Mr. John Mallon, The Scotsman Who Came To Teach At, The Punjab Public School,Nabha.

Mr. John Mallon

(Taught from Sept, 1965- May1968)

(compiled by Dr. Jashanjot Singh (S-52,1967))

Mr. John Mallon in the center with Miss Anita Williams (VSO) . Photo from Fancy dress farewell party to 1967, ISC class by the Class Xth (1968). From left Dr.Jashanjot (S-52), Vijay Gehlout (J-96), Kanwar Vijay Singh (B-113), on right are Inderjit (J-40), Shailender Sharma (R-119,1968) and Varinder Bindra (B-51). Except Sharma , all are from 1967 batch.

He joined school in 1965 and bid farewell to the School in 1968. His services had been loaned to school by The British Council, Originally, he had come for just one year and half (1965) but ultimately, he had extended his stay for another two years. He must have loved the School and us.

Cheif guest Dharam Vira, Governor of Punjab being introduced to Staff by headmaster Mr JK Kate. from right Jasbir Lamba (Bhutalia), Mr.KC Tandon, Mr. OP Bhatnagar, Mrs. KPK Tandon , Mr MN Tankha and Mr John Mallon and Miss GB Malkani

A closer look at Mr Mallon from another picture at same time.

Mr. Mallon had functioned as the Head of English Department and earned the respect of staff and students alike. He faced many challenges but with persistence and tact his methods proved successful and the fruits are seen in the school results, which were usually the best among public schools in India. The reason why, The PPS had a meteoric rise in the 1960s.

From the 1967 Party

On account of his initiative and recommendation , British Council information documentaries or films had become  a regular weekly feature of the School. This feature continued for many years even after he had left. Many Old Nabhiates of that era would remember these films. He was instrumental in the school getting many books for its Library, from the British Council.

His students enjoyed his company in and out of classroom. He was highly respected by his colleagues and those he taught.

With ISC Class (Senior Cambridge) of 1967

With Class of 1966 post PT and Gymnastics display

No wonder, Mr. Kate often sought his advice on diverse matters.

Playing the Scottish bagpipe in a party held in the Senior School Dining Hall

With his famous MG car which he drove like a race driver leaving the onlookers in awe.

He even taught French on his own initiative, for six months to IIT classes, in early 1968 (1967 batch after their ISC exam). He would hand over French booklets for reading and for pronunciation he would bring his personal Tape recorder with spools and play it in the class. One of the students got inspired and went on to become a French journalist , author and film maker in Paris.

Mr and Mrs Mallon left Nabha at the end of May 1968.


The Mallon  Family and Jyoti Kate (R-52,1967) 

The Mallons and Kate Families became very close friends during their stay in the PPS. In an article sent to me before 2010 Golden Jubilee of the School he wrote:

“The Mallon family life was full of friendship and hospitality, largely due to the Kates.  My wife, Ann, developed skills in Indian cuisine, helped by Nirmala Kate and her friends, and I acquired a preference for Indian and vegetarian food.  Our third child, Margaret, had been born in Hyderabad, and our fourth, Mairi, in Delhi, while we were at Nabha.  The last involved me with J K in my new MG in a collision with a military convoy on the Grand Trunk Road.  Predictably, J K’s contacts provided me with a jeep and a complete rebuild of the front of the MG –   as a safeguard a Puja was carried out on the car on its return.  Mr Oberoi, Sam Cowell’s replacement, became a great friend and tried to revise my written Urdu, while my sons became fluent in Hindi, Punjabi and even Tamil (the last from the ayah).  But when we returned to Edinburgh they ran wild at school and their weakest subject was English!  We were greatly helped by the Horlick’s management in Nabha, although I declined their invitation to head  in convoy at dawn for Delhi during the Indo-Pakistani war.”

At the end of the article he mentioned how much he had loved being at Nabha:

“There are a host of memories which would need a book to recount.

I have had many fascinating and happy postings.  Africa was a culture shock. We went on to Madrid and later South America – a lovely and exasperating land, and most recently Lisbon.  There were visits to Singapore, Korea, Ceylon, South Africa, Rhodesia, Greece, Italy, Iran (under the Shah) and Baghdad before its troubles.  But the most memorable experience was my all too brief three years in Nabha.  It was a privilege to serve under J K Kate in The Punjab Public School, which remains as his enduring legacy.”

At his home in Edinburgh, the Christmas of 2020

Basanthi Mathu (R-73,1967) who visited Mr.Mallon at his home in Edinburgh around 2017-18.

An article that Mr Mallon wrote for the Chronicle when the mercurial Headmaster of The PPS Mr. JK Kate retired from The PPS to join Daly College, Indore.

