The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Omar given school crown

Sanawar (Himachal Pradesh), Oct. 7: Several celebrated alumni brought a touch of glamour to a nostalgic gathering on the 157th Founders' Day celebration of Lawrence School here. One of them, Omar Abdullah, chief of the National Conference, was elected president of the Old Sanawarian Society from 2005-2007.

Abdullah, of the 1987 batch, was unanimously elected in a meeting of about 400 Old Sanawarians from across the world yesterday. The president-elect will nominate his office-bearers later, a spokesperson for Lawrence School said.

Among those who passed under the portals of the prestigious school are Air Marshal K.C. Cariappa, 2nd Lt Arun Khetrapal, who won the Param Vir Chakra in the 1971 war, and Maneka Gandhi.

But the star attraction was superstar Sunjay Dutt. He was chief guest at the celebrations on October 3 and 4 and spent the two days in Sanawar with hundreds of Old Boys, recalling his formative days.

'I am proud to be a Sanawarian. It is an honour to be back in school as the chief guest. I was studying here 27 years ago,' said Dutt, while addressing the gathering of students, their parents and alumni.

Dutt, now Bollywood's favourite don, became emotional when he attributed his success to B. Singh, the then deputy headmaster, and his wife. He touched their feet and said: 'He played the role of a strict disciplinarian in our lives. He made us what we are today.'

Abdullah, who was in Dutt's place last year, also shared his experiences. 'I have grown up here and was one of the back-benchers,' he said.

Commenting on his election, the scion of Kashmir's first family said: 'The OSS president's post is not my domain until I take over next year. In the interest of the school, I only hope all of them will be able to pull together.'

He did not forget to mention Kashmir. 'National Conference has to be an integral part of all talks since we have representatives from the three parts of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The solution to the Kashmir problem lies in soft borders and restoration of autonomy,' he said.

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