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Goethals News Bulletin
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. V No. 3 Bulletin July-September 2002

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


News Update

The Goethals library wishes to thank Fr. George Gispert–Sauch, SJ for the gift of the book, "The writings of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay", vol II edited and annotated by Julius Lipner and George Gispert-Sauch, SJ. Published by the United Theological College, Bangalore. 2002.

An Exhibition on "Indian Art & Architecture" will be hosted at the Goethals Library from the 26th to the 30th of August 2002. Monday to Friday (9-5pm). All are invited to attend. Old, rare books and plates will be put on display.

Fr. Felix Raj, Director is back from his USA trip. He thanks all for their prayers and support.


Researchers at Goethals

Mr. Santanu Mitra from Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, M/O Commerce & Industry, visited the library to do research on Indian History and Art. He has joined as an Annual member.

Mr. Hubert Robin Gomez from "Contour Creations" visited the library to do research on the Portuguese in India and Goa.

Dr. Indrani Mukerjee visited the library to see the collection of books, periodicals, documents and curios.

Mr. Arun Kumar De, an ex-Xaverian (1958-61): did research on the History of Bengal and Calcutta as well as the Environment. He has taken a life membership.

Ms. Kim Changsan from Bishop’s College did research on Human Rights of Dalit women and other social issues.

Mr. Tapas Biswas from Bishop’s College did research on Keshub Chandra Sen’s interpretation of Christ and its contemporary relevance.

Student Researchers from St. Xavier’s College were Avishek Guha Niyogi, Manka Hansdah, Priyanka Aich, Jayita Chatterjee, Arani Banerjee, Sohini Chattopadhyay, Ranajoy Sen and Divya Hansda.

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Gandhiji and Partition

After this event, Gandhiji felt alone; but he did not give up the battle. He went to see the Viceroy. He started arguing with him that ‘the latter had no right to divide India before quitting’. The Viceroy’s answer was, ‘Mr Gandhi, today the Congress is no longer with you; it is with me’. Gandhiji did not give expression to his anger; but he wrote a long letter to the Viceroy as he left Delhi by train for Calcutta. When the letter was finished at Patna, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur returned with it to Delhi to have it handed over to Lord Mountbatten by Pandit Nehru. He was trying to "by-pass the Congress". In this letter, Gandhiji wrote: ‘Dear Friend, It strikes me that I should summarize what I said and wanted to say but left unfinished for want of time at our last Sunday’s meeting. Whatever may be said to the contrary, it would be a blunder of the first magnitude for the British to be party in any way whatsoever to the division of India. If it has to come, let it come after the British withdrawal as a result of understanding between the parties or an armed conflict which according to Qaide-e-Azam Jinnah is taboo’. You must remember that a man who was said to be frightened of violence was recommending that if partition was to come let it come through agreement or as a result of war. It must not appear to be the Britisher’s doing.

In spite of these endeavours of Gandhiji, partition eventually came, and when it did come, strange things began to happen all over the country. Gandhiji decided that his place was no longer in Delhi, but somewhere else. He wanted to go to Noakhali, and so came to Calcutta. But his heart was heavy, for the Khudai Khidmatgars of the Frontier had been shamefully let down by Congress acceptance of the British offer. So he wanted to go there also and, if possible, work in the villages of the Pathans. Why did he do this? Was he taking refuge in little bits of social work to comfort the people? Was he giving up his whole political mission? It was not that at all.

-An extract from "Gandhi in Indian Politics" by N K Bose and P H Patwardhan. Published by Lalvani Publishing House. Bombay. 1967. Pg. 49.

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Growth of the Settlement of Hooghly

Towards the latter part of the sixteenth century, the greater part of the Bengal trade had passed into the hands of the Portuguese. Hooghly, Satgaon and Chittagong were not their only ports and settlements, but they had also Hijili, Banja, Dacca and many other small ports. The extent of the Portuguese Trade in Hooghly can be imagined from the fact that they paid over 100,000 tangas or rupees as custom duties to the Mughals …

The Portuguese were equally well thriving on the side of Chittagong and owned innumerable Bandels or Bunders on the banks of the Ganges, of the Brahmaputra and of their various tributaries. In fact at this time more important events were occurring on the coast of Arakom and in the islands at the mouths of the Ganges than in Hooghly.

In course of time the Portuguese of Hooghly became really independent of the Mughal Emperor in as much as they discontinued to pay the nominal tribute despite the remonstrations of the Mughal Governor.

