It is truly a big day. At the time when there is so much hatred and violence, the message of Jesus Christ becomes important for all. The message of Christianity is to bring people of diverse faith together and spread hope at the time of despair and depression.
For millions of Indians, this is a day when Baba Saheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar along with thousands of his followers and supporters, assembled at a place called Mahad, in Maharashtra in 1927 to protest against the law book of the Manuwadis, called as Manusmriti. Remember, in this battle against the hidden apartheid, Baba Saheb Ambedkar had many enlightened persons who supported his cause with courage of conviction. The person who lit the fire on Manusmriti was Sahashrabuddhe, a member of his organisation. The symbolism was powerful as Manusmriti violate the principles of equality and equal opportunity and therefore it must be rejected by all who believe in equality, liberty and fraternity. Sahashrabuddhe was born in a brahmin family but influenced with Baba Saheb’s mission. That Manu Smriti was burnt by a Brahmin first, and that too in Mahad in the presence of thousands of women and men, who were denied water rights by the caste Hindus. Those who feel proud of their culture of denying others equal rights must understand that people have come to know about their acts and Dr Ambedkar’s movement for human rights have united all of us across India.
The current protest against the unjust order all over the country has made one thing visible that our young students, intellectuals are now realising the power of ideas that emerged out of Ambedkarism. Both Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh have emerged as the biggest inspiration for youth in India. If we see the pictures and posters all over, it reminds us that youth of India is not ready to dilute his freedom as enshrined in our constitution.
Yesterday, we remembered Periyar, one of the greatest revolutionary of India, a man, far ahead of his time who liberated millions of women and men from the clutches of brahmanical rituals and superstition. There is a lot to learn from Periyar’s movement and intellectualism as it exposed the varna system and asked people to become rationalist and humanists.
As we celebrate Christmas, today, the message of love, peace and joy need to be spread all over. Christians are a small minority in India yet in terms of influence and contribution, they remain far superior to others. Their contribution to our health sector, education and civil society is enormous and unparalleled. Christians have contributed to strengthen our institutions and help give hope to millions of people in this country, in our villages, who became hopeless but it is also a reality that a majority of Christians in this country are rural poor from the Dalit Adivasi background who need social justice. Christian institutions in India actually helped India’s elite classes more than the Christian Dalits and Adivasis. If they think that the message of equality, love and compassion of Jesus Christ need to spread, it is time for Christians to throw open its institutions, its elite colleges, institutions for India’s Dalits, Adivasis and backward communities in the greater interest of social justice.
The social message of Christianity is much more powerful than its religious philosophy. You have given hopes to many, embraced people who were depressed and dejected and gave them new life, it is time you take the message of Christ further and spread this message of hope, of love and of peace everywhere. India’s marginalised people will remember you if you open the doors of your institutions for them. It is not that these institutions are not opened but the reality is that elite institutions have become commercial where only brahmanical elite benefit and most of these elite never return to them but serving the interest of those who accuse Christians of engaging forcible conversion.
On this big day, I again remind people to remember Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s message, reject Varna system based on ideas of Manusmriti, spread compassion, love and human values.
Christmas Greetings to all.