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Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, Kolkata
Vol. XII No. 1 Bulletin January-March 2009
News Update | Articles | Researchers
New Arrivals | Mails & Emails
Seemar Majhe Ashim Tumi
ST. XAVIER’S KOLKATA
(1835 – 1846)
St. Xavier’s College Kolkata
had two beginnings: one on 1 June 1835 and the other on 16 January 1860. The
first phase of the College was a brief period of just twelve years during which
it changed addresses thrice to accommodate the increasing number of students
attracted by the high standards it set.
In October 1834, a group of
Jesuits from Liverpool, England landed at Babu Ghat under the leadership of Rev.
Robert Leger, the Vicar designate of Bengal. They established the College of St.
Francis Xavier at Murgyhatta at a house of Fathullah Apcar, an Armenian
Catholic. Father Francis Chadwick was appointed the Rector of the College. This
initiative gave an impetus to the Catholic community that lacked the educational
reform that marked the Protestant community of the early nineteenth century.
In January 1836, the College
was transferred to 3 Park Street for a rent of Rs. 250 pm. The College now
needed qualified staff. Fr Chadwick traveled to England and brought with him a
group of Jesuit scholastics to teach in the College. In 1838 Fr. Chadwick,
reputed for his sternness, left on a long leave due to ill health. Fr. Richard
Sumner became the Rector. He quickly mastered Bengali and conducted services in
Bengali. By 1839, the College was a matter of pride for the Catholic community
As the number of students grew,
the college was moved to 22, Chowringhee in January 1841, where now stands the
Indian Museum. The College began to draw many students from the affluent
families. The Jesuits were also running simultaneously a school in the Bowbazar
area to serve the less privileged families. That year Dr. Patrick Joseph Carew,
an Irishman and a former Vicar of Madras, was appointed the Vicar of Calcutta.
Mgr. Carew, a man of the old school, had nurtured reservations about Jesuits.
The next five years were not smooth for both the Vicar and the Jesuits. There
were confrontations on numerous occasions, which finally led to the departure of
the Jesuits from Calcutta in October 1846. The College of St. Xavier’s had no
(1860 - ………)
After a gap of 13 years, the repeated requests of the Catholic community in
Calcutta to the Holy See bore fruit. A band of seven Belgian Jesuits arrived at
Calcutta in November 1859, under the leadership of Fr. H. Depelchin (Rector:
1860-1871), the Founding Father of the second St. Xavier's. They shifted St.
Xavier's from Chowringhee to the Sans Souci Theatre in January 1860, which is
now the honest home of learned professors and zealous students.
One hundred and fifty years of service to the nation. St. Xavier’s, Kolkata has
grown today into a leading educational institution in India. Both St. Xavier’s
School and College are proud of their contribution to the cause of education and
culture in Bengal for 150 years. These twin institutions have produced many
great educationists and students who earned credit for their Alma Mater.
Fr. E. Lafont was appointed Rector in October 1871. He was a born teacher of
physics. The terrible cyclone of November 1864 proved the beginning of his fame.
The catastrophe might have been much greater, had not Fr. Lafont given the
It was Fr. O’Neill (Rector: 1904-1913) who gave the College its crest and the
motto: Nihil Ultra, a motto, significant and suggestive of a noble ideal, of an
unconquerable hope, that should urge the Xaverian always to aim high. The motto
of the young Xaverian is the old maxim: “Perfectum nihil est, aliquid dum restat
agentum” (Nothing is perfect as long as anything remains to be done).
The tiny seed has grown into a mighty tree. In the year of its centenary (1960),
St. Xavier's had on its rolls 3503 students. It has, now 50 years later, 7,106
students of whom 2,162 are in the school and 4,944 in the college. A total
teaching staff of 213 is educating them. The school section, starting from the
Primary, leads up to the ISC Final Examination. The College offers UG and PG
courses under five faculties: Arts, Science, Commerce, Business Administration,
The Society of Jesus, a Christian Religious Order founded by Saint Ignatius of
Loyola in 1540, runs St. Xavier’s College. It is one of the 24 University
Colleges run by the Jesuits in India. The Jesuit College aims at forming young
men and women of competence, commitment, compassion and conscience. St. Xavier's
College thus aims at making its own contribution towards a transformation of the
present-day social condition so that principles of social justice, equality of
opportunity, genuine freedom and respect for religious and moral values,
enshrined in the Constitution of India, may prevail, and the possibility of
living a fully human existence may be open before all.
