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Goethals News Bulletin
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. VI No. 2 Bulletin April - June 2003

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


News Update

Goethals Library Project: GILRS has started a project called "Daniels for Public View". Digital colour prints of the 144 plates of Oriental Scenery by Thomas Daniel and his nephew William (1791) are being made for the purpose of regular exhibitions in various places so that people can view and appreciate the beautiful plates on many historical places of India. The project should be over by the end of July. The Goethals library is proud to own the complete set in 6 volumes. Those who want to view the originals are welcome to the library.

  • A study made by GILRS on the "Religious faith of Kolkatans" has been published in the ‘Popoli’ magazine, April 2003 issue.

  • The Goethals Library will host an exhibition of books on "Indian Philosophy and Religion" from 21st to the 26th of July. All are welcome.

  • Cleaning, preservation and fumigation of all the books was done in the month of April, 2003.

  • We thank Prof. P Lal for the donation of several books written and published by him at Writers Workshop (WW).

  1. Mahabharata transcreated by P Lal (Vols 1-231)

  2. Upanishads (21 Vols)

  3. "Be vocal in times of Beauty"

  4. Lessons

  5. Collected Poems

  6. Bhagawad Gita.

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Researchers at Goethals

  • Fr. T Nishant, SJ: He did research on the Musahars: Cultural life of a Dalit Community in Bihar. Fr. Nishant SJ is from Bihar, he is studying at the Mumbai University.

  • Mr. Dhendup Tshering Namchu is studying the history of Calcutta and Bengal. He is an ex-student of St. Joseph’s College, North Point, Darjeeling.

  • Mr. Kamalendu Dakshit from Salt Lake, visited the library to do research on Indian history and Indian Classical Literature.

  • Mr. Sibadas Chaudhuri, a research investigator of the Asiatic Society, is compiling a concise Biographical notices of the Members and Associates of the Asiatic Society.

  • Mr. Themistocles D’Silva, visited the library to do research on the history of villages in Goa. He is from the USA and was an ex-student of St. Xavier’s Bombay.

  • Ms. Cheryl Francis has made a study on the influence of the Jesuits on Mother Teresa for Goethals Library and for publication in POPOLI and LIL-HBIEBNA. The two magazines are planning to publish this article in October 2003 when Mother Teresa will be beatified. A survey among Catholic students in colleges on their response to religious life is in progress.

  • Ms. Neeta Mutum discovered the library on the Internet she visited to do research on Indian Art & Architecture.

  • Sr. Mary Huber from New York, visited the library to do research on Women in India.

  • Students who visited the library were Ms. Esha Datta, Mr. Kingshuk Banerjee, Mr. Vikram Verma, Mr. Vikas Keyal and others.

A Reminder: Quite a few rare books have disappeared from the Goethals Library over the years. This note is to remind those who by forgetfulness might have the Goethals’ books in their shelves, to return them as early as possible. "Better late than never."


History of St. Xavier’s
by (Late) Fr. Verstraeten

1879: This year 9 students passed the Entrance examination, one of them stood second in the list. In BA none passed, but one passed in MA.

From the previous year the College fees had been raised from Rs. 5 to Rs. 6 per month. The increased income was to be used for the development of the College library.

During the month of July several of the fathers and brothers were down with brain fever, or cholera, Brother Krynen was very ill, several of the students also were ill; the only valid people were the Rector Fr Van Impe, and the prefect of studies Fr Henry, who took care of the numerous sick fathers and students.

On 18 August, the wheel of one of the buses broke down, and some of the boys were thrown violently to the ground.

The St Xavier’s College Observatory continued its weekly reports of meteorological observations in the IEC, signed this year by Fr Bruhl SJ.

In the realm of Astronomy, Fr A de Penaranda made several elaborate contributions to the IEC about solar and lunar eclipses, about the planets in general, and more particularly about the planet Mars.

During the year 1879, the whole college building was under repairs for three months, to enlarge rooms and improve ventilation. The Observatory was being fitted with astronomical equipment, as funds permitted. The Rector also planned to establish scholarships in the School department for talented boys unable to pay for their education.

The Annual Prize Distribution took place on 10 and 11 December, presided over on the first day by Archbishop Goethals, and on the second day by Sir Richard Garth, Chief Justice of the High Court of Bengal. On both days the function was preceded by a dramatic performance, "The Dream of Ambition". The Chief Justice was full of praise for the excellent performance.

- From "Annals of St. Xavier’s College Calcutta", 1835-1935. Compiled by (Late) Fr. A. Verstraeten. pp 118.

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On the Antiquities of Guzerat
By Captain H. Mackenzie

"Guzerat City and Fort - There are few antiquities in this district and of these few, little is known. Guzerat itself is considered to be of great antiquity: a town had existed here in former ages. I have not heard of any antique coins having been found in Guzerat itself, by which any perfectly trustworthy dates might be fixed, but there seems no reason to doubt that it was a place of some importance prior to Greek invasion. A Hindoo Raja named Raja Buchanpal, a Soorujbunsee, who emigrated from the lower Gangetic Doab to the Punjab, is said to have first built a city here, and called it Oodanuggree, the Everlasting or Sweet Smelling City. It is not known when this city ceased to exist, but it is recorded that in Sumbut 175 or 1740 years ago, Ranee Guzran, wife of Raja Budr Sain, (son of Raja Risaloo of Sealkote) rebuilt the city, and called it Guzran Nuggree. This too passed away. In Sumbut 1350, Sultan Mahmud Guzniwalla laid it waste, and it seems to have remained so until 285 years afterwards, when the Emperor Akbur Shah chose the ancient mound as the site for a stronghold.

The year 996 Hijree, A.D. 1580, is fixed upon as the date of its erection. It seems not improbable that the Emperor Shere Shah may have had a hand in it at an early period; for, after building the fortress of Rhotas, he is reported to have taken much pains to settle this part of the country, so long disturbed by the contumacy of the Ghukkers. In those days there was no stronghold in the Ghuj Doab to mark the Imperial power, and it was the high road between Dehli and Cabul. Thus the position as well as the features of the locality were favourable. The Emperor therefore decided to build a fortress on the present site of Guzerat. The story goes on to say that according to the old Asiatic principle "Minuk az Sirkar," "Arud az Bazar," the Emperor proposed that the inhabitants of the country should bear half the expense. But the Jats, in whose, section of the Doab it was situated, objected, and the Emperor was obliged to turn for assistance to the Goojurs who inhabited the neighbouring country to the west. The sum required was one lakh and a quarter, but the idea of having a Goojur Fort in the country of the Jats was so tempting, that the Goojurs agreed to raise the money. Futty Mahomed Chondra of Varaichanwalla, a village near Dingah, took the lead in the matter, but the cash was advanced by Adum, a wealthy Goojur of Dingah. This man, however, was so unlettered that he could only give the cash by measure, and he accordingly meted it out in a Tossa measure. His descendants are known to this day, as the Tossa division of Goojurs and the names of the villages they own and inhabit, all have the prefix of Tossa, thus Tossa Oosman, Tossa Adum, &c. &c.

The fort was thus built with the assistance of the Goojurs and called conjointly after them and the Emperor "Goojerat Akberabad." This so vexed the Jats that they soon after sent a deputation to the Emperor at Dehli, and tried to induce him to change the name. But the Emperor refused to do so, and only consented to mark off their country as a separate Turuf with any name the Jats might choose to give it. They chose the name of Herat, from the Persian province of that name being their real or supposed place of origin."
- From the "Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal." Vol. XXXIII, Calcutta, 1865. pp 402,403.

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On the Buddhist Remains of Sultanganj
By Babu Rajendralala Mitra

Ascending the Ganges from Bhagalpur, the first object of interest which arrests the attention of the traveller is a singular mass of granite towering abruptly to the height of about a hundred feet from the bed of the river. Its natural beauty and romantic situation have long since dedicated it to the service of religion; and Jangirah, the name of the rock in question, has been associated with many a tale of love and arms. It stands at a distance of about a hundred yards from the right bank immediately opposite to the mart of Sultanganj, and is surmounted by a small stone temple which is visible from a great distance, and serves as a beacon tower to the mariner. The presiding deity of the sanctuary is named Gaibinatha, a form of Siva whose identity I cannot ascertain. Along with him are associated a number of statues and images whom the resident priests hold in such slender respect that they did not object to my scratching some of them with a penknife to ascertain the nature of the stones of which they are made.

The temple bears no inscription, and the attended Brahmans could not give me any information regarding its history. Judging however, from its make and appearance, I believe it cannot be more than two or three centuries old. Around it is resituated a few low rooms for the accommodation of the priests.

The face of the rock is covered by a number of bassi-relievi, most of which are Hindu and include representations of Ganesa, Hanumana, Krishna, Radha, Vamana, Ananta sleeping on a snake, Siva and other Pauranic divinities. But there are a few which are decidedly of Buddhist and Jain origin. The Buddhist figures, mostly Buddha in the meditative posture, occupy more centrical positions than the Hindu ones and appear to be more worn away than the latter; both circumstances affording conclusive evidence of the place having been originally a Buddhist sanctuary which the Brahmans have appropriated to themselves since the downfall of Buddhism. A Jain temple still exists on one side of the rock to which a few pilgrims occasionally come to offer their adoration to Paras wanatha the 23rd teacher of the sect.
- From the "Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal", Vol XXXIII, Calcutta, 1865 pp 360.

