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St Xavier’s plans to fight intolerance

'Voices in Diversity' will tell students that they should listen to others to stop the trend, the principal said
St Xavier’s, which has been offering a BEd course for nearly five decades, had been noticing that many of the BEd students had made up their mind about taking up teaching as a career right after Class XII.

Our Special Correspondent   |   Calcutta   |   Published 14.10.19, 11:29 PM

St Xavier’s College plans to launch a project that will aim to develop an inclination among students to listen to others, empathise with people from the margins and respect differences and diversities.

An element of “intolerance” is on the rise everywhere because of an increased tendency among people to listen to only those whom we want to, Father Dominic Savio, principal, St Xavier’s College, said.

The project, Voices in Diversity, will tell students that they should listen to others to stop the trend, the principal said.

“Our students must learn to listen to others. We are going though a time when many people tend to listen to those whom they want to. We have to stop this trend,” Savio said.

“The element of intolerance is growing in India and in some other countries because of this tendency. Students of the sociology department will start the project. But students of all other departments will be part of the programme. Each one will have to visit various places in the city as well as in faraway rural areas and meet various communities, he said.

St Xavier’s College has always encouraged its students to respect differences. But the college has noticed recently that some students showed a tendency to behave “differently” with those who were not from “very well-to-do families”.

The project will aim to check this trend, too. “There can be differences between one another in respect of their religions, financial status, caste or creed. Voices in Diversity is a small step towards bringing back our basic commitment to respect differences and diversity… to consider people who are different from us as fellow human beings…. We all deserve human dignity and love,” Savio said.

The project will be launched on November 2 preceded by a three-day seminar on “Contemporary Caste and Minority Questions in West Bengal and Bangladesh: Some Explorations” from October 31.

The speakers in the seminar are likely to discuss diversity and how to develop the capacity among students to respect differences. The project will be inaugurated after the conference.

“Once they (students) learn to listen to others, they will automatically learn to empathise and respect the differences,” Savio said.


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