St. Aloysius, Mangalore
By Maxwell Pereira
Not many can perhaps boast like me as many years he or she has spent at St Aloysius, Mangalore. And continuously at that! Compared to most interacting with St Aloysius' today, I may sound ancient – but I was privileged to be at this Institution for 12 (twelve) long years - from Ist to the XIth Standard and the Pre-University Class (1949 - 1961).
In response to pesistent pleas from the people of Mangalore in the 19 th century, it was Pope Leo XIII who asked the Jesuits to set sail from Europe to the distant shores of India . The first group of nine pioneers comprising of: Mgr Nicholus Pagani, Fathers Angelo Maffei, Angelo Mutti, Quintinus Sani, Augustus Muller, Otto Ehrle, Urban Stein, and Brothers Mathew Meneghetti and Francis Zamboni.arrived on the shores of Karnataka in 1880.
They established the same year, a First Grade College in Kodialbail opposite the present Bishop's House in Mangalore. This was later transferred in 1885 to its magnificent present setting on 37 acres of land overlooking the Arabian Sea , dominating the Mangalore skyline from atop the Ediya hill, the highest point in the heart of the city landmarked by its Light House since the days of yore.
Turning 125 years on 12 th January 2005 , this institution dedicated to St Aloysius – who served the plague stricken in Rome in the 16 th century – has for its motto “ Lucet et Ardet ” meaning shine and burn. It continues to be run by the Jesuit fathers even today, as part of an international network of educational institutions – schools, colleges and universities – directed by the Society of Jesus, founded by St Ignatius Loyola in 1534. Headquartered in Rome , the present Superior-General of the Jesuits is the Very Reverend Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach.
Innnumerable people have been students of Jesuit Institutions in India , located in Kolkota, Mumbai, Madras , Trichinopoly, Palayamkottai, Bangalore , Ranchi , Jamshedpur , Ahmedabad, Vijayawada , Secudarabad and in Mangalore, to mention only some of them. St Aloysius College when affiliated to the then Madras University in 1882 was just the second college on the entire west coast of India, the other being the Maharaja's College at Trivandrum. Today St Aloysius is a six-Faculty College at the Degree level, with Post Graduate and Doctorate courses too, chosen as the Nodal College of Mangalore University to promote Total Quality Management. In 2004, the NAAC accorded it further recognition by elevating it to ‘A' Grade .
Like me, my brothers and forefathers too passed through its portals. With my father Ligoury Bernard Pereira and uncle Rev Fr John Cyril Pereira SJ, reaching the pinnacles of eminence in their chosen vocations, of course through St Aloysius! Their own uncle Bernard – I was informed when yet very young, had brought glory to St Aloysius and the Nation as a sports person and a sprinter, also winning the then covetted Queen Victoria gold medal.
Ligoury, as the much loved and much remembered Kannada Vidwan (the first Mangalorean Catholic to earn a Masters degree in Kannada) who despite being the Physical Director for the College, went on to become its Head of Department for the Languages Division – before stepping out in search of greener pastures to serve the then British Government in its War Effort and in post-war reconstruction programmes; as also to pioneer thereafter into fields of Pharmaceuticals, Insurance, Textiles and Coffee Growing.
Of Cyril Pereira (my John uncle), I am sure the current Jesuits of Kanataka Province would be more familiar, he being of their own fold and fore runner in the Society of Jesus! Apart from being Rector of Jeppoo Seminary in Mangalore, Rector of Papal Athenaeum at Poona, he was also the Founder and First Rector of the Jesuit Novitiate at Mount Saint Joseph Bangalore, and the initiator of the Nagaland Mission at Jakama – who finally retired as the Provincial Karnatak Jesuits; soon thereafter to be summoned rather untimely by the Almighty in 1972 for his just reward in heaven.
Of my own 12 years at St Aloysius, the memories are a plenty. Starting from the initial grooming at the hands of Isobel, Cecy, Hilda and Delphine teachers, whose names are indelibly implanted forever on my sands of time, to no less remembered Xsaver, Rasquinh and Achchu ‘mistry's or Headmasters in Fathers James Coelho, JB D'Souza, Bertram Sequeira, Michael Saldanha, Stany Saldanha and so on… Director Sodality Thomas Lobo, to Rectors Frs. Jacques, Sylvester Monteiro, Alexis Menezes – and not forgetting the Boarding House Directors Denis Pinto and Ligoury Castelino (who was also my bandmaster!), and Prefects in Parackan, Vadackal, Denis Rasquinha, Alexander D'Souza and a plethora of others; including the Italian Brothers – the big Nalato and the small Germeck in the workshops.
And more memories of those golden years, of a glorious childhood spent in Mangalore, of daily mass attended at the beautiful chapel (now preserved as a heritage monument), as altar boys stealing a swig or two from the left over mass wine, as Crusaders and Sodality members (means the Jesuits employed to channelise our raw minds), of singing soprano and solos with the great musicians Frs. Stany Vaz and Water Albuquerque, the seven years spent playing all the brass instruments for the College Band for no other reason than the oportunity to wear long-pants in place of the prevalent ‘shorts' only! Not to forget the ‘Summer Club' and the game of ‘rounders'. Of hockey, football and a plethora of other games. Of all those days filled with mischief, pranks and adventure. Most of which have found expression in articles published by me in various journals, magazines and newspapers in different parts of the world.
From St Aloysius, I went on to St Joseph 's and Govt Law Colleges at Bangalore , to finally join Government service as a policeman. In the 35 years I served – mainly in Delhi , Sikkim , Mizoram and Pondicherry – one had opportunity to witness first hand most of the historic and earth-shattering events that swept our nation. I retired from the police in Oct 2004. And all through this period, it is the firm grouding I got at St Aloysius that stood by me.
When I was the Inspector General of Polce Pondicherry, I had the privilege to visit Mangalore and St Aloysius in 1999 on the invitation of the then Rector, to chair the Evening organised on 29th Dec at the College. It was in connection with the Bicentennial Celebrations of the Origin of the Mangalorean Community, resulted from the Release from Captivity of our forefathers in 1799 from Tippu Sultan's dungeons in Seringapatam.
On the occasion of the 125 years post centenary Silver Jubilee of St Aloysius, with great pride in our alma mater the Aloysian Community remembers the founding fathers and current members of this Institution; to extend to them our gratitude and felicitations for the yeoman service rendered – both, in improving the human stock of countless individuals, but also thereby contributing to the relentless and ongoing task of nation building along side!
The main buildings
The Chapel and its altar
words: 27.04.2004: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23,
Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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