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Goethals News Bulletin
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. V No. 1 Bulletin January - March 2002

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

Research Projects

Among the many minor and some major research projects carried out by scholars in different countries with the help of GILRS, the following are worth reporting:

  1. Sean Doyle (Edinburgh, Ph.D Programme): On Frs. Johanns and Fallon

  2. Oliver Fallon (Ireland): On ‘War Jottings’ of Fr. Peal;

  3. Amber Creger (USA): ‘Light of the East’ Series;

  4. Josep Alay (Spain): On Fr. Montserrat & Catholic Herald of India.

  5. B A Cookson (UK): On Jesuit Missions – Fr. Francis Chadwick;

  6. Landis MacKellar (Scotland): On Fr. Poderzaj and his brother, Ivan Poderzaj

  7. Ksenija Premur (Croatia): On Oriental studies;

  8. Keith Cornelius (UK): On Calcutta in 18th & 19th Centuries; and

  9. Colin Madge (UK): On Baptisms in Calcutta – 1767 to 1777.


Articles for Publication

Articles on topics like Education, Environment, Religion, Scripture, Theology, Philosophy, Indian Politics, Economy, Social Issues, Culture and Jesuit personalities are welcome from readers for publication on our webpage, ‘Vibrations’. Your article will be read by many viewers all over the world. Your ideas, views and reflections are important.

Send your article by email to goethals@vsnl.com or by post to Director, GILRS, St Xavier’s, 30 Park Street, Kolkata - 16.

Your email ID and address will be put along with your article so that readers can send their comments and responses to you.


Seminar on Swami Saradananda

Swami Atmapriyananda, Principal of Ramakrishna Mission College at Belur Moth spoke on "Swami Saradananda and the founding of the Ramakrishna Order" at. St. Xavier’s AV Room on February 5.

The program was jointly organized by "The Goethals Indian Library and Research Society" and the Commission for Dialogue and Ecumenism, Calcutta province.

Mr. Dipankar Basu spoke on "the Christ experience of Swami Saradananda" who was greatly influenced by Fr. Lafont, SJ. An interesting fact which makes St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata proud is that 25% of the Founding Fathers of Ramakrishna Mission were Xaverians.

Fr. Felix Raj, SJ, Director of The Goethals Indian Library and Research Society presided over the function and delivered the welcome address. The audience response was well received after the speakers expressed their thoughts. The vote of thanks was given by Fr. Srijon, SJ.


Goethals Exhibition

The exhibition on "Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism", was held at the Goethals Library from 11th - 16th, February.

Several valuable books and plates were put on display. The exhibition was well attended by the public as well as students from various schools and colleges in the city.

The next exhibition on "Bengal and Calcutta", will be held at the library in the month of April.

New on our Site

"Jesuit Contribution to Bengal", a historical article by Fr. Felix Raj, SJ.

Goethals G B Meeting

The first Governing Body Meeting of GILRS was held at St. Xavier’s on January 25, 2002. The G B Members are: Fr. Provincial (President), Fr. Babu Beckers (V.P.), Fr. J Maliyekal (Treasurer), Frs. R. Cordeiro, M. Fohshow, Dominic Savio, Br. Christuraj (Members) and Fr. Felix Raj (Secretary).


The Building of Fort William

As Charnock is the father of Calcutta, so is Eyre, the founder of Fort William. In 1696 a rebellion, headed by a Hindu landowner, Subha Singh and by a malcontent Afghan officer, broke out in Burdwan and through the supineness of the bookish nabob, Ibrahim was allowed to spread till by March, 1697, all the land west of Ganges was in the hands of the malcontents. The European merchants on the Hughli, alarmed for the safety of their settlements, wrote to Dacca for permission to fortify them. The nabob, in reply bade them defend themselves and thus tacitly permitted the construction of the forts at Chinsura, Chandannagar and Calcutta.

On December 23, 1696, the English in Calcutta finding that the rebels who occupied the opposite bank of the river, were "growing abusive," ordered the "Diamond" to ride at anchor off Sutanuti point and keep them from crossing the stream. They also lent the "Thomas" to the governor of the Thana fort, south of Calcutta, to lie off it as a guard ship.

- From "A short History of Old Fort William", by C R Wilson, Bengal Past & Present, vol I, July to Dec 1907. pp 30-46.


The Opening of the East Indian Railway
by G H

August 15, 1854 is a date worth remembering, for it was the day on which the first passenger train steamed out of Howrah and the first section of the East Indian Railway was opened for public traffic, well may it have been called by the enthusiastic journalists of the time ‘A red letter day in the ides of progress"…..

