Don Bosco With Us – In Vasai


In the tradition of pilgrimage, the relics of St. John Bosco are being carried into the towns and villages, neighborhoods and centers where the Gospel is announced among the young and the poor today. This pilgrim journey through 130 nations began on January 31, 2009, the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Salesian Congregation. It prepares us for the 2015 celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth near Turin, Italy on August 16, 1815.

Relic of Saint John Bosco

The relics of Don Bosco have been recomposed from the urn that contained his remains since 1929 when the body was exhumed for his beatification and canonization. The bones and tissues of the right hand and arm have been taken and placed within a wax replica of St. John Bosco`s body, whic in turn is enclosed in a large urn.

The Vasai Pilgrimage Programme at the Cathedral Public Veneration –

  • 12:00 AM Eucharistic Celebration – Archbishop Felix Machado
  • 01:00 PM Public veneration
  • 03:30 PM Closing Ceremony

The ceremony will be held tomorrow – Friday, 12th August 2011 at St.James Church, Agashi.

New RTO at Vasai


Residents of extended suburbs from Mira Road onwards have a reason to cheer. The transport department of the government of Maharashtra is starting a new Regional Transport office (RTO) in Vasai-Virar municipal limits. Residents of these areas now would need not travel to get their driving licenses from far off Thane RTO office. The new RTO office will take care of vehicle registration and issuance of driving licenses. Vasai RTO office will render its services to people of Vasai, Virar and all the adjacent tehsil.

Anand Patil from Thane RTO will head the Vasai RTO office. The registration number that would be provided would be MH-48.

The new RTO office would have state-of-the-art facilities and would be fully computerized. Initially there would be approximately 40 staffers who will manage this office. The government is also keen on to start this office on priority basis and hopefully the new RTO office would be operational by May 10.

Aadhaar in Vasai #FAIL


Aadhaar – support

I had been to the Aadhar enrollment center in Vasai today morning and was not pleased with the experience there. For a population of 174396 (indicative population of 8 lacs in the Vasai-Virar region) (Census 2011) Class I town the infrastructure that’s been provided is pretty basic and insufficient. The programme was launched in the Vasai-Virar on the 18th of January 2011 has managed to get only 10% of the population registered (as on 10th July). There are currently 8 stations for the enrollment right now. As per the earlier report, the total number of stations required to complete the process by March ’12 is 23 stations. Clearly they are insufficient for the population of the region.

When the programme was launched, the VVMC planed to create awareness through cable channels and by distributing pamphlets to residential buildings also banners were to be put up giving details of the project. Though the awareness has been created to some extent, the infrastructure required to carry out this exercise is falling short. Vasai has just the two machines at the two centers designated for the purpose – one at the Thesildar’s office in Vasai and one at the Mahanagarpalika office at Diwanmaan. I was at the Diwanmaan office today and this is what was told to me.

  • The tokens for enrollment were issued yesterday (15th July)
  • Close to 12,000 tokens were issued and enrollment of those will begin next month
  • The next round of tokens will be issued in March 2012
  • It takes about 20-25 minutes for the enrollment process
  • The center does only 30-40 enrollments per day.
  • The enrollment need not be done at the closest center, you can do it anywhere in the state.

How to solve this problem, Simple, speak to the corporator in your area and ask them to raise the issue in the council when it convenes next. Hopefully, this will help get more stations in the region and the exercise will be complete at the earliest.


Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique number which the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will issue for all residents. The number will be stored in a centralised database and linked to the basic demographics and biometric information – photograph, ten fingerprints and iris – of each individual.


Aadhaar-based identification will have these features:

