State-wide elections are scheduled for 12 May. In a message, the prelate calls “upon our priests, religious and lay leaders to [. . .] combat the forces that seek to undermine the idea of India as an inclusive, pluralistic, secular society”. Voters, he believes, are called to “choose men and women of competence, conscience, character, compassion, concern and commitment”.
Bangalore (AsiaNews) – The next elections in the State of Karnataka, which will take place on 12 May, "are of crucial importance not only to the peace and progress of the people of our State but also to the survival of the fundamental rights of all the citizens enshrined in our Constitution,” writes Mgr Bernard Moras, archbishop emeritus of Bangalore, in a note sent to AsiaNews.
Looking at the elections, he warns against the proliferation of fundamentalist organisations that, "masquerading under the garb of authentic nationalism” are “spreading the poisonous ideology of One Nation, One Religion, and One Culture, which is totally alien to the ethos of India.” His reflection follows.
Political Situation: Karnataka is heading towards elections to the Legislative Assembly which are of crucial importance not only to the peace and progress of the people of our State but also to the survival of the fundamental rights of all the citizens enshrined in our Constitution. Therefore, it is our national responsibility to ensure the preservation of the fundamental principles and rights that are under a subtle and systematic threats from fundamentalist organizations and authoritarian individuals who are pseudo-nationalists masquerading under the garb of authentic nationalism by spreading the poisonous ideology of One Nation, One Religion, and One Culture, which is totally alien to the ethos of India. By doing so, they are eventually heading towards the realization of their hidden agenda and are trying to devalue democratic traditions and downgrade democratic institutions. This cannot be tolerated, promoted and/or encouraged, and ought to be condemned at any cost!
It is in this context we call upon our priests, religious and lay leaders to understand the dangerous tendencies in our national life and to mobilise our people to combat the forces that seek to undermine the idea of India as an inclusive, pluralistic, secular society based on the principles and values of respect for fundamental human rights to life, liberty and freedom of expression, equality, fraternity and right to profess, practice and propagate the religion of one’s choice, equal respect for all religions and cultures and justice for all, especially the deprived, the disadvantaged and the dispossessed.
Our people need to be conscientized on the dangerous situation presently prevailing in our country and are to be encouraged to exercise their franchise in large numbers. They are to be advised neither to succumb to the material inducements nor to the brainwashing tactics through the evil and false propaganda.
All of us are to be carefully, wisely and prudently choose our representatives who should be persons adhered to the sacred principles of true democracy, genuine nationalism, authentic secularism and universal freedom, and by resolutely resisting the onslaught of forces which swear by One Nation, One Religion, One Culture and One Language and, at the same time, protesting against the pernicious practice of killing human beings for trivial matters and petty reasons.
Kindly go all out to facilitate the process of our people obtaining their electoral identity cards, so that they may choose men and women of competence, conscience, character, compassion, concern and commitment to be their representatives.
Therefore, we feel that it would be pertinent to consider what the CBCI has to say on this issue:
"Understanding Authentic Nationalism and Constitutional Secularism - Any attempt to promote nationalism based on any one particular culture or religion is a dangerous position. It may lead to uniformity but never to genuine unity. Such misconceived efforts can only lead our nation on the path of self-annihilation.
Mono-culturalism has never been and can never be the right answer to the quest for peace, progress and development, especially in a country like ours that has a rich diversity of culture, language, region, race and religion. Violence always recoils upon the violent sooner or later, “For all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Mt 26: 52).
We deplore the rising incidence of atrocities against women, killings, caste rivalries and communal violence which includes attacks on Christian institutions and communities. Therefore, let us follow the path of true nationalism that can lead our motherland to true peace, harmony, progress and prosperity. Authentic nationalism respects the human dignity of every citizen, regardless of one’s economic status, culture, religion, region or language.
We wish to urgently call all people of goodwill to uphold the rule of law guaranteed by our Indian Constitution. In a climate of violence, we make an appeal to all our fellow citizens to eschew mob culture and vigilantism in favour of peace. We appreciate and will collaborate with the Government in all its efforts to maintain law and order in our country, to ensure progress and development of all and the protection of the environment. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi has stated in clear terms that “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough of everyone’s greed”.
The Precious Gift of Human Life - The Christian community upholds the absolute and transcendent value of human life which is a precious gift of God. Therefore, an assault on human life can never be inspired by God nor justified because of the diverse beliefs and practices. Human life of every individual person in our beloved motherland needs to be valued and defended.”
*Bishop emeritus of Bangalore