BSS Principals

Principals

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Principals John Anderson (1884-1914)
Principals D.G Ross (1914-1916)
Principals H.M Green (1916-1921)
Principals Thornton Ripley (1921-1927)
Principals Adam Mackay (1927-1947)
Principals S A Badvey (1947-1957)
Principals Lazarus Gamaliel (1957-1984)
Principals A T Balraj (1984-1987)
Principals Mark David (1987-1997)
Principals Rev Arun Thomas (1997-)

Mr John Anderson - Superintendent (1884-1914)

Mr Anderson was a born teacher of the old Scottish school. In his time, Bombay Scottish School was described as a school "in which the modern principles of education can never very adequately replace the individuality and personality of the teacher which counts so much in dealing with the young and is apt to be lost in the machinery of a codefied system". He achieved this by maintaining excellent relations between the teacher and the taught.

His record of hard, useful and successful work accounted for the God-fearing, home -like and happy influences that permeated the atmosphere of the school and its inmates. Under his guidance the school ranked amongst the best in singing and boasted of one of the best bag-pipe bands in India. The boys and girls who passed through his hands and went out into the world brought credit to the school and the principal when they took their place in the front ranks of life.

During the epidemics of the plague, whooping cough and measles, he improvised a hospital in the school as the children could not be taken to the European General Hospital and engaged two nursed till the diseases ran their course. His unremitting attention and affectionate care won him whole-hearted support and many old boys and girls afte their week's work in the city gravitated back to the old school on Saturday afternoons to find pleasure in his company.

On his retirement, the Inspector of European Schools, Mr O.H.T Dudley, observed that the loss was irreparable. Mr Anderson had been here for 30 years and his vigorous personality had made the school what it was - "A place of high ideals to all, and a home to many"

The Committee granted him a pension for five yeas at the rate of a hundren pounds per annum to be paid in quarterly installments. On 29th October, a small society gathering was held at the Orphanage when Mr Anderson was presented with a silver tea service by his old pupils and a silver cigar-case by the scholars. After a fond and painful farewell to a missionary, who had spent thirty long years in the service if children in India, Mr D.G Ross and Mrs Ross were welcomed.

Mr D.G Ross - Superintendent (1914-1916)

Mr and Mrs Ross arrived in India on 25th October 1914 and took over from Mr and Mrs Anderson on 29th October 1914.

Although a newcomer to the country, Mr Ross satisfactorily carried on the good work of Mr Anderson. Mrs Ross did some excellent work in the K.G Department and in supervising the needle work and practical lessons in cooking but was compelled to return home for reasons of health.

The burden of managing all departments of the school fell on Mr Ross-no easy task as he was without teachers during a part of the new year, and was new to India, a situation aggravated by the absence of Mrs Ross.

In January 1916, Mr Ross resigned from the post of Superintendent after the death of Mrs Ross and their daughter, both of whom were passengers on the ill-fated P&O liner, the S.S Persia.

In his short tenure of just 15 months, Mr Ross, despite all the odds ( these were the war years), worked devotedly in the service of education.

Ms H.M Green - Superintendent (1916-1921)

Ms Green was a well-qualified, trained and experienced teacher. She taught Arithmetic, Geometry, History and Geography in Std V and VI. She had acted as temporary Lady Superintendent for Mr Anderson for ten months during his absence on leave in 1903.

Prof J.Nelson Frazer,M.A., Principal of Secondary Training College, Bombay, felt the Society was very fortunate in having Ms Green, a lady fully capable of carrying on the varied work of the institution which they had entrusted into her loyal and capable hands. Mr O.H.T Dudley, Inspector of European Schools, Bombay Presidency, concurred that the school was very ably managed by Ms Green and two assistant mistresses, considering each had two classed to manage at once since no other financial arrangement seemed possible.

In the absence of a teaching staff, Ms Green had not oonly to supervise the management of the boarding school but also the academic work, even having to take classes herself, leaving her little chance to supervise other classes. In addition to this, she had responsibility of all the domestic and disciplinary arrangements out of school hours.

H.E Lady Lloyd George congratulated Ms Green on producing many prize-winners, maintaining an excellent standard in the teaching of music, a high standard of work and perfect manners of the children.

