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Goethals News Bulletin
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
October - December 2001

News Update | Articles | Researchers | New Arrivals | Mails & Emails

News Update

  • The Director, Fr. Felix Raj, SJ wishes to thank Mr. Arun Kumar Biswas for the gift of his book "Fr. Eugene Lafont of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata and the Contemporary Science Movement", to the library.

  • The Goethals Library will be hosting an Exhibition on "Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism", from January 14-19, 2002. It will be 10-4 pm (Mon-Fri) and 10-12 (Sat).

  • The Goethals Website (www.goethals.org) is very popular with researchers. There are a large number of exhaustive lists which feature on the website, on the various Indological subjects, at the library.

  • Students from the AICUF visited the library to do research on "Modern Education in India today!" The students were Mary Minz, Sanjay Minj, Anup Kujur and Sanjib Ekka.

Goethals, now a Registered Society

Goethals Indian Library and Research Centre will be henceforth Goethals Indian Library and Research Society, its registered title.

GILRS has been registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961. A certificate to this effect has been given to us dated 26/11/01.

Kindly note the change in the name.


The Invention of Matches

Fire is one of nature’s greatest boons to mankind. When phosphorous was first discovered in the middle of the seventeenth century, it was utilized by rubbing it between two pieces of brown paper. A fire was produced in this way which lighted a stick dipped in sulphur.

The next stage in the development of matches began from the year 1805 when Mr. Chancel assistant to the well-known professor Thenard of Paris discovered and made the first friction matches of phosphorous. Of more importance were the chemical matches or dip splints first manufactured in Vienna in 1812.

However it was about the middle of the year 1833, when Lucifer matches were being made in various places in Europe.

The discovery of amorphous phosphorous which is neither poisonous nor very inflammable affords a happy substitute for the ordinary phosphorous. Matches have now become an indispensable article of household economy, even in the rarest parts of the world and used by people of all races and denominations.

[Written by a "Ghose Manufacturing" engineer of matches (Japan) (Invention of Matches is an extract from the article published in "The Modern Review", Vol V, No.1, January, 1909).]


Kathira or Kathiravandu, Scissors People

For the following note on one of the criminal classes, I am indebted to Mr. F. S. Mullaly, Assistant Inspector-General of Police.

This is purely a Nellore name for this class of professional thieves (pick-pockets). The appellation seems to have been given to them from the fact that they frequent fares and festivals, and busy railway platforms, offering knives and scissors for sale. And, when an opportunity presents itself, these are used to cut strings of beads, rip open bags, etc. Several of these lights–fingered gentry have been found with small scissors in their mouths. Most of them wear shoes of a peculiar shape, and these form a convenient receptacle for the scissors. Bits of broken glass are frequently found in their mouths.

In different districts they are known by different appellations, such as Gudu Dasaris, and Donga Dasaris in North Arcot and parts of Cuddapah; Golla Woddars, Donga Woddars, and Musheri Kalas in Cuddapah, Bellary, and Kurnool; Pachupus in Krishna and Godavari; Alagiris, Ena or Thogamalai Koravas in the Southern Districts.

Individuals belonging to this class of thieves have been traced, since the opening of the East Coast Railway, as far as Midnapore.

An important way of identifying them is the fact that every one of them, male and female, is branded at the corners of the eyebrows and between the eyes in childhood, as a safeguard against convulsions.

[from Madras Government Museum Bulletin, Vol IV, No. 1. pp 64. Madras, 1901]


by Wind Power

To reach Shosha I had to climb a further three miles, which proved almost as steep as the previous ascent to Pungo. A curious custom of praying by wind-power, probably borrowed from the Tibetans, prevails among the Shokas. The Tibetans, with a more intense religion than the Shokas, use for this purpose not only the wind but even water to propel their praying machines …

- An Extract from "In the Forbidden Land" by A. Henry Savage Landor. Published by W. Heinemann. London. 1898. Page 53. Book Number: 52/122(1)

Timetable of the Deluge

The universal flood which happened at the time of Noah 2348 B.C.

October ... Noah and his family entered the Ark
November ... The fountains of the great deep broke open
December 26 ... The rain began, continued 40 days and 40 nights
January 2349 B C ... The earth buried under the waters.
February ..... Rain continued
March .... The waters at their height till the 27th when they began to abate
April 17 .... The Ark rested on Mount Ararat in Armenia.
May .... Waiting the descent of the waters
June 1 .... The tops of the mountains appear
July 11 .... Noah let go a raven which did not return
July 18 ... He let go a dove, which returned
July 25 ... The dove, being sent a second time, brought back the olive-branch.
August 2 ... The Dove sent out a third time returned no more
September 1 ... The dry land appeared
October 27 ... Noah went out of the Ark.

