Thanks for sharing that, Mike:)
If the school does not care about the famous student I wonder why they kept the burnt piano. I also wonder why I never see the word "abuse" in connection with so-called "exploration" of homosexuality in boarding schools. It's hard to believe that a young boy of 12 or 13 is reported to his father for homosexual activities but no adult person in the school feels responsible. Freddie did not want to discuss this period of his life and I think former teachers should respect that.
Like Freddie learning to distrust the media, Peter Patrao also learned the hard way that the media can not be trusted. Barney Henderson (the article author) purposely distorted the truth and presented rumors as facts in order create a juicy article full of gossop that many people would like to read. When Barney asked about homsexuality, Peter asked him if it would be off the record, and Peter took him at his word.
Barney's opening juicy paragraph stated:
"He also had his first homosexual relationship at the school, his teachers say."
Hmmm ... What teachers???
The article later stated:
"It was around this time that the young Freddie began to explore his sexuality, and in the all-male dormitories, it is likely that he had his first homosexual experiences."
Barney took heresay from the middle of the article, and presented it as fact in the opening article in order to make his article more juicy.
As for the burnt piano, the school certainly had some idea of importance, but could not advertise that their most famous alumnus was a hedonistic, partying, homosexual rock star. What conservative Indian parent would knowingly send their son to a boarding school that is rumored to be a haven for homosexuality???? St Peter's has many "repectable" alumni like an assistant to Winston Churchill as well as former prominent politicians of Nepal and South Africa, and I believe that this is the image that St Peter's was trying to promote.
Interest in sexuality is normal for preteen boys and girls. I recall being very interested in girls (and women) when I was ten. I was a shy boy at age ten, and two slightly younger respectable neighborhood girls (one year younger) were quite forward in their interest in me. There was nothing remotely close to sex, but that early sexual exploration is still a pleasant memory, and I do not think of it as abuse. In my opinion, sexual exploration by consensual preteens with their peers is somewhat normal (although unadvisable), and is definately not abuse.
As for Freddie's boyfriend - that was in high school (when Peter had no contact with Freddie), and had been documented for many years. Peter was quoted in the article (perhaps accurately?) as stating:
“When he moved to Mumbai, he was apparently close to a boyfriend there,” Patrao said. “His father would have been informed and I’m sure very disappointed. The family has a very rigid background going back generations, and Zoroastrians completely forbid homosexuality.”
I believe that Freddie rejected India, because conservative India rejected him. He did not speak about his high school days nor his days at St Peter's, likely because he his true identity was rejected by conservative India. Even while in the UK, Freddie hid behind Mary Austin to protect himself from unsavory rumors.
Finally, Peter stated to me that one of the greatest things that Freddie has ever done was acknowleding that he had aids on the day before he died in 1991. Peter stated that his was a monumental step in the very slow progress toward world understanding and acceptance of AIDS (and homosexuality as well).