On account of ill-health, "probabl due to the many extra duties undertaken by her", Ms Green requested to be relieved of her charge. The committee recorded its indebtness to Ms Green who had on several occasions ungrudgingly filled breaches made by the absence of superintendents.

Thornton Ripley - Superintendent (1921-1927)

Mr Ripley had excellent all-round qualities. His expertise and enthusiasm for his work began to show themselves almost immediately in the progress and development of the school. His scholars generally held their own in bombay whereever they went earning the highest regard from the public. The number of day-scholars rose from 11 in January 1922 to 15 in December.

In the meanwhile, Mrs Ripley passed away in England. Ms Beatty, her sister, took over duties of the Lady Superintendent. Later, Mr Ripley married the daughter of Mr John Anderson, former Superintendent of the school;she was ideally suited for her duties.

By 1921, the additional classroom and infirmary at the rear of the Heritage School Building were in use. Large-scale repairs to the roof of the school building were carried out. Mr Ripley was responsible for raising a considerable sum of money by special appeal for a pension fund and for the costs of repair and painting of the school. He read the report for the year 1923 of the B.S.O Old Scholars Association. He started the Boy Scouts Movement in the school.

His agreement having expired in 1926, he proceeded on home leave and was later appointed HeadMaster of the British School Scottish Mission, Constantinople. Ms Green took charge as Acting Superintendent.

Adam Alexander Mackay-(Superintendent/Principal) (1927-1947)

Mr Mackay arrived in 1927. He was officially welcomed byy the Chairman and Committee at the Annual Hallowe'en party on 23rd October.

Mr Mackay was educated at Bellahouston Academy, Glasgow University, from where he graduated with a Master of Arts degree in 1892 and completed his training at the Glasgow Training College.

As a teacher in Balhousie Boys' School, Perth, Headmaster in Kirkmichael, Blairgowrie and teacher in West Coats Higher Grade School, Combuslang, Mr Mackay (affectionately nicknamed 'Kai-Kai') had gained experience of small and large schools and had at the same time earned a high reputation in his profession. His Excellency Rt.Hon Sir Leslie Wilson, commended his "high scholatic reputation".

During the war, he was a lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, both as a pilot and administrative officer. The school flagpost was erected during his tenure and was to play a historic role when India gained independence.

The Committee gave him a free hand to reorganize the working if the school boarding and education system; and gave hime their whole-hearted support because he had produced results in a short span of four months. Scholars began to appear for the Senior Cambridge Examination after Std XI and passed with flying colours.

On 15th August 1947, this wise Scotsman celebrated our Independence day by hoisting the tricolour. Leading his band of Scottishites dressed in kilts, he marched them around the school and all over Mahim carrying the Tricolour and singing Vande Materam.

Mr Mackay retied on 23rd October 1947. During his twenty years at Scottish, he won the love of all boarders, day-scholars and teachers alike, many of whom continued to correspond with him and Mrs Mackay long after they had departed from India. In deference to his long service, the old school chapel and hall was named the 'Mackay Hall' after him. His bronze plaque, made by Donawadekar, was unveiled on 21st August 1976. The unveiling function was arranged by old students.

S A Badvey - Principal (1947-1957)

Mr Badvey, the able lieutenant of Mr Mackay, took over as the first Indian Principal in 1947. He held a Masters Degree in English and Latin and completed his training in Britain. He improved the standard of teaching and ensured better academic results.

When he took charge, the school was in dire straits. The political scenario had undergone a change. The Government grant was discontinued in the late 40's and donations were no longer forthcoming. In such conditions, for ten years, he strove to run the school and saved it from closing down.

A scholar of Latin, he maintained a fine collection of Latin literature. He had a passion for cricket and persuaded the conservative European clubs to admit our players. His tenure came to an abrupt end in 1957.

