24 Letters

posted Feb 28, 2019, 9:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 28, 2019, 9:43 AM ]

Make Peace, Not War

Sir, In the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attacks, the atmosphere in the country is charged. There have been a number of incidents of violence and discrimination against Kashmiris in different parts of the country. People are calling for surgical strikes, and even full-blown war against Pakistan. The protests at railway stations in Mumbai inconvenienced hundreds of daily commuters, and brought life to a standstill. >>>


Preserving Goa

Sir, More and more Goans, especially Catholics, are leaving their beautiful native land of 'Goa Dorada' for the imaginary 'greener pastures' abroad. One wonders whether the people, who are leaving in droves, realise the long-term implications of this trend for their own identity, community, culture, religion and future generations. There is much they could learn from reading the history of the Jewish people in the Bible. During the time of the Patriarch Joseph, they left the land God gave them, for better prospects in the land of Egypt. For some time, they prospered, but a few hundred years later, they became pitiable slaves of the Egyptians - harassed and helpless. They realised that having lost their land, they had lost everything that makes life worth living. Mercifully, God sent a great liberator like Moses to lead them back to the land promised by God to their ancestor, Abraham, so that they could live, once more, as a free people.



Sir, I am currently enrolled in the Apologetics course being conducted by the Archdiocese every Sunday by a number of resource persons—lay experts, priests, deacons, and even bishops. Fr Vincent Barboza is the main resource person and coordinator of the programme.

I feel blessed, and strengthened in my faith for having done so. It has opened up for me a vast avenue of knowledge about the Catholic Faith. Apologetics comes from the Greek word 'Apologio', which means to 'reason out, defend and explain the Catholic Faith' - to know what we believe, and why we believe and the significance of religious practices. Apologetics doesn't mean 'apologising' for our faith, but rather that we explain our faith with a firm conviction, being convinced about the truths of our faith ourselves. The Greek Apologists were the first Catholic intellectuals to take up the task of explaining Christianity to the pagans in a scholarly manner.


Building houses for the poor

Sir, The news 'Nun builds 100 homes for the poor in Kochi' (Examiner, dated Feb 23-Mar 01) is inspiring and thought provoking. The desperate living conditions of the poor has certainly moved the nun for going ahead in building houses for the poor. The poor live in very dangerous situations and struggle with overwhelming circumstances every day. It is difficult for many of us to imagine what it must be like to be surrounded by rain-soaked muddy floors, and walls made of plastic on a daily basis. To escape a life of poverty, destitute families need a proper roof over their heads, clean water and sanitation. Dilapidated shacks made of scraps of wood, metal, plastic and cardboard offer little protection from insects and rodents. As a result, illness and disease are rampant, especially among those who are most vulnerable —the young and elderly.


Tyranny of Terror

Sir, Thank you, The Examiner and the Editorial Team, for bemoaning the tyranny of terror. It was painful to see the caskets of our slain soldiers draped in the colours of our national flag. As Christians, a minority community, we have expressed our solidarity with our country, government and the armed forces. But painfully, it does not end here. It does not change the narrative of Kashmir and its people. As India has fought three wars with Pakistan, and the strikes in Pathankot, Uri and now Pulwama, and our counter surgical strikes, these wars and strikes have not deterred loss of human lives, civil and/or military, not forgetting the families of these killed men, women and children. >>>


Balance for Better

Sir, "Where there is respect for women, there will be the presence of the Divine" (Vedas). Women's empowerment was at its peak in ancient India. Women could discuss topics that were considered taboo in today's society. They even had the right to choose their prospective spouse among a group of men – Swayamvaram, meaning, 'One's Own Choice'. International Women's Day marks a call for action to accelerate gender parity! The first IWD was observed over a century ago in 1911.


Reviving the art of reading

Sir, The above article in The Examiner of Feb. 23, 2019 is a timely warning for getting back to reading in this internet age. Fiza Pathan makes us sit up and take notice. She makes us realise that reading is vital to our intellectual development and for self-improvement, so that we can make significant contributions at work and to society. We spend much of our time surfing the internet, using our smartphones for social talk, entertainment, and often, just gossip. It is high time we ration our time on digital devices, and ensure to do some reading everyday.

Reading has another advantage. You can go back to an earlier part of the text if you are distracted, or if you wish to mull over the writing. In the case of television, you lose out on the content if you are distracted, and can't get back to what has already been aired.