Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Save Our Servants (leaders)

Andhra Pradesh goes to vote today for the last time as an united entity. It is a bitter-sweet moment which has been 65 years in the making (an un-making).  

There are two parties presently in the battle-field led by (supremely astute) Servant-Leaders: Jaganmohan Reddy (YSR Congress) and Sonia Gandhi (Indian National Congress). While YSR Congress is expected to shine in coastal Andhra (estimated 90% Dalit Christian population), the fortunes of the INC (and the all-important Mission 115) will depend on its performance in Telengana.

Bishop G Dyvasyrvadam and Archbishop of Hyderabad Thumma Bala have issued an S.O.S. on behalf of The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches for today's (April 30) and the May 7 ballot. The Bishops have also presented a detailed Charter of Demands.
John Dayal, a noted (Catholic) Dalit activist reports from the Christian foxhole:
The Andhra Pradesh Bishops’ group has perhaps gone a step further and presented a charter of demands to the political parties and candidates in the election fray.  
These demands included setting up of a Christian finance and development corporation, ....removal of the ban on propagation and practice of Faiths in certain areas,  and Christian representation on various government organisations. They ....also demanded an Assembly seat in each district and two Lok Sabha (seats), .....apart from land for building churches. 

John Dayal is not happy with the mix of Church and Politics but he appears to be in the minority. Everyone recognizes that desperate times call for desperate measures (also every Sadhu and Mullah is doing it, so why not the Bishops?). That said the Bishop's Charter of Demands on behalf of his flock are indeed nothing short of extraordinary.

The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches has written a letter to churches within its jurisdiction asking them to “elect leaders…. Who uphold secular character and promote communal harmony”.
The APFC is body of several Christian denominations including Catholic, CSI, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal Churches and other Christian Denominations. It functions under the Andhra Pradesh Bishop’s Council.
Christian leaders say they are “worried” about the violence in Kandhamal, Odisha and hence they had taken the step.
The letter asks Christians to “elect leaders who are close to people and their needs, and only vote for those who uphold secular character and promote communal harmony”
It has been signed by Bishop G Dyvasyrvadam a moderator of the Church of South India and the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches. It has also been signed by Archbishop of Hyderabad Thumma Bala.

The letter will be read out on a Sunday before the state goes to polls. Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections will be held on April 30 and May 7.
Link (1): http://johndayal.com/church-politics-mix-india/
Link (2): http://www.thenewsminute.com/stories/AndhraPradeshchurchesaskChristianstovoteforsecularcandidates

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