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Goethals News Bulletin
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. X I No. 3 Bulletin July-September 2008

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


Millennium Development Goals

GOAL 1: ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY & HUNGER

  • Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day

  • Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

  • Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

GOAL 2: ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION

  • Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling

GOAL 3: PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN

  • Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education

GOAL 4: REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY

  • Reduce by two thirds the under-five mortality rate

GOAL 5: IMPROVE MATERNAL HEALTH

  • Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio

GOAL 6: COMBAT HIV/AIDS, MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES

  • Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS

  • Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it

  • Have halted and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases

GOAL 7: ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources.

  • Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss

  • Halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation

  • Improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020

GOAL 8: DEVELOP A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT

  • Address the special needs of least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states

  • Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system

  • Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt

  • In cooperation with developing countries, develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth

  • In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

  • In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications

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The Millennium Development Goals

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, form a blueprint agreed to by all the countries of the world and all the leading development institutions.'

The MDGs represent a global partnership that has grown from the commitments and targets established at the world summits of the 1990s. Responding to the world's main development challenges and to the calls of civil society, the MDGs promote poverty reduction, education, maternal health, gender equality, and aim at combating child mortality, AIDS and other diseases.

Set for the year 2015, the MDGs are an agreed set of goals that can be achieved if all actors work together and do their part. Poor countries have pledged to govern better, and invest in their people through health care and education. Rich countries have pledged to support them, through aid, debt relief, and fairer trade.

World leaders will come together in New York on 25 September 2008 for a high-level event to renew their commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and to set out concrete plans and practical steps for action.

"The MDGs are still achievable if we act now. This will require inclusive sound governance, increased public investment, economic growth, enhanced productive capacity, and the creation of decent work." UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.

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End poverty by 2015

This is the historic promise 189 world leaders made at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 when they agreed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The United Nations Millennium Campaign supports and inspires people from around the world to take action in support of the Millennium Development Goals.

Why Me?

The MDGs will not be achieved unless each of us plays our part to make sure that the promises made are delivered. It is up to us to remind our governments, in both rich and poor countries that we expect them to deliver. No more excuses. Join the growing global movement of people who are demanding that their government honor their commitments to achieve the MDGs by 2015. Rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, your voice counts.

Why Now?

Nearly 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day—yet the world has never been so prosperous. The world has enough money, resources and technology to end poverty forever. 2007 marks the halfway point to achieving the MDGs and at this rate many Goals will not be met. It is more urgent than ever that we intensify our efforts to demand that promises made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and end poverty are kept.

What's Different?

The Millennium Development Goals are a unique opportunity to finally end poverty. For the first time, commitments have been made at the highest political level to see these Goals achieved and end extreme poverty. The Goals are achievable; they have timelines and deadlines; they are locally defined and measurable. For the first time, there is an agreed global compact in which rich and poor countries recognize that they share the responsibility to end poverty and its root causes. But only if governments take urgent and concrete action now.

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Asia-Pacific Region

Poverty continues to prevail in the world. According to Asian Development Bank, 1.5 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region still live on less than two U.S. dollars a day.

In recent years, the Asia-Pacific region has experienced sustained high growth rates, with average economic growth of about 6 percent per year. However, around 600 million people in the region are surviving on less than one dollar a day.

Non-income poverty is proving to be persistent, as evidenced by the millions of children who still live in hunger, as well as unacceptably high maternal and child mortality, poor quality education in many countries, and lack of access to adequate water and sanitation.

Will the Asia-Pacific nations meet the MDGs by 2015?

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Malaria Control Goals Are Likely To Be Unachievable

The Sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases globally is unlikely to be met, according to Welcome Trust Principal Research Fellow Professor Bob Snow based at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KENRI) in Nairobi.

Malaria is one of the world's biggest killers, killing over a million people every year, mainly children and pregnant women in Africa and South-east Asia. It is caused by the malaria parasite, which is injected into the bloodstream from the salivary glands of infected mosquitoes. There are a number of different species of parasite, but the deadliest is the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which accounts for 90 per cent of deaths from malaria.

According to research conducted by Prof. Snow as part of the Malaria Atlas Project, over 40% of the world's population is at risk from infection from the P. falciparum parasite.

