Dear Dr. Kottoor, Editor CCV.
You had promised the emails and phone numbers of 101 Christian Intellectuals. When are you going to publish them? I want to write to them and get acquainted with some at least.
I looked for the name of Chottebhai, a real intellectual and prolific writer but I couldn't find it. Who collected these names and convened them for a meeting: where, when, how etc. Who were the speakers, what was the agenda etc. One day or two-day meeting. No background information is given.
I am interested to know the context of this meeting, also the back ground of some of the top personalities. Please give CCV readers all these information. Thank you,
C-13, Triveni Green Residency, Polipathar, Jabalpur 482 008. (M.P.)
Thanks for writing this, james. It echoes thoughts I have had over many years and is probably one of the reasons that the ‘cattle class’ (What a wonderful expression – says it all, IMO.) in the church show little interest in what the Church is supposed to stand for and getting involved in it.
Can this be translated into Malayalam? Perhaps the local media and international Kerala portals may be interested.
Among the 100 names I am familiar with only 4: John Dayal, Fr. Dominic Emmanuel, Fr. Cedric Prakash and Virginia Saldanha. I am sorry and amazed that Chhotebhai has not found a place in the list.
Congrats and best of luck to each and every one of the senior Christian intellectuals who wrote the letter to the Church leaders for their valiant efforts. Let me admit that I am not a very intelligent person, yet a keen student of history, particularly that of Catholic Church. I have no right to comment on the various, dime a dozen, Christian denominations other than the Catholic Church. But having been born to a Nazarani Catholic family, let me exercise my right to put my views.
Please allow me to point out that history is not on the side these well meaning people, however well intentioned they are. They may well remember of what happened to Arnold of Bersica, Fra Dolcino, Giordano Bruno, Girolamo Savonarola, Jan Huss, the Albegeois, the Vaudois, the Lollards, the Hussites. Of course, it was another time and place and much water has flown down the Tiber. But old ways generally persist unless a mighty heave is made. Sitting on piles of ill gotten wealth and chummy with political and religious leadership of every hue, the Excellencies and Lords will care hoot for the desperate pleas of the affected members of the Church.I know of, at least, one bishop whose bosom friends are S/Shri PinarayVijayan, VellappallyNatessan, MuralimanoharJoshi of BJP and others of various religious and political affiliations without any distinction.The power game is of a unique genre. I haven’t witnessed genuine moral and ethical behaviour in the high echelons of the church. They make every compromise to achieve their ends. For the leadership of the Church, its members are for milking tithes and other levies and dump cattle to be whipped around. The believers are by and large “mumbaygamikkumgovuthante, pimbegamikkumbahugokkal“ only. They are not inclined to change their set ways, beliefs and habits. In the secular Europe, Christianity is, by and large, irrelevant; it has very few takers. Its mainstay is parts of Africa and Asia; in Latin America it is on the retreat. The efforts of the respected well-meaning persons reminds me of a European’s observation on road markings in Kerala “what a waste of expensive paint”
Varghese Pamplanil 08/08/2017
From the report "101 Christian Intellectuals write to church leaders", the following points have emerged:
1. The Press Statement speaks of 101 Christian intellectuals. However, the list has only 100 names.
2. The background / brief credentials of some signatories is missing. What is their area of expertise?
3. The report does not say which newspapers published the PRESS STATEMENT dated 4th August 2017. There is a credibility gap.
4. Why are the 101 intellectuals and leaders so dependent on Church support instead of taking their thoughts to the masses? Jesus did so.
5. Does it mean the 101 leaders cannot stand on their own without the crutch of Church support? When Jesus spoke out his mind, he never took for institutional prop / support. He spoke on the strength of his conviction of Truth and Justice, which our 101-strong leaders are professing.
6. Direct appeal to the Church for leadership gives rise to a doubt about our 101 leaders' capabilities to hold on their own (as we can see some of them flounder during debates on National TV Channels) , even though the team of 101 consists of seven Advocates and several Human Rights and Social Activists.
7. The argument that the number of violent acts against Christians alone during the last 3 years (2014-2016) are over 600, needs to backed up by authentic statistics (locationwise/ statewise and yearwise).
8. Dr James Kottoor has rightly asked Dr John Dayal to furnish the contact details (phone numbers and email IDs) of the 101 leaders to send distress calls on the lines of Ham Radio. Leaders must be contactable and available to serve those whose cause they profess to take up.
9. There is an acute dearth of Christian leadership. We see the same leaders wearing different hats for different occasions, on most church committees. New leadership is not encouraged; dissenting voices are ostracised. The same leadership clings to top posts in church committees and in lay associations, through crony culture, to ensure vested interests.
