BROOKFIELD The standard of an educational institution can not be judged by any yardstick. It neitherlies in the number of students nor the beauty of its building. If Brookfield were to be judged bythese fallacious methods, it would definitely cut a sorry figure. Brookfield was an old foundation and was established as a grammar school in the reignof Elizabeth I. Externally, it gave the glimpse of a group of eighteen century building centeredupon a quadrangle with acres of playground beyond. The village around it was surrounded by anopen fen country (marshy place). Chips joined the Brookfield in 1870 and considered it one ofthe streams, which fed the mighty river that was England. However, in this context, Brookfieldwas more a leisurely brook than a swiftly flowing stream. Unfortunately, Brookfield could acquire the status of first-rank; the school went up anddown, dwindling almost to non-existence at one time and becoming almost illustrious at another.Weatherly took over the charge as headmaster during mid-Victorian days when the school wason the decline. He restored its fortunes somewhat; but it remained, at best a good school of thesecond rank. Had it not been so, Chips would have never been able to join it. As a matter of fact,both school and schoolmaster mirrored each other perfectly. Brookfield took pride in its relaxedatmosphere, stubbornly refusing to match the place of the outer world. Similarly, Chips heldtenaciously on to his cherished old world values. The fact that several notable families supported the school shows that it could inspireloyalty among certain judicious people. The same quality was to be found in Chips. Both of themstood for these precious, though unglamorous sentiments Quite a few students of Brookfieldjoined the ranks of history makers as judges, members of Parliament, colonial administrators,peers and bishops. But, mainly, the school turned out merchants, manufacturers professionalmen, country squires and parsons. Such people constitute the very backbone of a society; and, byeducating the middle class, Brookfield rendered yeoman’s service to the country. In this regardtoo, Chips was in complete harmony with the school. Throughout his career, he cared toremember only the boys who became soldiers, professionals and the like, and not the peers andadministrators. Conscious of its own easy-going dignified ways, Brookfield had little tolerance formodern methods of commercialized education. This was amply demonstrated by what happenedto Ralston. This hotheaded young headmaster came fired with visions of leading the school intothe future. Significantly, he clashed with none other than chips; for, the old teacher had nowbecome Brookfield itself. The whole school rallied round Chips and Ralston had to concededefeat. Actually, he was not at all wrong. He only made the mistake of losing the historicalperspective. He forgot that some values have a time-honoured sanctity, and therefore, ought to betreated with reverence. He thought that Chips was an impediment (hurdle) to progress. Little didhe realize that, by belittling the old man, he was striking at the very roots of what Brookfieldstood for. The school and the schoolmaster proved that dignity, honour and a sense of proportionwere far more important than glamour and commercialism.
Muhammad Azam, Shaheen Academy, G.6-1/3, Islamabad. Ph-2279319