“Only when the BJP comes into power will they persecute the Christians and the true Church in India will be born”: Late Fr. George Soares; Sj

Dr (Sr) Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ is not unknown to the readers of SILENT VOICE and she is regular contributor too. In this brief note, she has expressed her views, similar to most of the right thinking Christians have on their minds today.

GREG

Sr. Mudita & Donkey

Thank you dear Greg for raising pertinent questions. In this Holy season of lent, we must forgive as Christ our Guru would forgive. I remember with nostalgia the Late Fr George Soares SJ’s words way back in 1985- “Vote for the BJP”. We his students at JDV, Pune thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. He reiterated, “Only when the BJP come into power will they persecute the Christians and the true church in India will be born”. How True!

We are in for persecution. Let us pray for the grace to stand by our faith under all circumstances. This is what my faith has taught me.

However, I am also a citizen of secular India and I love my beloved country and all the stalwarts who have gone before me who lived secularism to the core and promoted it to the hilt e.g. Shivaji Maharaj was not against any religion. Hindus went to Sufi Darbars, while Muslim singers sang praises to Hindu deities. All lived in peace and harmony-Vasudhaiva kutumbakam- the whole world is one big family. If they could do it, why not we? we cannot let our GREAT country go to the dogs! If pushed to the wall, we Christians too may have to resort to some extreme steps e.g. closing down all Christian institutions – schools, colleges, hospitals etc. indefinitely, until justice is meted out to us too. Dear Prime Minister Mr Modi are you listening?

Dr (Sr) Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ

Rape of a Nun: Report from Kolkata;

Isaac Gomes is a regular contributor to SILENT VOICE, from Kolkata;

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Kolkata held a “Unity Rally” at Allen Park, Park Street on Monday 16th March 2015 in the evening to show its solidarity with the 72+ year old nun who was attacked and raped in Ranaghat in the early hours of Saturday 14th March.

However, the purpose of the Rally was highly diluted. Except for the Archbishop’s clear speech (in spite of early promises, the delivery by the Government was nothing concrete), we were not clear why we gathered there. Sunil Lucas’s (President SIGNIS India) speech that the assembly was called not to protest and not to demand anything from the government baffled all. So many including priests and nuns were aghast that he spoke on behalf of the Archdiocese of Calcutta in that tone of abject surrender. They questioned why were the people from all the churches in Calcutta called then? To show solidarity with the perpetrators of the crime?To embrace them into Catholic brotherhood? No wonder Christians are attacked again and again and even raped, nuns not excepted, whether it be the Park Street incident or Ranaghat! For they know Christians in India do not protest, cannot protect themselves and therefore turn the other cheek. While one of the Banners said “Rape is unacceptable, in Delhi, in Kolkata, in Ranaghat”, the speech of Sunil Lucas was a big letdown and stifled the voices of outspoken Kolkatans.

If the criminals are not brought to book, then Christians will always be soft targets and there would be numerous REPEAT of such ghastly acts. Exemplary punishment must be meted out to act as a DETERRENT.  Sadly the organisers DID NOT DEMAND this at the Rally. We sang, played the Guitar and the violin and burnt candles, much to the amusement of future culprits to plan out more assault and possibly rapes! Had it happened to our other minority community, one can imagine what would have happened.

It was also said that the hospitalised nun had forgotten all and forgiven the criminals. This would give Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee an excuse to call off the CID enquiry (now handed over to the CBI). She would say since the affected nun has forgiven the crime, there was no need to pursue the matter. She would give the sister and the Archbishop of Calcutta a big certificate praising Christianity, its power of forgiveness and its conviction in conversion of the heart! In the meantime, more such incidents of arson and rape will continue and we will keep on taking out Unity Rallies, sing songs, burn more candles and pray for conversion of the criminals’ heart! What a quixotic faith!

While there were messages like “Love and brotherhood”, “Let us be promoters of peace” etc. I wrote “Let us be self-reliant – teach our girls and women self-defence”.

One leader wrote: “May her soul rest in peace- Dona Dixon”! The sister was packed to her heavenly abode before her time!! When we pointed out, she told one of her followers to pen through REST IN PEACE.

The report is that the criminals have fled into Bangladesh and it would be very difficult for the government to catch them. We must remember Law and Order is a state subject. The present government has utterly failed in this in spite of having CCTV footage and is trying for alibis like GharWapasi.

What we are not realising is this kind of heinous crime can take place anywhere, in your house, in my house and my neighbour’s house. These are not minority-related per se. Instead of calling Protest Rallies, the Indian Church both at the local  and national levels must seriously deliberate on strategies to beef up our security system and strengthen ourselves, by taking help of retired IPS officers Julio Ribeiro, Harris James and people like him) without blindly depending on the government.