"There is clearly a lot of good will from the international community to tackle malaria, but more money needs to be invested and this needs to be distributed more equitably," says Professor Snow.

In 2007, annual funding for malaria control, which includes insecticide-spraying, use of insecticide-treated bed nets and access to rapid diagnosis and medicine, amounted to US$1 billion - less than US$1 per person at risk. Previous studies have estimated the optimum amount required to tackle malaria to be between US$ 4-5.

"Sixteen countries – that is half of all the people at most risk - receive less than fifty cents for each person at risk". "This includes seven of the poorest countries in Africa and two of the most densely populated at-risk countries in the world, India and Indonesia."

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UN a million miles from meeting development goals

Gordon Brown has used his first speech to the UN as prime minister to warn the world that it is a "million miles" from meeting its promises to relieve poverty, HIV and illiteracy in poor countries.

Mr Brown told that, at the current rate, some of the UN's touchstone Millennium Development Goals - due to be fulfilled by 2015 - were a century away from being honoured. Describing this as a "global emergency", he focused relentlessly on the role businesses and faith groups - as well as governments - had to play in reinvigorating progress.

He said: "Some people call it the mobilisation of soft power. I call it people power, people power in support of the leadership of developing countries." In strongly moral language he called it a "coalition of conscience" and a "coalition for justice", which in the end could make "globalisation a force for justice on a global scale".

Mr. Brown told his audience: "We cannot allow our promises that became pledges to descend into just aspirations, and then wishful thinking, and then only words that symbolise broken promises. "So it is time to call it what it is: a development emergency which needs emergency action. "If 30,000 children died needlessly and avoidably every day in America or Britain, we would call it an emergency. And an emergency is what it is."

On current rates, Mr Brown pointed out that it would take until 2100, not 2015, to provide worldwide primary education. A UN progress report on meeting the goals found that while the proportion of people living on one dollar a day or less had declined from 45.9% to 41.1% since 1999, reaching the MDG target of halving the extent of extreme poverty by 2015 required that the current pace be almost doubled.

There has been progress towards universal primary education, with enrolment increasing from 57% in 1999 to 70% in 2005 - but a gap of 30% remained, and the number of school-age children was increasing daily. "Today we should evoke the same spirit to forge a coalition for justice." And when conscience is joined to conscience, moral force to moral force, think how much of our power to do good can achieve.

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Changing role of the UN

The role of the UN has been under scrutiny since the end of the Cold War – but more particularly since the Security Council’s refusal to condone intervention in Iraq. There is widespread criticism that the UN is too slow to respond to the problems now seen as most urgent. Attention is shifting to the interlinked global problems that straddle human security, migration, environmental degradation and climate change. In the globalised era new and multi-faceted demands are created but the machinery is old and creaking. There is a need for reform and renewal as an ongoing process, if the UN is to remain fully relevant. But there is no consensus about where reform effort should be concentrated to make the organization more effective. Ideological divides and regional group rigidities continue to frustrate good intentions. On the positive side, there is resilience and a persistent optimism about the UN which springs from the Charter itself.

The duplication and fragmentation of mandates raises the fundamental question on what should the UN be doing?

There are three main categories of UN activities:

  1. Core activities that it does well and where there is a high level of global support: these include humanitarian responses through OCHA: UNAIDS; the specialized agencies and in particular those with a strong brand name such as UNICEF or the World Food Programme.

  2. Core activities where it does reasonably well but where demand is outstripping supply and there is a significant degree of overstretch – principally peacekeeping and peace operations.

  3. New areas where the UN needs to go to respond to new problems and to remain relevant; these are operational, conceptual and organizational and to prove themselves.

    - Samrat Roy

A New Dawn at Salpukur

On 3rd August 2008, students of St. Xavier’s College took two more steps ahead. Fr. Felix Raj laid the foundation for Snegam work in Salpukur, a village situated in South 24 Parghanas of West Bengal near Nepalgunj. The village children numbering more than 200, along with the village elders attended the function. A very special guest was Mr. Ghani Gazi, about 111 years old, standing tall and confident amidst the crowd with a broad smile. At the end of the programme, Fr. Felix Raj felicitated Mr. Gazi.

