I was saddened by the exclusion of some 1.9 million human beings in Assam from the citizenship of India. I am not particularly upset that the family of the former President, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, is also among the excluded. To me, one human being is as valuable as another. If a Kargil war hero can find himself among the quarantined, there is no margin for sadness or surprise. For the first time in our history, citizenship has assumed a sting about it.
After learning of this massive exclusion –which reduces tens and thousands of human beings into State-less non-entities- I found myself drawn to reading H. G. Well’s book –a collection of his talks- titled The Salvaging of Civilization, published in the wake of the first World War. In that book, Wells makes a passionate plea –and a cogent argument- for a World State: something like The United States of the World. He decries the idea of divisive national boundaries and poisonous patriotisms that, he says, have taken a huge toll on our species and degraded our humanity. The only way to enduring peace is to dissolve national boundaries and to create a World State focused on peace, rather than on war-mongering.
I was also reminded of Immanuel Kant’s argument in his essay titled “Perpetual Peace” that the creation of a world government is a necessary condition for preserving peace in the world.
Ironically, jingoism and malignant nationalism have only become more strident in the wake of Globalization that was envisaged, we were told, to turn the world into a global village.
I found myself also drawn into reflecting on the fractured state of the Christian community. We are a shade worse than the quarrelling nations of the world. At least, there is no instance in world history of two nations fighting over burying dead bodies! Even in war, it is deemed mandatory that the dead are not dishonoured. But we do that to our own people in the name of the God of love.
I also thought of a CSI bishop who goes around excommunicating whoever he happens to dislike or is felt to be insubordinate to him. The State at least follows some procedure!
This beautiful world, created and loved by God, is wounded a million times by those who are appointed its care-takers.
The shepherds of the flock are now in cahoots with wolves and wild animals.
As H.G. Wells argues, humankind now stands in urgent need of a radical change of vision. Jesus called it repentance. “Repent!” Jesus proclaimed, “for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
Wells’ idea of the One World is a political version of Jesus’ Kingdom of God come into this world through Jesus Christ.
But see where we are, all presumably citizens of the Kingdom of God, alienated from each other and, strangers to God and his agony that rains like undying hope on this broken and bruised world.
Revd Dr Valson Thampu