Published: 16th July 2017
The 'Don' who socially networked DB alums for decades before Facebook came along, passes away- Remembering A Selvadoray
A Selvadoray taught at Don Bosco for nearly 30 years and was the Assistant Head Master; students and colleagues fondly remember the strict disciplinarian who was deeply loved by all at the school
One of the traditions that the Don Bosco alumni have during their alumni meets is to have one of their teachers come and take a mock class for them and the professor who always turned up was A Selvadoray. He was the teacher who kept in touch with his students for decades after they passed out. He passed away on July 16 after ailing for a while. Condolences flew as thick and fast as the good memories emanated from his pupils from over the decades. He was 88.
"He would keep track of what his students were up to and if one of them made any bad choices in their lives, he took it personally. Always wondered if he had gone wrong in some way by not teaching them right, that is how committed he was, he always took a personal interest in his student's lives," said Michael Sundar, a former colleague of Selvadoray.
A common feature of his personality that everyone pointed out to was the fact that he was a strict disciplinarian but he was also someone who was deeply loved by his students. "When we went into his office, we had to wish him 'good morning, sir' and while leaving we had to say 'thank you, sir'. If we forgot, then we would have to do the same drill three times. But he was also one of those people who would be surrounded by students all the time," said Sanjay Pinto, prominent lawyer and journalist, who studied at Don Bosco from 1978-1991.
Selvadoray was an English and Geography teacher and was the school's first Assistant Head Master and even after he retired in 1989, he continued to work post-retirement and also went on to become the Principal of the primary school.
No bunking: Selvadoray addressing the alumni
Sundar who took over the head master post after Selvadoray remembers him as someone who spoke impeccable English and someone who constantly tried to instill good values in his students, "Most students who passed out of school were rich and famous and they always kept in touch with him but even though he moved int hat crowd, he himself remained poor. He also continued to be there for those who were less fortunate than him," he recalled.
Selvadoray was also one of the members of the core team who brought in the pension scheme for teachers at the school, something he continues to be remembered for. Apparently, Don Bosco is one of the very few private schools to have a pension scheme for their teachers, "It was because of him that teachers received a pension after their retirement. He always worked towards the betterment of the teachers and also managed to bring in several other benefits for them, " said Judith Pinto, who worked with him at the School in Egmore.
A man of faith, his close associates say that no matter what sort of trials life put him through he remained was undeterred and always trusted in God to make it okay. Jerome Rajan, another teacher who worked with Selvadoray recalled how encouraging and inspiring the latter was, " I was a junior teacher and he was my mentor and guide. He was a very dignified gentleman and never stooped down for materialistic things. He lived a straight and honest life, his knowledge also was never restricted to the textbook."
"He was just a legendary teacher, he was one of those teachers who was very instrumental in teaching us how to communicate, a skill that continues to help us. He was the epitome of perfection and I think all of us students try to achieve at least 10 to 20 percent of the kind of man he was," said Ashwin Rajagopalan, 1989 batch.
Selvadoray's funeral service will take place at 10:30 am at the Kilpauk Cemetery tomorrow (Monday, July 17) and a condolence meeting will be conducted at the Don Bosco school during the week starting July 24