Nusserwanji Dorab Nagarvala
(10th October 1909 – 11th September 1998)
Mr. Nagarvala was born into a prominent family in Ahmednagar . His mother Tehminabai was a strict disciplinarian and his father Darabshah was a respected and active member of the Parsi community in Ahmednagar. Darabshah Nagarvala was bestowed the title Khan Bahadur and he held the post of President of the Ahmednagar Municipality for 17 years. Mr. Nagarvala or Noss as he was popularly known, was educated in a Cantonment Marathi medium school until Std. IV and thereafter in an English medium school.
Mr. Nagarvala successfully passed matriculation and his parents decided that he should join the prestigious Deccan College. During his first year at college all he did was play – as a result he failed that year but he had made his mark as a sportsman by participating in all the games, cricket, hockey, football, tennis, athletics and swimming. Under Mr. Nagarvala’s captaincy the Deccan College won the prestigious Northcote Shield of the Bombay Presidency for inter-collegiate cricket in 1929.
On completing his Inter Science he opted to study in Bombay, first at the Grant Medical College and then at Elphinstone College. However, the climate in Bombay did not suit him and he decided to return to Poona to do Inter Arts at the Deccan College. At this time, the Indian Freedom Movement was in full swing and Mr. Nagarvala had taken to wearing khadi and the Gandhi cap. Observing Mr. Nagarvala’s attire, Mr. Rawlinson, the Principal of Deccan College asked him to remove the cap. When Mr. Nagarvala refused to do so he was ordered to leave and not allowed to return to the college. After this incident Mr. Nagarvala joined the Fergusson College where he was held in high esteem by the professors.
It was while at college that Mr. Nagarvala met a beautiful, multi talented young lady called Erin Cursetjee. It was love at first sight for him and he invited her to be his tennis doubles partner. This marked the beginning of a lifelong partnership and they were married in 1935.
He started his career as a teacher in the Shri Shivaji Primary Military School. in the year 1933. His love for teaching was so great that he did not mind working for a salary of Rs.75.00 per month. However, as an ardent nationalist he was unable to tolerate the rampant discrimination that existed in the school. After an altercation with the Principal over the disparity in salary between the British and Indian staff he resigned from the school in 1946. Subsequently a friend had offered Mr. Nagarvala a partnership in his business which he refused saying “Once a teacher, always a teacher” and the idea to start a school of his own took root.
Fortunately he was married to a lady who shared his dream and Dr. Erin Nagarvala worked with him every step of the way. Starting a school was no easy feat and life for them was not a bed of roses but with their combined grit and determination the National Model School came into being on the 1st of June 1947. The motto of the school “Service and Sacrifice” stands testament to the dedication of this admirable couple.
Mr. Nagarvala had been a sportsman of great repute. He represented The Maharashtra Cricket Association at the Ranji Trophy and set a world record in 1939-40 for the ninth wicket partnership with Vijay Hazare for 256 runs. This record was included in the Wisden Cricket Almanac as an all India record. Always passionate about cricket, he went on to be a Test Match Umpire and an examiner for Test Match Umpires. Mr. Nagarvala’s accomplishments in sports are numerous as are the various sports bodies / clubs that he founded and headed. Everywhere that he held office he was well known and at times even feared for his forthrightness and zero tolerance for cronyism.
Mr. Nagarvala encouraged sports and athletics in the school. He taught the students to always play a fair game and to avoid unfair means.. “Never hit below the belt” is the lesson they learnt. They were taught to play for the sake of the game and not for its result – “To set the cause above the result, to love the game beyond the prize”.
He knew all his pupils individually. He would visit every class once a week to talk to the children on a variety of subjects and encouraged them to talk and ask questions. Developing his students self confidence and character building was always one of his primary aims. Always an exacting taskmaster, Mr. Nagarvala his students fondly called him ‘baap’. Pupils who have passed out of this school always return to their Alma Mater with pride and joy to reminisce about the glorious childhood years they spent in the school. The past students return year after year because of the deep rooted respect, admiration and love they will always have for their guru and mentor Mr. Nagarvala.
Since Mr. Nagarvala has never cared for money or fame, he trained the students to live in simplicity.”Simple living and high thinking” is what they were taught. He himself practiced what he preached because as a good teacher, he believed that “Example is better than precept”. Discipline was, and continues to be the key note of the training in the School.
Just as he took interest in each student, he also took keen interest in the personal life of each staff member. He had great confidence in all his staff and was able to motivate and inspire them. Mr. Nagarvala is fondly remembered by the past teachers open hearted, kind and generous, with an innate love of all that was good and noble and with zero tolerance for falsehood, meanness and hypocrisy.