Chapel cum Study Centre Inaugurated in Debipur

August 3rd was a red-letter day for the people of Debipur. After the programme in Salpukur, all of us along with Fr. Felix Raj marched to Debipur under Raghabpur Parish where the efforts of SXC students under Snegam had already begun a year ago. Fr. Felix Raj inaugurated the newly renovated Chapel-cum-study Center along with Fr. T. J. Thomas, SJ, the Parish Priest of Raghabpur.
Aryaman Kejriwal, SXC

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AICUF Sparks and AICUF Flames
(Excerpts from the Keynote address of Fr. Felix Raj to the AICUF National Council on August 13 at Chennai.)

“Allow me friends, right at the start, to touch upon the personality of a Person who has guided AICUF all these years and walked with us in all we have done. The Person is Jesus Christ. It is in Him and in His life we take inspiration as AICUFers. He is the ideal example of service, activism, harmony and revolution. He was the apostle who promoted communities of fellowship and a society based on love, peace and justice. We owe everything to this Man. And we, as AICUFers continue to carry out His mission in today’s world.

I am reminded of what Swami Vivekananda once said: “If I were to be among the apostles of Jesus, I would have washed his feet with the blood of my heart”. We are His disciples, called to wash one another’s feet and the feet of the world with our blood. As St. Paul proclaimed, When Jesus is with us, nothing can stop us from achieving the mission of establishing a just and new society.

What Jesus said 2000 years ago is very true to us: “You are the light of the world”. We are the light of the world. When I meet students like you, I see sparks in them and I see light in them. They are the ‘Taare Zamin Par’. The world has had many sparks and many lamps in its history – individual persons, groups, NGOs etc. That is why the world continues to exist. I can give you many examples. One of them is what happened 84 years ago. A small SICUF-spark became AICUF-flame. It is a flame that has lit many flames and brought brightness in the lives of many students.

The strength and brightness of the AICUF-flame are found in its preamble with its diverse perspectives. I want to emphasize them. AICUFers stand for service and liberation of human persons as Jesus did. This charism of AICUF has transformed hundreds of students over the years under the able and committed leadership of many national and state advisers: Frs Carty, Ceyrac, Beckers, Claude, Tagore, Gabriel, Manu, Amal and Henry and so on. It has challenged them to claim their identity as dynamic activists and vanguards of emerging civil society. Service to humanity is our way to realize the vision of a new and just society.

It is often said, “Think globally and act locally”. This global – local dimension is brought out in the remaining three perspectives in the preamble, which are identities as Indian, Catholic and University student. These are important identities to realize our universal mission. But we should not be bogged down by these restricted identities and forget the global one. Global and local identities are mutually inter-related. We must understand their richness and take advantage of them to enrich our action.

A student movement must be grassroots-based, democratic and progressive with a clear ideology and organizational structure. There must be a united effort to translate concerns into action by sharing resources, building networks and challenging issues. Otherwise students become vulnerable and they can be used and co-opted by vested and political interests as it is happening in many countries. Many political and religious groups exploit the susceptility of student organization.

Student organizations patronized by political parties disturb the administrative and academic climate of university and college campuses. West Bengal is a clear example for this. There is a need for a review of the nature and functioning of student organizations in India. Political awareness and knowledge is necessary. But party-based political involvement must be discouraged.

Age group 18-25 is a vital section of a country. This group is vulnerable, yet dynamic. About 14% of India’s population is in this group. This group enables you to see into the future. It is the key to future resources, force and development of the country. The size and the quality of this group tell upon the future well-being of the country. Remember, 100% of AICUFers are in this group.

Friends, this council begins the preparation for the consultation next year. The 5th National Convention will be held in 2010. It is time that we begin to reclaim the student activism without of course, neglecting the importance of reflection. The praxis we follow will make us torchbearers of peace and harmony. Students are leaders today. They must seriously resolve to be the agents of a just civil society.

We need to further renew the AICUFness in each one and the commitment to the movement. AICUF must spread its wings far and wide and embrace more students and teachers to become agents of change. We need to work with other movements with similar vision and charism. The advisers’ network must be strengthened to facilitate serious reflection among students. National, state and regional ties need to be strengthened. Let us begin with the study of the Constitution to understand the AICUF ideology better. AICUF identity must be deepened in each AICUFer and adviser. AICUFers must be rooted in the movement’s ideology, if we want to change the country and the world. Each AICUFer is a spark. And the spark must be kept alive. Let us not forget we are living in the land of million sparks.”

