President’s Messeage, Octobar 2013
This comes to you with an immense sense of Joy and Pride because the Launch of the CASK Centenary Celebrations on September 22, 2013 was an outstanding success. We have been showered with heartwarming compliments and praises. Many people said that it was ‘one of the best functions ever attended’ by them and some said “It was the Best function they ever attended”. I place on record my appreciation and thanks for the hard work and efforts of a lot of people – Office-bearers, Governing Council members, their Spouses and a large number of members and volunteers. It was team-work at its best. The reports of the function and a sample of the appreciations we have received are elsewhere in this issue.
I wish to highlight some ‘out of ordinary things’ we did. Taking a cue from the President of India, all chairs on the dais were of equal shape and size. The stage background highlighted only the ‘Catholic Association of South Kanara’ with fresh flowers surrounding the board. The Chief Guest, Guests of Honor, Spouses of Guests of Honor, Major Donors, Past Presidents and Editors of Mangalore were all recognized and welcomed with only Fresh Flowers – there were no shawls, petas, fruit baskets or mementos given. The President in his Welcome address gave a brief summary of the achievements of each of the dignitaries on the dais and as each name was mentioned, bouquets of flowers were offered. Individual CVs were not read. The Chief Guest, the Bishop and the Guests of Honor arrived in time and all the speakers generally kept the time allotted to them, so we were able to have a 75-minute formal programme followed by a 60-minute spectacular cultural programme and the dinner was served at 8.30 pm. All the Office-bearers and a few Governing Council members wore the traditional dress – Puduve-Kutav. The report and photographs elsewhere in this issue will give you more details.
The First meeting of the CASK Centenary National Steering Committee was held on 21st September 2013 at Mangalore with Mr Vivek Aranha as chairperson. The Steering Committee made two important recommendations to the CASK Governing Council(GC) : (a) To form a CASK Centenary Trust so that CASK is eligible for Income-tax exemption under Section 80-G; and (b) To celebrate the CASK Centenary in cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune where a good number of CASK members are based. Both recommendations have been accepted by the CASK GC
The eight Advisers of Pope Francis had their first meeting in the first week of October in Rome. It included our own Oswald Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai. All eyes, ears and hopes of the clergy and laity are on the outcome of this important meeting. Pope Francis has described leadership as service and urged the clergy to be servant leaders. He seems to be attempting to change the institutional culture of the church, to make it simpler. In one of his recent interviews he said “The first reform must be the attitudes. The people of God do not want clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.”
The successful Launch of the CASK Centenary celebrations on 22nd September 2013 was followed by the Annual General Body Meeting on 29th September 2013 at the St Aloysius College Auditorium. I thank the 59 members who attended the meeting. Apart from the routine agenda items, the General Body unanimously passed a Resolution to form the CASK Centenary Trust with the present Office-bearers as the Founder Trustees. The Trust is expected to be entitled for Income Tax exemption under 80-G which should be able to generate more funds for the various CASK projects – the present and of the future.
Finally, at the Launch of the CASK Centenary function, we did not present a report or a power point on the 100 year journey of CASK because the Book “CASK & Fellow Centurions”, compiled by Mr John B.Monteiro and released by Her Excellency Smt Margaret Alva on the occasion, gives glimpses of the activities of the Association. We hope all members, subscribers of ‘Mangalore’ and even non-members will possess this ‘Treasure-House’ priced at Rs.500/-. We are deeply grateful to Capt Hugh and Dorothy Vas for generously defraying the costs of printing/publication of the Book, thereby enabling CASK to use the sale proceeds of the Book towards the implementation of the Centenary projects.
Until next time, Dr Derek Lobo
LAUNCH OF THE CASK CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS byJoan Lobo
AN EVENING TO REMEMBER…………………
September 22, 2013 was a red letter day for the Catholic Association of South Kanara(CASK) and for the Mangalorean Catholic community as CASK launched its Centenary Celebrations with the theme ‘100 years of linking Mangaloreans worldwide’ besides the many other noble activities they are involved in. 1914 – 2014 – a fruitful journey with the motto of Frater Adjurans Fratrema meaning ‘Help your brethren in need’. Commemorating THE ROOTS started with vision and passion, Reminiscing THE ROUTE that has been long and winding and celebrating THE 100 year MARCH OF CASK – a matter of great pride and joy.
