Christmas Beyond the Manger
Christmas is celebrated around the globe, mostly with the portrait of mere babe Jesus lying in a manger of Bethlehem’s cold night. Homes decorated, cake baked, new costumes dressed, bells rang, cars parked, whispering the melodious wishes of “Joy to the World, the Lord has Come” by breaking the “Silent Night, Holy Night” – that too for many is the occasion once in a year.
Celebration of Jesus’ birthday has been focused around the manger for centuries, while the world has changed to one end to another. Look beyond the manger is the intimation to all Christ loving followers.
Far and near, beyond the manger, unheard, unreported and hidden stories exist around the world. Beyond the manger, Indian churches will need to look at the unreported, unheard and hidden stories.
One of its unreported, unheard and hidden stories beyond the manger is the caste apartheid that existed in India for last three thousand years under the Brahmanical control. While celebrating Christmas year after years around the manger, India churches have failed to take note of caste and its apartheid, which also migrated within the Indian churches.
India Christians have stayed long enough around the manger and failed to notice the world’s worst apartheid to humanity under caste system. And seemingly, the global church and the world were kept hidden from this reality.
When Christians think about Christ given commission, we often tend to dwell around the manger of preaching the message of Jesus half and the medical and educational services were provided optional role to get involved in society.
India Churches have failed to see the reality of hidden stories of caste, apartheid and exploitation in the world’s largest democracy country. Definitely, to make full sense of Jesus’ birthday celebration, will required His church to fully understand His mission noted in the gospel of St. Luke 4:18-19.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to sent the liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
The need of the hour to look beyond the manger is to see the two faces of India’s poor and rich. India’s Economic boom has benefited to “Indian haves.” Space between Indian haves and Indian have-nots spreads in wild fire like situation. India’s dreaming to become world super power will only produce super global rich Indians while 250 million live in less than a dollar a day earning.
The need of the hour to look beyond the manger is that social, educational, economic and spiritual captivity - the captivity beyond the sin and sinful nature. There are hidden modern forms of slavery in Indian society, who needs to be liberateed oppressed, not only from sin but also deliverance from India’s hidden slavery of caste, apartheid and discrimination.
The need of the hour to look beyond the manger is the raise of fascism in India, which has attacked Indian secularism. Saffron brigades with western money power have attacked Indian secularism. All the Indian Christians need to look beyond the manger to guard the God given secular state, provided by Indian Constitutions.
In the words of Dr. Sam Paul – Public Affair Secretary of All India Christian Council (www.aiccindia.org), “Christian community gave Quality Education, Quality Health Care and Quality Preaching to make Indians better citizens by following God given values. In return, Christians received physical, legal and Media violence.”
The Fascist forces have termed Christians, Islam and globalization as greatest enemies of country by singling out the Islam as terrorist, Christians as proselytizers, globalization as destroyers of Indian culture and tradition.
The Saffron fascists have been propagated Christians as proselytizers for the service of providing quality education, quality medical health care and quality teaching.
The need of the hour to look beyond the manger is the India’s 10 million manual scavengers whose birth rights have been assigned by the Brahmanical oppressors to clean human night shits, which Dr. Joseph D’souza – International President of Dalit Freedom Network (www.dalitnetwork.org) called it modern form of slavery.
“The cruel caste system has been a huge, never-ending problem for us as Indians. Our inability to eradicate caste completely even after the rise of prophets like Mahatma Phule and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar reveals our own blindness to one of the most dehumanizing systems the world has ever known,” says Dr. D’souza.
Rev. Vidhya Sagar Dogar’s work on “Rural Christians of North West India” reveals that 11% of Dalit Christians in Punjab still carries the human shits on their head every morning.
The need of the hour to look beyond the manger is the 57 years old constitutional discrimination to Dalits who chose their faith different from Hinduism. Dalits choosing Sikhism and Buddhism were punished for six years and later for forty years until Article 341 Para 3 was amended in 1956 and 1990.
The Dalits are still constitutionally punished for choosing Christianity and Islam by ceasing their names from SC status. The constitutional beneficiaries and the coverage of Prevention of SC/ST Atrocity Acts 1995 are denied till today to those Dalits who chose Christianity and Islam according to the freedom of choice and conscience provided by Indian Constitution.
The need of the hour to look beyond the manager is new proposal of redefining Minority Status bill pending in United Progressive Alliance Government’s agenda. Attempt to redefine minority status at state level will loose the minority status presently available to Christians in Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya. Sikhs in Punjab and Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir will also loose their minority status.
What is the necessity of redefining minority status at state level? Or is it some form of attempt to harass minorities?
The need of the hour to look beyond the manger is the ever increasing Christian persecution in India. Four attacks per week have added 192nd attacks from January till date. This account does not include the unreported incidents.
While celebrating this year’s Christmas, thousand of Christians will fear to open their mouths to sing even a single word of “Joy to the world.” Hindutva forces watch close to attack, kill and torch. Singing “Joy to the World” will be allegedly with false charges of forced and fraud conversion to many pastors, fathers, nuns and Christian brothers and sisters. Standing up for rights together and condemning defaulter is the rights to look the beyond manger.
Last but never the least, the need of the hour to look beyond the manger is the Anti Conversion Laws being passed by different states. The anti conversion laws in Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh have been termed as anti constitutional by National Commission for Minorities as it violate the fundamental rights provided by Indian Constitution.
Look beyond the manger is the intimation to all Christians for this Christmas. The modern form of hidden slavery, the raise of fascist’s greater threat to Indian secularism, the space between Indian haves and Indian have-nots, the physical, legal and media harassment on Christians, are few to look beyond the manger.
Christmas Beyond the Manger
- » Published on November 26, 2007
- » Type: Opinion
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Author: Madhu Chandra
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