College Celebrates World TV Day with Smart TV Installation

Sonada, 21November 2020 : Salesian College Sonada celebrated World Televsion Day, 21 November with the inaugration of a smart TV installed in the Library’s e-Journal computer lab section, 21 November 2020.

Inauguration of New Television in the Library

The smart TV is a 2019 model TCL 163.9 cm (65 inches)  AI 4K Ultra HD Certified Android Smart LED TV.

Residential students were treated to the screening of a 2018 Russian action movie with sub-titles enititled Reshenie o likvidatsii (Decision – Liquidation). It is the real life story of ruthless extremist Bazgaev responsible for terrorist attacks which lead to deaths of hundreds of civilians, among them school children. A group of security officers is to track and destroy him.

World Television Day stands as a reminder of the power of visual media and how it helps in shaping public opinion and influencing world politics.

World Television Day is celebrated on 21 November every year. According to the UN, this day highlights the major role that television plays in daily life by presenting different issues that affect people.

In December 1996, the United Nations general assembly declared November 21 World Television Day. The UN recognized television as having an increased impact on decision making as well as being an ambassador for the entertainment industry. Television is a symbol of communication and globalization that educates, informs, entertains and influences our decisions and opinions. END

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Scripture scholar starts on-line weekly Bible study series on book of Revelation

BibleBengaluru, 31 August 2020 — A scripture scholar in Bengaluru is scheduled to start a weekly on-line Bible study series to unravel the secrets of the last book of the Bible – The Revelation, 4th September 2020.

The presenter of the study series Salesian Fr. (Dr.) Shabu Joseph has a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome) and a Doctorate in Biblical Theology from St Thomas Aquinas University (Angelicum – Rome). He is currently professor of Sacred Scripture at Kristu Jyoti College, (Bengaluru), aggregated to the Pontifical Salesian University, (Rome).

An initiative of Aflame Ministries, Bengaluru, the Zoom classes are to be held on Friday and Saturday from 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm IST from Friday 4th September each week. 

The classes will also be Live Streamed on Aflame Youtube Channel.

Participants who register on and attend the sessions will be awarded e-Certificates at the end of the course.

Shabu Joseph“We invite you to delve deeply into this amazing book of the Bible in our Biblical theology course on the Book of Revelation,” says Fr. Shabu Joseph.

Fr. Shabu adds, “The Year 2020 has been one where we have been left wondering whether the end of the world is almost near. Immediately our thoughts turn to the Book of Revelation for answers. We may have heard many talking about the Book of Revelation as the Book of our times. Many predictions on the future these days have been made on it.”

“The question,” Fr. Shabu asks, “What was the mind of the author who wrote the book of Revelation? How do we actually interpret what is written?”

The Aflame Ministries from Kristu Jyoti College, Bengaluru started in 2016, takes care of the spiritual needs of people through on-line Holy Mass and other popular devotions like Rosary Service, Stations of the Cross, and other youth ministry events. END

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Gaston Roberge, as I remember

RobergeSonada, Darjeeling, 26 August 2020 — It is with great sorrow that I heard about the death of Fr Gaston Roberge SJ of Kolkata. The last time I met with him was on 7 June 2015 at St Xavier’s College Kolkata, with a group of MA students of Mass Communication from Assam Don Bosco University, Guwahati (see pic above). He was delighted to see us and spent time fielding questions from students.

As the last president of Unda/OCIC-India and first president of Signis India (1998 to 2001 and 2001 to 2004), I cannot but remember his contribution to communication and media ministry in the Church and society. He was president of Unda/OCIC-India when I joined the Indian chapter of the World Catholic Communications body for Radio, Television and Cinema in 1983.

Today there are some 300 Christian communicators who deeply mourn the demise of our former president of the association and pay our humble homage to the  apostle and pioneer of film appreciation and film studies and Church communications in India.

Jesuit Fr. Gaston Roberge died in Kolkata on 26 August 2020 on 110th birthday of his dear friend Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He was 85.


His death was as dramatic as his life – after receiving Holy Communion and taking breakfast he just passed away peacefully.

The Canadian Jesuit fell in love with India watching Satyajit Ray’s classic debut film Pather Pachali in New York. On arrival in Kolkata in 1961 he made friends with the world-renowned filmmaker and set up Chitrabani in 1970 (light & sound, or audio-visual studio) to train people in film appreciation and also to produce audio visual material for training purposes. He directed the premiere institution for 26 years until 1996.

Chitrabani was the first such Church run institution in Eastern and Northeast India imparting training in photography and film production and film appreciation. A professional audio studio was set up in 1973 and Radio Veritas Asia, Bengali Service was started in 1980 from Chitrabani studios. 

Gaston RFr Gaston partnered with government and set up EMRC (Educational Multimedia Research Centre) Calcutta, in Chitrabani in 1986, the year when he relinquished his term as president of Unda/OCIC-India Catholic Association for Radio Television and Cinema – forerunner to Signis-India. 

