Monthly Archives: July 2014

Feast of Jesuit founder today

The 20,000 Jesuits and their institutions all over the world celebrate the feast of their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, on July 31.


Ignatius was an unusual character of the 16th century, a brave knight and soldier under King Ferdinand of Spain. In 1521, he was wounded in the battle between France and Spain. His life was transformed during his long convalescence and he founded the Jesuit Order, the Society of Jesus, along with Francis Xavier at the University of Paris in 1537, which was approved by the Pope in 1540.

Perhaps Jesuits impart the best-known education in India and elsewhere. They have come to be known in the public mind for their educational work and have acquired the reputation of being among the world’s best educators and educationists.The Jesuit educational network is the largest in the world today.

The Jesuits conduct no less than 50 university colleges, 17 institutes of business administration and 210 high schools across the country; almost all of them are among the most reputable ones. More than 500,000 students belonging to every religious, linguistic and socio-economic group, receive their education at these institutions.

The situation is the same wherever the Society of Jesus has established itself for the greater glory of God. There are 28 Jesuit universities in the US.

As Malachi Martin has said in his book, The Jesuits, “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 them.”

Historian Romila Thapar has stated that if India has a written history; the credit goes to the Jesuits.

St. Xavier’s college and school will remain closed on July 31 in honour of their founder. Here’s wishing all Xaverians, present and past, a very happy feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The writer is the principal of St. Xavier’s College, Calcuta
source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / by Fr. Felix Raj / Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Unique memorial service to honour brave airmen

Kolkata :

On Saturday, a unique memorial service was organized at the Rasgovindpur Airstrip (also known as the Amarda Road Airfield) in Odisha to honour 14 airmen of the Royal Air Force (RAF) who were killed in a mid-air collision between two B-24 Liberator bombers on July 26, 1945. It was Bhubaneswar-based war historian Anil Dhir who dug up this historical fact. He along with Aditya Patnaik of the Gandhi Eye Hospital and school children were among those who laid wreaths in memory of the dead airmen.

“Very few people are aware that 69 years ago two Liberators (EW225 and EW247) collided at low altitude during a practice flight. They were part of a six-aircraft contingent from the Air Fighting Training Unit engaged in a formation flying exercise. The Rasgovindpur Airstrip had the longest runway in Asia (more than 3.5 km). The total length of the runway, taxiways and aprons was more than 60 km. Part of the runway (nearly 11,000 feet) still remains but there is no activity save for the grazing of cattle. This airfield played a very crucial role in the defence of India during World War II. It was a forward airbase against the Japanese and was used for ‘Over the Hump’ operations as well as training pilots for special bombing raids. Unfortunately, there aren’t any details available of the activities that took place here between 1943 and 1945, even in military archives,” Dhir says.

It was during a visit to the Madras military cemetery that Dhir came across the graves of 14 airmen who were killed at the Amarda Road Airstrip crash. It took a lot of doing on his part to find out that the 900 acre airstrip was built at a cost of Rs 3 crore in the 1940’s. During his research, Dhir received assistance from Matthew J Poole from the USA who has studied the crash and prepared a report. With Poole’s assistance, Dhir was able to locate the relatives of none of those killed in the air crash. One of them is 101 years old now.

“The two aircrafts took off from the airfield in Odisha but the crash took place over West Bengal. The debris was strewn across flooded paddy fields in Bengal. I have requested both the Odisha and Bengal governments to erect small memorials at the airfield and the crash site to honour the brave souls who gave up their lives for the defence of our motherland,” Dhir added.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kolkata / by Jayanta Gupta, TNN / July 29th, 2014

Mohun Bagan kicks off quasquicentennial celebrations

Samar (Badru) Banerjee, the Indian captain of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics football team and one of the oldest surviving football stars, meeting the Mohun Bagan junior players accompanied by the Mohun Bagan secretary Anjan Mitra. Photo: Special arrangement. / The Hindu
Samar (Badru) Banerjee, the Indian captain of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics football team and one of the oldest surviving football stars, meeting the Mohun Bagan junior players accompanied by the Mohun Bagan secretary Anjan Mitra. Photo: Special arrangement. / The Hindu

A group of senior members sitting on the redecorated galleries in the Mohun Bagan ground trained their gaze on the dark clouds gathering yonder signalling imminent rain.

A group of senior members sitting on the redecorated galleries in the Mohun Bagan ground trained their gaze on the dark clouds gathering yonder signalling imminent rain. Their faces lit up at the prospect, as rains have become synonymous with the successful celebration of one of the most notable victory in the annals of Indian sport – the IFA Shield triumph in 1911.

Mohun Bagan loves to associate itself with that epochal win against the British East York Regiment and celebrates the day (July 29) as its foundation day.

