Christian contribution to india

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Christian contribution to india

  1. 1. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 107/07/13 1 BISHOPDr. YVON AMBROISE, TUTICORIN
  2. 2. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 2 2 1. Introducing the Study1. Introducing the Study • The arrival of St.Thomas to India around AD 50s marks the entry of Christianity nearly 1950 years back. He landed in the Malabar coast and went about doing his work till the Eastern coast and was buried in Chennai, the East coast. • Francis Xavier who came to India in the 15th century, also started a new page in the historical contribution to Indian life. • This paper tries to show some landmark contributions of the Catholic Church made to the mainstream life of India from a Socio- pastoral and sociological perspective.
  3. 3. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 307/07/13 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Chrisian contribution to Nation building in India 3 India: a huge mosaicIndia: a huge mosaic • Today India is a nation with over one billion people with different colours, creeds, races ethnic groups languages and cultures. • This mosaic, called India, makes today important contributions in several fields • Though several see only the face of the advanced number of personnel working in information technology.
  4. 4. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 4 4 India in the World scenario of religionsIndia in the World scenario of religions • Situating India in the World scenario of religions we observe the following: • India has given birth to four major religions of the World: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. • Hindus form the majority, (82%) in India. • Buddhism, that originated in India and flourished till the 6th century A.D., was practically made to quit India and it spread to several countries in Asia, making itself a majority religion in Asian countries. Today Buddhists form only 0.5% in India. • Besides Muslims form 12% in the Indian population.
  5. 5. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 5 5 Christians and Catholics: significant minorityChristians and Catholics: significant minority • In spite of a long history of Christianity, Christians form today only 2.5% of the total population • and the Catholics only 1.5% of the total population of India. • In spite of this significantly tiny minority character, the Catholic Church in India made praiseworthy contributions to the life and development of Indians.
  6. 6. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 6 6 A sociopastoral and sociological analysisA sociopastoral and sociological analysis • We present a global analysis from a sociopastoral and a sociological perspective • Fields covered:  Education  Health care  Social development  Hindu religious revival movements  Contribution to the secular polity of the country  Offering of its personnel to the service of the people  The field of the empowerment of women.
  7. 7. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 7 7 2. The Field of Education • Though Christians and particularly Catholics are a tiny minority • The contribution in the field of education is not only impressive but shows the importance the Church has given to it in the Indian context. • At the time of independence of India in 1947 only about 14% of the population were literate. • If it has gone up to 55% of the population today, Christianity can be proud in playing its role in it. • Some statistics will testify to it.
  8. 8. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 8 8 From nursery schools to collegesFrom nursery schools to colleges • “The Catholic Church in India runs over 17,000 educational institutions • over 11,000 are Nursery, Primary and Middle schools. • There are also over 1500 professional and technical schools. • In the year 2000, Catholic colleges numbered 175 including 2 Engineering and 2 Medical Colleges. • What is impressive is that 70% of all these schools are in rural areas, serving the poor, especially the dalits, the adivasis and other disadvantaged groups. • Only a meager 15% of the Church institutions are in the cities and large towns.” (1)
  9. 9. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 9 9 Christian collegesChristian colleges • “At the close of the 19th century, India had only 26 Christian Colleges. • At the time of independence in 1947, the number of Christian Colleges was 62 out of a total of 450. • In 2000 Christian Colleges numbered about 250 out of the 11,089 Colleges. • They catered to a total of 135,200 students of whom 28% were catholics. • Nearly 50% of the Catholic Colleges are for women only. 17% are for men only and 33% are mixed” (2).
  10. 10. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 10 10 Priority to women and to lower classesPriority to women and to lower classes • The Church gave a major importance to the education of women and can be proud of it • This led to the enlightenment of Indian women belonging to all religions, castes, tribes and different regions in the modern India. • The Church had also given its due attention to technical education, and runs today 1514 technical and vocational training institutions in the country. • The historical contribution and breakthrough of the achievement of the Church in the field of education lies in the fact that it broke the monopoly of a singlebroke the monopoly of a single privileged caste and decentralized andprivileged caste and decentralized and democratized educationdemocratized education. • This made it possible for dalits and tribals not only to benefit by it but to have social mobility in life.
  11. 11. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 1107/07/13 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Chrisian contribution to Nation building in India 11 Development and social change throughDevelopment and social change through educationeducation • Education of the masses in urban and particularly in rural areas • has been the backbone of the development of India and for bringing about social changes.
