Why not Charity Begin at Home? (Part II) By Fr. Anand Muttungal

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Communal violence has been a burning problem faced by Christians in many North Indian States but it remained un-addressed for years. The anti-Muslim riots in 1992 united the Muslims to face the fanatics. The increased violence in Southern states and prolonged violence in Khandmal, Orissa has made the Church to think seriously on this issue.
The worry of the Church is expressed in the report red out in the 29th Plenary General Assembly of CBCI in Guwati. It reads, ‘attacks against Christians have taken place in several states….. Even more villainous was the malicious damage to human relations with a systematic campaign that tried to divide communities. What shocked Church leaders and others was that areas they thought were safe from the antagonism of fundamentalist groups also experienced violence….’ It has become a political issue that began to be at the centre of Christians all over India .
The extent of violence unlashed by the fundamental organizations is indefinable. They got their supporters into most political parties, media, Government structures, Private sectors, religious establishments, NGOs etc. They implement their plan of Hindu Rashtra through them. They have not only physically attacked the community but also at all levels like delaying the files of Christians in the Government offices, malicious propaganda in the media etc. are part of the vicious circle created by the fundamentalists. They have succeeded in creating a general notion among the people that all Christian activities are aimed at religious conversion. People began to suspect their activities in the villages where they had good relations. The more dangerous ideology fundamentalists coined of late is the equation of Hindutva with nationalism and religious conversion is being seen as attacks against Indian Nationalism and Cultural Nationalism. In short they are spreading the ideology that to be an Indian and Nationalistic one needs to be a Hindu. Every one against this ideology is considered an enemy of the Country. It is the deadliest form of fundamentalism akin to Nazism.
The CBCI has set up a Special Committee to study the communal situation in the country and propose concrete action plan. The latest working paper prepared by this Special Committee has amply highlighted the existing situation in the country. It proposes a core team with intellectual capacity, an effective media team, research and documentation cell, networking with different Church organizations and NGOs, encourage inter-faith dialogue and an effective crisis management team. It has made a very practical strategy to deal with the hard pressing problem of the Christian community face in the country. After proposing an effective strategy it puts us into utmost disappointment in one line that “without financial support no action will take off.” One might ask why do we waste time in discussing such serious matters without any pre plan to find sufficient resource to implement them. A deep reflection would reveal that it is the way the Church works, everybody’s work is nobody’s work.
The Christian community has maximum full time personal involved in the social sector. It has to lunch a nationwide de-communalisation programmes. All its energy and resources be directed towards this one point agenda. It needs to get allied with all such organizations working in this field. It is not a task that can be taken up alone but a joint venture headed by its dedicated members across the country. It would be a right act of charity to the survival of missions in the remotest parts of India . I quote the statement of a nun who met the Chief Minister of M.P, “Every sunrise we are happy to believe that we are alive but every sunset we do not know whether we will see the sunrise.” It is the feeling of many Christians in the missions. Therefore, it is the right time that all our resources are directed towards peace building in the country. Probably it is fitting to say let us reflect on the great saying,” CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME”.

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