01/20/2021, 15.30
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Dalits’ bishop to pray for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, urges them not to forget people left behind

by Mons. Sarat Chandra Nayak

Mgr Sarat Chandra Nayak, bishop of Berhampur (Odisha), send his greetings to the new president and vice president of the United States. Hehopes that Harris, who hails from high caste family, will not forget to look at the destitute and downtrodden as well. The bishop asks both of them to bring light to “the darker sides” of India and the world.

Berhampur (AsiaNews) – Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur (Odisha) expresses a wish and offers a prayer for the new US president, Joe Biden, and the new US vice president, Kamala Harris. He also urges them not to forget those left behind.

Bishop Nayak (picture 2) chairs the Commission for Scheduled Castes/other Backward Castes and backward classes (i.e. Dalits and tribal people) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. His prayer seems to answer the doubts that many Indians have about Harris’s election, i.e. whether she, coming from a high caste family, can help people in lower sections of society.

All of us are born in a particular background but God does not wish us to bury ourselves in our background. Our background does have an impact on our personal development but our development is not just confined to our background. If that was the case, we would be locked in the past. That kind of a person cannot come out of the background in which he or she has been brought up. I believe that God wants us to come out of this and not remain in the past. 

I find that Kamala Harris is an independent personality, thinking independently, and has been working for the seemingly deprived sections in her previous positions. I look at this new position of Kamal Harris with a positive mind. The hidden sensibility to human rights and human dignity is evident. I feel that she will show more of this humaneness for all and not just for women issues. I believe that she and her team will be sensitive to the needs of the whole community and especially the deprived.

It is said that colour is skin deep, but caste goes down to the bone: it is the bone of contention.

I pray that she be gifted with sensitivity to the human elements and feelings towards the deprivation around. To be sensitive to every detail. She may not be able to do everything but when she looks at the details, she will be aware of the most deprived sections of the people and the situation there and not merely look at the periphery and higher-ups.

When she goes into the deeper level of human existence, she will be aware of the details there, and also of the situation all over the world, especially the situation in India. She should not be blind to the darker side of India and the world, where people in the lower sections of society and the poor still suffer.   

Already we have seen that they have addressed issues of the migrants etc., which shows this humaneness being revealed. The world has both the bright and the dark side together. Our efforts should be how to reduce the darker side and put light in it.

I am very positive about President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their team. I find that there are a lot of Indian-Americans and women in the administration. Their decisions will impact the whole world. We look forward to developments with great hope.

I send my prayers and best wishes to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)

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