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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

An Esspean does alma mater proud

By Grp Capt T K Singha

What could possibly be common between next Chief of the fourth largest Air Force of the world, Chief Minister of an Indian State and a much revered Shankaracharya of one of the oldest Jyotirmaths in the country?
IAF Chief Designate, Air Marshal Arup Raha; Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister of Nagaland and His Holiness Sri Shankaracharya Swami Divyanand Teerthji of Dholka-Bhanpura Peeth, one of the most revered spiritual leaders of our times, are all ex-students of Sainik School, Purulia in West Bengal who call themselves ‘Esspeans’, and belong to the same class of ’70.
The news was met with a resounding joy in Sainik School, Purulia, which hailed the announcement as a big achievement for the school. ‘While other schools dream of shaping the future of students, we dream of our students shaping the country. This news would immensely motivate the cadets at the school,’ said SSP Principal, Col BS Ghorpade. ‘It is a big achievement for West Bengal also,’ he added.
In nearly 52 years, over 320 cadets from the school have joined the armed forces in the officer cadre. Those who did not join the armed forces have excelled in various other vocations in the civil society. However, with the announcement of Air Mshl Raha as the next IAF Chief, Purulia joins ranks with two other Sainik Schools, Kunjpura (Haryana) and Satara (Maharashtra) that have given two Service Chiefs in Gen Deepak Kapoor and Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, in recent times.
SSP celebrated its golden jubilee at Purulia, on January 29, 2012, where one of its most illustrious alumni till date, Air Marshal Arup Raha, who was then Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Air Command was the Chief Guest. The two-day event saw 400 other Esspeans return to their alma mater to relive their school days.
The alumni are eagerly awaiting the next reunion due in mid-January next year, and are looking forward to fete and honour the IAF Chief, who brings the school immense glory, said Col A Sikdar, a former classmate of Air Mshl Raha. SSP like other Sainik Schools in the country has been truly a cradle of leadership for over 2,500 cadets who have graduated in the past five decades from here.
The residential public school for boys was established on January 29, 1962 with Lt Col S Mazumdar as founder Principal, initially at Bongabari near Purulia town, and later in 1966, on Purulia-Ranchi road, in a 280-acres campus. Established under the aegis of Ministry of Defence for the benefit of the comparatively weaker sections of the society and remove regional imbalances in the officer cadre of defence services, the school, among 24 others across the country, prepares boys academically, physically and mentally for entry into the NDA.

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