FRIDAY: 5.10 PM TO 5.40 PM
SATURDAY : 12.10 PM TO 12.40 PM (REPEAT)

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As a Christian, suddenly I am a stranger in my own country, writes Julio Ribeiro

Written by Julio Ribeiro | Updated: March 16, 2015 10:57 am

Mr Julio Ribeiro IPS

Mr Julio Ribeiro IPS

MUMBAI — There was a time, not very long ago — one year short of 30, to be precise — when only a Christian was chosen to go to Punjab to fight what then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi termed “the nation’s battle” against separatists. I had accepted a “demotion” from secretary in the Union home ministry to DGP of the state of Punjab at the personal request of the prime minister.

Then home secretary, Ram Pradhan, and my dear friend, B.G. Deshmukh, then chief secretary to the government of Maharashtra, were flabbergasted. “Why did you accept this assignment?” they asked. The same question was put to me over the phone by then President Zail Singh. But Arjun Singh, the cabinet minister who personally escorted me by special aircraft from Delhi to Chandigarh, remarked that when my appointment was announced the next morning, the Hindus of Punjab would breathe more freely and rejoice. I presume Hindus would include RSS cadres who had been pinned into a corner by the separatists.

When 25 RSS men on parade were shot dead in cold blood one morning, then Punjab Governor S.S. Ray and I rushed to the spot to console the stricken families. The governor visited 12 homes, I visited the rest. The governor’s experience was different from mine. He was heckled and abused. I was welcomed.

Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country. The same category of citizens who had put their trust in me to rescue them from a force they could not comprehend have now come out of the woodwork to condemn me for practising a religion that is different from theirs. I am not an Indiananymore, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra.

Is it coincidence or a well-thought-out plan that the systematic targeting of a small and peaceful community should begin only after the BJP government of Narendra Modi came to power last May? “Ghar wapsi”, the declaration of Christmas as “Good Governance Day”, the attack on Christian churches and schools in Delhi, all added to a sense of siege that now afflicts these peaceful people.

Christians have consistently punched above their weight — not as much as the tiny Parsi community, but just as noticeably. Education, in particular, has been their forte. Many schools, colleges, related establishments that teach skills for jobs have been set up and run by Christians. They are much in demand. Even diehard Hindus have sought admission in such centres of learning and benefited from the commitment and sincerity of Christian teachers. Incidentally, no one seems to have been converted to Christianity, though many, many have imbibed Christian values and turned “pseudo-secularist”.

Hospitals, nursing homes, hospices for dying cancer patients needing palliative care — many of these are run by Christian religious orders or Christian laymen devoted to theservice of humanity. Should they desist from doing such humanitarian work for fear of being so admired and loved that a stray beneficiary converts of his or her own accord? Should only Hindus be permitted to do work that could sway the sentiments of stricken people in need of human love and care?

The Indian army was headed by a Christian general, the navy more than once, and same with the air force. The country’s defence forces have countless men and women in uniform who are Christians. How can they be declared non-Indians by Parivar hotheads out to create a pure Hindu Rashtra?

It is tragic that these extremists have been emboldened beyond permissible limits by an atmosphere of hate and distrust. The Christian population, a mere 2 per cent of the total populace, has been subjected to a series of well-directed body blows. If these extremists later turn their attention to Muslims, which seems to be their goal, they will invite consequences that this writer dreads to imagine.

I was somewhat relieved when our prime minister finally spoke up at a Christian function in Delhi a few days ago. But the outburst of Mohan Bhagwat against Mother Teresa, an acknowledged saint — acknowledged by all communities and peoples — has put me back on the hit list. Even more so because BJP leaders, like Meenakshi Lekhi, chose to justify their chief’s remarks.

What should I do? What can I do to restore my confidence? I was born in this country. So were my ancestors, some 5,000 or more years ago. If my DNA is tested, it will not differ markedly from Bhagwat’s. It will certainly be the same as the country’s defence minister’s as our ancestors arrived in Goa with the sage Parshuram at the same time. Perhaps we share a common ancestor somewhere down the line. It is an accident of history that my forefathers converted and his did not. I do not and never shall know the circumstances that made it so.

What does reassure me in these twilight years, though, is that there are those of the predominant Hindu faith who still remember my small contribution to the welfare of the country of our birth. During a recent trip to Rajgurunagar in the Khed taluka of Pune district to visit schools that my NGO, The Bombay Mothers and Children Welfare Society, had adopted, I stopped at Lonavla for idli and tea. A group of middle-aged Maharashtrians sitting on the next table recognised me and stopped to greet and talk. A Brahmin couple returning from Kuwait (as I later learnt) also came up to inquire if I was who I was and then took a photograph with me.

