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Forgotten heritage school fights for existence - Academy with luminaries on its alumni list loses legal battle against land-owners

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By ROSHAN KUMAR
  • Published 29.07.10
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The entrance to TK Ghosh Academy. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna, July 28: Once a centre of educational excellence, it is now caught in a tug-of-war between two warring parties.

TK Ghosh Academy, a school in Patna with a glittering list of alumni, is now a mere shadow of its former self as compared to its heydays. Moreover, there is no a soul to lament at its dilapidated condition.

The first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, and the first chief minister of Bengal, Dr Bidhan Chan- dra Roy, are just two of the distinguished names to have passed through the hallowed portals of the institution that sprawls across 1.099 acre (36 cottahs) on the busy Ashok Rajpath.

The school has time and again been eyed by builders and land developers due to its prime location.

Chandra Prakash Jha, the principal of TK Ghosh Academy, who has fought a protracted legal battle to protect the school, says: “Dr Rajendra Prasad has mentioned about the school in his autobiography. He reminisces that when he (Rajendra Prasad) had arrived in Patna along with his elder brother (who was then studying at Patna College), he took admission at TK Ghosh Academy, which was a renowned institution at that time.”

Noted Gandhian and a committee member of Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Dr Razi Ahmad says: “The school not only boasts of its old boys like Dr Prasad and Dr Roy, other luminaries like Sachhidananda Sinha (member of the constituent Assembly), Abdul Bari and Sir Hassan Imam too studied here.”

However, with the passage of time, the school fell on difficult times due to apathy on the part of the government.

The Palit brothers of Calcutta had founded the school in 1882.

The Palit family owned huge property in Patna in the name of their ancestor, Tinkauri Ghosh.

However, in 1977, the state government took over the institution and declared it as a government school.

But the school campus could not be acquired by the government due to a matter of dispute between the Palit brothers and the state government.

In 2006, the heirs of the Palit brothers sold off the land on which the school building stood to a city-based builder, M/s Jagdeep Prasad Verma. The school authorities challenged the sale of the land in court. Thereafter, the school authorities lost their claim upon the land in a legal battle this year.

Satyanarain Rai, who has been working in the school as a security guard since 1975, says, “In June this year, student leaders owing allegiance to various political parties took up the cudgels to pro- tect the school after the original owner of the school property sold off the land to a private builder. Pledging to save the school building from demolition and to prevent the construction of a swanky shopping mall on the land, the students re- cently went on hunger strike.”

The school principal further said: “The government has released grants for the upkeep and protection of the school on several occasions. However, due to the ongoing court cases between the Palit brothers and the school authorities, the gove- rnment funds had to be refunded.”

Jha further said most the rooms of the building have collapsed and the students have no other choice than to drink unhygienic water and use dirty toilets.

Meanwhile, the school building continues to crave for attention but there is nobody to spare a single thought for it.

PAST PERFECT, FUTURE TENSE

1882: Palit family starts the school in name of ancestor Tinkauri Ghosh on a 36-cottah land on Ashok Rajpath

1977: State government takes it over and declares it a government school. Ownership of the land remains with the Palit family

2006: Heirs of Palit brothers sell off land to builder. School authorities challenge the sale of land in court

2010: School loses legal battle