22 Letters

posted Jul 18, 2018, 10:31 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 18, 2018, 10:32 AM ]

Condolence message

Sir, It is with deep sorrow that I learnt of the passing away of my dear spiritual friend and brother, Venerable Dada Vaswani. I immediately went to the place of prayer and thanked God for the life of such a spiritual person as Dada. Venerable Dada was a man filled with love for God and for his neighbours. He was a man of peace, and therefore could spread this peace around him. Dada loved especially the poor and the downtrodden, and he made every effort to help a person in need. Although following his own religion, Dada promoted a respectful understanding of every religion. He was convinced that world peace is possible, only if people of different religions would respect each other and together promote justice and peace.

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Nagasaki Basilica on UNESCO list

Sir, On June 30, 2018, UNESCO announced that the Nagasaki Basilica, commemorating 26 Catholic martyrs, has been selected as a 'World Heritage Site'!

"These sites bear unique testimony to a cultural tradition nurtured by hidden Christians in the Nagasaki region, who secretly transmitted their faith from the 17th to the 19th century. They indeed reflect the earliest activities of Christian missionaries and Japanese settlers."

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Christian Freedom fighters

Sir, Christians of India played an important part in the Indian freedom struggle. In the 1889 Congress session, there were ten Christian delegates; Pandita Ramabai Saraswati was one of the first Indians who championed the right of women to participate in national politics, eloquently articulating the pitiable history of Indian womanhood. She played an important role in the third session of the National Social Conference in 1889, at which she supported a resolution condemning the practice of disfiguring Hindu widows.

Kali Charan Banerjee is considered one of the great leaders and founders of 'The Movement for Emancipation'. In the 1889 session, he was responsible for a resolution demanding improvement in the educational systems, particularly university education. He was also instrumental in protesting against the prohibition imposed by the government on teachers participating in political movements. J. C. Kumarappa was a veteran Congress leader. On May 9, 1929, he met Mahatma Gandhi at the Sabarmati Ashram, and that resulted in their becoming close associates.

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No need to prove nationality

Sir, This is in reference to a derogatory comment made by a politician when he was addressing a gathering recently in Mumbai. His remarks were published next day in the newspapers and were trolled on social media.

In his speech, he stated that Indian Christians before Independence were "Angrez", hence they didn't participate in the freedom movement. The top brass of his political party soon went into damage-control mode; I guess this was keeping in mind the influence it could have on the forthcoming general elections. The party President immediately called for the withdrawal of the statement, and further clarified that this statement was not the party's official position. Having realised the enormity of his gaffe, the politician issued a statement to the newspaper saying, "This is the result of sheer miscommunication and wrong interpretation of what I had said. For me, India and every Indian comes first."

Of late, our Christian community has frequently become a soft target for some insecure and insensitive individuals and politicians who proclaim themselves to be the only nation bhakts. We have witnessed these orchestrated reactions when some of our Bishops' letters to the community were misinterpreted and blown out of proportion by yellow journalism and the "paid" media. Cardinal Oswald Gracias was called upon to clarify the community's position regarding the communication by the Bishops, which he did eloquently. All they want to do is to sensationalise news, play the religious sentiment card and try to attract eyeballs to their respective channels.

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Ban on plastic

Sir, For over a century, plastic, one of the greatest inventions ever, has helped make life easier for modern man in countless ways. Whether in the manufacture of paper clips, raincoats and waterproofing or automobiles, medical implants and spacecraft, applications of plastic enable innumerable benefits and help in lowering manufacturing costs.

Therefore, the current wave of indiscriminate and blanket demonisation by the BMC of this wonder material is hasty and retrograde, to say the least. Let's face it - the environmental damage that is attributed to plastic is caused primarily by the deliberate and wanton DISCARDING of carry-bags all over the city. Therefore, does it not make more sense to first start implementing more vigorously the prevailing ban on LITTERING?

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Pope and refugees


Sir, This refers to Pope Francis' visit to a dinner for the homeless of Rome, organised by new Cardinal Konrad. Pope Francis surprised everyone by dining with the guests; he spent two hours chatting with them.

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