Fr Nelson Falcao’s new edition and Marathi translation of Thomas Stephens’ Khristapurana was released at a well-attended function at Parshuram Natyagruha, Nashik, 14 November 2009 in the presence of eminent persons from the field of Marathi literature and learning. Mr Vinayakdada Patil, President of the Yashwantrao Chavan Pratisthan and the Marathi Sahitya Parishad, Nashik, presided at the function. Bishop Thomas Bhalerao, SJ, former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nashik; Fr Francis D’Britto of Vasai; Dr A.H. Salunkhe, well-known ‘rationalist’ thinker and lecturer, and Dr Dilip Dhondge, Principal of Satana College and specialist in the ‘Sant literature’ of Maharashtra, were the speakers.
The sutradhar (compere) was Ms Ketkar, who works at Akashvani, and who has been doing this the last 17 years; she is, besides, a parent of our school (the mother of Yash, she told me).
The function, scheduled to begin at 1700 hours, began actually towards 1800; it seems they were waiting for an important guest, the editor of Sakala, who has been of great help to Nelson, especially with the Marathi text.
The program: satkar of the guests; words of welcome by me; sharing about Nelson’s life by his sister, Ms Mabel Pimenta; Nelson’s own speech about how he got round to doing the edition and translation; and then the speakers: Bishop Bhalerao, D’Britto, Dhondge, Salunkhe, and Patil. The Bishop read out the text he has contributed to the book; D’Britto was brilliant; Dhondge was quietly and warmly appreciative; Salunkhe spoke from the social angle, seeing the Khristapurana as a model of the type of understanding and bridge building that we need so badly today; Patil said that Falcao’s work was the ongoing and necessary process of the reinterpretation of texts: just as Stephens had communicated the Bible to his converts, so Falcao had made Stephens’ text intelligible to us today. The function came to an end by 2015 hours.
There was a good number of parishioners from Satpur, and several of the parish councillors from the Don Bosco sector; some brothers from Divyadaan, which was actually the host of the gathering; a few clergy from in and around Nashik; and a sizeable number of people from Nashik. Fr Nelson and Mr Francis Waghmare had gone around for a couple of weeks from house to house inviting people to the function. Wonderful occasion to meet people and enter into their lives. The Khristapurana continues to do its work.
A good write up has appeared on today's Gavkari, p. 10, highlighting especially the talk of Dr Salunkhe, who said that today we need not a conflict of cultures (sanskritik sangharsh) but a dialogue of cultures (sanskritik samvada).