Chair in Christianity in Mangalore University completes 25 years

Whether it is medicine or education or local industries, the edifices that make up the landscape of the city bear the distinct marks of the contributions of Mangalore Christians.

Their contributions to society were recapped, explained, and lauded at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Mangalore Diocesan Chair in Christianity of Mangalore University held here on Wednesday.

Recounting the achievements of Christian missionaries in starting formal education here, with examples such as the Basil Mission School started in 1834, T.C. Shivashankara Murthy, Vice-Chancellor, Mangalore University, said Christians here had left an indelible mark. “In remembering their strides in higher education, we would perhaps need them again to get the higher education enrolments to a higher, more acceptable ratio than what it is currently,” he said.

The Chair in Christianity in the university, which conducts discussions, seminars, and organises studies in Christianity turned 25, and the Vice-Chancellor lauded their achievements in propagating intellectual discourse.

A total of 74 symposia, 21 seminars, 20 workshops, and 101 lecture programmes had been conducted by the Chair, said Bishop of Mangalore Aloysius P D’Souza.

He said Christian institutions had given up Rs. 3.42 crore as concession in fees for the poor.

The one-day programmes featured discussions on the arrival and contribution of the community to various fields in the district.

Historian Pius Fidelis Pinto traced the migration of Konkani Christians from Goa, which he attributed to the high taxation, religious persecution by Portuguese Catholics, and the insistence of the Portuguese to obliterate signs of native culture, including Konkani, and instead replace it with their own European culture.

In the 16th century, the Konkani Christians migrated south to Keladi kingdom who seeing the economic benefits of the resource-rich migrants, gave them land to cultivate.

The community was to again face prosecution during Tipu Sultan’s rule.

However, the advent of the British saw the fortunes turn, and slowly their contributions increased. Christians were seen in high positions in government services, judiciary, education, he said.

Jerome D’Souza, for example, served with B.R. Ambedkar in planning the Constitution while the tile factories and other industries set up by Christians boosted the local economy here.