Rajiv Sinha and A.K. Amitava our
cub-reporters interview Brigadier
Shrikent, an O.S. who was College Captain
: What were your first reactions as you
entered the school?
S. Kent : On the way up with
my family, we crossed the hollow tree in
which we threw pebbles, for it was a
tradition in our time to do so. And as I
came up from the gate a plethora of
nostalgic memories came flooding back,
memories especially of bunking down the
drains to the 'Puri Wallah' in town where
we would eat delicious puris and
: Do you find any old traditions missing
S. Kent : I am not really
familiar with the school routine now. Oh
! Now I remember. We used to have fights
in the back qued every afternoon. The
popular maxim was 'See you in the backs'.
And the guys used literally to hammer
each other. Public flogging was another
well-known tradition. I'm glad you've
passed that stage of brutality. Your
uniforms and house ties for each house
are a very good tradition. They are
outstandingly elegant and smart whereas
we were allowed to wear home clothes even
: How was the atmosphere in school during
your time ? Was it friendly or tense ?
What were the relations between a senior
and a junior ?
: When I was in school there was a great
of distinction made between a senior and
a junior and this relationship was rather
tense and strained to the point of being
unhealthy. But today I feel - and from
what I hear - Sherwood has a very
friendly and homely atmosphere with a
more benign relationship among the boys.
: What was the games standard like ? Did
you have regular fixtures with Sem and
other schools ?
S. Kent : Oh ! games were
superb, for we had guys who could really
play. Our games standard could be
considered rather good. We had fixtures
with Sem but not regularly. We also had
fixtures at times with La Martiniere,
Lucknow, and La Martiniere, Calcutta, as
well as the Lawrence School, Sanawar. I
know you'll ask about our relations with
Sem. Don't-for they were deleterious. Our
reaction was to thrash a Semian at sight.
: What do you think of the food ? Is
there any difference in the past and the
: Exceptionally good now. You have a much
: Did you have any co-curricular
activities in your time ?
: We hardly had any activities in our
time as you have now. We had no swimming
for the pool hadn't been built then, so
our swimming resort was the lake or lake
or the Governor's pool.
: Did you have any holidays during the
: Our Principal them was Mr. Binns, a
very strict man, who, I'm sure, never
believed in holidays. The question of
having too holidays didn't, arise. Our
Founder's activities were held in the
holidays we got. Going on treks like the
Outward Bound today was very rare. And
movies were never heard of in school.
: In your opinion has the school changed
considerably from what it was before ?
: Yes, this place has over-grown and was
much cleaner better maintained then. That
can be attributed to the availability of
servants at a pittance. I'm not saying it
is dirty or ill- maintained either.
Moreover, the staff had changed. And in
my opinion the staff now is much
friendlier then before. The staff took a
pride in talking to me. This made me feel
very comfortable and homely I felt really
proud of being a Sherwoodian.
: How did you happen to join the army ?
: I was never very good at studies. I was
more of an outdoor person. I had a strong
inclination to a career in either the
navy or the army from the very start.
Though this idea of my joining the army
never appealed to my father, despite his
refusal, I got in and now I'm the Defence
and Military attaché in Pakistan.
: What do you think of the educational
system today ?
: It's confused and in complete chaos. In
other words, it's confusing our youth and
wasting their time. This system is laying
a great deal of pressure on the youth and
thus he lacks that development which is
very necessary in a growing child. It's
nothing like in England or America where
the emphasis is upon development of the
personality and the emphasis on education
lies in arousing a child's interest. I
think we can attribute this pressure to
the high qualifications required for good
: Has this affected our school seriously
S. Kent : Not to my knowledge,
for we still lay a great deal of emphasis
on other activities which helps in the
development of personality and does not
make a boy a mere book-worm. Here a child
is in an independent situation away from
overzealous parents. It's here that he
learns how to live with others. Because
of his impressive conduct, outlook and
approach, he has a better chance in life.
I don't think it's waste sending our
children here. These schools are most
helpful to people like us who, being in
service, are constantly on the move. A
child possibly cannot adapt to these
frequent changes in his environment. It's
in a situation like this that these
schools are of great help for they help
the child to gain confidence in himself.
: Any suggestions for the improvement of
our school ?
: I can't suggest anything. A cursory
glance cannot possibly bring out any
earnest and constructive suggestion. In
the educational field we are doing very
well which I feel is largely due to the
interest of the staff and the pains taken
by the boys. Anyway, we are much better
off than other schools who just produce
results. On the games field we are doing
very well. Personally, I feel, the school
is doing extremely well and I'm proud of
being a Sherwoodian.
: How were your relations with All
: Very good. We even had a mixed college
choir of which I was a member. Socials
were a regular feature-I mean, twice or
thrice a year. Whenever our Principal
approached the Principal of All Saints',
she always declined. So then the College
Captain would go and ask her, and say
"Ma am, this is the last
social" and she would agree !
: What is the general opinion of people
about Sherwood outside the campus ?
: Nearly every one says Doon School is
the best and Lawrence School, Sanawar,
not far behind. In our times Sherwood was
the BEST. The motto was 'School before