A Book Titled ‘Pride of Kanara; True Son of India, Fr Jerome D’Souza SJ’ Releasing on 7 August 2023 at 3.00 p.m. at the Eric Mathias Hall, St Aloysius College, Mangaluru
Mangaluru: Addressing the media personnel during a press meet held at Mangaluru Press Club, the author of the book Prof Edmund Frank, the Dean of PGDBM, at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru said, ” A book titled “Pride of Kanara; True Son of India, Fr Jerome D’Souza SJ” will be released on 7 August 2023 at 3.00 p.m. at the Eric Mathias Hall, St Aloysius College, Mangaluru. This book is authored by me, and I have known Fr Jerome in Person at Loyola College in Madras and most of the events and his experiences narrated by Fr Jerome to me are portrayed in this book. It contains the major highlights in the lifetime of Fr Jerome D’Souza. The book is published by St Aloysius Prakashana, Mangaluru”.
“Among the great personalities with ordinary beginnings who rose to national and international fame, the name of Fr Jerome D’Souza SJ stands tall. What is even more surprising is the fact that many of us are unaware that this person was from our own district. Fr Jerome D’Souza was born on 6 August 1897 to parents Sebastian and Mrs Seraphina D’Souza in Mulki, a remote town surrounded by five villages which lies on the banks of river Shambhavi, a panchayat town in Dakshina Kannada district,” added Prof Edmund.
“Having completed his primary education in Mulki, he was admitted to St Aloysius High School in Mangaluru along with his elder brother Boniface. Jerome and his siblings tasted poverty from their birth and had a very tough and challenging life as they grew up. After a very good performance in Matriculation Jerome joined St Aloysius College and completed his first year of Intermediate studies. From here his life took a turn and at the age of sixteen he left Mangaluru and joined St Joseph’s College in Trichy which was run by the French Jesuits”.
“Jerome completed his BA Hons.in English Literature from Presidency College in Chennai and worked as Lecturer in English. Very much impressed with the work of the French Jesuits among the poor Tamilian families he joined the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate at the Sacred Heart College, Shembaganur, Kodaikanal on 28 May 1921. In 1928, he was sent to Belgium for his Theology studies and was ordained a Jesuit priest at Enghien, Belgium on 30 August 1931. Fr Jerome completed 4 years of Theology and Tertianship at Amiens in France. It was here that he mastered French”.
“Fr Jerome returned to India in 1933 and was called to rejoin the English faculty as Professor at St Joseph’s College in Trichy. In 1935 he was appointed the first Indian Principal of the College. This was when he made a mark in public life and got acquainted with C Rajagopalachari and Jawahar Lal Nehru. In 1938 he was appointed the first Indian Rector. When the 2nd World War broke out in 1939, Fr Jerome who was recognised as an orator of Repute was appointed to the District War Committee and as a member of the Advisory Board of All India Radio. He was invited to speak at public places to motivate the people and keep their morale high”.
“In 1942 he was transferred to Madras/Chennai as Rector and Principal of Loyola College. He was soon appointed to the Syndicate of the Madras University. Consequent to his name being proposed by Rajagopalachari and after obtaining permission from his religious Superiors and following due procedure he was elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly in March 1946 and elected member of the Constituent Assembly the same year as one of the Christian representatives. On 19 December 1946 Fr Jerome made his first entry into the Constituent Assembly as the only Catholic Priest”.
Prof Edmund concluded by saying, “Fr Jerome made his first speech in the Constituent Assembly as the first session began on 20 January 1947 and made his presence felt among distinguished members of the Constituent Assembly. He fought for Minority Rights and Fundamental Rights and distinguished himself as a prominent member of the Assembly. Fr Jerome D’Souza is rightly called one of the architects of the Indian Constitution. He played a major role in the debates on Minority Rights and Fundamental Rights. He is a signatory to the original copy of the Constitution of India. Fr Jerome was a member of the first Interim Parliament until 1952”.
Rev Dr Praveen Martis SJ, the Principal of St Aloysius College (Autonomous) Mangaluru and Poet, Short story writer and eminent critic H M Pernal (who will be translating the English version of the Book into Konkani) were also present during the press meet.