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Vice President applauds Christian share in building new India 

By Jose Kavi

New Delhi: Indian Vice President Venkiah Naidu on December 12 commended Christians for their service to those on the periphery and share in building a new India.

“The Catholic community is peace-loving and it contributes immensely to nation building,” the vice president told a gathering that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) organized to launch Christmas celebrations in the national capital.

“I have been attending Christmas functions at different parts of India as part of my political and social activities. This is the first occasion as the vice president of India that I am participating in a Christmas celebration,” said Naidu, who assumed the second highest office in the country on August 11, this year.

The vice president asserted that Jesus’s message for love and peace is for all seasons, cultures and nationalities. “People all over the world irrespective caste, creed or nationality celebrate Christmas with great joy and gaiety,” the vice president, the chief guest of the program, told the gathering comprising religious, political and social leaders as well as diplomats and media persons.

Christian community, especially Catholics, work for people’s welfare. “They maintain best educational institutions in the country that create awareness about the need for education and education for the needy.”

Christians have opened thousands of dispensaries and hospitals in remote areas and collaborate with the central and state governments. “The Christian community as a whole is assiduously engaged in contributing their share in building a new India which is united and strong,” the vice president said and added that he has personally witnessed how Christian helped in social transformation through formal and non-formal education.

“Education is the most important tool for social transformation. It helps impart values compassion, morality and ethics,” the vice president told the gathering held at the Community Hall of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church that sits between two top Catholic schools in New Delhi – Columba’s and the Convent of Jesus and Mary.

The 68-year-old national leader urged Christians to continue their service with an added focus on the marginalized sections of society.

Christmas, the festival of love and joy caring and sharing, is time to renew commitment to serve family, community and society, work for social and economic inclusion of all, and promote lasting peace, he added.

Unveiling of Christmas painting

The Christmas message of peace is relevant in these days when people misuse religion. “If you have tension, there cannot be any progress,” the vice president said. He also asserted that no religion preaches hatred or violence

“Religion has nothing to do with terror. Terror is the enemy of humanity,” he said.

The vice president also urged the gathering to distinguish between religion and culture. Religion, he explained, is worship and personal whereas culture is a way of life where people love, share and take care of each other. Explaining further he said, “Suppose you have a chapatti. If you eat the chapatti, it is prakriti (nature), if you snatch a chapatti from another it is vikriti (deviation) and if you share your share with another it is sanskriti (culture).”

He wants every individual to respect, preserve and protect our culture and use the Christmas season to correct “our deviations if any” and spread the message of love through action.

He wants the government, enlightened people, communities and their leaders to help the suppressed and the oppressed come up in life to realize Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of “antiodaya” (rise of the last person).

CBCI president Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, while felicitating the vice president, reiterated the Catholic community’s commitment to the welfare of the country and its people.

“We offer our best wishes, prayerful support, deep commitment even through martyrdom to take the nation to its height of glory,” said the cardinal who hailed the vice president as “a close friend” of every community in the country.

The 58-year-old cardinal, who also heads the Syro-Malankara Church, said the Christian community is in India to give its service to the poorest of the poor.

“The Church India is at the service of the nation. People in the periphery need the Lord’s assurance,” he added.

He urged the government to take necessary steps to bring peace and progress to every citizen going beyond manmade boundaries. The head of the Indian Catholics reminds his countrymen that it is up to them to assure the world that diversity is not an obstacle, but the beauty of divine life.”

The cardinal also used the occasion to request the vice president to press the government to declare the recent Ockhi cyclone as a national disaster. The cardinal, who comes from Thiruvananthapuram, one of the worst affected by the November 30 cyclone, noted thousands of fishermen in southern coastal region have lost everything “except their faith in God.”

He stressed the need for satisfying, stable and long term plan to rehabilitate the affected families.

The cardinal later told Matters India that the vice president promised to take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The prelate said he has visited the affected areas twice and that the Church plans various ways to help the families.

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9 Responses to Vice President applauds Christian share in building new India

  1. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Nation building is a noble mission.