In keeping with that tradition, the club this year sought to begin its quasquicentennial celebrations from Tuesday as the exact date of its foundation remains uncertain.

“It was established in 1889 and in August, but it is not known exactly on which the date it was founded,” says Subhransu Roy, a noted sports researcher from the city. The day saw a big gathering of former players, members and the media, and the club sought to commemorate the occasion befittingly by organising a host of ‘friendlies’ on its ground.

The club management used the opportunity to announce a bigger function at an unannounced date to make the 125 years celebrations more memorable. “We are the oldest and one of the most popular football clubs in Asia. Mohun Bagan symbolises a way of life in Bengal and that has sustained our popularity for all these many years,” says Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra. “We have planned big celebrations and hope to bring them around by September,” he added.

Mohun Bagan successfully completed the club licensing criterion this year and entered the threshold of professionalism. “The club ran on the patronage of Kings and Zamindars in the early years, but continued to receive popular support for its notable performances on field. What is remarkable here is the transcendence from an amateur set-up to a more corporatised arrangement,” says Mr. Roy.

Much like its later cousin and traditional rival, East Bengal Club (established 1920), Mohun Bagan has a big community support which is ever growing. “Mohun Bagan has been able to retain its identity as the champion club of India despite not always performing. In recent years, it has not done well in the national tournaments, but its popularity remains intact,” says Mr. Roy.

“We have thousands of people waiting to become members of the club. This is the image of the club, and the older it grows the more popular it will become,” says Mr. Mitra, the secretary of the club since 1995.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kolkata / by Amitabha Das Sharma / Kolkata – July 30th, 2014

Kolkata couple’s ‘Labour of Love’ on way to Venice Film Festival

Kolkata :

A film made by a couple from Salt Lake is on its way to the prestigious Venice Film Festival in the next couple of months.

The film, ‘Asha Jaoar Majhe’ (Labour of Love), is devoid of dialogues, though thoughts are communicated through expressions and music. “It’s a positive, simple, easy-going film on love. We’ve shown communication without words. I want people to come to see how love can be expressed by two people without having to speak at all,” said director Aditya Vikram Sengupta.

“In the film, the love is expressed through the most mundane things. In life, I have received love in several forms, from my mother, family members… It wasn’t like they pointed out and exhibited every day how much they loved me. But little actions showed me how much thought and care went behind each,” said Sengupta.

The film features actors Ritwick Chakraborty and Basabdutta Chatterjee. It’s in the race for not one but three awards at Venice – Luigi De Laurentiis Award (Lion of the Future (best debut)), Venice Days Jury Award and Venice Days Public Award.

“We haven’t been able to run it in Kolkata yet as films can’t be screened before the festival in order to be eligible. It’s a non- dialogue film as we felt there was no reason for dialogue just to fill up a silent moment,” said his wife Jonaki, who is executive producer and art director.

The couple, currently settled in Mumbai, produce and make ad-films for a living. “Half of the film was shot by Mahindra J Shetty, who was the cinematographer for ‘Udaan’ and ‘Lootera’. The other half was shot by me. The movie was made with a very small production crew of around 10, and on a very low budget,” added Sengupta.

On the cast, he said: “I took many auditions, but couldn’t find the right face for the role. Basabdatta fit in perfectly. She has a very classic look. Ritwik didn’t complain even if I kept calling for retakes. Some shots were taken 20-30 times. I’m grateful to the actors for their patience. Just because it’s a non-dialogue film doesn’t mean it’s a silent film or an art-house film. I think even 15-year-olds, who have some concept of love, will appreciate and enjoy it.”

The film, primarily set in the city, was extensively shot in north Kolkata. “That’s because my characters live in north Kolkata,” Sengupta explained.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kolkata / TNN / July 28th, 2014

Portraits of a city in motion


(From left) Sanjay, Minu, Preeyam and HP Budhia with (centre) Azim Premji, the chairman of Wipro, at Addlife Caring Minds on Friday. Premji found the centre impressive. “It is an integrated centre that can address multi-faceted issues,” he said. “The team is young, talented and experienced.” He also cut a cake to celebrate his birthday, which falls on July 24. Picture by Rashbehari Das
(From left) Sanjay, Minu, Preeyam and HP Budhia with (centre) Azim Premji, the chairman of Wipro, at Addlife Caring Minds on Friday. Premji found the centre impressive. “It is an integrated centre that can address multi-faceted issues,” he said. “The team is young, talented and experienced.” He also cut a cake to celebrate his birthday, which falls on July 24. Picture by Rashbehari Das

A walk through former photojournalist Tanmay Chowdhury’s exhibition reminds visitors of the maxim — a picture is worth a thousand words.

Chowdhury’s photographs, which were on display at Weavers Studio, are manifestations of his perception of Calcutta, a city with “endless scope”.

