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Hassan Abdal Cadet College founder to be remembered

NEW DELHI, May 11(Daily Times): Sahibzada Alamzeb, 91, of Pakistan is due to travel to India with his two daughters later this month to participate in the centenary celebrations of legendary British teacher Hugh Catchpole, who had the rare distinction of heading military colleges in both India and Pakistan.

Mr Alamzeb is among a delegation of 125 foreigners arriving in the Indian city of Dehra Dun to take part in the celebrations. The centenary celebrations due to be held on May 26 at the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) at Dehra Dun will honour Catchpole, the last British principal of the college who was among the two British masters who stayed back after independence and went on to later set up and head the Cadet College at Hasan Abdal in Pakistan on the lines of the RIMC.

For Mr Alamzeb, it is a dream come true as his attempts in the past to visit his alma mater had been unsuccessful and he sees the opportunity at last coming at this ripe age. Indian and Pakistani governments are bringing out special postal covers and stamps on May 26 in memory of Catchpole. Catchpole died in Pakistan on February 1, 1997 and was buried, as per his last wish, at the military school he founded at Hasan Abdal.

His students of RIMC, the Rimcollians, are converging at Dehra Dun from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UK, United States and Middle East to join his centenary celebrations that include unveiling of his marble bust at the RIMC and release of a coffee table book, a joint Indo-Pak production, on him by Indian Defence Minister AK Anthony,

RIMC cadets and Rimcollians from India
will cross the border on June 10 to join similar celebrations in Pakistan. PTV is airing a special feature on Catchpole on May 26.

The celebrations at the RIMC on May 26 with the Indian defence minister as the chief guest will have one of the illustrious students of Catchpole, Lt Gen (r) MM Lakhera, governor of Mizoram, preside over the functions. The event is hailed as an unprecedented example of enhancing people to people contacts between the two countries

According to the Indian Defence Ministry, which is coordinating the celebrations, the functions on May 26 are the second phase of the celebrations as the first phase was conducted in February this year when 35 boys and masters from Pakistani schools came and participated in an inter school cricket tournament at the RIMC, for which a silver cup has been instituted by the Indian chief of the army staff.

Born in 1907 in Ipswich (England), Hugh Catchpole joined the RIMC at Dehra Dun in 1928 as an assistant master and rose to become the principal in 1947 and continued until his contract was over in 1954 when his Rimcollian students in Pakistan persuaded him to shift to Pakistan and establish the RIMC-styled Cadet College at Hasan Abdal. Thereafter, he went on to head the PAF Public School at Sargodha from where he retired at the age of 60 and spent the next 30 years teaching English at Abbottabad Public School.

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