Well! The invitation itself was a delight and depicted the 100 years CASK had travelled to reach this beautiful landmark. As you walked into the portals of the magnificent Milagres hall, one was greeted by the lively Harry’s Brass Band smartly attired playing nostalgic tunes that transported one into a realm of the old. At the hall, in true Manglorean hospitality, the guests were warmly welcomed with the traditional ‘Udak ani panpod’ and ushered in by exuberant young boys and girls to their seats. Festivities filled the air with a special setting of the old world charm interspersed with the new. The dais with the board ‘Catholic Association of South Kanara – 100 years of Linking Mangaloreans Worldwide’ was beautifully dressed in marigolds and chrysanthemums emanating a sweet fragrance. The gentlemen of the governing council were distinguishly attired in the old traditional pudvae and kuthav with the Secretary donning the rumal on his head. The ladies on the other hand were graciously attired in white saris charmingly mingling with the crowd and there was an air of good cheer all around. It was the moment we were all waiting for… And the hall came alive with the sound of music as Harrys Band welcomed the Chief Guest – Her Excellency Margaret Alva and other Guests of Honour, with their celebratory beats followed by the St. Anne’s Higher Primary school band that ushered the dignitaries into the hall with aplomb. They were greeted by an impressive jamboree of all age groups cheering and jubilant.
Mr Titus Noronha gave an in-depth introduction of Mangalore through the ages in impeccable Konkani and Mrs Lovie Rebello charmed the audience with her crisp and elegant compering of the programme in English. The evening started with the singing of the Jana Mana Gana led by the CASK Ofice-bearers giving a solemn start to the evening. It was followed by a pulsating rendition of the hymn ‘YOU RAISE ME UP’ by Marie Lou Rasquinha who mesmerized the crowd with her voice accompanied by Daryl Andrade on the key-board. This was depicted by a religious (Marie Mathias), a social worker with a child (Loretta Rebello and Prerna), two first communicants (Yeshaya and Lysandra). a lonely person (Patricia Mathias) and Jesus Christ( Maxie Moras) who walked through the crowd symbolizing that irrespective of the situation or our status its our Lord God who leads us and is responsible for our success in life and in this situation the Almighty God has surely led CASK traverse these 100 years to reach the pinnacle of success and see the light of this great day. The lyrics visually presented too on a screen stirred many an emotion in the awe struck crowd.
Dr. Derek Lobo – The president of CASK in his inimitable style introduced the dignitaries and welcomed the gathering. In a lighter vein, he spelt how there were two major accidents in his life – meeting his multifaceted wife Patsy and secondly being bestowed with the honour of being President of CASK for two consecutive terms and more so in the centenary year and both turned out to be the corner stone of his many achievements and accomplishments in life.
The celebration was formally launched by Her Excellency Margaret Alva – The Governor of Rajasthan who lit the ceremonial lamp along with the other dignitaries on the dais igniting the flame symbolising the start of the centenary year and the fire in the members to make it a fulfilling year ahead.
The Guest of honour – Mr. Vivek Aranha – the Chairperson of Rosary Education Group-Pune in his eloquent short and sweet speech hailed the success of Mangaloreans the world over in every sphere of life. And significantly the number of religious that have come out of Mangalore was a matter of pride including the many Bishops who actually hail from this town is commendable he said. He lauded Dr. Derek Lobo and his team for their zealous commitment to CASK and attributed the hand of God in having such a dedicated team at the helm who left no stone unturned to celebrate this milestone along with some projects benefitting the needy.
Our popular M.L.A – J. R. Lobo in his thought provoking address in Konkani felt that Mangaloreans were regressing from their past glory. In earlier days our ancestors had carved a niche in every field but now a lot of our people are migrating, not wanting to return he said. The religious vocations have dwindled unlike earlier where every home had a religious. He felt the present generation was indifferent and the need of the hour is to get them into the main stream by harnessing their energies in the right direction. He felt as we celebrate 100 years of CASK we need to do some soul searching which will enlighten us and help us introspect how things have changed in our society and how we can reinvent our identity in areas we have lost over time. He put the onus on CASK in its centenary year to channel the energies of our youth and make them responsible citizens and good human beings. He was given the honour of presenting the centenary scholarships cheques for 120 students 25 Pre-University colleges in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, each of value-Rs. 2,000/- for purchase of books. The Cheques were recived by Dr Sr Prem D’Souza, Principal, St Agnes College, Mangalore and Sr Rose Agnes, Principal, St Cecily’s College, Udupi.
