Christians are politically neglected: NCCI


Christians in India have not been included in the mainstream political discourse despite substantial contributions to society, a national council of Protestant churches said.

“Some people still think we are not Indians…. Christians are not present in the political discourse of mainstream parties today. Despite helping give the country some of the finest schools, colleges and hospitals, our efforts in nation-building and contributions towards society have been overlooked,” said Bishop Taranath S. Sagar, president of the National Council of Churches in India.

Kicking off its year-long centenary celebrations from Calcutta on Sunday, the council also referred to the Bengal government’s decision to provide doles to Muslim clerics.

“If the government is handing honorariums to Muslim clerics, I would request the chief minister to also extend the honorariums to Christians as well. This act (giving doles to one particular community) is simply pleasing a section of society for votes,” Bishop Sagar said in response to a question after a news conference at Calcutta Boys’ School in the afternoon.

The Mamata Banerjee government gives an honorarium of Rs 2,500 a month to imams and Rs 1,000 a month to muezzins in Bengal.

The council is an ecumenical body of 30 Protestant and Orthodox churches across India and a slew of Christian councils and organisations.

It is the second largest body of churches in the country and includes the Church of North India and Church of South India as member churches. Nearly 50 per cent, about 12 million of the total Christian population of 25 million in India, are Protestants.

Calcutta was chosen as the first stop in a series of countrywide celebrations because on February 2, 1914, it was at the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) building on S.N. Banerjee Road that the body held its first meeting and formed a council.

The celebrations will move to Aizawl, Hyderabad and Mumbai among other cities in the coming months and culminate at the headquarters in Nagpur in November.

As the centenary year coincides with the Lok Sabha polls, the council articulated its concerns. The existing political establishment, it felt, had failed to acknowledge or address the needs and aspirations of the Christian community and largely overlooked its contributions to the nation.

Source: The Telegraph

Kolkata ,NCCI ,Protestant Churches ,Bishop Taranath Sagar ,Lok Sabha Polls


  1. dmelloalex said,

    February 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    As a community, we ourselves are responsible for this mess. Our finest institutions are meant for other communities who get the best education and our children go to Hotel management. Unless this trend changes I do not see any hope for the community. As far as honorarium to clerics is concerned, it’s tax payers’ money and should not be utilised for the benefit any one or two communities. Bengal govt should withdraw this facility.


  2. February 5, 2014 at 5:03 am

    Perhaps because of the teaching of JESUS ” offer the other cheek “, we Christians are considered cowards and also those who are alien to the ethos and culture of India.
    Some may consider us to be a confused lot; what with our clergy trying to appease local sentiment, and incorporating various local rituals into our religious rites and ceremonies. This so called modernisation of our rituals is talked of as being in sync with our surroundings, and perhaps the need of the day.
    I do not agree with this, since I feel it is not Indianisation of our rites and practices, but the silly thoughts of some who are considered wise; it seems more the Hinduisation of our religion.
    We are unique, and the constitution of our great country allows us to practice our religion without fear or the necessity of diluting our rituals.
    Whilst I accept that the Hindu religion is much, much older than Christianity, with many followers, hence must definitely be founded on good triumphs over evil.
    But we are Christians, and in order to seem to fit in, there is no need to Hinduise our religious rites.
    This must be clearly brought out.
    Christians are NOT anti Indian; we are Indians for longer than we are Christians ( the forty days longer, till we are officially baptised )


  3. isaacgomes said,

    February 11, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Reference honorarium of Rs 2,500 a month to imams and Rs 1,000 a month to muezzins in Bengal, Bishop Taranath S. Sagar’s, president of the National Council of Churches in India,request to the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to extend the honorariums to Christians as well is ABSOLUTELY VALID.

    His comment that this act (giving doles to one particular community) is simply pleasing a section of society for votes,” is 100% correct. As per West Bengal Government’s admission, this community comprises almost 30% of West Bengal’s population. One wonders how it calls itself a minority at least in West Bengal! The only solution to make Christian Community count is to go in for “go and multiply”, somewhat on the lines of Germany which encourages large families under government sponsorship. In our case, the funding for this number game has to be done by the Church and the laity. Otherwise, Christians which constitute roughly 2.5% of the Indian population, will be decimated like the Jews and the Parsis in India.

    Reference may be made to the following email I sent to Eugene Gonsalves, President of Catholic Association of Bengal and VP of All India Catholic Union, in this connection.

    Subject: Big Announcement by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday on Various payouts to Maulavis
    Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2012 07:42:14 +0000

    Dear Eugene,

    You must have heard and seen on the TV yesterday evening the news item on Announcement of a number of schemes for Maulavis (about 30,000 in West Bengal).

    To begin with, the scheme talks of a stipend of Rs 2,500/- (Rupees Two Thousand Five Hundred Only) every month. The payout starts from 14th April i.e. the Bengali New Year Day. This means there will be a cost of Rs 7,50,00,000 (Rupees Seven Crore and Fifty Lac Only) per month to the state exchequer. This amount will go up as many more will become Maulavis overnight to get a share of pie!

    On top of it there are also other sops like virtually free education for the children of the Maulavis. There are also other promises e.g. housing grants and many other facilities. This will entail additional costs over and above the Rs 7,50,00,000.

    Since assuming power, Ms Mamata Banerjee has been talking of taking very special care of only one section of the Minority Community whereas both she and the Centre are supposed to look after the interests of all Minotority Communities. She has even built a state of art Haj Pilgrimage Building at Rajarhat (inaugurated in February 2012).

    As a member of Catholic Association of Bengal (CAB), I have a few points which you, as CAB President and Board Member (National Vice President) of All India Catholic Union, may take up strongly with the our representatives (viz. Mr Derek O’Brien – MP Rajya Sabha, Prof Maria Fernandez – Chairperson Minorities Commission and Mr Shane Calvert- MLA) who are quite close to Ms Mamata :

    Similar facilities (at least the monthly stipend) should be extended to our Bishops, Priests and Nuns. Even if some religious communities do not take stipends for personal use, they may agree to accept this regular stipend and use it for the good of the society.

    Though priest and nuns do not have children (biological), they do take care of so many poor and orphaned children in school, boarding houses, etc. Could the educational grants to be given to children of Maulavis (no mention of how many children per family will get the benefit), be extended to priest and nuns as well? Say 4 (four) children per priest or nun!

    Also why is Ms Mamata not giving an Audience (as she advertises in bold and gives audience at Netaji Indoor Stadium to the Majority of the Minority Community ) to representatives of the Christian Community especially Lay People to listen to the problems being faced by the Community.

    After all, unlike our minority friends, Christian Community contributes a lot to the society specially in the field of Education and Health. So anything Mr Derek & Co. get for the Christian Community from Mamata, will be returned manifold to the society at large. It will be an investment for her and not a virtual outflow as would be the case in the present scenario.

    It’s time we held our representatives in the State and Central Legislatures responsible for bring some of the goodies being rained on others, to Our Community as well. Since assuming their respective posts, they have done little to lift up our christian community.

    Many thanks and regards

    Calcutta Archdiocese did not take up the matter with the Chief Minister. So did Catholic Association of Bengal! Now Bishop Taranath S. Sagar, has raised the issue. Hope he has sent a memorandum to this effect to the Chief Minister of West Bengal to make it official. Good luck to him for being courageous.

    Isaac Gomes


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