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Topic : "The School in the Himalayas" 
By : Dr Robin Mitra ( robin.mitra@artsci.monash.edu.my )
At : 1/6/2007 2:49 
Description : I wanted to read this book for a long time. I was wondering if anyone out there could provide me with some information on this book like the publisher

With thanks in advance

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1 MH inspired? Walsa ( walsa_2@hotmail.com )
hi Robin
This book is actually a children's book - a bit like those Enid Blyton adventure stories, but with a bit of Christianity thrown in. The main thing is that it is set in Darjeeling in a school that sounds a lot like Mount Hermon, even though it is a boys school called St Johns. I'll give you some examples:

The school is built on a promontory of a mountain just below Darjeeling with beautiful vistas of Kanchenjunga in front of it. The kitchens are down in the basement on the south side of the building, the Assembly Hall is above it, & students line up outside it to go in to meals,
There are Saturday movies in the Assembly Hall and morning prayers on Saturday tend to be longer than on other days because the orchestra and a few piano students often give performances
Saturday afternoons the Senior boys are allowed to go into DArjeeling town which is a long walk away, or you can catch a rickety bus that will take you to lower Darjeeling town (she probably just changed taxi to bus)
During some landslide they joined boys from the Catholic boys school (St Joseph's??) to clear the road between there and the town
The ropeway is visible from the school and you have to go up the cartroad which leads to the main road and then turn left to get to the godown from where the ropeway begins
The estate has lots of cottages on it
There is a quadrangle in the school from where sounds can be heard in the 'San' which is the term they used for the Infirmary and they are looked after by a 'Sister'.......
and the similarities just go on and on!!

Wouldn't you agree with me that it sounds a lot like the book was inspired by MHS?

10/6/2007 21:15
2 MH - inspired ? Certainly is. Dr Robin Mitra ( robin.mitra@artsci.monash.edu.my )
Hi Walsa

Some of the examples that you have provided seem to coincide with that of Mount Hermon School especially the ropeway being visible from the school, the kitchens being located on the south side of the building with the Assembly Hall above it and the location of the school being at a distance (a long walk away) from the Darjeeling town. I was curious about the book because the only book that I am acquainted with, where the name of the School has been clearly mentioned is “The Daughter of Tibet” the autobiography of Rinchen Dolma Taring. Rinchen Dolma was a daughter of a ‘shap-pe’ (councillor), a member of the ‘Kashag’ or the council of Tibet and attended Mount Hermon School around 1922. The school was run by the American Methodists and was restricted mostly to boarders. Rinchen Dolma went on to marry the Tsarong and later with Tsarong’s consent married Jigme, the eldest son of Taring Raja of Sikkim. Certain Saturday afternoons when the senior students were allowed an ‘outing’ into Darjeeling town sounds familiar too. Of course the mention of a ‘rickety bus’ does not fit in but there would be rows of taxis waiting outside Bari’s (Granny’s ?) café at North Point to take people into Darjeeling town. I wonder if the book goes on to mention the sinister looking red and yellow building known as the ‘haunted house’ that stood on a hill beyond St. Joseph’s School on the way to the Lebong Race course. Many a strange and eerie stories were circulated among the locals about the house. If I recall well we could view the Lebong Race course (and the haunted house ?) from the play-field in front of the Steward building. Walsa, from the examples that you have provided the evidence is clear that the book has been inspired by MHS. I fervently wish that I would be able to find the book someday and go through the pages to revive memories from an almost forgotten past – the good old days at MH. I left Mount Hermon School about thirty years ago – destiny tossed me downunder and then flung me to the Far East but I never forgot the school nor the kindness of her teachers.


12/6/2007 6:1
3 second hand copies walsa ( walsa_2@hotmail.com )
Robin, I have been told by James Sinclair that there are some second hand copies of the book at Amazon!! If you hurry, you may be able to get a copy!!

Good luck!
13/6/2007 10:13
4 Thanks Dr Robin Mitra ( robin.mitra@artsci.monash.edu.my )
Thanks Walsa for the information.

14/6/2007 1:6
5 School in the Himalayas James Sinclair ( jimsin12@aol.com )
I have just added a new Books page to my OMHSA website (you have a link to OMHSA from Hermonites). I have added Elizabeth Pritchard's book A School in the Himalayas to the list. I have an old copy of the book, and there are a few second-hand copies still available with Amazon. There are links to the Amazon website from my page. Quite a few Hermonites have written books, as you will see from the my website. 1/11/2013 17:53

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