Mr Oscar Fernandes, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India along with his wife Blossom launched the CASK website. In his brief address in Kannada, he commended the contribution of Mangaloreans particularly in the medical and educational fields. He made a special mention of Fr. Muller Hospital which created history in the field of Medicine when they started a ward for leprosy patients, who were generally rejected by everybody. He recollected with gratitude the contribution made by the In-laws of Mrs Margaret Alva – Joachim and Violet Alva and said today all Mangaloreans have every reason to be proud of the distinguished position Margaret Alva was occupying. He echoed Mr J. R. Lobo’s sentiments of building a strong Manglorean society.
Our fond Bishop of Mangalore and Patron of CASK Dr. Aloysius Paul D’ Souza in his inspiring speech felt strongly about regaining the respect we enjoyed earlier. He shared J.R. Lobos sentiments of bringing the youth into the mainstream of society and handing them more responsibility to make them credible future leaders. He felt the laity had as much a role to turn out service oriented citizens for the betterment of our society. The motto of CASK should be the driving force in this centenary year he said. He lauded the efforts and achievements of CASK. In his words we tend to look inward but we should look outward too. Leaders in different fields should come together on a common platform and create opportunities’. Let us all work together he concluded.
Her Excellency Margaret Alva in her impressive address voiced that our history had recorded narratives of persecutions, migrations and attacks and we have survived it all. Likewise the CASK too has survived and thrived for a 100 years, exhibiting grit and a rare determination. She acknowledged that Dr. Derek Lobo and his team had opened a new chapter in CASK. She saluted and paid tribute to the brave men and women who survived all the different atrocities inflicted on them. She also took this occasion as a thanksgiving and celebration of people who had brought honour and glory to the community. She toasted the several achievements of Mangloreans in every other field. She stressed the need to revive and sustain the Manglorean culture be it song or dance. It was a matter of concern she said that the younger generation was losing touch with their mother tongue and culture and we need to revive it on a war footing. The traditional Mangalore attire was fading into oblivion. Another alarming problem in Mangalore that was worrisome was the number of aged parents left alone in their ancestral homes to fend for themselves. She hoped CASK would take up this challenge and initiate training caretakers to provide help to the helpless. In conclusion, she said “Love your religion and love your language”. She released the landmark 420 page book ‘CASK and Fellow Centurions’ compiled by Mr John Monteiro, well-known writer. Cask and fellow centurions had dreamt with responsibility and paved the way for spectrums of achievements. The book delves into the length, breadth and depth of the CASK and its people’s contribution to society. It was announced that the cost of printing and publication of the Book was fully defrayed by a generous donation from Capt & Mrs Hugh Vas, Vice-President of CASK – indeed a very noble act.
Through the evening, the Chief Guest, Guests of Honor, The Bishop, major donors, two of the three surviving Past Presidents who were present(Mrs Octavia Albuqueque and Mrs Leena Fernandes) and the past Editors of “Mangalore” magazine(Dr Anthony Mathias, Mr Norbert Moras, Mrs Jeanne Pinto, Prof Edmund Frank, Dr Michael Lobo, Mr William Pais, Mr Neil D’Souza, Mrs Lilly Pereira & Mr Zozimus Pais) were recognized and honored with flowers. There was an impressive representation from different Kanara Catholic associations of Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and even from the U.S.A.
The main sponsors of CASK centenary projects were felicitated on the occasion. They were (a) Pinto family of Rose Dale who contributed Rs 12 lakh for the centenary memorial office at Pio Mall; (b) Mr Vivek Aranha of Pune who contributed Rs 10 lakhs which includes a -80 degree Deep Freezer for the Blood Bank at Fr Muller Hospital and (c) NRI entrepreneur and philanthropidt Ronald Colaco, Bangalore who contributed Rs 6 lakhs towards the Centenary projects. Colaco was honoured in absentia. Bishop Dr Aloysius D’Souza unveiled the plaque of the centenary memorial office, in the presence of the members of the Pinto family – Diony, Dr Allan, Trevor, Lloyd, Dr Errol and Audrey Pinto(representing Oscar who was abroad). The list of other donors was separately put in the hall.
The formal part of the programme concluded with the Vote of Thanks proposed by Capt John Prasad Menezes, the Secretary of CASK, who thanked profusely and acknowledged with gratitude one and all who made the event a stupendous success. He also solicited the cooperation of everyone present to make their future dreams a reality.
