Thought for the day
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8
The Second day of the consultation on the “Prophetic Role of the Church leader in the midst of Injustice”, organised by the by the Dalit and Tribal & Adivasi Concerns Department of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) in partnership with the Church of South India (CSI), started with the praise and worship to the Lord through the euphonious and dulcet voice of the members from the CSI under the leadership of Rev. Biju Joseph. The study on word of God was a mind-boggling session led by Mr. Pradip Bansrior, scriptural text from 2 Samuel 13:1-22. The study wasn’t a monologue but broke the conventional patterns and changed into a group deliberation over the scripture by bringing and analyzing the 5 main characters of the portion i.e Amnon, Jonadab, Abshalom, David and Tamar. Each participant was segregated into 5 groups and brought distinct characteristics of each character of the portion and related with the present context.
The panel on “Education, not Edu‘caste’ion: From Exclusion to Inclusion: Church’s Response to the Caste- Based Discrimination Faced by the Dalit/Tribal Students” was moderated by Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Dalit and Adivasi Concerns Department of the CSI Synod, and the key speakers of the discussions were Rev. Immanuel Nehemiah and Dr. Josemon George.
Rev. Immanuel Nehemiah pondered on the pseudo- nationalistic attitude of Netas and Babus of bureaucracy who infringe the right to life of Dalit in the name of nationalism but leading to jingoism. He emphasized on the Dalit nuance through the Saviour Jesus as Dalit, Rabbi and the one who faces intense abuse and been ridiculed. The speaker portrayed Jesus as the blasphemer reading and interpreted the action from Jewish Rabbinic traditional and fanatic view on the teaching and ministry of Christ. The political sacrilege Ambedkar who went a step ahead for the rights and dignity by criticizing the hegemonic Hinduism on the subalterns. Jesus had in and out been portrayed as the revolutionary who challenged the customs and traditions of the Jews and dared to challenge the rule of the Roman Empire. The speaker profoundly spoke about the act of Christ in washing the feet of his disciple from the Neoliberal Dalit Theological standpoint as a mark of reconciliation and pardon from his creation. Rev. Nehemiah reminded that the concept of betrayal ever since from the time of creation until the eschatological dawn of salvation history.
Dr. Jomon George made a sharp presentation of the factual and realistic conditions and tabulated reading on the condition of Dalits and Adivasis. The speaker gave the percentile reading the development, education, health, facility of the marginalized all over India. He elucidates the condition and the lifestyle of Tribals through different case study such as the people of Idduki in Kerala who have become incapable to give offspring because of the excess use of pills for avoiding monthly menstruation. It is during these monthly cycles of women where more violence occurs against them, hence the use of a pill to slip from physical abuse has led to biological incompetence.
The post-lunch panel discussion was on the theme “Violence and Atrocities against Dalit and Tribal women and Children”, which was presented by Esther Kathiroli who accentuate the ways the women and children who are considered to be the vulnerable session of the society are abused in all sense. The children who have social and dignity abuse in school by the teachers and fellow classmates. The speaker also emphasized the abuse of women which are 3 folded, the abuse at home by husbands, by society and government.
In the afternoon, the delegates were divided into five groups and deliberated on the points raised by the presenters in the forenoon sessions. There was a plenary session after the group discussion.
Rev. Sunil Raj Philip led the final session of the day on the theme “Prophetic Communication: Mission of Dalit and Tribal Churches”. He started the session by explaining the importance of communication in the life of individuals. The communication which was the first sign towards creation, an initiative of God bringing his idea into reality was done through an interpersonal communication with an Amoeba, a hermeneutical reading of a philosopher. The speaker explained how the word communication was derived from the word communis, common, coming in communion in harmony for love peace and justice. Rev. Sunil elucidated on the Barriers of communications within the community because of caste and gender gaps. The caste issue is so prevalent that people would prefer to die under hardship but won't share or come in communion with subalterns. Chennai flood case study, which explained the attitude of niche class towards the Dalits. The speaker gave a special emphasis on the aesthetics of communication, which are Name, Language and Body language which forms the Cultural Capital for few individuals and become an upper hand for their development an achievement in life. Caste challenges are not just centric to academics but in Church, politics and even in the graveyard.
Jesus the perfect communicator of all times who communicated in the language which was easily comprehended by people ranging from different walks of life. Rev Sunil, in the end, emphasized on the prophetic response of the Church for building Justice, peace and equality and enhancing the church to cross the barriers and hierarchy of communication.
The three- day consultation, which started yesterday (24th July 2018) at the CSI Synod Centre in Chennai, will have the culmination tomorrow.Read Next...
To bring the Dalit and Adivasi issues into the centre stage of discourse through advocacy and campaign by affirming cultural and theological aspects. The department will specifically mainstream these concerns by integrating them in the activities of various departments of the CSI Synod.
To express solidarity with the communities of faith which are victimized by untouchability and caste violence and empower them to overcome caste discrimination and marginalization.
To sensitize CSI urban congregations about the travails and aspirations of their counterpart Dalit and Adivasi members in rural congregations through audio- video productions.
To encourage the Dalits and Adivasi/Tribals to use music, art, and creative writing as liberative tools by giving them training and providing them opportunities.
To strengthen the efforts of the International Dalit Solidarity Network in liaison with the partner churches and related international organisations.
Integrally work with the Girl Child campaign of CSI- SEVA, Assure My Future, with the specific perspective of Dalit and Adivasi Concerns. Lenten campaign against the bonded labour in which Dalits and Adivasi are most affected.
Programme on strengthening the efforts of School for Small Farmers especially in catering to the specific needs of Small Farmers in Dalit and Adivasi Congregations.
Consultations, Workshops, and Study Groups on issues related to Livelihood, Cultural, Economical, Political, and Theological concerns of Dalits and Adivasis in India Today.
Publications on theology, sermons, essays, songs, poems, both print and web materials, with the specific focus on Dalit and Adivasi Concerns.
Leadership training for the young Dalits and Adivasis in order to equip them to face the challenges of discrimination.