The Asia Network Faculty Enrichment Programme (India Segment, 20th to 29th June,2018) was organised by Salesian College, Sonada. The team of co-directors sees religion fundamentally as a meaning-making and making meaning is a collective and historical process. While “doing religion” involves intra-personal, per-linguistic consciousness, it is also a shared and inter-personal process of making and communicating meaning and value from human experience, both personal and social. Thus the program’s focus was on religion and public life that spans community, urban society, the nation state, as well as the interactions among nations in the present era of globalisation. It aimed to facilitate the study of religion and public life in Southeast China and Northeast India by American Scholar teachers.
India is a giant nation in Asia with a long and complex history of religious development. The Asia Network Faculty Enrichment Programme, in its India segment, focused on the Northeast part of India, including Kolkata and Northeast Bengal including Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim and studied how Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity have evolved in the mountainous region of India with many tribal and ethnic minority group.
During their stay in Kolkata the American scholars visited Mother Teresa of Kolkata House (Mother House) which is a holy place of pilgrimage and reverence for those who are searching for a more meaningful existence. They also visited Victoria Memorial, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Swami Vivekananda’s Institute of Science and Technology.
The scholars travelled to Makaibari Tea Estate where they were received by Father C.M. Paul, Vice Principal, Salesian College Sonada. In Kalimpong they explored religious centres like St. Teresa’s Church, Durpin Gompa and Macfarlane Memorial Church. In Sikkim they toured the Banjhakri Falls, Rumtek Monastery, Holy Cross Retreat Centre and School, Sikkim University, Samdruptse and Loyola College of Education.
On the 28th of June, before leaving for the Interfaith Dialogue at Sai Mandir,, Darjeeling, the American Scholars were given a warm welcome by the student body of Salesian College Sonada. Dr. Glenn Shive released the college magazine SCS Speaks. The programme was followed by an interaction session between the scholars and the students of the college. The interaction was a wonderful and enriching experience for the students of the college.