Mumbai: 'Why aren't Xavierites members of BLHS?'
While questioning the college's abrupt decision to wind up activities of the society in its premises, members vote for registration
A week after the Bombay Local History Society (BLHS) secretary and director of Heras Institute called an emergency meeting and said that they would like the society to discontinue functioning from the premises of St Xavier's College, members speak about the issues plaguing BLHS and how they can be dealt with.
Speaking to mid-day, Aadil Desai, who joined the society 12 years ago, said, "The meeting was scheduled on a Tuesday at 2.30 pm, a time when people can't really attend a meeting. Fortunately, some of us managed to call a few members and 13 of us were present that day."
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Although college and trust treasurer, Fr Conrad Pesso, stated low attendance, space and fund crunch as the reasons for the college's move, Desai asserts that other alternatives could be considered. "The lifetime membership fee could be increased. It now stands at R1,500, which really isn't a lot when most other societies charge the same for annual membership," he said.
Another issue plaguing the society is the authority's aversion to the Internet. The BLHS has no official presence on social media. Desai runs an unofficial page on Facebook for the society, which is already followed by over 1,000 people. "So, if you can have that many eyeballs on Facebook, it does have some value. The biggest beneficiaries are the history and arts students of SXC. Why aren't they interested in becoming members? If they are presenting their research work in The Bombay Explorer, then they should become members too and take active interest in the society," he said.
He further said that soon after the next meeting on September 28, the first step would be to get BLHS registered under the Societies Registration Act. Speaking about the benefits of the process that he will helm, senior solicitor and BLHS member, Rajan Jayakar said, "Financial contributions made by members need to have a legal status. The society should be registered under the Societies Registration Act for it to come under the purview of Income Tax Act as well. And all of this comes under the Charity Commissioner."
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