  12. 12. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 12Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Chrisian contribution to Nation building in India 12 3. Contribution in Health Care Institutions • Another significant field in our contribution for the development of India is the healthcare system in India. Statistics: – Dispensaries = 2575 – Rehabilitation Centres = 70 – Centres for Mental health care = 107 – Medical facility for the disabled = 188 – Leprosaries = 165 – Health care centres for the Aged = 416 – T.B., Terminally ill-HIV/AIDS = 61 – Medical training Centres = 113 – Counseling Centre = 60 – Non-formal Health facility = 162 • Total = 4743
  13. 13. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 13Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Chrisian contribution to Nation building in India 13 • Option for the poor and reaching the un-reached: 85% of the healthcare institutions run by the Church in India are in remote villages. Most of these areas are totally or partially deprived of adequate healthcare and other infrastructures and services. • Holistic health care is offered by including one’s emotional and spiritual care of those who come to these institutions. • Respect for life and regard for Christian ethical principles is another distinguishing characteristic Specific options in Health careSpecific options in Health care
  14. 14. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 1407/07/13 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Chrisian contribution to Nation building in India 14 4. Contribution in the Field of Social Development • Church has considered social services as a way of demonstrating the compassion of Christ to the Indian Society. • Hence specific attention to the development of the poor and downtrodden was given due importance right from the beginning. • In certain areas like the tribal belt the liberation of the tribals from money-lenders and landlords served as the first contribution of the Church. • E.g Fr.S.Lievens, Fr.J.B.Hoffmann, etc.
  15. 15. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 15Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Chrisian contribution to Nation building in India 15 Relief organizations and servicesRelief organizations and services • Example: Tsunami relief. Caritas India spent 150 million dollars • There are Diocesan Social Service Societies in all the 160 dioceses in India. • Regional Societies like Don Bosco Reach Out in the North-East India. • Change of perspective: from relief and charity to Institutional model of educational and health Institutions • Focus on empowerment and self-reliance of the poor to remake their future by a cooperative and collective action for social transformation.
  16. 16. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 16 16 Village grassroots organizationsVillage grassroots organizations • Grassroots organizations of the poor and the downtrodden in villages are organized by the Church • Offering them awareness education and motivation to act collectively. • There are today thousands of such groups all over India • Strategy: savings, income-generation projects and collective actions to liberate themselves from oppressive forces.
  17. 17. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 1707/07/13 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Chrisian contribution to Nation building in India 17 Negative and violent reactionsNegative and violent reactions • Such actions have earned the anger of the rich and vested interested groups • who today plan through fundamentalist groups to attack and eliminate the presence of Christians. • Known example: the atrocities taking place in Orissa where no help is given to those victims of such attack
  18. 18. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 18 18 5. Hindu Religious Revival5. Hindu Religious Revival MovementsMovements • In the pre-independent period some religious revival movements emerged • As an outcome of the interplay of Socio- economic, political and cultural forces • effecting a cultural transaction between Hinduism and Christian models of thought • in a society in transition to answer to the existential needs of the people.
  19. 19. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 19 19 Example 1: Bramo Samaj (1823)Example 1: Bramo Samaj (1823) • Founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy • He assimilated several elements from the Western and Christian models and reformulated Hinduism by a new reinterpretation of the Vedas. • He introduced a belief in monotheism and denied the caste-system and its ideology. • Vehement opposition to child marriage and the practice of Sati (burning the widow in the funeral pyres of her husband). • Encouraged the Western education system and himself ran several schools. • Global aim: revitalize Hinduism without any feeling of antagonism towards other religions and cultures.
