Inaugural Function of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations
“From 1941 to 2016, from merely two rooms at a remote corner to a vast 21-acre campus in the heart of the city, from a drop of 6 students to an ocean of 3,900, from a faint whisper to a thunderous roar, St. Xavier’s has come a long way.”
After completing 75 years of world class education, of unparalleled success in academics, of innumerable achievements in sports and cultural activities, St. Xavier’s, a school older than the Indian Constitution, witnessed an event on February 18, 2016, the splendour of which was at par with the magnificence of the occasion- The Inaugural Function of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.
One can very easily imagine the grandiosity and magnitude of an event whose chief guest was the Honourable Incumbent Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Mrs. Vasundhara Raje, who, albeit arrived a bit late, stayed throughout the ceremony. The ceremony officially commenced at around 5:45 PM and was hosted by Mr. Gopal Sharma, Mrs. Amita Shammi and Mrs. Tribeni Malvea. The honourable CM, upon arrival, was greeted by the school’s administrative staff and was escorted to her seat by the school’s Bagpiper band. Mr. Ashok Parnami, the state president of BJP also graced the event with his presence. The traditional Tilak ceremony took place afterwards followed by offering of bouquets by the students to the CM and other Guests of Honour which included:-
- His Grace Salvatore Pennacchio – Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal
- Bishop Oswald Lewis – Diocese of Jaipur
- Fr. Varkey Perekkatt, S.J. – Provincial of Delhi Jesuit Province
- Fr. Jose Vadassery, S.J. – Provincial of Patna Jesuit Province
- Fr. Glenn Menezes, S.J. – Rector
- Fr. John Ravi, S.J. – Principal
The respected Chief Minister officially declared the Jubilee open by releasing the balloons. The flight of the balloons symbolized the steady rise of St. Xavier’s to the zenith. This was followed by an impressive Prayer Dance by the students.
Then, Fr. Glenn Menezes, S.J., delivered the welcome address where he aptly emphasized the dire need for education. In his speech, he quoted the famous statement, ‘Knowledge is Power’. He also highlighted the achievements of the school’s Alumni community, many of whom were attending the event.
Then came the Folk Fusion which was actually a dance performance in which two traditional Rajasthani dances were fused together into a scintillating and energetic display. The participants’ zeal and enthusiasm absolutely mesmerized the audience.
Mrs. Tribeni Malvea then took the stage and talked about His Grace Salvatore Pennacchio’s benevolence and altruism. She praised him for serving as the point of contact between the Pope and the country.
This was followed by the honouring of the former Provincials by the Nuncio, who then gave a speech as well. The school choir then gave an enchanting performance where they urged the listeners, especially the students, to follow their hearts and not to be afraid of failures for success lies not in never failing but in rising each time we fall.
Then it was time for the presentation of mementoes to the former Principals by His Excellency Bishop Oswald Lewis who then addressed the audience. He began his speech by greeting the CM and other Guests of Honour and congratulating the administration for accomplishing the Herculean task of conducting a function of such magnitude in an apple pie order. He too, talked about the laurels brought to the school by the vibrant Alumni community. He especially highlighted the fact that moral values are always upheld at St. Xavier’s and how the students are trained to become men and women of character. He concluded his speech by praising the dazzling dance performances.
The Chief Minister then gave mementoes to the Nuncio, Bishop Lewis and Fr. Varkey.
Then came the much-awaited performance from the Bagpiper band which, ever since its inception, had never failed to thrill the audience, a streak which was not broken on that day as well. The credit for the tremendous success of the band in such a short span of time goes to Fr. John Ravi without whose patronage this would never have been possible.
This was followed by felicitation of the former Rectors by Fr. Varkey Perekkatt who then addressed the audience. Fr. Varkey began by expressing his joy for being a part of The Platinum Jubilee celebrations. He also talked about the importance of imparting education, especially to the poor, and how the Jesuits have served as the epicentre of the waves of quality education which have spread to every part of the world. He highlighted various top-class Jesuit institutions in India such as S. Xavier’s College, Bombay and XLRI, Jamshedpur. He also enlightened the audience about the five elements of Nature- Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Sky symbolizing Purity, Adaptability, Life, Growth and Freedom respectively.
This was followed by a mystifying dance performance from the students of the newly opened branch of St. Xavier’s at Nevta. The audience were held spellbound by the dazzling lights and vivid colors.
The Honourable Chief Minister, Mrs. Vasundhara Raje then gave a speech. She congratulated the school for its Platinum Jubilee. She also expressed her pleasure on meeting the Nuncio and the other Papal representatives. She emphasized the importance of recreational activities for students so that they get some relief from academic pressure. She lamented the recent spate in student suicides due to this pressure. She praised all the staff members and the students, especially the band members, for putting up such a wonderful show on her first visit.
This was followed by the felicitation of the CM by Rev. Fr. Varkey, followed by the presentation of a bouquet and a gift to the CM by Dr. Himanshu Sharma, President of the Xavier’s Alumni Association. Then came a performance of the Jubilee anthem, composed by our very own Mr. Melven Castelino, by the choir. It actually had to be performed twice on the CM’s request.
Then the audience were shown the documentary of the school’s journey from 1941 to 2016, made by Mr. Melven.
The ceremony came to an end with the Vote of Thanks delivered by Fr. Glenn.