Fr. Gaston inspired popular radio broadcaster Dilip Mazumdar (member of Signis Bengal) to use radio for special adult education program in Bengali called ‘Chetana’ (awareness  or awakening), which began in 1992 and drew over 200,000 listeners both in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

After directing Chitrabani for some 26 years till 1996, Fr Gaston had a three year stint as Executive Secretary for Social Communication, at the Society of Jesus Curia in Rome. On his return to Kolkata, Fr Gaston was also Head of Department of Communications at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, until 2001.

Gaston 1Author of some 25 books on cinema and communication, Fr Gaston was also faculty member of St. Xavier’s College`s Departments of Mass Communication and Film Studies.

His book Communication, Cinema, Development (1998) received a national award at the 46th National Film Awards of India in 1999.

He also received life time achievement award from Signis World in 2014.

Fr Gaston has summarised his spirituality, philosophy and theology of communication in his millennium book: The Faithful Witness: On Christian Communication (1999).

Another book by him entitled Chitra Bani (1974) is a manual for film appreciation with a forward by Satyajit Ray. The book makes in-depth comparison between Western and Indian appreciation paradigms showcasing his knowledge of Indian masters like Bharata Muni, Anandavardhana, Panini, and Kalidasa.

Gaston 01Gaston’s association with auhtor of THE CITY OF JOY Dominique LaPierre whose controversial film IN THE NAME OF GOD’S POOR (1997) cannot be forgotten. Fr Gaston had premiered the film in Montreal at the Unda/OCIC World Congress in 1998 where I saw it first time. I had proposed the film to be the opening film at the first Mother Teresa International Film Festival (MTIFF) held in 2003 to mark her beatification. There was much pressure to drop the film from the festival list. Thanks to Fr Gaston’s intervention and support, the film survived the controversy and was chosen to be the opening film at MTIFF 2003 held in Kolkata’s popular cine halls (New Empire & Light House).

Fr Gaston, faithful witness and communicator, rest in peace. END

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College NSS, NGO distribute relief supplies in Sonada area

Samip 1Sonada, 19 March 2020 – A group of college students and faculty teamed up with a local NGO to distribute relief supplies to people in seven areas of Sonada town.

The National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of Salesian College Sonada led by Asst. Prof. Mr. Samip Sinchuri of Sociology Department distributed food grain and other consumable items among indigent families of different villages in Sonada area. 

The families receiving the relief were the ones who were most hard hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and were amongst the most deprived people in the area.

These initiatives under taken by NSS in association with All India Nepali Scheduled Caste Association, Sonada Branch benefitted 14 families.

Samip0“The objective of the programme was to reach the poorest of the poor in the villages and distribute supplies in Ramitay, Munda Busty, D.B. Road, Saraswati Dara, T. N. Road, 11th Mile and Gorabari,” explained NSS Darjeeling Nodal Officer Mr Samip Sinchuri.

Mr. Sinchuri added “We tried to identify poorest of the poor indigent families of this area who have been hit the hardest due to the outbreak of Corona Virus and the ensuing lockdown. In the initial stage we have been able to provide supplies to 14 families but in the upcoming days we are also trying to identify and reach out to more such needy families.”

Samip 2“It was a great experience to come forward to serve the community and to distribute relief supplies to the needy in the times of lockdown.” added, President of Salesian College Student Council and B.Com final year student Mr. Bikash Agarwal of Sonada. END

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Holotropic Breathwork Workshop Held

holotropic. braethworkjpg

By Shruti Chhetri

Kurseong — A group of 22 faculty members from both the campuses of Salesian College Sonada and Siliguri attended a workshop on “Healing through Holotropic Breathwork” on 23 January.

The one day programme, which was held in Auxilium Convent Kurseong, introduced the participants to the “holotropic breathwork” practice that strives to promote healing through the act of deepened breathing.
“Breathing has healing properties, as does music. We combine these two powerful elements in this practice,” explained Salesian Fr K.C. Thomas from Trivandrum, one of the resource persons.
Fr Thomas was accompanied by his co-facilitator and resource person Sr Regi K. from Bhopal.
The participants were divided into pairs and one (breather) from each pair was asked to lie down with eyes shut while the other (sitter) was asked to look over their respective partners for a period of two hours. During this period, a variety of music was played while the “breathers”took rapid and deep breaths.
“For me what I experienced was something unusual and new. And after the session i felt like something was taken away from me which was not needed so ultimately i felt light and relaxed,” said Miss Pinky Gupta, a participant.
The programme ended with a closing round where the faculty members shared their individual experiences with each other.

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Balasun Youth Centre Turns Golden

IMG_5329Silas Lepcha

Upper balasun — Upper Balasun, one of the 20 Sunday centres conducted by Salesian College students held its Golden jubilee recently. The parish priest of St. Theresa sonada Fr. Sunil Lakra presided over the event.

Sir Suboth Rai, the Assistant Manager of ‘Balasun Tea Estate’ and the headmaster of local primary school Sir Ashok Gurung made the event successful by their presence.

“In the late eighties when the Gorkhaland agitation took great height, all the Youth centres were closed due to the unrest’’ recounts Sir Ashok Gurung.