Mr. John Mallon also wrote an article “Nabha and the Great Headmaster” which he sent to me before Golden Jubilee in 2010. It is included in the section on “”The Founder Headmaster Mr.JK Kate


The news of Mr.John Mallon’s demise in Edinburgh was conveyed by his daughter Miari (who was born while at Nabha) to Goodie or Jyoti Kate (R-52,1967) daughter of Mr.JK Kate.


The following a is a message sent out to all Old Nabhaites by the President, ONA . Brig. Harinder Bedi (R-58,1968) informing them of Mr.Mallon’s passing away.

Please click on the link below.

In Fond Memory Of Mr John Mallon (2)

The Letter below was sent to Mairi with the the message that was sent to Old Nabhaites requesting for  tributes to Mr. John Mallon from his students. These tributes from his students were collected and compiled and forwarded by me to Mairi.

Dear Mairi,

The following was circulated among some of his students and I have compiled what different students of Mr. Mallon had to say at his passing away. I am sharing them with you:-

The Scotsman who came to The Punjab Public School to teach, is no more.

Mr. John Mallon’s daughter Mairi, born while at Nabha informed Goodie (Jyoti Kate , R-52,1967), today. He died peacefully with family around him.

Playing the Scottish bagpipe at a Party in the School Dining Hall.

Brig. Harinder Bedi (R-58,1968) , President of ONA has already informed everyone about the sad demise of Mr. John Mallon.

He was second senior teacher who came to The Punjab Public School, Nabha to facilitate the learning of English, courtesy the British Council,  in the newly started School in Punjab. The intake of boys in the school at that time was not always well versed in English. Mr. MDH Vodden, who was the first as we know who wrote the ‘School Song’ left in 1964. In 1965 he was followed by another great teacher Mr. John Mallon a Scotsman from Edinburgh. He was the Head of English department in the School.

Both these teachers played a great role in laying strong Foundations of the School in its formative years. Mr. Mallon fell in love with the school and India. So much so that he extended his stay by almost two years. He did not leave the School even when, a full-fledged Indo-Pak war was on in 1965.

If any Nabhaite, who was in School during 1965-68, has memory of this great teacher and would like to write about him, please send it to me. I will compile and forward them to his daughter Mairi who was born, while Mallons were at Nabha. This will be a tribute by Old Nabhiates to a great teacher.

Many of 1966 and 1967 batches have already sent their tributes.

Dr Jashanjot (S-52,1967) 9216950004 /

Some of the reactions/tributes paid to on passing away of a much respected and popular Teacher.

There was Mr. Mallon who always gave me a lift. He would drive his car an English MG, at breakneck speed and we would be in time for assembly.

  • Jyoti Kate (R-52,1967) who would often take lift to senior school from Junior School , courtesy, Mr. Mallon

 We were very fortunate to have teachers from the British Council.

It gave the boys an excellent foundation. Mr. John Mallon joined Nabha after Mr. Vodden left in 1965. Mr. Mallon taught English from1965 to1968. It was because of him I developed a love for the subject. He was an excellent teacher and took a lot of pains over his teaching. He started a club called ‘Athenians’ for us when we were in class 10. He would get records from the British Council and make us listen to them in the assembly hall.

We managed to read anything we could lay our hands on. Apart from this my formal introduction to English literature was through Mr. John Mallon. He ignited my imagination and introduced me to Shakespeare. To this day I clearly recall the lines from Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet and can hear in my mind’s ear the voices of Richard Burton or Lawrence Olivier from the long-playing records of these plays that he obtained for us from the British Council. It was amazing how accurately these renditions followed the original text. Mr. Mellon had an olive-green MG roadster that I envy to this day.

  • Jyoti (R-52,1967) From ‘The Eagle’ archives

Mr. Vodden was followed by Mr Mallon and family whom I knew just for six months, but who also had a fruitful association with the school. The results of our boys spoke for the success of Mr. Vodden’s and Mr. Mallon’s hard work and effort and the speed with which many non-speakers of English picked up a foreign language was phenomenal.

  •  Roger Miall (First VSO from UK to have taught in The PPS in 1962-63.)

We had strict teachers like Mr. Cowell. We had fun teacher like Mr. Mallon.

  • Vineet Mehta, (J-72,1967)

Life is short and death is sure. In between we do what we do. He did good and inspired us. Suggestion to read 20 thousand leagues… to me came from him. Took me to Indian Navy and subs and to the nuke. May his noble soul RIP.

  • Commodore IJ Arora (J-40,1967), Indian Navy

Saddened to hear the passing away of Mr. Mallon, RIP sir.

  • Faqir Chand (S-53,1967)

Extremely sad to hear the passing away of Mr. Mallon. He was a pillar of strength as far as teaching English to us is concerned. Besides his other qualities, he is the one who taught us how to read  a newspaper and pick up new words from the paper. We owe our English speaking & writing skills to him. May his soul rest in peace. God bless .

