Promoting Inter-Faith Harmony St Aloysius College hosts ‘Diwali Celebrations’-the Feast of Lights

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Promoting Inter-Faith Harmony St Aloysius College hosts ‘Diwali Celebrations’-the Feast of Lights

 Mangaluru: Diwali-the Feast of Lights was celebrated uniquely with the combination of all religions, at St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru on Thursday, 27 October 2022 at 3 pm at Fr Robert Sequeira Hall, for promoting Inter-Faith Harmony. Harmony and friendliness is not just a message it has to be adopted into our everyday life. It was indeed a unique Diwali celebration, where all religions, Christians, Hindus and Muslims celebrated the festival of lights together.

Some holidays remind us of the values that unite humanity, and the annual Diwali Festival is one of them. Though the holiday has many interpretations, the core message is the victory of good over evil. Hindus light rows of clay lamps to celebrate the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana. As seen in the Indian example, many faiths come together to celebrate Diwali for many reasons, but the common theme unites them all. In today’s complex world, the need to accommodate diversity and find common ground is as relevant as ever. The display of lights and colourful Good Deepas seen at homes, malls, and other places reflect “a highly inclusive, all-welcoming celebration of peace and harmony,” and that Diwali reminds us “to keep improving spiritually in this lifetime — through unity in thought, word and deed.

Deepavali is a festival of lights and togetherness. It’s a festival of unity without any caste and religious differentiation. As a lamp spreads light equally to everyone, so we must also love everyone equally. All religions teach us to be united and let us become the light of love and prosperity. We need to celebrate Deepavali in such a way that it will instigate to spread of peace and love in society. We need to applaud the management, staff and students of St Aloysius College for organizing this unique Diwali Celebration to promote Inter-Faith Harmony, to bring peace, love and harmony to society.

The programme began with invoking God’s blessings through a prayer song, followed by a traditional Diwali dance by Miss Rakshitha Bhat and Team. The welcome address was delivered by Dr Mona Mendonca-the programme coordinator and professor in the department of History, where she said, “It is not our differences that divide us. We cannot recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences that divide us. The whole idea of this programme is to equip our students with the power of knowledge to propel them to understand that strength lies in differences and not in similarities. And on this occasion, we have eminent personalities who represent different communities and who would also speak on how one could respect differences”.

The programme was inaugurated by lighting of the lamp by dignitaries on the dais, namely- Fr Rupesh RaveenTauro-Director of Pontifical Mission Organization (PMO), and Director of Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (PWPN)-Publishing Pope’s Intention; Dr Udaya Kumar Irvathur- Coordinator of PG Programme in Management & Commerce, Yenepoya Institute of arts, Science & Commerce, and former Principal of University College, Mangaluru; Dr Surfraz J Hasim- Principal of PA First Grade College, Mangaluru; Rev Dr Praveen Martis SJ-Principal, St Aloysius College, Mangaluru and Dr Mona Mendonca- Coordinator of the programme and Professor in the department of history.

Addressing the audience Fr Rupesh Tauro said, ” Who loves darkness? We all love light and want to remain in love. May God bless each of us with real light so that we may love each other, may we think of each other and may we help each other. Today as we celebrate the feast of Deepavali, we need to ask ourselves. Am I a person who gives light to others rather than fire? Today Mangalore is a spectacle of communal fights. Religious beliefs have become far more important than humanity. Religion has become a priority for us rather than humanity. Today we need to reflect on the concept of light and how I can become a light to others. When we read Holy scriptures of all religions, we find enormous importance given to light”.


He further said, ” In the Bible, when God created the world, the very first thing he created was light. He said let there be light. God created the entire universe, but the light became the primordial aspect. Even God knew that if there is no light, the entire plan of creation would be nullified. Once a woman was brought to Jesus for her sins and was to be stoned to death. Even though everyone condemned her, Jesus forgave her and shed his forgiving light on her. Jesus not only became the Light; he is asking each of us to become a light. Mathew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the World. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under the basket, Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your Heavenly God”.

“God wants us to be a light to others. Through our good deeds, we need to become that light. Mother Teresa came to India with just five rupees. But with her love, service, and humbleness she could shelter the downtrodden, destitute, poor, sick and abandoned. She could cater to their needs. She is the real illustration of true light. Today we need not give great speeches on light but rather allow our lives to be light. I become a light through my good works; I become a light through accepting all religions; I become a light through love towards each other; I become a light through my sacrifice, and I become a light through helping others” concluded Fr Tauro.


