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Father Anthony Mahimai Dass Awarded Doctorate in Church History


By Father Bastin Nellissery
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Bangalore, Jul. 8. Father Anthony Mahimai Dass of the Salesian Province of Bangalore [INK], successfully defended his doctoral research thesis titled ''Jesuit Letters and Mysore History: Annual Letters and Relations of Mysore Mission as Source for the Secular History of Mysore Kingdom from AD 1648 till 1704'' at the Gregorian University, Rome, on 06 July 2020. The thesis was guided by Dr Vitor D�lio Jacinto de Mendon�a, SJ.
The thesis is an effort to bring to the fore the so far unexplored Jesuit sources on Mysore Mission. These sources, the researcher feels, can contribute, compliment, and even correct the secular history of Mysore (reigns of Narasaraja Wodeyar (1638-1659), Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659-1673) and Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673-1704).

Till now Mysore history has been constructed largely with the help of local and British sources (the latter sources appear only from 1799). Regrettably, the vast Portuguese sources, existing in the form of Jesuit correspondence materials - which roughly deal with the second half of the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries - are largely unknown to Mysore historians. Fr. Mahimai Dass observes that this is because of three main reasons: firstly, the original manuscripts are all preserved in Rome; secondly, the missionaries did all their correspondence in Portuguese, Latin and Italian; and thirdly, these documents, since till today have not been critically edited and published, are available only as manuscripts.

The research was well appreciated by Dr Miguel Coll, the Moderator and Dr Paul Oberholzer, the Reader. Due to COVID -19 restrictions, the maximum number of participants allowed was just twenty and attended by  Father Ivo Coelho, General Councilor for Formation, Father Biju Michael, Regional Councilor for South-Asia and Father Thomas Anchukandam, the former Provincial of Bangalore.

The doctorate of Father Dass is yet another golden feather in the success saga of the Salesian Province of Bangalore.

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