In honour of Late Fr. Verzotto and his contributions to the Salesian family, the VIIIth Verzotto Memorial lecture was organised by Salesian College, Siliguri on 20th September, 2017, in the A.V hall, Salesian College, Siliguri Campus. The program began at 9:15 a.m with an introductory speech by Fr. (Dr.) Mathew Pulingathil (Rector, Salesian College, Siliguri) who spoke about Fr. Joseph Verzotto and his contributions. Fr. Joseph Verzotto, an Italian missionary served Salesian College Sonada for 26 years. He taught ethics, metaphysics, psychology, epistemology and Indian philosophy at Salesian College, Sonada. Fr. Pulingathil remembered Fr. Verzotto as “a simple, gracious man available to all; a man of knowledge and wisdom”.
This was followed by the introduction of the guest speaker for the programme, Mr. Braj Ranjan Mani and the topic for his lecture “Making Sense of Contemporary India” by Mr. Anirban Ghosh (Assistant Professor, Department of Management. Mr. Braj Ranjan Mani is a renowned scholar and the author of books Debrahmanising History and Knowledge and Power: A Discourse for Transformation. He was a former journalist who worked with The Times of India and Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.
In his lecture, Mr. Braj Mani questioned what had gone wrong with India, the world’s largest democracy that had a million billionaires and a billion hungry people. He also highlighted on the issues of income inequality in India which may have its roots in the caste system in India. He also critiqued the existing knowledge, power and social relationships. He specified on the need for organic intellectuals to come up from the backward and poorer sections of the society to bring about a change.
The program further led to an open discussion where numerous questions and answers were exchanged between Mr. Braj Ranjan Mani and the audience present, including the faculty members of Salesian College.
On the occasion of the memorial lecture an issue of the Salesian College Journal on “Christianity and Indian Culture" was also released. The program ended with a vote of thanks by Mr. Biju Mathew (HoD of Department of Political Science).