Saturday, February 21, 2009


Parents and well-wishers of Don Bosco School Nashik gathered to witness the 14th Annual Day of the school on 20 February 2009. The program was replete with the trademark dance, drama and song that have come to characterise this annual event.

The Chief Guest for the evening was Mr. Nitin Upasani, the Secretary of the SSC and HSC Board (Nashik Division), a person who combines exquisitely a vision for education with excellent administrative skills. In his keynote address he shared with the parents some insightful words on educating children in the current socio-cultural milieu. "Giving their dreams wings is more important than getting them to live your unfulfilled dreams," he said. He also pointed out lacunae in our current education system and noted the need for a more mature use of the mass media among the younger generation. The school annual report was an eye-opener to many of the parents for it highlighted the accomplishments of the students in the curricular and co-curricular fields with some of the more intrepid among them receiving recognition at the national and international level. Mrs. Manjula Upasani did the honours of awarding the prizes and certificates to the successful students of the last academic year. The various items portrayed the cultural diversity of India threatened as it is by the divisive forces of corruption and communalism. A strong patriotic message was also delivered - as a fitting response to the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai in 26/11/2008.
They said it in words, they said it in rhyme, they said it in dance and they said it in mime. The bottom line was clear - with a vast collaborative effort involving teachers, parents and the budding stars - the sky is the limit. Dreams need wings but they also need a strong moral compass to ensure the journey reaches its true destination, and Don Bosco's vision provides just the right dose of each.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


As we reflected on the scripture readings of today (Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B) - for me the theme that kept leaping out of the readings was "UNTOUCHABILITY". We in India have wide experience on what this means. We had a whole section of society considered "not touchable" for they had the power to contaminate and corrupt all that they touched. In the gospel of today - Jesus breaks the barriers that separate the touchable from the untouchable.

I remember this story narrated to us by the retired Archbishop of Bangalore - Alphonse Mathias - many years ago. While a student in Rome he was travelling with one of his priest companions (an African) by the local transport. Shockingly a lady on the bus (she was white) kept looking pointedly at the African priest - staring actually. This was rather disconcerting. The last straw was reached when she reached out and rubbed the skin of his hand, checking to see if the black colour rubbed off or was real. The priest had a good sense of humour and a good dose of self-esteem. As if by reflex, he reached out similarly and rubbed the face of the lady's baby checking if the white colour was real...or if it was just make-up.

How often our touch kills and destroys people - and by touch I mean not only the physical touch but all the ways in which we interact with others. If only each of us could use our 'touch' to build up and heal rather than to 'divide and kill'. Ample opportunities to break down the barriers of untouchability present themselves to us daily...if only we use them to break walls - then the healing of the leper by Jesus can become a paradigm for a world of love, of the healing touch, and joyful interaction.

(Image taken from The Change Blog)