Maram 22 Nov 2022: “This blood of Fr. N.V. Jose will not be wasted”, said a catechist to Fr. P.J. Varghese, then the Provincial of Dimapur Province.
25 death anniversary Mass in honour of Fr. N.V. Jose SDB was presided over by Fr. P.J. Varghese SDB at 6.30 am today at Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Maram. The church was jam-packed with all the fathers, sisters, faithful people and college students from in and around Maram. Altogether there were 12 priests present for the anniversary Mass.
Contents of Fr. P.J. Varghese’s Homily put together roughly.
Fr. Ravalico and Fr. Bianchi met a certain Tangkhul Baptist by the name Mr. John from Maram Khullen Village. He and his people expressed their desire to become Christians. They were directed to become Catholics. They were told to go to Imphal and meet the missionaries there at Imphal.
In 1956 Fr. Ravalico and Fr. Bianchi came to Maram Khullen Village. A few people had gathered in a small chapel built by them. Only men were present. “Where are the women?” asked the missionaries. “They will come afterwards. They are busy now at home”, said the people gathered in the chapel.
In the meantime Fr. John Med was appointed in Senapati to look after the centre. A school was opened at Maram with the figure of two elephants at the entrance. FR. MANIANCHIRA SEBASTIAN, SDB put forward the proposal for a higher Secondary School. Many human considerations were brought forth: will there be enough students, teachers, provisions, economic viability etc. In 1994 Don Bosco Higher Secondary School was established. Fr. N. V. Jose was appointed as the Principal of DBHS school Maram. Number of students began increasing. The proposal of starting a college was put forward by Fr. Manianchira and Fr. N. V. Jose. Again similar human considerations were put forward.
In 1997 the first Don Bosco college in the province was established at Maram. 18 June was the foundation day of the DB college Maram. Bp. Joseph Mittathany graced the occasion. On 18 November 1997 Fr. N.V. Jose took charge of the college.
On 22 November 1997, after supper, Fr. N. V. Jose SDB went to the school office to type question papers. At that time, he was typing SS question paper of class 9, a group of students were having night studies in the school building on that day. A knock was there on the door of Fr. N.V. Jose. He was shot at. There was noise of shouting by the students who were studying in the school building. When fathers came to the office from the residence, Fr. N. V. Jose was found in a pool of blood. His body was taken to the church. Many people came and expressed their condolences, shock and sadness. His mortal remains were taken to Dimapur Salesian College for the final rites and burial. In the context of the killing, at that moment, it was thought inappropriate to go ahead with the running of the college for the time being.
In 1998 Fr. P.J. Varghese celebrated Fr. N.V. Jose’s death anniversary Mass at Salesian College Dimapur. In 1999, on 22 November, he celebrated Fr. N.V. Jose’s death anniversary Mass at Don Bosco Higher Secondary School Maram. Even at that time everything had enveloped in a mystery as to who was involved in the act of killing and why was he killed in that painful manner.
When no answers were got from any source in 2000, Fr. Provincial and his team decided to move ahead with the college. At this time there was a boarding at Don Bosco Punanamei. Few Maram students were there along with Mao and Poumei students.
In the meantime Fr. Jose Palely was appointed to see to the running of Maram College. After all these had taken place, a catechist met Fr. P.J.Varghese and seems to have said, “The blood of Fr. N.V. Jose will not be wasted.” From then till now many fathers and sisters have made lot of sacrifices. 25 years ago, we couldn’t think that things could turn out to be like what we see today.
As the scripture says, “Be faithful and I will bestow on you the crown of unfading glory.” We wish the same for Fr. N.V. Jose.
Fr. Blasius Tete SDB