Tag Archives: St. Xavier’s College Patna

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar confers a Plaque of Approval

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There was palpable excitement among the students when they marched out of the Tarumitra Bio-reserve to meet the Chief Minister at the newly constructed Gyan Bhawan next to the sprawling Gandhi Maidan in the capital city of Patna.
It was World Environment Day! They were heading to Gyan bhawan..

Gyan bhawanGyan Bhawan Patna (International Convention Centre), is  built on the lines of Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan. The green and quake-resistant complex, spread over 11.82 acres will be in two parts linked with a subway. Complex when completed will have several halls of different capacity including banquet hall, food courts and service area. International Convention Hall or Gyan Bhawan has a sitting capacity of 5,000, is a signature building.

They have been celebrating the World Environment Day since a week with a colorful array of programs including a few Residential camps, Road shows such as Cycle rallies, Tree plantations, Preparation of Seed bombs “beej bum” for monsoon plantations, Nursery preparations for conserving rare trees and Zumba finess sessioins to toughen the human body for summer ordeals.

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 Cycle rally to promote concern on air pollution and conservation of fuels: Ms Chumki das flagging off the rally from Jalalpur, Patnashashi chumki2 Chumki Das and Shashi Darshan,full time volunteer specialized in plastic surgery,  cycled to co-ordinate the rally for several days. They also saw to the staging of the Street plays in Saguna More. 

A Committee consisting of Devorpriya Dutta, Fr. Tony Penda SJ, Shashi Darshan, Nagesh Anand, Sarvjeet, Adarsh, Nilofer Praveen, and Praneta Rani from Champaran was active to make sure that the event took place in time.
Hajipur Team in collaboration with Tarumitra organized Street plays
A very specially prepared team of activists from Swabhiman, Hajipur,next district, came prepared to stage an ecological street play on the eve of the Environement day (Team with the Chairman of the Bihar Pollution Control Board, Dr. Ashok Ghosh, inside the Doordarshan studios Patna)

Pranoy IMS and Sr. Smita MMS who co-ordinated the training for the Street play were in for a surprise.  The team not only presented the street play right on the street corners, they were invited by the Ntional TV Doordarshan to telecast it for the World Environment day! That was a big surprise. The subaltern group from a nondescript village of Hajipur was suddenly on the National TV!

Several groups of school students visited the Tarumitra Bio-reserve to take part in activities such as filling polybags for nurseries, to prepare “seed bombs” i.e to make mud-balls of soil with seeds of trees inside.

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Several groups of students took pledge to plant and look after precious trees in their homes and neighbourhoods. (Group from Hajipur pledging)
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            Sr. Smita MMS prompts the Earth-pledge on the eve of the feast

The campers got up early morning on June 5th, they walked around the tree on naked feet, offered them arti to show reverence and Sr. Smita helped them to make the pledges to the Earth.

Nagesh Anand is a very creative volunteer who organizes Cosmic Walks for Big History Enthusiasts on Saturday evenings. Nagesh organized two cosmic walks in preparation for the World Environement day.

The Cosmic Walks are held either inside the Oxygen Bar or ourside under the trees. Nagesh takes a long stretch of clothes and arranges it into a spiral and lights up candles when he pauses the 36 Goldilocks conditions existed in the 4.5 billion year old history of the Earth. From the Big Bang to the arrival of life leading to the arrival of apes and humans, Nagesh tells the story in the form of a Meditation.
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  The Hajipur group got interested in many activities. Nagesh (inset) narrated the Big History of the Universe and the Earth mother to the participants from Hajipur after the sunset. Sitting under the sky, under the twinkling stars, he made sense to them with the accompanyig cosmic music he got from Dr. Orla Hazra who initiated him into the meditatives.  One of the participants Balesh was of the view that the story must be retold to every village in Bihar. He found it very inspiring and liberative.

In the mean time, Chumki Das got her kids to organize street theater near Jalalpur city.

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 Street plays are popular ways of raising concerns on contemporary issues. Students presented several plays on the eve of the Enviornment day!

Pallavi Bishwas, an music-afficionado brought in her art students for a week long residential camp. Her husband, Pandit Avinay Kashinath and  their two children both music enthusiasts stayed on to rev up the excitement.

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 The music and dance campers from Nrivaga helped in the plant nursery of rare plants. They filled up hundreds of poly bags to sow seeds of trees. 
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Dr. Anil Sulabh, noted poet joined to encourage the children to plant trees as part of the Environment Day celebrations! Debutante Kashika receiving a lemon grass plant from Dr. Sulabh. Dr. Upendranath Pandey,  Mangala Singh and Shambhu Kr Singh (on the row)

It has been several years since Tarumitra realized the importance of connecting Art with the Earth. Two largescale art workshops held in the forest within a space of a decade confirmed the conclusion that Art promotes well being and integrity of the Earth and its life-giving systems.

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The Nrivaga alpana “art designs” shows the intricate relationship Art has with Nature. Noted classical singer Ranjana Jha sings lullabies to the trees of the Bio-reserve whenever she visits the place! She presented a very intricate raga this time. 

Last but not the least to join the campaigns were the Trangender community in the city. Reshma Prasad, a lively activist among them has been helping the students to raise ecological concerns among the bureaucrats of the Governemnt. She along with her influential transgender community  is known to remove many hurdles to get ecology its prominent place among Patnaites.

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 Reshma Prasad (third from left)has a reputation to move mountains, joined Tarumitra students to make the celebration of World Environment Day a big event in the city. Padmashree Sr. Sudha Varghese (second from right) has been a big support for the students. 

Coming back to our story of the Chief Minister passing on accolades to Tarumitra students, the big event took place on 5 June towards the afternoon. The venue was the newly constructed Gyan Bhawan the Internatonal Convention Center. Students congregated in large numbers and Devopriya and Pranoy IMS were asked to be seated next to the Chief Minister. Dr. Ashok Ghosh and his team co-ordinated the event. All of a sudden the announcement reverberated  across the hall, “Tarumitra representative, please step up to receive the Citation from the Chief Minister!”

It was the turn of Devopriya Dutta to scramble up to the stage amidst deafening applause..

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 Devopriya in her lucky red kurti climbed up the stage to receive the Citation from the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is flanked by his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi. Balram sir (DAV BSEB), Dr Ashok Gosh are on the  left. 

While handing over the plaque, the Chief Minister commented, “Tarumitras are the ones  who are protecting the environment!” That was a big positive stroke from the Chief Minister!
“While we appreciate the effort of Dr. Ashok Ghosh to get the official recognition of the transformative role played by the students of the schools and colleges, we are sure that we have miles to go before we can sleep or take rest!” said Devopriya Dutta.

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The Citation reads, “We felicitate the Tarumitra students for their contribution to make enviornmental concerns especially concerns regarding Bio-diversity among the people!”

Speaking to the Media, Fr. Robert Athickal SJ commented that Tarumitra was convinced that they were on the right track to push the agenda of Bio-diversity to the forefront of their campaigns.

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 Devopriya Dutta  with Dr. Ghosh                       Zee News interviewing Fr R. Athickal SJ

Perhaps the cherry on the cake was a full page coverage of Tarumitra students by one of the leading newspapers, Prabhat Khabar with  a special supplement.

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Ms Juhi Smita who did the full page story in Prabhat Khabar slogged for a week interviewing students and teachers across the State. 

Eco-rice festival celebrated in alfresco ambiance

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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