About Us

History

An undertaking of the Patna Jesuit Society, the institute initially named as ‘Arrupe Centre for Research and Documentation’,  had a humble beginning in 1994 and was located in the premises of St. Xavier’s School, Gandhi Maidan Marg. In 2000 it was re-located at Prabhat Prakashn campus at Digha Ghat, with a new name ‘Disha-Centre for Research and Documentation’. The institute was further re-christened as ‘Bihar Social Institute’ and became fully functional research centre under the directorship of Dr. Fr. Jose Kalapura,SJ  since 2000. In 2007, the name Bihar Social Institute was changed  to Xavier Institute of Social Research (XISR) and was registered under the Society’s Registration Act.

 

Patron of the Institute

St. Francis Xavier
(St. Francis Xavier)

Named after the 16th century Spanish Jesuit missionary who came to India, Saint Francis Xavier, Xavier Institute of Social Research, like its well-known sister institutes all over the world and India, takes inspiration from Saint Xavier and tries to translate its nominal identity after the saint who tried to bring glory to God through noble works of charity and enlightenment of human beings, in order to create a better world. St. Xavier was one of the first members of the Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556).


St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Inspiration from Arrupe

Father Pedro Arrupe
(Father Pedro Arrupe)

The institute’s activities and programmes are immediately inspired by another great personality of the 20th century, Father Pedro Arrupe (1907-91), who as the Superior General of the world-wide Jesuit Society envisioned a justice-oriented world where the poor, the refugees and the marginaslised would have a space of them own. Remembering this modern saint, XISR has been regularly conducting Memorial Lectures in his honour.

Aims & Objectives

XISR aims at creating an interface between scholars, academics and social activists and initiating a process of social awakening through critical reflection and alternative discourse thereby contributing to strengthening people’s struggles towards creating a just and more humane social order. Bihar, which has a rich culture and tradition, has been neglected over the centuries.  Our endeavour is to study Bihar and its richness with a view to highlighting the positive aspects and also point out the hurdles in the way of greater development.

Xavier Institute of Social Research (XISR) is a Society established to perform works of charity: social, moral, economic, educational, environmental, health, developmental and spiritual.  Without prejudice to the generality of the above, some of the main aims and objectives of the Society are as follows:

  • To network and collaborate with like-minded associations, non-governmental and governmental organisations and international organisations in pursuance of the aims and objectives of the Society.
  • To disseminate information and knowledge by publishing books, magazines, periodicals, booklets, pamphlets, handbills, etc., and to develop audio-video materials to further the objectives of the Society.
  • To conduct, organise, support, and participate in conferences, seminars, workshops, meetings, training programmes and campaigns at the local, national and international levels.

A primary focus of our intellectual and advocacy work will be to contribute towards greater understanding of the subaltern communities in Bihar.  We would undertake primary studies on each of these communities and bring out monographs on them.  This would be one way of enabling them to become aware of their human dignity and rights, and understand their identity and history.

Strategy

 a) To enlighten and support socially committed persons and organizations, we would undertake programs such as courses, lectures, workshops, training programs, etc. This will partly be done by providing data-base through documentation on various issues in society such as human rights violations, ecological destruction, child labour and exploitation, gender inequality, marginalisation of Dalits, etc.

 b) To influence the general public and the decision makers of society, the fruits of our research and study, undertaken by both the Jesuit faculty members of XISR and other scholars under the aegis of XISR, may be disseminated to them through workshops, lectures, seminars and publications.

Area of Operation

Geographically, though XISR activities focus primarily on the State of Bihar, the orientation and spread of a number of its other activities are essentially of a national character. Though Bihar has rich cultural and historical heritage, it is steeped in underdevelopment, violence, agrarian struggles and movements in recent times. The choice of Bihar is primarily because we want to help the people re-discover their riches and animate their resourcefulness through a process of academic research combined with directed action.

Translating the Vision

XISR was conceived by the Patna Jesuit Society as a state resource centre for voluntary sector, NGOs, people’s movements and for those engaged in similar activities and organizational work. The Institute has been functioning as a supportive centre for all those individuals, groups, organizations and communities engaged in social development, alternative forms of development, people’s participation and mobilization. In its endeavour to be part of the people’s struggle for a just and human society the institute follows a three-fold strategy.

  1. Empowerment

As a centre for research, training, development and action, the institute intends to make studied information available for empowering the marginalized section of society.  The Institute continues to develop a database on human rights with special focus on Bihar and also other aspects of development, impact of globalization, liberalization policies and programmes, the agrarian scene, the lives of the marginalised communities. Through information dissemination the Institute strives to assist social activists in the conceptualisation of the present situation through constant interaction with and through a pedagogy of experience-action-reflection with the people and workers at the grassroots level, support groups like intellectuals, journalists, policy makers and civil administrators so that it would laison between these groups and the people at the grassroots.

 

  1. Alliance and Networking

The Institute has been making a humble attempt to alliance itself as a supportive resource centre with the people’s movements specially of the Dalits, Tribals, women, the most backward castes and the minorities. The Institute would try to network with like minded individuals and organizations to take up the cause of the common masses cutting across the barriers of caste, creed, class, region and religion. It has also tried to enhance the possibilities of networking with various organisations of the voluntary sector for alternative forms of development.

 

  1. Social Advocacy

Social advocacy programmes at the local level, regional, national and international levels are intended to enhance people’s resources and to making them aware of their rigthts. Since the common citizens are engaged in their day to day struggle for ensuring the basic needs of theirs as well as of their families, they are not in a position to review or critique the policies and programmes of the administration which are often taken without taking their voices into considereation. However, these policies and programmes have lasting impact on their lives. Hence, the Institute with like minded groups and organisations tries to review, monitor, campaign and lobby for changes in national and international policies in favour of the vulnerable communities.

Major Areas of Concern

  • Livelihood Security of Dalits, Tribals and other marginslised people
  • Human Rights
  • Gender Rights
  • Environment and Ecology
  • Fundamentalism and Communalism
  • Good Governance and Democracy
  • Education and development

Major Activities Include

  • Study & Research
  • Consultations
  • Publications
  • Documentation
  • Lectures, Seminars, Workshops, Symposia
  • Community Action
  • Campaigns & Advocacy
  • Supportive Action for Human Rights