Christians below political radar: ‘Contribution overlooked’

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Christians below political radar: Council
    ‘Contribution overlooked’


    SUSHOVAN SIRCAR
    Calcutta, Feb. 2: Christians in India have not been included in the mainstream political discourse despite substantial contributions to society and sustained efforts in nation-building, a national council of Protestant churches said today.

    “Some people still think we are not Indians…. Christians are not present in the political discourse of mainstream parties today. Despite helping give the country some of the finest schools, colleges and hospitals, our efforts in nation-building and contributions towards society have been overlooked,” said Bishop Taranath S. Sagar, president of the National Council of Churches in India.

    Kicking off its year-long centenary celebrations from Calcutta on Sunday, the council also referred to the Bengal government’s decision to provide doles to Muslim clerics. “If the government is handing honorariums to Muslim clerics, I would request the chief minister to also extend the honorariums to Christians as well. This act (giving doles to one particular community) is simply pleasing a section of society for votes,” Bishop Sagar said in response to a question after a news conference at Calcutta Boys’ School in the afternoon.

    The Mamata Banerjee government gives an honorarium of Rs 2,500 a month to imams and Rs 1,000 a month to muezzins in Bengal.

    The council is an ecumenical body of 30 Protestant and Orthodox churches across India and a slew of Christian councils and organisations.

    It is the second largest body of churches in the country and includes the Church of North India and Church of South India as member churches. Nearly 50 per cent, about 12 million of the total Christian population of 25 million in India, are Protestants.

    Calcutta was chosen as the first stop in a series of countrywide celebrations because on February 2, 1914, it was at the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) building on S.N. Banerjee Road that the body held its first meeting and formed a council.

    The celebrations will move to Aizawl, Hyderabad and Mumbai among other cities in the coming months and culminate at the headquarters in Nagpur in November.

    As the centenary year coincides with the Lok Sabha polls, the council articulated its concerns. The existing political establishment, it felt, had failed to acknowledge or address the needs and aspirations of the Christian community and largely overlooked its contributions to the nation.

    [​IMG]
    The YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) building at Corporation Place (now SN Banerjee Road) in Calcutta played host to church leaders and missionaries from across the country on February 2, 1914, where they held their first meeting and formed a council. On Sunday, the National Council of Churches in India chose Calcutta as the first stop to kick off their countrywide centenary celebrations, which will culminate in November at their headquarters in Nagpur.

    [​IMG]
    Bishop Taranath S Sagar (third from left), the president of the National Council of Churches in India, at the media conference at Calcutta Boys’ School on Sunday.

    The council lamented that the term “minority” had become synonymous with just one community, overshadowing the others.

    “If we look historically, Christians are the true minorities… but today (the word) ‘minority’ has become attached with just one community. There is no Protestant representation in Parliament from West Bengal,” said Suman J. Biswas, vice-president of the council.

    Accusing politicians of consistently using religion for political gains, the council rued how issues like poverty had remained sidelined and religious minorities had rarely been acknowledged as anything but a vote bank.

    Speaking on the community’s preferences for the upcoming elections, the Bishop said in response to a question that Christians were “highly divided” in their opinion on Narendra Modi.

    “Modi played the development card in Gujarat and is playing the same card nationally now. But even if he becomes the Prime Minister and acts secular, he might face pressure from the lower cadres of the party. We are highly divided in our opinion of Modi and I cannot make one general statement on behalf of the Christians. Christians have traditionally been followers of the Congress… but it might be time for some change,” Bishop Sagar said.

    He added that the council did not “endorse any particular party”. “We need a leader who is strong and understands the needs of the minorities and works for grass-roots development,” the Bishop said.

    The theme of the celebrations “towards integral mission and grassroots ecumenism” was explained as one that was aimed at motivating people to go back to the grassroots of the society and work towards its development.

    “In recent times, the development of the country has only been measured by political parties in terms of bridges, high-rises and metro rails. Grassroots development of the marginalised has remained neglected and that is why growth has not been uniform,” said Reverend Sunil Raj Philip, the executive secretary of the council.

    The news conference was followed by a worship service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the evening.

    Christians below political radar: Council

    **********************************************

    There is no doubt that the Christian bodies have played a stellar role in the education field with their schools and colleges, and even in the Medical field with their hospitals.

    Bishop Taranath S. Sagar, president of the National Council of Churches in India, claims that Christians are taken to be foreigners. I wonder how he came to the conclusion. Neither Sagar (photo below) or Rev John Dayal would ever look like a foreigner.

    I wonder if one can differentiate between a Christian, or anyone who wears western clothes or even the local clothes. In fact, such a thought by Sagar is most ludicrous, since they look as desi as desi can be.

    If one reads through the grievances of Bishop Taranath S. Sagar, president of the National Council of Churches in India, it will be clear that he is trying to making capital of the real poison that has impregnated India - the politics of competitive religiosity for milking sops from the Govt.

    Indeed, there are some issue that are valid to some extent.

    True, that when the issue of 'minority' is raised, it is clear that it is for one religion. The fault is that of the politicians who do so for votes, but it is not the fault of the adherents of that religion or the Constitution.

    True, that Mamata Bannerjee has opened up a can of worms by giving stipend to Muslim clerics and ignoring other minority religious leaders and the impoverished majority priests. This the typical political oneupmanship that gets votes that is ruining, not only Bengal, but the whole country and only dividing the people. To imagine that this type of 'politics' has caused an educated person like the Bishop to openly grouse.