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The Spirit of India

Go to the Taj Mahal and see there the wonders of love in art. Shah Jehan, one of the richest of Mogul Emperors, loved his chief wife with burning sincerity. And she was worthy of his love. She was beautiful and good. At least so we are told. Her name was Mumtaz i Mahal (Exalted of the Palace), and she was a gracious presence in the royal household. But she died. Shah Jehan was so grief stricken that he decided to build for her a monument that would be a joy for ever. And so he built the Taj Mahal. It has been a joy ever since the last marble stone was placed on its noble dome. I am not to describe it. There are things in the world that defy description as completely as poetry defies translation. Its beauty is in its love; it has the mould and spirit of love. Not the strong, virile love of a man of the sword, but the gentle, sweet affection of one refined heart for another.

Shah Jehan saw in his lovely wife something that was very precious, not alone to him but to the whole world. We can all enter into sympathy with him. Life generally is an ugly disorder. It scrambles in a covert selfishness; beauty it buys and sells; there is nothing sacred to it. Its mouth is gory with the blood of trusting innocence. Shah Jehan, craving for love and beauty, found both in his wife. She was to him what the world was not. He saw in her the personification of all that was fair and gentle in life, and so this poet in an emperor’s robes resolved that his wife’s graces and goodness should sing to generations in an imperishable sonnet. The Taj Mahal is the result.

Shah Jehan was no singer. His responsibilities were too great. He could feel beauty; he could not express it. But there were thousands willing to carry out his behests. He commissioned those with skill to build for him a flower in stone-a gentle, loving, beauteous flower. That is what the Taj is. It speaks no harsh word. It is soft, chaste, modulated.

It has a woman’s tenderness and a white, transfiguring holiness. Love gleams pure and exalted from pinnacle and dome. Study the lines of the Taj. They are all slender and exquisite. Carving, dome, shadows – all light, kindly and benevolent. The sun makes it shimmer like a queen; but it is a queen robed in love and a fragrant goodness. The Taj does not command; it only smiles and enchants. It has power, but it is the power of a pearly star in a vast darkness ...........
- An extract from "The Spirit of India" by W J Grant. Published by B T Batsford. London, 1938. Book no: 55G-4, pp 52,53.

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New Arrivals

  1. India and "The Dedicated" – towards the rise of a Nation by M Ray and A B Ray, Published by Manuscript India, Howrah, 2003.

  2. Rabindranath Tagore’s, Concepts of State, Nation and Nationalism by K N Mukherjee. Published by Punthi Pustak, Kolkata, 2003.

  3. Santhal Women – A social profile by C Sahu. Published by Sarup & Sons. New Delhi, 2002.

  4. Tribal Development in India by A Kumar. Published by Sarup & Sons, New Delhi, 2002.


Mails & Emails

I visited your beautiful and informative web page and found your article on Thirukkural. Congratulations for your attempt. Based on the information provided in your page, I have indicated that Thirukkural belongs to the year 31 BC. The period of Auvvaiyar is not very clear. However, there is a story that Auvvaiyar helped Thiruvalluvar in getting Thirukkural accepted by the Tamil Sangam. Based on this, can we take that Auvvaiyar also lived during the same period (31 BC)?
Dr. R Sridhar, Cuttak

Sri Sandeep Chowdhury of Chennai, has gifted a life subscription of the Vedanta Kesari under the UK Library scheme for 10 years and he has chosen your library as the awardee institution. Kindly make it available to the readers in the library for their benefit.
Swami Jnanadananda, Chennai

I am a student from Assam, currently working on a paper on the Indian Rhino Rhinoceros unicornis. I am interested in plates of the fossil rhino found in the Siwalik Hills, which was described by Hugh Falconer.
Maan Barua , Assam

We wish you a Happy Easter. Indeed one needs to pray for peace in today’s world. Hope you received my novel Kalikatha via Bypass, which I had sent for the library.
Alka Saraogi, Kolkata

I would like to become a Life Member of the Goethals Library. I am interested in Ornithology and maintain a Bibliographic database on the Ornithology of the Indian region.
Aasheesh Pittie, Hyderabad

I seek your kind permission to collect biographical information of the members of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta: 1865-1904, available in your center. I would also like to have the biographical information regarding Dr. Goethals and Dr La Font who were associated with the Asiatic Society.
S Chaudhuri, Kolkata

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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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