St. Francis Xavier is the Patron of St. Xavier’s. There is scarcely an educated
Indian who has not heard the name of Francis Xavier. It is to India that
Ignatius of Loyola, the Founder of the Society of Jesus, sent his greatest son,
Francis Xavier in 1542. Xavier was a zealous “missionary on the move”. He sailed
to Malacca and Japan in 1549 where he spent two and a half years. In April 1552
he set sail to China via Malacca from Goa, never to return alive. He died at
Sancian, a small island facing China, on 2 December 1552. Wherever he went, he
plunged himself into charitable and pastoral work preaching the message of God’s
love to people. He worked in India for 10 years, 1542 to 1552, called the
The list of the old students of St. Xavier’s is studded with many scientists,
actors, filmmakers, poets and many industrialists in Bengal. It can boast of
some of its pupils who became world famous: Rabindranath Tagore and Jagadish
Chandra Bose. While Tagore was impressed by the relationship between teachers
and students at St. Xavier’s, Bose found encouragement for his introduction to
science in the person of Fr. Lafont, who was called “the father of science” in
India. The list includes three chief ministers of Bengal - H. S. Shurawardy,
Siddhartha Shankar Ray and Jyoti Basu. Hardly will you find an important office
in Kolkata where you do not come across a Xaverian!
St. Xavier’s has always been known for its cosmopolitan and all-India character.
Much before the ex-pression “national integration” gained currency, St. Xavier’s
has tried to foster among its students the spirit and practice of it. Coming as
they do from all over India and from various communities, they live in complete
harmony, understanding and mutual respect. Thus they are encouraged to develop
beyond local and group affinities, loyalties to the country and to society at
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) recognized St. Xavier’s
College as an “A” grade institution in 2003. In May 2006, it was declared a
Centre with Potential for Excellence by the UGC. From July 2006, it became an
autonomous college (the first in West Bengal).
St. Xavier’s has all these 150 years remained steadfast and persevered in the
midst of troubles and anxieties. Now with all the richness of the past, it faces
the future with the same spirit – “Nihil Ultra” (Nothing beyond).
Stamp on St. Xavier's
On the occasion of St. Xavier’s 125 years, celebrated in 1985, the Government of
India honoured the College with the issue of a stamp.
|Stamp Issue Date : 12/04/1985
Postage Stamp Denomination : Re 1.00
Postal Stamp Serial Number : 1158
Postal Stamp Name : ST. XAVIER'S COLLEGE CALCUTTA
Tribute to St. Xavier's at 125
The President of India, Gaini Zail Singh, while inaugurating the 125th
anniversary of St. Xavier's school and college on February 13, 1985, said: "St.
Xavier's can justly take pride in shaping the character of great men like Tagore
and J. C. Bose. It is a great centre of learning. St. Francis Xavier's effort
has been rewarded".
"Generations of students looked
upon St. Xavier's not just as an institution but as their home. In this home, a
conscious effort is maintained to encourage friendship and unity between
students of different communities and religious".
- Cardinal L T Picachy, S. J.
"How strict the Jesuit Fathers were when it came to enforcing discipline and
maintaining the academic atmosphere. I was one of the lucky ones, who escaped
being caned ... St. Xavier's can attain the eminence and glory as there is 'no
interference with its educational policies'. Other educational institutions can
learn from the example set by St. Xavier".
Tribute to St. Xavier's at 150
Undoubtedly, St. Xavier’s is one of the greatest academic institutions in India.
Some of India’s greatest minds have been students here, such as Rabindranath
Tagore, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Ramananda Chatterji and several others. Over the
years, this institution has produced not only brilliant academic minds but also
true citizens of India. What I am particularly struck by is the deep and abiding
chord of fraternity that the institution has fostered in the Xavierian. To say
the word ‘Xavierian’ is akin to saying the word ‘family’ and I am honoured to be
amidst this great family today.