Born on 14th August 1989 in Allipade, Bantwal, Fr Rupesh did his Bachelor of Commerce from S.V.S College, Bantwal (Mangalore University), and then Master of Arts in English from Mangalore University. He was ordained as a Diocesan priest on Ordained 17th of April 2018. Currently, he is the Diocesan Director, of Pontifical Mission Organizations (PMO); Diocesan Director, of Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (PWPN); Diocesan Secretary, of Proclamation and Evangelization Commission; and Assistant Director, of St Anthony Charitable Institutes – Jeppu, Mangaluru. Earlier he was the Assistant Priest at Bondel Parish, Mangaluru (2020-2022); and Assistant Priest at Kinnigoli Parish (2018-2020). His Core Qualities are: Congregational Leadership; Community Outreach; Program development and Management; and Promoting missionary Activities among children

Also addressing the audience Dr Udaya Kumar Irvathur said, ” As students, we used to enjoy festivals to a great extent, but these days festivals have been creating tensions and fears, leading to untoward incidents. As a 63-year-old born in a respected Jain family which beliefs in non-violence and basic principles, we always look forward to celebrating festivals in tradition and fervour. We don’t have to look forward to going to heaven, instead create heaven right here on Earth. We need to follow certain principles, speak the truth and believe in our faith truly and respectably. Every religion does not preach jealousy, hatred, disharmony, but we see these days the religions are going the opposite way”.


” We need to build a true and perfect character. We need to invite other religions and make them learn about our religion. We need to acquire knowledge when we celebrate feasts and try to avoid disharmony and controversies. These days we are moving in a different and wrong direction, which is dangerous. We need to think of the world as one. Let there be no enmity, disrespect and bitterness-let we all live in harmony, love and peace” added Dr Udaya Kumar.


He is the Professor of Commerce, and Coordinator of P.G. Programs in Management and Commerce at Yenepoya Institute of Arts Science and Commerce Unit of Yenepoya Deemed to be University, Mangaluru, and Former Principal and HOD- of Commerce University College, Mangaluru. Born on 5 th July 1959, he started his teaching career at Dhavala College Moodbidri on 1st August 1983, later joined the University College, Mangalore in July 1994. He was awarded PhD degree for his thesis “A Study on Women Entrepreneurship in Karanataka” in 2003 by Mangalore University. During the past 39 years of his teaching career, has acquired academic credentials and developed leadership qualities in academic as well as administrative spheres.

He has contributed in various ways, to the field of research and teaching. have published more than 35 articles of research interest in National and International Journals and presented more than 50 research papers at National and International conferences during the last 25 years. Delivered more than 40 invited lectures in the field of Development, Empowerment, Leadership, Women Empowerment, Social Entrepreneurship, Gender Development and Gandhian Studies. Published more than 85 articles and six books in Kannada for general readers. Has fairly a good track record of leadership, in academics, administration and social spheres. Been an elected Member of Mangalore University Senate & Academic Council (1992-96), Secretary of, the Association of Mangalore University College Teachers (AMUCT) (1991-1993), Member of the Board of Studies in Commerce, Member -Board of Examiners of Mangalore University, Folklore University of Karnataka, St Agnes College (Autonomous), St. Aloysius College (Autonomous), and SDM College, Ujire (Autonomous).

Served as a member of the organizing committee of International, National and Regional Conferences/Seminars organized by reputed institutions in India and abroad. Assumed the office of the principal of the prestigious College with a history of over 150 years, the University College Mangalore on the 22nd of September 2015. He led the College successfully till the end of October 2020, for more than 5 years. During this period College got recognition for its achievements in academic and extension activities, drawing the attention of educationists at the State and National levels.

Also speaking on the occasion, Dr Surfraz J Hasim said, ” I feel proud to be an alumnus of this prestigious institution, which has created great leaders worldwide. We have to apply the ancient practices to modern times when we give importance to “Humanity” and “Harmony”. This Diwali festival and other events develop harmony among students, staff and others. Let us not support any activities which promote and disturb the harmony. There are lots of challenges in front of us. When we lit the light today, it was not just for one or two days, but for every day and every moment of our lives. Throughout my life, I have lived in a harmonized society. You should know that an education institute/college is a great place for joy and harmony, and you all are in the right college where the Jesuit priests always try to promote joy and harmony in the campus and create a harmonious atmosphere”.