Mr. N. D. Nagarvala served the school until the very end, making tremendous sacrifices along the way and yet he always said: “What I am today is because of my wife, what the school is today is because of the wonderful people who have worked with me”
“Great teachers are born, not made”. How true this is, in the case of Mr. N. D. Nagarvala the Principal, who was the architect of the National Model School.
DR.(Mrs.) ERIN NAGARVALA
(16th March 1912 – 28th May 1985)
Erin Nagarvala was born in Pune on 16th March, 1912 and at an early age she was sent to live with her grandmother in Ahmednagar where she did her schooling. She returned to Poona in 1930 to join the Deccan College on a Scholarship. It was at Deccan College that Mr. Nagarvala first saw her and as she was a keen sportswoman he invited her to be his tennis doubles partner. They proved to be a winning duo year after year and soon their tennis partnership turned to friendship. By 1932 their bond had grown stronger and they become life partners in 1935.
When at the college, Mrs. Nagarvala not only distinguished herself as a scholar and a sportswoman, but also as a very eloquent Speaker and a drama enthusiast. She had been a student of the French language and therefore, she decided to do her Ph. D on French History. She based her thesis on Benoist Dumas of the French East India Company and this required exhaustive research which she did in Pondicherry. To honour her memory the thesis was printed after her demise and it was released at a function where the Chief Guest was none other than Mrs. Nagarvala’s reader – Dr. Sankalia.
Mrs. Nagarvala was a versatile woman who believed in doing everything to perfection. She was an able homemaker, a devoted wife, and an educationist par excellence. She was deeply religious and followed the basic maxim of all Zoroastrians “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds”.
Her love for animals was legendary and she always had a variety of pets. Whether it was dogs, birds, cows, buffaloes or turtles she loved them all. Once, their little Dashund – Rusty, was run over by a visitor’s car and the vet wanted to put the dog to sleep but she disagreed and told the vet to attend to the dog. She kept vigil all night lying on the ground beside Rusty, keeping one hand on his body, to ensure he did not move as the vet had instructed. Rusty survived and though he was partially paralyzed he went on to live a long and happy life thanks to the determination and care of his mistress.
When the Boarding school building was to be built Mrs. Nagarvala saw a uniquely designed circular school building in a Japanese magazine and she realized that a circular school made perfect sense because the Principal would have a clear view of all the classes from the centre of the rotunda. She promptly contacted the Japanese Embassay and was fortunately able to consult with the Architect when he visited Delhi. She had envisioned two circular buildings with a large assembly hall between them. Unfortunately, she did not live to see her dream realized but the circular classroom buildings still stand legacy to her genius and foresight.
After her passing, Mr. Mahajan suggested renaming the school the Dr. (Mrs.) Erin N. Nagarvala School in her memory and a grand function was held in September 1985. The chief guest at the ceremony was none other than the 1993 Magsaysay Award Winner for Public Service, Dr. Banoobai Jehangir Coyaji.
Today, the Dr. (Mrs.) Erin N. Nagarvala School stands testament to the enduring memory of this multi faceted and inspiring lady.
Narayan Krishna Mahajan
(18th August 1920 – 8th November 2016)
Mr. N.K. Mahajan was a Founder Member of the National Education Society which runs the School Dr. (Mrs) Erin N Nagarvala School He retired as the Principal of the School in 1998 and was the Chairman of the National Education Society.
Mr. Mahajan was the Sports in Charge at the Poona Club where he first met Mr. N.D.Nagarvala, who offered him a job at the school in 1947 which he accepted thus beginning his long association with the school. Subsequently he did his Bachelor of Teaching and became a teacher and housemaster. With his diligence and dedication he was the right hand of Mr. & Mrs. Nagarvala and looked after all aspects of the school.
Mr. N.K. Mahajan had a keen interest in sports and he firmly believed that children should spend more time on the playing field rather than in the classroom much to the despair of the teachers. Mr. Mahajan officiated at various sports events and was a member as well as an office bearer of many Sports bodies such as the Athletics, Boxing and Hockey associations.
Mr. Mahajan’s schedule was always full as he was closely associated with various Social Service organisations such as the Cancer Patients Aid Association and The Indian Red Cross Society of which he was the Treasurer. Despite his various commitments he unfailingly made time to visit the school, attending functions and staff meetings to encourage, inspire and thank the students and the teachers.
Mr. Mahajan had a great love for the mountains and he was a founder member and President of the Pune Mountaineers. He s organized many a trek in the Sayadris and Himalayas. He continued to trek well into his nineties, much to the envy of all around. In 2014 he talked to Amir Khan on the famous TV show ‘Satya Mev Jayate’ about the secret of his fitness at 94, which can be attributed to his simple and disciplined lifestyle as well as the time he spent with young children at the school.
