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Father Durack

By Matters India Reporter

Patna: An era in the Bihar Church history ended on February 12 with the death of its last American Jesuit missionary.

Father Jerome Durack died at 6:20 am at Xavier Bhawan, Xavier Teachers Training Institute, Digha Ghat, a western suburb of Patna, the state capital. He was 88. He was unwell for the past few days.

“Father Durack’s death is a moment of special significance to the history of the Church and of Jesuits in Bihar. He has been the last American Missionary working in Bihar. With his death a significant chapter in the history of Christian faith and Patna Jesuits come to gracing end,” says Father Anto Joseph Thundaparambil, a Patna Jesuit.

Father Durack came to Patna in 1951 and visited his home only once, in 1976, and that too under obedience to his Jesuit superior.

“Hundreds of families and thousands of Christians in Bihar would miss him, but would remember him with love and devotion in years to come,” Father Thundaparambil said his condolence message.

The young priest hailed Father Durack as “a model of missionary zeal and Jesuit charism.” His prized possession were the Bible, the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola and the Constitutions of the Society (all in Latin). “He read them again and again. They had become his life.”

Fr. Durack was born in 1929 at Chicago, Illinois, in the middle class family of Jeremiah and Lillian Durack. After high school, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1947. After arriving in India he completed his priestly studies from Pune, Shembaganur, Jaipur, and Kerseong. He was ordained a priest at St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral, Patna in 1960.

From 1962 to 1974, he was entrusted with the formation of Jesuits as a teacher in St. Joseph’s Mission Home, Palai, Kerala, southern India, and director of candidates in Xavier Hall, Patna.

He served the Christian community as a pastor in 1976 and the rest of his life. He cycled or walked into Christian families; administered the Sacraments, preached; taught catechism, laity, bishops, clergy, and religious.

He served as parish priest of Bettiah, northern Bihar twice, 1974-1976 and 1999-2007. He was parish priest of Latonah for two years from 1992 and then in Kurji, Patna for four years. He also served as secretary to the Bishop of Muzzaffurpur for ten years from 1982 and then secretary to the Bishop of Bettiah for seven years from 2007. He was the vicar general of Bettiah during 1999 –2008.

He also served as the spiritual director of Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Bettiah for two years. He guided the general chapters of the congregation as he always admired the unique contribution of the sisters in the faith formation of Catholics in Bihar.

Father Durack also contributed to the growth of Catholic literature in Hindi such as Dharma Gyan (religious wisdom) and Prem Apaar (incomparable love). He has translated many lives of saints. Recognizing his contribution to Hindi Catholic literature, he was awarded with Cherubim Barno Sahu Award by Prabhat Prakashan in 2014.

His books — English Speech Drills, Let Us Learn English Grammar, and Some Principles and Practices are still being used as source books to teach English to religious and seminarians.

Until January, he maintained house accounts of Sanjivan Jesuit community, taught catechism to those recommended by the Kurji parish priest, offered spiritual guide to religious and laity. He also visited Christian families in the evening.

“He was a truly spiritual man -very austere, a man very congruent in words and deeds and in his silence,” recalled George Kunnath, a management consultant and former Jesuit seminarian in 1970s.

“He was very systematic and methodical in helping me/us in inculcating self-discipline. The way he facilitated English grammar, spelling and writing skills I still value. Many of us found him difficult to emulate but looking back I value his contribution to my life,” Kunnath said.

13 Feb 2018 - 04:35


“United in Diversity for a Mission of Mercy and Witness: ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age’ ” (Mt 28: 20)

The theme of our General Body Meeting immediately invites us to reflect on the mystery of the Trinity. The great mystery of the one God, united in three Persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, is the foundation of our Christian faith.

We thank God for the unique nature of the Catholic Church in India who is blessed with three sui iuris Churches called to reflect in her life and mission the communion of the Holy Trinity. Rooted in this vision, we, the 184 bishops of the Catholic Church in India gathered together for the 33rd General Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, from 02 to 09 February 2018, to pray and reflect upon the theme: “United in Diversity for a Mission of Mercy and Witness: ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age’ ” (Mt 28: 20) to deepen our understanding of our own identity and to enhance our contribution to nation-building.

We, the Catholic Bishops of India felt reassured and strengthened by the words of our Lord: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). We have taken into account the final statement of the Catholic Council of India (CCI) which met from 17 to 19 November 2017.