It warmed the cockles of my heart that ordinary Hindus, not known to me, still thought well of me and would like to be friends 25 years after my retirement, when I could not directly serve them. It makes me hope that ordinary Hindu men and women will not be swayed by an ideology that seeks to spread distrust and hate with consequences that must be avoided at all cost.

*The writer, a retired IPS officer,was Mumbai police commissioner,DGP Gujarat and DGP Punjab,and is a former Indian ambassador to Romania.

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Campus SPLASH March issue

To read Campus Splash March issue please click the link: Campus Splash March 2015

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Exposing 300 days of Modi’s Rule

March 19, 2015, 11am to 6pm at Jantar Mantar
300 days 2New Delhi — In a week’s time Mr. Narendra Modi completes 300 days as the Prime Minister of India. He came into office riding a promise of development, his election campaign was fuelled by subtle hate against religious minorities. His campaign was having the unstinted support of Corporate and was manned by lakhs of volunteers of RSS.

During last few months the intensity of the divisive agenda of RSS combine has gone up tremendously. Cadres of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and scores of other sister-groups have intensified the intimidating campaigns like “Ghar Wapsi” and “Love-Jihad”. There were attacks on places of worship of religious minorities. A minister of the Government, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, said that those not believing in Ram are (Haramjade) illegitimate. One of the ruling party MPs went on to praise Godse, calling him patriot. This government tried to remove the words Secular and Socialist from the Preamble of our Constitution. The talk of Gita being a National book was also voiced.

During this period the incidents of communal violence has gone up, nearly 600 during last eight months. The associates of BJP have become more assertive and the intimidation of the religious minorities has gone up. The economic agenda is being tuned for the benefit of corporate houses. The plight of farmers, Dalits and Adivasis is worsening by the day. During this period the Sakshi Maharaj, Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi have been saying that Hindu women should produce more children. In Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and other states, the terror, physical violence and social ostracizing of Dalit and Tribal Christians, in particular, continues unabated.

The Prime Minister is a trained pracharak of RSS, his parent organization. RSS is going hammer and tongs asserting its agenda of Hindu Rashtra. While he is keeping mum on issues of crucial importance like Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra, RSS has become more aggressive on these issues. Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS Sarsanghchalak recently stated that “Hindutva is the identity of India and it has the capacity to swallow other identities.” In Cuttack, he asserted that India is a Hindu state and “citizens of Hindustan should be known as Hindus”. What more can be said against Indian Constitution than this statement of Mr. Bhagwat!

300 days 1To say that all this intimidation was being done by fringe elements of RSS will be missing the point. It’s a clever ‘division of labor’ between different progeny of RSS combine. There are clear signals of the erosion of the liberal democratic space which we so value and need for the struggles of the deprived sections of society. The religious minorities are being treated in a way which sans dignity and equality. All social groups do feel the heat of this Government, which is out to stifle the democratic space.

We all realize that these 300 days have seen erosion of democratic values, there is a reversal or dilution of existing legislations which are pro-poor. Environmental norms have been diminished to an extent that now they will be almost nonexistent, threatening the environment and the climate. Land acquisition laws are being changed to benefit crony capital.
It is time that we, all those committed to values of pluralism, democracy and equality, need to stand together to protest against the erosion of the values of our Constitution. The very Idea of India, democratic, Secular and compassionate, is under threat with these policies which are being unleashed in an aggressive way. We need to uphold the values of Secularism, which has been the cementing factor of our Freedom movement, which has been the core spirit of our Indian Nation.

The dream and vision of Idea of India can be sustained and promoted only through our vigilance and struggle for Human rights of all, more so the deprived sections of society. We do envision a society with equality and dignity, freedom with affirmative action, pluralism with scientific temper. It’s through our struggles for democratic rights which will shape a better India in times to come.

We the following organizations appeal to you to join in the protest to restore the values of Indian nationalism. This is a call for a united response from the vast majority of Indian society who has shown repeatedly that they want to preserve the secular traditions of the country which derived from a united Freedom struggle. It is a call for the Idea Of India which came up during freedom movement. We reiterate our faith in values of Indian Constitution and appeal to all those who stand for Indian nationalism to come forward to shape the future for Humane India.

Civil society groups based in Delhi, but many representing all-India organizations, met a few days ago to plan a Rally and Dharna at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, 19th March 2015, 11 am to 6 pm.

The programme will have speakers from civil society and secular political parties, victims, artists, intellectuals. The time will be divided between speakers in Delhi, those coming from outside, political leaders and cultural performances. Cultural programmes will be an important component of the programme. A report on the 300 days keeping the violations regarding the above issues in mind will be prepared and released.

