Diu, Guzerate, India
Equipment and Infrastructures
Primary instruction in the territory of Diu was divided among three Portuguese language schools and Gujarati schools. At the end of the 19th century there were four schools of Portuguese: two in the city, in the former Saint Paul’s Convent and in the Santana Shelter; and two outside the city, in Vanakbara and in Goghla, both without installations of their own. Otherwise, as the territory’s non-Catholic population was more affluent and the majority (about 98 percent in 1899), the Gujarati schools took on architectural importance. Three constructions of this type stand out, all in the city of Diu. The first structure, the Gujarat Royal School, was built in 1895 on the initiative of Probudás Virchande, merchant in Mozambique, and is located about 250 metres southwest of the Customs Market. It is a building of modest dimensions which reflects the influence of the British administration’s bungalows on the Indian subcontinent. A porticoed veranda wraps the building, whose sober lines and importance given to openings and ventilation reveal the care given to hygiene at the time. It is still used as a teaching institution. The second school opened in 1927 and was for girls. It was named after its founder, Pani Bai, the wife of Bhagvandas Laxmichand, whose name appears above the main entrance. It is located about 400 metres west of Diu’s Saint Paul’s Church and may have resulted from the conversion of an older structure. The building is shaped like an elongated rectangle and has two floors. The main façade is arranged in sections separated by pilasters; the central part stands out, with the main access on the ground floor and the projecting veranda on the upper floor. This veranda was subject to intervention in 2008. Around the entrance are various examples of decorative motifs and relief work painted in bright colours. The rest of the façade is marked by arched windows; the ones below are likewise decorated with sculptures and figurative reliefs referring to the Hindu religion. The volume is topped by a balustrade, a common element in most Diu buildings. The third building was built around 1931 and is also associated to the philanthropic action of Pani Bai, and is also called by that name. The main gate bears the name of Amratlal Jamnugás, the probable benefactor of the construction. It is situated about 250 metres east of the main gate of the city’s walled line. The rectangular building is set back from the street by a small garden opened by a colonnade. The roof is flat and finished by a balustrade. The façades are profusely decorated, even the structural elements, which include geometric and vegetal motifs of Indian origin.