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Goethals News Bulletin
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. IX No. 2 Bulletin April - June 2006

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

News Update

Book on Babu : On 25th April 2006, some friends of Fr. Babu Beckers came together and suggested that a book be written on Babu as a tribute to him in English and Bengali. The book would contain experiences of Babu’s close friends and associates, about 20 of them or more, which would be put together in a sequence. Marie Marcel Thekaekara has agreed to work on the book. Fr. Babu is presently at the infirmary of St. Xavier's College. Your prayers are requested for his good health.

Society of Jesus Jubilee Year 2006
in honor of Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier and Peter Faber

The year 2006 marks a triple Jesuit Jubilee: the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Xavier, SJ and of Blessed Peter Faber, SJ, and the 450th anniversary of the death of St. Ignatius Loyola (July 31) The Spirit of the following Founders of the Society of Jesus is being celebrated with a wide variety of events around the world. The jubilee Year officially began December 3, 2005 and ends December 3, 2006.

Saint Ignatius Loyola - died July 31, 1556 in Rome
Saint Francisco de Javier – born April 7, 1506 in Javier at Navarre
Blessed Pierre Favre – born April 13, 1506 in Villaret at Savoie

When Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach announced the jubilee, he said: “The anniversary invites us to examine and intensify our fidelity to the call of the Lord that they were the first to discern and that they followed in such a creative fashion that it continues to challenge us, their companions of the third millennium. We remember especially some aspects of the original spirituality that moved these three companions of Jesus and that continue to challenge the apostolic body of the society today.”


Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Ignatius was one of those unusual characters of the 16th century. A Basque nobleman, he was just over five feet tall. His father entrusted his son’s education to an official at King Ferdinand’s court. Ignatius willingly went through the long training and became a brave knight.

In May 1521, in the battle between Francis I, King of France and the Province of Navarre, Ignatius was wounded in both legs. In hospital he underwent a painful and unsuccessful operation. During the long weary weeks of convalescence at home Ignatius read two books, the “Life of Christ” by Rudolph of Saxony and the “Flos Sanetorium”, which transformed his life.

In 1522 he left home went to the shrine of our Lady of Montserrat near Barcelona. There he hung his sword and dagger as a pledge of his new consecration to Christ and His Mother. For the next year he lived on alms, spending long hours in prayer. There he wrote his “spiritual exercises”, the most efficient and widely used retreat manual today.

Firm in his determination to serve God, but realizing that first he needed the weapon of knowledge, he completed his philosophical and theological studies at Paris University. There he won six men, all brilliant students, one of them was Francis Xavier.

The day came when Ignatius and his companions decided to form themselves into a new community. After much prayer and consultation Ignatius prepared a document, outlining the new order, to be known as the “Society of Jesus”, which was made a religious order by Pope Paul III.

“Ignatius had a real facility for finding God in all things,” his close friends used to say.

The end came suddenly for Ignatius. In 1556 he fell ill. On July 30, he sent Father Polaneo to Vatican for Pope Paul IV’s last blessing. Next morning at sunrise, shortly after the secretary’s return, Father Ignatius quietly died.


Brahmabandhab Upadhyay (1861-1907)

Brahmabandhab Upadhyay’s death centenary celebrations (2007) are being planned at various levels, particularly in the academic circles. He remains one of the enigmas of modern India. Rabindranath Tagore described him thus: ‘He was a Roman Catholic ascetic, yet a Vedantin- spirited, fearless, self-denying, erudite and uncommonly influential.’ During the last four decades, his life and work have become the subject of growing interest among the scholars. His short span of life, 46 years, was the most creative period of Indian history.

To celebrate the death centenary of this great stalwart, religious reformer and religious revivalist, a self confessed ‘Hindu-Catholic’, an activist and social commentator, a drama on his life, philosophy and religious convictions will be staged during the centenary year. The initiative came from the Jesuit forum to take this ‘not so known’ figure to the public through a Bengali play.

Mr. Neelkanto Sengupta, an eminent Play writ, Director and a renowned actor is writing the script in association with Fr. F. Sunil Rosario, Editor of ‘The Herald’ and a Diocesan priest for Calcutta Archdiocese. Among the plays written by Mr. Sengupta and highly acclaimed by the audience are ‘Shodhowar Ekadoshi’ and ‘Daan Sagar’.
Fr. F. Sunil Rosario


Indo-US Nuclear Deal

The Swadeshi Research Institute, Kolkata organized an interactive seminar on the ‘Indo-US Nuclear Deal’ on April 17, 2006 at the Indian Chamber of Commerce Auditorium. The main speaker was Dr. Yashwant Sinha former Finance Minister, Government of India. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ presided over the seminar. Other speakers were Prof. Alak Ghosh and Dr. Dhanpath Agarwal.