There were no less than three thousand applications for tickets by this first train and of course the great majority were disappointed as the accommodation was barely sufficient for a tenth of that number. A public holiday had been suggested, but this idea was not adopted as the Railways was obviously not in a position to deal with an immense crowd….

We now pass to the official opening of the railway. Saturday, February 3, 1855, was the day chosen and Burdwan was the scene of the festivities that followed, but unfortunately owing to severe indisposition, Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General, could not do more than attend the ceremony at Howrah station. Lord Dalhousie’s absence was a great disappointment he had taken the greatest interest in the railway and had looked forward to being present, but it was out of the question and in a sympathetic letter to Mr. Stephenson he wrote:- "I shall be present at Howrah but I am conscious that I am wholly unfit for the performance of the remainder of the task, which would invoke a railway journey of 150 miles, a midday banquet and the addressing of 400 people under a Bengal sun."

- Bengal Past & Present, Vol II, Pt.I, Jan-July 1908. Pages 55-61.


A Report: From the First issue of the "Xaverian"
Vol. 1, No. 1, 1905.

[Extracts from the Report of the Commission appointed by the Senate of the Calcutta University for the Inspection of Calcutta Colleges.]

"The organization of St. Xavier’s College has the completeness of the whole Jesuit system of education along with special adaptation to the requirements of the regulations of the Calcutta University ………"

"St. Xavier’s College has large and well fitted lecture rooms for Physics and Chemistry and its collection of apparatus and supply of Chemicals are far above the actual requirements of the ordinary university courses…"

"There is resident accommodation for 16 Christian students in the college itself and a hostel for Hindu students at 63 Taltola Lane…"

"The library contains 2,490 volumes and is considered adequate for its purposes by the Fathers…"

"There is a very full staff of 12 Fathers specially qualified by the Jesuit system of training and assisted by two lectures from outside for Oriental languages."

"Altogether St. Xavier’s is a great educational institution thoroughly organised and worked.

- The Xaverian, Vol.1, 1905. No. 1. pp 26.27


The Army of the Great Mutiny

In 1857, in Bengal alone, irrespective of contingents, locals and military police, there were 1,37,000 regular troops, of whom close to 20,000 were cavalry.

A very large number of these were Poorbeahs, as they were called, or men of the eastern provinces; in other words Rajputs and Brahmin clans from Oudh.

In the ranks of the regular army, men stood mixed up as chance might befall. There was no separating by class and clan into companies.

The Bengal regiments were leavened with a considerable number of Muhammadans and after the Sikh wars with some Sikhs.

- An extract from "The Armies of India" by G F Mac Munn. London. 1911. pp 84. Book No: 3D/115.


Book – Reviews

  1. Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries by Deborah F Sawyer. This book focusses on religion during the period of Roman imperial rule and its significance in women’s lives. It discusses the rich variety of religious expression, from pagan cults and classical mythology to ancient Judaism and early Christianity and the wide array of religious functions fulfilled by women. The author analyses key examples from each context, creating a vivid image of this crucial period which laid the foundations of Western civilization. Published by Routledge. London. 1996.

  2. Vedic and Aryan India: Evolution of political, legal and military systems by H S Bhatia. The author has not restricted his vision while carrying out historical investigation but has brought our authentic researches on Indian History for getting at the truth in a scientific manner. The various topics discussed are Epochs of ancient Indian history, polity of ancient India, Law in ancient India, Royal power in ancient India, local self government, gambling in ancient India, along with the Game of the Science of War. Published by Deep & Deep Publications. New Delhi. 2001.

  3. The Armies of India by G F Mac Munn. The book starts with the Army of the Honourable East India Company, the two great Mahratta Wars, the Army of the Great Mutiny, the Indian Armies under the Crown, the Military races of India, the Indian Army in 1911 and the Armies of the Native States. Published by Adam & Charles Black. London. 1911.


Old St. James’s
The Church that Fell by E W M

Where many an enthusiast
Has worshipped- but that day is past! …
No vesper hymn, no morning prayer,
Shall be put up, or answered, there.
- Derozio

At the present day there are but few persons in Calcutta who can recall the old church of St. James which fell fifty years ago. It was situated towards the eastern end of the town, north of Creek Row, between Dharamtala and Bow Bazar… Among these shops to the south of one occupied by a modi (grain-dealer) stands a tottering gate–pillar with the crumbling fragment of a wall behind it. This is all that remains today of old St. James’s Church….

