Jocelyn Britto

On Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 2:39 AM, Goanet Reader <>

> Many social problems exist in India, but, above all, is the
> rising communal violence
> Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao
> As I listened to the various speakers [from different faiths
> and sections of our society], Mahatma Gandhi's description of
> the seven deadly social sins came to my mind. The Father of
> the Nation named these as the seven deadly sins: "Wealth
> Without Work; Pleasure Without Conscience; Knowledge Without
> Character; Commerce Without Morality (or, rather, Business
> without Ethics); Science Without Humanity; Religion Without
> Sacrifice; and Politics Without Principle."
> I thank the speakers for the passion and love for the
> country with which they delivered their speeches. Indeed,
> they have highlighted that our beloved country is built on
> diversity, tolerance and communal harmony and that the only
> way it can continue to exist and progress is not simply by
> maintaining these time-tested values, but, in fact, by
> proactively fostering and strengthening these attitudes among
> the people of India, across the divides of religion, creed,
> region or language.
> We must admit that the 'deadly social sins' mentioned by the
> great Mahatma are to be found in countries all over the world
> and quite pronouncedly in our own, beloved India.
>           There are many social problems existing in our
>           society which stand as stumbling blocks in the way
>           to development: poverty, unemployment, pollution,
>           regionalism, illiteracy, criminality, violence
>           against women, drug trafficking, child marriage,
>           corruption and various other challenges that are
>           posing a threat to the nation's development and
>           unity. But above all these social menaces, the
>           rising communal violence in India is emerging to be
>           the most dangerous of all social distrusts.
> Mahatma Gandhi realized the damage which communalism could
> cause and attended to the problem with the seriousness it
> demanded. He regarded the abolition of communal disharmony
> and the ensuing Hindu-Muslim unity as the essential
> pre-requisite for the Swaraj.
> Right from his early public life, Gandhi kept alive the idea
> of communal unity. He lived in South Africa for twenty years
> in the midst of Muslims, who treated him as a member of the
> family. Realizing the lack of unity between Hindus and
> 'Mussalmans' in South Africa, he said, "I had realized early
> enough in South Africa that there was no genuine friendship
> between the Hindus and the Mussalmans. I never missed a
> single opportunity to remove the obstacles in the way of
> unity" (M K Gandhi, An Autobiography or the Story of My
> Experiments with Truth, Navajivan Publishing House,
> Ahmedabad, 1927, p. 341).
> Our dear Pope Francis has placed culture in a very beautiful
> light: "A culture is strengthened by its openness and its
> exchange of views with other cultures, as long as it has a
> clear and mature awareness of its own principles and values.
> I, therefore, encourage professors and students to experience
> the University as an environment of true dialogue, which
> neither flattens nor intensifies diversity but opens to
> a constructive comparison. We are called to understand and
> appreciate the values of others, overcoming the temptation of
> indifference and fear. Never be afraid of an encounter, of
> dialogue, of debate!" (Address of Pope Francis to "Roma Tre"
> University, February 17, 2017).
>           Down the ages, India has been a rich and beautiful
>           mosaic, a confluence of many religions, races,
>           tribes and ethnic communities, having different
>           cultures, languages, scripts, customs, cuisine and
>           living styles, with very long ancient historical
>           traditions. Here Hindus, Muslims, Christians,
>           Buddhists, Jains, tribals, Jews and men and women
>           of every religion, language, belief and conviction
>           have, to a large extent, lived together in
>           exemplary harmony and tolerance.
> The world looks with awe at India's wonderfully diverse and
> plural society. The composite culture of India owes its
> existence not to one single community, race, tribe or
> religion, but to an intricate collage of varied influences,
> resulting in a way of life that has been crafted by an
> intermingling of cultures and peoples over the centuries.
> May I use the words of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, who, in
> his poetic style, tells us: "The highest education is that
> which does not merely give us information but makes our life
> in harmony with all existence. Melody and harmony are like
> lines and colours in pictures. A simple linear picture may be
