Before 1947, the old Auditorium belonged to the C .N. R Club, Chota Nagpur Railway Club.
Jesuit Fathers landed in Jamshedpur from Maryland Province of the U S A in about 1947. They acquired this auditorium and some scattered rooms near it from them, and started the school. They named it as Loyola School in honour of their favoured saint, St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Rev. Fr. E. H. Dineen S. J. mentioned to me about how Jamshedpur became the chosen city for them to start a school. “Jesuits in Maryland wanted to establish a school outside the U S A. They picked up the letter “J” standing for “Jesuits” and considered two places for that purpose: Jamshedpur or Japan. They tossed a coin and Jamshedpur won it!” I do not think Fr. Dineen was joking about this tossing of the coin episode.
This superb and distinctive auditorium became a sacred seat of Learning. It had a sprawling space inside, with a gallery of fixed seats at the back like in a movie theatre, a regular movie projector room at the back from which Hollywood movies such as, Roman Holiday, Quo Vadis, Million Pound Note, etc. were shown on Friday nights for the Jesuits and the Faculty.
On Saturday mornings the movies were screened for the students. The Friday shows were previews to edit unwanted scenes. The projector was operated by Mr. Rosario, who also worked in Regal Talkies for the same job. The corrugated sheaths of linen on the ceiling of the auditorium offered a fantastic and pleasing acoustic sensation to the ears. Till the end of 1953, classes were conducted inside the auditorium, rooms and believe me, in a School Bus also, which was out of use. Latin classes were held in the School Bus under the care of Rev. Fr. Lane Smith S. J.
Rev. Fr. Simon Kirsch S. J. had his Physics cum Chemistry Laboratory in a room which was behind the Stage and movie screen of the auditorium. In later years it was used as the Green Room for functions like Prize Nites, Glimpses of India plays, etc. Mr. A. L. N. Rao, the First Registrar of Loyola, had his office quite adjacent to Fr. Kirsch’s Laboratory. Behind his office room, there were shower rooms and rest rooms for the use of the students and hostel boys.
A room outside the auditorium, close to the present day Basket ball court, was the Scout den. Another room was the Band Room. Rev. Fr. Dawson was in charge of the School Band. Sports equipment was kept in a small room inside the auditorium and was under the supervision of Rev. Fr. Keough S. J. Some Hostel boys stayed in a couple rooms near the Scout den.
A stately Jamun Tree stood gracefully near these rooms. The School Assembly took place every morning in front of the auditorium with the addressing Principal facing the vast C N R Ground. The venue was shifted later on to the present day location in mid 1955. A part of this ground near the Beldih Club was designated as The Beldih Ground and happened to be the venue for many Loyola Sports Days in the past. It takes your weird imagination to reconstruct this scenario!
Construction of the “Two Storied” main building of the super school in the vast land outside this auditorium was going on during the years 1952-53. The Principal’s and Registrar’s office moved to the New Building in about August 1953. By then, the Principal, Rev. Fr. James McGinley S. J. left Loyola and Rev. Fr. George Hess S. J. became the Principal. The School moved to this new building in January 1954, the year I joined Loyola. The Academic session began in January and ended in December, following the pattern of the Calendar year. The number of students in a class did not exceed 30! Mr. A. L. N. Rao’s unique invention of “The Jug” kept a high standard of school and classroom discipline. Everyday, the students who were involved in the breach of discipline were kept in a classroom for about 40 minutes after school hours under the supervision of a teacher, during which time they were allowed to do their productive work or prepare for their next day’s classes. However, when the breach was severe or occurred more often, they were deprived of seeing the Saturday, movie for at least an hour and kept under the supervision of a teacher during which time they were made to study some subject in which they needed special attention, etc. Nobody liked to miss the movies. So, very few students met with this kind of treatment. Mr. Albert Burrows or other teachers perfected the movie shows and did not admit the boys who were involved in the Jug classes until they received a chit from Mr. Rao.
Rev. Fr. Fasy S. J., a stout and dynamic person, was the Rector of Loyola School till about 1955. He left for the States and never returned. Rev. Fr. Holland S. J. succeeded him as the Rector. Fr. Fasy was a great orator and equipped with quick wit. He signed my contract and appointment papers with Loyola as its Rector, after Rev. Fr. George Hess S. J. appointed me for teaching position in January 1954.
The old C. N. R. club auditorium was demolished in c 1984. A new one stood in its place. It was rightly named as The Fasy Auditorium in the pioneer’s honour. Indeed, Fr. Fasy was one of the greatest Jesuits of Loyola School. I guess the credit for naming it should be given to Rev. Fr. Rocky Vaz, Rector – Principal in 1984. Fr. Vaz was a Loyola student at the time when Fr. Fasy was the Rector. The construction of the Fasy auditorium was done under the strict supervision of Rev. Fr. Norman. All the old buildings, which I mentioned in this article, became non-existent and melted away with Time. New order replaces the old one!
Every great organization starts with a humble beginning!
God Bless Loyola!
Mr. Arun and Mrs Devi now live in Sacramento, California. They are always happy to hear from old boys. Contact them.