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Bandel prior’s Good Friday message stresses forgiveness, tolerance

Bandel: The prior of the oldest Catholic church in eastern India has called people to forgive others and tolerate each other “as a practical way” to form a community of peace and harmony.

“Whatever be our religion or culture, forgiveness, the hallmark of Good Friday, is the only path to co-existence and peaceful living,” says Father T L Francis, head priest of Marian shrine at Bandel in Hooghly district. The church was established by Portuguese missionaries in 1599 on the banks of Hooghly River, some 60 km northwest of Kolkata.

The 63-year-old prior spoke to pilgrims to the shrine as the Church began the Holy Week when Christians commemorate events related the last days of Jesus Christ.

The priest’s Good Friday and Easter messages came in the wake of attacks on Christians and Muslims in the name religion spreading across the country.

“Forgive others and tolerate each other,” he told the visitors, who seemed alarmed by growing intolerance and strident Hindu belligerence unfolding in various parts of the country.

According to media reports, six states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have banned beef consumption and enforced cow protection laws with the help of vigilante groups that target Muslims.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India, a Christian group based in New Delhi, has noted that Palm Sunday services on April 9 were disrupted and Christians at five places in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in the north and Tamil Nadu in the south.

Recently in West Bengal, various affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh took out processions with swords and other lethal weapons on Ram Navami. Radicals chanted slogans in Hindi as they marched through the streets of Kolkata, Birbhum, Burdwan, Nadia, Malda, Midnapore and Darjeeling.

Amid such ominous signs, the Bandel prior explained, echoing Pope Francis’ words: “Forgiveness and tolerance can be achieved only by works of peace.”

The prior also warned that “no development was possible without peace.”

A significant visual treat awaits visitors to the shrine on Good Friday, says Subrata Ganguly, head of the Church Art Kolkata. His firm has installed a 10 feet high and 7 feet wide mural of “Resurrected Christ” just on the left side of the isle near the altar of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The mural, a unique piece of art executed in bronze finish is the only one installed in entire eastern India, Ganguly told.

It is placed just above the statue of body of Christ laid out at 14th Station of the Cross.

“The innocent man [Jesus] who was crucified by wicked people on Good Friday has triumphed over death and evil, by rising glorious on Easter Sunday giving us all hope beyond despair,” said Ganguly, a devout Hindu.

Ganguly’s earlier artistic installations in Bandel Church include bronze finish church doors in four places with liturgical symbols and figurines; open air Stations of the Cross which has 54 life size statues; a galaxy of popular saints’ life size statues as well as a musical fountain placed in the church ground in front of the shrine.

As in the past, the Good Friday and Easter services at the Bandel Church will also be broadcast live on local cable television channel.


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CM Paul's picture

Former HoD, Dept of Mass Communications at Assam Don Bosco University, Guwahati, C.M. Paul was editor of The Herald weekly in Kolkata and director of Don Bosco International News Agency (ANS) based in Rome. He has MA degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from FORDHAM University, New York.

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Civil Society Consultation on Climate Plan

2 Aug 2015 - 9:02am | Ranjan K Baruah

North East Youth Foundation (NEYF) and North East Dialogue Forum (NEDF) organised a Civil Society Consultation on Climate Change and State Action Plan on Climate Change on 1st August. Participants of the consultation discussed on the impact of climate change in the state of Assam. Jadav Payeng popularly known as forest man said, “Education from the grassroots level is the key to conserve the nature and lower down the impact of climate change.” He further added that the “youth are vanguard culminating   solutions for protecting the eco system.”

Further putting light on the key issues on impact of climate change Rahul Mahanta, Deptt of Physics Cotton College reiterated that   the society as a whole must focus on both scientific and traditional measures to reconstruct the dilapidating ecosystem. For this to become a success we all need to rely on data in order to form a concrete action plan.

Nava Thakuria , Secretary Guwahati Press Club highlighted very simple yet highly effective and goal oriented   solution to  build a healthy urban ecosystem. “Simple measures like rainwater harvesting, utilisation of solar energy can help us in minimising climate change.

NEYF and NEDF appeals to Government of Assam to look into few important areas before finalising the forthcoming climate plan:

  • Any existing or proposed  draft  must be translated into Assamese, Bodo and other regional languages which are used in the state of Assam so that people can understand about the planning.
  • Other policies like water, forest, agriculture, land etc policy must be prepared before finalising the climate plan or policy to avoid any contradiction.
  • All existing policies must be respected before finalising climate policy to avoid any further contradiction
  • There must be strong relations with all the departments which are associated to avoid any confusion or controversies amongst people.
  • SAPCC should adopt Free, Prior Informed Consent of the people of Assam before taking up climate adaptation measures like REDD+, water, land, agriculture etc.
  • Human rights and gender issues related to Climate Change action should be the primary focus before implementing the proposed action plan.
  • Climate action Plan should  use the ‘Do No Harm’ principles while taking up the action plan at all level of implementation

Discussion was held on the thematic areas which are proposed in different climate plans with more emphasis on areas like water, agriculture and forest. Participants from different parts of the state representing different originations apart from youths and students took part in one day consultation. The consultation was held at Bosco Reach Out in Guwahati.


Women empowerment programme at Nazira

8 Dec 2012 - 4:32am | SK Hasan

NGO Probaah & State Institute of Rural Development, Assam organised an awerness camp on empowerment and self employment for4 women at M.C. Club Nazira on December 7. In the meeting, Panchayat & Rural Devlopment minister Rakibul Hussain was present. A few Auto, Power tillers, small Carriage Van, Yern were distributed among benificeries in the meeting. Former minister Hemoprabha Saikia, MLA of Nazira & Thowra Debobrat Saikia and Sushanta Borgohain, D.C. Sivasagar Jatin Lahkar were present in the meeting.

Meteor shower hits Assam sky !

12 Aug 2010 - 4:10am | Mowsam Hazarika

Sky watchers may get a treat starting 10th August , 2010 night as the famous Perseids meteor shower is expected to peak, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said. Several Sky observers enjoyed the event from different parts of Assam. The Perseids meteor shower is considered among the "most reliable," being seen usually between August 10 and 14. The famous Perseids meteor shower will be observed with its peak on the late night of August 12 until dawn on the following day, meteors are easiest to see if there is no moonlight and light pollution. An exceptional shower may occasionally show tens or even hundreds of meteors per minute, but around 50 meteors per hour is more typical.

On the other hand, it said the famous Summer Triangle formed by the stars Vega, Deneb and Altair of the constellations Lyra, Aquila and Cygnus, respectively, is being well placed above the eastern horizon. Scorpius and Sagittarius are the most prominent constellations in the southern night sky, it added. The largest visible star in the sky is Antares, a reddish Red-giant star which is the prominent star in the constellation of Scorpius, the Scorpion. Experts said groupings of naked eye planets will adorn skywatchers as they will see Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury in the western horizon 30 minutes after sunset. At around 8 p.m. of Aug. 13, the crescent Moon will join the groupings of Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury. At around 9 p.m. of Aug. 22, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune will be at 14, 16 and 39 degrees above the eastern horizon and will be glowing at magnitude -2.8, +5.7 and +7.8, respectively.

"Jupiter and Uranus will lie among the background stars of the constellation Pisces, the Fish while Neptune will be found among the stars of the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer. A modest size telescope will be needed to observe Neptune and the Blue-Green planet, Uranus," they said.