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Goethals News Bulletin
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. VI No. 1 Bulletin January - March 2003

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


News Update

  1. Mr. B. M. Khaitan, Chairman, Williamson Magor & Co. Ltd., visited the library and saw the Daniell paintings on display.

  2. ALSOC’S work at Goethals: One group of ALSOC members visited the library to videofilm the library section. ALSOC also brought a photographer to re-photograph old photos of the school and college from the old St. Xavier’s albums, in the library. Mr. Gaurav Roy, a B.Sc. student from Asutosh College is presently doing research on SXCS on behalf of ALSOC. He is going through the old issues of the Xaverian and the St. Xavier’s Magazine.

  3. An Exhibition on "Indian Philosophy and Religion" will be held from the 21st to 26th April. All are invited.
    Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 4.30 pm and on Saturday 9.30 am to 12.00 noon.

  4. Publication: Fr. Felix Raj, "Pricing Policy" I and II, The Statesman, January 10 and 11, 2003, Kolkata.

  5. Lectures:

  • Fr. Felix Raj presented a paper on the Economic Ideas of Kautilya and Thiruvalluvar and their relevance in the new Millennium in a seminar organized by Swadeshi Research Institute, at Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata on 12th December, 2002.

  • Fr. Felix Raj gave a lecture on Rethinking Development as Liberation to the students of Economics Department, SXC on 13th December 2002.


Researchers at Goethals

Dr. Bhaskar Sen: Research on Philosophy, Science and Technology, Astronomy, Ayurvedas i.e. Inter-Disciplinary Research with Philosophy as the focal point with special emphasis on Indian Philosophy and Tibetan Philosophy.

Mohammed Khalid Mustafa: Studying Islam with reference to the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammed and also on the Islamic view of women and family.

Ms. Dumoulin: From France visited the Goethals Library to do research on the History of Calcutta.

Prof. Swati Mustaphi, Lecturer in English at Dr. Kanailal Bhattacharyya College, Howrah. Research on Hindu Iconography – Representation, - Religious context, - Non-Contingent services, - Iconoplanning – Iconometry – Image Classification – Goal of Image Making –Rasa / Bhava Structure – Fluidity in Interpretation.

Mr. Subhay Chattopadhyay: From the Department of History, Visva-Bharati, visited the library to do research on the Jesuits and the Indo-French Trade in Bengal.

Ms. Cheryl Francis conducted a survey on the God experience of people belonging to various professions and different religions in Kolkata. A research on the influence of Jesuits on Mother Teresa is in progress.

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President Kalam on Jesuits

"The country (India) is ruled by differences today. the inculcation of a proper value - system through education is the answer to remove these differences.

If India is to be a developed country by 2020, the role of Jesuits and their educational institutions will be crucial to create an appropriate system of education that will instill human values into people living in that developed society".

 - President Abdul Kalam at the inaugural ceremony of the VI World Congress of Jesuit Alumni.

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History of St. Xavier’s

by Fr. Verstraeten

1866: School reopened on January 12. The previous year had been so successful in every way that there was a large accession of new boys. The College Department too was now regularly constituted. We read of seven students in the first F.A. class and four in the second F.A. In his report, however, to the Director of Public Instruction, the Rector says there are 14 students in the College Department. This was, of course at the end of the year. These classes are called Lower B.A. and upper B.A. classes in the old records. Why we do not know, except perhaps as an inducement to higher things. It has served, also to bother a future historian. It was not till next year that the B.A. class was opened.

The small University Department Staff was constituted as follows:

Religious Instruction: Rev H Depelchin (Rector)

English and Logic: Rev H Everard

Latin: Rev F Carette

Mathematics: Rev L Veys (Prefect of Studies)

History: Rev B Larcher

Father Thomas returned at the beginning of the year to Europe and rejoined the German Province. His place as Professor of Logic was supplied by Father Everard.

There were altogether 380 boys in the school during the year, 94 being boarders, Fourteen attended the College Department classes. There were five buses carrying 100 day scholars to and from school.

