St Dominic Savio: A role model for youth in Goa

As Published in The Goan- the link

Dominic Savio is one of the youngest saints in the Catholic Church. He is known as a special student of Saint John Bosco (Don Bosco). His Feast is celebrated on May 6 every year. He is revered as the patron saint of students, choirboys, juvenile delinquents, and falsely accused persons.

He was both meek and wise in terms of understanding the Scriptures just as his name, Dominic (of the Lord) Savio (wise). He was known for strange behaviours not observed among many his age. Besides his devotion, he would stop people from speaking offensive language, settle disputes and accept the blame for acts of his classmates so that they could improve instead of being punished by those with authority.

In regular times and particularly under the guise of the pandemic, we see some like him. In a world so engulfed by substance abuse and lack of faith among the young, there are those who choose to be different.

Amid a partying crowd, there are those volunteering and working. Among people so glued to loosely available entertainment, there is a person participating, singing and reading during the Eucharistic Celebration at Church. Also as people engage in gossip and mischief, there are those who choose to read the scriptures, learn a new skill and help in community service.


To mold children in the footsteps of St Dominic Savio, the Salesian community in Panaji started a Kindergarten named after their favourite young saint.

Two years ago, the management of Calangute People’s High School by the Calangute Education Society was handed to the Konkan Development Society. This school which caters to economically weaker sections of society was named after Dominic Savio, a saint who came from an economically backward background but received education in the portals of Don Bosco as he was filled with grace, wisdom and love for Jesus Christ.

The Salesian Fathers in Goa also aim to give young lads who are eager learners an opportunity to develop themselves academically.

Similar services are provided at the primary schools in Odxel and Dabolim and the Open School in Parra.

The Aspirant Programme at Panaji also welcomes young boys filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit to study at their school and simultaneously prepare themselves for priesthood just like Dominic Savio wanted when he joined as a student of Don Bosco.

In recent times, amid the despair that continues to threaten social harmony, peace and livelihoods, there are young people like Dominic Savio who want to be a change in society. We see them in the youth who appeal for a pollution-free and environment-friendly world. They are the volunteers who have worked to help people during quarantine time in the pandemic. They are voices who want unity and spread awareness about human rights amid the thunderstorms of division, discrimination, injustice and violence. May St Dominic Savio always guide the youth of our country and world.

Satyajit Ray- celebrating the evergreen and immortal filmmaker of Indian Cinema

“When I write an original story I write about people I know first-hand and situations I am familiar with,” quoted Satyajit Ray when asked about his style as a filmmaker. On Sunday, 2 May, India commemorates and celebrates this beloved centenarian of Cinema. A man inspired by neorealism as portrayed by Italian filmmaker Vittorio De Sica and French Filmmaker Jean Renoir. This paved way for his transition as an independent filmmaker after working as a commercial artist. He has been the pride of India’s tradition of brilliance in cinema, and a recipient of several awards which includes Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1984), Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award (1992) and an honor at the 64th Academy Awards (1992).  

He has been an inspiration for many filmmakers and thespians in India. Dnyanesh Moghe, Director from Goa said that Ray portrays an entire ocean in a drop of water. Every character and aspect is important. A child, village, wife or husband, every element shows attention to detail. His film serves as a document of life of the common people. Despite being set in Bengal it can be understood by anyone in India as he has made his characters relatable irrespective of the residence of his audience. He has watched his films in the past, but only began to pay keen attention due to his interest in filmmaking. He considers Pather Panchali (1955) as a milestone.

Ashish Sen, a Thespian from Bengaluru speaks about being impacted by his capability to say so much in a single shot and his play with symbolism and metaphors. His personal favorite is Ashani Sanket (1973) about the Bengal famine. Ray uses rain and hands as metaphors to tell about drought. He uses these to show how human values and natures brilliance becomes a thing of the past after the arrival of the famine. Another one being Shatranj ke Khilari (1977) where the chess board is used as a metaphor to show the annexation of the Indian State of Awadh after the Doctrine of Lapse.