- an extract from "Vedic and Aryan India: Evolution of Political, legal and Military Systems, edited by H S Bhatia.
Published by Deep & Deep Publications, New Delhi, 2001
Mr. Bhatia has taken the above information from Calmet’s Dictionary of the Bible. 1811. 3rd Edition Vol I- s.v. "Deluge"


On a Chinese - Tamil Cross

Halting in the course of a recent anthropological expedition on the western side of the Nilgiri plateau, in the midst of the Government Cinchona plantations, I came across a small settlement of Chinese, who have squatted for some years on the slopes of the hills between Naduvatam and Gudalur, and developed, as the result of ‘marriage’ with Tamil pariah women, into a colony, earning an honest livelihood by growing vegetables, cultivating coffee on a small scale, and adding to their income from these sources by the economic products of the cow. An ambassador was sent to this miniature Chinese Court with a suggestion that the men should, in return for monies, present themselves before me with a view to their measurements being recorded. The reply which came back was in its way racially characteristic as between Hindus and Chinese. In the case of the former, permission to make use of their bodies for the purposes of research depends essentially on a pecuniary transaction, on a scale varying from two to eight annas. The Chinese, on the other hand, though poor, sent a courteous message to the effect that they did not require payment in money, but would be perfectly happy if I would give them, as a memento, copies of their photographs.

[from Madras Government Museum Bulletin, Vol II, No. 1. pp31. Anthropology, Madras, 1897.]


New Arrivals

  1. Atlas of the languages and Ethnic Communities of South Asia by Roland J-L. Breton. Published by Sage Publications. New Delhi. 1999.

  2. Communalism, Ethnicity and State Politics by Sajal Basu. Published by Rawat Publications. New Delhi. 2000.

  3. Fr. Eugene Lafont of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata and the Contemporary Science Movement by Arun Kumar Biswas. Published by Asiatic Society. Kolkata. 2001.

  4. Indira – the life of Indira Nehru Gandhi by Katherine Frank. Published by Harper Collins. UK. 2001.

  5. Pandita Ramabai: Selected works, compiled by Meera Kosambi. Published by OUP. New Delhi. 2000.

  6. Santal Insurrection of 1855-57 by K Datta. Published by Firma KLM. Calcutta. 2001.

  7. Science and the Raj 1875-1905 by Deepak Kumar. Published by OUP. Delhi. 1997.

  8. Selected works of M N Roy, in four volumes, edited by S Ray. Published by OUP. New Delhi. 2000.

  9. Tribal situation in India, edited by Vidyut Joshi. Published by Rawat Publications. New Delhi. 1998.

  10. Vedic and Aryan India: Evolution of Political, Legal and Military Systems, by H S Bhatia. Published by Deep and Deep Publications. New Delhi. 2001.


Researchers at Goethals

Fr. Charles J Borges sj from the Dept of History of Loyola College, Baltimore, USA visited the library to do research on Jesuit and Indo-Portuguese History.

Mr. Robert Biswas visited the library to do research on the Development of Education in Modern India.

Mrs. Tapati Chowdhuri from the St. Xavier’s School did research on St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Mr. Paritosh Majumdar of the Parivartan Social Welfare Society visited the library to do research on Social Work.

Ms. Cheryl Francis visits the library to do research on issues such as Dalits, Hindutva, Christianity, Jesuit Mission in Bengal, history of the city of Calcutta and Education in India.

College Students who regularly visited the Goethals Library were Jimmy Jose, Subir Kariar, G Srinivas Rao, Frederick Wen, Joji George, Philip Roy, Debolina Banerjee, Tuhin Bhura, Nisha Poddar, Arnab Chatterjee, Rehana Ashraf, Mehreen Saba and others.


Continue your support

The Director thanks all our researchers for their interest in our library, well wishers and benefactors for their generous contributions and support.

Kindly note: Send your contributions / donations in favour of Goethals Indian Library and Research Society.

Mails & Emails to the editor

Dear Father,
Greetings from the Curia. In my efforts to familiarize myself with the educational works of the Society in various parts of the world, I took the occasion to view your web page. I would have to say that I found your presentation of the Goethals Indian Library and Research Center colorful, clear, engaging and thorough. It also made the viewer feel very welcome.
Park Street is certainly a vibrant center of Jesuit education! I wish you every blessing in your important leadership role.
I am hopeful that my new assignment will bring me to India in the near future.
Tom Roach

Dear Father,
I am writing in regard to the Hindu Religious Pictures posted on your website. I wonder whether you might be willing to allow me to place credited scans of some of these pictures (in particular the Mahavidyas and some other Goddess depictions) in the photo gallery of an online club dedicated to Devi in all of Her manifestations.
M. M. Bowden, Devi bhakta


The Director and Staff at Goethals wish all its readers, friends and well-wishers
A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year 2002.

Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, St. Xavier’s, 30 Mother Teresa Sarani, Kolkata-700 016, India.
Tel: 0091-33-2280 1919; email: goethals@vsnl.com  Web-site: www.goethals.in 
Director: Fr. Felix Raj, SJ; Library Asst: Mr. Warren Brown; Computer Asst: Mr. Sunil Mondol



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