  • Harjit Chahal (J-49,1967)

I  am very sad to hear about the passing away of Mr. John Mallon.

I still remember at this age of 70 years with what passion and emotion he taught us Literature, be it Shakespeare or Bernard  Shaw. He instilled in me the reading of classics. He brought out in me the creation of writing our own thoughts and imagination.

 I was fortunate to meet Mr. Mallon again after school in 2018 in Edinburgh, when I saw him, he was formally dressed as he always did, that took me back 50 years, I had tears in my eyes and all the memories of his teaching came flashing back.

He remembered his tenure of PPS vividly.

May God give strength to his family members to bear his loss.

Rest in Peace Mr.  Mallon.

  • Basanti Mathu (R-73,1967) , (New Zealand d/o Teacher PN Mathu at The PPS.)

There are umpteen times I have mentioned PPS in my interviews and TV things, how can I not! 

I was thinking precisely about writing around John Mallon’s French records! 

  • Vijay Singh Kanwar (B-113,1967), (2011, From The Eagle issue) 

I am deeply  saddened to hear of John Mallon’s passing. Though one knows that one has to go one day, it is sad to see him gone. Three things I owe to him which had a deep impact on my life – the first reading of Shakespeare, ‘To Sir with Love’ and a phonetically intoxicating French song he played in the class with the words ‘les enfants’. May you be happy in the universe beyond, Sir.  Respect.

  • Vijay Kanwar (B-113,1967), Paris. Journalist, author, film maker, director. (2021)

RIP, Mallon Sir!

  • Surinder Gill (B-53,1967), Seattle, USA

Our prayers for Mr. Mallon soul Rest In Peace and family to be able to bear the loss of a wonderful teacher who put in all efforts to help and teach with enthusiasm and carried all students of the class as a group. I still remember the first time he took our class he was very strict and after that in subsequent classes very friendly. Some of us asked him why he was so strict on the first day. He replied just wanted the students to know that if needed I could be strict. But it was never needed during the subsequent classes.

  • Maj.VS Bindra (B-51,1967), California, USA

RIP Mr. Mallon, you will be missed 🙏🏻

  • General RS Sujlana (B-134,1967)

Very sad. What I remember of him was that he was very modest and unassuming. Taught the A section. Our heartfelt condolences. We pray that his soul rest in peace.

  • A student

An everlasting smile on the face of our Guru (teacher) who knew how to keep himself and others CHEERFUL. May God bless his soul . Heartfelt condolences to Mr. John Mallon & his family.

  • Col Ram Singh (J-31,1967 H.Sc.)

May God Bless his soul.

  • Shy am Sunder Kaushal

He was a great teacher at Nabha  🙏Satnam Waheguru 🙏

  • Mitinder Sethi (J-76,1965) 

Sad indeed. May his soul rest in peace.

  • BD Singh (S-84,1969)

Very sad to learn about Mr. Mallon passing away. What I remember of him is that he was very modest and unassuming. Taught English to A section. Our heartfelt condolences to the family. We pray that his soul rest in peace.

  • Jaideep Sekhon (S-19,1967) Retired Estate manager PUDA

I recall John Mallon quite well. My first exposure to Shakespeare. He was very stylish too – the special chalk that he used, the MG car that he had, his dress sense, etc. He was a great teacher too. And, innovative. He managed to get LP records of the plays in our syllabus, films, etc. to embed the learning. As his student I owe him a debt of gratitude. Best Regards,

  • Ashok Balwani (R-90,1966) ; Director ,Hitachi Home appliances

Mr. John Mallon was an excellent English Teacher who deeply identified himself with his Scottish roots. I still    remember his teaching style while explaining paragraphs from our syllabus novel,  a science fiction “ The Chrysalids” by  John Wyndham. His method of teaching essay writing was unique. My heartfelt condolences on his demise. RIP.

  • Col MS Sandhu (S-54,1966)

Very sad to learn, my heartfelt condolences 💐 may his soul RIP. Still remember his olive-green MG car.

  • Kuwaran Athwal (S-178,1973)

Deeply saddened to learn about the transition of our favourite English Teacher- a smart, ever smiling person with  an excellent talent to communicate and Teach . If we speak good  English with correct pronunciation,  it is courtesy Mr. John Mallon. A silent prayer for the noble soul to rest in eternal peace and for the family members to bear this huge loss with fortitude. In grief ,Lt Gen

  • Vinay Sharma ( S-129)

I remember Mr Mallon as a polished immaculately dressed gentleman who looked a typical English Professor. Enjoyed his classes and give him full credit for my 3pt score in English Literature. I even remember his efforts at teaching us French .Despite his French beard, best efforts and his old French Record Player,  French always remained French for me.