In his presidential address Fr. Raj, while highlighting some of the positive features of the deal, also expressed serious concerns about the government’s policies in the field of Nuclear energy, disarmament, ‘Promotion of Democracy’, energy security and strategic stability in Asia. According to Fr. Raj, with respect to the Indo-US nuclear deal, the government owes it to the people to provide a detailed account of its nuclear policy in the form of a White Paper. The Government needs to place in record its estimates of how much the proposed separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities would cost and what the rights and benefits of the deal would be.

It is the right, duty and responsibility of every citizen of this country to know and understand the implications of such deals. The full text of the address can be viewed on our website.


New Arrivals

  • Adi Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh by Rizvi, S. H. M. & Roy, Shibani B.R. Publication, Delhi, 2006.

  • Being Anglo-Indian by Andrews Ann Robyn New-Zealand, 2005.

  • Bhakti Tradition of Visnava by Robertson, S. Punthi Pustak, Kolkata,2006.

  • Calcutta’s Edifice by Brian Paul Barch, Rupa & Company, New Delhi, 2006.

  • Chinese Cross Current by Yves Camus Macau Ricci Institute, 2004.

  • Garo (achik) Tribes of Meghalaya by Rizvi, S. H. M. & Roy, Shibani B.R. Publication, Delhi, 2006.

  • India and South Asia by Ludden David, Oneworld, Oxford, 2006.

  • Indica by Mascarenhas A. Aubrey, Heras Institute of India Mumbai, 2005.Vol –I & II.

  • Legacy of India by Garrat Black & White, New Delhi. 2005.

  • Mission India by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam with Y.A. Rajan, Puffin Books, New Delhi, 2005.

  • Naga Tribes of North East India by Rizvi, S. H. M. & Roy, Shibani B.R. Publication, Delhi, 2006.

  • The Mahabharata of Vyasa, by Writers Workshop, Kolkata, 2005.

  • Tomorrow’s India by B.G. Verghese Penguin, Viking, New Delhi, 2006.


Researchers at the Goethals

  1. Arnab Sarma, Kolkata on Early travels and Portuguese in India.

  2. Dominic J. Azavedo, Kolkata on Arunachal Freedom of Religion Bill 1978.

  3. Fr. John Romus, & Fr. Arockiasamy J. Morning Star College, Barrackpore on Archdiocese Directory.

  4. Fr. Roberge, G, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata on Rabindranath Tagore and St. Xavier’s College.

  5. Maclean, London, on Secularism and Education.

  6. Mary Ellis Gibson. Kolkata, Calcutta and Literature.

  7. Ms. Shreosi Banerjee, Kolkata on Portuguese In India.


Christian Contributions to Bengal
By Archbishop Henry D'Souza

The colonial era brought Christianity to the shores of Bengal. The Portuguese navigators found a happy shelter up the river Hooghly at Bandel. There they established their trading outpost, which was very lucrative drawing its wealth from the rich hinterland of Bengal. Trade was brisk and Bandel flourished. Close on to the Portuguese navigators, came the Danes to settle at Serampore and the French who made their settlement at Chandannagore. The English followed with the East India Company and opened up their base at the village of Sutanati later to develop into the city of Calcutta.

The ups and downs of this colonial history were many. Bandel was razed to the ground by Shah Jahan and his troops deporting around 10,000 Catholics to the capital at Agra. The wild elephant that was expected to crush the captives in the arena picked up the priest and placed him before the Emperor. This miraculous event led Shah Jahan to give Bandel 777 bighas of land and to reconstruct the damaged Church of Bandel. The Statue of Our Lady, which was being carried by a soldier across the river to a Portuguese boat sank into the river along with the soldier shot by an arrow in his back. When years later the statue emerged on the shore with a bright light around it, the amazed inhabitants greeted the events with shouts of "Ma Utheche". The statue is still in Bandel and is the first Christian Shrine in Eastern India. People of all faiths come to the Bandel Basilica both for favours and in thanksgiving. ……………….. (for the full paper please visit www.goethals.org)


Christian Contributions to Bengal: Some Methodological Considerations

(Presidential Address at the National Seminar on "Christian Contributions to Bengal” Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata, Jan 22-23, 2006). Fr. George Pattery, SJ.


