Cedric Prakash SJ
The Christians of India (particularly Catholics), must exercise their franchise in the forthcoming General Elections. In India we have a Parliamentary form of Government and not a Presidential form. We therefore need to cast our vote for a ‘political party’ and not for an individual. Since we are concerned citizens, our vote should be for that party which believes in and guarantees every citizen the rights and the freedoms of the Indian Constitution. It is important that all Indians, particularly the minorities and other vulnerable groups, feel secure and protected. The secular and pluralistic fabric of the country must be preserved. Democratic principles, including the rights of minorities, have to be upheld.
The ‘Hindutva’ ideology (which does not represent the vast majority of the Hindus of our country) is against the secular ethos of the country and many of the values of the Constitution. This ideology is primarily of ‘one nation, one culture, one language and one religion.’ All who do not accept this ideology are regarded as ‘second-class citizens.’ However, the diverse religions are an asset to the country. The Catholic community is a peace-loving and patriotic community. Communal harmony needs to be preserved and enhanced with changing times.
There is an unhealthy frenzy, which was whipped up recently, that we go to war with Pakistan. Personally I am convinced that non-violence is the only way forward. We need to dialogue and negotiate with one another. Our focus should be that people of both countries live in peace and harmony. Governments should work for the betterment and development of the people.