Iconic Dehradun’s Gorkha School fights for survival

  • | Saturday | 16th January, 2021

Gorkha Military Inter College (GMIC), a city-based school that has produced many international footballers is fighting for survival after getting notice to evict land on which the institution has been operating for almost a century.

Gorkha Military Inter College (GMIC), a city-based school that has produced many international footballers is fighting for survival after getting notice to evict land on which the institution has been operating for almost a century.

GMIC has produced iconic footbalers like Shyam Thapa and Amar Bahadur Gurung, Olympians like Padam Bahadur Mall ( who won the first-ever Asian Games gold medal for India in boxing) and Army officers like Shaheed Major Durga Mall, the first Gorkha soldier in Indian National Army (INA) to lay down his life for the independence movement. 

Started in 1925 by the British Indian Army for children of Gorkha officers and men, the school was given land on a 90-year-long lease by the defence estate department. The lease expired in 2017 and now, the school is being demanded a hefty monthly fee of almost Rs 8 lakh which they say is impossible to pay since it has just 180-odd students and charges a nominal Rs 45 per month from them (the fees is only for boys; girls are taught free). “GMIC is a heritage institution with a glorious past that needs to be cherished and conserved. It has for long been regarded as a cradle of footballers and remains the only school from Uttarakhand to win Subroto Cup twice -- in 1964 and 1965,” said Bom Prasad Thapa, an ex-student and a retired Armyman. 

Thapa, who was a member of the school’s football team which participated in the Subroto Cup in 1970s, added, “The 3 Gorkha Training Centres which were earlier in Dehradun and whose personnel’s children formed the maximum number of students of the school were shifted to different parts of the country in 1977 and with that, a large chunk of the school’s students also moved out of Dehradun. This started the gradual decline of the school and it became difficult to maintain the glorious football heritage of the school.”

Currently, the school has a private management body. “The salary of the staff members is paid by the state government but rest of the expenses, including expenditure on students’ food, uniforms, infrastructure and other running expenses has to be managed by the school on its own,” said GMIC principal Jyoti Prakash Jaguri, adding that they are somehow managing through donations from ex-students and well-wishers.

“Despite being a Gorkha school, we admit students from every community and have a very inclusive atmosphere. Currently, most of our students are from poor financial backgrounds,” said Jaguri, who has been with the school since 1983 and serving as principal since 2016.4.

He added that being a not-for-profit school, they can’t afford to pay the monthly fee of Rs 8 lakh that is being asked by the defence estate department. An eviction notice has been issued to the school in May last year. “Currently, the matter is in the courts, therefore, we can stay here only till the court’s final judgement. We have requested that the amount that we are paying — Rs 180 per month — may be doubled as per the Public Property Act and we are allowed to continue in the premises, otherwise, the country will lose a school of historical importance,” said Jaguri.



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