I am delighted to be present at this national seminar on "Christian Contributions to Bengal”. I recall a spirited conversation with one of my colleagues in Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan at a national seminar during the anti-Christian agitation days in the country. He bemoaned the fact that the Christian contributions to the national cause are not studied sufficiently and highlighted properly. Perhaps the polemical situation then was not the right time to do serious study and research. Well, at this point of time, academic studies of this topic could be undertaken from an objective, non-apologetic posture. I am happy that Goethals Indian Library & Research Society has organized this seminar, probably also timed it well in placing it with Netaji Subhas' Jayanti day and during Octave of Christian Unity in the Catholic tradition. My congratulations and best wishes to Fr. Felix and his team for this venture. Apart from his capacity as director of the center, Fr. Felix is well-placed in organizing the seminar as he is a well-known journalist on his own. This is further evidenced by the fact that he is contributing to the seminar presentations. Goethals is a favourite place for me although I don't get enough time these days to spend in study. From the list of collections printed in this souvenir one learns the wealth of material available there. (for the full paper please visit www.goethals.org)

The Law of importance:

The Law of importance states that everything is important, less or more, in a particular circumstance, determined by our response is based upon our experience or the degree of maturity we enjoy. Sometimes, we are able to gauge the long term importance of an attitude or an event, but many times, we understand only its short term importance. Sri Ramakrishna’s home-spun story drives home this truth thus:

“One offers a price for an article according to one’s capital. A rich man said to his servant: “Take this diamond to the market and let me know how different people price it. Take it first of all, to the egg-plant seller.” The servant took that diamond to the egg-plant seller. He examined it, turning it over in the palm of his hand, and said, “Brother, I can give nine seers of egg-plants for it.” “Friend” said the servant, “a little more-say, ten seers.” The egg-plant seller replied: “No, I have already quoted above the market price. You may give it to me if that price suits you.” The servant laughed. He went back to his master and said “Sir, he would give me only nine seers of egg-plant and not one more. He said he had offered more than the market price.” The master smiled and said: “ Now take it to cloth-dealer. The other man deals only in egg-plants. What does he know about diamond? The cloth dealer has little more capital. Let us see how much he offer for it” The servant went to cloth-dealer and said: “Will you buy this? How much pay for it?” The merchant said: Yes it is a good thing. I can make a nice ornament out of it. I will give you nine hundred rupees for it.” “Brother” said the servant, “offer a little more and I will sell it to you. Give me at least a thousand rupees.” The cloth-dealer said: “Friend, don’t press me for more. I have offered more than the market price. I cannot give a rupee more. Suit yourself.” Laughing the servant returned to his master and said: He won’t give a rupee more than nine hundred. He too said he had quoted above the market price.” The master said with a laugh: “Now take it to a jeweler. Let us see what he has to say.” The servant went to a jeweler. The jeweler glanced at the diamond and said at once, “I will give you hundred thousand rupees for it.”

This is how the importance-index fluctuates, depending on what we think as important.

Power of importance:

When we try to unmask the mystery of the power of importance, we discover that this power in itself is born of something else. Power comes from reality. When we consider some-thing real, it becomes important, for it is reality that transforms itself into importance. If one insists that the unreal is important, one is only driving home the fact of the reality if unreality. According to vedantic texts, only the existence of something (asti) makes it attractive and pleasant (bhati and priyam). Reality is the primeval force from which the power of importance springs forth.

But then, what makes something real? Strange though it may look, it is the perceiver that makes something real or unreal. In other words, it is the state of one’s mind that makes something real, then that something becomes important. It is therefore necessary to constantly examine and reexamine what we hold to be real. It is the mind that imparts or withdraws this power of importance. When the human mind is caught too much in the cross currents of sense pleasures, whatever be their form or name, it starts traveling in a circle. Essentially, it seeks lasting happiness, but fails to detach itself from ephemeral or temporary means of happiness. It seeks the joy of being established in the eternal Self but is lured away by the pleasures that imprison the little self. This is the story of man’s inner struggles.

- From The Vedanta Kesari, April, 2005, Editorial, Swami Atmashraddhananda



‘Love thy God and love Him only
And thy heart shall never be lonely’

“The first was he who knew him about 1884, and he was a Brahmo. The two friends would talk for hours together, forgetful of time, place or weather, they were so absorbed in each other’s thought. They seemed to have been made by Providence to fill in the shortcomings, and beatify each other, so admirable. They reminded one of David and Jonathon. Yet when Upadhyayji became a disciple of the Man of Sorrows, ‘a rift was made in the lute which by and by made all the music mute.’