> completely beautiful; the introduction of colour may make it
> vague and insignificant. Yet colour may, by combination with
> lines, create great pictures, as long as it does not smother
> and destroy their value. Life’s errors cry for the merciful
> beauty that can modulate their isolation into a harmony with
> the whole ... Life is given to us, we earn it by giving it.
> Let the dead have the immortality of fame, but the living the
> immortality of love" (Rabindranath Tagore, Mohit Kumar Ray
> (2007). "Poems", p.588, Atlantic Publishers & Dist).
> Modern India is truly a wondrous entity. It is a bouquet of
> variegated flowers, a mosaic of multiple colours. The idea of
> India could be continued because of the conscious acceptance
> of pluralism by the leaders of India's freedom movement and
> of the post-Independence period.
> In 1947, many had predicted that the immense diversities
> would be fatal contradictions; and that, unable to withstand
> divisive pressures, the union and the nation would collapse.
> But the unprecedented pluralism delicately nurtured and
> fostered by the constitutional ethos became the strength of
> the body politic and, seven decades later, we are still a
> vibrant democracy, the largest in the world, politically
> united, geographically integrated and administratively
> cohesive.
> Despite occasional hiccups and hurdles of riots and communal
> tensions and polarisation, the cross-currents of a genuinely
> plural society have powered the creative energy, enterprise
> and egalitarianism which have taken Indian society far ahead
> of the conditions prevailing here when the British left
> India. This diversity has been successfully sustained by
> democratic governance, right from the village-level to the
> national level and by the values incorporated in the
> Constitution of India.
> Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was convinced of the workability of
> the Constitution. Speaking after the completion of his work,
> the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee told the
> Parliament: "I feel that the Constitution is workable; it is
> flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country
> together, both in peacetime and in wartime. Indeed, if I may
> say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the
> reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we
> will have to say is that Man was vile."
>           In recent times, the idea of India, with its
>           strongest pillars of diversity and pluralism, is
>           being threatened by several emerging trends: (1)
>           the emergence of both majoritarian hegemony and the
>           growth of terror and extremism engendered by the
>           growth of exclusivist religious fundamentalism, (2)
>           the climate of fear created by movements deriding
>           constitutional morality and constitutional ethics
>           (3) the threat of neo-liberal corporate dominance
>           with the rise of inequality and poverty, (4) the
>           threat of discrimination and violence due to
>           conflicts based on caste, class, gender, religion
>           and ethnicities, (5) ecological and natural
>           disasters due to rampant pollution and
>           over-exploitation of natural resources, and (6)
>           subtle and open attacks on the already marginalised
>           tribal and Dalit populations.
> The Catholic Church, along with the Bharatiya Sarva Dharma
> Sansad, wishes to bring all men and women of good will
> together for collective action to preserve and further social
> harmony. We believe that all of us, intellectuals, spiritual
> leaders, men and women from all sections of society, can
> unleash a positive energy that can lead our country towards
> an inclusive integral human development. To achieve this we
> need, all of us together, to walk the talk that we are having
> today and will be having in the days to come, in order to
> promote communal harmony and dialogue, irrespective of
> whatever differences in ideology and perspectives we may have.
> I am glad that the meeting in Goa organized by the Catholic
> Bishops' Conference of India and the Fr. Agnel Region of the
> Pilar Society, along with the Bharatiya Sarva Dharma Sansad,
> wishes to address the youth to look forward towards this goal
> and to move forward towards a continuous dialogue, promoting
> a strong social bonding and harmony among the people of our
> Country.
> May God bless us and may God bless India.
> Jai Hind!
> --
> The above is an extract from the address of Archbishop Filipe
> Neri Ferrao at the public meeting for Collective Action for
> Dialogue and Social Harmony, organized by the Catholic
> Bishops' Conference of India in collaboration with the Agnel
> Region of the Society of Pilar (Ravindra Bhavan, Margão, on
> April 5, 2018)

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