“I have been to the same riverside, the same ghat a number of times. Yet, every visit has given me a new form, composition and a picture,” Chowdhury said.

His favourite haunts are the ghats and underpasses near Howrah bridge and station, places that see the birth of new stories everyday. “Every person in the picture has a character, a reason for him/her being there and a story. I like to bring out and display their stories,” said the business graduate from Illinois.

Photographs at the exhibition, titled Mise en Scene, were not restricted to Calcutta alone. There were pictures from Mumbai as well. One that caught the eye was of pigeons taking flight in front of The Taj Mahal Palace.

A projector also played a short film by Chowhdury on a screen. “My work attempts to throw light on the underlying relationship between photography and film by composing local street drama in a cinematic way,” said the artist. “Hence, I’ve arranged to exhibit my photographs along with this film. Photography is basically capturing a moment from the motion of life. And if you notice, you will find a figure in motion in each of my pictures here. I wanted a balance between the two.”

Play for kids, by kids

About 40 children participated in three plays staged by Eso Natak Shikhi at Star theatre recently.

All the plays were scripted and directed by the founder-director of Eso Natak Shikhi, Tapas Das. “The kids worked really hard and rehearsed every Sunday evening under my guidance. My idea is to give them a break from lessons. It’s more about enthusiastic participation than outstanding performances,” he said.

Ayantika Biswas, a first- year political science student at Jaipuria college, has been training with Das for five years. “It has become an addiction I can’t let go of. Rehearsing for plays is a great stress-buster and gives me a lot of confidence,” said the girl who played the protagonist’s mother in Moner Katha.

The other plays staged were Maronastro and Khwaish.

Compiled by Trina Chaudhuri and Showli Chakraborty

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / Caleidoscope / Sunday – July 27th, 2014

Replicas of greatness

Kolkata :

The state government has decided to set up a museum inside the Assembly.
The museum will be the first-of-its-kind where sculptures of various eminent persons of the state who have contributed immensely for the welfare of the nation will be displayed.

A space of around 2,000 sq feet has been identified inside the Assembly where the proposed museum will be set up. It will have an art gallery, too, where works of famous painters, including Jamini Roy, will be displayed.

Sculptures of famous personalities in the Assembly will also be displayed.

The Speaker has already sent a list of names of eminent persons whose sculptures will be displayed inside the museum.

According to the proposed plan, initially 10 to 12 statues of eminent persons will be displayed inside the museum. Replicas made of fibre glass representing various art forms of different states as well as foreign countries will be put up for display inside the museum.

The PWD is in the process of inviting sculptors and artists to discuss which statutes should be placed first.

It may be mentioned that the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) has come up with a plan to set up the first ever wax museum at New Town in Rajarhat .

The museum, being planned on the lines of London’s Madame Tussauds wax museum, will be set up at Rajarhat New Town and a 5,000 sq ft area has been earmarked for the project.

source: / The Statesman / Home> Bengal / Statesman News Service / Kolkata – July 25th, 2014

3 Keralites for Mission Palliative Care in Rural West Bengal

Kozhikode :

Three Keralite Civil Service officers would soon add a new chapter in palliative care in rural West Bengal, inspired by similar initiative in their home state.

‘Sanjeevani’, an end-of-life care project to be launched in September in the Nadia district of WB, is the brain child of IAS officers P B Salim and Bijin Krishna and Amarnath, an IPS officer. The project has been conceptualised by the Kozhikode based Institute of Palliative Medicine (IPM), the training, research and outreach arm of Pain and Palliative Care Society, which pioneered community volunteering in end-of-life care.

Salim, hailing from Muvattupuzha, is currently working as the District Magistrate of Nadia while Amarnath, a native of Moozhikkal in Kozhikode, is the ASP of South 24 Parganas. Bijin from Meppayur in Kozhikode is the Assistant Collector of Murshidabad district. “Both Amarnath and Salim had associated with IPM years ago. Salim suggested starting a palliative care programme in West Bengal. He along with Amarnath then approached me. Later, Bijin also extended support to the initiative,” said Dr Suresh, director of IPM, which provides technical support for the project.

According to Salim, Sanjeevani is aimed at improving the quality of life of the terminally ill in Nadia.

“The project intends to introduce a new culture of providing care for the bed-ridden patients utilising a network of physicians, nurses and volunteers,” he said.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Kerala / by Shafeeq Alingal / July 25th, 2014

Winning formula

Some 40 actors and film technicians won awards named after Uttam Kumar on Thursday at Nazrul Mancha. “There must be many… who are waiting for an award… . That’s why we started the Bangabhushan… (another award instituted by the government),” Mamata Banerjee told the gathering. Metro presents an abridged list of who got what & why we think they deserve it


source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / by The Telegraph, Calcutta Bureau / Friday – July 25th, 2014

Governor talks less, says more

Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi (centre) is greeted by Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha (right) on Thursday as chief minister Mamata Banerjee looks on. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi (centre) is greeted by Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha (right) on Thursday as chief minister Mamata Banerjee looks on. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Calcutta :

Keshari Nath Tripathi, who was sworn in today as governor of Bengal, has started his tenure by saying he “talks less”.