Speakers: Ajay Makan, Ali Anwar, Amarjit Kaur, Annie Raja, Brinda Karat, Colin Gonsalves, Digvijay Singh, Jagmati Sangwan, John Dayal, KC Tyagi , Kavita Krishnan, Kunwar Danish, Mohd Salim, Navaid Hamid, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Rajiv Dimri, Ram Puniyani, Rev. Vijayesh Lal, Sahba Hussain, Seema Mustafa, Shabnam Hashmi, Siddarth Vardarajan, Sitaram Yechury, Syeda Hamid, Vrinda Grover, Yugal Kishore Shastri.

Performances: Asmita, IPTA Delhi , Janam, Kumar Ambuj, Manglesh Dabral, Manmohan , Nishant Natya Manch , Sangwari, Shubha, Vishnu Nagar.
We also call upon all peace loving people who believe in safeguarding democracy and secularism to join the day long Dharna.
Organised by: AICCTU, AIDWA, AILU, AIPWA, AISA, AITUC, Akal ka Dhabha, All India Catholic Union (AICU), All India Secular Forum, Alliance Defending Freedom India, Aman Biradari, Anhad, Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan, Asmita, Ayodhya ki Awaaz, Beghar Foundation., Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, CBCI office for SC/BC, Centar for Health & Social Justice., Centre for Harmony and Peace, Varanasi, UP, Centre for Holistic Development (CHD)., Christian Legal Association, CITU, Delhi Solidarity Group, Dhanak, DYFI, Federation of Catholic Associations of the Archdiocese of Delhi, Forum against Corruption and Threat, Guild of Service, Indian Catholic Youth Movement, Indian Radical Humanist Association, Indian Social Institute, IPTA Delhi, Jamia Students Solidarity Forum , Jan Pehel (MP), Jan Sanskriti, Jan Sanskriti Manch, Janam, JWP, Khudai Khidmatgar, Kiss of Love, Lal Jhanda Beedi Mazdoor Union, Lok Parishad, Mewat Karwan, Mewat Vikas Sabha, MOEMIN, Muslim Women’s Forum, Nagrik Ekta Manch , National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, National Federation of Indian Women, National Forum for Housing Rights, Navodaya Lokchetna Kalyan Samiti , Nishant Natya Manch, NoMore Campaign, People’s Campaign against Politics of Terror, People’s Research Society (MP), People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism , Philadelphia Church, Prashant, Gujarat, Progressive Writers Association, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan, Religious Liberty Commission of EFI, Right to Water Campaign, Rihai Manch, UP, SACW, Saheli, SAMLA, Sandarbh, MP, Sangwari, SFI, Shahri Adhikar Manch:Begharo ke Sath (SAM:BKS)., Society for Social Change (SSCI), The Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives (AALI) , Trilokpuri Platform., Ummid Shelter Home , United Christian Forum for Human Rights, Women for Water Democracy, YUVODAYA – Youth Commission of Delhi.

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Thai nuns visit varsity for higher studies

Superior General of Thai Congregation meets with Vice Chancellor Assam Don Bosco University, 19 February 2015.

Superior General of Thai Congregation meets with Vice Chancellor Assam Don Bosco University, 19 February 2015.

Guwahati — The newly elected Superior General of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (SIHM) Sr Maliwan Paramathawirote and the congregation’s former Superior General came along with two students including Sr. Uthomporn to study Communicative English prior to joining MA in Convergent Media & Technologies at Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU).

Fr Joy SVD, and HoD Mass Communication accompanied the delegation from Thailand to meet with ADBU VC Dr Stephen Mavely, 19 February 2015.

“We are very happy to have this opportunity to learn English speaking skills for our students,” said the new Mother General Sr Maliwan expressing happiness on her visit and higher education possibilities for her Sisters at ADBU.

The Thai delegation meets with Communicative English coaches.

The Thai delegation meets with Communicative English coaches.

Sr Maliwan hopes Sr Uthomporn who accompanied her to India, will make best use of coming three months to pick up sufficient language skills to pursue her two year MA degree in Convergent Media and Technologies.

The two students from Thaland will start 3-month Spoken English class from 23rd February till May end, under the mentor-ship of Assistant Professors Joseph & Nabamita.

Two Thai students who will start Communicative English classes at ADBU.

Two Thai students who will start Communicative English classes at ADBU from Monday 23rd February 2015..

The new academic year is scheduled to start at the end of July 2015 in the new and permanent Assam Don Bosco University campus at Tapesia.

Founded in Bangkok Thailand by Salesian Bishop Gaetano Pasotti in 1937, the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary members devote oneself to the needs of the Church. The Identity of the Congregation is simplicity of life, spirit of sacrifice, family spirit and being joyful in giving service to God and to others.

