History of Sacred Heart College, Madanthyar

On 2nd February 1801 Francis Buchanan, a traveler, passed through the area where Madanthyar is situated. He was enthralled by the hills, the forests and the wild animals of the region. He specially mentions the wild animals that attacked the voyagers who were traveling towards Mysore kingdom. Madanthyar and the surrounding villages that are located in the Malnad area of Dakshina Kannada must have been fearful places where hardly any person dared to enter. The local folklore gives a sacred meaning to Madanthyar i.e. “Mattada Thyaru” It means the property of ‘mutt’ or monastery. Hence, it is co-incidental and apt that the church and its institutions are dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus. The Revenue department of government of Karnataka categorizes Madanthyar as a backward rural Malenad area. Most of the people are poor engaging themselves in beedi rolling, small farming and agricultural labour. With regard to industries, Madanthyar has nothing to boast. Hundred years from now, a historian examining the history of Madanthyar will definitely declare that the starting of Sacred Heart institutions transformed the history of Madanthyar. It is interesting to note that the Jesuits from Mangalore had a bungalow in the place where the college is now situated. When Fr Jacob Sequeira opened Guardian Angel’s Primary School in 1898 he held the classes in that bungalow.

Madanthyar that had a school nearly 85 years old needed further development especially with regard to education. When it was not uncommon to establish colleges in the urban centres it needed extraordinary vision and courage to start institutions of higher learning in humble set ups. Moreover, a college was a necessity for the people of Madanthyar as they had to go to far away places like Bantwal, Ujre, and Mangalore to get education. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Rev Liguory D’Souza Sacred Heart College today can rightly boast of imparting quality education to the rural youth who otherwise would have been left with very few choices in their lives. In spite of limited resources he ventured to start the high school and Sacred Heart pre-university college in 1981 and the Sacred Heart College was established on 15 July 1982 managed by the Catholic Board of Education of the Mangalore Diocese.

Fr Liguory had the acumen to synergise the energies and talents for a common cause. He sought the support and help of Fr Theophilus Pereira OFM Cap, Fr Elias Dias, Messrs. Antony D’Souza, Casmir Menezes, J.B. Sequeira, Rev. M.Goveas S.J., Mr Gangadhara Gowda, Mr P.F. Rodrigues and Mr Veerappa Moily to make the dream a reality. A special salute is reserved to the parishioners of Madanthyar but for their constant support the college would not have come up in Madanthyar. Affiliated to Mangalore University, the college offers B.A. and B.Com degrees. Fr Lawrence Rodrigues shouldered the responsibility of the principal. He traveled in India and abroad to secure funds from friends and philanthropists in order to provide the much needed infrastructure, classrooms, and salary of lecturers. He went from house to house motivating the young to join the college.

Meanwhile, Fr Liguory D’Souza got transferred to Kulshekar, Mangalore. And, the mantle of the correspondent was placed on Fr Fred V. Pereira who assumed the charge of the parish priest on 3rd June 1983. They were the trying times. Fr Fred with his vision and managerial skills metamorphosed the entire Madanthyar to gear itself up to face the new challenges. Rt Rev Dr Basil D’Souza laid the foundation stone of the new building on 10 June 1983. The college building was constructed at the cost of Rs 15 lakhs. With their characteristic style the parishioners not only pooled their financial resources but also their physical labour and sweat to realize the dream. Sometimes, they used to work late into the night. The service rendered by the parishioners will be remembered always in every atom of this Institution. Even the students joined the struggle by offering ‘shramadan’ whenever required. After the completion of the ground floor it was occupied on 15 June 1984. Right from its inception the college attracted students from Hassan, Chickmagaloor, Sakaleshpur, Bangalore and other places not only for the quality of education but also for the quiet ambience that gave students an inspiration to learn. Hence, Sacred Heart hostel for men was planned and executed in 1984.

The Salesian sisters of Don Bosco of the Bombay province run a hostel for girls. Fr Wilson D’Souza held the responsibility of the principal from 1983 to 1984. He got the help from his friends and well-wishers to the college. Rev Dr Peter Theodore D’Souza was the principal from 1984 to 1985. Fr Francis Serrao held the office for a month from 1-6-1985 to 30-6-1985. Rev Dr Robert Crasta carried the responsibility from 1985 to 1994. Fr Crasta was instrumental to bring the college within the ambit of the Government Grants. At times he had to be in the state capital thrice a week shuttling between Madanthyar and Bangalore in order to get the grant. In 1988 Fr Fred and Fr Crasta started a programme called ‘earn while you learn’ for the needy students. According to this program the students would work for a part of the day to earn to provide for their studies. The parish gave those students the work and supported financially. The saga of the college is not just about success. It has faced many tribulations, of which the financial burden has been enormous. Some of the lecturers narrate an episode of a lecturer who used to wear the same jeans pant for a long time. When asked by the principal he replied with his unassuming simplicity that with the meager income he could not afford to buy another pair of trousers as he had to look after not only the ailing parents and younger brothers and sisters but also his daily bread. Therefore, 1989 was declared as the year of austerity in order to pay the heavy debts incurred to build the college. During that year all celebrations were cancelled and each home in the parish and each class room kept a box in order to gather savings. It is an important event in the annals of the college. Besides, several cultural programmes were conducted to collect money. The Catholic Board of Education had also contemplated to close the college due to lack of student strength and financial constraint. The relentless efforts of the principal and the correspondent rejuvenated the college to the greater heights. The college celebrated its decennial in 1992. The college hosted South-West zone inter-university volleyball tournament for women. Forty four Indian universities took part in that mega event. If Fr Liguory is called the architect of modern Madanthyar Fr Fred is named as the builder of modern Madanthyar. To mark the contribution of Fr Fred, the hall that was built by Fr Crasta, is named Fr Fred V Pereira auditorium.