Speech by Lyonpo Om Pradhan, Chairman, Druk Holdings &
Rector’s Day, St. Joseph’s School, North Point, Darjeeling
Reverend Father Rector Kinley Tshering, thank you for
giving me this honor and privilege. Our coming to North Point
for this reunion and to attend the Sports and Rector’s Day is
because of your kind invitation and encouragement. We thank you
profusely for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended
to us ever since we stepped foot through the Twin Towers.
At the outset, may I convey the warm greetings and good
wishes of His Majesty the King of Bhutan to you, Father, Father
Van, the faculty, students and all those who are gathered here
for this function. His Majesty is very interested in North Point
and would like to strengthen Bhutan’s bonds with this institute.
We are discussing as to how this can be done with Father Kinley.
It is truly overwhelming to be here in North Point after
passing out in 1965 – 45 years ago. And it’s awesome to be with
some of my close friends and classmates coming from all parts of
the globe. Let me also take this opportunity to mention at least
some of them. We have with us today, Dr. Ban-An Khaw, known then
in North Point as Chit Myne Cho and a Depelchen Gold Medal
winner and his wife Sharon. Then we have Tony Lao, known then as
San Tut Thein and his wife Leslie. We must thank San Tut for
keeping the NP flag flying high in the United States. Thank you,
Tony! We also have Kamlesh Jhaveri with us – a great North
Pointer. I have had the good fortune to keep in touch with
Kamlesh, Cho and San Tut throughout most of these years. And
this has been largely due to Fr. Van getting us together in New
York or other parts of the world. He has constantly endeavored
to bring North Pointers together. Fr. Van for us today is an
institution, embodying the spirit of North Point. Thank you
We also have classmates who I had not met till this visit
to Darjeeling. I was thrilled to meet Romesh Thapa and Anil
Pradhan. Also joining us at this get-together, and for us, this
is nothing short of a “historic gathering” is Owen Khoo, another
Depelchin Gold medalist, and members of his family. And we are
meeting so many others, and I’ll have too long a list if I
should attempt to mention them all. But you are in our hearts.
We, who have come here for the reunion after so long, are simply
overjoyed to be with you.
But today we can’t help but miss those who are not here
with us and those who have left this world. We remember and
greatly miss our friends from the 1965 batch on this day.
Coming after four and a half decades, we are overjoyed to
see the tremendous progress that North Point has made under
Father Kinley Tshering. North Point is ranked one of the ten
best schools in India. Including those of us who are here,
whenever we met North Pointers around the world they have been
full of praise for your work, Father Rector. I emphasize this
because there was a time when what we heard about developments
in North Point were not that encouraging. Of course there were
various factors including the turmoil in the hills. But Father
Kinley, after you took charge, North Pointers could once again
lift their hearts to the breeze and the glow. You make us proud
to be North Pointers. Congratulations and thank you, Father!
After all these years I was recalling the principles and
objectives on which the Society of Jesus founded North Point. It
was very clear that the need was to promote the total
development of the individual by striving for excellence at the
level of every student’s potential.
Many countries, companies and above all families of North
Pointers have benefitted from those who have exited through the
Twin Towers. My country, Bhutan, has been especially fortunate.
A North Pointer, our fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singye
Wangchuck bequeathed the country with the unique development
philosophy of Gross National Happiness – now being discussed all
over the world and put into practice in several countries as
well. Relinquishing his own historic role he granted Bhutan’s
democratic Constitution. As you would appreciate, it is rare in
world history to find a leader who consciously plans and
implements a process of democratization without the compulsions
of some revolutionary movement or public demand. Earlier this
year Father Van was in Thimphu to present the “Life-long
Achievement Award” of the North Point Alumni Association to His
Bhutan is lucky to have a most worthy successor – the
present fifth King, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
His Majesty has implemented the Constitution brilliantly with a
lot of fervor and is now renowned as the “people’s King.” I must
also mention here that North Pointers have and still occupy
prominent positions in Bhutanese society, and our great
institution can be proud with their achievements.
I was so glad to learn that the number of Bhutanese
students in St. Joseph’s School has increased and now there are
about eighty of them. I am confident that after passing out of
here they will play important roles in various fields of human
activity – in Bhutan or elsewhere in the world.
The true value of the wholesome education imparted by
North Point can only be fully appreciated once one goes out into
the world – to your respective countries, to other countries, to
live and to work. Let me briefly share with you the qualities
that I have noticed that distinguishes North Pointers and puts
them above the others:
North Pointers have a well-rounded education, in
academics, sports, and extra-curricular activities. (Yesterday
we witnessed the opera performed by North Pointers, and the
caliber was indeed very impressive.) Their English language is
normally of a high caliber and internationally acceptable.
English is still the dominant international language and its
knowledge helps! I was taught by the impeccable Frank Matthews
and Jack Vaz, and Fr. Van who encouraged us to read and discover
challenging texts and vocabulary, and maths and physics by
Maurice Banerjee. It’s really wonderful to remember them today.
North Pointers very easily adapt to multiple cultural and
social environments. This is obviously due to having such an
environment here in North Point. NP has had students from all
over the world and I hope this approach is given further
emphasis. This will make a big difference to the attitude and
approach of those who pass out from here.
North Pointers have a high degree of integrity in
whatever field of human activity they may be in. For instance I
truly value the Moral Science classes, which now I believe is
referred to as value education, given during my time by dear Fr.
Bauwens. I really miss him! The tolerant and secular atmosphere
created by the Jesuits is highly praiseworthy.
North Pointers always lend a helping hand to a faltering
brother, and we have seen this time and again.
There are many other good qualities of a North Pointer
and I need not continue mentioning them here. The North Point
website in fact says it all by recalling the values promoted by
St. Ignatius of Loyola. It states that every graduate of North
Point is to become an agent of change respecting all cultures,
languages and religions and above all recognizing the unique
image and likeness of the Creator in every individual. His task
is to love and serve his neighbor at all times by upholding the
dignity of all and in particular the needy. By committing
himself to the service of faith and promotion of justice, he is
to lift up his heart, live and work for a just society where
every individual will be fully alive, living an upright and
Hence, those of you passing out can go out into the world
and be assured that North Point will have equipped you with the
foundation to face the world and to make a great success of your
lives. You are now our future. It is all up to you to keep our
flag flying high.
And, finally on this Rector’s Day, Father Kinley, may I
warmly congratulate you and wish you the greatest successes in
your laudable work!