As an immediate measure, we may contact Sister Nirmalini (immaculate), Principal of Carmel Convent School, New Delhi, who received the Best Teacher’s Award in Delhi, on September 5, 2014, the day observed as the national Teachers Day. Much before the sad incident of the Nirbhaya case in Delhi in December 2012 that shook the conscience of the nation, Sr. Nirmalini had introduced in her all girls’ school, “Mission Prahar (attack),” as a self-defense technique course in the school.

If a nun (one in the same profession as the 72+ year old nun of Ranaghat) in Delhi can propagate (evangelize) self-defence and self-esteem among girls, I do not see why Christians of Kolkata or for that matter other parts of India cannot make use of the expertise of the inimitable and indomitable Sister Nirmalini!.

Because of her “Mission Prahar (attack),” Sr. Nirmalini is in great demand to conduct seminars for principals and school teachers, one programme having been conducted for the all-male Jesuit School Principals of North West region.

LET US REMEMBER STRENGTH COMES FROM WITHIN, NOT WITHOUT.I am sure Daniels (Daniel 5:14)MrJulio Ribeiro and MrHarris James won’t disagree.

 

Isaac Gomes

Member – ICPA

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Student speaks for her Teacher; the Nun who was Raped;

Many of our Non Christian luminaries, who have been appearing on Page Three every now and then; Most of them are products of various Christian institutions. Was there any attempt to convert them? Why are they silent on this charade started by Sangha Parivar, which is detrimental to the progress of our Country? When will they speak up like Farah Baria and Meghna Pant did?…………….GREG;

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THE NUN WHO WAS RAPED WAS MY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL

By Farah Baria

 

Sister was a quiet, soft-spoken, gentle soul, with nerves of finely tempered steel. She was not like a principal at all: Slightly built and almost ethereal. She would glide down our school corridors in her spotless white habit to stand silently outside a noisy classroom until the chattering died down. No admonitions were necessary. We were simply given the space to examine our own behaviour, and correct it.

Ours was a secular, democratic school. We elected our head girl and house captains by secret ballot. Both students and teachers could take their complaints to the principal’s office and be heard with equal fairness. She would rebuke us for our impertinence, then discreetly call in the teacher and encourage her to review her approach.

Back then, the morning prayer was followed by the national anthem. On Fridays, while the Catholic girls went for choir, the rest of us were taught bhajans and regaled with stories of Lord Krishna. In our class of 40 girls, barely a fifth were Catholic; the rest mostly Hindu, with some Muslims, and a couple of Parsis. By serving you, we are serving Him, the nuns used to say.

For Sister, that unswerving faith was put to the test last Sabbath.

Who would rape a 71-year-old nun? And why? The answers are as disturbing as the questions. Rape in this country has become so frighteningly banal that girls in short skirts and an elderly nun wearing a cross are equal targets: Both, it seems, violate our neo-Vedantic sensibilities.

Perhaps this also explains the official catatonia. Following the rape, not a single union minister condemned the incident, until growing public ire required a response. Worse, this cowardly crime is the latest in a series of attacks on Christian institutions in our country. This is ironic because while Catholics constitute barely two per cent of our population, we have over 14,539 Catholic schools and colleges, second only to government-run institutions. And in towns and villages across India, a convent education is still the most coveted.

Maybe it’s time for our Sisters to stop being taken for granted. Maybe it’s time for every Catholic school, college and hospital in the country to protest against this senseless bigotry by closing down indefinitely; or at least until the powers that be wake up and find they have nowhere better to educate their children. Maybe it’s time to let India acknowledge her debt to the countless nuns and priests who work selflessly to offer education, healthcare and social services where the Government has failed for over 70 years.

But Sister, of course, won’t hear of it. Forgive them, she pleads for her assaulters; they know not what they do. Christianity in India is alive and well.

Archbishop of Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias addresses the concerns of the Christians

MOTHER TERESA: is she the Catalist for Downtrend of Hindutva Brigade?

So many voices seems to be coming out in condemnation of activities of proponent of extreme Hindutva, the RSS. Sooner Mr. Modi realises this, better it is for his Government. BJP has not won the elections because RSS supported it (Only 31% of Votes Polled) but the entire right thinking population, including Christians and Muslims, ignoring its communal agenda, voted for BJP.  They voted for Mr. Modi’s Call for GOOD GOVERNANCE, which seems to have been put in cold storage, after winning the election.
This is the opportunity for Mr. Narendra Modi’s BJP to snap the shackles of RSS and free itself to govern the country blissfully; rather than sink with RSS as the trend suggests.
GREG
Mar 20 2015 : Mirror (Mumbai)
BY INVITATION – Hinduvta’s killing Hinduism
 MEGHNA  PANT PIC
Why Hindu extremists must stop the mindless violence against Christians in India now;

In 2010 I visited The Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata to pay homage at Mother Teresa’s tomb. Along the road towards the building were swarms of the sick, disabled, disfigured, the mentally ill, the aged, and the homeless.A leper put his hand out. I took a coin from my purse. I meant to place it on his outstretched palm. But on leaning over, I cringed. I try to be kind, each day a little more, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t touch him. So I tossed the coin in his direction, avoided his reddened eyes and quickly walked away in shame.