His films have been admired for the emphasis of the female characters. The voice of the women, their feelings and desires are expressed through dialogue. Ashish Sen speaks about his use of movement as well. He uses the same to show the strong and significant relationship and dialogue delivery among his characters like Charu (Madhabi Mukherjee) in Charulata (1964) or Bimala (Swatilekha Sengupta) in Ghare Baire (1984).

Besides, Satyajit Ray has fascinated many researchers of cinema. If Britain has Alfred Hitchcock, America admires Martin Scorsese, India celebrates Satyajit Ray.  In his book, “Between tradition and modernity” Darius Cooper mentions the way Ray has captured everyday life through image, iconography and pictorial depiction, speaking about the detailed aspect of his style of filmmaking. There is much about Ray that continues to fascinate the world and brings cine enthusiasts from world over to learn more about him. The International Film Festival of India held in Goa from 16th to 24th January 2021 screened some of his classical works to celebrate 100 years of Ray.

International Workers Day- Why do we celebrate it?

International Workers Day is celebrated on 1st May every year. It is a result of the of the socialist movement and demands for fixed work time schedule, excluding children from workforce and wages. This day is important for the working class as it reminds us of our rights alongside the duties. It is to recognize the efforts of workers in the past who fought for unionization to prevent exploitation.

Eight-Hour Work Day Movement

It is also known as the “Short-Time Movement”. The movement had the following slogan, “Eight hours’ work, Eight hours’ recreation and Eight hours’ rest”. In the past work would range from ten to sixteen hours a day, people worked for six days a week and children were also included as part of the workforce. This was during the Industrial Revolution. However, this changed with movements that began worldwide after socialist thinkers and philosophers impacted the mind of people and inspired them to speak out and work for their rights besides being employees to perform their duties. The movements in England for reduced 10-hour work and France for 12-hour work, Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital (1867) and worker movements around countries like New Zealand, Uruguay led to this demand as part of the “Hours of Work (Industry) Convention in 1919.

India and the Labour Movement

Demonstrations are organized countrywide by the Communist and Socialist Political Parties. The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) is the labour wing of the party that holds protests to reiterate the demands of labour movements and the importance of labour day, that seems to be forgotten with the rise in capitalism and demand for privatization across the country. It was celebrated for the first time in Chennai in 1923 by Malaypuram Singaravelu, also founder of first trade union in India. The day is mostly significant in South-Indian states and some parts of Eastern and Western India due to communist influence. Most parts of North-India do not have a holiday on Labour Day.

Labour Unions in India

  • National Unions like All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), etc. 
  • White Collar Trade Unions for Banks, IT and other service sector employees like All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), Forum for IT Employees (FITE), Union of IT Employees (UNITE), among others
  • Other Crafts and Industrial Unions like Ahmedabad Weaver’s Union or Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh.

Workers Day and Christianity

In the Bible, Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus Christ and spouse of Mother Mary is venerated as the Patron of Workers due to his mastery and dedication as a Carpenter. Thus, besides his religious feast day on 19 March, Pope Pius XII in 1955 judiciously instituted the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on 1st May. This is to recognize and appreciate the “Dignity of Labour”.

Suicide and Unemployment- What data tells us?

Chart: Chart about suicide due to Unemployment in India (Source: NCRB)

The graph shows an increasing trend in India with reported cases rising from 2404 in 2017 to 2851 in 2019. This is a disturbing trend and needs attention.

Chart: State Wise Trend in Suicide- Top five states

Chart: Top five cities in terms of number of suicides

The above two charts inform us that states and cities that are home to the largest workforce of the country also account for most deaths due to suicide as a result of lack of employment or job loss.

