Educationist And Philanthrophist Mr.C.R. Gasper (1942–2012)
The dream of Mrs.E.Gasper to have a school catering to all communities but especially to her community i.e. the Anglo-Indian community, was brought to life by her husband, Mr.C.R.Gasper who founded and pioneered to build St. Augustine's Day School. A humble beginning at 43 Ripon Street in 1970 which shortly shifted to 47B, Ripon Street and later to a self owned building at 40A, A.J.C. Bose Road. He also runs out with 2 more schools in Shyamnagar in 1975 and Barrackpore in 1985 (North 24 Parganas). The journey was not an easy one, every hill seemed higher to climb. It was the thought of the reward in shape of smart, confident youngsters who would reshape the destiny of their nation that drove him. Courage, faith, endurance, determination and above all vision helped Mr. C.R. Gasper to surmount all obstacles and make the dreams a reality.
A man who touched the hearts of many
His contribution to the society did not start and end with St. Augustine's Day School. He aided in the establishment of a Bengali medium school in Canning in South 24 Parganas, West Bengal in 1990. The plight of the poor children of Narendrapur in Orissa, touched him so much that he established a free Oriya Medium school there in 1994. Later, this school was named as 'Robert High School' and he was the patron. Mr. Gasper was associated and held positions of President and Treasurer of the Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools, West Bengal, and Member of the State Board of Anglo-Indian Education, West Bengal. He acted as President and Chairman of the Managing Committees of different schools in the city. He served as the Convenor of the ISC Examination ( Kolkata Centre) for over 10 years and member of The Education Core Group of the Catholic Schools, Kolkata.
Mr.Gasper, is largely known to the society as a social worker, who touched the hearts of several old and needy through his association with Seva Kendra, Kolkata, Catholic Cathedral, Christian Social Service, West Bengal, Herald, Catholic Association of Bengal, Relief Camp, The St. Joseph's Old Aged Home and Red Cross. He represented the Christian Community of West Bengal at a Conference in New Delhi.
He pioneered the Inter-Catholic Football Tournament for Catholic Schools in Kolkata as he was a Sports Lover and played Cricket, Football, Hockey and Badminton for his college.
Perfection was his middle name.
Mr. Gasper was a strict disciplinarian and stickler for rules and regulations driving discipline across his schools. He was a magician of space management and transformed even the smallest space available into a place of utility.
He was a skilled orator, a people's person with organization skills par excellence. He was a great planner and meticulously got into every detail of his plans. He used his talent for the society at large volunteering multiple times for the Church and other institutions. He successfully organized or co-ordinated, 3 days Centenary Celebrations of the Archdiocese of Kolkata in 1986, Visit of His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1986. Three-day Catholic Hospital Conference in India, 1987. International Year of the Family, 1993 as well as the Funeral Service of Mother Teresa, 1997 among many other events.
A voracious reader on different subjects, his knowledge on education was par excellence. It was for his in-depth knowledge coupled with his degree in law for which Principals of schools who were in distress would fall back on the stalwart educationist for advise, suggestion and help, and he never said no. He was a prolific teacher, and students thoroughly enjoyed his classes which were packed with real life examples. He was a father figure to his staff and he rose to the occasion whenever they needed his support and help.
Despite his extremely busy schedule he never said no even to organizing little events like picnics and parties for his friends and the people who worked with him and who in turn loved him dearly. A food connoisseur, he derived satisfaction from cooking and feeding people either in the privacy of his home or in large gatherings. Always the live wire in any gathering he innovatively designed games to challenge others and make each get-together a fun event to remember. He did all of this with passion and perfection.
Awards And Achievements
In the year 2004, Mr. Gasper received Rashtriya Rattan Award at New Delhi, instituted in memory of Late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for his contribution in the field of Education.
At the TTIS Telegraph School Award for Excellence, he received an award for the "Founder Principal of the Year, 2003".
In the year 2007 Mr. Gasper received the Mother Teresa Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Mother Teresa International & Millennium Awards Committee.
He was also felicitated at the 100 years jubilee of the Catholic Association of Bengal in the year 2011 where he was awarded for being one of the pioneers in reviving the Association and his long standing contribution to the Catholic community.
Mr. Gasper lives in the hearts of people he touched during his life; his family and friends for whom he was that special someone, the thousands of students who passed through his hands, the hundreds of teachers and staff who worked with him, his co-social workers who shared the stage with him in contributing to society and the many who benefited from his philanthropic work. His selfless work and legacy lives on through his wife and children and all those who are part of the St. Augustine's family who serve the schools he so passionately nurtured from a "little mustard seed".