The ‘Shah Jahannama’ refers to the fact that the Portuguese had lands on both sides of the Hooghly and they collected revenue from them.

Even at the time when the "Ain-i-Akbari" was written (1596-97), Hooghly had supplanted the historic Satgaon, and both these ports were in the possession of the Portuguese.

- An extract from "History of the Portuguese in Bengal" by J J A Campos. Published by Butterworth & Co. London, 1919. Pages 56-57.

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G I T A

Gita or Bhagavadgita is a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna. In the great war between the Kurus and Pandus. Krishna acted as a charioteer to Arjuna. When, for the first time, Krishna led the chariot before the embattled array of hostile kings and heroes, Arjuna’s heart sickened at the anticipation of the terrible carnage. A spirit of sorrow and dejection overpowered him. Krishna cheered him up and encouraged him to do his duty, for by duty performed without any selfish motive, said he, comes purity of heart and from purity of heart comes true knowledge, and true knowledge is salvation. The words of Krishna by which he encouraged Arjuna to engage himself in the fight, unmindful of success or failure, without any motive for gain, together with Arjuna’s queries, and written in verse by Vyasa in a section of the Mahabharata, form what is known as Gita. It contains eighteen chapters and seventeen hundred verses.’

Gita is a treasure-house of Hindu wisdom and piety. It is a harmonious epitome of the different schools of Indian philosophy. It is the quintessence of the Upanishads. During the present religious upheaval in India, Gita has been brought to the forefront, and translated, admired, philosophised upon, and utilised as an unimpeachable authority in doctrinal disputes, by the neo-Hindu revivalists. The Hindus say that it teaches the identity of Paramatma (Supreme Soul) with the Jivatma (human soul); the Brahmos assert that it teaches pure theism, while there are men amongst the Arya Samajists who go so far as to affirm that it teaches the eternity of God, man, and matter too. Amidst such confusion it is desirable that the principal doctrines inculcated in a book which has played and is playing such an important part in the religious history of India, be rightly known.

Gita teaches three fundamental doctrines:

  1. The identity of the Supreme Soul with human souls;

  2. Transmigration;

  3. Divinity of Krishna.

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The Princes of India

The Maharaja is strictly orthodox and does not dine with Europeans. He has never been to Europe mainly because of the difficulties the strict Hindu has to face in crossing the seas.

On the other hand, his brother and heir the Yuvaraja, lives in Western style and frequently visits Europe. He is fond of dancing and cultivates the society of Europeans.

The Maharaja despite his orthodox habits, dispenses a great deal of hospitality – for example, he gives dances at his palace in the hills of Ootacamund: hunt-breakfasts at the same place, where he rides to hounds himself; tennis parties and attractive musical evenings in the palace at Mysore.

On these occasions the best exponents of Indian music are requisitioned: the members of the palace string band play chamber music: there is usually an organ recital.

The Maharaja is fond of Western Classical music and was at one time an extreme violinist. He usually has an English private secretary to help in the palace entertainments.

- An extract from "The Princes of India" by William Barton, London, 1934. pp 144. Book No: 3A/149

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The Five Periods of the Bengal Renaissance

  1. From 1815, when Raja Ram Mohan Roy settled in Calcutta and launched his academic and reformation blitzkrieg, till 1833 when he died. There would be several other years which would be strong contenders for the little of zero year, eg 1817, the year of the founding of Hindu College and the school book Society by David Hare, or 1826 when Derozio started his career as a teacher in Hindu College and shortly afterwards launched his famous Academic Association.

  2. From 1833 to 1857 from Raja Ram Mohan’s death to the great upheavel of 1857.

  3. From 1857 (the Great Mutiny) to 1885 (the founding of Indian National Congress).

  4. From 1885 to 1905, ie. from the establishment of the Congress to the first partition of Bengal.

  5. From 1905 to 1919 – from Partition and Swadeshi Movement to the Non-Cooperation Movement and the advent of Mahatma Gandhi’s overwhelming leadership.

- An extract from "History of the Bengali-Speaking People" by Nitish Sengupta. UBSPD. New Delhi. 2001. Book No: 9B/194.

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Nasar-ud-Din Khusru Shah

One of the enigmas of medieval Indian history, is Nasar-ud-Din Khusru. His origin cannot be easily determined, his earlier career is unknown, the nature and the extent of revolution which his accession to the throne brought about is shrouded in mystery. It is time an attempt was made to state the questions that arise in this connection even though it may not always be possible to get all the answers.