Purpose of Labour Day amidst the Pandemic

During the Pandemic there was a constant struggle to lockdown or open establishments, especially in India. The concern was, “What will happen to the workforce?” India also witnessed a crisis with the exodus of migrant workers from cities to their hometowns as lockdowns were announced. Many were forced to walk on foot with no transport in the first wave and some died during the journey. The demand from the top representatives of Industries to not be able to close businesses and inability of work from home mechanisms in places where possible as employees need money to survive was cited. But all of this has a deep capitalist voice. Imagine industries and countries boast of profits every year, despite this when it comes to providing employees, usually middle order and lower ones with pay hikes or security, they sulk about it by saying that the situation is bleak and they are amidst testing times. Industrialist boast about expansion and owning exotic or luxurious items that cost millions, but can’t shell out money to pay employees. This tells us that a day like this should be remembered and needs greater emphasis. Even amidst the Pandemic while people in power have access to safe and stress free healthcare, the frontline workers, most of whom belong to the working class are the backbone for survival.

Other concerns about Labour Day

Labour is seen as a paid job where people work at an office or space outside one’s home. But after increased awareness there is a need to include home-making, personal assistance to known people and voluntary services. There is a great deal of abuse that happens in such forms of work with no proper regulation or official committee for assistance during grievances. Also employment that is primarily driven by passion suffers from similar concerns. You can love your job, yet need regulation and break time for other commitments and personal care. Labour Day needs to consider these aspects in demands and awareness. Many companies share quotes of Hard Work and Perseverance to celebrate this day, but few will educate their staff about Rights of the Employees and Duties of the Management with reference to the relevance of “lnternational Workers Day”.    

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) happens in April annually to educate communities about sexual violence and facilitate prevention and legislation to ensure a safe and secure environment for women in particular and others who are victims of crimes. Sexual Assault crimes happen in the form of Domestic Violence, Public Assault, Workplace Harassment, Kidnapping, Rape, Child Sexual Offence, Eve- Teasing, Etc. We are amidst a Health Pandemic. Besides, this society has other concerns, one being “Safety of Women” due to increase in cases of sexual violence reported in India and Worldwide.

Crimes Against Women in India (Source: NCRB)

Global Scenario

  • 245 million women globally have faced abuse from their intimate partner and non-partner. 24% of female adolescents reported being victims of such violence.
  • 137 women are killed by their family every day.
  • 50,000 women died worldwide in 2017 through murder by spouses, partners or relatives.
  • 200 million females younger than 50-years of age have gone through female genital mutilation, majority are residents of West Africa.
  • 15 million teenage girls around the world were forced to have sex with people.
  • One-third of the world’ girl students have been victims of bullying in schools.
  • 82% of women parliamentarians worldwide have experienced bad behaviour like sexist comments, eve-teasing and vulgar images.

Rape: States in India with highest reported cases with perpetrators being known to the victims (Source: NCRB)

Domestic Violence: Home is not a Sweet Home or Where the Heart is

Domestic Violence has the highest number of reported cases in terms of data by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

Usually it is due to cruelty by husband and his relatives due to dowry, being barren, not able to produce male children, displacement reaction for aggressive behavior.

The cases have increased with lockdown and quarantine rules, coupled with job and financial losses, where all are confined at home and women are at the receiving end for social wrath due to losses. 

Perpetrators of domestic abuse are native relatives like parents and siblings to force women to marry and prevent her from studying and working.

Educated women are often victims as they are seen a threat to social change. They often do not report to avoid personal shame and protect personal reputation.

Chart showing data of persons charged for harassment of women in terms of gender of accused (Source: NCRB)

Chart of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (Year Data)

Society needs to teach males the values, good conduct and behaviour that is expected from them and not only monitor females. Men in society need to understand and learn how to behave with and treat women. When men refuse to treat women properly, strict action needs to be taken or proper education needs to be given for a changed behaviour. Sometimes, they should not be allowed to marry or date if they do not know proper conduct and behaviour.

Men are mostly shown as macho or with great prowess, but this is always not the expected characteristic. They need to know how to respect women so that they can feel safe in society. A man who is shy and usually shows timid behaviour is often criticized. Instead, they ought to serve as examples of well-mannered men who do not make women feel threatened and help build a safe society for them. Government leaders, world organizations and institutions in society need to consider safety of women as a priority for the goodwill of society. This should not be seen merely as an election issue to win votes and forget her later. Researchers opine that when women are safe, society at large will be a safe place.