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.

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  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..

  2. says: Surinder masih

    Greetings from Canada.

    Hello to all of you out there, writing this short note from Canada.
    it’s like this folks, good things are rarely remembered, but the wrongs keeps us company for long time, that is the nature of human race.

    Sir, Roshan Lal Vasisth , I wish you well, on behalf of your colleague from BCS Mushtaq Masih & his younger brother Surinder Masih.

    My name is Surinder Masih, my elder brother ” Mushtaq Masih ” was also part of BCS, during the sixties. he was Physical instructor at BCS.

    Mushtaq, and me ( Surinder Masih ) both had attended a school called [ St. Paul’s high school ] in Palampur H.P. I never had the opportunity to Attend BCS, but have heard lot of good things about that institution.

    Mushtaq, Passed away few years ago, while in Canada. He had made many contributions to BCS & in Canadian schooling. I am ( Surinder Masih ) still living at the East coast of Canada.

    I read the note written by Mr. Ravinder Sood [ BCS to Hut ] , it took me back in time, to my younger days, and couldn’t help to share my few comments on this matter.

    Here is my salute to BCS & Mushtaq Masih & to Mr. Roshan Lal Vasisth

    God bless India ( BCS ) and my home flag ” The Maple leaf ”

    MY name is Surinder Masih. My E-mail add. is: [email protected]

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