Address of His
Excellency, Shri M. K. Narayanan, Governor of West Bengal to the Jesuit
Fathers and Brother of
St. Xavierís, Kolkata
31 July, 2010
Father Rector, Father Principal, Fathers
I greet you on the occasion of the Feast
of St. Ignatius of Loyola today. I understand that the staff and
students have celebrated the occasion this morning, and that you will be
celebrating in the evening as well. My best wishes to all of you on this
St. Ignatius of Loyola was a remarkable
individual whose name and fame remains undiminished despite the
intervening Centuries. The founder of the Society of Jesus is revered
across the world, and the Jesuits today are acknowledged keepers of the
lamp of learning. They symbolize the best practices in education
Jesuit Educational Institutions are,
hence, greatly sought after by people of every faith and community.
There is hardly a single Jesuit College or School that has not made its
mark. St. Xavierís, for instance, is rated amongst the 10 best Colleges
in the country. It has a hoary tradition going back over a Century and a
half. In fact, on January 16, this year, St. Xavierís celebrated 150
years of service to the nation, with the Prime Minister presiding over
the event. I was earlier slated to be part of the PMís entourage, but
since my appointment as Governor of West Bengal was to be announced the
very next day, I had to deny myself the pleasure of being present. I
would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to extend my very best
wishes to you on the occasion and pray that the Lord give you the
strength to carry on in this fashion and provide you with many more
years of service to the community in Kolkata and the Nation.
My entire education has been in Christian
institutions- most of it in Catholic Institutions - St. Columbus in New
Delhi, St. Edwards in Shimla and Loyola College in Madras. These
institutions helped me firm up my values. I spent six years in Loyola
College - one year as a supernumerary student in the Intermediate
Science Course since I was too young to be formally admitted to the
University. Then two years in Intermediate Science and three years in
the Economics (Honours) course, which qualified me for a Masters Degree.
Loyola, in many ways, shaped my destiny, and I am both proud and
grateful to my Mentors there. They were towering personalities like
Father Jerome DíSouza, Father Gordon and Father Mathias who were my
Principals, my Economics Professor, Father Basnach and my English
Professor Father Murphy. To each, and all, of them I owe a deep debt of
gratitude, as also to the Institution and, I might add, the Jesuit
community as well.
Consequently, I do not need to dwell too
much on the virtues and ideals that all of you are imbued with. Your
commitment to service to the community, specially in the field of
education, the type of values that you instill in students that leave an
indelible stamp on their psyche, the selfless service that is rendered
by you in ensuring that every child or student who passes through the
portals of your Institutions understands the values and virtues of
discipline, service, compassion and an understanding of the environment,
and above all the need to be good citizens of the country. Verily,
therefore, you are Godís messengers on Earth and all those who pass
through your hands are, in that sense, children of God.
Our country and our Government is
committed to providing every single child, boy or girl, with the
benefits of Education. Education is our birthright, and its is
unfortunate that there are still large number of children who do not
enjoy this privilege. The Government has recently promulgated the Right
to Education Act, but Education for All calls for much more than
pronouncements or promulgation of Laws and Acts. It demands dedicated
and committed people to provide the right type of education that is
The Jesuit community who run some of the
finest and best educational institutions in the country are flag-bearers
in this regard. Your activities are not limited to cities and urban
pockets. You work in the rural areas as well, and I am aware of your
Ďoption for the poorí policy. This segment requires very special
attention and I am optimistic that the zeal and dedication that you have
shown in many different and varied streams of educational endeavour,
would be channelised and focused in favour of this segment as well.
As the followers of St. Ignatius of
Loyala, and committed to pursuing his goals and objectives, I have no
doubt, that yours would be the beacon light that ensures a new awakening
in our country and creating a society that is secular and value-based.
I wish you well, and thank you for what
you are doing. May you at the St. Xavierís continue to be the
torch-bearers of wisdom.
Once again, I thank you for your
invitation and wish you all the best.
In return, I request you to invoke Godís
blessings upon me as well.