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The Modern School, commonly known as Modern, is a co-educational private school in New Delhimarker, Indiamarker. It was founded in 1920 by Lala Raghubir Singh and Sir Sobha Singh.

It is the first private school established in Delhi under the British Raj. It has a sprawling campus on Barakhamba Road, near Connaught Place. The Junior School, also known as Raghubir Singh Junior Modern School, is located on Humayun Road. There is also a sister campus in Vasant Vihar.

It has a very long list of distinguished former pupils, including former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and is often described as the most famous private school in India.Almost all the school's pupils go on to universities around the world.


The school is headed by a Board of Trustees, who appoint the Principal (Barakhamba Road and Vasant Vihar) and the Head Master (Humayun Road). It has 15 houses in the Barakhamba branch and eight houses in the Vasant Vihar branch, each headed by a housemaster.

In 1932 there were about 125 students.


The words of Rabindranath Tagore are embodied in the philosophy of the founding fathers of Modern School. They dreamed of an institution that could combine the concept of secularism, the motivation to excel, and an environment of diverse activities. That dream became a reality in 1920, when Modern School was started in Daryaganj.

The motto of Modern School "Naimatma Balheenien Labhya" from Sanskrit means — "Perfection cannot be achieved by the weak".

The beginning

Modern School was started in 1920 in a building located in Daryaganj, New Delhi. It was a sprawling mansion that belonged to Sultan Singh. He donated it to the school to fulfill his son's dream of establishing a unique school, which would combine the traditions of Indian education with modern educational techniques. Sultan Singh was a prominent businessman in British India in the early 1880s. His son, Lala Raghubir Singh, founded the school to provide quality education, and to foster the overall growth of a child.

Lala Raghubir Singh was the spirit and the soul of the school. The primary founder, he worked for the improvement of the school and in this endeavour he teamed up with Sardar Sobha Singh. Sardar Sobha Singh was the co-founder of the school. A builders during the height of the Raj, he was involved in the construction of buildings in Delhi like Connaught Place, National Museum, Modern School, South Block and India Gate. His own two sons, Bhagwant Singh and Khushwant Singh (the noted writer) were amongst the first students of Modern School.

Lala Raghubir Singh's philosophy (The First Years) in starting Modern School was simple, to provide a school that would fulfill the needs of children.

The school crest

The school crest signifies the circle of eternity crossed by the three elements in human development of body, mind and spirit, the sun shining between the triangle and the circle. Inside the triangle, there is a banyan tree to represent stability and firmness of character, the swan and the lotus represent refinement, culture and the arts which are fundamental elements of progress in life. The Sanskrit quotation, Naimatma Balheenien Labhya, the English translation of which may be, "Perfection cannot be achieved by the Weak." Besides the school motto, there are four words, Truthfulness, Unselfishness, Frankness and Self-Control which guide each child in his daily life.

List of Principals

  • Kamala Bose (1920 - 1947)
  • M.N. Kapoor (1947-1977)
  • P. C. Chowdhary
  • S.P. Bakshi
  • R.K. Bhatia
  • Lata Vaidyanathan (2000 - present)


The school has 15 houses named after famous personalities - Akbar, Ashoka, Azad, Gandhi, Lajpat, Lakshmibai, Nehru, Patel, Pratap, Ranjit, Shastri, Shivaji, Subhash, Tagore and Tilak.


It has an Olympic size swimming pool, six tennis courts, two basketball courts, four badminton courts, two cricket fields, one football field, two squash courts, two hockey fields and six table tennis tables. The football team is sponsored by Shiv-Naresh and the swimming and table tennis team by Reebok. The school also has a golf team.

School magazine

The Sandesh is the school magazine that covers all the events organized by the school and also features students articles, poems, jokes etc, published in English, Hindi and French.


  • Illuminati: The Physics Club
The Illuminati Physics Club was founded in 2007 as a means for students interested in the discipline to ask questions, share ideas, thoughts and organize events. Illuminati organises an annual inter-school physics symposium "Cyclotron".

  • Bits 'N' Bytes
The Bits 'n' Bytes club organizes an annual inter-school computer symposium ('Access') and maintains the school's official website. Founded in 1987 by Ravi Shroff to enhance the popularity and usage of computers in the educational field, the club also has a junior branch, called Nibbles.

  • Debating Society
Under the guidance of English department staff, Debating Society members have won debates at the city and regional level. Tournament victories include the Raghubir Singh Inter-school debate, the Pratap Singh Inter-school debate, the DPS R.K.Puram Annual Inter-school debate and the MSOSA Annual Inter-school debate.

  • Interact
With a commitment to India's less-privileged, the Modern School Interact Club was inaugurated in 1983 by the Vice President of India, Muhammad Hidayat Ullah. Among its activities have been donations to orphanages, recycling drives, anti-piracy drives and blood donation camps. The club has been awarded a certificate in recognition of its services to the community by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dixit.

  • Peer Training
Peer training helps students deal with the pressures of adolescence. Peer trainers under the guidance of the school councillor conduct workshops amongst the student body. In these workshops adoloscent issues such as drug awareness, sex education and peer pressure are taken up with the student body.

  • Robotics Club
This club, founded in 2006 is a platform for students to showcase their talent in electronics and robotics. In line with its objective of involving school students with technology, the club organizes an annual robotics symposium with more than 40–50 participating schools.

SPIC MACAY is a national Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth. Modern School has hosted SPIC MACAY events, featuring Indian Classical Music and classical Indian dance exponents such as Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Sonal Mansingh, Sitara Devi, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Birju Maharaj}


The summer uniform is a 100% blue handloom shirt, a blue skirt, a blue and black tie which is worn only on formal occasions, light blue nylon socks and black shoes.

The winter uniform is mostly the same with a blue blazer with the school emblem, a half sleeves sweater, a full sleeves sweater and longer cotton socks. It was designed by Mahatma Gandhi.

Notable alumni

Gautam Gambhir

Sports Reality Shows Media

Armed forces

Public Service

  • HH Maharaja Manujendra Shah Sahib Bahadur — 7th Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwalmarker
  • Bhagwant Singh - First Student
  • Naresh Trehan — cardiac surgeon
  • Rajat Gupta — former Managing Director, McKinsey & Company
  • Rakesh Soni - Chief Operating Officer at Mahindra Satyam
  • Rakesh Kapoor — Executive Vice President, Category Development at Reckitt Benckiser
  • Dr Sunil Mittal — psychiatrist
  • Vijay Khanna — venture capitalist
  • Vivek Bhandari — Golfer
  • Sidharth Mishra - Head, A4e India
  • Ashwajit Singh — Policy Advisor and Development Sector Expert

In Popular Culture

Old Modernites

There is an alumni club called Modern School Old Students Association or MSOSA which works to bring together old Modernites.

Official websites


  1. Gandhi, Indira: Anand Bhavan Memories, (Publisher/date info to be added)
  3. The History: The First Years
  4. The History: The School Crest

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