The Mission of Jesus
Jesus, who came to unite and reconcile the whole of humankind into one family of God, is himself the good news. He presented God to people in the way he loved all, namely, in feeding the hungry, comforting the disturbed, promoting the dignity of the marginalized, healing the sick, giving hope to the hopeless, freedom to the captives, forgiveness to the sinners, justice to the poor and life to the dead.

The Church in India
The Church in India received the gift of faith through St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus. Our Christian faith was nourished and strengthened by the efforts of many great saints such as St. Francis Xavier who is Patron Saint of Missions. We want to emphatically affirm that the Christian faith in India is as old as Christianity. India is what it is today is also due to the contribution of the Church in India.With the evidence of yeoman service rendered by the Church, it is clear that India needs the Church just as the members of the Church continue to love India as they reach out to the very last and the least, in imitation of Jesus our Master. The Church believes that all people are our brothers and sisters as Jesus himself has taught us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22: 39). The empowerment of the poor and the promotion of human dignity are values enshrined in our Constitution and are also cherished by the Church in her mission. The mission of the Church carried out through all her activities has only one aim, to build up our nation on the four essential pillars of peace, that is, truth, justice, love and freedom (cfr. St. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris).

Understanding Authentic Nationalism and Constitutional Secularism
Any attempt to promote nationalism based on any one particular culture or religion is a dangerous position. It may lead to uniformity but never to genuine unity. Such misconceived efforts can only lead our nation on the path of self-annihilation. Mono-culturalism has never been and can never be the right answer to the quest for peace, progress and development, especially in a country like ours that has a rich diversity of culture, language, region, race and religion. Violence always recoils upon the violent sooner or later, “For all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Mt 26: 52). We deplore the rising incidence of atrocities against women, killings, caste rivalries and communal violence which includes attacks on Christian institutions and communities. Therefore, let us follow the path of true nationalism that can lead our motherland to true peace, harmony, progress and prosperity. Authentic nationalism respects the human dignity of every citizen, regardless of one’s economic status, culture, religion, region or language.

We wish to urgently call all people of goodwill to uphold the rule of law guaranteed by our Indian Constitution. In a climate of violence, we make an appeal to all our fellow citizens to eschew mob culture and vigilantism in favor of peace. We appreciate and will collaborate with the Government in all its efforts to maintain law and order in our country, to ensure progress and development of all and the protection of the environment. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi has stated in clear terms that “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough of everyone’s greed”.

The Precious Gift of Human Life
The Christian community upholds the absolute and transcendent value of human life which is a precious gift of God. Therefore, an assault on human life can never be inspired by God nor justified because of the diverse beliefs and practices. Human life of every individual person in our beloved motherland needs to be valued and defended.

The Church’s Mission of Mercy
Mercy that flows out of the heart of God alone, through the cross of Jesus Christ, can heal the wounded human hearts, restore the broken relationships between persons and communities and lift up out of misery those suppressed for centuries. Faced with this precarious situation we the disciples of Christ, resolve to be authentic witnesses of mercy, which is the essence of the Gospel and the manifestation of Christian discipleship. This is witnessed in the gentle hands and wrinkled face of St. Teresa of Kolkata and in the martyrdom of Blessed Rani Maria of Indore.

In our service to the nation, especially to the Dalits, Tribals and other backward classes, we Christians join hands with our fellow citizens to ensure the authentic human development of our people which is measured by the scale of human index, and not merely by economic standards.

Let us all resolve to go beyond narrow domestic walls of every kind in order to establish a truly secular, socialist and democratic nation as is enshrined in the Constitution of India.

To Live in Unity in the midst of Diversity, both within the Church and in the country, we propose the following:

