Category Archives: School: Kamla High School (Khar)

Sindhis: Kamla High School: Khar

In Sindh:
During the early years of the 20th century, Nirmaldas Gurbaxani would drive a horse-carriage around Hyderabad, Sindh, now in Pakistan, convincing parents to send their daughters to the Nav Kanya Vidyalaya, one of the few schools for women. He would then ferry the girls to school in the horse carriage, and drop them back home after class. After Partition, this was one of the few schools that literally shifted base to India, along with many of its students.
In Mumbai:

The school—which shifted to Mumbai in 1948 and was rechristened Kamla High School after Gurbaxani’s wife—turned 100 this year.
While Kamla died in Sindh, Nirmaldas and his children fled Pakistan in 1947.
“In September (1947), we shifted to Jodhpur, where we stayed for eight months, after which we shifted to Mumbai. By June 1948, my father set up the school in Mumbai,’’ says Chandru Gurbaxani, the fourth son of Nirmaldas, who was the school’s rector at the time.
Chandru was only 13 then. He himself was a student of the school, and passed out in 1950. “In Sindh, it was a girls’ school. It turned co-ed in Mumbai. That’s when I joined the school,’’ said Chandru, now the secretary of the school board.
Also, in the 1950s, the medium of instruction changed from Sindhi to English.
“We still offer Sindhi as an optional subject. And you’ll be surprised at the number of non-Sindhis who opt for the subject, primarily because it’s scoring,’’ says school principal Rekha Jagasia.
Incidentally, she is the grand-daughter of Nirmaldas and Kamla Gurbaxani.

“When my grandfather came to Mumbai, he had no money on him. Mumbai’s Sindhi community contributed a great deal to the school. It was first started out of a rented premise in Khar. It later shifted to its present location,’’ says Jagasia, adding that 80% of the students who studied at the school when it was in Pakistan, relocated to Mumbai and continued to study here.

At the time of the shift, Dadi Sita Samtani, the daughter of a sessions court judge in Sindh, was the school principal.
The school was started in 1909 by Rai Bahadur Pribhdas Advani, who ran a chain of elite boys schools in Hyderabad-Sindh.

This was the first girls’ school that he started, and one of the two schools for girls in Hyderabad, Sindh at the time, says Jagasia. The school runs on the principles of the Brahmo Samaj.