  • Universality, which is ensured because Aadhaar will over time be recognised and accepted across the country and across all service providers.
  • Every resident’s entitlement to the number.
  • The number will consequently form the basic, universal identity infrastructure over which Registrars and Agencies across the country can build their identity-based applications.
  • Unique Identification of India (UIDAI) will build partnerships with various Registrars across the country to enrol residents for the number. Such Registrars may include state governments, state Public Sector Units (PSUs), banks, telecom companies, etc. These Registrars may in turn partner with enrolling agencies to enrol residents into Aadhaar.
  • Aadhaar will ensure increased trust between public and private agencies and residents. Once residents enrol for Aadhaar, service providers will no longer face the problem of performing repeated Know Your Customer (KYC) checks before providing services. They would no longer have to deny services to residents without identification documents. Residents would also be spared the trouble of repeatedly proving identity through documents each time they wish to access services such as obtaining a bank account, passport, or driving license etc.
  • By providing a clear proof of identity, Aadhaar will empower poor and underprivileged residents in accessing services such as the formal banking system and give them the opportunity to easily avail various other services provided by the Government and the private sector. The centralised technology infrastructure of the UIDAI will enable ‘anytime, anywhere, anyhow’ authentication. Aadhaar will thus give migrants mobility of identity. Aadhaar authentication can be done both offline and online, online authentication through a cell phone or land line connection will allow residents to verify their identity remotely. Remotely, online Aadhaar-linked identity verification will give poor and rural residents the same flexibility that urban non-poor residents presently have in verifying their identity and accessing services such as banking and retail. Aadhaar will also demand proper verification prior to enrolment, while ensuring inclusion. Existing identity databases in India are fraught with problems of fraud and duplicate or ghost beneficiaries. To prevent these problems from seeping into the Aadhaar database, the UIDAI plans to enrol residents into its database with proper verification of their demographic and biometric information. This will ensure that the data collected is clean from the beginning of the program. However, much of the poor and under-privileged population lack identity documents and Aadhaar may be the first form of identification they will have access to. The UIDAI will ensure that its Know Your Resident (KYR) standards do not become a barrier for enrolling the poor and has accordingly developed an Introducer system for residents who lack documentation. Through this system, authorised individuals (‘Introducers’) who already have an Aadhaar, can introduce residents who don’t have any identification documents, enabling them to receive their Aadhaar.


The process to get an Aadhaar is pretty simple residents need to go to the nearest Enrolment Camp to register for an Aadhaar. The resident primarily needs to carry an ID proof and a residence proof – Original : Ration Card , Pan Card or Passport or Driving licence or Any government ID.

Upon registering for Aadhaar, residents will go through a biometric scanning of ten fingerprints and iris. They will then be photographed and given an enrolment number upon completion. Depending on the enrolment agency, residents will be issued an Aadhaar number within 60 to 90 days.

UID Registrations in Vasai


The UID registration has began in Vasai . Registration will be open for almost a year . For every person, it takes about 10-15 minutes to complete the registration process. In a day, the registration centres manage to enrol close to 50 persons .

Documents you need to carry – Original : Ration Card , Pan Card or Passport or Driving licence or Any government ID.

Address : Vasai-Virar Mahanagarpalika Office, Near Diwanman Talav, Vasai (West).

UPDATE: Karvy Stock Broking has started the AADHAR Registration at their centers, please visit The plus point here is that you can choose your timeslot for the process.

UPDATE 2: Karvy have stopped the process. No reasons provided and the relaunch date is not known.

Beatification and canonisation of Pope John Paul II

Events, News

On 9 May 2005, Benedict XVI began the beatification process for his predecessor. Normally five years must pass after a person’s death before the beatification process can begin. However, in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Vicar Camillo Ruini, the one responsible for promoting the cause for canonisation of any person who dies within the diocese of Rome, cited “exceptional circumstances” which suggested that the waiting period could be waived. The “exceptional circumstances” may possibly refer to the people’s cries of “Santo Subito!” (“Saint Now!” in Italian) during the late pontiff’s funeral. Therefore the new Pope waived the five year rule “so that the cause of Beatification and Canonisation of the same Servant of God can begin immediately.”

The decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima and the 24th anniversary of the assassination attempt on John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square. John Paul II often credited Our Lady of Fátima for preserving him on that day. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, officially opened the cause for beatification in the Lateran Basilica on 28 June 2005. In early 2006, it was reported that the Vatican was investigating a possible miracle associated with John Paul II. A French nun, confined to her bed by Parkinson’s Disease, is reported to have experienced a “complete and lasting cure after members of her community prayed for the intercession of Pope John Paul II”. The nun was later identified as Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a member of the Congregation of Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity Wards from Puyricard, near Aix-en-Provence. Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, 46, is working again, now in Paris at a maternity hospital run by her order. She met reporters 30 March 2006 in Aix-en-Provence during a press conference with Archbishop Claude Feidt of Aix, the archdiocese where the cure took place. On 28 May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI said Mass before an estimated 900,000 people in John Paul II’s native Poland. During his homily he encouraged prayers for the early canonisation of John Paul II and stated that he hoped canonisation would happen “in the near future.”