1. To deepen and intensify our Christian life of discipleship at all levels by being a ceaselessly praying community, always living our unity in diversity in accordance with our Trinitarian faith.
2. To strengthen the bonds of communion among the laity, the religious and the clergy and to ensure that communion becomes the way of life for the Church at all levels.
3. To promote and intensify Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and Family Units for the all-round integral formation of the faithful and for inter-religious cooperation, peace and harmony.
4. To accompany families in their evangelizing mission in the world and to make sure that they become the focal point of the pastoral ministry of the Church; to manifest special care and compassion to families in distress and to enlighten our families on responsible parenthood.
5. To imbue our youth with the vision of an authentic Christian Life to enable them to play their role in Church and society; to empower our youth to play an active role in the Church by equipping them with the knowledge of the Word of God and with the teachings of the Church through the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM) and other Catholic Youth Movements; to help our youth to discern and choose the way of life which is the primary theme of the forthcoming Synod on Youth in Oct 2018.
6. To encourage and train our lay people and youth for nation-building through involvement in vitally important areas of our national life such as politics, civil services, defense, law and judiciary.
7. To ensure that formators in our formation houses guide the formees to respect the equal dignity of women and to promote the role of the laity in the life and mission of the Church.
8. To ensure adequate representation of women in all Church bodies.
9. To prepare seminarians, priests and religious to be authentic witnesses of mercy within the Church and society.
10. To seize every opportunity to promote dialogue across religious boundaries; our inter-religious dialogue will become more credible, fruitful and effective if we Christians make every effort to grow in our unity in Christ.
11. To take various initiatives to foster better cooperation among all Christians through dialogue with ecumenical groups and promoting common ecumenical services, common prayers and common endeavours.
12. To make the Constitution of India more widely known in all sectors of Church and society, particularly highlighting some salient features such as the equality of all citizens, the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience and the freedom of expression.
13. To encourage and motivate our laity to be actively involved in the secular world in order to effectively contribute to nation-building in fulfillment of their proper vocation.
14. To continue to make our service in the field of education a mission of mercy and to implement purposefully the “All India Catholic Education Policy 2007” of the CBCI in order to impart Gospel values.
15. To make Catholic Health Services a mission of mercy and healing that is affordable, compassionate and caring, yet professional, self-sustaining and collaborative.
16. To ensure the implementation of the CBCI Policy of Dalit Empowerment in every diocese, to work for the protection and integral development of the Tribals and Other Backward Classes (OBC’s) and to take special initiatives for the relief and welfare of farmers, fisher folk, migrants and other deprived and exploited communities by providing care, comfort and hope to them in their distress.
17. To increase awareness of the importance of ecology as an integral part of our Christian commitment and spirituality and to take new initiatives to protect the environment and to promote love for Nature; to ensure that every diocese has formulated an environment policy to implement the teachings of Laudato Si, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis.
18. To create an awareness of the plight of our brothers and sisters in prison and to assist them in their rehabilitation and the care of their families.
19. To ensure transparency in all spheres of the Church’s administration and to stand for the same in society.
20. To set up an effective “think tank” for all our dioceses for taking up urgent matters and earnestly engaging in advocacy with all stakeholders.

The Church “exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God...” (Blessed Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 14). “The Church and theology exist to evangelize, and not be content with a desk-bound theology” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 133). Even as we face many grave challenges and setbacks to the unity in diversity of our country we are proud to be Indian. We love our country as we continue to pray constantly for it and its wellbeing. Our Christian faith gives us hope to move ahead to continue our work for unity in diversity so as to establish peace and harmony and make our country live up to its exalted calling. We entrust ourselves in all that we do for the Church and society, to the loving care of Mary, Mother of Mercy.

Baselios Cardinal Cleemis
Catholic Bishops Conference of India
February 9, 2018

11 Feb 2018 - 13:11


Bengaluru: Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay and one of the advisors of Pope Francis, was on February 8 elected the president of the Catholic Bishops in India.

The 73-year-old Latin prelate replaces Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis, head of the Syro-Malankara Church who led the country’s 20 million Catholics since 2014.

With the election, Cardinal Gracias created history as the first Church leader to head the Church in Asia as well and in India. Cardinal Gracias is the president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, the episcopal body of the Latin rite prelates in the country.

The election was held during the 33rd biennial plenary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) that is now underway at St. John’s National Academy for Medical Sciences in Bengaluru, capital of Karnataka state.

Cardinal Gracias assumes leadership of the Catholic Church in India at a crucial time in India’s history. The country is scheduled to elect a new national government in the first half of 2019. Media reports indicate a move to hold the elections end of this year.

The Church in India has witnessed attacks on its personnel and institutions in several parts of the country in the past few years. Radical groups have opposed its charitable activities among the poor, especially Dalit and Tribal communities.

Cardinal Gracias had headed the Indian Church for four years from 2010.

He is one of the eight cardinals Pope Francis chose on April 13, 2013, to advise him on the management of the Universal Church and reformation of the Vatican Curia. Pope Benedict XVI made him a cardinal in 2007, a year after he was appointed the archbishop of Bombay.

