Thursday, March 26, 2009

Christians need not worry too much

I strongly believe that the Church need not too much worry about outside harassment, but should worry about the internal cancer it carries within its body. I have moved away from direct involvement and am leading a quiet life. Christians in India will never be protected by international supporters, they are being protected by the majority Hindus and we should be thankful to God for the majority of Hindus who are very tolerant and open in spite of the aggressive posture of Christians. The Uniqueness of Christ is in that God revealed in Christ the open, selfless, liberal personality of God. How unfortunate it is that even some well meaning Christians become so arrogant, self righteous and even give themselves to hate in the name of Christ who came to show a new way of LOVE. I wish the Christian brothers and sisters would engage in serious reflections and identify the causes for the growing antagonism of people of other faiths.


As you like it
When the honourable Bangalore North M.P., (Dr.?) Sangliana defied the Whip issued by his party, BJP, and voted in favour of UPA government in Parliament last year, he was indeed perfecting the art of a political acrobat, balancing on the highwire of political opportunism and juggling with his options. He has turned out to be one of the deftest and most agile of all performers in the circus arena of the Indian political system. People like him, with their (often corrupt) sleight of hand and without moral scruple, appearing on one side of fence today and on the other tomorrow, he or she, wears a coat of as many colours as did the biblical Jacob, an can change it as often and as quickly as the chameleon in the tree, according to the prevailing political climate; and always in search of camouflage which is provided by influence, or power.
What Sangliana did was like the vigilant chameleon – who rarely moves a muscle or bats an eyelid – it is usually more a matter of changing colour than position; a matter more political form than substance. It was a question of not of principles, but persons; that of allegiance to cliques and coteries, not policies or programmes, and a loyalty not to party but to power.
It was therefore no surprise to me that Sangliana (Dr.?) defied the Whip. In Indian politics, the opportunist and the turncoat are familiar figures. They make their exits and their entrances on the political stage, sometimes hiding in the wings, sometimes the centre of attention, usually with one script in public and other in private, but the sheer nakedness of it exhibited by a ‘true Christian’ like Sangliana was unique in the Indian political history. One man plays many parts, as Shakespeare puts in As You Like It, an appropriate title in Sangliana’s defection. With an eye on the main chance, and, often, a hand in the public pocket, the floor-crosser and the opportunist wheel and deal in the marketplace of the bargaining process in search of privileges or office, playing havoc with all known landmarks of political left, right and centre.
What’s so new about Sangliana’s defection and indiscipline? My answer is simple. Sangliana claims to be a true Christian and he should have proved himself to be different from the other defectors, past, present and future.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thoughts on Indian women on March 8, 2009

ARE WOMEN CHILDREN OF LESSER GODS?P.N.BENJAMINWhither Indian women on this International Women’s Day? A question well worth asking.
Today Indian women have to choose between a lifetime of abject slavery at home and warding off mandatory passes at the work place, where they are rarely treated as equals. In many less than literate sectors of our society, they are treated as children of a lesser god to be burnt alive as young bride, for not brining adequate dowry. If she survives all this, and the ignominy of being forever treated as a receptacle for male lust, often forced into whoring or raped by her near ones too.
Hundreds of cases of rape and dowry murders are reported from different parts of country every day. Domestic violence is not even reported: husbands who physically ill-treat their wives do so with utter impunity because neither the police nor the public will interfere in a ‘private matter’. Women are hunted down and murdered by mobs because they are branded witches. Girl children are kidnapped from their homes or sold to pimps and forced into prostitution.
New born girl babies are abandoned and left to die – sometimes drowned or given poison by their own parents who perceive a daughter as an economic burden. They are often not even allowed to be born – sophisticated scientific tests have been misused to detect sex of the foetus and an abortion follows promptly if the test reveals the sex to be female. In short, it is indisputable women are increasingly being subjected to greater violence and aggression, both physical and mental.
Crimes against women are increasing at an alarming rate in our country. Yet, for some strange reason, we have reduced them to statistics. Cold, brutal statistics that pile up in the morgues of government offices, welfare homes, small town courts and prisons, confirming our suspicion that the single largest minority in this country is being viciously battered into submissionWhat perverse instincts impel such acts of aggression? And why do they go unpunished? No one can argue that these issues have not received their share of publicity today. In the print-media there are women’s pages and carry articles and reports on contentious women’s issues and even special supplements. Television boasts of woman’s programmes. The other powerful medium – advertising – has always been over-eager to use women in ways women would rather not be used. Even politicians, who have often forgotten that women form any part of their electorate have bestirred themselves and, with unaccustomed activity, have launched a flurry of legislation ostensibly aimed at helping and protecting women.With all the seemingly positive changes in the society women have become the targets of increasing violence. Why, despite the stringent laws against dowry, have dowry deaths registered a sharp increase? Why have the ‘official’ figures of reported rapes doubled in the last decade and the rate of conviction been so low? Why are there so many child prostitutes in big cities? Why is the right to live denied to a girl child in some communities and why are women still the most chronically undernourished sections of the population? And, finally, why do the shocking statistics and daily reports about the deteriorating condition not create the kind of national uproar that the antics of film-star-politicians and other leaders do?Crime is endemic to the human condition, but a crime specifically directed at one sex is most despicable and, unfortunately, the one that is punished least. Because, despite all the hype and hyperbole, the protective laws and action plans, the seminars and speeches, the basic patriarchal structures and attitudes have undergone very little change. The majority of women are still second class citizens, their worth measured purely in economic terms: how much work they can do inside and outside the home, how many male children they can bear, how much dowry they will bring.The media exposure and all the legislation thus have little impact. Besides, they are themselves contradictory and often betray their own biases. Print and electronic media may carry reports castigating police connivance in a rape case or highlight a dowry death, but at the same time will carry/telecast advertisements, photo-features and illustrations that exploit women’s bodies, and perpetuate sexist images of women and flippant headings that belittle important issues. The media’s understanding of the issues involved is so confused and half-baked.Legislative enactments by government have so far been mere tokenism. Another factor that blunts the edge of any attempt to give women a better deal is that women’s issues are often politicised.
Whatever positive changes taken place so far on the women’s front are due to the hard work, dedication and commitment, of thousands of ordinary men and women and unheard of groups, braving the scorching heat and heavy rains, sacrificing the comfort and many allurements of the consumerist society, in the cause of millions of dispossessed women in the remote villages and hilly regions of this vast land of ours. They give us reasons for hope. They are building a new India. The saga of such endeavours is hardly publicised by the media addicted to the burlesque of the women who are holding up their dirty pink panties publicly.However, waiting for the real changes to occur for women in India is rather like waiting for Godot.