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The Centenary of the Abolition of Sutee

When Lord William Bentinck issued on December 4, 1829, the famous Regulation which declared the practice of Suttee to be illegal and punishable by the criminal courts as culpable homicide, most of his contemporaries in England regarded his action, as a rash and dangerous interference with the religious customs of the Hindus. After the lapse of a hundred years, it is interesting to recall that a petition bearing 800 signatures was presented to the Privy Council, praying for the reversal of the order. The result is thus recorded by Charles Greville in an entry of July 12, 1831 :-

The Suttee case was decided at the Privy Council on Saturday last and was not uninteresting. The Chancellor (Lord Brougham), Lord President (Marquess of Lansdowne), Graham, John Russell and Grant, the Master of the Rolls (Sir John Leach), Vice-Chancellor (Sir Lancelot Shadwell), Lord Amherst and Lord Wellesley were present (the latter not the last day) . . . Leach made a very short and very neat speech, condemning the order of the Governor- General, but admitting the danger of rescinding it, and recommending, therefore, that it should be suspended. Sir Edward East, in a long, diffusive harangue, likewise condemned the order, but was against suspension: Sir James Graham was against the order and against suspension: Lord Amherst the same. The rest approved of the order altogether…. The result was that the petition was dismissed.

- From The Editor’s Note Book, Bengal Past & Present. Vol. XXXIX, Jan-June 1930. page 69-70.

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Christ and India
By C F Andrews

It is now more than twenty years ago since the time when I first started out on my first journey from England to India in order to teach as a missionary the principles of Christianity to the Indian people. This work began in the Cambridge University mission in Delhi, where I became a professor at St. Stephen’s College under Principal Rudra. Since then, the experience of India has been a strange reversal of all the things that I had anticipated. Instead of being a teacher I have had to be a learner, learning my lessons with great difficulty and perplexity. To narrate my story very shortly, I have been learning year after year to understand the true meaning of Christ from those who are not called Christians. I have found them often more truly Christian than those who are called by Christ’s name.

My three greatest teachers in more recent years have been Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, and one at Santiniketan, the eldest brother of the Poet, whom we reverently call our Barodada. These three have taught me; more by their inner life and character - than by any spoken words, - the meaning of Christ and his Cross. There was also one who is now dead, a Musalman, called Munshi Zaka Ullah, who showed me by the beauty of his own life what Christ’s own character must have been like in its meekness and humility.

-An extract from "The Modern Review" March 1924. pages 292-294.

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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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Anglo-Indian Women of the Past

One of the problems affecting the welfare of the Eurasian community is the part which womanhood plays in its social uplift. In any community, nation or race-nay among individuals as well - it is woman and woman alone that can make or break. That, in the past, women in the community did play a prominent part is seen when the history of the community is studied from this view-point. Most People, for example, may know of Mrs. Carey, the Eurasian or Anglo-Indian wife of Peter Carey, and how she shared with the others the horrors of the Black Hole of Calcutta.

Dr. Busteed, in his "Echoes from Old Calcutta," states that Mrs. Carey the country-born wife of Peter Carey, Mariner, was buried in the Murgihatta (Catholic Cathedral) Churchyard in 1801. To confirm this statement the entry of her burial has been traced. The following is from the "Calcutta Gazette" of April 2, 1801: "Deaths. On Saturday last (March 28) Mrs. Carey". In the Cathedral Burial Register the entry, which is in Portuguese, runs as follows: "28 Marcs de 1801 Faliceo Maria Carry (sic) fey sep. noadro de Igreja com accompanhamto: de 1 Padre," which may be freely translated thus: "28 March 1801, died Mary Carey; was buried in the churchyard with the accompaniment of one priest." This does not give her age at the time of her death. It was 60 years, for she was but 16 when she entered the Black Hole. There is no inscription over her grave.

It is known that Lady Wheeler, who perished at Cawnpore in 1857 with her husband and children, was of mixed descent. So recent a historian as Fr. Fitchett asserts that she was a Brahman. According to the East Indian Chronologist (Calcutta, 1801) Sir William James, Baronet, Chairman of the East India Company, who had been Commodore of the Bombay Marine was succeeded by his son, Richard, by his second wife, an Indian lady. Sir Richard "was the first Native of Hindustan who succeeded to the hereditary honours of England."