Always keen on trying out a new sport Mr. Mahajan undertook a Parasailing flight at the National Defence Academy Glider Drome on February 16th, 2003 and gained an entry into the Limca Book of Records for unmatched parasailing performance as the oldest Para-sailor. On another flight at Banjara Hills, Pune on April 14th 2007 he established a World Record as the Oldest Para-sailor, going on to break his own record the following year in a flight at Bhushi near Lonavala.
Mr. Mahajan was a living legend and a role model to all those who knew him.
JAMSHED RUSTAM MUSA
(29th AUGUST 1939 – 29TH JULY 2006)
Jamshed Musa was a student of the Dr. (Mrs.) Erin Nagarvala School (then known as the National Model School). He passed his S.S.C. examination in 1957 and after he completed his B.Sc. gaining a first class he appeared for the I.A.S. examination. When he was not selected he sent a telegram asking Mr. Nagarvala’s advice on what he should do. Mr. Nagarvala promptly offered him a job at the school telling him “Join the school. You’ll be a happy man but not a rich man” And so Mr. Musa came back to serve his Alma Mater. He joined the school as a House Master and while working he obtained a T.D. and a B.Ed. thus qualifying as a Teacher.
Mr. Musa was a very popular teacher who was well loved by all his students. Even though he taught Mathematics & Physics he involved himself with all aspects of the pupils’ lives at Boarding school; taking them on treks and joining them for their daily morning jog at 5.30 a.m. even on bitterly cold December mornings.
Mr. Musa took over the reigns as Principal after Mr. N.K. Mahajan retired and under his dynamic leadership the school made great progress in academics and well as sports. Being a past student of the school he was instrumental in forming the Past Students Association which to this day has a widespread membership.
Despite being a strict disciplinarian and a hard task master Mr. Musa was also kind, helpful and considerate. His untimely death left a huge void and he will always be missed by his friends, students and colleagues.
Mrs. Perin K. Dalal
(29th May 1936 – 29th December 2009)
Perin Dalal was born and raised in Pune. The eldest among 6 siblings of the Boocha family, she was a bubbly, smiling and enthusiastic child. Her mother often used to say she learnt how to run before she could walk. This was a believable statement in retrospect considering her long and illustrious sporting career.
As a young girl she went to Sardar Dastur Noshirwan Girls High School, after which she did her B.A. from Nowrosjee Wadia College. Never very inclined to mundane academics and the confines of a classroom, through her entire childhood she was passionate about games and sports, always preferring the freedom of the sports field. She represented Wadia College (1955 – 1959) in various Inter Collegiate events such as Throw Ball, Soft Ball, Net ball, Hockey and Athletics; steering her college to many a glorious victory 4 years in a row.
Perin Dalal was an avid Hockey player and excelled at it. She represented the Maharashtra State for the Women’s Hockey Nationals for ten years in a row from 1954 to 1964. It was her single minded passion for Sports that lead her to do her D.P.Ed. from S.P. College and she completed the course at the top of her class.
She began her career as a P.T. teacher at Dastur School in and in 1964 after she married Khushru Dalal, they moved to Mumbai. In Mumbai, she worked at the Avabai Petit School for 12 long and rewarding years. Despite a busy career and full schedule she found the time and the boundless energy to take on the responsibility of being the Honorary Secretary of the Bombay Women’s Hockey Association from 1973 – 1981.
Perin Dalal was the Director of Physical Education of the S.N.D.T Women’s University (Mumbai) before returning to Pune to take on the responsibilities as the Headmistress at the National Model School (as it was then known) in 1979. She became the Principal in 2000 and continued to serve in that capacity until her untimely demise in 2009. Mrs. Dalal dedicated 30 years of her life to the Nagarvala School taking it to new heights in all spheres. The countless pupils who passed out of the school remember Mrs. Dalal as a caring, compassionate and considerate Principal. Often, pupils with learning difficulties or behavioural issues were included in the Nagarvala School and here they found a supportive and positive environment which helped them to move ahead in their lives. All these pupils and their parents are eternally grateful to Mrs. Dalal for opening her heart and the doors of the school to them.
Mrs. Dalal adeptly juggled her professional life with her family life and she was a loyal and supportive wife, an understanding and appreciative mother and a doting and affectionate grandmother.
Perin Dalal will always be remembered for her contributions and achievements in the field of sports and education, however, she is most remembered for being a compassionate and caring human being. She always had a ready smile, empathetic attitude and boundless energy. She was more than willing to help anyone who needed it – be it friends or even strangers, fellow human beings or animals or birds. Every ready to spare her valuable time to listen to other people’s troubles she was often reproached by her family for neglecting herself. With her positive attitude, she always saw the good in others and was more than willing to give people innumerable opportunities to improve and advance. In her lifetime she touched many lives and left an indelible impression in the hearts and minds of all those who knew her.
Mrs. Dalal truly embodied the words of Winston Churchill :
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”’