when his wife and son also deserted him.

A senior journalist from Palampur.

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1 Comment

  1. says: Varun Sood

    Well! Its yet another story of a ‘Forgotten Hero’ well captured by the author.
    I believe this incidence is a part of a larger debate –
    “Is it only with Bishop Cotton School or is it in our culture?”
    From school teachers to the martyrs of wars, we only remember the ‘current’ heroes. So, is it something related to our memories? I cant say. Or is it related to the way we have been brought up where we are only for us or for atmost to our families. Aren’t there any social obligations?
    The debate remains open..

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