Till recently it was possible to dismiss the whole episode as the story ‘a wretch’ who had bewitched Mubarak and thereby succeeded ultimately in desecrating the throne of Delhi by occupying it.’ The earliest published account we had, was that of Barni. It was added to and embellished later on by Badauni, Bakshi Nizam-ud-Din and Firishta. Eliot’s translations provided the last stick that broke the camel’s back.

Khusru was described as a Parwari (scavenger) from Gujarat enslaved and converted to Islam during Ala-ud-Din’s reign.’ He might have been brought to the Court between 1299 and 1306 A.D., the dates of the two invasions of Gujarat. The next we hear of him is when he was conducting the government of the country as Prime Minister of Mubarak and successfully leading the royal armies in the south. When we come to the end of the reign, Khusru changed colour and became ‘a vile wretch’ till he ultimately ascended the throne. Then he became something still more sinister till Ghias-ud Din Tughlaq had him killed.

As it was, this account left two things unexplained. How was it that a youngman with his comely face alone to recommend him to his master carried on successfully the burden of administration during Mubarak’s reign ?

- An article on "Nasar-ud-Din Khusru Shah" by Prof. Ram Sharma. Published in the Indian Historical Quarterly. Vol. XXVI No. 1. March, 1950. pp 27.

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Diamonds in India
by Parasuramayya Pingaly

For several centuries, India stood alone as supplier of diamonds to the world. Most of the celebrated diamonds which found their way to Europe were taken from India. It was Southern India which produced the historic Pitt or regent diamond, which was purchased in 1796 from a dealer by the then Governor of Madras, Mr. Pitt, and subsequently sold to the Duke of Orleans for 135,000 Pounds and is now valued 452,000 Pounds. The still more celebrated Kohinoor now the largest diadem in the British Crown, is also of Indian origin, having been found in one of the Golconda mines, near the Kistna river. Most of us know the legend that this brilliant stone was worn 5,000 years ago by Karna, one of the heroes of the Mahabharata.

There are promising diamond-bearing areas in the Nizam’s Dominions while in North-East Panna there is an important tract where large diamonds are obtained, which though not of the first water are believed to exist in inexhaustible strata.

The Kistna and the Godavari diamond tracts, lying partly within the jurisdiction of the Madras Presidency and partly within the Nizam’s Dominions, were long famous all over the world, as the Golconda mines. Indeed, before the discovery of the diamond in Brazil and the Cape, Golconda in India, and Borneo in the Indian Archipelago, were the only two diamond-bearing countries known to the world. Even so recently as in the time of Tavernier the Golconda Diamond Mining Industry was flourishing on a very ambitious scale. The first time Tavernier visited the diamond-bearing locality of Kollur in the Sattenapalli Taluk of Guntur district in the Presidency of Madras, he found about 60,000 persons at work -men, women and children – the men being employed to dig and women and the children to carry earth.

At the present day, the value of the diamonds produced in this country is very much below a half of a lakh annually. More than a third of the present total value must be placed to the account of the Panna mines.

The output of Indian diamonds is comparatively so small, only because of the rough and primitive methods which are still adopted by our diamond diggers.

- An article extract from the "Modern Review", Vol LXXIV, July-Dec. 1943. pp 305.

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New Arrivals

A Dictionary of Marxist Thought
edited by T Bottomore & others. Published by Worldview Publications, Delhi. 2000.

Bharatiya Shreshtha Kahaniiyan in Hindi, volume I,
edited by S Asha. Published by Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad, Calcutta. 1992.

Kargil War
by P Swami. ‘Published by Left Word Books, New Delhi. 2000.

L’ Erection de la Croix
by P Rubens. Published by Editions de Lassa, Belgium. 1992.

Shatadal – 100 poems in Hindi
edited by P Churibal. Published by Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad, Calcutta. 1991.

The Writings of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay – Vol. II,
edited by J Lipner and G Gispert-Sauch SJ. Published by United Theological College. Bangalore. 2002.

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Mails & Emails

Dear Father, The book: Schola Cordis by the Jesuit Van Haeften from the Netherlands Baroque Age is filled with highly inspiring allegorical and symbolical pictures about the heart - understood in its emotional, affective and moral valence.
Patrick Shaw

Dear Father, Thank you for the Goethals Newsletter which I always find of great interest.
Sr. S M Cyril, Principal, Loreto Sealdah

Dear Father, I am researching my families past which has Calcutta connections, in the late 1800' and early 1900’s.
John Poole

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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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