Season’s greetings and Merry Christmas

Dear Friend,

This is festive times and it gives us hope for future. In this age of darkness, hate and fake news, the message of Christ to love even your enemies remain the most powerful. Basically, hatred does not defeat hatred. It is love which win over hatred.

We are living in the age when systems are under the target and technology is being used to snoop you, when act of voicing concern is treason and civil society is being reduced to cheer-leaders of those in power. A democracy does not survive because a few people are speaking about it on the TV channels or news media. Democracy survive with inclusion. Today, inclusion has become the biggest threat to those in power. Every Muslim and Christian in India is being presented as outsiders. Even outsiders or immigrants have rights.
The only answer to these dirty sloganeering of  hatred is love and strength of inclusion as well as celebration of diversity. Differences in a diverse society are bound to happen and need to be celebrated. Those who consider that diversity is a weakness of society actually take it towards fascist tendencies which blame everyone else who look different as an obstacle in their growth and progress. In fact, diverse societies give us more in terms of our growth, understanding and celebrations. India remain one of the most diverse countries in the world and we are proud of it. We shudder to think if our constitutional forefathers had declared it a theocratic state. All our neighbors were either theocratic of various varieties Hindus, Muslims and even Buddhist but democracy failed to take strong roots there. Violence and military interventions were regular and at the end of the day it was people, the poor, the common who got punished if he or she voiced concern over the situation.
Theocracies always get strength on traditions and justification of the status quo while democracies work on ‘people’s principles’. The worst forms of democracies may be better than a guided theocracy. But today, democracy is being controlled by both the cronies of Dalal Street as well as the priestly classes of Nagpur which guide the Sangh Parivar in India. Elsewhere, the Christian and Islamic religious clergies too are directing that in different countries endangering the rule of law as well as protection of migrants and minorities. Most of these religious clergies in our part of the world, have become law on themselves and frankly speaking a threat to democracy, human rights and secular constitutions. But I would add here that the biggest threat to democracy is not merely the religious goons and mafias who are a posing it a direct challenge but those who keep silence or chose to keep silence in these difficult times. Silence may be gold at some other point of time but when our rights are violated, when humanity undignified and your friends need your voice then remain silence is simply criminal.
For many of us, who follow the inspiring life of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the day today mark the day of liberation. With thousands of his followers and supporters, Ambedkar burnt the Manusmriti, the religious text of the Brahmins which sanctified caste based discrimination, untouchability and gender discrimination in our society. So, it is definitely a ‘bada-din’ or a big day for all those who suffered age old discrimination and prejudices which still are rampant in our society.
The threat to the world is not merely in terms of religious fundamentalism growing everywhere and power being concentrated in the hands of the cronies but also coming from the disastrous ‘development’. The threat of climate change is very imminent and need our urgent attention. Our life style or imposed values in the name of ‘development’ are basically building a society of individuals rarely caring about the neighbors.  Machine can not replace human relations and human values and we allow these machines to dictate terms and conditions to us, we are going to be doomed. Let us place human values on top of our relationships and only then we can protect our world, which for me, is beyond the narrow confined of the boundaries of caste, creed, nationality or blood relations. I have found this in all of you who I am speaking with, a lot of strength and that, for me, is my source of energy and inspiration.
Let us strengthen these relationships beyond our work areas. There is no relationship if we want to be ‘formal’ and ‘official’. Just inquiring about each others, sharing our thoughts and concerns, expressing solidarity when needed are important.
Wish you all good health, cheerfulness and happier days ahead.
Merry Christmas !!
Let the power of love prevail.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat