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Where the Ganges and the Tiber Meet: Swami Vivekananda Presented by a Roman Catholic Priest

By Antony Earathara  - 1 Comments
Top: The book being released by Br. P.A. Jose (left) and Fr. Joseph Pathical (Centre); Mr. Shyamal B. Roy, publisher (Right) Below: The audience at the book release
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Kolkata, Jan. 27. ''Man Without Frontiers, the Ultimate Concern of Swami Vivekananda'', a book authored by Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, a member of the General Council of the Salesians of Don Bosco, was released at a modest gathering at the Kolkata Information Centre, on 27 January, by the Principals of two prestigious schools of Kolkata city.
The motley gathering which turned up at 4.30 P.M. for the book release function at Abaninda Sabhagriha hall of the Kolkata Information Centre, consisted of some Salesians of  the Salesian institutions of the city, prominent Don Bosco alumni, invitees of the Publisher and a few other interested individuals.

Mr Shyamal Baron Roy, the publisher and founder-owner CEO of InKdia Publications, who is also a Don Bosco alumnus, welcoming the guests introduced the book to be released and its author, Fr. Maria Arokiam. He pointed out that the author himself was unable to be present for the occasion, as he was currently in Rome discharging important duties. Mr. Roy referred to the chance sighting of the manuscripts of the book at the renowned monastery cum Headquarters of the Ramkrishna monks in Belur, Howrah, a couple of years ago, which kindled the desire to see this scholarly work published.

Prior to releasing the book, Fr. Joseph Pathickal, the Principal of Don Bosco School Park Circus, read out a special message from the author, which sought to clarify the nature, purpose and process of the publication. Fr. Maria Arokiam in this message described Swami Vivekananda on whom his doctoral thesis was based, as ''a true son of the soil, an extract of some of the finest aspects of our culture and religion. At the same time he was also a universal soul, open to all the cultures and religions'', he said.

The 57 year old Catholic Priest who is currently based in Rome at the International Headquarters of the Salesians of Don Bosco, claimed that through his doctoral research he was trying to translate his faith in the categories of Indian philosophy and religion, following the example of Swami Vivekananda who tried to express his Indian and Hindu culture in the Western philosophical, cultural and religious categories. ''In this cross pollination of philosophical and religious categories, we can also work for religious amity, mutual understanding and harmony'', he affirmed as the purpose of his study and publication.

''Man without Frontiers'' is a critical study of the philosophical anthropology of Swami Vivekananda, which Fr. Maria Arokiam had done for his Ph.D. at the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome about 15 years ago. Through this well researched and meticulously written book of 532 pages he has attempted to offer a critical study of the entire philosophy of Swami Vivekananda, with the aim of fostering Hindu-Christian friendship and dialogue.

The two chief guests of the function, Fr. Joseph Pathickal and Br. P.A. Jose, Principals of Don Bosco School, Park Circus, and Don Bosco School, Liluah, respectively, released the books by handing copies of the book to each other.

It is of great significance that the publication of this unique study takes place as the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda is currently being celebrated in Kolkata and elsewhere. It was regreted that the grand celebrations taking place in the city made it difficult for the Ramkrishna monks to be present for the book release.

Following the release of the book, Fr. (Dr.)Tomy Augustine, a professor of contemporary Indian Philosophy at Salesian College, Sonada - Darjeeling, and a former Rector of that educational establishment, who was present among the audience, commented on the  contribution of eminent Indian intellectuals like Swami Vivekananda to the development of Indian philosophy and its promotion in the West. He further added that through this book ''the contribution of Fr. Maria Arokiam will go a long way in helping students of contemporary Indian philosophy to understand ancient Indian thought in a new perspective, particularly in relation to Western philosophical categories''.

The newly released book will be made availbale by InKdia Publications to the public at the Kolkata Book Fair, opening on 28 January. Ms. Ruby Hembrom, a young talented editor who was recently featured in The Telegraph daily as one of the 'Heroes of Kolkata' is the editor of the book, while the cover has been tastefully designed by Mr. Louis, collaborator of InKdia Publications. The publisher can be reached at


January 28, 2014

How come Ganges and Tiber met only in the headline!

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