Cardinal Gracias was born on December 24, 1944, in Mumbai (then Bombay) to Jervis and Aduzinda Gracias of Goan origin.

He completed his school studies at St. Michael’s School in Mahim, Mumbai, and joined Jesuit-managed St. Xavier’s College in the same city. After a year, he entered the Seminary of St. Pius X in Bombay, and was ordained a priest by Cardinal Valerian Gracias (no relation) of Bombay on December 20, 1970. He served as the chancellor and secretary to the late Jesuit Bishop Joseph Rodericks of Jamshedpur during 1971-1976.

He obtained doctorate in canon law from Rome’s Pontifical Urbaniana University in 1982. He also has a diploma in jurisprudence.

On his return to Mumbai, he was named chancellor, judge of the metropolitan tribunal, and judicial vicar of Bombay archdiocese. He has also served as the chancellor and judicial vicar. He also served as the president of the Canon Law Society of India.

On June28, 1997, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay by Pope John Paul II. He was appointed the Archbishop of Agra on September 7, 2000.

He also served the CBCI as it secretary general.

By Matters India Reporter


9 Feb 2018 - 03:00

From Pope Francis’s vision of the Church in The Church of Mercy, to his honesty and warmth in Dear Pope Francis, his words of consolation in On Hope, and everything in between, Loyola Press is proud to spread Pope Francis’s message and be a part of his mission. Join us in celebrating the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis as the head of our Church.
Visit our
 Pope Francis anniversary page to watch a video to learn more about Loyola Press's relationship with Pope Francis, test your knowledge with our Pope Francis quiz, and enjoy other free resources like posters and prayer cards.

7 Feb 2018 - 04:48

Interview with Father General, Arturo Sosa SJ. In this interview with Educate Magis, Fr. General starts by pointing out how Jesuit Schools have undergone an incredible, creative and bold process of renewal, how this process is still happening today in an even more challenging context, and how wonderful it is to witness the growth of communication and collaboration within the Education Apostolate. 

Watch the interview here

31 Jan 2018 - 17:35

The annual meeting of Jesuit Faculties Forum in South Asia was held at De Nobili College, Pune on 28 January. The principals/presidents, rectors of the Faculties of JnanaDeepaVidyapeeth, Vidyajyoti and SatyaNilayam along with the other members of JFFSA attended it. Fr. P.R.John conducted an inspiring short prayer to begin with. Fr. Raj Irudaya, secretary of JFFSA welcomed the members and presented the report of the meeting of the last year.

Frs. Konrad, Dinesh and Shiju presented in a nutshell the findings of an elaborate study JDV had conducted on the appraisal of the teaching staff. The study was much appreciated by the entire forum. It was suggested that this module could be made as a standard one for the other Faculties too and the group offered pertinent observations and suggestions. A team was formed to work at the standard module of Staff Appraisal taking into consideration the unique nature and needs of the three faculties. Frs. Selvarathnam, P.R.John and E.P.Mathew presented the initiatives and efforts taken last academic year in JDV, Vidyajyoti and SatyaNilayam respectively. It was quite enriching to listen and learn from one another.

The issues and concerns that emerged from the presentations and discussions were taken up for further deliberations. Social involvement of the institutes with rigorous intellectual reflection on it was highly recommended to enhance the philosophical and theological formation. Networking with other academic centres in the country and collaboration with the global Jesuit centres of higher education were also discussed. It was also pointed out that our Faculties could creatively respond to the rising socio-political scenario of our country and could come out with relevant statement and guidance which would be of service to the Church in India.

Fr. George Pattery, POSA conducted the final session of fruit-gathering through spiritual conversation. He highly appreciated and encouraged JFFSA for its steady progress and functioning.  It was decided that the next JFFSA meeting would be conducted in VJ, Delhi on 20 January 2019.

- Raj Irudaya SJ

31 Jan 2018 - 05:50

MAGIS South Asia! What would be the best metaphor to capture the core essence of this youth movement? That metaphor could be- a butterfly!  A butterfly which is first a larva, then a pupa in a cocoon, then a beautiful winged creature. Although sometimes butterfly represents the ephemeral beauty, it is also a symbol of transformation and resurrection, of new life arising of the old, of both delicateness and the umpteen possibilities of life. It signifies that life is worth living, even though our own personal contributions to making the world a happier place may be both fleeting and fragile.  MAGIS, in essence, imparts this core message- there is a lot of difference between being a human being and being human! That in essence was the theme of MAGIS 2018- “Youth ambassadors of peace and reconciliation”.

