The Delhi Tamil Education Association (DTEA) Schools have just celebrated their centenary with a landmark event in Bengaluru called Felibrate. Celebrations included performances by teachers and alumni, such as Ramani Bharadwaj, the Tamil music producer known for his work in films like Autograph and Vasool Raja MMBS. Guests were able to experience a Bharanatyam performance by the alumna and teacher, Rajeshwari Ramana, who is in her sixties.
Padmavathy Bandopadhyay, another DTEA alumn, made history when she became the first female air marshall and was honoured with the Padma Shri. Other prominent alumni include tennis player Ramanathan Krishnan, Bhratanatyam expert C V Chandrashekar, film star and MP Hema Malini, Carnatic vocalist O S Arun, violinist duo Ganesh-Kumaresh and V Rajaraman, known as the father of computer science in India.
The school was established in 1923 by Rao Bahadur Gopala Iyer with just one teacher and one student. As word spread of Tamil classes held in his home, many Tamil families began sending their children for tuition. Recognizing the need for expansion, Rao asked for support, leading to the formation of the Madrasi Education Association in the 1930s. The school grew in numbers and locations. Although initially Tamil was the medium of education, it later changed to English as the primary language.
K Ganesh, who is an alumnus, serial entrepreneur and a promoter of BigBasket, Portea Medical, BlueStone and HomeLane recounts his time in the school. He was nine when his father died in a tragic scooter accident and remembers that the low school fees of 22 paise a month made it possible for him to continue his studies.
R Sri Kumar, former director general of police, Karnataka, spoke fondly of his 11 years in the school, admitting that the faculty often went out of their way to support their students.
Rajni Venkatesh, former women’s national cricketer, credits DTEA for giving her the opportunity to pursue her interests, despite having to miss many classes.
This event is amongst the many being held across the country to commemorate the 100th year of DTEA’s existence, providing memorable experiences and nurturing its alumni’s career paths.