THE EARLY YEARS (1875-1900)
|The first student
Maharaja Mangal Singh
The First student Maharaja Mangal Singh of Alwar was housed in a rented house outside the campus and came to school daily on an elephant. The school dress was achkans-churidars-safas and black lace shoes. The school had only one three and a half month long vacation to get over the heat of the summer months. Even then some students, particularly those married young, delayed their return to school!
Discipline was never a problem because with the British staff marching around the campus, the students and staff kept on their toes!
The Sports Activities included Athletics, Polo, Riding, Cricket, Hockey, Football, Rounders, Target Shooting and a few Indian Games. Jackal hunts on horseback were organised on the premises from time to time. Village type games did not get much support from the English staff and soon died out.
The Fees depended on the boy and his standard of living: number of servants/ horses, food items, etc. Most boys had a horse and 2 – 3 servants. Maharaja of Alwar came with a retinue of 200 and even Kotah brought more than 100. a special village had to be built for such retinues., near Gulabbari on the east side of Mayo. Servants cooked and looked after the master's belongings including valuables. Mostly a poor relation was the chief of the retinue whose task was to ensure security from court enemies including food testing in case poisoning of an heir by court intriguers was attempted.
The Principal held a daily durbar, which was attended by all. Punishments, if any, were awarded here. For serious offences boys were locked up and no one allowed to speak to them for a specified period.
The Annual Prize Giving was often attended by distinguished Chief Guests like the Viceroys who were also the official Presidents of the general Council of Mayo. Their speeches make interesting reading since they were a mix of the loyalty to the Crown and some sound advice, which holds true today. Prizes were given mainly on physical and moral conduct and less on mental!
There were some years when there were no students in the college class because there was no stimulus for higher studies beyond school amongst the students and their families, who belonged to an affluent landed class, who neither needed a means of livelihood nor were much accustomed to literary effort.