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Against the Wind - A Life's Journey

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Against the Wind - A Life's Journey
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Item Code: NAU876
Author: Rajni Kumar
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789353571337
Pages: 348 (10 Colored and 5 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details: 9.00 X 5.50 inch
weight of the book: 0.64 kg
About the Book

Thus begins the story of Nancie Joyce Margaret Jones with her arrival in Bombay on an ocean liner from London one morning in 1946. She had never travelled abroad until then, but now she was in love — with Yudister Kumar, a fellow student from her university days who had to return home to immerse himself in India’s freedom struggle, with no prospects of coming back to England. And so, at the young age of twenty-three, she decided to follow him to a strange and faraway country that, she did not know then, would transform her life forever.

As she got married and took on the name Rajni, there were exciting developments on the professional front too. A series of unexpected circumstances led her to start a kindergarten in the living room of her Delhi house in 1955. And thus was born Springdales, which burst upon the educational scenario with vibrancy, dovetailing much of the ethos and culture of the new India into its philosophy.

Now, at the wholesome age of ninety-six — the school having grown to four in India and one in Dubai, with several thousand students on the rolls and an enviable reputation for education — Rajni Kumar looks back on her extraordinary life in Against the Wind.

Observant and vivacious, it is a memoir that is a testament as much to her lifelong work in education as to the spirit of romance and daring with which she set foot in a new country all those decades ago.

About the Author

RAJNI KUMAR, née Nancie Joyce Margaret Jones, is a British born educationist, who has worked for more than sixty years in the field of school education in India.

Now the Chairperson of Springdales Education Society, she founded Springdales in 1955 and worked as Founder Principal for thirty-two years, transforming it from a small kindergarten to the prestigious complex of schools it has become today, with over 8,000 students.

During her tenure as Principal, she served on many educational bodies. She was Chairperson of the Lady Irwin College for eleven years, Vice-Chairperson of the National Progressive Schools Conference and member of the National Children’s Board, CBSE and NCERT Governing Councils.

After retirement in 1988, she gave her voluntary services to coordinate the Delhi Schools Literacy Project under the National Literacy Mission and is at present its Honorary Advisor.

Mrs Kumar is a great lover of children and is deeply committed to education, especially of the weaker sections of the society and children with special needs. She works actively for national causes relating particularly to women and children, for global concerns relating to education for peace and international understanding, preservation of the environment and human rights.

In 2004, she was honoured by the President of South Africa for her work in solidarity with the struggle against apartheid and invited as India’s representative for the launch of the Freedom Park in Pretoria.

In 2005, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Middlesex University, London, for her lifelong service to education. In the same year, she was nominated as one of the thousand women of the world for a unique collective, ‘1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005’, for her contribution to the cause of peace and justice.

In 2006, she was invited to South Africa as India's representative for the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of South African Womens Day.

In 2008, Mrs Kumar was presented with the Tagore Literacy Award by the Indian Adult Education Association.

In 2011, she was the recipient of the Padma Shri, awarded by the Government of India for her work in literature and education. That year she also received the Award of Recognition from the High Commissioner of South Africa for her support to the liberation movement, as also a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Progressive Schools’ Conference for her service to education.

In October 2012, she was conferred with the National Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo by the President of South Africa in Pretoria for her selfless contribution to the anti-apartheid solidarity movement in India.


NINETY-SIX IS not exactly the right age to write one’s memoirs Memory fades, and it is difficult to record one’s life with accuracy over such a long period of time. In fact, I wonder whether there is any right age to write them, and whether they should be written at all!

Frankly, I did start penning down my thoughts a few years back, but then I stopped as I felt that I am neither a celebrity with the ability to excite thousands of fans with all kinds of wonder- packed stories about a starlit life, nor a spiritual being who can give inspiration to people on how to live their lives! I am just a humble teacher.

But I am getting more and more pressured by those who know me, especially my students, that having lived through nine decades of life in this eventful world of ours — two in England and seven in India - I should pen down my life-story before I reach the end of Shakespeare’s seventh age of man — sans teeth, eyes, taste, everything!

So, in deference to their wishes I am presenting my memoirs, with apologies for any errors accruing on account of age and confusion of mind.

No doubt the greatest event in my life was leaving England, the country of my birth, to follow the stirrings of my heart and to make my home in this wondrous and fascinating country — India - with the man I loved. So this is where I shall begin my story.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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