Published: 12th June 2019
Students up in arms as Pondy's 145-year-old Calve School, which nurtured freedom fighters, to shut down
Calve School was established in 1875 by Calvé Souprayachettiar (Kalavai Subburaya Chettiyar) and it functioned as a private grant-in-aid school from 1875 to 1877
All the schools in Puducherry reopened on June 10 after a hot gruelling summer, except the Calve College Government Higher Secondary School. When Anand Anbazhagan asked a school student the reason, he said the school did not even invite admissions this year. This has left many Puducherians surprised and upset. Which is why SFI, the organisation that Anand belongs to and the Democratic Youth Federation of India is carrying out a cycle rally the next two days to protest against the closure.
You see, the Calve school isn't just another school. It was established in 1875 by Calvé Souprayachettiar (Kalavai Subburaya Chettiyar) and holds an immense amount of history in its walls. For the last 145 years, generations after generations have passed out of the school and it is much loved by the Puducherians. It also became a heritage building and drew a lot of visitors.
Today, though the building is so dilapidated that they have had to shut it down completely. The heritage building was several affected by the Thane Cyclone in 2011. Since then it has been crying for attention but it was only 2014 that a restoration project was suggested. But it was not until 2017, three years later that some restoration work began to take place after the government allocated funds. At least this is what has been said in newspapers.
Taking the current facts into consideration, it obviously seems like the restoration never took off properly. Repeated pleas to restore the building have fallen on deaf ears and this year, the administration shut down the few classes that were running there too.
Initially, the school shifted 5,6,7,8 classes to a new building close to the heritage building. "Then about 4-5 years ago, they shifted the 9 and 10 standards too. So only the 11th and 12th standard was functioning from this building. This year they didn't even invite applications for the 11th and 12th standard," Anand said.
"This was also the only government school in India that served mutton in the midday meal every Wednesday," he added.
Another reason why the school is so celebrated is that it was one of the first places where the student movement in Puducherry took place. "It was here that students protested against the French government. So shutting down means we close down the place that gave us our freedom fighters," he added.
The SFI and DYFI will launch their cycle rally tomorrow and carry on till Thursday. They have put together a 10-point memorandum and will submitted it to the Education Secretary. "We will start the rally from the front of the school building. We are not even sure the CM and the education department even know that such a historical place is being closed down and left in such a sorry state," Anand said.