Sunday, May 23, 2010

The long-standing school

The long-standing school


Vatsala JoshiExpress News ServiceFirst Published : 22 May 2010 12:29:08 AM ISTLast Updated : 22 May 2010 07:16:34 AM IST
BANGALORE: Ask any long-time resident of South Bangalore where they did their schooling, and chances are high they will respond with “National High School, in Basavanagudi.” This school, which will celebrate it’s centenary in a few years, has gone on to become an indelible part of Bangalore, producing generations of worthy citizens. Its alumni include former captain of the Indian cricket team Anil Kumble and Kannada film star Ramesh Aravind, among other luminaries.
The Theosophical Society, which pioneered the Home Rule Movement, set up schools and colleges all over the country, as an alternative to the British convent schools. These institutions aimed to instill patriotism and feelings of national integration in the young. The first such school was set up in 1916, in Adyar, Chennai.
The second, National High School in Bangalore, came into being in 1917, in premises close to the City Market. It shifted to its present location in 1922, and has stayed there ever since. It owes it’s standing largely to the efforts of freedom fighter and noted academician, the late Dr H Narasimhaiah, who taught science at the school for many years, and was a much beloved figure even after he could no more handle the rigours of classroom teaching. “He is an inspiration to all of us even today. We try and carry out his ideals in everything we do at the school,” say the faculty.
The school conducts classes from the 8th to the 10th standard, with five divisions for each class. It is apparent the school has not forgotten the values that led to its establishment.
In an effort to preserve the local culture, the medium of instruction in one section of each class is Kannada.
Another charming tradition is the chanting of the Bhagvad Geeta by all students at the morning assembly.
“This practice serves to remind students of their roots,” says Sridhar Hegde, a member of the teaching staff. Students are also all praise for the extracurricular activities in the school. “There is an opportunity for everyone to showcase their talents, no matter which field. There are competitions for essay writing, drama, speeches, singing…you name it, NHS has it!” says Kavya, a 9th standard student. The annual Science Speaking competition, where students speak on scientific topics, complete with charts, models and live demonstrations, is hugely popular.
“It was a brainchild of the late H Narasimhaiah, who was a committed rationalist. He started this to encourage scientific temper among students,” says Harish, an alumnus.
The homely atmosphere at the school is such that old students keep coming back for a glimpse of the quaint classrooms with red oxide flooring, the quadrangle where they assembled in neat lines for so many mornings and the sprawling playground, or to chat up their former teachers. Many alumni go on to send their children and grandchildren here. One such student is Siddharth Hegde. “My father and uncles have studied here, and they were keen that I carry on the legacy,” he laughs.
“NHS offers a holistic learning experience.
Along with academics and the usual extracurricular activities, it also ensures students take with them a strong spiritual ethic,” says Prasad, whose entire family studied here.

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