Tag Archives: Patna Jesuits

Asian cousin-ship towards a Pollution-free planet


Wow! There were over 200 delegates from the Asia and Pacific Regions gathered at the United Nations Convention Center in Bangkok. The theme of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit was to establish resource-efficient and pollution-free planet.

Over 200 NGO delegates from Asia-Pacific region made the Bangkok assembly at the U.N memorable

Over 200 NGO delegates from Asia-Pacific region made the Bangkok assembly at the U.N memorable

Tarumitra was represented by Devopriya Dutta and Dr Robert Athickal, the Co-ordinator. Devopriya delivered a statement on the impacts of pesticides and toxins on children, emphasized on organic farming and Agro-ecology, and appealed for achieving sustainable development by making environmental studies a part of the curriculum.

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology. The Assembly Hall readily gave her a loud clap of approval of her concerns she voiced.

The Ministerial Summit was held from 4th-8th September 2017. Not only the country delegates from the Asia Pacific subcontinent participated in this event, various communities representing the civil society made their wonderful presence felt too. The main communities who presented their views for achieving the 17 sustainable development goals were the farmers, women, NGOs, children and youth, indigenous people mainly.

This Ministerial Summit was conducted for adopting and declaring a strong ministerial declaration with commitments to achieve gender equality, basic human rights, eradicating poverty, creating opportunities for green jobs, thus ensuring a self-sustained nation.

Asian Delegates Sarojeni Rengam, Devopriya Dutta, Meena Bilgi and Devopriya's Mentor Deeppa Ravindran

Asian Delegates Sarojeni Rengam, Devopriya Dutta, Meena Bilgi and Devopriya’s Mentor Deeppa Ravindran

All the Asian countries are the member states of the UN meeting, who come together in the annual Ministeral Summit organised by the UN family, the strongest network and the strongest family in the whole wide world. Some nations may be developed, some developing and others may be on their way of becoming self-sustained nations.

This summit reflected upon the success stories as well as the struggles made by these nations to ensure sustainable development with green economy. It was very nice to hear about Singapore, Bhutan and Burma as some of the greenest nations which the rest of the world is looking onto. Not only were these three nations appreciated by the member countries, there were regarded as the role models too.

Delegate from Iran Hana Mo came with lots of field experience to match with Tarumitra's interest in Environmental Education.

Delegate from Iran Hana Mo came with lots of field experience to match with Tarumitra’s interest in Environmental Education.

One of the major prime highlights of the summit was that nobody said that they represented this or that country–Everybody was unanimous in a common echo,  ‘We are all Asians. One world one planet.’ It was very heartening to witness more of women representation and the topic of gender issue to be highlighted in a very appropriate way. Even the LGBT community shared the same desk, same dining space and the same stand in this entire summit.

The visit to Bangkok was an insight into the infrastructure of the country and the lubricant of this entire mechanism was the resource.

"Great hospitality of Thailand!" the delegates kept repeating on the final day. Devopriya and Fr Robert posing at the entrance to the UN buildng

“Great hospitality of Thailand!” the delegates kept repeating on the final day. Devopriya and Fr Robert posing at the entrance to the UN building

The main resource or the asset of Thailand is that the people are happy, and why? Because they are hard-working. They are leading a life very close to nature. Not only they talk about being eco-friendly or eco-sensitive, but also practice what they preach. The traffic is well maintained. Hygiene and sanitation are given the topmost priority over there. They are seriously working towards reducing marine pollution and promoting agro-ecology via organic farming.

Memorable to meet with the Ambassadors of the Asia-Pacific countries.

Memorable to meet with the Ambassadors of the Asia-Pacific countries. Our Bhutanese cousin in the center!

The entire five days Asia Pacific Summit made us believe that we are not the only ones worried about our green future, but serious and more constructive and innovative efforts are being taken by the rest of the world as well.

