Your Lordship the Archbisschop Charles Soreng,
Your Eminence the Provincial of the Ranchi Province of the Jesuits
Father Principal, Dear fathers and Sisters, Alumni, Students and Parents of St. Xavier’s School,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a privilege for my wife régy and me to be here today with you to celebrate St. Xavier’s School Doranda’s Golden Jubilee.
Over those fifty years since the school’s inception,
India has changed,
Belgium has changed,
The world has changed.
In 1960, 13 years after Independence and Partition, the masses of India were very poor indeed. India was a poor developing country, seeking its way between the superpowers.
A fragile democracy looking to the communist world for models of development and to the West for fundamental values. Slowly emerging as one of the leaders of the Third World.
And look at India now: food production is largely sufficient to feed 1.2 billion people. Due to lack of infrastructure, the distribution is still not optimal and food security is not complete for the totality of the population.
The country has chosen to move ahead with economic development and selective globalization. As a major IT force, India is rightly recognised as one of the emerging economies, which will pull the world out of recession.
1960, was a milestone year for Belgium. We did not like to look back, to the war and misery, but were looking forward and had fully embraced the ‘new world’ with economic expansion fuelled by consumption, with nuclear energy to power car production factories and chemical industries. We were also preparing for the independence of our then colony, Congo.
And just like the people of the world were striving for freedom and looking for their place in the world, the youth of Belgium was eagerly looking for freedom. Some of them, of us, were experimenting with new musical styles: rock and roll and the Beatles. Some wanted to share the experiences of the communist world. Many of them were engaged in welfare and development work.
And some were following their inner and spiritual voices and by religious convictions went to Africa, especially to Congo, to Latin America and to Asia, to India, to Ranchi, to Doranda.
They were certainly also moved by a part of adventure. But there was also a huge dose of commitment to the uplift of the poor. Some undertook this for a few years, others for their lifetime.
What is driving them? In one word: Faith. Faith in God, Faith in the world. Faith in you.
Or, if you like it in a more prosaic way, I think that rooted in values, these people derive their strength from the people. Throughout their actions they transform the lives of the people among whom they work.
The result of this, we can see in these buildings, in the number of students attending these classes, in the number of alumni and the positions. However, what is much more important than these measurable and visual successes is the education they have given. I mean beyond the curriculum, which is of course extremely important, the values these volunteers, these women and men have demonstrated and continue to show to you every day will accompany you through life.
This, dear friends, has been their gift to you.
Allow me, dear friends to say a few words especially to the students of this school although I understand that by now they may be getting nervous and restless, but maybe also proud to be member of the Doranda School community.
You are, dear students, very privileged to study in this unique environment;
Your family and friends expect much from you and rightly so because you are the future leaders of this glorious nation, India;
You will carry the flame of the values of St. Xavier’s School;
In you there will probably also be some sense of the spirit of adventure, just like the pioneers of this school were also driven by their spirit of adventure;
The adventure of wondering, the adventure of learning, the adventure of sharing.
As Ambassador of Belgium to India, I am proud of the work of my compatriots in St. Xavier’s School Doranda as well as what so many other generous Belgian women and men have done, have achieved, measurable and less measurable.
I am grateful for their actions which have also put my country on the map of Jharkhand and hopefully also into your hearts.
Thank you for your attention.
H.E. Jean M. Deboutte,
Ambassador of Belgium to India
The girls of Sri Ramakrishna Mutt Vivekananda Centenary Girls Higher Secondary School listened to eminent speakers who came and left their school’s podium over the past three days. The school, which is celebrating its golden jubilee this year, kicked off the festivities on July 20.
D. Jayakumar, Speaker, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly addressed the students on the last day of the celebration. The underlying theme of the day was to work on your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. “When I was in class nine, I was extremely weak in Chemistry. But I took it upon myself and pursued a B.Sc. in Chemistry,” he said.
He urged the students to look beyond academics and keep themselves up-to-date on current affairs.
The school, which was started in 1974, is a unit of Sri Ramakrishna Mutt and was initially a High School. . The three-day celebration began on Friday with the release of the golden jubilee souvenir by K. Phanindra Reddy, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Housing and Urban Development, Nalli Kuppuswami Chetty, P. Mani, Director of School Education, and Siva Tamilmani, Chief Education Officer, among others. While day one was celebrated as ‘Swami Vivekananda Day’, day two was celebrated as ‘Swami Ramakrishnananda Day’. The celebration saw speeches by eminent personalities, performances by students and discourses based on the teachings of the Swamiji.