I entered the Mother Teresa’s sober tomb and my shame worsened. While I shuddered at the thought of touching a leper, she had embraced those with the disease. She had given shelter to hundreds of destitute while living in austerity that was in deep disproportion to her fame. Only a person in possession of a great sense of service to others could have spent her entire life like this.

Five years later, RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat claimed that the primary objective of Mother Theresa’s missionary work was conversion.

Three weeks later a 71-year-old nun of a convent school was gang-raped near Kolkata by six men. It was one of India’s most shameful moments.

I have spent a big portion of my life around Christians.My school, Villa Theresa, was Roman Catholic and St Xavier’s, where I went for college, was run by Indian Jesuits. We sang `Jana Gana Mana’ in the morning, followed by The Lord’s Prayer. We went to the school church and sat on the pews listening in rapture to stories about Saint Francis of Assisi and Shivaji.We prayed to Lord Jesus and we prayed to Lord Shiva. Diversity was a way of life, not an effort at brainwashing or conversion.

The Christians in India are a small minority. At 2.5 per cent of the total population, they are significantly smaller than other minorities, like say the Muslims who are 14 per cent of our populace. And even in those small numbers, they have given India its most prized asset: Education.

And what is India giving back to them?
In recent months many acts of violence have taken place against the Christian community, including burning of churches, re-conversion of Christians to Hinduism by force, distribution of threatening literature, and defacement of Bibles. This week, around the same time as the nun was raped, a cross at a church in Haryana was forcibly replaced with a Hanuman idol.

The ongoing violence is a matter of great national shame, especially in our country that has a history of tolerance.Worse still, most of it is politically motivated. According to media reports, much of it stems from fringe elements of Hindu organisations such as the Bajrang Dal, Vishva Hindu Parishad, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. They’re doing this to avenge Christian missionaries and their alleged `aggressive conversion drives’ which they think have forced good Hindus to covert.

Forced conversions? Look at our population figure. Does it look like we’re running out of Hindus? Read our law. Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Conversion is an individual choice. If a person wants to convert their religion, their shoes, their refrigerator, it is their choice. It is not the business of the state to check whether someone is spreading their mat or crossing their heart or ringing a bell.

Yet, since December 2014 the VHP and RSS have been conducting re-conversion ceremonies of Christians to Hindus for their ghar wapsi (homecomings) campaign, and attacks on Christian institutions are becoming more frequent.

Instead of leading by violence, the first call of the weak-minded, why don’t fanatics lead by example? Make Hinduism a religion that attracts those in need of faith.Instead of disparaging dead saints and denigrating charitable work for the poor, look after your people by providing basic education, decent living conditions and selfless service to those in need.

These extremists are emboldened because they expect Christians not to react.After all, Christians in India are generally viewed as a peace-loving community. Christians don’t regularly attack our temples, bomb our malls or rape our women.

But against the power of evil, even the good fold into a Faustian pact. If such attacks continue then at some point the Christian community will react. At some point they will snap. Julio Ribeiro tells us that they’re already feeling under siege. So what will they do? It will be sad if Christians also become the bad guys. It will be shocking if Christians also start seeing violence as necessary in the name of a higher good. It will be even worse if they take back what they’ve given so generously to our nation: Their educational institutions that shape the brightest minds in India and give the youth a moral rudder, and their charitable institutions that provide selfless service to the needy. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Prime minister Modi, the finest thinkers of our nation have said attacks on Christians increase each time your party rises to power; back in 2003 and again since 2014.

You remember what it’s like when your government is accused of allowing sectarian violence, religious intolerance and bloodshed to spread?
We are happy that you are finally speaking out against these acts of religious fanaticism. We know that you are as concerned about extremism as we are. But that is not enough. You have to do something to stem the violence. You have to take punitive action. You have to stop the aggressors.

Don’t let this unconverted Hindu woman be shamed in front of her Christian friends. Don’t let the rights of religious minorities in our predominantly Hindu country be forsaken.

Stop this madness now.

If not you, Mr Modi, then who?
Meghna Pant is an award-winning author, journalist and columnist.

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