He had a MG car which was rare those days .Remembered him, when MG car was now introduced in India. We were all lucky to have him as our teacher. May God give strength to the family to bear the loss 🙏

  • Col BS Grewal (s-50,1967)

In school, I was good at all subjects, but my Waterloo was English. Because of my low pass grades in English, I never got a good position in class.

In the ISC year, Mr. Mallon would often advise something to the effect, “write simple language, write (describe) what you actually see and write what you really think and feel” In the ISC final instead of attempting an essay, I wrote a story as an option. I wrote what I thought , felt and imagined in simple language. Low beholds! I got grade 3 in English language. Thanks! To you Sir. Never thought I would get that grade. Passing was the aim.

 Came to visit you two years back Sir, in Edinburgh to pay my respects, my misfortune could not meet you because of poor prior communication. Farewell Sir! and RIP🙏

  • Dr Jashanjot Singh (S-52,1967) 

Andrew was older and Ian was younger. Should have been 7 and 4 years old in 1964-65. It was nearly a daily chore for us to make sand castles behind the bathrooms of Sutlej House, towards the poultry farm in Jr school. Most of the good aspects of British English were taught to me by them. I remember looking at them with unadulterated (because they were our second master’s children) admiration speak flawless English. From Amritsar to PPS, Nabha , one of the best five schools in India  and then, playing nearly daily with a Scotsman’s children was the ultimate. A dream that has lasted till now . Sad to know that one of them has travelled to Heaven on his bike so that he extends a welcome to his Dad. ( I chose to express the demise of  Mr Mallon, this way. More emotional and less sad . He lived a full life ). My tributes to Mr Mallon . And heartfelt condolences to Mallon Family and the surviving son. Pray both the brothers are there and I continue to remember them the way I have, for so many years. May the Lord grant eternal peace to the departed soul . Au Revoir, sir. You are surely missed with pain deep inside me. God bless.

  • Col Ashwani Tanjani (S-118, 1970) 

I remember Mr. John Mallon, as not only  a unique teacher who had a unique way of teaching, but also as a friend, philosopher and a guide. I guess I earned this virtue because I was  the Head Boy of the school and in my duties as the  HB  there were numerous occasions which brought us together. John taught us English language and literature loud and clear. What was unique about his teaching skills was that he made the subject not only very easy but very clear and absorbing, so much so, that each time the class period ended, one just wanted that he could continue. John will always remain dear in my memories. My heartfelt condolences to the family and prayers to the Almighty to give them strength to bear this irreparable loss. I shall miss you John. RIP!.

  • Dr. Narinder Kohli (B-79,1966) 

To understand Scottish accents for me were not easy and I was not sure how I would be able to interact freely with John Mallon. However all my fears were allayed when he walked into Mr. Kate’s office and I was introduced to him. We spent about half an hour doing some paperwork relating to the matters of the personnel department.  Right from the first day of his arrival he kept a tight schedule relating to lesson plans and other details of his curriculum. Through his own personal typewriter he would type notes but when something major was to be typed or copied, we in the office, were there for him. 

A mild-mannered by nature he had no air about himself. Always dressed impeccably but did not care about his unfurled hair. John had a subtle sense of humour and was especially great at one-liners.

When John bought his MG car and brought it to Nabha, it was a rare sight. Imported cars were not common in those days. We all will admire this possession of his with pride. 

Once a student fell dangerously ill and had to be rushed to the Patiala hospital. Thanks to the help of John this student was transported in his car and reached Patiala in about 15 minutes. Those were the days when there was not much traffic on the roads.

John was very fond of English movies and would go to Phul theater in Patiala on Thursdays.  Once we ran into each other there. Thereafter,  he insisted on taking me along instead of my going by bus. I must say that I rode in his car the most than any other staff member.

A religious and family man, he and his family will go to a church in Patiala every Sunday since Nabha did not have a church in those days.

John has left a mark with his friendly attitude, generosities, care about fellow beings. He will be terribly missed.

They really had taken a great liking for each other. Both the Kates and Mallons became like families in the real true sense. I wish I could emphasize more about this friendship. The families were almost inseparable. They spent lots of evenings together over simple meals, laughing, cracking good standard jokes. I happened to be there on occasions.

  • Pushapraj (PA to Founder Headmaster Mr. JK Kate) 

Never really had a chance to study or interact with Mr. Mallon.

I do remember he used to drive like a race car driver, or I should say like a plane about to take off from the runway.

Once 1967, we were going in the school van to Patiala for the annual athletic meet.  Mr. Kate and Mallon sped past us in his MG. Our driver Milkhi Ram was another speedster, with all of us rooting, he tried his best to catch up but soon lost sight of them. He almost always flew in his MG from junior to sr. School.

RIP Sir, Om Shanti 🙏

  • Amarjit Singh Shaheed (b-102,1970)

Dr. Jashanjot Singh Bhangu (S-52,1967)