Students of Sainik School-Tilaiya on parade during the inaugural function of its golden jubilee in Koderma on Sunday and (top) film-maker Prakash Jha pays homage to Immortal Tilaiyans, a memorial for alumni who had laid down their lives in service. (Vishvendu Jaipuriar)
Koderma, Sept. 16: From regimented rookies to battle-hardened professionals, life came full circle for 1,500 old boys of Sainik School-Tilaiya today, as they got together to celebrate the golden jubilee of the prestigious institute in Koderma.
Chief minister Arjun Munda, however, failed to participate in the inaugural function on Day 2 of the celebrations due to health reasons.
Lieutenant General Gyan Bhushan, an alumnus and the chief guest, cherished his days at Sainik School.
“What I am today is because of my alma mater,” he said, adding that apart from studies, the institute focused on developing personalities, which was why its students excelled in defence as well as in varied fields including judiciary and journalism.
Bhushan, who is serving as general officer commanding-in-chief of the Jaipur-based South Western Command, urged the present lot to work hard and make the school prouder, hoping it would step into its platinum jubilee with many more achievements.
In his inaugural address at the parade grounds, he said that completing 50 years is a big achievement for any organisation, adding that Sainik School-Tilaiya had carved its place firmly on the education map of the country through sheer quality and focus on personality development.
Air marshal P.R. Sharma said the alumni were a source of inspiration for present students, whom he urged to keep up the hard work.
He recalled an incident that changed his life completely.
He said that the authorities were once punishing cadets who had not followed instructions. Everyone had given excuses to escape punishment but Sharma admitted his fault and stood quietly.
“I was let off for my honesty and that instance made me maintain it all my life. Schools play a big role in one’s life. Sainik School-Tilaiya has shaped us in the best possible way,” he added.
Brigadier Ashok Sharma said the school had progressed steadily to attain excellence.
Principal V.K. Bhat highlighted the glorious achievements of the school in its 50-year journey, pointing out that among 24 Sainik schools in India it had sent the highest number of officers to NDA, the army and the air force.
“Anyone can realise the achievements of the school by noting the presence of its alumni across various sectors. The school is now equipped with all the resources, from a well-stocked library to laboratories and playgrounds,” he said. The principal also recalled former students who had laid down their lives while serving the country.
Earlier, the joyous mood was palpable leading up to the inauguration, with the 6km stretch from Urwan More to the school welcoming the alumni with banners.
The tree-lined road with the picturesque Tilaiya Dam in the background helped the former students relive old memories. For some, the school appeared better organised with the addition of new buildings, while many recalled the days when their shramdaan helped to maintain the playground.
Renowned film-maker Prakash Jha was elated to reach his school yesterday and meet old friends. Speaking to The Telegraph, he said, “It’s hard to forget Sainik School-Tilaiya, which has taught me the biggest lessons in life. When I had joined in 1963, the school only had 368 students. Much has changed since then.”
Jha admitted that he remembered everything about life in Sainik School and around Tilaiya, including the mouth-watering kalakand made here.
Delhi-based journalist Ashish Sinha was thrilled to get an opportunity to spend time at the dormitory he had stayed in as a student.
“It brought back all the memories of student life. Moreover, I met some of my batchmates for the first time after leaving school,” he gushed.
A special magazine was released while the state postal department offered a special cover on the occasion. Former students as well as relatives of the deceased were felicitated.
Koderma deputy commissioner (DC) Rajesh Sharma read out a message from the chief minister lauding the school for its contribution to society. The two-day bash began yesterday with a performance by folk singer Sharda Sinha.