Lazarus Gamaliel (1957-1984)

Mr. Gamaliel is the hallmark of Bombay Scottish culture. In twenty-seven glorious years, he was responsible for creating a standard of education synonymous with excellence and perfection. He made the school the premier educational institution it is today. As principal, he combined the visions of an exemplary educationist with the acumen of an able administrator. No task was shirked; no work was taken to be a burden or impossible. He did not believe in sparing the rod and spoiling the child. He practiced a direct and centralized administration. Although a strict disciplinarian and an astute administrator, he was a brilliant and inspired teacher to the end, bringing Julius Caesar to life in the class, making Chemistry fun and Grammar easy to understand.

As Principal, his only goal was the welfare and improvement of the fund-starved institution he had taken over from his predecessor. Much hard work and many sacrifices are veiled today but the fruits of his labour will shine forever in our sprawling school complex. He led a crusade to raise funds to keep the school from closing down and succeeded in raising money not just to achieve this goal but to add three modern science laboratories, the envy of all ,a beautiful art room, a show-piece library stocked with the finest works, extensions to the north block, a three-storeyed building at the south-end, a completely equipped modern gymnasium and a dining hall.

His saddest day was probably the loss of our 11,813 sq. yds. play ground facing the sea which the BMC requisitioned in the 1960's with a view to converting it into a public park under the town planning scheme. He risked his life and peace of mind to acquire vacant possession and clear title of the playground behind the school. He can rightfully claim the title ` Architect of Modern Post-Independence Bombay Scottish School.

His scholars went straight to the IITs and walked into prestigious universities at home and abroad. many hold the most coveted posts today, but wherever they are, they recall with nostalgia their days at BSS.

With his colleagues, he was a thoroughbred, a cultivated and refined gentleman. Old stalwarts among the teaching faculty still quote with reverence instances of his ability to extract work without making it seem burdensome, to guide and mould his teachers and students in the culture which is Bombay Scottish. Mr. Gamaliel was an institution, the architect of the success story of Bombay Scottish School.

On the last day of his long service in mid October 1984, he wrote in the staff notice book a simple note of farewell: My innings is over

A T Balraj (1984-1987)

Mr. Balraj was our fourth Principal. He had the daunting task of stepping into principal Gamaliel's shoes. Two more different personalities would be hard to find. His openness and broad outlook stemmed from the liberal influences of Syracuse University, USA, from where he had graduated and his experiences at Bishop Cottons, Bangalore, where he had been Principal.

He believed that discipline stemmed from within. A man of many modern and innovative ideas, he attempted to free the toddlers from the constraints of conservative teaching methods, putting the accent more on play and activity and banishing the pressures of written examinations at the primary school level. His scholars recall those halycon days scrambling up the ladder into the jungle gym tree-house or ducking and diving around the colourful engines and slides installed for their physical development and enjoyment.

An erudite scholar, he took keen and personal interest in the academic performance of his senior scholars, encouraging and guiding the teachers to impart quality education through research and reading. Mr. Balraj upgraded the syllabus with the introduction of environmental studies at the primary and middle-school stages. To his credit goes the reorganization and compilation of official records and documents, the introduction of ` Tartan', the first full-fledged school magazine, the House Point System to boost the competitive spirit amongst children, and the representation of teaching staff on the P.T.A. Plans for the east wing extension were first conceived and drawn up during his school tenure which ended in 1987 with his resignation and departure for Dubai to take up another assignment.

Mark David (1987-1997)

Within a short span of three years, Scottish in 1987 was coming to terms with yet another principal, yet another personality when Mr.David arrived from Bangalore. A tall, strongly built man with a stern jawline, he presented a daunting figure. Closer association revealed the man himself, uncompromising in his principles, strong in loyalty and with his own dreams and visions to further the growth and standing of Bombay Scottish School.

In ten years, he has left his indelible mark. The introduction of Computer Sciences has enriched our syllabus and children work in well-designed computer laboratories which, even as I write, are being further up graded. He brought inter-house dramatics to B.S.S., a competition keenly fought. The morning assembly is conducted by the children themselves, each class, taking its turn. This has removed stage fright and instilled confidence in our children. Mrs. David runs a special section for marginally retarded educable and spastics with problems of a mild nature. Every attempt is made to rehabilitate these children into a normal school life. Mr. David introduced organized sport for the young ones from Junior K.G. to Std. III. Each child is given a chance to participate and prove his worth. He has added academics as another feature of the house point system. His greatest achievement is the further expansion of B.S.S. with the completion of the new school building on the eastern side of the school.

