Depicting beacon of light in darkness through souvenir

Depicting beacon of light in darkness through souvenir

Mangaluru has been an educational hub for more than 100 years now. Be it St Aloysius, Basel Mission, St Agnes, Canara, Government College (now University College)... the list of educational institutions is long.

However, St Aloysius Evening College stands apart as it was the first evening college (perhaps in the State) to open its doors of higher education to students, who could not afford to continue education after SSLC for various reasons.

In fact, for a large number of students, who had to take up jobs after their school education, St Aloysius Evening College provided an opportunity to continue their education and progress in their careers. “It was Fr Mathew Lewis, the then Rector, who dreamt about it and planted the tiny seed along with Fr Stany Vas as its first principal, way back in 1966. This seed sent down deep roots, developed a strong stem and spread its branches, giving shelter to about 25,000 students down the years,” Fr Michael John, the administrator of the College, recalls.

As the college is celebrating its golden jubilee on March 12, it is bringing out a 402-page colourful souvenir, which is unique in several ways.

First and foremost, the souvenir has more than 50 unseen and rare paintings, portraits, sketches and more than 30 exotic designs drawn 125 years ago by Rev Bro Antonio Moscheni, the Italian painter, whose breathtaking frescoes adorn the walls of St Aloysius chapel.

The rare paintings treasured in the Archives of St Aloysius College and published in the souvenir include the genealogy of Jesus right from Adam and Eve, the judgement of King Solomon, St Paul’s preachings, Abraham’s son Esau as a skillful hunter, 20th century marriage in a church and Joseph (Father of Jesus) holding a knife just before circumcising baby Jesus (a religious ritual of that period) as Mother Mary looks scared, which is perhaps the rarest of rare painting. 

There is an article by Fr Leo D’Souza, former Rector and internationally acclaimed botanist, through which he takes the readers into an unique tour of the chapel through his eyes. Quite interestingly, Moscheni’s paper sketches were systematically last exhibited 86 years ago, when St Aloysius College celebrated its golden jubilee.

4 categories

The souvenir has been divided into four categories - ‘Soil’ (page 17 to 48), ‘Root’ (49 to 120), ‘Stem’ (121 to 322) and ‘Sprout’ (323 to 362).

While “Soil” has rare paintings and unseen portraits of Rev Br Antonio Moscheni, “Root” has reminiscences of former principals and experiences of first batch students among others, “Stem” has 50 evening college students’ experiences (autobiographies!), wherein students have shared their life experiences - as a domestic help, as a hotel waiter and even as the one with underworld nexus. The last section - “Sprout” has articles by experts on concept and policy of evening education and its future.

For those, who are not aware, there are a couple of trees on St Aloysius campus which grew up in a laboratory without the help of seeds, thanks to the efforts of Fr Leo D’Souza. College Associate Professor Dr Smitha Hegde has written an autobiography of one such tree and aptly titled “Inti Nimma Ondu Test Tube Mara.”

The editorial team of the souvenir has taken so much care that not even a bit has been taken from the internet, claimed souvenir Editor Dr Mahalinga Bhat K. “It was our determination that the magazine should not have anything other than the lines drawn by Moscheni,” Dr Bhat said and added that the designs that each Moschenian picture has around it were creatively reconstructed by ‘Nimmi’ fame cartoonist John Chandran (drawing teacher at St Aloysius High School), so as to employ them for each article.

Similarly, special care has been taken for the cover page too, which is a clay art created by Ramachandra Pawar, a III BA student of the College. The clay art (cover page design) depicts the front view of the college and trees in the campus and covers the theme of the souvenir - Soil, root, stem and sprout.

The 402-page souvenir has only 15 pages of advertisements, that too, all at the end of the book! A collector’s copy, indeed.

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