Fr. Sebastian Kappen

Kappen Memorial Lectures

Sebastian Kappen(1924-1993) was a well known thinker, writer and socialist activist who made substantial contribution towards evolving perspectives on culture and development. Kappen highlighted the need to harness the resources of religion and culture to the task of social transformation. His bold and original path of rethinking, his breaking of conceptual taboos and his rejection of the inherited schemata make him and indispensible guide for those grappling with the question of the role of religion and culture in social transformation. Kappen was engaged in a study of communalism and the post -modern debate, when mother earth called him back on the 30th of November 1993.

Visthar has been organizing memorial lectures since 1994 in celebration of the life and work of Kappen. Selected memorial lectures are brought out in a volume titled Counter Culture Perspectives.

Latest Publication Mercy Kappen                  Ranjani K Murthy



Training Manuals

A series of Trainer’s Manuals produced by Visthar, authored by Ranjani K Murthy and Mercy Kappen. These manuals have been conceptualised to familiarise gender facilitators with ‘conceptual and strategic frames’ for institutionalising gender and diversity within development organisations and programmes. They have been used widely by civil society organizations and educational institutions in south Asia and have contributed towards engendering interventions and developing gender aware practices . For copies write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Other Titles


Our  Calendar  2017 presents children’s vision of the world they want to live in. The envisioning process  included a two day workshop for the ‘artists’ on Sustainable Development Goals. Children living and working from the Visthar Eco Sanctuary, were introduced to and reminded of the sacredness of the earth and all living beings, besides a critique of the current models of development.  They  were guided to  visualise  their dream of a new  world using  warli art. The calendar contains  selected drawings of the children who participated in the  workshop.   The text  highlights the basic vision of  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Proceeds from the  calendar will go  towards developing the Eco Sanctuary,  a place of diversity and learning.
Click here to download
By Ranjani K.Murthy and Mercy Kappen.

This manual is the fifth in the series on Gender, Diversity and Development produced by Visthar in collaboration with ICCO / KERKINACTIE. It has been conceptualised to strengthen facilitators involved in capacity building of NGOs / INGOs, activists, government officials, and research institutions on Gender Equality and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) . The manual, hopefully, would contribute towards bringing about changes in societal institutions in favour of women and girls thereby furthering gender and social equality.
For copies contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Inauguration of  Butterfly Park at Visthar Eco Sanctuary , April 1, 2017.

Just living is not enough”..said the butterfly. “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower to love”. (H. C. Andersen)  Butterfly is a symbol of change, creativity, freedom,  joy and beauty. A metaphor of transformation. We have much to learn from butterflies. Never to resist change.  Never to rush change. Butterflies possess the ability to grow and change, leaving the safety of their cocoon to discover a new world in a new form without fear, trusting their untested wings to fly without a doubt in their minds.


They work through many important stages to become the beautiful beings they are. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” (Maya Angelou)


Just as a butterfly, this space too has gone through different stages of change.  From a barren, abandoned piece of land, this space is being transformed (by Nazar and his team) into a sanctuary for butterflies.  And I hope the butterflies will find this sanctuary and will be able be to enjoy sunshine and freedom and plenty of little flowers to love. 

In Christian tradition butterfly is a symbol of resurrection. They are especially significant symbols during the Easter season. The butterfly can be seen as the insect who "dies" as a caterpillar, is buried in the cocoon for a length of time, and emerges in a new life. Symbolically, butterflies are creatures with the ability to transcend the ordinary and take flight into the heavens.

There is a Native American legend that says, "If you have a secret wish, capture a butterfly and whisper your wish to it.  Release the butterfly, and it will carry your wish to the Great Spirit, who alone knows the thoughts of butterflies. By setting the butterfly free, you are helping to restore the balance of nature, and your wish will surely be granted."

May  the wings of the butterfly carry our wish to the great spirit.
May she shower us with rain and happiness


Today, tomorrow and beyond.


-Mercy Kappen




Celebrating Earth Wisdoms
- A publication from Visthar Eco Sanctuary

Through this publication we bring to the readers a compilation of photographs and notes on the history, origin and beneficial properties of 100 select plants and trees on Visthar campus. With each reader who learns the richness and diversity of the Eco Sanctuary, we hope to celebrate earth wisdoms and our commitment to make ‘another world’ possible.

Publication details : Size 18x24cm,
Text 112 pages 4 colour printing on 130gsm Art Paper
Cover 170gsm Art Paper with Hard Binding
Suggested contribution Rs.500/-
For copies write to : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Daring to Dream : Festschrift Posters

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Eco Sanctuary Posters


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