- Shri Pranab Mukherjee.
“St Xavier’s is important and has improved the quality of education in Bengal.
Higher education is at the centre of the developmental process of any country
and the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, who unfortunately
could not attend the event, has already implemented a Knowledge Commission with
the objective of establishing a better educational system in the country,”
- Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Chief Minister, West Bengal at the 150th Inaugural
St. Xavier’s Today
|" ... In that world where faith and power clash, the Society of Jesus has been
the most fabled and fabulous, the most admired and reviled, in the practice of
both. From its first beginnings during a revolutionary time almost exactly like
our own, and down the four and a half centuries of the Society's existence,
Jesuits have been both a puzzle and a model for the rest of the world. Friends
and enemies, Catholics and non-Catholics, have all tried to unravel "the power
and the secret" of these religiously trained and devoted men who stand as giants
in every secular pursuit of mankind as well. In science and art, writing and
exploration and teaching -- and not least in world politics -- Jesuits always
aimed to be the best. And they were. They had a part to play in every major
political alliance in Europe and America, in Asia and Africa. They became
shapers not only of religious history, but also of world history. Even Nazi
generals (incl. Hitler) dreamed of such a cadre of men; and even Lenin envied
- Malachi Martin, The Jesuits
Characteristics of Jesuit Education:
Jesuit Education is world affirming - goodness, wonder and mystery of the world.
Jesuit education as an instrument for enhancing and enriching life. Character
formation, discipline with freedom.
It emphasizes total/integral formation of each one in the context of the
community - intellectual, moral, physical, leadership qualities, teamwork,
creativity, communication, human relationships, values etc. Promotes academic
quality and excellence.
That is why the Jesuit dictum - "Give us a boy, and we shall return you a man, a
citizen of his country and a child of God".
It is innovative. For example "House System" in schools - a Jesuit innovation.
Many youth Movements have been started by the Jesuits: IMCS, AICUF, LTS, and CLC
Religious / spiritual formation - Worship of God and reverence for creation.
Promotes dialogue between faiths, cultures and ideologies.
It gives personal care and concern -
person cantered curriculum etc.
It encourages participation of the student - opportunity for
Encourages life-long openness to growth.
It is value-based and value-oriented.
Promotes realistic knowledge of self, the other and the world - awareness of
Service of faith and promotion of justice.
Forming men and women for others (Arruppe). Forming leaders for the country and
Manifests an option for the poor.
It involves Praxis - an on-going evaluation of work and its fruits.
"The basic principles that Loyola had set forth for his Company were powerful
catalysts. Once his men harnessed their energies within his organization to the
worldwide work, they produced a unique phenomenon of human history. That is why
the eighteenth century German theorist, Novalis wrote: "Never, never before in
the course of the world's history had such a Society appeared. The old Roman
Senate itself did not lay schemes for world domination with greater certainty of
success. Never had the carrying out of a greater idea been considered with
greater understanding. For all time, this Society will be an example to every
society which feels an organic longing for infinite extension and eternal
duration ... " (Malachi Martin, The Jesuits p. 27).
Exhibition on St. Xavier's
On this occasion of 150 years of St. Xavier’s School and College. The Goethals
Indian Library and Research Society organized an Exhibition of All Documents:
Books, Files, Pictures, Magazines, Manuscripts relating to ST. XAVIER'S at the Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, (2nd Floor above the Main Chapel),
From 16th January to 15th February (9.00 AM to 4.00 PM).
The exhibition was a huge success. There was a large number of visitors. The old
photographs of the Fathers, Teachers, Students and of the buildings were
appreciated by all who attended. The Daniell’s Paintings, as well as the Old
Calcutta prints of William Wood and James B. Fraser were also displayed.
Abhisweta Roy Chowdhury – It was a splendid exhibition making us feel very proud
to be part of this great college.
Anisha Bhutia – Excellent exhibition. It was a treat and an honour to be linked
with such an institution which has such rich heritage and I hope to carry
Avishek Mondal – It was a remarkable exhibition which I shall cherish all my
life and I am proud to be associated with a college which has such rich
Saurav Kumar Das – It was really nice and a rare experience to witness the old
photographs of our college on its 150th Birthday.
