‘I Will Skip the Road Renaming Inauguration’ – Mayor tells St Aloysius Delegates
Mangaluru: This issue is like the one “Which Came First- the Chicken or the Egg?”- What has been seen for centuries as the world’s most baffling scientific and philosophical mystery, which was finally been solved, according to scientists. The chicken came First, scientists had said cracking the riddle of whether the chicken or the egg came first. But here in the renaming of the road from “St Aloysius College Road” to “Mulky Sundararama Shetty Road (MSSR)”- many asked “whether St Aloysius College came First, or Vijaya Bank/Mulky Sundararama Shetty came First”. So without any help from the scientists, of course, it was “St Aloysius College” that came FIRST, established 137 years ago. Vijaya Bank, or for that matter, Mulky Sundararama Shetty came way much later.
MCC Mayor Kavitha Sanil had called for a meeting between the representatives of S Aloysius Institution and members of Vijaya Bank Workers’ Organization (VBWO) at her office on Friday, 30 June evening, to discuss the controversy that has erupted pertaining to the renaming of ‘SAC Road’ to ‘MSS Road’. With nearly 25 delegates representing St Aloysius Institution showing up for the interaction in time, but unfortunately the members of the VBWO were ignorant by not attending the meeting- However, the meeting proceeded in the absence of the bankers, in the presence of the Mayor, MLA J R Lobo, MCC Commissioner Mohammed Nazeer, MCC Deputy Mayor Rajaneesh and Former MCC Mayor and Corporator Sashidar Hegde.
Expressing his feelings and frustrations on this sensitive issue of renaming the Road, Dr AM Narahari- the Registrar of St Aloysius College (Autonomous)- Mangaluru said, ” On the outset I would like to thank the Mayor for her keen interest on this issue by calling for a talk between the two parties. Unfortunately our opponents didn’t show up. We should all know that St Aloysius Institution has been there for 137 years run by the Jesuit Fathers, giving good education to lakhs of students who have passed out of this institution. Although the Institution is run primarily for the education of catholic youth, the institution also caters to all students without distinction of caste, colour creed and language. It gives special preference for the students belonging to SC/ST and socio-economically marginalized group. I can openly say that SAC is a secular institution which never looks at caste or creed even when they employ their staff- being a Hindu I have been given the post as Registrar of a Catholic school. You won’t find that in many other institution-where they give preference to their own community”
“SAC aims at an integral formation of the youth, striving to form individuals who are academically competent, morally strong, artistically accomplished, physically fit, socially concerned and personally balanced. Each student is encouraged to take part in the co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. Many of the students exited out of this college are in goo positions all over the world. Also about 80% of our students are non-Christians-this shows that SAC doesn’t shows any discrimination towards any religion or caste. Many tourists come to St Aloysius to see the Chapel and the paintings inside it. This hill was a barren land, which was converted into a education dynasty by the Jesuits. The service and contribution given to the community by the Jesuits is enormous. We are not against Mulky Sundararama Shetty and his contribution to the society, but we are only upset about renaming of the decades old name of ‘St Aloysius College Road’ to ‘Mulky Sundararama Road’, when this institution has done so much good to the students and the community. Only by the action of MCC this issue could be solved in a peaceful manner, so that we all can live in harmony’ added Narahari.
Fr Praveen Martis Sj-Principal of St Aloysius College said, “St Aloysius College has no intention of creating a controversy about the services rendered by Mulky Sundararama Shetty. The college has high regards towards him. However, there have been several roads and buildings named after him in the state. One of the major land marks in the said road is St Aloysius College. This road was earlier known as Light House Hill road and later it was named as St Aloysius College road on the request of the college. The name board still exists, and so there is no need of changing the name of the road at this juncture. The contribution of the college to the society and the nation is very unique. Apart from maintaining high academic standards, the college has been striving after value based education and training to prepare the students as responsible citizens of the nation. Needless to say that the institution is established and managed by Jesuit Fathers who are known all over the world for their self-less services in education, healthcare and social services. St Aloysius College has immensely contributed to making Dakshina Kannada an educational hub. St Aloysius College is the pride of Mangaluru. The College, having a glorious history of 137 years of its existence, has rendered outstanding service to the society. So it is befitting to have this road named after St Aloysius College”.
