Dear Columbans,

This morning, I was looking at a video sent by a young student - she said "when its cloudy - look out for a rainbow; when it's dark - look for the stars!" – what a positive outlook! And that's what I want to share with you today!

Congratulations to those of us who have taken up the opportunities which today's world has offered us and not wasted our time and energy on mourning the losses or pining for a world of yesterday! Of course, we do empathize with the millions who have been affected very significantly by the sudden change in circumstances – yet, even here this encouragement from the young student will hold good - we will find opportunities if we look for them! Hopefully, we will be able to guide persons in need towards such opportunities.

The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are just such guidelines. This morning I heard on the news that in it's effort to save the giant pandas in reserves in China – the leopards, snow leopards, wolves and Asian wild dogs which share the same habitat are now the endangered species – have we humans been blinded by our love for the cuddly pandas and ignored the plight of other species ?

Unfortunately, the example is in China! China seems to be in the firing line of so many nations – including our own! Not that I feel sorry for the Chinese leadership – they have been very aggressive and flaunted their dominance in the world. But to perceptive Columbans – are we going to allow ourselves to be swayed by the dominant powers of yester-year whose present reaction is a fight for dominance – political and economic – on the international stage? As we celebrate our Independence Day, I remember the words of the sage Rabinranath Tagore "Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls" and hope our country's leaders realise the same!

Advocacy for the Sustainable Development Goals is to realise the hypocrisy of the dominant – so called "free world" - which is only free until you dare to compete! Changing the mindset which the SDGs requires a long-term more fundamental change of heart - the basis of all the SDGs is Gandhi's remark that the earth provides enough for our needs but not for our greed! When and how will we learn this?

Is the present pandemic nature's reaction to the way we live – to the way we have used the earth?

Elon Musk's spaceship bringing the astronauts back safely to the earth marks the coming of age of private enterprise in space travel – he mentioned plans for having a launching station on the moon! While we celebrate the achievement of science – I did not hear any accompanying concern for preservation of the Universe from the abuse we have caused to the earth! It was also sad that Mr. Musk could flaunt that he is not a generally "praying" type - but that he did pray for the safe touch down of his craft – one begs to think - was he more concerned with the safety of his project or the safety of the 2 astronauts ? - I wish we had someone of such prominence who had developed more holistically – it is primarily in the development of a magnanimous spiritual life that there is a spark of a chance that the SDGs will ever be truly realized !

Columbans, we are needed in our world today, but IF and only IF we have cultivated the HEART of the Divine which brought all that is into reality.

May God bless us all!

Yours Sincerely,

Principal, St. Columba’s School