The formal ceremonies concluded, it was time for a cultural delight and who better than Mangalore’s vivacious and multitalented Majorie Texeira who choreographed a beautiful sequence in song and dance depicting the early professions of Mangalore which was narrated by Leslie Rego. In the background of an ancient Mangalorean home with the band in accompaniment, the dancers in colourful costumes and rhythmic grace kept the audience spell bound. From the joyous farmers reaping their rich harvest, to the frisky fisher folk celebrating their huge catch, to the energetic vegetable vendors proud of their produce, to the enthusiastic beedie workers ecstatic of their skills, to the charming flower sellers flaunting their beautifully strewn flowers, to the over confident matchmaker who boasted of his long list of eligibles, to the manipulative tailor who enjoyed stitching for the pretty women, to the merry taxi/auto drivers, driving in circles on our bad roads and last but not the least the prosperous ghataghar (coffee planter ) whose pretty wife gloated of her husband’s riches it was an electrifying and vibrant evening of song and dance to the rhythmic tunes that enthralled the hearts of everyone. The flair and grace of the dancers captured the admiration of one and all. The dancers were of all ages – the young and the old, the beautiful and the bold to the delight of the crowd.
The CASK celebration was a raging success attended by a mammoth crowd of nearly 1,000 people, that ended with delectable cuisine and tasty coastal fare. And this would never be possible without the untiring efforts of the CASK Governing Council and a host of volunteers. It was a synergy of all ages working together to culminate in a memorable evening.
THREE CHEERS!!!!!! To CASK whose success has been a journey and not a destination?
WORDS OF APPRECIATION
Vivek Aranha, Chairman–Rosary Education Group, Pune – Wonderful! Great Show!! The Show of the Century, fit for a 100 year celebration. Well Done my friends!
Melvyn Rodrigues, Director-Operations, Daijiworld.Com – CASK Centenary launch was a wonderful and meaningful programme at Milagres. Congratulations
Fr Eugene Lobo S.J. Director – Fatima Reteat House, Mangalore – Congrats! It was a great show! God Bless you
Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore – We are indeed happy and proud of CASK which has been ably serving the community for the past 100 years.
Under the current President Dr Derek Lobo and the dedicated office bearers, we are sure that CASK will grow from strength to strength and make its presence felt in our community all over the world,
and more especially amongst our talented youth.
Vimala Lobo, Mangalore – Congratulations on the beautiful programme. I look forward to the Closing function of the Centenary next year.
Juliet Mascarenhas, Bejai – Mangalore – The colorful cultural programme choreographed by Marjorie Texeira nee Aranha depicting history of Mangalorean Catholics occupied in different professions like agriculture, fishing, vegetable and flower vendors, tailors, taxi drivers, estate owners, match-makers etc, by way of dance performances was mind blowing
Merlyn Britto, Florida-USA – We were thrilled to see the photos and read about the fantastic celebrations organized by you in honor of 100 years of CASK through daijiworld.com and mangalorean.com. My only regret was that I could not be present personally! I was thrilled to see the glittering galaxy of VVIPs and the meaningful entertainment that followed the speeches. The display of typical Mangalorean household & working implements also shows the attention to detail
Bernie Fernandes, Mangalore – You put up a really good show, truly befitting of the centenary celebrations. I did not notice any errors or glitches. I moved around and mingled with the guests and did not hear even one negative comment and that really says something. I was proud to be there! You people did Mangalore proud!!
Daniel & Marie D’Souza, Mangalore – Congratulations to the entire CASK team. It was a memorable and well-spent evening. We enjoyed the Cultural Show as each performance unfolded our culture and as Her Excellency Margaret Alva stated “It was quite absorbing”. All of you looked glorious in your traditional dress.
Jean Lobo, Mangalore – Hats off to the CASK team! You have made an excellent start to the CASK centenary celebrations. May all your efforts be blessed and be fruitful
Kieth & Tina Pais, Mangalore – Congratulations! Very good function and entertainment!
Jacqualine Colaco, Bangalore – Dear Derek and all office bearers and members of CASK worldwide,
I offer my tributes to the Founders of CASK and congratulations to you who presently carry its objectives forward. I see its values and objectives as also its worldwide reach growing from strength to strength. May God continue to bless the CASK endeavors which I trust will always be for the benefit of the less fortunate people. Please keep us members informed of the highlights of contributions that are of value made by our community in the interest of all mankind.
