Provincial Secretary of the Federation of Don Bosco Alumni Dimapur Province Dr. Stephen Kamson (Senior Medical Officer, North Eastern Frontier Railways) speaks about the active involvement of Don Bosco Alumni in the Don Bosco Relic visit to the province. The Relic toured four states – Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, andUpper Assam, and six dioceses – Archdiocese of Imphal, and the dioceses of Kohima, Dibrugarh, Miao, Tezpur and Itanagar coursing through difficult and uncertain terrain, dusty and bumpy roads of the region.). In 26 days, the Relic stopped over at 89 venues.
What was the Alumni contribution toward the DB Relics Visit?
Dr. Kamson: Don Bosco Alumni of Dimapur Province actively participated both at the Provincial and Unit levels. Some of the evident activities are as follows:
i) Liaison: The DB Alumni, by virtue of being inserted in all strata of life and by virtue of holding positions of responsibilities acted as the liaison between the Salesian Family and the various Governmental and non-governmental agencies, organizations and communities.
a) The members at the Unit levels took the initiative to get permissions to hold rallies and processions.
b) The Relic was provided with State Police, including Traffic Police escorts during its movement within the cities and towns.
c) Media coverage was ensured for all the major events of the Relic.
ii) Factual participation: Don Bosco Alumni members participated in the reception, public exposition and veneration programs both at the Provincial Federation level and at the Unit levels.
A contingent of 10 members from outside the state of Manipur represented the Provincial Federation at the Official launching of India Tour of the Relic organized at Imphal on 1st May 2011. The contingent that arrived Imphal from Dimapur on 30th April advanced towards the Relic on the morning of 1st May 2011 and escorted it from over 25 km on the National High-way 53 on its return from Tamenglong to Imphal.
The Alumni of Units of Imphal, Maram, Kohima, Zubza, Wokha, Dibrugarh, Itanagar and Dimapur actively participated during the Relic tour through their respective areas.
The joined efforts of the Provincial Federation and the Dimapur Unit of Don Bosco Alumni have obtained the Government’s approval for INSTALLING A LIFE-SIZE STATUE OF DON BOSCO in the heart of Dimapur town to commemorate the visit of the Relic to Dimapur, the Salesian Head Quarter of the province.
The Provincial Federation co-coordinated a grand Public Ceremonial Reception to the Relic on its arrival at the Nagaland-Assam Gate on National High-Way 39, at 9.00 am, 21st May 2011.
A Naga Tribal traditional welcome ceremony was performed. The district administration represented by the Deputy Commissioner, the Superintendent of Police, the Chief Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, the President of the Naga Council, the Provincial of Salesians, and the President of Don Bosco Alumni offered bouquets on behalf of the citizens of the district at the reception. The Relic was then escorted by a motorcade comprising of State Traffic Police, State Police Car, 25 motor cyles, a Naga Warrior escort, about a hundred vehicles including the dignitaries and many high official Alumni of Don Bosco.
The Alumni also assisted in putting up display hoardings to welcome the Relic.
The DB Alumni printed the Invitation Cards for the Reception on arrival to Dimapur and also distributed Posters to be stuck on vehicles taking part in the rallies with important information on the great saint.
People’s comments on the Alumni collaboration.
Dr. Kamson: The Don Bosco Alumni received appreciation from everyone including the dignitaries present at events and from the other members of the Salesian Family.
What more could the Alumni have done?
Dr Kamson: More physical presence around the Relic could be possible but for the ‘Religious tint’!
Screening of Don Bosco Movies for priming the general public on the social reformer and saint could create greater anticipation and participation in receiving Don Bosco physically and spiritually.
Your suggestions for greater Alumni involvement and participation in DB Relics Pilgrimage.
Dr Kamson: Don Bosco, as commonly perceived, is truly an INSTITUTION BY HIMSELF! We attempted to project Don Bosco in that light- not only as a Holy Man, with disciplined and god-fearing up-bringing, but also in the challenging trials he had to undergo like the harsh reality of a fatherless childhood, the turmoil brought in by the Industrial Revolution, the pathetic state of life of the young particularly the youth; and how he evolved through those challenges to dedicate his life for the young, the marginalized, the street urchin, the vagabonds and juvenile delinquents. We attempted to project him as the source of solace not only to those disadvantaged young of his days, but till today through his sons and daughters, and through the members of the Salesian Family, continuing Don Bosco’s mission through 131 countries today.
What is your personal assessment of the DB Relics Pilgrimage?
Dr Kamson: Wonderful concept of Rev. Fr. Pascual Chavez sdb- Rector Major, the Father and Centre of Unity of the Salesian Family. Many of us have spent lakhs of rupees to visit the Relic of Don Bosco at Valdocco and Becchi. One right judgment, and lakhs of people have seen and benefited by the visit of the Relic to their home town.
Dr Kamson: May God, through the intercession of St. John Bosco-Father and Teacher of Youth, grant us peace!
Brief on the Federation
The Dimapur Provincial Federation of Don Bsco Alumni started in 1981 as Don Bosco Past Pupils Association in one of the remotest Salesian Institute, Tamenglong, the most underdeveloped district of the Indian state ofIndia. It was structured into a Provincial Federation in 1996, with its Head Quarter in Don Bosco Provincial House, Dimapur. From its moribund state, the federation under the present Council elected in 2007, is making steady progress, both in terms of growth in membership, now numbering 800, and in its activities.
Besides activities directed at the betterment of the poor and needy, and of the youth conducted by its 10 constituent Unit, this Provincial Federation successfully hosted the Indian National Council Meeting at Kohima in 2008 and the Indian National Congress and Centenary Celebrations of the World Confederation at Itanagar in 2011. This Federation was represented by 8 members at 9th Asia-Australia Congress of Don Bosco Alumni held at Fontana, LeisurePark, Clarkfield, Pampaga, Philippinesin 2008. Eleven members from this federation also took part in the World Congress of the Don Bosco Alumni held in 2010 at the Salesianum, Rome. In both the aforesaid events, the contingent from Dimapur Province were the largest from an individual Province!
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YouTube interview with Dr. S. Kamson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGmSIpXWFFo