Fifty years ago, the Sisters of the Order of St Joseph of Tarbes, set up a women’s college in Coonoor. This college, Providence College for Women, has since been in the forefront of women’s higher education in the Nilgiris.
|photo: Samantha Iyanna|
Many girls, especially from backward and tribal communities were able to get themselves a college education and thereby spread the light of learning into their houses, villages and their communities at large. A great majority of the students who have passed through this college come from economically weaker sections of society.
Over the years, the college has grown from strength to strength and today offers many more disciplines than it did when I was a student there in the mid 1970s. The college also offers PhD programmes in many disciplines.
Today, the college has not just grown it has changed in so many ways. The students have uniforms on certain days, they wear blazers and of course there are many more buildings. The ethereal charm of Provy of the old days is no longer there. Today it is bustling and very alive.
I was fortunate to attend the final day of the four-day celebrations which marked the beginning of the Golden Jubilee year. As soon as Samantha Iyanna informed me about the Golden Jubilee celebrations I thought of Dr Susan Punnen Grandy as a chief guest; after all she was our very own success story. Though Susan did just one year of Pre University in Provy before she left for higher studies in the US, we would like to think that Susan is, at heart, a Coonoor girl. Imagine my surprise when Susan told me that she would definitely come to Coonoor and participate in the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Susan, incidentally, is a corporate honcho and a high flying one at that. She is a Director with one of the world’s pharma giants. She travels the world on business and is very much a world citizen.
Most of the girls who passed out of Provy did not become hot shot corporate honchos or influential bureaucrats, though we have our share of those too. The majority of old students became teachers, bankers and lawyers, balancing their lives as wives, mothers and daughters.
This blog is to celebrate their lives as they relive old memories and talk about their lives, their joys and sorrows.