     
  2. A. S. Mathew

    Many of the top BJP leaders have studied in the Christian schools and college, and they are all well aware of the great contribution given by the Christian community. The CM of Goa Pariker-Sadananda Gowda of Karnataka-Arun Jaitly (Finance Minister) Smrit Irani (a strong Christian hater) Advani-Mrs. Varun Gandhi and a bunch of others have studied at the Christian schools and colleges. They all can very easily talk about their experience about the Christians in their contribution in healthcare and education.

    Some of them are not truly anti-Christian in the full sense like -Sadananda Gowda-CM Pariker-Advani; but they will not dare to block any action or law to hurt the Christians. They will have to ride with the radical side of the party.

     
  3. Thankapan vaidhyar

    Vice President is not a foreigner. He is a politician of the land. He knows facts and truth. In politics tricks, facts and truth and majorities whims and fancies are taken care.
    It is to Suggest cbci to keep deplomatic positions in photograph. It is your office where president of cbci should keep it’s decorum, I think it has nothing to do with humility, other than moral weakness presented.
    Except in church corporate sector (schools, hospitals…) bishops are having an upper hand over rulers of this secular world be sure….
    The secular world sees church more clearer than who are inside, don’t try to show church in laboratory.

     
  4. purushottam

    Indeed the contribution and the work of Christianity whole world knows. Even the majority of the people in India know it.

     
  5. chhotebhai

    I attended this meeting at the kind invitation of Bp Theodore Mascarenhas, the Secretary General of the CBCI.The report is factually correct. But there are many things which I was not comfortable with. Somehow it reminded me of the artificiality of convent school concerts.Hope to put down my detailed observations shortly.

    chhotebhai

     
    • A. S. Mathew

      Please let the readers of Matters of India may have the full report. It will be more blessed not to have the current BJP/RSS politicians to speak at the Christmas celebrations at the Church sponsored functions.

      While they pour all the big talk about Christmas like the V.P. talking his involvement at the Christmas celebrations every year, which was truly a brain buster to read. He and his party wanted to oppress the minority Christian community of India. All the current BJP leaders are RSS soldiers, not even a single RSS cadre member likes the Christians of India. While the leaders are giving inspiration to the lower cadre to attack and oppress the Christian minority everywhere in the nation, but the leaders have deeply touching and exalting message to speak at the Christian gathering. What a political paradox?

       
  6. Ladislaus Louis D'Souza

    Nice soundbytes! That’s all!! If they party he represents really believed what he has said, there wouldn’t prevail the kind of situation that is prevailing today in the country. The VP should have been told to think over every word that he was uttering in favour of Christ, Christianity and Christians.

     
  7. Achachan

    Our politicians know the occasions when Christians could be cajoled or praised. Thereafter they have their own agenda. Keeping silence against attacks on Christians and their worshipping places is another tactics. Oh God ,save us

     
  8. A. S. Mathew

    Politicians like the Vice President have ready made sermon of praising the Christian community in their social-medical and educational service for the marginalized sector of the society.

    If the Christian missionaries didn’t land in India, now India under the rulers like the BJP leadership would have been another Somalia of the world.

    Mr. Vice President, your well-prepared talk about the minority Christians of India at the Christmas season was great, but totally insincere.

    Why did your Government try to erase the Christmas Holiday from the Indian calendar in 2014 itself? You are well aware of that. K.C. Venugopal, M.P. from Kerala exposed the hidden hands of your party in the secret attempt to eliminating the Christmas holiday from India. You were totally uncomfortable to hear his talk at the Parliament, because you were well aware of that reality.

    You are talking about the great humanitarian service of the Christians: how they can do that without financial help from others? Why your Government has cut off the funding of thousands of Christian NGOs in India?

    Yourself and the Home Minister were too fervent to enact a national anti-conversion law specifically targeting the Christian minority. Can you pinpoint even a single Christian covert of India acting as anti-national and unpatriotic?

    Please stop this double talk. You and your party are anti-Christian from day one. Advani-the Home Minister-Arun Jaitly-yourself and the rest will flatter the Christians which is purely too doubting for the listeners.