However, in a 10-minute interaction with the media, he proved that he knows “when to speak” and “what to speak”.

The former Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly took over in the presence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her senior cabinet colleagues.

The two main Opposition parties — the Congress and the CPM — did not attend the event. Three senior leaders of the BJP — Rahul Sinha, president of the Bengal unit; Siddharth Nath Singh, minder for Bengal; and Amalendu Chattopadhyay, organisational secretary — were present.

In a departure from tradition, the new governor fielded some questions from the media. “I talk less. As a lawyer I had learnt when to speak and when not to speak and what to speak and what not to speak,” Tripathi said in his opening remarks.

Over the next 10 minutes, the 82-year-old governor spoke on a range of issues. Excerpts follow. The italicised sentences are background information included by this newspaper.

Q: What is your assessment of the chief minister?

Tripathi: What can I say about her? (Smiles)

Whether in power or in Opposition, unless they (political parties) develop the habit of respecting constitutional provisions and framework, it will ultimately result in chaos. Everyone has to work within the Constitution’s provisions. That is expected of the authorities.

Relevance: Since the change of guard in Bengal, the Mamata-led government has had several run-ins with constitutional bodies like the State Election Commission and the West Bengal Human Rights Commission. The government had a bitter legal battle with the state poll panel over the schedule and security arrangements for panchayat elections. At present, the two sides are locked in another battle over holding polls in 17 civic bodies and corporations. Mamata developed an icy relationship with the state human rights panel, too, after it recommended action on rights violation cases. Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the chief minister had a public outburst at the Election Commission of India over the transfer of some officials, only to climb down later.

Q: What do you have to say about political violence in the state?

Tripathi: Violence of any kind is to be condemned. One of the chief functions of a political party should be to preach and practise tolerance of the views of the other side. If you tolerate others’ views, you can develop a system to find solutions. Violence is not the solution.

Relevance: The ruling establishment in Bengal has been time and again accused of inflicting violence on supporters of Opposition parties. Sources in Raj Bhavan said that over the past three years, Opposition parties had met M.K. Narayanan, the former governor, at least twice a month to complain about atrocities. Besides, some Trinamul MPs and MLAs have been accused of making outrageous statements.

Q: What will be your role as governor?

Tripathi: The governor’s job is not to invite any confrontation with anybody. Let me understand Bengal, let me know the problems and whether I can solve them within the constitutional limits.

Relevance: This is more or less the textbook definition of what a governor is expected to do — steer clear of activism and remain a neutral entity that keeps an ear to the ground and an unwavering eye on the Constitution. The Bengal Opposition has been saying that some pieces of legislation have been pushed through without running them through a constitutional sieve.

Q: Do you know that two Opposition parties did not attend the swearing-in?

Tripathi: If they have boycotted, I don’t know why. They don’t know me and I don’t know them. What was the reason for boycott? Let them be happy.

Relevance: The Congress and the Left have reservations about the appointment of a BJP leader as governor at a time the party is eating into their support base and growing in Bengal. The Left and the Congress had supported a Trinamul-led motion against the appointment of a governor without consulting the state government.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta / Front Page> Story / by The Telegraph, Calcutta Bureau / Friday – July 25th, 2014

First beating heart surgery performed in Kolkata

In a first of its kind surgery in the city, a woman recently underwent a successful complex heart surgery while her heart was still beating.

According to a release, the 51-year-old woman was suffering from a severely stenotic rheumatic mitral valve disease, which required her mitral valve to be replaced. The mitral valve consists of two flaps and is responsible for controlling the flow of blood into the heart.

A team of two doctors at the Eastern Railway’s B.R. Singh Hospital conducted the surgery with the help of a heart-lung machine. The heart was continuously supplied with oxygenated blood and it remained in a state of slow beating to enable the mitral valve to be replaced with metallic valves. The surgery on heart valves is commonly performed on a motionless heart by using a special solution called cardioplegia . As the heart is stopped for surgery, the surgeon must restart it and reintroduce blood into the heart muscles.

This is known as reperfusion. Reperfusion can cause impairment of heart function known as reperfusion injury with complications such as irregular heart rhythms and pump dysfunction. Reperfusion injury is especially a concern in high risk patients, such as elderly, people who had previous heart operations, and those with complex health problems. Therefore, the beating heart surgery leads to better preservation of heart and better survival rate, especially among high-risk patients.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kolkata / by Staff Reporter / Kolkata – July 23rd, 2014