There was a second and he was Christian. He enjoyed the genial warmth of his affection for full fourteen years. He lived with him long before he was one with him in holy faith. He sat by him day and night, drinking in the pearls of wisdom that fell from his lips. He followed him as a shadow in his wanderings through the land. He was with him in the Matha at Jubulpur, at the Bolepur Boarding School and the Saraswata Ayatana. Who would have thought that they would part? Yet the drama of St. Paul and Barnabas was acted over again in their life.

There was a third; and he was Hindu. He worked with him during the last chapter of his life. How many happy hours had they not passed together? The Swami was in the hospital and he learnt that the friend was in trouble and his loving eyes were blinded with tears. And yet when those eyes, the innocent eyes that had looked upon him with paternal affection were closed, the friend forgot the past, and spoke unkindly of him before strangers!

The three companions of the Swami are but samples of a score who loved him once and lost him in the end. How many fond hopes, cherished desires were not blasted along with these friendships! O that we could learn that it is only One Who never changes, Who abides to the end.

Upadhyayji As A Friend: - A friend of youth is seriously ill and though the Swami is feverish himself and the friend is 3000 miles away, he is in the Punjab Mail at Howrah. Longing to be by the sick-bed in time. He halts nowhere quite forgetful of the fatigue of the long, tedious journey. Fever detains him for a day and he accuses himself of selfishness, exclaiming: ‘I shall never forgive myself, if I do not get to my friend in time.’

Here is another, a genius. He is often encircled by heavenly visions. His very name is enchanting. O the frailty of humanities! He listens to the stories of evil tongues and fancies his friend self-seeking and dishonest. The spiteful world rejoices at its success. But the Swami is silent, he opens not his mouth. ‘He was once a friend,’ he says, ‘and must not be spoken against.’

Here is a third. He was his pupil. He charged him no fees. He would bring him meat from his own house, though he touched it not. The day came when the pupil grew into a man and rolled in the ocean of happiness. But the joy was not lasting. Is there anything lasting in the world? He felt himself lonely and forlorn, tossed about by the angry overwhelming billows of the deep. And Swami stretched forth his strong arm to rescue the drowning child. No father loved his son more tenderly; no spouse was more loyal to her lord. Yet the dear pupil missed the meaning of his life and stopped his affection and admiration for him, instead of rising with him to the Lord of his life and the God of his heart. Solitary one, you who daily mourn his loss and miss him at every moment, turn your eyes to his Divine Master and you will be filled with a peace that passeth all understanding.”

- from Swami Upadhyay Brahmabandhav: A Story of his life by B. Animananda


Mails & Emails

A copy of the National Seminar on Christian Contributions to Bengal is before me; thank you so much. The magazine is a wonderful mirror of our contribution to Bengal. Your hard work and foresight in building the library is very much reflected here. I am very eager to visit the library. Could you please send me Goethals News regularly? I shall be thankful.
Mr. J V Francis, Ranchi.

Your website looks very nice and I hope you will publish the seminar papers in the form of a book.
Abanti Adhikary, Kolkata.

I am honoured to be on the website of Goethals Library. Thanks a lot.
Archbishop Henry D’Souza, Kolkata.

Its really nice to have such a great library in my own college, the vast variety of books and the way they are presented has almost mesmerized me. However, I still think that they require better maintenance and preservation. Dhritiman Siddhanta, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

After visiting the library, it makes me feel that there is so much to learn. We are indeed too ignorant.
Souraja Tagore, St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

Thank you for the photocopy of the book ‘Kala Sankalita’ by Warren (1825). The quality is acceptable and the binding is very good. Thank you very much for the excellent service. I shall forward your contact to my colleagues in case they need to avail of your services.
Dr. A. Narayanan, USA.

Recently we received at the Curia your publication on Christian Contribution to Bengal – Souvenir and Abstracts of the National Seminar. I must congratulate you on your many initiatives with regards to the Goethals Library. You have put it on the map so to say with the quarterly bulletin, seminar and souvenir amongst others. It is very impressive to read through the various topics dealt with at the seminar and the list of some of the precious documents preserved in the library. What you are doing in the Goethals library is very much in line with the spirit and the history of the Society. It serves to encourage us to preserve well and care for documents that are in our possessions.
Paul Aquilina SJ., Dumka


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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