Thursday, 7 March 2013

Dr Kalam on Jesuits

Indian president A P J Abdul Kalam praised the contribution of the Jesuits in the field of education in his opening speech at the 6th Jesuit Alumni World Congress in Calcutta recently. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a prominent Hindu organization had called for the president to withdraw from involvement in the event because, it said, his presence would "legitimize the Jesuits' activities in India". He alleged the Jesuits were a "violent Christian organization." Fr Lisbert D'Souza, Jesuit provincial of South Asia, said the Congress was a meeting, not of Christians or Jesuits, but of former Jesuit students, many of them Hindus. Meanwhile President Kalam said in his speech on January 21: "The Jesuits are doing something holy, something sacroscant by working in the field of education ... Education gives one the ultimate human value ... They have made excellent contributions not only in India but the world over." The president also talked about his own education in a Jesuit institution, St Joseph's College in Tiruchirapalli, paying tribute to two teachers who shaped him. He said that education should take students beyond religion, recalling that his own father was the chief of the village mosque while enjoying the friendship of a local Jesuit parish priest and a priest who was a Sanskrit scholar. [Source: Indian Express] Jesuit USA news, January 29, 2003

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