Friday, 12 February 2010

History of the Provincial house

Our lunch with Fr YM Joseph was an interesting one. He narrated his experience of purchasing the whole plot of land, where we are now, as the Provincial house way back in the 1980s. We couldn't believe our ears when he stated that he bought the land at a price of Rs 3000 per acre - we cannot even dream of one square yard for that price today!! Just Rs 3000 per acre. He had then bought 17 acres of land for a total price of Rs 50,000. He also mentioned the name of one Colonel Mathur (a Maharashtrian) who helped him with this land deal. The land originally belonged to the army. It was a vineyard, with a borewell and an open well. Since the output of water was not sufficient, the army wanted to sell the land. Fr Joseph, coming to know of this bought this place for establishing a Catholic community here. Thus we now have, St Michael's colony, the Salesian Provincial house (that's the photo), the Provincialate (+ a hundred more activities within) of the Sisters of Charity.

He recalled with great enthusiasm the joy of having purchased land, his one month stay under the banyan tree (which still exists), beside the open well (which has now been closed up) in a large tent put up by the army personnel. There also was a trench (15inches X 15 inches, recalls Fr Joseph) around the tent to prevent snakes from entering the tent. He had a cook and a daily provision of a water tank - all supplied by the military. He used to get his altar boys and stay with them in the tent, especially on weekends. Kali Mandir then was just one single stone - nothing more! As time went by, the army personnel learning driving would collect stones and pile them there. Today it is a full-fledged temple managed by the army.

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