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Father Felix Raj Awarded
by Rotary Club

Fr. Felix Raj SJ was awarded the MAHADEOLAL SARAOGI AWARD for the year 2008 by the Rotary Club of Calcutta Welfare Trust on 3rd June 2008. This was a clear recognition of his service to the poor and the downtrodden. The function was attended by some of the eminent personalities and many Rotarians of Calcutta. Honorable Chief Justice (Retd.) U. C. Banerjee who worked as High Court Judge in the Hyderabad High Court chaired the function.

The Award Ceremony was held at Rotary Sadan, Kolkata at 7 in the evening. The Rotary Club of Calcutta recognizes one individual every year for his or her outstanding contribution for the service of poor.

Since Fr. Felix Raj could not attend the Award Function due his other engagement, I received it on his behalf from the Honorable Chief Justice (Retd.) U. C. Banerjee. The Award carried a Certificate of Appreciation.

Fr. Felix Raj is involved in many programmes for the poor through education, women’s empowerment and community development. He has inspired many of his students to become agents of constructive socio-economic development. I am proud to confess that I am one of them.
Paritosh Majumdar
Secretary-Director, Parivartan Social Welfare Society

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Automium and Mini-Europe

While in Bruxells, Fr. Hincq (86) took me around the city particularly to the Automium and the Mini-Europe. The Atomium, designed by engineer Andre Waterkeyn to represent Belgium at the Universal Exhibition in 1958 in Brussels represents an iron crystal, magnified 165 billion times. The nine large spheres connected by 20 tubes are standing on three enormous bipods and dominates with the height of 102 meters the entire Heysel plateau. Brussels celebrates the golden jubilee of the Automium this year.

Mini-Europe gives an exciting voyage through Europe. It is a park of outstanding quality with models of the Berlin wall, Eiffel tower, HST, Ariane space rocket etc. In the words of Robert Schuman, the pioneer of the concept of European Union, “You will find out what these people, regions and countries have in common… and what makes each one special.

Schuman is acclaimed a faithful Catholic and there are efforts to beatify him. I stayed at St. Michells Jesuit community which looks after the Church of St. Michael and a high school. St. Michael is the patron saint of the Brussels city, and the summit of the 96 meter high city hall is crowned with a statue of St. Michael.

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Lourdes

This year, Lourdes in France is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous. In this Jubilee year, millions of pilgrims gather at the shrine each week. And I was one of them.

Between February and July 1858, Our Lady appeared to Bernadette 17 times. At the 9th apparition on February 25 Bernadette was asked to drink from the spring and wash herself. From that day on, the spring has grown into a fountain with healing properties and never ceased to flow. It was in the 13th apparition that our Lady asked Bernadette to go and tell the priest to build a Church.

To see thousands of pilgrims from every nation and every culture - the healthy and the sick, the aged and the young, visiting our Lady of Lourdes is a miracle.

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC CONGRESS

This year, the International Economic Congress was held at Istanbul, the Constantinople, the great city of Constantine, June 24 – 29. There were 1400 economists participating among whom only 14 were Indians. Fr. Felix Raj, was the priest to attend the congress. Fr. Raj also presented a paper on “The Impact of Globalization on Indigenous People in India”.

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Visit to the S(E)OUL of Asia

Fr. Felix Raj paid a three-day visit to the Sogang Jesuit University, Seoul, South Korea June 7-11. His visit was purely to explore possibilities to initiate exchange programs between Sogang and Xavier’s. Sogang is about 50 years old and is one of the best Universities in Korea with 12,000 students.

He had cordial meetings with the president, vice-president and deans of the University. They showed keen interest in academic collaboration with Xavier’s. He has worked out some concrete exchange programs between the two.

His visit coincided with the recent protest of Korean people against the import of beef from USA. Fr. Joseph Kim, a professor of theology at SU and Fr. Kuruvilla of Dumka province who was there to lecture at the SU took him to the Seoul city center to witness the candlelight protest by around 5 lac people, mostly youngsters between the age group of 20 to 35. Father said that he was “pleasantly amazed to see groups of nuns sitting with the people on the road.”

