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L.Srikumar Pai
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T.D High School - Cochin-2
BY Mr.A.B.Prabhu
( Courtesy: Venkatavani )

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The Saraswath Community of Cochin has done much for the benefit of its members and the cultural development of this ancient town. But, easily, the most outstanding contribution to the all round well being of the Konkanies and other communities is the T. D. High School, which is one of the premier institutions of its kind in the area. This institution started its long journey as an Anglo Vernacular school in 1887 and made steady progress, devel­oped slowly from stage to stage and within a quar­ter of a Century rose to its zenith.

It was enjoined as one of the responsibilities of the T. D. Temple to cater to the educational and religious needs of its members, even by giving them free boarding and other necessities. Teachers were then employed in imparting instructions in Vedas and Sastras. It was felt that the children should be taught the Local language also. The services of an Aasaan were for this reason utilised. This was the real beginning of the school. It was this Aasaans Sala which was converted into the Anglo Vernacular School. It functioned in the Western Agrasala of the temple. In raising the Vidyasala to the Anglo Vernacular School modelled on similar school at Fort Cochin and Ernakulam, the entire credit goes to Sri. R. S. Hari Shenoy who was the then unequalled leader of the Community and whose munificence did much good to the Temple and the Community. A Committee with Sri. Hari Shenoy as its president was formed, within three years, in 1890, three more classes were opened and in 1894 the school was transferred to a building in Cherlai Bazaar. With the opening of the Third Form the school became a full fledged middle school.

        It was in 1894 that the Temple Authorities decided to make it a regular High School and opened IV Form. Students, both boys and girls and non Hindus were also admitted. Sri. R. S. Hari Shenoy, with his very fertile brain, was able to raise the finances required in the beginning stage.

When the school was raised to a High School progressive stalwarts of the community like, Sri. M. Yogia Pai, Dr. G Apparao and K. Rangappa Shenoy came forward to guid the destiny of the the School. Dr Rao really infused a new spirit. The beginnings of the Laboratory and the Library were made during his stewardship. He appointerd Sri. Rangappa Shenoy, a trained teacher to fill the gap of the teaching staff. Every effort was made to remove the popular prejudice against English Education.

When the School became a regular High School with the the addition of the Sixth Form, Mr Vamana Baliga, a very famous teacher, was made the Head­master. The school became famous, throughout the Cochin State during his stewardship. On reco­mmendation from the Cochin Government, it was recognised as a High School by the Madras University. Mr. Vaman Baliga had to leave the institution as he was appointed as the P. A. to the Principal of the Maharajah's College. He was succeeded by a galaxy of eminent educationists including Sri. K. Narasimha Pai, who later became the principal of the Maharajah's College and Padmanabha Baliga. Sri. Baliga, a strong and tough personality and an able administrator, raised the prestige and reputation of the High School. But his independence and stubbornness led to a misunderstanding between himself and the Adhikaries who withdrew the financial help enjoyed by the school; and the Government withdrew its recognition. However some leaders of the community gathered together and after negotiations decided to get the services of Sri.Vamana Baliga once again. He responded to the call and as a result of his efforts the recognition was obtained again. But due to certain circumstances with which the school was not concerned the temple and the school both were taken by the Government under its direct control. Sri. Vamana Baliga was followed by his brother Achutha Baliga. He was succeeded by several others, of whom mention must be made of Sri. M. Sheshagiri Prabhu, the renowned scholar and grammarian. In 1922 the Government nominated an Advisory Committee for the Temple and its subsidiary institutions, and the management of all these institutions, were transferred to the present committee, of which I have the privilege of being the President and Manager of the School run by it for the past eight years and over.

It will be quite unnecessary to add the names of other brilliant headmasters to the list, for these were well known to all. But one cannot escape mentioning the celebration of the Golden Jubilee, the Diamond Jubilee and the Platinum Jubilee of the School. The school, during this period was transferred to its present premises. The strength of the institution increased to its full capacity. Today it is one of the foremost institutions in the District. An important fact worth mentioning during this time, was the winning of the Third rank in the State by Sri. G. Sadananda Pai. He continued his brilliant career throughout, scoring rank till he completed his M. Sc., and today he is a senior Officer in the Reserve Bank of India.

 It is also to be mentioned that two separate L. P. Schools as well as a Basic Training School are also being run by the Devaswom and as many as 100 and odd teachers are working in all these together.

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