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Governor and Old Cottonian Remembered

Bishop Anand Chandu Lal 1934 – 2022

Today one of our illustrious Old Cottonians and previous Governor of school was honoured with a memorial service in Shimla. Bishop Anand Chandu Lal sadly passed away last December. Headmaster Mr MP John represented BCS at the service along with our boys who sang in the choir – together with Mr Reuben John and Mr Asshur Wilson.

Mr M P John’s Eulogy delivered at the Memorial Service held at Christ Church, Shimla on 19th February, 2023.

Good Afternoon,
I would like to start by thanking Mrs. Vidhupriya Chakravorty for this opportunity. It is an honour to
be asked to speak about Bishop Chandu Lal.
The first time I heard about Bishop Chandu Lal was when I was offered my job at Bishop Cotton School
in early 1994. My father, also a Churchman, spoke glowingly about the Bishop, who was the Chairman
of the School. When I joined, I discovered that he was not only the Chairman, but also an Old Boy.
I remember his laughing welcome, when I actually met him for the first time and found that I had been
placed in his old House. I was privileged to meet him whenever he visited School, and spent many a
post dinner evening at the Lodge, listening to stories about the School and about his childhood.
One particular evening I will never forget, The School was hosting Mr. Bhisham Sahni, the writer, and
both the Bishop and Mr. Sahni shared memories of the Punjab partition with tears in their eyes. The
same evening The Bishop spoke to us of the heartbreak in School after partition, when the boys of the
newly created Pakistan were forced to leave School.
It was in that moment that it was brought home to me what Bishop Sa’ab and his generation had
endured, and it made my respect for him all the greater, that after having suffered through events like
that, he was still such a positive and vibrant personality; a perfect shepherd of his flock.
As I got to know him a little better, I found more and more to admire. His giant intellect, coupled with
and ability to cut right through to the root of any issue or problem quickly and incisively. His ability to
speak fluently and passionately in multiple languages. I remember how proud we were, as a School
when he was selected to speak at the Lambeth Conference, and our regret when he had to retire.
Bishop Chandu Lal loved BCS, even though he was unable to finish from here. He joined the Prep
School in 1943, and developed a close and affectionate relationship with many of the teachers, as well
as Canon Sinker, the then Headmaster, who went on to become Bishop of Nagpur, and who, he met
again many years later, after his own consecration, and who remembered him perfectly.
He got along with most of his classmates who came from varying backgrounds and enjoyed the seven
years that he spent there. They were formative years for him. He refers to them in his memoirs as the
most redeeming years of his childhood and speaks fondly of his friendship with Ruskin Bond, Keki
Nanavati and Napinder Singh. Ruskin Bond was a defender in the Colts football team when the Bishop
was Goalkeeper.
Possibly his biggest influence in School, was Baby Hawkes, the legendary PTI, who taught him how to
box, a sport in which he never lost a bout, while at school, and for which, he was awarded colours by
Lord Mountbatten on Speech Day in 1948. However, he was not only a sportsman, he also sang in the
Choir, both as Soprano and Alto, and was involved in art, going on to win the Senior Art Prize in 1948.
Anu and I had the opportunity in 2020 to reconnect with the Bishop, when we returned to Shimla after
twenty years. I was gratified to be remembered, and that evening, spent with him is one of the
memories I hold close to my heart. Bishop Chandu Lal took the motto of his School to heart; he
touched countless lives and made them better in many different ways.
Everyone who ever knew him will miss him dearly, especially the School.
Mathew P John, Headmaster, Bishop Cotton School, Shimla

Bishop Anand Chandu Lal

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