Bishops and CAA

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded to you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (RSV –Mt. 28/18-20).
Some bishops have forgotten their mission. They engage in politics. Call to oppose CAA is a political decision. It was wrong for Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta and Bishop Paul Antony Mullassery of Kollam to ask Catholics to read the Preamble after mass on Sunday 26 January 2020.
The Preamble has the words SOCIALST SECULAR which were not there when Constitution was adopted on 26/11/1949. They were inserted by 42nd Amendment which came into effect on 3/1/1977. Strange that bishops want India to be a secular country instead of a Christian country. CAA is not against Christians of India or abroad. It is not against Indian Muslims.
Some bishops want to please Muslims and for that they will do anything. Professor T. J. Joseph’s hand was cut off by some Muslim criminals on 4/7/2010. Bishop Mar George Punnakottil of Kothamangalam did not condemn the attack on Joseph. He was sacked from Newman College and was not reinstated despite his acquittal in a case of causing communal hatred. His wife Salomy committed suicide. After that Joseph was reinstated when one day was left to retire. This is a dark chapter in church history.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are Islamic states. One has to be a Muslim to be a President or Prime Minister or hold many offices in these countries. In Afghanistan some years back a Christian became a Muslim. He was condemned to death. Due to opposition by some countries he was declared insane and allowed to go abroad. In Pakistan, Christians face persecution. Many are falsely accused of blasphemy and are in jail. When Asia Bibi’s life was in danger no bishop said she should be given asylum in India.
Christians and Muslims have long history of wars. Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Syria, Turkey and Albania were Christian territories which Muslims conquered. Christians fought Crusades with Muslims. Battle of Tours in 732, Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and Battle of Vienna in 1683 halted Muslims advances in Europe. Daesh and Boko Haram persecute Christians.
In West Bengal it is TMC Government headed by Mamata Banerjee. In Kerala it is Left Front Government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan. When political situation changes there can be trouble for Christians in West Bengal and Kerala.

70 Years of Republic

India has undergone many changes since it became a Republic on 26/1/1950; some major, some minor.
India’s borders have changed. Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe, Yanam, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Goa, Diu, Daman and Sikkim became parts of India. India lost some territory to China though India’s official map does not show that.
States Re-organisation took place on 1/11/1956. Before that India had states in Parts A, B, C and Territories in Part D of First Schedule of India’s Constitution. Distinction between states disappeared and Union Territories were introduced. States like Hyderabad, Coorg, Cutch, Bhopal, Ajmer, Madhya Bharat, PEPSU, Travancore-Cochin and Vindhya Pradesh disappeared. States like Delhi, Manipur, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh became Union Territories. On 1/5/1960 Bombay was split into Gujarat and Maharashtra.
New States like Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Jharkhand and Telangana came into existence later on. Some Union Territories became states. Some states had name changes. Madras became Tamil Nadu. Mysore became Karnataka.
Jammu & Kashmir was split into two Union Territories; 1) Jammu & Kashmir 2) Ladakh.
Cities had name changes. Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Baroda, Poona, Calicut, Trivandrum, Allahabad and some other cities changed names.
Roads had name changes. Esplanade Road, Churchgate Street, Lamington Road, Mount Road, Cathedral Road, Allenby Road, Baird Road, Curzon Road, Dalhousie Road, Minto Road, Reading Road and many other roads changed names.
Many buildings, museums and gardens changed names.
When India became independent one American dollar was equal to3.36 rupees, on 26/1/1950 it was 4.76 rupees, on 6/6/1966 it was 7.50 rupees, now it is around 72 rupees.
On 26/1/1950 India’s President’s salary was Rs.10,000/- p.m. Now it is Rs.5,00,000/-. Similarly salaries of Vice President, Governors, judges, MPs, MLAs and others have gone up. That shows how much inflation has been there.
In 70 years Constitution was amended more than hundred times. Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill was the last amendment. It is said to be 104th amendment as some amendment bills were not passed. 42nd Amendment inserted the words SOCIALIST SECULAR in the Preamble.
Constitution had 8 Schedules. Now it has 12.
There were 14 languages in 8th Schedule. Now there are 22.
India did not have television in 1950. The number of TV channels telecast in India is said to be more than 1,000 including Indian and foreign channels.
India has progressed in computers and telecommunications. Cars, phones, fridges, washing machines are common.
India’s judicial system has become slow. Most people get date after date and no justice.
In sports India needs to do better.
Films and TV serials are plenty. Serials on historical persons have more fiction than fact.

Right to Internet

Supreme Court on 10/1/2020 ruled that access to internet is constitutionally protected under Article 19 of the Constitution which deals with Fundamental Right for protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc. The judgement was in response to two petitions against Union of India. One was by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times. Another was by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress leader. Justice Nutalapati Venkata Ramana is the author of the judgment. Justices Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy and Bhushan Ramakrishna Gavai were other justices of the bench.
The judgment begins with an introduction which has a quotation from Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,… in short the period was so much like present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Internet in Kashmir was discontinued on 4/8/2019. It was expected to be restored after a few days. That did not happen. Months passed.
After that there was internet suspension in some parts of India due to anti-CAA protests. This did not last beyond a few days.
In Western countries there was concern about internet suspension and other restrictions in Kashmir. China was happy and sided with India saying this is what sovereign countries do.
Internet is a tool for speech and expression and for trade and commerce. Internet shutdown affects communication and business. Terrorists also use internet. Banning internet to prevent terrorists from using it affects large number of innocent people.
Supreme Court has ruled that an order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017. Suspension can be utilized for temporary duration only.