It may be also observed that Mrs. Frances Johnson, the aged lady well-known in Calcutta a century ago as " Begum" Johnson, being the daughter of Governor Crook of Fort St. David, was not strictly speaking a "Native", although it is not altogether impossible that she may have been a Eurasian, just as Job Charnock’s daughters were (of the wife that he had snatched from the funeral pyre). It may be remembered that the "Begum" was wedded to four Englishmen in succession, was the grandmother of the second Earl of Liverpool, Prime Minister of England, and that her funeral in St. John’s Churchyard in 1812 was attended by Lord Minto in his state-coach drawn by six horses.

- from "Bengal Past & Present" Vol XXXIX. January-June, 1930. pages 53-58.

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The Baul-Mela at Santiniketan

The Baul gathering at Santiniketan is held more or less three weeks before Jaydeva-Mela. A fair with rural characteristics is held every year at the ashram premises of Santiniketan on the 7th day of the Bengali month Pous (December -January) to commemorate the foundation day of Santiniketan. On that particular day father of the poet Rabindra Nath Tagore, Maharshi Devendranath, established a miniature ashram for the cultivation of the celebrated Vedas and related Vadic performances. Rabindranath, in later years, gave proper shape to that ashram and ultimately he made the place a full-fledged institution of variegated learning that brought it international fame. Gradually the place could receive All-India importance through the continuous efforts made by Rabindranath. People from different parts of India came here for getting themselves enlightened with the knowledge in different perspectives of life. These efforts received requisite recognition from all over the world and Rabindranath was able to establish here the international seat of learning under the name of Visva Bharati.

During the period of his stay and work over here Rabindranath came in close touch with the Bauls of Birbhum. He had some solid background of Bauls, talked with them and enjoyed their songs and dances from close quarters. In Birbhum he was overwhelmed with the basic philosophy of these rural mendicants and spent a greater part of his time in composing songs based on Baul philosophy and life-style. He used to invite some of the eminent Bauls at Santiniketan when he behaved with them in a very hospitable mood. This tradition is still being maintained here. It is for this reason the Baul song and exposition of Baul culture find a prominent place during the three-day long fair at Santiniketan popularly known as Pousmela.

In the mela premises a temporary Pandal is erected for the shelter of the Bauls who come here through proper invitation from the mela committee.

- An extract from "Bauls of Bengal: In the quest of Man of the Heart". Gian Publishing House, New Delhi, 1990. Written by R M Sarkar. Book No.: 31H/164.

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New Arrivals

  1. Approaches to the Study of Religion edited by Peter Connolly. Cassell Publications. New York. 1999.

  2. Bengalis: The People, History, Culture in 6 volumes by S N Das. Cosmo Publications. New Delhi. 2002.

  3. Book of Prayer edited by R Narayana, Published by Penguin Books India. Viking, New Delhi. 2001.

  4. Demography and Religion in India by Sriya Iyer. OUP. New Delhi. 2002.

  5. Essential writings of B R Ambedkar, edited by Valerian Rodriques. Published by OUP. New Delhi. 2002.

  6. Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life – Hindu and Muslims in India by A Varshney. OUP. New Delhi. 2002.

  7. Globalisation, Hindu Nationalism and Christians in India by Lancy Lobo. Rawat Publications. Jaipur 2002.

  8. India you do not know by P N Chopra and P Chopra (Editors). Sterling Publishers. New Delhi. 1994.

  9. Jesus at 2000 edited by Marcus J Borg, West View Press. USA, 1998.

  10. Kalikatha Via Bypass by Alka Saraogi. Published by Rupa & Co. New Delhi, 2002. Thanks to Mrs. Saraogi for her gift.

  11. Summit of Joy, the Souvenir released at the VI World Congress fo Jesuit Alumni, January 21-24, Kolkata.

  12. Theory of Avatara and divinity of Chaitanya by Janmajit Roy. Published by Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi. 2002.

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Mails& Emails

It was so kind of you to take me round the Goethals library. What I saw was simply fantastic. I am grateful to you for explaining some of the details and also for showing me some of the paintings. I must say they are very beautifully kept.
B. M. Khaitan

Nice to read through the newsletter. I specially liked the quotations on plants. We have them here, but very rare in this part of the world. I liked the other plants too. Please continue.
Robert Athickal

Thanks for the news letter. It gives me the joy in reading through, in Rome, away from home.
Raju, Rome

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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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