“Cottonians’ Cotton on the Reverie”
This Article appeared in Deccan Herald dated 20th December 2001

When they meet at the Park Hotel on Kensington road on Saturday, Old Cottonians will have a lot to look back on. “Do you remember ‘Boozy’ Chandran? ‘Ozzy’ Edwards? ‘Cocky’ Reynolds? Michael the maths master who got kicked out? Canon Elphick?” – they will be asking each other, remembering their old masters who used to “gate” them and give them “benders”, or six cuts of the Malacca cane across the fundament.

Also, they will remember “meet me behind Chapel (the accepted way to settle scores),” or, “behind the bogs (for an illicit smoke).” The Old Cottonians Association (OCA) of the Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, founded in 1927, is launching its platinum jubilee celebrations on Saturday, December 22. It will conclude six months after on St. Peter’s Tide, June 29, 2002, according to Mr. M G Muthanna, Chairman of the Association.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Mr. Muthanna, also Chairman of the Karnataka Parks and Gardens Trust, said that during St. Peters Tide 2002, a week-long programme has been planned which include golf and snooker tournaments, cricket and basketball matches with the present boys, followed by its annual general meeting and culminating in the reunion dinner. “We expect a large number of Old Cottonians from all over the country and about 200 from overseas to attend this event,” he said. The OCA has chapters in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States and in all metro cities in India, Mr. Muthanna said. The association is deeply involved in and has a symbiotic relationship with the present school. Apart from being represented on the school board of governors, the OCA has contributed material and moral support to the institution. Way back in 1937, it had presented a Hammond Organ to the School Chapel which is still in use. It has also presented a swimming pool with a filtration plant to the school.

The Bishop Cotton school was formally opened on 19th April 1865 as a co-educational Institution by Reverend Samuel Thomas Pettigrew, Chaplain of St. Mark’s Church, commencing classes in a bungalow on High Grounds called “Westward Ho.” It moved to its present site on St. Mark’s road in 1871 and remained co-educational till 1911, when the Girl’s School was shifted to its present premises. Reverend A E Scipio, warden (principal) of the school from 1924 to 1929 mooted the idea of forming the Old Boys’ Association, now the OCA, and the first meeting was held on 26th December 1927 with 23 members present.

Mr. Muthanna, a retired executive director of Bharat Petroleum Corporation, is very proud that most of Bangalore is run by Old Cottonians. “All the leading clubs in Bangalore are headed by Old Cottonians,” he says. “V P Thirumurthy is present of the Bangalore Club. V.T. Vijendra Velu is chairman of the Bangalore Turf Club.

The Karnataka Golf Association president is V.P. Mahindra and the secretaries of the Karnataka Cricket Association and Karnataka Snookers and Billiards Association are Brijesh Patel and Subahu Desai respectively,” he says. “Nec Dextrorsum, Nec Sinistrorsum” – neither to the right, nor to the left – is the school motto, meaning that Cottonians go straight ahead without deviating, says Mr. Muthanna, who got six cuts of the cane and was gated (confined to bounds) for one month for shouting “Jai Hind” on August 15, 1947.
By Utpal Bordoloi
DH News Service. Bangalore, 20 Dec, 2001