‘It’s a wonder to recall and record events of your school days, because it leaves behind a legacy of shared experiences and informative history for future generations,’ writes Menin Rodriques in the book he has published about his school days at St. Patrick’s Primary and High School, Karachi.
The institution was founded in 1861 by the Jesuits and is the second-oldest school in the city. Over its 150 history, the prestigious organization has become known for providing a solid education. It has produced many successful alumni including at the very top of a lengthy list, two Presidents and two Prime Ministers of Pakistan, one Deputy Prime Minister of neighboring India, two Chief Ministers of Sindh Province, two Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, and several Mayors of the City of Karachi. Today about 8,000 students are enrolled across the Junior and Senior sections, the Technical School, and the College. The latter is associated with the University of Karachi.
Menin’s book is a lively collection of memories, tributes, records, reprint articles, and photos. It covers his 10-years as a student and his life long association with the institution. The book includes a small hall of fame of notable students, a list of the school principals and long serving teachers, and a number of chapters covering the school’s history.
A notable chapter in the memoir is titled, ‘How the Worst was Won’. It is Menin’s insider’s look at the high-stakes and tumultuous process of denationalizing St. Patrick’s College, St Joseph’s College for Women, and the shifting of St Lawrence’s Intermediate College. Menin was instrumental in coordinating the effort.
In 1972 the higher education institutions in Pakistan were nationalized under a government lead socialist development program. The idea was to improve growth. However in practice, the move damaged world investor confidence and had disastrous effects on the country’s economy. During the 33 years of nationalization, the standard of higher education in the Colleges dropped notably.
In all, the effort took a stalwart team of Archdiocese volunteers six years of focused communication to cultivate of the cooperation of some of the highest-ranking politicians and bureaucrats the Sind (Provincial) Government, but finally, in 2005, the colleges and importantly, their land, were transferred and returned back to be administered by the Catholic Board of Education, under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church in Pakistan.
Menin’s book also outlines his involvement in restarting St. Patrick’s Alumni Association. The organization was dormant for many years. The new group, called ‘The Old Patricians’ (TOPS), has grown to have a registered list of about 10,000 former students. The Alumni now have ad hoc chapters in many large cities across the world.
No one has yet calculated the full influence of the teachers, administrators and supporters of this great education institution. But to be sure, St. Patrick’s Karachi Alumni have been instrumental in the positive development of the country of Pakistan and their influence through their work is now been seen across the world.
A good read — a layered collection of memories that will hopefully stimulate the future work of Patricians who have now settled in Canada.
St. Patrick’s Faculty 1953 from https://stpatskarachi.files.wordpress.com blog located at: https://stpatskarachi.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/facultystpats1953taggedfinalnov282014.jpg
The Glorious Traditions of St Patrick’s
Author: Menin Rodriques
Format: Trade paperback. 200 pages. (c) 2019
Publisher: Shamrock Communications Private Limited, Pakistan
Signed copies now available in Canada.
CONTACT: Goa Culture List using the Product Information Request Form.