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Harsh Singh Chauhan
The term of office for the erstwhile Working Committee (General Secretary, Asst.
General Secretary, Working Committee Members, Cultural Secretary and Social
Secretary) of the St. Xavier’s College Students’ Union (2009-2010) began on
Wednesday, the 5th of August, 2009 The historical occasion of the
Sesquicentenary Celebrations had ensured that the Union were to work in a
special environment for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration and, being indebted to
fellow students for their invaluable support, needed to progress in a manner
that would not only satisfy the students but inculcate in them the spirit of
Nihil Ultra in this special year.
The Students’ Union is a body which is made up of members representing each
department and in the actual sense includes every Class Representative and
Secretary of Society in the college. Thus, apart from the primary duty of
forming the bridge between the Administration and the students, it is within the
purview of the Working Committee of the Union to help organize the various
cultural and social events in the college, encourage participation of the
students in the college events as well as events organized by other
institutions, local and national. It is to the credit of our students that they
grab these opportunities and win laurels wherever they go.
During the past academic year, the Union was a bit hard-put as many events and
festivals co-incided with examinations and had to channel their energy towards
the all-important Sesquicentenary celebrations. However, the Union did manage to
participate in a few events at all such programs and needless to say, placed
well everywhere, whether in Bhowanipore College or Loreto College and workshops
on Gender Sensitization to Film-making. However, it was just academic interest,
as we had bigger and better things to do.
On the occasion of Teacher’s Day, 5th September, 2009, our beloved Principal,
Rev. Fr. (Dr.) John Felix Raj, completed 25 years in St. Xavier’s College,
Calcutta. The Students’ Union felicitated him to commemorate this special
The College Magazine was the first project to commence with regard to the 150th
year celebrations. Traditionally, the General Secretary is a member of the
Editorial Board. It was on his recommendation and under his co-ordination, that
a team of students was appointed and entrusted with the task of turning out work
of a caliber that would signify the history that we were I waiting for. Needless
to say, the students true and dedicated Xaverians, worked day and night,
literally, to produce ‘The Xaverian’, which will symbolize the magnificence with
which we celebrated this 150th year of excellence. Saptarsi Mondal, Abhishek
Chakravarty, Andrew Perreira, Aatish Saraf, Poulomi Bhadra, Varsha Bhargava,
Pratyasha Rath, Utsab Nath and Moinak Chowdhury were the team that pulled this
through with almost super-human effort. The General Secretary was of the opinion
that their talent was a privilege to co-ordinate. He specially thankful to Prof.
Madhushree Mukherjee for letting them participate under her care. Heartfelt
gratitude on behalf of the entire them was expressed to Prof. Romit Beed for
being there for them at all times, through days, for understanding and being
more friend than teacher.
The Union members were in close consultation with The Rector, Rev. Fr. George
Ponodath and were involved at all stages of the 150th year Celebrations, from
discussing ideas about the events that would be appropriate, the organization of
volunteers, the souvenirs that would immortalize this occasion, the collation
and sending out of invitations and finally the actual ceremony and celebrations
beginning from the 16th of January and continuing till the Sports Day on 9th
February. The Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Home Minister graced the occasion and
this was evidence of the stature of our institution in the country. It is only
through the encouragement that we received from out Principal and the Rector
that we were able to make optimum utilization of this opportunity to be and
active part of history.
After the main
events of the Sesquicentenary Celebration, the Students’ Union organized its
signature festival, Xavotsav 2010, on the 23rd and 24th of January. Xavotsav had
the honour of being and official part of the 150th year celebration and even
thought it faced a few constraints in light of the other, more important events,
the grandeur rubbed off and from threatening to implode, it actually went on to
epitomize success in the face of adversity. However, this story would not even
have started had it not been for the unequivocal support of our Principal, the
Vice Principals and The Alumni Association.
Xavotsav started with the tagline “… an enduring legacy”, which put into context
not just the rich tradition of culture that Xavotsav itself is, but also the
illustrious celebrations that it had the honour to be part of. The legacy of St.
Xavier’s College, Calcutta and its ward Xavotsav have endured over time to
become metaphors for excellence. The fact that it had to be curtailed to a two
day extravaganza instead of the usual three, did not deter us, rather, it served
as an incentive to push the envelope and go for the limit, Nihil Ultra style. A
200-strong team of students worked round the clock, most juggling
Sesquicentenary celebration duties and put Xavotsav on the pedestal it deserved.
All events were thought out carefully at brain-storming sessions and were keenly
executed and contested. Everything from the passes to hoardings and badges to
rule-books proudly bore the new 150th-year emblem of our institution and the
Xavotsav logo and passes were in themselves a paradigm-shift from the mundane.
As usual, the dance, music and games rounds were well attended as the city’s
best talents raised the bar for each other. The ethnic-were event showed that
Saris and Kurtas were still unmatched apparel for looking Good. The quiz, debate
and rags-to-riches provided substance to style and as the Principal, impressed
at the gathering and management, remarked to a roaring crowd at the closing
ceremony, we all saw SXC.
A mention of Xavotsav 2010 must include special thanks to the members of the St.
Xavier’s College (Calcutt) Alumni Association, in particular Mr. Firdausul Hasan,
for their encouragement and whole-hearted support, without which this enterprise
would perhaps not even have taken off.
Last, but certainly not the least, the erstwhile General Secretary again
expressed great admiration and warm gratitude to our Deputy President, Prof.
Romit Beed, who stood by the students like a rock. His encouragement and ready
support were invaluable and his willingness to advocate the Union’s case and
take a stand in their favour was beyond anything that has been seen. It was
sheer good fortune to have his guidance and help in all endeavours, which would
not have been as fruitful otherwise.
The Studnets’ Union might look unidimensional, but in fact, it has many facets.
It is essential to understand that it is a democratic set-up which includes
every student, directly or indirectly. It is involved at some crucial juncture
in all the student activities and the college administration. Whether it be
leading the college on Sports Day or sitting on the Grievance Cell Committee,
whether it be voicing student opinion while recommending on the Dress Code or
being their representative on the Governing Council, the Sesquicentenary
Celebrations or Xavotsav, the Students’ Union is active in its own way and is an
ever present entity working fro the students’ welfare. They are the reason five
and a half thousand voices can be heard.
It was a year of great learning and experiences and those who were part of it
are naturally emotional and sentimental about it. We, the students, have faced
adversity and come out on top, we have been tested and proven ourselves, we
brought happiness and joy and we ensured that we left an indelible imprint in
the history of this great institution. We pushed the limits and went beyond,
till a point where we achieved what worthy Xaverians must, NIHIL ULTRA.
This year we hope to go a step forward and set a benchmark for the coming
generations and in the true spirit of NIHIL ULTRA we aspire to bring greater
glory for our hallowed institution. As the Gita says.
If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky that would
be like the splendour of Mighty one.
So do we hope to spread the light of talent and achievement across God’s
in perfect tandem with the sesquicentennial
celebrations of St. Xavier’s, there was no bettering this best… there was