Thanks for your kind invitation to attend the special celebration on 22nd September 2013, which I regret I am unable, much as I’d liked to have been present. May it be a fulfilling and enjoyable day of remembrance of a special Anniversary.
WHISPERINGS………… ByPatsy Lobo
The day finally dawned…..It was the CASK centenary celebrations. Nothing more could be done, we had done our very best and were ready and waiting for the proceedings to begin but in a flash it was all over! As I muse over all that took place on that wonderful evening, my heart is filled with joy and gratitude. I think of all those who participated, all those who spent hours in painstaking practices and all those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the evening a thundering success. Bear with me dear reader as I share with you the ‘whisperings’ in my heart….
It started several weeks before when the invitations had to be done and since it was the Centenary, we wanted something unique and different, so I volunteered to do the honors! What could be different? I dug out an old calendar which I had preserved for years ‘Mangalore 100 years ago, and Mangalore now’. I am a hoarder you know and hardly ever throw anything away! God help my children who have to clear all this when I am gone. They say when someone does something applaud! You will make two people happy! It seemed as if there were more than two people happy. The invitation made on hand-made paper turned out to be a huge success and attraction with the tempting slogan ‘Uniting Mangaloreans Worldwide’. “Life is a great big canvas and you should throw all the paint on it that you can” was my motto. Each one of us Mangaloreans has a chance to unite, enjoy and celebrate the 100 years of CASK. I was thrilled to be a part of it. The good future lives in a cloud that seems formidable from a distance.
“The time to be happy is now”- a group of like minded ladies sat in the front verandah of our heritage home – chatting, laughing, discussing husbands(not gossiping mind you!), to write and send out the invitations. Several topics were discussed including proposals for eligible young people but no mistakes were made-the outcome was fruitful. The ideas flowed from every one and we made the most of every moment. Once it was a dear committee member who in my absence brought a huge long bunch of sugar-cane on his scooter and placed it by the bullock Cart that stands in our verandah and when I got home after the morning ‘bovndi’ it thrilled me so much that I decided to write an article with all these memories which needed to be captured, shared, stored, in my imaginary book of ‘Memories’, ones that magnify the good and hide those that might have brought pain. Then there was the adventure of going to BUNDER to explore the older part of the city to pick up anything old that we might come across. We had decided to do the DÉCOR in old Mangalore style… Valnees, Kono, Modki,Sheigo, Kalshe, Thondor, Kolso, Morgi, Chembu, Gatnau barn and even a Petromax lantern from the roadside.
I have to mention the committee ladies who wanted to look and feel good which is the best way to have a happy heart. If many of our gentlemen were all dressing up in traditional outfits, the most we can do is don on something that would do them proud! And so we did! We all went shopping together and unanimously decided on the same fabric-Like minds indeed! We all decided to wear white saris with an off beat choli and all looked gorgeous in this uniform!
Post-function, one of the members sent me a card in which she quoted “A guest who attended the function said “I wish I was in your Committee so I could also wear the beautiful saris and the unique blouses”!! We visited Fr Muller Hospital with a photographer to capture some important snapshots so that we could portray the CASK Centenary projects; covered the Blood Bank and Kidney Dialysis unit. I spent a very rewarding morning finding that some people who suffer so much, still have time to smile! As Helen Keller says “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must come from the heart”. The collage worked on together with a dear friend was rewarding.
My visit to the Tile factory by the river side gave me immense peace and joy just before the event; the discussions about the Cashew Stall and the Coffee counter reminded me that I was not marching alone but that others had vigorously joined the march to make the Centenary Celebrations a ‘Super Success’ which it was. We highlighted OUR Mangalore! A visit to the Concrete works where I was given a beautiful angel and a 100 year old station of the cross carved in stone. We added these gems to the display. I loved every moment.
One a night of heavy rain and thunder, I got up and went to see if the altar light was on and suddenly remembered that there was an acquaintance who had an old altar and wanted to give it to someone who would treasure it and place it in an OLD home. I thought getting an old altar would add to the finishing touch. I contacted him through a friend and told him that we wanted the altar for a CASK Centenary display. He willingly agreed to give it. “It is lying on my loft, you may have it for the function and then keep it in your old home; That’s my gift to you” he said. What sunshine are to flowers, smiles are to humanity. Once again I felt that the angels in heaven were rejoicing, that an old altar found a place in an old home rather than in a loft, one more picture for my Memories Book.