Shreya Chakrabarty – A few moments of rendezvous which filled me with ecstasy, a
walk down the memory lane revealed what I never knew.
Ujjainee Ray – An excellent exhibition, rich with emotional grandeur. Very well
Upasana Biswas – Good and fantastic Collection, taking us back to the Olden
(Golden) period of St. Xavier’s College.
New Team at Xavier's
Fr. J. Felix Raj, SJ, Principal
Fr. Dominic Savio, SJ, Vice-Principal (Commerce)
Fr. Jimmy Keepuram, SJ, Vice-Principal (Arts / Science)
Prof. Albert Gomes, Controller of Examination
Prof. M M Rahman, Vice-Principal (Commerce Evening)
Contemporary Issues of Indian Economy by Dhirendra Nath Konar, Akansha
Publishing House, New Delhi, 2009.
Cross-Currents in the Modern Short Story (Ed.) by Sucheta Mukherji and Aditi Das
Gupta, Loreto College, Kolkata, 2005.
Dalit - A Low Caste of Hinduism by S. K. Modi, Navyug Publishers and
Distributors, New Delhi, 2008.
Indian Biblical Reflections by K. P. Aleaz, Punthi Pustak, Kolkata ,2009.
NGOs In the Human Right Movement by Dr. Kaushlendra Mishra, Navyug Publishers
and Distributors, New Delhi, 2008.
Socio-Economic Development of Dalits in India by S. K. Modi, Navyug Publishers
and Distributors, New Delhi, 2008.
The Tantric Religion of India by Dr. A. C. Barthakuria, Punthi Pustak, Kolkata,
Urbanization and Urban Systems in India by R Ramachandran, Oxford University
Press, New Delhi, 2008.
Women Movement and Human Rights by K. Kartikeya, Navyug Publishers and
Distributors, New Delhi, 2008.
Women’s Empowerment in South Asia by Sudha Nayar, Navyug Publishers and
Distributors, New Delhi, 2008.
Researchers at the Goethals
Miss Jumit Lepcha, Darjeeling, on History of Lepchas,
Mr. Kishan Harijan, Darjeeling on Jagadish Chandra Bose and his Research works.
Ms. Deepti Myriam Joseph, Kolkata, on Writings of Women and Women Missionaries
in 19th century.
Ms. Indrani Dasgupta, Kolkata, on Christmas during British period.
Rith Basu, Kolkata, History of St Xavier’s College.
Vihutoli Kinny, Kolkata, on Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya.
Mails & Emails
I am writing to congratulate you on your becoming the Principal of St. Xavier's
College, Kolkata. May the choisest blessings from the heaven shower on you. I
wish you all the very best in leading the college as well as its Alumni.
150 years' celebration has just begun and I think there are many serious things
to do, which a person like you will kindly appreciate. They are like coming out
with a proper Commemorative Volume, including an authentic history of the
college. (What we have is just the history of the beginning), but its glorious
journey should be preserved for the posterity.
We have seen your efforts on documenting Fr. La Font, s.j., in the Goethals
website but some other legendary Jesuit Priests who were related to the College
but contributed greatly to the society also need to be documented in the form
of a book. We also must come out with a volume comprising articles on all of
them, otherwise the future generation would never know the existence and
contributions of these legends.
Snehasis Sur, Doordarshan News, Kolkata
Thanks a lot for sending the Goethals News....... Congrats for highlighting the
Orissa issue and violence. I had visited the Khandamal area last week for three
days spending time with the victims at the relief camps.
Sarto, ABCD, Kolkata.
I was enlightened at the Goethals Library. It is a storehouse of knowledge.
Jumit Lepcha. Darjeeling.
Goethals Indian Library & Research Society, St. Xavier’s, 30 Mother Teresa
Sarani, Kolkata-700 016, India.
Tel: 0091-33-2280 1919; email: email@example.com
Director: Dr. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ; Staff: Mr. Sunil Mondol and Debu Mondal.