Over the last two decades, I have identified myself with the adivasi people and their struggle for a life of dignity and self respect. As a writer, I have tried to analyse the different issues they face. In this process, I have clearly expressed my dissent over several policies and laws enacted by the government in the light of the Indian constitution. I have questioned the validity, legality and justness of several steps taken by the government and the ruling class.
As for the Pathalgadi issue, I have asked the question, “Why are adivasis doing this?” I believe it is because they have been exploited and oppressed beyond tolerance. The rich minerals which are excavated in their land have enriched outsider industrialists and businessmen and impoverished the adivasi people to the extent that people have died of starvation. They have had no share in what is produced.
Some of the questions I have raised are:
1) I have questioned the non-implementation of the 5th Schedule of the constitution, Article 244 (1), which clearly stipulates that a ‘tribes advisory council’ (TAC), composed solely of members from the adivasi community, will advise the governor of the state about any and everything concerning the protection, well-being and development of the adivasi people in the state.
The governor is the constitutional custodian of the adivasi people and he/she can make laws on his/her own an
John Milton, the great poet, after his blindness, wrote in one of his sonnets to Oliver Cromwell, the legendary English military and political leader,“…peace hath her victories No less renown’d than war….”It was exactly these words that came to my mind at the Cardinal’s House on the 23rd May afternoon, when,with a heavy heart, I paid my last obeisance to the smiling, sleeping Rev. Fr Joseph Kuncharath. His life was ever peaceful, and faultless, as said in the Bhagavad Gita: “Those who dedicate their actions to God, abandoning all attachment, remain untouched by sin, just as a lotus leaf is untouched by water.”Wherever he served – be it at Palarivattom, where he constructed the new simple, but elegant St Martin De Porres Church, without giving room for any complaint, whatsoever, or at the Our Lady of Velankanni Mata Nagar Church, Gandhi Nagar, where he performed with ease and equanimity the arduous task of managing a prestigious educational institution – humility was his hallmark.He was exceptionally courteous to everyone and extremely helpful to anyone in need. He left a lasting imprint on whomever he chanced to meet. The cosmic presence of God in his soul was ever writ large on his graceful, radiant face.Fully conscious was he of his declining health. But that did not deter this karmayogi from continuing his good work, wherever he was, actively participating in every spiritual, family and social event.Just as his life, his death,
I found Myron Pereira’s “The Tragic Attraction of Fundamentalism” quite enlightening. Thank you for making it available to your readers. Voltaire’s observation “Those made to believe absurdities can equally be led to commit atrocities” is particularly true in the realm of religion. Much internal injustice, silencing of dissent, discrimination, authoritarianism, etc., is undergirded by a fundamentalist approach to scriptures. Fundamentalism thrives among people who are not adequately enlightened. This is one reason why religious leaders do not want their flock to be theologically educated. Fundamentalism is one of the best safeguard for a powerful establishment. If pastors educate their people, they will lose their clientele. That will hit their income, prestige and power. I am afraid this is one reason why some\many bishops are happy with mediocre seminarians. The brighter ones could upset their apple cart. “O most merciful God, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil, above all from the evil of fundamentalist pastors.”Subhash Anand St Paul’s School, Bhupalpura, Udaipur-313 001 firstname.lastname@example.org