Kolkata, (C.M. Paul) – In the wake of the maiden visit of the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco and Chancellor of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) Rome to India (26th September) Fr Ángel Fernández Artime announced 24th September 2015 the appointment of the new Dean of the Faculty of Social Communications (FSC) Prof. Peter Andrew Gonsalves.
Professor of Communication and Education at FSC Dr Gonsalves hails from the Salesian province of Mumbai. He is the first non-European Dean of FSC which was established in 1988.
Former Dean of FSC Prof Mauro Montavani has been elevated as Vice-Chancellor of the same university, UPS Rome.
Speaking to Matters India on the significance of his appointment, Dr Gonsalves says, “[the appointment is ] perhaps, the fruit of a more inclusive mentality open to the wealth in non-European cultures; an appreciation of the work done in Media Education in India since 1984; a recognition of the contribution made to the global body on communication research through the analysis of the Mahatma’s sartorial/nonverbal communication.”
Author of three outstanding books on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Dr Gonaslves first book on Gandhiji (Sage 2008) – Clothing for Liberation: A Communication Analysis of Gandhi’s Swadeshi Revolution – is the first analysis of Gandhi’s dressing style in terms of communication theory and an exploration of the subliminal messages that were subtly communicated to a large audience.
Dr Gonsalves chose three famous theorists from the field of communication studies and looked at Gandhi through the lens of each one, to give a fascinating and new insight into one of the most famous men from South Asia, and India’s freedom movement.
His second book Khadi: Gandhi’s Mega Symbol of Subversion (Sage 2012) again on Gandhi investigates the power of a symbol to qualitatively transform society, studying Mahatma Gandhi’s use of clothing as a metaphor for unity, empowerment and liberation from imperial subjugation.
Dr Gonsalves’ third book Gandhi and the Popes, (Peter Lang 2015) investigates how Mahatma Gandhi – whether in his lifetime or posthumously – was respected, appreciated and – in one case – imitated by the Popes from Pius XI to Francis. In the process, he “explores and assesses the popular claim that Gandhi was influenced by Christ, and the not so popular conjecture that Pope Francis was influenced by Gandhi.”
Dr Gonsalves began his career in media as media education trainer in 1984 and a community worker for rural development at the Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra, Ahmednagar. He founded in Pune (1992) Tej-prasarini a multimedia production centre to raise awareness of the urgency of life-based education in vernacular marathi language of Maharashtra state. Later in 1994, Tejprasarini was shifted to Matunga, Mumbai where it is a flourishing media house of Salesians in South Asia.
He promoted a series of teacher-training manuals called ‘Quality Life Education’, the first of which was his own work: Exercises in Media Education (1994). Using this, he conducted no less than 40 all-India courses on media education for schoolteachers, social workers and youth facilitators form diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
Dr Gonsalves also coordinated its first five-language web portal of the Salesians at its headquarters in Rome. He was also president of INTERSIG, the international wing of SIGNIS, a world association of communicators for a culture of peace.