Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

CBCI Statement 2018

CBCI held its biannual General Body Meeting on 2-9 February 2018 at St. John’s Medical College Campus and issued a statement.
The statement mentions nation-building. Nation-building is not the job of bishops.
There have been attacks on Christian institutions and communities before. Christians should be able to defend themselves.
The statement mentions “Human life of every individual person in our beloved motherland needs to be valued and defended.” Bishops are wrong on that. Those who commit murders and other high crimes should be executed. It is a tragedy that rapists and murderers of Jyoti Singh Pandey are still alive. They should have been hanged long back. So are many other criminals. Criminals laugh. Victims cry. Some victims commit suicide. The maximum penalty is death by hanging. We should change the law so that criminals like rapists and murderers of Jyoti Singh Pandey are drawn, disembowelled, entrails burnt, hanged, beheaded and quartered.
It is foolish to show mercy to evil persons. Showing mercy to criminals is unfair to victims.
Jesus Christ did not show mercy to merchants and money changers at the Temple. St. Peter did not show mercy to Ananias and Saphira.
Works of charity are different from works of mercy. Mother Teresa was a Missionary of Charity, not a Missionary of Mercy.
Strange is the call of CBCI to establish a truly secular, socialist and democratic nation as is enshrined in the Constitution of India. The Constitution did not have the words secular and socialist in its preamble when it was adopted on 26 November 1949. The words were added by 42nd amendment in 1976. Freedom of Religion will be under attack if the country becomes truly secular. Christians will face problems. Socialism has resulted in poor becoming poorer.
What is the use of dialogue across religious boundaries? Both sides will continue to hold the same positions they held before.
Ecumenism can serve limited purpose. Differences between Catholics and Protestants are deep. Differences between Catholics and Orthodox are many. Orthodox do not have dogma of Immaculate Conception. They do not believe in purgatory.
There is talk of empowerment of Dalits, Tribal, Other Backward Classes and relief and welfare of farmers, fisher folk, migrants and other deprived and exploited communities. Jesus Christ said “Seek you first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Ecology is separate from Christianity and spirituality.
No need to worry about plight of criminals in prison. Worry about the plight of victims.
CBCI wants to ensure transparency in all spheres of Church’s administration. Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly is accused of corruption in a land deal, by priests and lay people. There are complaints to pope and police.
The theme of the meeting was “United in Diversity for a Mission of Mercy and Witness: ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age’.” (Mt 28:20). The statement talks of evangelisation and quotes Evangelii Nuntiandi and Evangelii Gaudium but does not mention the relevant verse: “Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt 28:19).

Pakistani artistes

Babul Supriyo wants Bollywood to ban Pakistani artistes. The occasion a press conference. Producer Vashu Bhagnani, whose film ‘Welcome to New York’ features a song by Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was present. He said “As an artiste I do feel that there are no boundaries to art. But having said that I feel when our soldiers are dying at the border, I think the rhetoric that tensions between India and Pakistan can be solved through cricket and music cannot be applicable for sometime. In Cricket, we are not allowing Pakistan cricketers to play in the premier league. And I think the Bollywood, which is a strong medium in itself, should take a stand as well on this issue. During the time of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, I took a stand in support of the makers and had to face a lot wrath for that. I had said that the film has been made and should not be obstructed because our Indian producers will face the losses. I stand by my fraternity. But right now, it is time that we show restraint when it comes to using Pakistani artistes in Bollywood.”

Vashu Bhagnani said “We made this song around 8-9 months ago. Now the film is releasing the day after tomorrow. We want to remove this song because for us the country and our soldiers come first. But still we cannot do anything as the film is releasing this Friday.”

Babul Supriyo is a BJP MP. He is Minister of State for Heavy Industries in Union Cabinet. He should ask External Affairs Ministry to stop issuing visas to Pakistanis. He should talk to PM and his colleagues in the cabinet to issue directions to stop working with Pakistanis. Some people do not support ban on Pakistani artistes. They get business from Pakistan.

If Bollywood bans Pakistani artistes, Pakistanis can ban Indian films. Many Bollywood films are released in Pakistan. Producers will lose. Pakistanis will watch those films on DVDs or torrent sites. Padmaavat was released in Pakistan without any controversy. Udta Punjab had cuts similar to CBFC cuts. Bombay High Court restores cuts except one. In Pakistan no one went to court against cuts.

Our soldiers continue to die in Kashmir. They are targets of stone pelters. Attacks from Pakistan continue. J&K Government, of which BJP is a part, decided to pardon stone pelters. If the BJP claims it was CM Mehbooba Sayeed’s decision and they had no role in it, they should quit the government.

Modi Government has not withdrawn Most Favoured Nation given to Pakistan. Talks with Pakistan continue in third countries and they do not get much publicity. When BJP was in opposition it used to say “Terror and talks do not go together.” Meanwhile in Pakistan, Supreme Court first removed Nawaz Sharif as PM, and now as PMN-L President.

Mother tongue instruction

There are people who say children should be taught in their mother tongue. Many of them send their children to English medium schools. Mother tongue instruction is for ordinary children. English instruction is for their children.
India is a country of many languages. It is not possible for each child to have instruction in its mother tongue. As per census 2001, 60 languages were spoken by 1,00,000 or more people. As per census 2011, 122 languages were spoken by 1,00,000 or more people. Total number of languages spoken in India varies from 780 t0 1,652. There are 66 scripts in India. Some mother tongues considered languages by some are considered dialects by others.
Some states have made learning state language compulsory. Some states want state language as medium of instruction. Many parents want their children to attend English medium schools. In colleges medium of instruction is mostly English. Students from vernacular mediums find switch to English medium difficult. Job prospects are bleak for those who have college education in state language.
Students who have mother tongue different from state language are unable to have education in their mother tongue. In big cities it is not possible to have instruction to each child in its mother tongue. In a class there can be 50 students each with a different mother tongue. In Bombay there were many Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi, Urdu and other language schools. Their number has come down over the years.
Many go abroad for jobs. Many get jobs in information technology sector due to knowledge of English. Job is important.
It is good to observe 21 February as International Mother Language Day. However most people do not have their mother tongue as medium of instruction and many of those who have opt for English. In many families English has become mother tongue.

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