Public school boys in India

5th August 2011 at 01:00
14 April 1934 - A group of students is enlightened by a trip to one of the 'great countries of the Empire'

The party of 20 public school boys which left England last December for a tour in Northern India, arranged by the School Empire Committee, returned last week, arriving at Tilbury from Bombay on the PO liner Kaiser-i-Hind. The boys spent two months in India, and the tour was described as highly successful.

Mr HCA Gaunt, an assistant master at Rugby School, who was in charge of the party, said: "We feel that we have seen one of the great countries of the Empire, and that our experiences will bear fruit in the coming years, when we are discussing and learning more about India.

"We shall be able to think of India with perhaps less prejudice and a little more knowledge than the man that has not been to India, and we realise, too, the enormous amount there is to learn about the country."

Describing the tour, Mr Gaunt said that the party went from Bombay to Hyderabad, and they were entertained as state guests. They saw the cave temples of Ellora and Ajanta, and next went to Calcutta and to Darjeeling, where they had a view of Kanchenjunga and Everest at sunrise - "in some ways," Mr Gaunt added, "the most wonderful thing we saw".

Benares and Lucknow were visited, and afterwards, at Agra, members of the party played a hockey match against the Indian boys at St John's College. From Agar the tour was continued to Jaipur, where a state procession was arranged for the visitors. At Ajmer they enjoyed the hospitality of the sons of chiefs at Mayo College, and on reaching Delhi they enjoyed a dinner party arranged by the Viceroy. Both Lord and Lady Willingdon had talks with the boys.

During their stay at Delhi the members of the party had officials in the Government among their hosts, and something was learnt of the machinery of government in India. Lahore and Peshawar were visited and the boys returned to Bombay via Rawalpindi.

The members of the party, on landing at Tilbury, were met by Miss Margaret Best, hon. secretary of the School Empire Tour Committee. They were welcomed by parents and friends, who assembled at the landing stage and at St Pancras station, to which the boys travelled by special train.

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