MAGIS South Asia, a movement for the youth was initiated about 6 years ago, under the leadership of Fr Brian Pereira, JYMSA Secretary.  Every year, the youth from different Provinces of South Asia take part in MAGIS to celebrate God, godliness and goodness. MAGIS convention offers a challenge to youth who are involved in a labyrinth of perplexities and are enamoured by the cushy aspirations of the corporate life with ‘I love me, my selfie, myself’ which obviously makes them thin-skinned to the social realities. MAGIS aims to reprogram youth with much wider perspectives towards life- you are what your driving desire is, as your desire is so is your will, as your will is so is your deed and your destiny. The purpose of MAGIS is to inculcate a holy desire to create a worthy beautiful human race, in order to take care of our precious planet. With these lofty aspirations, about 800 youth from most of the States of India gathered at Loyola College, Chennai, from 12 to 15 of January to participate in MAGIS South Asia - 2018.


MAGIS 2018 began with the inaugural march with the drum beats of traditional music of Tamil Nadu. The praise and worship led by Ms. Corrine Rasquina and team was spirit-warming and heart-elevating, and the procession that followed with the MAGIS Cross held high made the participants to walk closer with the Lord. The presentation of the MAGIS flags to the representatives of various provinces dressed in their traditional attire was a spectacular event. The excellent inauguration address by Fr Joe Arun, Fr Jebamalai Raja and Dr Chinnapan was followed by the icebreaking session which helped the participants to cross the their regional boundaries and connect with each other. The five MAGIS pillars- personal prayer, Apostolic Experiences, Eucharist, MAGIS circle and Ignatian Examination of Consciousness were the source of spiritual nourishment.

Then there were those magical moments of praise and worship under the open sky. The solemn Eucharist presided over by Most Rev. George Antonysamy. Archbishop of  Madras-Mylapore who inspired the participants to be the catalysts of social change. A new MAGIS family was formed by dividing the participants into various groups. Then there was a motivational talk by Mr. George Ebenezer which evoked a thunderous applause. The penitential service led by Fr Arul Raja helped the participants to grow in close union with the Lord.

Wah -  the Pongal festival – a celebration of joy and prosperity! The festive aroma that started with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr Jayapathy Francis, Rector of Loyola College lasted throughout the day. The day was also marked by social outreach programme, an important component of MAGIS. The participants were charged by the spirit of giving, and giving more without counting the cost. Each one returned with a heart-moving experience which transformed many of them.

Oops! then the final day! MAGIS began with the pilgrimage to San Thome Church, Chennai which culminated with a meaningful Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Fr Danis Ponniah, Provincial of Madurai Province.  The eastern sea of Chennai was beckoning, so the participants had a relaxing walk on the Chennai marine drive. The valedictory address was given by Fr. Jerry Rosario, the famed dynamo of care and concern for the anawim. Fr Paul Raj, the local coordinator of MAGIS 2018, gave a thoughtful vote of thanks. The organizers of MAGIS event, Fr Brian Pereira, Fr Paulraj, Jesuits of Loyola College Community and others left no stone unturned to make this event a phenomenal one. The participants left the portals of Loyola College Chennai, being formed and transformed to be the true ambassadors of peace and reconciliation.

MAGIS has come here to stay, because tomorrow it will be the Church of the youth. We need to understand that. And soon!


Sch Ashwin Cordeiro

29 Jan 2018 - 10:07


On 8 December 2017, the Jesuit General Curia marked 90 years of presence at the current location on Borgo Santo Spirito 4, close to the Vatican. Here is an entry from the annals of the house for 8 December 1927:

On December 8, Father General (Wlodimir Ledochowski) wished to bless the new Curia under the auspices of the Immaculate Virgin, according to the formula of the Roman Ritual "pro nova domo benedicenda". The ceremony took place this way:

Starting from the lower floors, Father General gradually ascended to the higher floors. All the Fathers and Brothers of each floor, after having received the blessing, also went up following Father General upstairs.

On reaching the top floor, in front of the image of the Sacred Heart, placed at the head of the staircase, the consecration of the whole religious family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was solemnly renewed. 