The week before was hectic; I found that I was making very frequent calls to my two children one in the USA and the other in Bangalore. I just needed that reassurance, and the need to share the WHISPERINGS! The greatest thing was-there was support from the members of my family including the President! Days crawled by and I wanted the function to be over but on the other hand, there was so much to be done and so few days left. My ever enthusiastic team celebrated the happiness that friends always give sending SMSs, phoning, chatting, sharing. True, shared joys make a friend. I realized that working together, sharing responsibility makes us grow. I learnt so much. All these emotional bits of joy, tears, hope, anxiety, stress were unraveled in the early hours of the morning when I would wake up my husband to discuss how I would take the VEGETABLE CART, borrowed from my Vegetable Seller to Milagres Hall…for I visualized keeping all those precious old Mangalore exhibits on that Cart. One more Picture in my memory book. There were one or two moments of desperation when the tears flowed but I remembered the “Don’t Quit When the Going gets Tough” dictum. “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters-One represents danger and the other opportunity” said John F Kennedy. I grabbed the opportunity. There were many more photographs for the memory book and the imaginary photographer just kept clicking and when I felt that the album was full, it was the D-day-September 22, 2013…Time..5.45 pm. The hall was vacated only at 4 pm but the scenario everyone rushing around to do their bit, helping, sharing ideas, working to meet the dead line of the arrival of the guests… the whisper … Patsy is tense… went around in retrospect “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” said Eleanor Roosevelt.
Yes, for all who had worked and toiled, the dreams will and must be fulfilled. The corridor “This is Mangalore” section had a cage with ‘valche bajee’ hanging from it, it all looked so authentic that one felt that we were going through the villages of dear KODIAL. Friends contributed with their artistic touch and completed the job in no time to perfection. Once again there was a tug at the heart strings when the 30 children from St. Anne’s Kannada Medium School struck a cord of the old Favorite ‘One and a Two and I love you’ an old song of the 50’s; children whose parents were drivers, carpenters, masons, farmers played the drums, the sax, the flute, the symbols and welcomed the Chief guests. The strains of the HYMN ‘You Raise me up’ echoed in the hall amidst nearly 1,000 guests, I knew there is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as Faith in the Lord. The centenary Celebrations, Blessings with all its hope and desires will whisper Hope, ‘soft as the voice of an angel breathing a lesson unheard’! The slogan ‘CASK hits a Century’, the plea to stay focused on our goals, give hope to the underprivileged, believe in all possibilities, enlighten young minds thirsting for knowledge. Dear friends forgive me…I have not mentioned names, for ‘fear’ that I leave out a name… but I have you all in my heart… I have the centenary Celebrations in my heart and there it will remain for a for a long time… The Whisperings of my heart will echo forever…..
WE WELCOME THE FOLLOWING NEW MEMBERS…
- Mrs Wilma Aranha, Mangalore
- Mr Anil Preetham De Souza, Mangalore
- Mr Vincent Andrade, Mangalore
- Mrs Miriam Noronha, Mangalore
- Mr Joseph Eugene Rego, Mangalore
- Mrs Victoreen Gonsalves, Mangalore
- Mr Alston Clyve D’Cunha, Mangalore
- Mr Malcolm Anthony Bari, Mangalore
- Mr James Vivian Pinto, Mangalore
- Mr Lenon Jason D’Souza, Mangalore
- Mrs Elvira Rodrigues, Mangalore
- Mrs Molly S.Chaudhuri, Mangalore
- Mr Noel Franklin Pinto, Mangalore
- Mr Vinod Anthony Pinto, Mangalore
- Mr Vincent Raphael Lasrado, Mangalore
- Mrs Sandra Maria Lorena, Mangalore
- Mr Joseph Marian Pereira, Mangalore
- Mrs Beatrice Lily Pereira, Mangalore
- Mr Paul Rebello, Santa Cruz, Mumbai
Peace Begins With Us by Veronica Shearer, Morpeth-UK
‘To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right’ – Confucius
Peace….heavenly peace. Shalom, Salaam, Pax …terms used so loosely that their inner meaning has been lost. The very nations that use these terms to salute each other, are now enmeshed in war. Mahatma Gandhi, whose birthday we celebrate this month, won India her freedom through peaceful means. Peace can only be achieved by communication. Whether it is at a domestic level between husband and wife, parents and children, siblings or at an international level through peace talks and disarmament. It is the love for power, fame or fortune that shatters peace. A person’s ego and the desire to succeed at the expense of another, is the anti-thesis of peace.