  20. 20. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 20 20 • Founded by Dayananda Saraswathi in 1875. • He tried to reinterpret the Vedas to say that the Vedas advocate monotheism and was against idolatry. • He rejected the caste-system and child- marriage as having no basis in the Vedas. • But: took a different turn than Raja Ram Mohan Roy. • “Back to Vedas” was his battle-cry to Hindus. He made it obligatory to read, teach, recite and listen to the recitation of Vedas which he interpreted in his way as said above. • He gave an aggressive character to Hinduism as well as a militant spirit to attack anyone who would talk against Hinduism. Example 2: Arya Samaj (1875)Example 2: Arya Samaj (1875)
  21. 21. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 21 21 Example 3:Example 3: Ramakrishna MissionRamakrishna Mission • Inspired by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and organized byInspired by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and organized by Narendranath Datta, known as Swami VivekanandaNarendranath Datta, known as Swami Vivekananda • It had clear overtones of Hindu-Christian culturalIt had clear overtones of Hindu-Christian cultural transactiontransaction.. • In Ramakrishna’s attitude towards different religions heIn Ramakrishna’s attitude towards different religions he was both against the militant spirit of Arya Samaj and thewas both against the militant spirit of Arya Samaj and the reformatory character of Brahmo Samaj.reformatory character of Brahmo Samaj. • He had a basis in Hinduism with an ecumenical spirit,He had a basis in Hinduism with an ecumenical spirit, showing the complementary character of all religions.showing the complementary character of all religions. • Thus he would first break the sectarian spirit withinThus he would first break the sectarian spirit within Hinduism by validating through his mystical experience theHinduism by validating through his mystical experience the different sectarian Hindu gods and cultsdifferent sectarian Hindu gods and cults • He tried to destroy the inter-religious rivalry by realizing aHe tried to destroy the inter-religious rivalry by realizing a mystical experience of Mohammed and Jesus Christ.mystical experience of Mohammed and Jesus Christ.
  22. 22. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 23 23 6. Contribution to the Secular Polity of the Country • The Christian community has made a significant contribution to “secularism” in India • In the constituent Assembly, the Christian community through Fr.Jerome D’Souza renounced separate electorate • expressed trust in the majority community to respect and treat the minority community on a par with all as citizens of the country. • That was an important contribution of the Christian community to the secular nature of the Constitution of the Republic. • For nation building the secular character and ethos of our polity is essential to shape and forge harmony and peace for all people of the country. • The Church remains committed to secularity of the Constitution of the Republic. Secular character of the Republic is a positive force for peace and communal harmony in a multicultural and multireligious society that India is
  23. 23. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 24Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Chrisian contribution to Nation building in India 24 7. The Religious personnel on the field • Religious personnel working in different fields of Socio-Pastoral involvement is another contribution to the total services offered to build up India • Diocesan priests - nearly 9000 • Religious priests - nearly 15,000 • Religious Brothers - nearly 2,000 • Religious Sisters - nearly 77,000 • The majority of Religious Sisters and Brothers serve in educational and healthcare institutions. • A good number of priests also serve in such institutions and social service societies in the 160 dioceses in India. Practically all of them are professionally qualified and give a professional contribution in the building up of the nation.
  24. 24. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 25 25 8. Towards the Empowerment of Women8. Towards the Empowerment of Women • The development of women in different aspects is another specific contribution to the backbone of Indian development. • It starts from working for the abolition of girl child feticide in the womb or outside by upholding the ethical values and supporting women to fight against such evil • It continues by the education of the girl children through the schools and through the awareness given to women’s grassroots groups to educate their girl children. • Their higher education is also supported. One must recall the fact that out of the 220 Catholic Colleges in India 50% are meant only for women and 33% are mixed ones.
  25. 25. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 26 26 Participation of womenParticipation of women • The awareness programmes and empowerment of women by thousands of grassroots groups touch the majority of the illiterate adult women. • Asserting equal participation in Church participative structures like Diocesan Pastoral Council, parish pastoral council • Educating women to demand equal representation in decision-making in micro, semi-macro and macro political structures cannot be ignored by a honest observer as a sincere attempt of empowerment of women both Catholics and others.
  26. 26. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 27 27 9. To conclude: a leaven working in the society • Next to the 6 fields mentioned above, there are other fields: Indian  Christian spirituality  Inter-faith dialogue  contribution to linguistic anthropology right from 16th century in several languages in India  contribution to ethnography and Tribal anthropology and Dalit Anthropology  contribution to the formation of the youth • Catholic Church can be compared to leaven working in the mass of the Society with various degrees of force • Hence it is very often not seen outside. • The Church also does not seek publicity as she follows the principle of left hand not knowing what the right hand does.
  27. 27. 31-01-2008 Bishop Dr. Y. Ambroise: Christian 28 28 1. Selvister Ponnumuthan (chief editor), Christian Contribution to Nation building – A Third Millenimum Enquiry”, Documentary Committee of CBCI-KCBC National Celebration of the Jubilee of St.Thomas and St.Francis Xavier, Cochin, 2004, p.85 2. Ibidem p.88 3. Ibidem p.108 4. Ibidem pp 115 f 5. Yvon Ambroise, Hindu Religious Movements: A Sociological Perspective, Journal of Dharma Vol VII, No.4, 1982 pp. 358-373 SourcesSources

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