After St. James Church fell Mr. H A Elliott, a grandson of the donor, bought back part of the land, while another portion was purchased by a local for a bazar….

The exact date does not appear in the church records, but it is said to have fallen on Sunday, August 22nd, about 10.20 am, while the congregation were assembling for service in the school-room in the church compound….

Mr. Thomas A Madge (of the Madge’s lane family) was organist of old St. James’ for over thirty years, including the period he continued as such of the new church.

St. James is not the only church in Calcutta that has disappeared. St. Anne’s (consecrated in 1709) at the south-western corner of Writers Buildings, was destroyed in the siege of 1756. Then there were the Old Roman Catholic Church (1720), the Anglican Chapel of St. John (1760); and St. John’s R. C. Chapel in Upper Circular Road (1808), which has after a century been rebuilt. At Howrah, across the river, the former Baptist Chapel (1821), known as the "Ebenezer" Chapel, and situated near Cullen Place, was removed in 1865 owing to the East Indian Railway Company having acquired the site…

- Bengal Past & Present, Vol. II, Pt1, Jan-July. 1908. Pages 145-151.


Pandua and the Pandua Minar
by D G Crawford

Pandua is a large and important village, the headquarters of the thana of the same name, about seventeen miles north-west of Chinsura. Next to Satgaon, it is the oldest place in Hughli District.

It was once the capital of a Hindu Raja, and is famous as the site of a great victory, gained by the Musalmans, under Shah Safi, over the Hindus, about AD 1340.

The story of the Musalman conquest of Pandua is legendary rather than historical though it seems certain that such a conquest did take place, and that the conqueror’s name was Shah Safi, the details of this story are legendary, and the supernatural details probably a comparatively late addition…

- Bengal Past & Present, Vol II, Pt. I & Pt II, Jan to July 1908. Pages 431-438.


New Arrivals

  1. Bharata Vidya – Journal of Bharata Vidya Charcha Kendra. Edited by B. Chattopadhyay. (Vol. I) B V C K, Burdwan. 2001.

  2. Dynamics of Ambedkar Ideology by D R Jatava. Sublime publishers. Jaipur. 2001.

  3. Gandhi and Ambedkar – Saviors of Untouchables by S. Chavan. Authors Press. Delhi 2001.

  4. History of the Bengali–Speaking People by N. Sengupta. UBS Publishers. New Delhi, 2001.

  5. History of Western Political Thought by R. S. Chaurasia. Atlantic Publishers. New Delhi. 2001.

  6. Indica 2001 – Special Jubilee Volume – 2001. Edited by A. A. Mascarenhas, St. Xavier’s College Society. Mumbai, 2001.

  7. Manorama Year Book – 2001. Malayala Manorama. Calcutta. 2001.

  8. On Great Master Hongyi’s Art by Xiling Seal Engraving Society. X S E S. China. 2000.

  9. Origins of the Anglo-Indian Community by G A Wilson-de-Roze. Cameo Book, Kolkata. 2001.

  10. Sanskriti Pujon (Hindi) – edited Sadichar Darshan. Sat Vichar Darshan. Mumbai, 2002.

  11. The Anglo-Indian Archives by Melvyn Brown. Anglo-Indian. Calcutta. 2001.

  12. The Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors by Ram Sharma. Book Enclave. Jaipur 2001.

  13. Till Death Do Us Part by Mahasweta Devi. Segull Books. Calcutta, 2001.

  14. Women and Religion in the First Christian Centuries by D F Sawyer Routledge. London. 1996.


Mails & Emails

Dear Father,
One of the few things I have learnt about Ivanovitch Poderzaj is that his brother was a prominent Catholic priest in India. So, I was excited when a simple web search turned up the name, Fr. S. Poderzaj, SJ in your archives (no. 10). Could you send some information on his origins and career?
Landis MacKellar, Scotland

Dear Father,
I wish you the best in all your projects.
Matthieu Goethals, Belgium

Dear Father,
Thank you so much for your helpful response. Through your generous advice, I have already contacted the ATLA microfilm preservation department to purchase the Light of the East series from them.
Sean M. Doyle, UK

Dear Father,
I am currently studying at the British Museum, London. The topic of my thesis is "The Bourbon Dynasty in India". Hosten’s "Mirza zu-l Qarnain" -A Christian grandee of the three Great Moghuls" is a good starting point.
Frances de Bourbon, UK


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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