Fr. Lawrence Pinto SJ was our science teacher and also the Headmaster of St. Aloysius High School when I was a student during the years 1976-79. He also taught Maths and English whenever there was a need to do so.
He was a man of discipline but not one with an iron fist. He had the grace of a polished gentleman who preferred to use his voice rather than the cane. He looked very docile and timid in nature but that was just a facade. He used to be very affectionate with the children and he had the time to listen to them. He always gave us an opportunity to explain the mischief we had or hadn’t created before taking a decision on the ways to punish us, that too in a manner in which we learnt not to commit the mistake again as well as learnt a lesson from the punishment.
A wonderful human being, he was liked both by the students and their parents. He was impartial and a man whom you could trust. I still remember pleading with him after being caught for a misdemeanour and begging him not to tell my father about it. He listened to me patiently and told me that I know your parents so well and never expected you to commit such a mistake. He asked me to admit to the mistake, apologise for it and promise never to do the same again and he told me he wouldn’t call my father. I did as he said and he kept his word of not calling my father.
That was the man he was whom you could trust to keep his word and that too even to a small child who commits a mistake. He was someone whom you could trust immensely and a person whom you could approach for anything from requests for a cricket set or basketballs or some reading material in the library and he always obliged to most of the students’ needs.
He was the longest serving Headmaster of St. Aloysius High School serving for more than 20 years as the Headmaster.
Post retirement, his zeal for humane work never abated. He worked among the tribals of Mundgod for many years and also built the Loyola School there. Mundgod, is a place where the Siddi tribe who are descendants from Africa live. They were people who were in abject poverty and he established education in this place and worked extensively with these tribals lifting them to become inclusive in this society. He was relentless in his activities there and worked for more than 25 years among these tribals.
Recently, he shifted to Fatima Retreat House and he was not keeping well for the last one or two years. I always wanted to visit him but kept postponing it and regret that decision now.
Even in death he was selfless. He has pledged his body to Science and donated his mortal remains to Fr. Muller Charitable Institutions. That is the extent of his service to humanity.
Au Revior, our dear Headmaster Rev. Fr. Lawrence Pinto. May you return back to Earth again as people like you are few and far to find.
By Sumith S. Rao
A student of his at St. Aloysius High School during the years 1976-79.