Patiala, February 2: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday joined the faculty, students and the distinguished alumni of the Yadavindra Public School (YPS) here to celebrate the institution’s Platinum Jubilee in a spirit of festivity, marked by a colourful cultural extravaganza.
The Chief Minister was welcomed at his old school, which was established by his father Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, by cheering students. He was accompanied by his wife Preneet Kaur and former Union Minister Dr Karan Singh, also alumni of the school.
Speaking on the occasion, Captain Amarinder’s brother, Malwinder Singh, the Chairman and Member of the school’s Board of Governors, described the institution’s establishment as the taking of wings of his great father’s vision. Recalling that the school was envisioned by his father in the difficult times of the partition, he pointed out that one of its oldest students, Justice SS Sodhi, who passed out in 1949, had attended the celebrations on Thursday.
Though the school had come far in the past 70 years, and was today ranked among the best, it would continue to strive for more progress and excellence, he said. Besides strengthening of the school’s infrastructure, new forays were being into the sporting field, he said, exhorting the students to imbibe the values that the institution wanted them to inculcate and continue to give their best.
Former Union Minister Dr Karan Singh, also an alumni of the school, paid rich tributes to Maharaja Yadavindra, describing him as a great visionary and an unforgettable personality. Underlining the remarkable strengths of the institution, he lauded its multiple achievements, and stressed the importance of education in liberating young minds from ignorance, fundamentalism and arrogance.
Dr Karan Singh exhorted the students, whom he termed as the makers of the new India, to build their bodies and minds, using the tsunami of knowledge they were receiving, to build the India of their dreams. Stressing the importance of constant dialogue, he told them never to be afraid to ask questions, and to build their social skills through team work, which alone could help them accomplish their tasks.
Citing some of the challenges being faced by Public schools, particularly rallying and bullying of juniors, which he said was a sign of weakness rather than of strength, the minister called upon the students to use their educational opportunities to build a strong character. He also stressed the need to inculcate a sense of discipline and punctuality, and to recognize the importance of their fundamental duties.
In a reference to the growing intolerance in the society, Dr Karan Singh warned the students against falling prey to fundamentalism, pointing out that whichever religion had plunged into fundamentalism had ended up in destruction.
Brigadier (Retd) Sukhjit Singh and Mahavir Chakra awardee, a scion of the erstwhile Kapurthala estate, lauded YPS role in producing gems in various fields, while urging the students to adopt the art of learning to help them lead a purposeful life.
The school’s Director, Major General (Retd) Sanjiv Varma, read the annual report, highlighting the institution’s significant achievements in the field of academics, sports and extra-curricular activities.
Earlier, the students of the school presented a colourful variety programme, including Giddha, Bhangra, music concert and group dance, besides an excellent rendition of the school song, enthralling the audience with their scintillating performance.
Later, Dr Karan Singh accompanied by the Chief Minister inaugurated the Nalagarh Squash Courts in memory of Raja Surendra Singh in the YPS Stadium.
This was preceded, on Thursday, by the customary Pagal Gymkhana games, followed by a colourful fete with scrumptious food and fun-filled game stalls. A friendly Cricket Match between the OY XI and Present Yadavindrians XI, yet another annual ritual, was played on home grounds and the highly acclaimed School English Play ‘Sound of Music’ was restaged in the evening at the Harpal Tiwana Centre for Performing Arts, Patiala. This was preceded by a special dinner hosted by Captain Amarinder for the visiting dignitaries and the Old Yadavindrians.
Among the other distinguished guests were former Law Minister and senior Congress leader, Ashwini Kumar, Life President, IOA (Indian Olympic Association) Raja Randhir Singh, Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, besides distinguished members of the School Governing body.
The Chief Minister was also accompanied by his Senior Advisor Lt. General (Retd.) TS Shergill, Media Advisor Raveen Thukral besides son Raninder Singh and MLA Vijay Inder Singla.
Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who was an alumnus of Lahore’s renowned Aitchison College, had come up with the idea of YPS after partition, when evacuee students found themselves in jeopardy due to the abrupt discontinuation of their education. The students turned to Maharaja Yadavindra for help and he sent an urgent message to Rai Bahadur Dhani Ram Kapila, his former teacher, and entrusted him with the responsibility of starting a school and being its first Headmaster at the earliest. Thus, Yadavindra Public School started functioning on February 2, 1948, with strength of 21 students and 9 teachers.