28 Jan 2018 - 15:32

The JCSA Core Team held its third meeting on 13-14 January, 2018, at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, to take stock of the prevailing socio-economic and political situation in South Asia and articulate a Jesuit response to it. The meeting began with rich tributes being paid to one of its members, Dr. Ambrose Pinto SJ, who passed away on 3rd January. While paying homage to Dr. Pinto, the members felt that his life should inspire us to work with greater zeal for justice peace and reconciliation in the South Asian peninsula. The highlight of the meeting was the presentation on the "Assessment of the Socio-Economic and Political Situation in the Aftermath of Gujarat elections and their Implications on the Rest of India" by Dr. Lancy Lobo SJ, Director of Centre for Culture and Development (CCD), Baroda. The members expressed satisfaction at the progress made in popularising the JCSA Statement issued in July last year and the positive responses received from several Provinces in South Asia. The meeting considered the mandate of  JCSA to formulate an effective response to the rise of extremism and fundamentalism in the South Asian region and has decided to organise workshops during the year to raise awareness and devise effective strategies to promote justice, peace, harmony and reconciliation in the region.

14 Jan 2018 - 14:37



Ambrose pinto’s death after struggling with treacherous cancer for about Six months on 3 January of 2018 made me feel that this year would be bad for Dalits. His smiling face, hopeful of change, keeps flashing through my mind.

I last met him when I gave a special lecture at Indian Social Institute Bengaluru on January 20, 2017, in memory of Fr.Henry Volken S.J, who founded the institute. That evening we had dinner at Akar Patel, well known journalist’s residence. It was at that dinner I was supposed to meet with Gauri Lankesh also. But she did not turn up. The whole nation knows what happened to her later.

Ever since I met Ambrose in the early 1990s he impressed me and our friendship continued. He was a scholar with great concern for the poor, human rights and human dignity. As director of ISI Delhi he converted that institute into place of pro-Dalit Bahujan activism, theory and social interactions.

Earlier and later as principal of St.Joseph evening college he turned that college into a totally reserved place of SC/ST/OBCs students by undercutting upper caste seats. The issue went to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, who called him and asked why that college does not admit upper caste students at all? As Ambrose told the CM “When we were admitting only upper castes, without observing reservation principle no Chief Minister asked us why were doing that? Now we have decided to admit SC/ST/OBC students more than the reservation quota principle, why are you questioning now?” He continued that policy till he was in that college.

Because of his committed transformative agenda in the Christian educational institutions hundreds of slum, village SC/ST/OBC students entered into high end jobs all over the country.

He trained those students to speak good English and earn high quality degree which would make them stand on their own legs all through life. He was doing the same at the St. Aloysius college that he was heading while he passed away.

Ambrose Pinto, a Jesuit by training, a dalit liberator by belief was uncompromising on Dalit human rights. Though a life time Jesuit he never looked at human problems within the framework of religion. He was secular to the core. Anyone who reads his writing in news papers ( he was a regular contributor to Deccan Herald and other papers) and journals like Economic and Political weakly, Mainstream, and so on he comes out as convinced Marxist, without proclaiming so.

But at the same time his commitment to the Ambedkar’s ideology and liberation of Dalits and Adivasis by using democratic instruments and Indian constitutionalism is unshaken. He was an excellent negotiator between Marxism and Ambedkarism with a Christian conviction of liberation theology at the core of his understanding. He would not refer to Bible as much as he refers to Marx and Ambedkar in his discussions and writings.

Ambrose has given a new definition to the concept ‘Jesuit’, a person who lives as whole time God man, only occasionally in the Jesuit garbs but most of the time in T-shirt and simple pant to work for the liberation of Dalits and Adivasis.

When he was in Delhi Ambrose expanded the public space so much that the ISI, Delhi became a place for new wave democratic movements, even at a time when the Bharatiya Janatha Party was in power. It became a place of everyday activity for progressives, nationalists and humanists. Though it was a short period of three years within those three years he became a noted person in all the progressive circles of Delhi.

Any new book in the market, that has a liberative message would find a platform for release, wherever Ambrose worked. Any protest meeting against injustice found Ambrose walking with a placard in his hand in the front row.

With Ambrose leaving us, of course a  same smile India looks poor, as a friend of Ambrose said in an E-mail message. In the absence of Ambrose also we must continue our work, which is as much his work.

Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University. 
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5 Jan 2018 - 10:10