The Ceremony

The beatification ceremony of Pope John Paul II will be held on 1 May 2011 and will be presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. A vigil in preparation for the celebration will be held the night before in the Circus Maximus. The casket in which he was interred was exhumed and placed before Saint Peter’s tomb on 29 April 2011. It will be placed in front of the main altar for public veneration during the ceremony. After the ceremony, the casket will be reinterred in the Chapel of St Sebastian. A vial containing the late Pope’s blood, taken during the final days of his life, will be displayed as a relic for veneration at the ceremony. The reliquary in which the vial will be kept during the ceremony will be carried by Sister Marie, who says she was cured after praying to the Pope, and Sister Tobiana, who nursed the Pope during his illness. In the ceremony, John Paul II will be declared “blessed”. A total of 87 international delegations will attend the ceremony, including 22 world leaders. Five European royal families will be represented. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics are expected to gather for the mass at Saint Peter’s Square, where a giant portrait of the former Pope was set up. The city of Rome plastered 30,000 posters of Pope John Paul II around the city in preparation for the ceremony. The city will provide 3,000 police and traffic officers, thousands of volunteers, additional public transport and medical facilities. A no-fly zone will be enforced over Saint Peter’s Square.

Restoration work ruining Vasai fort, says activist


Historic inscriptions on the 500-year-old Portuguese fort at Vasai are being damaged due to the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) wrong conservation practices, local residents have alleged.

“The ASI’s restoration project is damaging the fort. The ancient inscriptions on the premises of the fort have almost been buried under sand and cement,” said Sridutta Raut, a member of Kille Vasai Mohim, an amateur local history group that looks after the fort.

The fort is being plastered and it looks like it is not being restored but renovated.”

The government has plans to convert the coastal fort, built by the Portuguese, into a major heritage site and tourist attraction. Raut, however, said that locals were not taken into confidence when the ASI began restoration work on the fort.

The ASI’s Mumbai Circle Superintending Archaeologist M.S. Chauhan said he had received some complaints about the Vasai fort project and promised he would to look into them.

“The fort was built around the 16th century by the Portuguese and the inscriptions on its premises are an important evidence of history,” Thane historian Sadashiv Tetwilkar, who has written a book on various forts in the district. “There are certain standard international practices that need to be followed during any conservation project,” conservation architect Vikas Dilawari said. “One will have to check if the ASI has followed all of them or not.”

This post originally appeared in the Monday, 28th June 2010 edition of Hindustan Times

Subodh Bible


Marathi readers who are curious about Christianity and the Bible finally have a text they can turn to. Father Francis D’Britto, has written a 1,200-page adaptation of the Bible in Marathi. This is the first major version of the holy book in the language since a 1924 translation by Pandita Ramabai, a Brahmin who converted to Christianity.

The translations currently available are not written in a way that is accessible to lay Marathi readers.

Fr. D’Britto says, “The Marathi in some of the old translations is so complicated that even Christians find the writing incomprehensible. This language in this version is basic and simple.”

The ‘Subodh Bible‘ by Fr. D’Britto, is not a mere translation. He has re-structured the old testament into 11 chapters.

The book has an 80-page section that introduces readers to the Bible and its history. There are two chapters on new theology movements in the church. Nearly 200 pictures of Biblical scenes and maps illustrate the book.

Other special features include a commentary that explains difficult biblical concepts and ideas.

Theology scholar Dr Francis Pereira, who teaches at the Papal Seminary in Pune and helped D’Britto translate difficult Hebrew or Greek words said, “The book is not a literal translation but a free adaptation. But D’Britto has not sacrificed the basic message of the holy book.”

Fr. D’Britto, worked on the book for nearly 15 years. It will be released on June 20, 2010 at Vasai in the presence of the local Bishop Rev. Felix Machado.

Earlier Translations of the Bible into Marathi

  • 1805 : Missionary William Carey translated the holy book with the help of Marathi scholars like Vaidyanath Pandit.
  • 1811: Bible Society brought out a Marathi Bible
  • 1924: Pandita Ramabai Ranade, a convert to Christianity translated the holy book