La Martiniere College
La Martiniere are one of the oldest, most prestigious, and most competitive, non-denominational public schools in India and France. Branches are located in Calcutta and Lucknow in India, and Lyon in France. The schools admit students irrespective of religion and race.
La Martiniere Schools were founded posthumously by Major General Claude Martin in the early 1800s. Martin had acquired a large fortune while serving the Nawab of Awadh Asaf-ud-Daula and bequeathed a major part of his estate to establish the schools. His will outlined every minor detail of the schools, from their exact location to the manner of celebrating the annual Founder's Day.
The seven branches function independently, but maintain close contacts and share most traditions. Claude Martin was born on 5 January 1735 in Lyon, France. He came to India when he was seventeen. After the French influence declined in India, he served in the British East India Company and rose to the rank of Major-General. After taking up residence in Lucknow, he occupied an important position in the court of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah and later his son, Asaf-ud-Daula. During this period he succeeded in accumulating a fortune of about 4,000,000 rupees. He built the palace of 'Constantia' and his fine house of Farud Baksh, both of which he equipped with luxuries that included a library of some 4,000 volumes written in many languages and a picture gallery containing a fine collection of works of art. He breathed his last as Major-General Claude Martin in Lucknow on September 13, 1800. According to his will, he was buried in the vault prepared for his remains in the basement of the college in Lucknow.