” As educated people, we need to promote unity, harmony and peace. We should not hurt other religions, every religion has its teachings and practices. We need to follow three success formulas- Forgiveness, Gratitude and Unconditional Love. A college is a place where there is no difference in caste, religion and gender, but only Unity. Deepavali is a celebration of humanity. Besides the religious dimension of the festival, it has a meaningful aspect of the celebration of the goodness of humanity. The message of the festival is not the conquest of good over evil through violence but through goodness and humanitarian values. The ideal way of celebrating the festival of light is to share the light of joy, cooperation and brotherhood irrespective of religion, caste and creed. It should be the celebration of togetherness and humanity. I am happy to be here at this prestigious college, and may this feast of lights bring Knowledge, Happiness and Prosperity”, added Dr Surfraz.


He is the Principal, of P.A. First Grade College, Mangaluru, and Managing Director of SADHANA MIND CARE ACADEMY, Mangaluru. He is an Internationally acclaimed Mind Trainer, Psychologist, Success Coach, Motivational Speaker, Hypnotherapist Master Trainer & Facilitator. He is an Alumnus of St Aloysius College for his PUC & Graduation. Later he obtained M.Sc in Physics from Mangalore University, M.Phil in Physics, MBA in Human Resource Management, M.Sc in Psychology and a PhD in Psychology. He has also obtained three Post Graduate Diplomas in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management, Educational Administration & Supervision and Public Relations. Dr Surfraz has undergone advanced training in various programmes such as Hypnosis, Mind Power, Counselling, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Life Coaching, Executive Coaching, Sujok, Redikall Healing and Pranic Healing. He was a student leader during his college days and was Elected as the President of the Mangalore University Post Graduate Students Union.

Dr Surfraz started his career as Lecturer in the dept. of Physics at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru. He joined P A College of Engineering in the year 2000, as Lecturer and held various Academic & Administrative positions also served as the Director (Academics) of P. A. Educational Trust (Regd.) which manages P. A. College of Engineering, Centre for Management Studies & Research, P. A. First Grade College, P. A. Polytechnic, P. A. College of Pharmacy and P.A. Institute of Physiotherapy. As Managing Director of Sadhana Mindcare Academy, which is one of the leading Mind Training Organisations in India, has assisted people in discovering and using the full potential of their creative powers for personal growth and development by reprogramming their subconscious minds. Since 2012, Dr Surfraz is instrumental in spreading Mind Power and has trained more than 35,000 people across India and abroad.

Dr Surfraz has been conferred with the “National Healthcare Icon Award 2018” for his contribution to the field of mind training and alternative healing by the Holistic Medicine Research Foundation, Hyderabad in November 2018, conferred with the “Award of Excellence in Motivational Training” in recognition of his training & consultancy business. He has been conferred with the “Bharat Shiksha Ratan Award” for his outstanding achievements and remarkable role in the field of education by the Economic Growth Foundation, New Delhi in February 2019. Also, he was awarded Aloysian Alumnus of the Month – March 2021 in appreciation of his contribution to society in the field of Mind Training & Counselling, upholding the Aloysian Vision.

In his Presidential address, Rev Dr Praveen Martis SJ said, ” During my younger days I have enjoyed different kinds of festivals and it was fun and frolic. Celebrating Diwali, we all come together. Today’s three eminent speakers have shed the light on the meaning of Deepavali, and the true value of the feast. Diwali is one of the biggest and most auspicious festivals celebrated by Hindus all around the globe. The message of Diwali is relevant to everyone, regardless of your faith or background: good will always prevail over evil, light over darkness and friendship over enmity. The festival signifies peace and joy- the victory of good over evil and light over darkness”.

“Diwali is a time to rejoice and share our bounty. Diwali truly symbolizes the uniqueness of India- a land of diversity but holding on together as a nation. We need to root out the deadly evils in our society-Communalism, Corruption and Terrorism. Our Country will be a Heaven on Earth if these three evils are rooted out. We should all live in harmony and peace, and never give a chance for hate and communal tensions. Let’s celebrate Diwali with peace and love, that should be our motto. In the eyes of God, we are all equal and we should never incite communal riots and hatred among different faiths. So during this Diwali season let us spread the message to love one another and maintain peace throughout. Let the light of Diwali shine upon us and take away the darkness and give us peace and prosperity” added Fr Praveen Martis Sj.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Chethan Shettigar- Professor in the department of B Voc, and the programme was eloquently compared by Simran Vasant of III BBA, and Alistair D’souza of II BBA. The introduction of Fr Rupesh was done by Adhiraj of III BA; the intro of Dr Udaya Kumar was done by Kashyap, and the intro of Dr Surfraz was done by Miss Syria of II BA. Registrar of College Dr Alwyn D’sa, H R Dean Dr Dinesh N, Directors of various blocks, and faculty members, among others, graced the occasion.

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