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ADBU Holds Seminar on Health Care of Women and Children

Dr Gayatri

Dr Gayatri  Bezboruah

Guwahati,(Jacob Malkias): The Social Work Dept. of Assam Don Bosco University, had a one day seminar on “Child Health in India and Strategies for Improvement,”13th February 2015. Dr.GayatriBezboruah, the professor of Paediatrics, Medical College, Guwahati, was the resource person for the seminar. There were nearly 100 students participated for the seminar along with the faculty members of the Dept. Director of the School of Social Sciences ADBU, Dr.Riju Sharma welcomed the resource person and Asst. Professor Mr. Jacob thanked her with the traditional honours of gamosa.

In the seminar, Dr. Gayatri, highlighted the importance of girl’s education and child’s health care. She pointed out the birth and death ratio of children before attaining the age of five. “It was curious to know that there are 60 million malnourished children are there in India,” says Mamribha Laloo, a student of MSW.

Dr Gayatri with MSW students

Dr Gayatri with MSW students

Dr. Gayatri also highlighted the sex ratio of India particularly of Assam as 954 girls for 1000 boys. Dr. also pointed out that anaemia is one of the main factor for child death, and mothers have to take care of the problem from the beginning of the birth of the children by only breast feeding from the 1st hour of the birth till 6 months without even water. Dr. Gayatri also compared the maternal mortality and infant mortality across the country, with special reference to NE India.

“Child abuse in NE is very high and worst compared to the whole country. HIV/AIDS is a fast spreading disease in NE. Testing HIV is very important both for mother and the child,” Says Dr.Gayatri.

It was very knowledgeable and informative for the MSW students, especially the girls of the Dept, because it is they who are going to be the future mothers of NE,”says the HOD of MSW, Dr. Riju Sharma.

“The seminar was enriching with the interactive and friendly talk of the resource person and the students,” says Asst. Prof. Vicor, MSW.

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SmartFilm 2015.jpgWhat is SmartFilm Competition?
The SmartFilm competition is a cell phone movie-making contest organised by the Department of Mass Communication, Assam Don Bosco University. It is currently open for all the students of the university who have a zest for storytelling or expressing their ideas through the use of an affordable and easily accessible medium of a cellphone and a free open source video editing software.

Theme for 2015: “Roti, Kapda aur Makaan” (Food, Cloth and Shelter)
Last Date of Registration: 20th February, 2015
Last Date of Submission (DVDs): 16th March, 2015, 04:00PM

About the theme for this year:

The films based on the theme Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (Food, Cloth and Shelter) should focus on the means by which people from different walks of life try to cater to the basic necessities of life. The films can depict livelihood issues in socialist India either through a fictional style of storytelling or through a documentary approach.

1. Rules & Regulations:
i) The SmartFilm competition is open to all the students of Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU).
ii) All participant(s) will have to register themselves for free by filling up all the details in the Registration Form. Last date of registration is 20/02/2015.
iii) All teams shall consist of a maximum of 4 (four) members.
iv) The film shall be completely shot through the use of any cellphone. There is no limit as to the number of cellphone cameras to be used in the duration of the film.
v) The film shall be completely edited with an Free and Open Source Video Editing Software.
vi) The film shall be a maximum of 5 (five) minutes including all text/titles/credits/logos.
vii) Music/Photos/video clips used by the filmmaker(s) must be original or copyright free. In case of copyrighted material the filmmaker(s) must obtain a written consent from the original artist/owner/producer of the material.
viii) SmartFilm Competition reserves the right to create, revoke, and modify at any time, in any way its entry requirements, rules and regulations at its absolute discretion without prior notice. All participants are deemed to have accepted the rules of the competition, and agree to abide thereby.
ix) ADBU/SmartFilm/Dept. Of Mass Communication will not be liable for any loss, damage to property, or harm that may befall the participants during the production of the video.
x) All video entries shall remain with, and become the property of SmartFilm Competition.
xi) Submissions for SmartFilm Competition will be in finished video format.

2. Submission Details:
i) The completed film can be in any of these formats – ‘.avi’, ‘.mp4′
iii) The completed film must be submitted in a DVD on or by 16/03/2015 (04:00PM) at the Reception Desk of Assam Don Bosco University.
iv) The DVD cover and the DVD should be clearly labelled at the top as “Submission for SmartFilm Competition” along with the Film Title, Production Name/Team Name and Group Members Name.
v) The DVD should contain the following:
A) The completed film in any of the aforementioned format.
B) A copy of the project file to validate the use of free and open source software.
C) At least five low file size “behind the scenes” photographs of the participant(s) filming the video with cellphone(s).

3. Awards and Recognition:
i) A pre-screening will be done by a panelist (comprising faculty members of ADBU) to shortlist the finalists. Selected finalists will be informed by e-mail/phone provided in the registration form.
ii) A total of 3 winners will be selected among the finalists
iii) Criteria for Selection of finalists and winners
A) 50% for adherence to the theme, content, story and screenplay
B) 50% for cinematography, design, sound, and editing.
iv) All the winning films will be uploaded and promoted through social media.

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