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Jigme N Kazi

Jigme N Kazi_Hail Mount Hermon A TRIBUTE Book

November,12, 2020ByProwess Publications

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About Author

Jigme N. Kazi has a special place in Mount Hermon School, Darjeeling. He studied at Mount Hermon School (1963-1972) and graduated from Mt. Hermon School’s Teachers’ Training College (TTC, 1974-1975). He taught at Mt. Hermon School for four years from 1976 to 1979. During his 16 years in the school (1963-1979), he worked under some of the finest principals and teachers of Mt. Hermon School.
After he left Mt. Hermon School at the end of 1979, Jigme N. Kazi kept a live interest in his alma mater and the Hermonites (alumni of the school), leading to the founding of Hermonites International in 2005 with himself as to its Founder-President. He is presently Chairman Emeritus of the global body, which takes an active interest in school affairs.
A journalist by profession, he is the proprietor-editor of Sikkim Observer and Himalayan Guardian. He is also the author of four books on Sikkim: Inside Sikkim: Against the Tide (1993), Sikkim For Sikkimese: Distinct Identity Within The Union (2009), The Lone Warrior: Exiled In My Homeland (2014), Sons of Sikkim: The Rise and Fall of the Namgyal Dynasty of Sikkim (2020). He lives in Gangtok (Sikkim) with his wife Tsering and children: Tashi, Yangchen, Sonam, and Kunga.

Book Published by him

Hail Mount Hermon! A TRIBUTE

This book, Hail Mount Hermon: A Tribute, is a compilation of articles and excerpts from books, , etc. by all those associated with Mount Hermon School, Darjeeling, in the last 125 years (1895-2020).
Published in the year of the school’s 125th anniversary, the book is a tribute not only to the school’s founders, principals, and teachers but also to all Hermonites (alumni) of all eras and ages who have great love and affection for their alma mater and hopes that Mount Hermon School looks back to its great legacy and lives on to reach greater heights.
The book chronicles the school’s tragic beginning soon after its opening in 1895, the founding of Queen’s Hill School at the beginning of the 20th century, the establishment of Mount Hermon School at the present campus in Darjeeling in 1929-30, and how the school has progressed thereafter to the present era.
Throughout its 125 years of existence, Mount Hermon School, founded by Christian missionaries of America in the latter part of the 19th century, had its share of ups and downs. However, the school could pull through hard times, mainly because of the faith, dedication, and determination of its leadership. Major events and renowned personalities of the school are well-documented in this book for posterity to note the spirit in which the school was initially founded and why it survived for so long despite trying circumstance to become one of India’s leading educational institutions.
The efforts of the Hermonites and their concern for their alma mater to regain its past glory is recorded in the latter part of this book. Their love and concern for their alma mater is a profound reflection of the spirit that not only gave birth to this great institution but kept it going in the past 125 years through troubled times.
Bijay Palriwala, a Hermonite of the Stewart era from the UK who started the ‘MH Revival’ movement in 2011 died in November 2019. This book is a Tribute to Hermonites such as Bijay. I wrote this on Facebook when Bijay passed away: “Bijay’s efforts and hopes will not die in vain. May he rest in peace.” Bijay’s advice to us was: “Only combined, the sustained effort can hope to improve the situation so I am hoping that others will join in the effort!” Hail Mt. Hermon!
The vision and determination of our school’s Founder, Miss Emma Knowles, and her deputy Miss C.J. Stahl led to the founding of Queen’s Hill School soon after the 1899 disaster in a new location just above the main road near the Darjeeling railway station in the town area. Miss Stahl deserves our gratitude. She was in Arcadia, Queen’s Hill School, and even lived at the present campus when the school was opened in 1926. She retired as Principal during the period when the school was renamed Mount Hermon School in 1930.
Though he was never our Principal, Bishop Fisher is considered one of our Founders for he was chiefly responsible for the purchase of the present Mount Hermon Estate, where the MH is located. The school was growing and needed more space for expansion. The Estate had around 100 acres in North Point facing Sikkim’s mighty Kanchenjunga (Khangchendzonga), the third highest mountain in the world, and the Rangeet valley.
Not many people are aware of the role played by one of our Principals in helping MH sail through stormy times. I’m referring to our Principal Lila Enberg who in the mid-thirties restored a major portion of our main building after the devastating earthquake of January 15, 1934. As a reward, the Managing Committee of our school failed to renew her tenure after her term came to an end in 1934! They wanted to get rid of her.
Mt. Hermon (MH) went through a very difficult period in the early 1940s. Because of the Second World War, many students and staff from Britain left the school. The future of the mission also seemed uncertain. The enrolment of the school dropped to 120 and the school nearly closed down in 1943.
But somehow Rev. Dewey, the school Principal, kept the school going. Mt. Hermon actually grew in size and substance when Rev. David G. Stewart of New Zealand and Chinese Inland Mission (now renamed Overseas Missionary Fellowship) took over the school in 1954.
When Stewart took over the school, the enrolment of the school was less than 100 but over the years more students came to study in Mt. Hermon, and by the time he left in 1964 the strength of the school had shot up to 365. During the Murray-era (1964-1978), Mt. Hermon became one of the most distinguished co-educational schools in the country.
Of the total of 639 students in 1978, 470 were boarders. MH distinguished itself in both academic and co-curricular activities. Mrs. Murray’s contribution added to the school’s rich musical heritage. Rev. William Jones and Rev. John A. Johnston built on the foundation laid by their predecessors. As with many great institutions, MH is going through a difficult period today. The absence of dedicated teachers and the departure of many of its old staff members, particularly those from abroad, coupled with frequent changes in the leadership, have been the main
reasons why the school is going through another crisis.
But most Hermonites and well-wishers of the school, who are conscious of the school’s long history and its inherent ability to overcome difficulties, believe that this is just a passing phase and sooner or later it will pull through. The need for schools such as MH is greater now than it was a hundred years back. Perhaps it is at times such as these that we ought to remind ourselves of the need to press on and remember Mrs. Fisher’s advice: “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

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