Mr Gurung quickly adds “ in those difficult moments we took initiative at our own risk and conducted a meeting to revive once again our Balasun Youth centre.”

The youth centre president of Balasun, Esha Gurung says that, “ Young people at present are busy with mobile phones, coming to the youth centres have become a boring business for them, we can see in our own centre that only the children are present for Sunday youth centre activities.

Balasun is one of the leading tea estate for the production of tea leaves in the hills of Darjeeling. It is ninety minutes walk from Gorabari.The local residents are mostly tea garden labourers.

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Youth work, study on Sunday for extra pay

By Bartholomius Dhan


Thapa Dhura — A group of village students of the Thapa Dhura Youth Centre do odd jobs on Sundays to earn income to support their studies. Some young people even learn skills to be better employable.

One of the students Bruno Thapa says, “I go for work on Sundays because on this day I get more income to support my studies. My parents’ wages are very less to give my school fees. I do the jobs of construction, cleaning, firewood, carrying and breaking stones in the local areas. I feel that these kinds of works are very helpful for my education.”

girlsAnother student Miss. Shreya Thapa says, “I break the stone so that I can get more money for my extra expenses. I contribute some money for my dance class too.”

Thapa Dhura Y. C. was closed down many years ago but recently in 2015 it has been reopened for the second time by Bro. Jeremiah the captain and his companions. This place is located on the way to Lower Cedar, some two hours walk from the Salesian College Sonada.

Thapa Dhura Y. C. belongs to Sonada Zone with 25 youth members. The present SCS team includes three Brothers: Jacob Minj, Mukesh Barwa, and Bartholomius Dhan.

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Villager revives dying Youth Centre

By Premento Narzary, Anup Ranjan, and Rahul Tirkey

Middle Kharay Busty —  A villager’s keen interest for the development of children of his village made him appeal to Salesian College authorities to re-open Youth Centre which was closed for six years.

Mr.Nobin Chettri, 37 years of age, is a contractor by profession.

Mr.Chettri says, “The children and youth are poor in social activities. They take interest only in occupying themselves with casual labour to earn money for themselves.”

He insists, “The other aim is also in the activities of sports and music to better qualify and engage them in social works.”

He appealed to the College authorities along with a delegation of five persons from the village.

They met Fr. Rosan Kullu, sdb, Youth Coordinator who says, “I am always ready to help you reopen the centre for it is a Centre close to him in his formation and experience.”
Fr. Kullu insisted that, “Spending of time in a proper manner must be observed by the Brothers, youths and children.”

Mr.Chettri tells about the background of the village which composed of youth and children as students, elders and parents. There are seven Catholic families, some Protestants and the rest are Hindus. Others are serving as officers, Government servants and businessmen.

Mr.Ratan Kumar Rai, a senior member of Youth Centre tells, “The centre was first opened in 1986 and it was closed in 2010.”

“The closing of the Centre was due to some misunderstandings between the youngsters and Brothers.”

Mr.Nobin Chettri adds further reasons for the closure of the Youth Centre saying, “Lack of leadership and mismanagement of Funds.”

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Life of a tea garden worker

Alexius Minj

Upper Cedars — Mr. Durba Tamang gets up early in the morning and goes to work in the garden a km. away. During the tea plucking season which starts in May and June Mr. Durba gets 132 rupees as daily wages. During rainy season in July and August he gets wet and plucks the tea leaves.

In the dry season, December and January he goes to prune and weeds the garden. In spite of cold season during winter he gets up early in the morning at 7:30 and sometimes he sacrifices his breakfast. In winter, tea garden work starts at 2:00 o’clock afternoon. He carries food for lunch what his mother cooks in the morning.

He gets 2 kg of rice and 4 kg Atta per week as ration. There is no good medical facility and no Hospital in Upper Cedars.

Vehicles are only for those who work in the tea garden and for one who is seriously sick. There were teachers in the school at Upper Cedars but now they left teaching in the school as they were not getting sufficient salary.

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Students revive youth centre through competitions

GairigaonBy Sudip Mondal

Gairigaon — A group of college students plans to revive the youth centre membership and participation through competitions.

Gairigoan youth centre’s captain Bro. Sujit Kerketta states, “The youth centre has to be renewed through popular competions like Carrom competition and Football tournament to attract the participation of youth.”

He insisted saying,”We should have more support from the local people for procuring more games articles and musical instruments.”

One of the past pupils of the youth centre Mr. Pritam Khawas says, “We have benefited a lot from the youth centre . We have developed our communication skills, improved on discipline, and learned games and singing.”

Mr. Khawas adds, “I was a regular member of Garigoan youth centre. We always used to wait eagerly for Sunday as we could participate in many competitions organised in the youth centre and win prizes.”

Gairigoan and Arubotia youth centres were established by Fr. James Chacko around 1988. However, in 2000, the youth centre of Gairigoian was separated from Arubotia and was initiated by Bro. Jotish and Bro. Joseph.

The Gairigaon youth centre, one of 20 youth centres run by Salesian College students is just 90 minutes walk from the college on the way to Balasun.

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