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New Arrivals

  1. 1857 Revolt against the Raj by Mukherjee, R. and Kapoor, Pramod, Lustre Press, Roli Books, New Delhi, 2008.

  2. A Matter of Equity Freedom of Faith in Secular India by Dayal, John, Anamika Publishers & Distributors Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, 2007.

  3. Buddhist Philosophy by Sharma T. R., Eastern Book Linkers, Delhi, 2007.

  4. Divine Knowledge and Yoga by Gupta, M. L., Madan Seva Trust, New Delhi, 2005.

  5. Indian Economy by Raj, J. Felix (Ed), Deep and Deep Publications Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2008.

  6. Journeying Together in Faith by Edwin, V and Daly, Edwin SJ. Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2008.

  7. Kailas-Manasarovar by Pranavananda, Swami FRGS, Admirers of Swami Pranavananda, Bangalore, 2007.

  8. Origin of the Kolkata Police by Nair, P. T., Punthi Pustak, Kolkata, 2007.

  9. Other Religions of the World by Seangpolsit, P. Gyan Publishing House, Delhi, 2007.

  10. Philosophies of Samkhya and Locke by Roy, S. D. Sundeep Prakashan, Delhi, 2006.

  11. Pierre, Ceyrac SJ. - Pelerin des frontieres by Joyeux, Maurice SJ, Les Editions Du Cerf Paris, 2000.

  12. Political History of India by Pattanayak, A. K., R. N. Bhattacharya, Kolkata, 2008.

  13. Pope John Paul II - A Tribute by Sullivan, Robert, Bulfinch, Canada, 1999.

  14. Sri Krsna -The Lord of Love by Bharati, S. B. P., Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, Delhi, 2007.

  15. The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto by Hussain, Yasir, Epitome Books, New Delhi, 2008.

  16. The Role of Swami Chinmayananda in Revitalization of Hinduism and Reinterpretation of Christianity by Masih, Jagdhari, Punthi Pustak ,Calcutta 2000.

  17. Vedic Religion and Culture by Bhargava, P. L., D. K. Printworld (P) Ltd., New Delhi, 2008.

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Researchers at the Goethals

Fr. C. M. Paul, SDB, Rome, on Impact of Media on Mother Teresa and her mission.

Ms. Mrinalika Dubey, Howrah, on History.

Ms. Payel Biswas, Kolkata, on Indo-German School Partnership.

Ms. Sudipa Topdar, University of Michigan (USA) on Schooling during British Colonial Period in Bengal (1870-1925).

Titas Chakraborty, University of Pittsburgh (USA), on Social history of maritime pasts in 17th century Bengal.

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Mails & Emails

I would like to congratulate Fr. Felix Raj, SJ, for making it three-in-a row. 1st - the release of book “Indian Economy” 2nd – the CAB Award and 3rd – the Rotary Award. I have seen most of the Churches as mentioned in your magazine, but this is the first time I know more about them. You have done a commendable job by giving the details. Thanks for creating awareness.
Naresh Gupta, National Secretary, JAAI

Many thanks for your Goethals News on the Heritage Churches which was extremely interesting.
S.M. Cyril, Loreto Sealdha, Kolkata

Your Staff was very co-operative and helpful. The Library is well maintained and has a very rich collection of old historical materials.
Ms. Sudipa Topdar. University of Michigan, (USA).

I was indeed very happy to read your wonderful article on “Spirituality for life and Leadership” in Goethals News - Jan-March 2008. What you have explicitly expressed in the article is very practical and appropriate. I really enjoyed reading the third page. And also it gives me more information to provoke my thought.
Rev. Fr. A. Amalraj, Sivagangai.

Thank you for sending article about my great grand father S.V. Setty, the FIRST INDIAN AVIATOR of our country. He designed, built and tested the aircraft by all himself in UK (AVRO). The Modern Review is the first paper to publish the article and also interview of S.V. Setty in UK. All these happened between 1911 May to 1912 June.
G N. Jayaprakash, Bangalore.

The GILRS has the best collection in Calcutta of printed materials on the early modern period. The missionary records and papers of Fr. Hosten have been the main attraction.
Titas Chakraborty, University of Pittsburgh, USA.

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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: Dr. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ; Staff: Mr. Sunil Mondol and Debu Mondal.

 

 
 

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