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How Well Do We Christians Know The Constitution?

How Well Do We Christians Know The Constitution?

Given the volatile situation prevailing in the country with regard to the religious identity of the Indian citizen belonging to the minority community, its time the miniscule community of Christians across the country woke up to the implications of not knowing and understanding the Constitution of our great Motherland.

Subject of hatred - The Christian community is obviously the most derided of all minority communities, the most misunderstood and also the worst treated by the hardliners of Hindu outfits masquerading as the protectors of Hindu culture. We are being attacked on all sides, be it with regard to our educational institutions or our health care and medical facilities, or even our celebrations both religious and social, what with permissions for holding open-air events on the decline, whether in Bombay or in Goa or wherever. The sad and unfortunate part of it all is that the adherents of the two millennia-old Christian Religion are, in general, rather lackadaisical in terms of awareness and consciousness as regards our rights and where they emanate from. Those professionally adept apart, the rest of us know either too little or nothing at all about the Constitution which has clear-cut assertions that favour the minority communities without in any depriving the majority community it’s due.

Well-meaning but ill-informed - A recent impromptu discussion on news about how none of the seven Catholic MLAs of Goa found anything objectionable about 14 April 2017 being declared a holiday by the government on account of Ambedkar Jayanti rather than on account of ‘Good Friday’ was an eye-opener of sorts. A lady from the group vehemently declared that we ought not to forget that we Christians live in a ‘Hindu country’, and that in Islamic countries, too, no Christian holiday is allowed. Efforts to convince the lady that India is not a Hindu theocracy or Hindu Rashtra—as the Sangh Parivar is trying to make it out to be—but a SECULAR DEMOCRACY, proved futile. Even trying to make her understand the difference between countries whose state religion by virtue of their Constitution is a particular religion and India which doesn’t have a state religion made no headway. Any wonder then that the powers-that-be are unabashedly riding roughshod over the rights and sentiments of the Christian minority?

India is MY country - The truth is obvious: we Christians are sorely in need of much education in terms of our rights guaranteed by our country’s Constitution. The need of the hour thus is to have the said constitution read and discussed and understood by Christians in general and Catholics in particular by having parish level as well as SCC level meetings convened specifically for the purpose, with knowledgeable individuals being invited to handle the issue at such deliberations. Of course, that the community has long been on the quit India movement, making a beeline for migration to foreign countries [chiefly UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia] long before the Sangh Parivar or the BJP or even Modi emerged on the scene is another matter altogether. But it certainly is a matter of concern that many leave our motherland and go to their graves on foreign soil, depriving themselves of a sense of belonging and subjecting their homes and properties to the greed of unscrupulous elements back home in India. Be that as it may, we need to urgently work on understanding the Constitution of our country – unless we are willing to risk being displaced in our motherland.

(Published on 10th April 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 15)#