    Suman J. Biswas, vice-president of the council. is wrong when he states "If we look historically, Christians are the true minorities… but today (the word) ‘minority’ has become attached with just one community. There is no Protestant representation in Parliament from West Bengal,” During the British Raj, even though the Christians were a minority, yet their writ ran!

    In so far as there being a Protestant representation in the Parliament, I wonder if any seat is reserved based on religion. However, there is a reserved seat in the Rajya Sabha, for Anglo Indians being a real minority, and that person can be from any of the denominations of the Christian faith. But it is a truism, that in India, currently, it appears that the Catholics are holding the majority of the Christian representation in Parliament. It is no fault that the constituency has not voted in a Protestant because no Protestant has been fielded by the political parties!

    The Bishop has in a tongue in cheek way seems to be endorsing Modi, or he has read the tea leaves and so giving subtle reminder to Modi not to forget the Christian community, and more so, the Protestants!
     
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  3. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

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    This is an extremely divisive way to look at Indian politics. To claim that Christians 'have been ignored' is to imply that there is some sort of government body which has ignored them. Politics in India is a marathon race, everyone runs, whoever makes it to the finish line with adequate votes wins the race. There is no higher authority sitting and granting recognition to the runners. On top of it it says that they are not satisfied that most of the Christian representatives are Catholic, they need Protestants too. What a cheap and divisive thing to say. They want their contributions to the nation to be look at as a 'Christian contribution' and not an 'Indian citizen's contribution'. Have you ever heard a martyred soldier's parents claim that it was a 'Hindu contribution' to the nation?

    It is not a collective fault of the nation that religious leaders aren't getting elected. We are in a representative form of democracy and if enough people aren't voting you to positions of power it implies that they don't think that you are fit to represent them. If a leader had the popular support of the people, he could win on any party ticket or even as an independent. Stop peddling soft propaganda against Hindus for not voting Christian leaders when Christians themselves aren't voting Christian leaders.

    Moderators should refrain from endorsing such politically divisive views. @Sakal Gharelu Ustad kya chal raha hai bhai? Bangali moderator hai toh kuch bhi tolerate karneka kya? Moderators are themselves promoting atrocity literature then what's the point of the forum? might as well invite Arundhati Roy to sing lullabies about advasis, caste system, Hindu oppression, state sponsored terrorism. These 'councils' keep coming out with politically motivated reports about some perceived wrong being inflicted upon Christians every now and then. Are we so stupid to not realize the difference between a good analysis and a politically motivated literature that the moderator himself copy-pastes it here? :pound:
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  4. Ancient Indian

    Ancient Indian Unplugged Version Senior Member

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    Ray sir is dead. He is very respected person here.
    You should read his other posts.
    If he is alive now, I would have kidnapped him and kept at home.
     
  5. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

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    That's my point. We need to have a relook at how this respect is granted. Posting atrocity literature, false theories like Aryan invasion is not a respectable thing to do regardless of their credentials. At least the current moderators can delete this thread. People should sit together and discuss what is alright and what is not and moderators must be proactive in deleting content that hurts the narrative of a united India. One one side we are writing articles about how India must become ruthless against leftist propaganda and on the other hand we are shying away from even deleting propaganda posts from the forum.
     
  6. DingDong

    DingDong Senior Member Senior Member

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    We cannot push our dirt under carpet. Dialogue is necessary to build a strong nation. It is important for us to know what the disaffected people think. Disaffection in the Hindu community gave rise to the Hindu Right Wing.

    I don't think that Christians in India suffer any kind of discrimination or ghettoization. In our movies and literature Christians and their traditions are projected in positive manner. Flash points have been because of some of them painting the Hindu gods as demons and calling us "Devil Worshippers". All communities must behave responsibly and not try to exploit their "minority" or any other "special" status.

    Many of the so called Hindu Right are people belonging to minority communities like Jains, Parsis, Sikhs. In Goa Christians have got fair representation in the BJP government. Amit Shah the current BJP president is a Jain. And some Secularists still have the guts to call the Hindu Right "intolerant".

    I agree with you on the point that we must discourage Hero Worship and Cult following. Nobody is beyond criticism.
     
  7. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

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    What legitimate dirt did you find in the original post that we need to be blamed for? is it not a politically motivated article? How do you respond to synthetic dirt being manufactured in Jholawala's propaganda factories? I also disagree with your contention that the Hindu right derives its legitimacy exclusively from victim-hood. It implies that had the victim-hood not existed, Hindus would have no other legitimate issues and have no right or inclination to rally for them. There is more to Hindu right than just being angry about disenfranchisement. Don't malign the movement if you don't know about it. You are denying our legitimate existence if you are basing it exclusively upon victim-hood.

    Is the women's rights movement legitimate because it envisages women as equal human beings or do you think that they are exclusively based on female victim-hood as well? It's the same with Hindu rights. There is a broad spectrum of legitimate issues that need to be addressed, and they can only be addressed if Hindus are organized, victim-hood notwithstanding. We have a legitimate right to organize ourselves just like any other political group. Don't denigrate us to the status of a special interest victim group.

    @Sakal Gharelu Ustad All the resident Jholawalas disguised as 'proud Indians' are showing their true colors today :pound:
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  8. Ancient Indian

    Ancient Indian Unplugged Version Senior Member

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    He always tried to be neutral in his posts.
    If you read his post,
    This part is his opinion. Read it.
     
    A chauhan and Nuvneet Kundu like this.
  9. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    Christians are targeted in India "only" when they adopt crooked ways to convert Hindus into Christians, otherwise not.
     
    maomao likes this.

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