Sastri’s Birth Anniversary To Be Marked As Founder’s Day At School He Established In S Africa

Johannesburg, Sep 23: The birth anniversary of Srinivasa Sastri, India’s first international diplomat, is to be marked annually as Founder’s Day at the school that he initiated during his tenure as India’s Agent General in Durban from 1927 to 1929. Sastri came to South Africa soon after Gandhi returned to India after his stay in the country.

Sastri became immensely popular among the local Indian community for supporting the efforts started by Gandhi to change discriminatory practices of the government at that time. Sastri started a fundraising project among the local Indian community to establish Sastri College, the iconic educational institution, but had returned to India by the time it was officially opened in 1930.

Sastri College is an embodiment of the great vision of V.S. Srinivasa Sastri, who led the efforts to build a school for the South African Indian community. He believed that education had transformative power to emancipate disadvantaged communities, Consul General for India Anish Rajan said at an event held at the school on Thursday. The school decided that September 22 each year would be marked as Founder’s Day at the school, said Principal Santosh Rajcoomar.

Thanking the school for this decision, Rajan said that it was important to celebrate the life and legacy of Sastri as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations on the the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence as well as South Africa’s Heritage Day, which is celebrated on September 24 each year as a public holiday. It is heartening to see Sastri College emerge as a highly successful multi-cultural school, a truly rainbow school embracing all the communities in the rainbow city of Durban, providing quality education to both boys and girls, Rajan said.

Sastri College was a boys-only school and teacher training institution since its inception in 1930 until it was forcibly closed by the apartheid-era government in 1979 to become an annexe to the neighbouring ML Sultan Technikon, despite huge protests by the Indian community. With the changed political situation after the release of Nelson Mandela following 27 years as a political prisoner on Robben Island, the school was reopened in 1993, welcoming both boy and girl learners from all communities.

Considering the inspirational story of its founding and its life over nine decades, Sastri College must continue to evolve to always remain an important educational institution in Durban, helping in the transformation of education and moulding of youth as part of a changing world and for equipping the youth to competently address the newer challenges constantly emerging on our global landscape, Rajan said. Sastriji was India’s first international diplomat and perhaps the most famous Indian citizen in South Africa after Mahatma Gandhi. He made a significant contribution to protect the interests of the Indian diaspora in former settler colonies in the early part of the 20th century, Rajan added.

Rajan handed over a collection of books for the school library, pledging to strengthen ties between Sastri College and secondary schools in India through the Consulate in Durban.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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