About the author:
All views expressed here are his personal.
It started as stray incidents of Priests and Nuns of the Christian faith being harassed and abused. These articles had been tucked away in the small print of the 7th page of any vernacular newspaper. The increasing regularity of these attacks have been noticeable in the recent past and can be co-related to the Pariwar master?s rise to power (It is debatable who the master is here). The fact remains that the Christian community in and around the two districts till now had either turned a blind eye to the continuing atrocities perpetuated in the other parts of the country or were reluctant participants in a Church directed exercise of showing the other cheek.
Today the specter of hatred and terror lies at our doorstep. The recent attack on a priest at Kundapur should not be seen as an isolated incident. With the rise of a political party whose accession to power is based on hatred and whose ideological agenda includes anti minority teachings and views, it has slowly gained inroads into the minds of the once peace loving people of the districts. A land which had been fabled for its tolerance, generosity and harmony.
What is perplexing is the silence of the authorities whose goons have perpetuated this crime. The silence of the Minister in charge of the district is the most eloquent. Not to mention the other politicians who do the rounds during the elections. And, by the way, where are the iconic leaders from our community who camped in neighboring Goa to help the party win the elections there and have not even obliquely condemned the violence in their home district?
Let us not be complacent and comfort ourselves with the fact that this incident is a Law and Order problem which has been sorted out. The spate of attacks which started with the targeting of individual Christian businesses is reminiscent of Hitler and his storm troopers in Nazi Germany. The hate and gibberish that is the staple of the parent organization is no different from what Hitler had preached. The ideology and rationale for hate that is preached is going down well in many small cities and mid size villages where unemployment is high and this is digested very well.
Unlike the west, where the clash between the Christian and the Muslim world is viewed as a clash of cultured civilizations, the recent incidents are more of a ‘made to order’ type. Under the garb of Hindutva or protecting Hinduism a few lumpen goons are attacking the Christians. Their aim has always been to get visibility (in the local press), political mileage (personally) and get brownie points from their political masters.
Christians are not known to fight back. They provide a soft target to these communal forces. Christians over the past century have done remarkably well in the field of Education, Health care and Charitable Institutions. The ideal of the Christian youth has always been to learn, earn, buy land and/or get better jobs. This has been a cause of resentment in some areas.
The bitterest critiques of Christendom are those who have been educated in Christian Institutions and whose children are sent to them. They will never target a St. Stephens Delhi, a St. Xaviers (anywhere), a St. Josephs Bangalore, or any Christian Institution in the Metropolises. It is when these Christian Institutions go into rural areas and educates the Dalits that eyebrows are raised because Education would empower these Dalits and challenge the caste philosophy.
The Kundapur incident has stirred the Mangalorean Christian out of its slumber. In this context, it is time to introspect and learn a lesson or two from the Muslims. Muslims are a politically mobile community. Their political understanding is superior to other communities. Muslims have realized (especially in the Hindi belt) that the vote is a very strong medicine and hence have been able to live a life of dignity and respect. Christians on the other hand have remained a highly apolitical community. The Christians by and large remain part of a power structure, particularly the upper caste elite of them and therefore do not hesitate even in compromising the interest of the community.
What the Christian Community in the coastal districts requires is a strong and independent political leadership which does not succumb to the pressures of organized political powers. The gathering of the Christians at the Shastri Circle therefore should not be seen in isolation and must have support from all of us who believe that the best bet for the communities survival is cohesiveness of different Christian sects and the setting up of a strong body which will look into community related incidents and respond with equal legal force which will act as a deterrent to any further attacks by these elements.
…..and by the way STOP calling those luminaries who have been missing since this incident for your prize giving functions, and your opening ceremonies.
Author: Brian Nazareth- Koppa