Former president of St Aloysius Alumni Association NG Mohan said, ” It should be noted that Vijaya Bank was tiny branch located near Bunts Hostel Circle, but later in the years got shifted to the location at end of Light house Hill Road (near Jyothi Circle), which is their Regional Office. But St Aloysius Institution has existed since 137 years on this road, so it is very much advisable to have this road named after the college, rather than the founder chairman of this Bank. Why can’t they think of any other road to name after MS Shetty? Why not christen Jyothi Circle to Bunts Hostel Road in his name? There are many options and many places where MS Shetty can be honored with dignity. Let us end this issue without further controversy, but in a peaceful manner. The Bank workers association should think and change their decision, before things get ugly”.
Nigel Albuquerque- a lead member of MCC Civic Group said, ” St Aloysius Institution being a historic place, certain rules and regulations should be followed before any changes could be done to the structure or name. Was the system followed in this regard, should be looked into. There have been hundreds of comments posted on our Facebook supporting the college, and not to have the road name changed. So in a kind gesture the bankers should oblige and leave the road name as it is, and do the needful”.
Former Rector of SAC Fr Denzil Lobo Sj expressed his thoughts saying, “Our focus is on communal harmony. We are looking at a ‘dialogue approach’ for the problem, and have no intention of creating a controversy. The circular inviting any objection to renaming the road as ‘Mulki Sundararama Shetty Road’ was published in a tiny column in 2015. But we did not expect it to happen. We will continue calling the stretch ‘Aloysius College Road’. All of a sudden, the process of the name being changed to Mulky Sundararama Shetty Road, is underway. We came to know about this through the media recently. When we asked for clarification at the MCC, we came to know about the formalities in place. Needless to say that the institution is established and managed by Jesuit Fathers who are known all over the world for their selfless services in education, healthcare and social services. Tourists flock to see the chapel here, which is one of the few attractions in the city. This is a 137-year-old Jesuit Institute, much older than Fr Muller Hospital which has a road to its name. So I hope that MCC will change its mind, and retain ‘St Aloysius College Road’ marker as it is. I also hope that the Bank Workers Organization will work with us in settling this issue peacefully”.
Addressing the delegates Mayor Kavitha said, ” I do admit that MCC should have informed SAC about the renaming of the road, but unfortunately it was not done, for which I regret. But we still can negotiate on certain conditions with both the parties so that this issue is settled peacefully and in harmony. We all need to work in unity, let us not create enmity because of a road renaming. Now that the order for renaming of the road has come from higher government authorities, I have no powers to stop it nor I can postpone the inauguration programme. In order to settle this issue without any controversies or disharmony, I had invited the bank workers organization reps to attend today’s meeting, but they avoided it. I will convince them to be here for yet another meeting on Saturday, where we can finalize the outcome from it. With all these mess and hassles going on in this regard, I assure you that I won’t attend the road renaming inauguration this Sunday at the Vijaya Bank premises”.
MLAJ R Lobo addressing the group said, ” We need to end this problem in a peaceful manner. Although it is too late now, since the order for renaming of road is passed by the government, there is not much we can do, neither me. All we can do is through negotiations and mutual understanding. I have already spoken to Minister Ramanath Rai, and he has promised to do the best he can. We can also call for a emergency council meeting here at the MCC, including communities of all faith and see what we can do in this regard. There is still hope for a good ending, and let’s work it in unity and without any disharmony. Let us wait and see what will be the outcome of the meeting that has planned Saturday evening between SAC representatives and reps of Bank workers organization”.
Not happy with the results/proceedings that took place at the meeting in Mayor’s office, the SAC delegates took one step further- they all decided to meet District Minister In-Charge Ramanath Rai at his residence in Kalligge, Bantwal Taluk. Explaining and discussing the matter of renaming of St Aloysius College Road to MSS Road by Registrar AM Narahari, Fr Praveen Martis Sj and Fr Eric Mathias Sj- Administrator of SAC-ITI, to Minister Rai, and requesting him to intervene to stop or prolong the inauguration of renaming of the road, for which Minister Rai said, ” This issue should have not reached to this extent. But anyways, I know all the good things done by Christian community in the field of education and other field. On thing is that we need to stop hate and disharmony- and it is always created by educated people. I am a non-believer of any religion, for me every caste, creed and religion is the same. But I will do my best as to what we can do in this case-let us hope for the best to end this issue in a peaceful way. For this I need some serious prayers by you Jesuit priests (smiling..). Will let you know the result by Saturday”.
Among the SAC delegates who took part were- Fr Gerald Furtado Sj- St Aloysius High School Headmaster; Archie Menezes- President SAACA, and many other SAACA members, few lectures of SAC, Activist Gerard Towers and Ajoy D’silva of MCC Civic Group, among many others. Dr Norbert Lobo- HOD of Economics department-SAC thanked everyone for participating.
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