I am reading a very powerful book at the moment which is called, ‘The Happiness Trap’ by Russ Harris, which seeks to explain why the search for happiness is really a trap. One cannot search for happiness if the mind is in turmoil. Be at peace with yourself. Accept your failings and your situation. Put off that ‘struggle switch’ he says and ‘take action’. Our mind is like a radio playing in the background, it will keep babbling like a brook, telling us things which are usually negative. Let it remain in the background. Let it keep babbling. Instead OBSERVE things around you…..the dishes you are washing, the weeding you may be busy with in the garden, the traffic lights which are red and may suddenly turn amber, the pedestrians on the road etc etc etc. If nothing else, look at your toes, see how they move about…look at the way you are sitting….Observe. Don’t stop the mind from thinking – don’t struggle to banish negative thoughts. Let them be in the Background. If you try to stop them, it is like pushing a ball under water – it will soon bob up again. This is a new technique in cognitive behaviour therapy, called ‘Mindfulness’. Russ Harris acknowledges that “ Life involves pain. Sooner or later we all experience it – physically, emotionally and psychologically. But in every painful circumstance, there is an opportunity for us to grow’.
It was my 61st birthday last month. The telephone never stopped ringing as friends and relatives from several time zones across the world called to wish me. The door bell never stopped either…packages, parcels and flowers were all over the house while I tried to entertain the neighbours who popped in to wish the birthday girl. By midnight I was worn out. My husband asked me if I had enjoyed my birthday and to his shock and dismay, I said, ‘No’. Yes, I was overwhelmed by the love I received from friends and family across the globe but I had actually not had a moment to sit back and reflect on what a lucky person I was. Sixty one years is a long time and I would have liked to think how much I had to be grateful for. I had to thank God for every sorrow that made me stronger, every cloud that ended up having a silver lining and every person who had come into my life and enriched it with their presence – be it a smile from a passer-by, a car that gave me right of way, a friend who poured balm on my wounds, a doctor who cured me, my three children who gave me a reason to live and my students in the past forty years who gave me the strength to carry on. I wanted to thank God for the parents who brought me into this world. My mother who still lives with me and I should feel it a privilege to care for and my Dad who left me on my birthday, exactly thirty one years ago. His passing changed my life. It made me realize that nothing is permanent. Life is short and we must enjoy every moment. We must not allow ourselves to be burdened by the never-ending thought processes that corrupt our minds. We have to accept what life throws at us, turn off the ‘struggle switch, observe the world we live in and TAKE ACTION. Wallowing in self-pity is the biggest crime we could commit since we injure not only ourselves but also wound those around us. Being judgemental about ourselves and others is another cardinal sin. The only answer is ‘acceptance’, but also letting go. Attachment to our negative thoughts becomes like a security blanket. It is like being a masochist, who enjoys the gratification of self-inflicted pain. These are all counter-productive. If you wish to gain inner peace and wisdom, practice ‘Mindfulness’.
Thich Nhat Hanh a Buddhist monk and great spiritual leader speaks of the mindfulness of anger in his book, ‘Peace is Every Step’. He says: “When we are angry, our anger is our very self. To suppress or chase it away is to suppress or chase away our self. When we are joyful, we are the joy. When we are angry, we are the anger. When anger is born in us, we can be aware that anger is an energy in us, and we can accept that energy in order to transform it into another kind of energy. When we have a compost bin filled with organic material which is decomposing and smelly, we know that we can transform the waste into beautiful flowers. At first, we may see the compost and the flowers as opposite, but when we look deeply, we see that the flowers already exist in the compost, and the compost already exists in the flowers. It only takes a couple of weeks for a flower to decompose. When a good organic gardener looks into her compost she does not feel sad or disgusted. Instead, she values the rotting material and does not discriminate against it. It takes only a few months for compost to give birth to flowers. We need the insight and non-dual vision of the organic gardener with regard to our anger. We need not be afraid of it or reject it. We know that anger can be a kind of compost, and that it is within its power to give birth to something beautiful. We need anger in the way the organic gardener needs compost. If we know how to accept our anger, we already have some peace and joy. Gradually we can transform anger completely into peace, love, and understanding.”