January 6 – IN UTTAR PRADESH
IN UTTAR PRADESH
During their first fifty years in India, the Brothers’ works developed in the Sotith and then in the Centre. It was in 1955 that they took charge of their first two schools in the north, very far away from the first schools. One was at Sardhana, in Uttar Pradesh, about one hundred kilometres from Delhi, and the other was at Noatoli, South Bihar (See 21 June).
At Sardhana, in 1887, the Bishop of Agra bought the palace that Begum Sumru had built in the 18th century, and he installed there a school and an orphanage. His successor, Mgi Vanni, desirous of entrusting the same to a Congregation, wrote .to Br. Eleazar, Provincial. The latter accepted the proposal for three reasons: it would be the first foundation in the north, it was meant for orphans, and it was close to the capital of the Indian Union, namely Delhi. The Brothers had a very difficult time there in the first years but they stood firm. Today St Charles School has a thousand pupils including a hundred poor boarders who are given everything free of charge.
The opening of the first school in the largest State of India was followed by two others: in 1959, in the Mahanagar residential quarters of the capital, Lucknow, and in 1962, at Roorkee, garrison town for the Bengal sappers. Very often the Brothers Provincial are solicited by religious authorities. Here the civil authorities (at Lucknow) and the military (at Roorkee) gave the Brothers two brand new schools. They were not meant to train Catholic pupils – in north India Christians are very few – but to give education to all.
In the Delhi area (which is an enclave within Uttar Pradesh), Montfort School was opened in 1970 in the Ashok Vihar district. After the Province of Delhi was created in 1989, it also served as Provincial House for several years; the Provincial now resides at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
In 1998, the juniorate of Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) was transferred to Sardhana