Friday, February 18, 2011

Robert Cotton High School Marks 175th Anniversary

The Robert Money School was founded in 1836 in memory of  Robert Cotton Money of the Honourable East India Company, second son of Sir W.T.Money, Consul General of Venice. Mr. Money served in the Bombay State, first on the Revenue Department and later in the Educational Department as Secretary to Government. In this capacity, he worked earnestly to realise his dream of imparting to the youth of this country the benefits of a sound English education.

He had excellent and enlightened ideas about education. One statement of his is worthy of note because we have it now as a truism: "I would assume it as an undisputed truth that it is the duty of every Government to educate its subjects". Mr. Money was an enthusiastic lover of India and the Indians, and it is interesting to note that he asked government to send him to a rural district so that he could try and ameliorate the condition of the depressed cultivators of that district. This was his last appointment, for, as the old record has it: "In the midst of these benevolent desires, and in the strength of his days, for he was only 32, he had an attack of jungle fever which caused his death in January 1835" . Shocked by this untimely arrest of a most promising career, his many friends in India determined that his work should not die with him, and, collecting funds, enabled the Church Missionary Society to found the School which was opened the following year and named after him "that his memory might be perpetuated and that his virtues might be handed down to the imitation of posterity."

In December 1936, the Robert Money School celebrated its Centenary when His Excellency the late Lord Brabourne, Governor of Bombay at the time, presided. In the course of his address, His Excellency the Governor remarked: "There can be a few school in India with such a long history or so well-maintained a reputation as this one. It is a very remarkable tribute to Robert Cotton money that is friends should have chosen to give his name, which would otherwise have been forgotten with the lapse of time, to a school intended to be moulded on his character, and to have founded scholarship to enable that class of boy to attend the school which it had always been his chief object to assist."

On the outskirts of Fort, missionaries of the church established their headquarters in 1820, with a first girl’s school in 1826. And in 1835, it transformed into Robert Money School under the memory of Robert Cotton Money, an official of the East India Company. The school was subsequently shifted to its current location at Grant Road in 1908. Built at a cost of Rs9,065, the school had only 185 students. “The school has a fascinating history. It has been through many struggles, but that never deterred its spirit,” said Ulhaal, alumni and secretary of the school.
It was also a pioneer in technical education, when it started vocational courses for boys in 1947. “What makes the school unique is that it has provided excellent quality of education and made ‘men’ out of boys,” said Raghavanand Haridas, an alumnus, who is as an architect.
The school’s alumni include Bharatratna Keshav Karve, Pralhad Atre who started his teaching career from this school, Narendra Jadhav, member of the planning commission, Vitthal Kamat, hotelier, Nitish Bharadwaj. “It was the only school that taught students such skills, which would help them earn a living. It was called as the ‘Factory of Engineers’,” said Haridas.
The book has over 300 pages and is crammed with history of the school, short pieces by its stellar alumni and anecdotes. It is also filled with photographs from different eras. “Making this book was a trip down memory lane. The alumni contributed to its writing. We researched for years and collected pictures from everyone, who has been associated with the school,” added Haridas.
On December 18, the school will celebrate its Foundation Day followed by an alumni dinner and release of the book.

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