Tarumitra believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam “the whole world is a family” and this Asia Pacific Summit made the motion very loud and vivid that the whole world is my family. Our earth is our mother; we all are her children. She doesn’t differentiate on the basis of nationality, state or colour. Then, who are we to draw boundaries?  Our common goal is ensuring a green and sustainable future while living the present as well, in the same manner. It was very heartening to address each other in the summit as ‘My dear cousins’

Devopriya being the youngest of delegates caught the attention of the Delegates, Ministers and Media.

Devopriya being the youngest of delegates caught the attention of the Delegates, Ministers and Media.

“For the five days, miles away from our own motherland, the other 200 country delegates became our family members. The summit is now over, but the bonds that have been made will remain forever.” said Devopriya winding up her observations. She added, “We all breathe the same life-giving oxygen, eat the same food that is produced by the soil and drink the same water to be alive and fully sustained. We are one family and the Asia Pacific Ministerial was all about celebrating this universal and irreversible fellowship.”

Devopriya and Fr. Robert visited the Jesuit house close by and spent a day with Fr. Beda Yassao S.J and students who came to participate in a leadership program.

Devopriya Dutta (in green)joined the college students on a leadership program hosted by Beda Yassao S.J at Xavier Hall close by.

Devopriya Dutta (in green)joined the college students on a leadership program hosted by Beda Yassao S.J (seated at the back) at Xavier Hall close by.                                                                                             

“We came back profoundly impressed by the way the hardworking people of Thailand are building up their country!” commented Fr. Robert when the group came back to the Tarumitra forest in Patna. ”  He added, “As an Asian country they are integrating development with ecology often successfully integrating the dual concerns so well.”

   Contributed by: Ila Raj, Tarumitra Intern, Nepal

Eco-rice festival celebrated in alfresco ambiance


Patna. 13 Jan: Students hailing from Don Bosco, St. Joseph’s, May Flower, A.N College and St. Xavier’s College congregated under the expansive Kamroop tree in Tarumitra to welcome back the life-giving Sun from the Southern hemisphere, now entering the zodiac of Makar “Capricorn.”
The Chief Guest of the occasion, the director of May Flower higher secondary School, Sri Jairam Sharma led the students to the tasting of Organic Chura “flattened rice”and curd with his wise words.


A PowerPoint presentation on Makar Sankranti facilitated in giving the Festival an ecological slant

Fr. Robert Athickal, thru a special colorful PowerPoint presentation on the occasion gave the students ample invitation to reflect on the rice cultivation in the State and beyond. He underlined the fact that Asian cultures are based on rice and rice preparations. Rice forms the central staple food in Asia.

The scanty monsoon last two years meant that very few farmers managed to cultivate their traditional rice crop. In fact rice cultivation is not popular at all among the present generation of youngsters.

Tarumitra students celebrate the Solar feast of Makar Sankranti  as Chura Dahi parv, essentially as a festival of the Sun by reverentially consuming rice, curd and sesame seeds. Traditionally people all over the state organize a repast made of flattened rice, sesame seeds and freshly made curd for the occasion. The students under the leadership of Anushka and Shivani from St. Xavier’s College organized the Organic festival of Rice with the same fare.

Makar_Shivani and Anushka

St. Xavier’s college students, Shivani and Anushka compered the program

“The distinct feature of the celebration was that the feast was entirely organic and eco-friendly, ” said Anushka. ” We are using the freshly pounded rice from our own organic farm!” said Anunshka.

Jesuits and loretos

Among the generous souls came to help out the farm work: Loreto Juniors from Kolkata and Jesuit Juniors from Khaspur posing with Robert Athickal SJ(extreme right).

Students from different schools and colleges worked hard to produce totally organic rice from last summer. “We did not employ any hired labor to work in the rice field, instead we did the whole chore ourselves!” said Vishal, post graduate student of Environmental Sciences from A.N College. “We did not resort to the use of any chemical fertilizer or pesticides in the crop. The sowing, harvesting and threshing of the rice was entirely done by students,” said Gaurav from the same college.

Organic farm work

Margaret (right) helping the volunteers from A.N College with the work in the Organic Farm. Vishal (center) coordinated the participation.

