Monday, September 24, 2018

google plus
Weekly Pullouts » Haryana Tribune

Posted at: May 12, 2018, 12:50 AM; last updated: May 12, 2018, 12:50 AM (IST)

From ceremonial place to a gateway to NDA

Sainik School, Kunjpura, came into being in 1961. Its main building was built by Nawab Mohammad Ibrahim Ali Khan for daughter’s marriage in 1900

Parveen Arora

Sainik School at Kunjpura in Karnal is famous as a gateway to the National Defence Academy (NDA). It has sent the maximum number of cadets to the NDA and clinched the Raksha Mantri Trophy nine times. It has a long splendid past.

The last Nawab of Kunjpura, Mohammad Ibrahim Ali Khan, had built the main building of the school in 1900 for the marriage party of his daughter. After the last Nawab migrated to Pakistan, the property was used as an educational institute for the children of Punjab police officers between 1948 and 1958. Later, its possession was handed over to the Union Defence Ministry. Here, classes were conducted till 2008 before the NDA block was constructed. It now houses a library and an academic office.

This building had unique architecture—it had 365 doors and windows that reflected the number of days in a year. However, some of the doors and windows were closed with the passage of time. The building has four corridors meeting at a point, representing the four seasons of the year.

The heritage building is full of ventilation and natural light, as several outlets were left in the roof. Around 35-inch broad walls speak about the rich architecture of that era.

Elders say Karnal was a city of Nawabs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Nawab Najabat Khan founded Kunjpura village in 1729 as a transit point for those who travelled from Afghanistan to Delhi. In 1739, Nadir Shah granted chiefdom as Nawab of Kunjpura to an Afghan traveller, Najabat Khan.

They say the last Nawab of Kunjpura had a majestic castle in the village. He had got constructed a tunnel from the castle to the present day Sainik School building situated around 1 km  away. Till Independence, he used to hold court in the school building.

Now, only the remains of that majestic castle are visible in the village. With the passage of time, the land of the castle was used for building residences for people. Some walls and wooden gates still available display the skill of the masons and carpenters of those times.

Draupati Devi (72) recalls that when she came to live in the village, the castle was very big and people used to come here to have a glimpse of it. But as the time passed, it has converted into ruins. “Now, only its walls and doors are left to showcase the past,” she says.

Shashi Bhushan Mehta, block samiti member, remembers it as a stupendous castle that has been reduced to a shambles due to lack of maintenance. “The district administration or Archaeological Department should have maintained and preserved it,” he says. 

Another Kunjpura resident Bansi Lal Mehta (66) says his parents had told him that the last Nawab had got constructed a tunnel from his castle to the present Sainik School. “I have not seen that tunnel,” he adds.

“Sainik School, Kunjpura, was among the first five schools of the country. VK Krishna Menon, the then Union Defence Minister, inaugurated it on July 24, 1961,” says Col VD Chandola, Principal of the school.

“It is a nursery for prospective defence officers, as it has sent more than 800 cadets to the NDA. Our institute has received the Rasksha Mantri Trophy nine times, which is an honour,” says Col Chandola.

“Several alumni of the school are in defence and civil services. We are proud of them. Former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, Air Marshal PS Bhangu (retd.), Lieut. Gen. DDS Sandhu and two-time Chief Minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda are among the alumni of the school,” he says with a twinkle in his eyes.

“It is an English medium residential school functioning under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Defence. Its aim is to nurture budding defence officers with focus on their overall personality development and to prepare them for the NDA,” says Lt Col Astha Kotnala, Vice-Principal of the school. 

The cadets of the school, which is spread over around 276 acres, are known as “Kunjeans”. The school grabbed the headlines when a record 25 cadets qualified for the NDA in 1981, 13 in 2006, 22 in 2008, 23 in 2016 and 21 cadets in 2017. The school has a new academic block named the NDA block, a mess for cadets, an auditorium, Simeon Squash Court, a gymnasium, a riding school, a swimming pool, athletics and sports fields, a hospital and residential areas for the staff and boys. The school also has a synthetic tennis court, besides basketball, volleyball, football and hockey courts and grounds. The training of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) is compulsory for all boys of the school (from Class VI to XI). An artificial wall for training in mountain climbing is also available here. A number of students have already climbed various mountain peaks.


All readers are invited to post comments responsibly. Any messages with foul language or inciting hatred will be deleted. Comments with all capital letters will also be deleted. Readers are encouraged to flag the comments they feel are inappropriate.
The views expressed in the Comments section are of the individuals writing the post. The Tribune does not endorse or support the views in these posts in any manner.
Share On