Our Apostolate

Roshni Vistarak


'Roshni'means light and 'Vistarak' would refer to someone who distributes or dispenses, spreads or transmits. Thus, coining these two words would want to refer to any person who spreads the light of one's good qualities, enriching experiences or anything which could edify or constructively contribute towards the growth of others. Such persons, sometimes know, and oftendo not know that they fulfil this important role of being dispensers ('vistarak') of that light ('roshni') of life with human and spiritual values. This feature (of 'RoshniVistarak') is thus a humble initiative which attempts to acknowledge the fact that we could learn much from persons whom we serve, whom we encounter, who serve in our institutions … from anybody. These personal experiences and encounters when shared would facilitate a process of helping each other, to learn from, to grow and to share in return.
This second feature of 'RoshniVistarak' presents Sukhdev Singh Dhillon and Inderjeet Singh Dhillon from Rampuraphul. They both have been prominently instrumental in helping the Society of Pilar come to Rampuraphul, Punjab and help our members serve the people of the place. They both were very glad to recall their earliest memories of being associated with the Society of Pilar. Acknowledging that is a delight to speak about the ministry of the Society, they also share some of their future aspirations.


SardarSukhdev Singh Dhillon has been a three time MLA (once from Phul constituency and twice from Talwandi Sabo) and a State Cabinet ex-Health Minister of Punjab. The octogenarian born in 1932 has always attempted to reach out and address the concerns of the people in need. The former Chairman of ZillaParishads for the districts of Bathinda, Mansa and Faridkot had been the patron of the 'Rampuraphul Educational Society'. He has been instrumental in building educational institutions in the region. From the time he served as a cabinet MLA with the then Chief Minister Surjeet Singh Barnala of the Akali Dal, from then till now in his old age, the concernsof his people has always been his priority in life.


Inderjeet Singh Dhillon is a well-known social worker in Rampuraphul. A farmer by profession, he has served as the Vice-President of the District Congress Party for 22 years. He is also the former Vice-Chairman of Market Committee, Rampuraphul. The BSc Medical graduate along with his wife Surjit Kaur, a BEd graduate have two sons who are alumni of the St. Xavier's Schools of the Society of Pilar. His elder son Manminder Singh continues his father's agricultural profession, while the younger Mantinder Singh is based in Canada.

A Brief Description of the beginning (of the School)...

Inderjeet Dhillon: We were some 7 to 10 friends of our locality who would often spend time together. We often spoke about people expressing their desire to have a convent school here. It was under the leadership of SardarSukhdev Singh Dhillon that we decided to ensure that Rampuraphalwould have to have a good school for the future of the generations to come. Accordingly, we began a society called the 'Rampuraphul Educational Society' with Sukhdev Singh, ex-State Cabinet Minister, as the Patron and I was elected as the Chairman of the said committee. The school began in my own building in Rampuraphul.

Sukhdev Singh: We received donations from well-wishers and benefactors who understood the worth of being educated in the society. We actually requested and expected a thousand or two from generous hands. However, many donated 5000 and above and still others even offered 25,000. Evaluating the school after five years later, we had to reconcile the fact that we could not go on and we had to hand over the affairs to a better administration. We identified that the local teaching staff did not have much quality and competence. Our children also showed negligible improvement in their command in English language and their overall academic performance was very poor.
Our society then decided that we approach St. Joseph's School, Bathinda or St. Xavier's School, Bathinda and invite any of these two institutes to come over to Rampuraphul and take over from where we leave. The Bethany Sisters who run the St. Joseph's School did not accept the offer, but their superior Sr. Gemma extended some assistance. The Society of Pilar was as well not in favour to come to Rampuraphul citing the reason that they had a policy to set up institutions in the district headquarters alone. However, we continued to request the Society of Pilar to see if they could make an exception. My children were studying in the school and some of us already had some rapport with Fr. Menino Gomes. We also attempted the influential interventions of Mr. Sukhdev Dhillon and Mr. Ranjit Singh Dhillon (District Educational Officer). In due time we succeeded to convince the Society of Pilar to come over and we had a common meeting at SardarSukhdev's bungalow.