10. Priority of our Christian leaders seems to be more on looking out for crisis situations than on building the community from the grass-roots level by promoting intensive method of spread of Education including Higher Education, Preventive Healthcare, Sanitation, Low-cost Housing and Safety Measures. Our Christian leaders/intellectuals lack skills on implementation of projects based on Sustainable Development Concept. Example: Lack of initiative to get funds from MPs for MPLAD Schemes for Local Community Development. The Government of India allots Rs 5 crore every year to each MP to sanction development work in his/her constituency.
The open letter by 101 senior Christian Intellectuals to the leadership of Churches in India in the context of multiple crimes against Christians and marginalized Dalits is commendable but it has come too late and too little.
In that letter, we see only the outcry on crimes mostly against Christians. They just ignored the great deal of hate crimes committed against the marginalized Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) by the upper castes. Besides what about the atrocious things done against Muslims and African students in India? Besides they have failed miserably to propose practical measures to arrest these crimes once and for all.
It is the duty of every Christian, being the follower of Jesus of Nazareth, to speak up against all hate crimes, not just the crimes against Christians only. Theirs is a belated attempt to wake up the irresponsible leadership of Church leaders as well as the political parties especially the ruling BJP.
Hate crimes represent an extreme form of prejudice and discrimination. In India, the untouchable castes and several tribal groups are victims of all sorts of maltreatment and hate crimes. They are economically backward and socially excluded with stigmatized identity. Additionally, these groups have been far too long victims of atrocities at the hands of the upper castes solely due to bias and contempt for the lowly placed.
All know for centuries, upper-caste Hindus have committed atrocities against lower-castes. Their animosity against religious minorities and lower castes usually take the form of rape of women, abuse by police personnel, mob killings, constant harassment, illegal land encroachments, forced evictions and so on. These instances are in blatant violation of the Indian constitution that upholds the ideal of equality among all citizens.
Mob violence has occurred in many parts of India, including attacks on Dalits suspected of illegally transporting cows, the killing of alleged child traffickers in Jharkhand, and the lynching of a police officer at a mosque in Kashmir. All these attacks are deplorable and seem to indicate a weakening of the rule of law. India’s justice system to prosecute criminals is literally ineffective.
The BJP’s campaign for cow protection appears to have emboldened the vigilante groups. It seems to me that they are operating in some cases with the tacit approval of state authorities. The Prime Minister’s office and the state authorities have done too little to show that they disapprove of the violence. The BJP leaders have ignored, or worse, even justified the attacks at times. It’s part of a broader strategy to make India a Hindu state.
India’s hyperactive, workaholic Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks of promoting India as a global hub for education. But hate-filled crimes and physical attacks on foreign students in various cities in India paints a most unattractive destination for them.
Their letter rightly said: “We, as Indian Christians, are concerned at the steady shift we see in our country from a pluralist, secular, democracy to a Hindu Rashtra.” But, unfortunately the letter falls short of addressing the atrocities committed against the lower castes by the upper castes. Though the Editor of CCV, Dr. James Kottoor rightly analyzed the letter as “a mixture of appeals, partly to Church leaders, partly to political leaders and partly a confession of Christian community’s failures”; to me the sleeping giant laity’s culpable inaction to raise their voice in the political domain is responsible for the greater failure of cowardly silence on the part of Church leaders.
Indian politicians were quick to vehemently criticize when a 32-year old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed by a 51-year old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton in Kansas, USA. Before shooting the officer was yelling at him “get out of my country” thinking that he was from the Middle East. Of course, it was a hate crime. His wife Sunayana Dumala asked:“Do we not belong here?” So what is the government going to do to stop hate crimes? Modi’s government needs to answer that same question: “Don’t we belong here? from those who are killed in India for no fault of their own.
Chacko Kalarickal, Detroit, 12/08/2017
Francis Mondal, 13/08/2017 at 7:57 am
Instead of utopian Press Releases / Memorandums, what our 101 Christian Intellectuals should do is implementation of:
- Sanitation (2) Preventive healthcare (3) Education including Professional Courses and (4) Low Cost Housing for all Christians.
After all we constitute only 2.5% (approx) of the Indian Population. Going by the adage "Think global, act local", addressing these issues locally at diocese and parish levels through structured database /mapping, should be the first priority of our intellectuals before they venture to take up larger national issues.
Dear Editor CCV,
In your article “101 Christian Intellectuals write to church leaders” you have promised the emails and phone numbers of all 101 Christian intellectuals. It has not come so far. I am waiting to write to some of them. When will you publish it?
I also would like to know who the organizer of this meeting, where was it held and who were the main speakers and the agenda etc. Hope CCV will publish the above mentioned details at the earliest. Thank you.
Chacko Kalarickal, Detroit"