Speaking on the occasion former activist of Tarumitra, Eva Gagan from Australia who was present on the occasion along with her husband Gagan and son Evang said that the festival reminded the people of the bygone variety-rich rice fields of Bihar. She said that the varieties have disappeared at the onslaught of hybrid rice. Very few farmers have the determination and courage to cultivate the traditional rice.


Devopriya Dutta (4th from left) and Maragaret Molomoo (2nd from right) co-ordinated the entire cultivation and harvesting.

Coordinator of the Organic Farming, Ms Margaret Molomoo said every Indian village had its own rice variety conserved and handed over by many generations. Scientists estimated a total of over 20,000 rice varieties in the country. An earlier Tarumitra survey showed that people in Bihar cultivated less than 80 varieties of rice.

It was also the inauguration of a specially designed alfresco outdoor class room “Oxygen bar” in Tarumitra.

Oxygen bar 11

A team from Solar Alternatives helped Banares  (top) to set up the Oxygen Bar

“Oval shaped, the class room under the trees can seat 150 students. The place is totally protected from mosquitoes inside a giant netting system!” said Saharsh who contributed to construct the innovative classroom which the students have named, “Oxygen Bar!”

Oxygen bar 18

Director of May Flower school, Jairam Sharma cut the ribbon and inaugurated the Oxygen Bar!

The Oxygen Bar has its own story to narrate!

An earlier tremor from 2016 left one of our water reservoirs extremely damaged. While plans for repair came up, one of our visitors suggested the possibility of converting it into an outdoor classroom. The idea got spruced up with a design and plan of action by the students.

Family Portrait 12.2015 (4)

Dr Jeffrey Chirayil and his wife Dr Meril Chirayil, Dallas USA offered to sponsor the Oxygen Bar as soon as they heard of it

There was this offer of sponsorship from Dr. Meril Abraham Chirayil and her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Joseph Chirayil from Dallas USA. They took time from their hospital work to learn as how we were going to make the bar with a difference!

Paul Mariadoss SJ, from Solar Alternatives, suggested covering the space with netting to protect the students from mosquitoes.

Paul Mariadoss_small

Paul Mariadoss SJ, software and hardware engineer,   has  been organizing solar campaigns from the Jesuit center at Phulwarisharif. (http://www.patnajesuits.org/ECOLOGYM.aspx)

The problem was to find a huge mosquito net for the roof!
Being a physicist, Fr. Paul used his good ol’ math’s formula to calculate the roof-size and got the plastic Netting tailor-made for the spot. That was hard work.

Oxygen bar construction

Students from St. Xavier’s worked hard to get the foundation done in time

Banaras and his team of masons then built it up summarily with students from St. Xavier’s college helping out to dig up the foundations for posts. Gaurav, Vishal and Priti from A.N College worked on the spot several days before the place took shape.

Oxygen bar 5

Students from different colleges helped out to build the structure

“The spot is an excellent place for meditation in the mornings!” said Sr. Amalia who advocates the promotion of an earth-building eco-spirituality for our times. The Tertian Sisters spent a week at Tarumitra listening to Fr, Robert Athickal SJ presenting the inspiring insights of Big History of the universe.

oxygen bar 14

When completed Oxygen Bar could seat 150 students inside in a full circle, overlooking the water inside

The director of May Flower School, Jairam Sharma, by cutting a ribbon inducted the classroom. It is now being used daily, especially for the campaign to inform people about the issues of clean drinking water.

Students suggested the appellation for the al fresco classroom:  Oxygen Bar!

Oxygen bar17

Students offered special thanks to Drs. Meril and Jeffrey Chirayil!

The celebration of Makar Sankranti continued under the Pakur tree when the participating students served curd, rice and sesame seeds in leaf-plates and ate them with relish.


Fatema Hussain (left), an Intern from Jindal University, Sonipat Haryana said that it was her first such celebration under the trees. The CJ tertian Sisters from Allahabad, Bangalore and Patna helped to serve the dishes