Inderjeet Dhillon: Permit me to make an intervention. It was a relief for many of us, since at the time we had contemplated a handing over to another competent body, there was one group of local Hindus who proposed handing it over to DAV schools and the other group of Sikhs who desired that the school be handed to the Shiromani GurdwaraParbandhak Committee (SGPC). I feared that our genuine interest of the school would boil up into an unpleasant religion based issue.
The Society of Pilar requested some financial assistance and a Matador Van to ferry down staff members from Bathinda. In the mean time we also purchased 1 acre land elsewhere and began construction of classrooms. The locals were worried as to how to provide the financial assistance with the many new requirements requested by the Society of Pilar. I requested the locals not to panic and I volunteered to bear most of the financial burden by myself.
There was another important intervention which I made. Some members of the Society opined that after the Pilar Society takes over, the members of the 'Rampuraphul Educational Society' should have considerable say in getting admissions and in appointing the staff members. I affirmed otherwise. I asserted that our focus should be in ensuring that our children get good education. I held that we needed to do the transfer without any demands from our side.Seeking the guidance and confirmation of the patron of the 'Rampuraphul Educational Society' (Mr. Sukhdev Dhillon), I hastened a meeting with the Superiors of the Society of Pilar and the Registrar and submitted a title deal with the Society of Pilar and entirely handed over the school in new hands,
The Fathers of the Society of Pilar were considerate of the locals and the money which we offered for the school while we made finances less for ourselves. The Fathers invited us to have an initial collaborative approach in some affairs. This collaboration helped some of us recover some finances which we invested in the school and I was happy to recover the entire excess amount I invested for the institute. For a year or so, after being associated with the school, we invited an eminent personality and formally welcomed the Society of Pilar and handed over the school. We handed over the affairs completely and even almost stopped visiting the place. Those were very fulfilling moments, where we handed over the school in reliable hands and after which we rarely frequented the place. We did not want to deviate from our aim in ensuring that our children get quality education.

Experience with the Members of the Society of Pilar...

Inderjeet Dhillon: I have had pleasant memories with all the Pilar Fathers right from Agnelo Gomes, Bernard D'Sa, Menino Gomes, Ivan D'Almeida, Anthony R. Fernandes, EulalioFernandes and Remy Cardozo. I had a very touching experience years before when I saw some of the Fathers themselves lifting building materials and working like laborers when the construction work was on. As such, all the Fathers are very hard-working and they will never rest until pending works and issues are well settled. They ensure every detail; be it about the flowers, the lawn, the building, the ground, etc.

Sukhdev Singh: I don't remember the Fathers by name, but I shared a very good rapport with them all. My respect for them has increased down the years. The people of Rampuraphul too have often shared that the Pilar Fathers give attention to each student and each parent when they visit the school. Students with poor academic performance are not disregarded or asked to leave the institution. The school results come cent percent every year. Such academic excellence would not have come if it were not for the Pilar Fathers.

Our Views about the Society of Pilar

Inderjeet Dhillon: In my opinion this region of Punjab is a considerably backward area. The districts of Bathinda and Mansa in Punjab and so also Dabwali and Sirsa in Haryana are considered to be relatively backward. However, the Society of Pilar came this side, chose our areas and have made tremendous contribution to the lives of our people. This is a very remarkable contribution of the Society of Pilar.
With reference to the Society's St. Xavier's School here in Rampuraphul, I believe the Society is a big blessing for our people. We could not have imagined that children from Rampuraphul would be Air Force pilots, doctors, engineers, civil servants and prominent social personalities. It is all the contribution of the Society of Pilar for the people of Rampuraphul.

Sukhdev Singh: The people of Rampuraphul are very grateful to the Pilar Fathers because their presence has changed the face of our place. They sincerely respect them as holy people. The selfless commitment and the intensity of love put into their work is something rarely seen. I myself was in the state government and I have never seen such commitment in government circles. Experience with the Members of the Society of Pilar

My Message...

Sukhdev Singh: We, the people of Rampuraphul are indebted to the Society of Pilar. I do not have a message for them, but a request. Just the way the Pilar Society came to our assistance and took over the school, today I request the Society's superiors to consider urgently starting the higher secondary section (plus two) for us. I believe this is urgent because the students passing out from this school would prefer continuing in the same institution and continue receiving quality education.

Inderjeet Dhillon: Given that the members are contributing so selflessly to our society without any religious and cultural discrimination, my message is to all sections of our society to extend their whole hearted support to all the genuine endeavours of the Society of Pilar.