Rev Arun Thomas (1997-1999)

Arun Thomas joined BSS as principal-designate on 1st august 1997. A product of St Paul's school, Dadar & St Xavier's college, Dhobitalao, He was a first class honours graduate who did his M.A. in English & Aesthetics from Bombay University. After a short stint as fellow & lecturer in English, he joined the State Bank of India as a Probationary Officer. In 1972 he left for the UK on a Scholarship and completed his post graduate studies in the theory & Practice of Education at the University of Nottingham. The Dept of Eucation & Science in the UK honoured him with the post of visiting professor (79/69544) and he spent over 20 years teaching English, History, Religious Education & Multi-faith studies in state comprehensive & public schools as well.

On Michaelmas Day, 1988, he was ordained in the Anglican Church by his Cricket coach & mentor, Bishop David Sheppard( former England cricket Captain after Len Hutton ) at a special ceremony in Liverpool Cathedral. After serving his title in Liverpool, he was appointed incumbent Vicar of St Mary & St Paulinus, two 12th century churches in Kent. As chaplain to the sea-cadets, the air training corps & the RAF in Biggin Hill, he inspired generations of students. He chaired a number of Educational management committees; was inspector of church schools; CMS Trustee (1994-96) before he decided to return to india in august 1996 as Presbyter-in-charge of All Saints' church, Little Gibbs Road, Malabar Hill. Exactly after a year he was invited to be principal of BSS which he combined with his role as CNI Presbyter & Honorary minister at Scotskirk, Colaba.

In his short tenure at BSS, he was instrumental in making the school more child-friendly, parent-responsive & teacher-appreciative. Children were excited to see their principal kick football & bat left-handed with them on the playground ! Many a nervous student entering the examination hall was pleasanly surprised by a reassuring principal's hand on their shoulders, often leaving a boiled sweet in their hands! His wife,Lalita, herself a product of Wilson college & CMC, Ludhiana & Vellore could only join him during their two children's school holidays ( in the UK ) and is fondly remembered for all her behind the scenes role during the christmas concert,1997 by both staff & students.

He was the scourge of duty-shirkers & was often found taking classes of teachers coming in late. In his succinct style he could summarise a full lesson from shakespeare to sciences(middle school) to SUPW in a few minutes by sparking off real life interest in the subject which will light Many candles & high-voltage bulbs in the next millennium. Errant students were often embarrassed by an eagle-eyed principal picking litter and handing it them for instant disposal ! He will be remembered for making the school irreversibly transparent & open to conditional change; for opening the doors wide to ex-students; for introducing Friday morning staff prayers; workshops in Art & Craft, Mathematics, pre-primary teaching methods, Environmental Studies, First-aid & Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, counselling & the infamous "pandora's box".

He had a phenomenal memory for names (arising from a morning contemplative habit of praying for people by using their first names) and had an uncanny knack of picking out an off-colour child in a crowd. After morning assembly in the Gamaliel hall, he would unpredictably saunter off -stage into crowds of children making himself approachable to the most inarticulate ! The PTA became more effective in fulfilling its constitutional role and in helping provide clean cool drinking water, wholesome school lunches and specially organising much-valued parenting courses. Discipline improved by a very sensitive and firm handling by a pastorally-minded principal. His favourite words were: "All prayers are answered but not every prayer is granted." "... A vision without a task is but a dream and a task without vision is drudgery."

In the words of the current chairman of the management committee, Mr P.M. Thampi, "..... During his tenure as principal, Reverend Thomas maintained high standards...and also maintained the balance between academics and extracurricular activities thus enabling our students to develop their personality to face future challenges.." And to give the last word to the Vice-Chairman, Mr D.S. Parekh : "..he displayed strong analytical abilities in handling the practical day to day issues pertaining to the school...and promoted the all-round development of students by having a healthy combination of academics, sports and other extra curricular activities as part of the school curriculum..."

Reverend Arun Thomas loved BSS and he was loved in return by those who cared for values, character, integrity & the future of education in India. He will be missed with great love.


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