Dalit Christian Pastor tells Pains


Sunday, November 16, 2008

By R.L. Francis

The leaders of Indian Church are being accused of not given equal place and opportunity to the Dalit Catholics in Catholic Church till today. Dalit and Tribal fought against religion, unjust society and unequal economic distribution against them and they accepted the Christianity but later on they realized that in Christianity also there was/is no equal justice and place for them in the Church. Dalit and Tribal Catholics are sad for not having dignified life in the Catholic Church. Upper cast Catholics are having full hold and control on the Catholic Church. Most of the priests, bishops and cardinals are becoming from upper cast and they select the leaders for different associations from their own cast people.

There are very few Dalit priests and nuns in the Catholic church. Converted Dalit Catholics have great hope from Dalit Priests and nuns in all the diocese in Indian Catholic Church. When Dalit Priests and nuns are being misbehaved, harassed and persecuted by bishops and superiors, then converted Dalit Catholic become sad and loose the hope of having equality and justice in the Catholic Church. Infact in order to have full hold on the Catholic Church, the upper caste bishops and priests do not give equal place and opportunity to the Dalit Preists, Nuns and Dalit Catholics in the Catholic Church.

Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary is the only local Dalit Priest for Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, the Capital of India. On 30-07-2006, his family members and villagers had a dharna at bishop’s house against the discrimination done to Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary by the Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao. His brother, Mr. Laxmi Chand gave a memorandum to the Archbishop and appealed to him for not to mistreat his brother on the basis of region and caste. Mr. Laxmi Chand reminded the Catholic Archbishop about the pain and trouble they had gone through in order to make his brother, Fr. Willam, a catholic priest for Delhi Diocese. Most of the family members and villagers are Hindu, so they had opposition within the family and in the village for not allowing him to be a priest. Mr. Laxmi Chand lives in Gurgaon, Haryana. He said that his brother after having completed his priestly study for 11 years, became a catholic priest for Delhi Catholic Archdiocese. We were happy that our brother became a priest and expected that he will work for deprived people in the society.

Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary’s eldest brother, Mr. Laxmi Chand had reminded the Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao through the memorandum that he and his family sacrificed him to work selflessly in the Catholic church and spread the message of love of Christ. We came to know that our brother is being ill-treated on the basis of caste and region. Infact the Archbishop is against the local dalit catholic. He is encouraging regionalism and casteism in Delhi Catholic Archdiocese. Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary was appointed at Faridabad and Rewari in Haryana, Defence Colony, Delhi Cantt, Mayur Vihar Ph-III and Pitampura churches in Delhi but he was not allowed to work freely by the Archbishop who was/is interfering in his work. Mr. Laxmi Chand alleged through the memorandum that Archbishop was/is discriminating against the local Dalit Catholics and local Dalit Priests on the basis of language, region, race, colour and caste. Catholic Archdiocese never consulted local Dalit and priest while taking important decision for the diocese. Archbishop has different rules and regulations for North Indian and South Indian priests, which is against the policy of church and Christianity.

Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary’s family says that they respect Rev. Bishop Vincent M. Concessao very much and this is not to insult or hurt him. This matter is being voiced because we have sacrificed our brother in the name of Jesus Christ but here in Catholic Church he himself is forced to live insulted life. We must not tolerate that after serving the Catholic Church for more than 15 years he is facing the problem of unjust and partiality by the top most Authorities. These authorities must change their behaviour towards Fr. William . Archbishop is putting condition for long retreat before assigning the parish to Fr. William but there are no condition for other priests who have not gone for long retreat and are holding/ assigned important position in the Church.

There are fourteen thousand (14000) priests in the Catholic Church but only six hundred (600) are Dalit Priests. There are one hundred sixty(160) Bishops but only six (6) are Dalit Bishops in the Catholic Church. It is surprising that there are 70% are converted Dalit Catholics out of the total population of the Catholic Church. Only few upper caste bishops and priests are ruling and controlling the catholic church. They are using the property of the Catholic Church for their own sake. Church leaders are increasing their kingdom while converting Hindu Dalit into Christianity. They are creating division and tension in the Indian societies through their activities in India.

Infact Indian Churches are being controlled and ruled by the South Indian, especially the generation of Portuguese. It is true that Portuguese missionaries and people could not influence and controlled Indian politics but they had full control on the Catholic Church. Vasco D’Gama was send to India by the pope in order to control Indian catholic church. Before Portuguese missionaries came to India, they were already old Catholics and Syrian Catholics were living in India, especially in South Indian. Portuguese missionaries made them their own slaves by force while British was ruling and controlling India. The upper caste Catholics of Kerela and Tamilnadu obeyed and worked along with Portuguese missionaries. Even though British left India yet pope had influenced and control over the Catholic Church. India became independent country which was declared as democratic. The religious freedom was given to the Indian people who can choose and practice any religion anywhere in India. The Portuguese were very happy and proud of religious freedom in India. Foreign missionaries left enough wealth, movable and immovable property in the Catholic Church. After having left the foreign missionaries from India, the upper caste bishops, priests and leaders of the church took full control over the Catholic Church and entire wealth. In order to increase population in the church, the upper caste bishops, priests and missionaries started to convert Hindu Dalit and poor people into Christianity. They were getting foreign aid in order to increase population in the church. As the population increased in the church the vote bank also increased. So the upper caste bishops, priests and leaders of the Church got the protection of Indian Politician. Since they received the help and protection from politicians, the Indian missionaries took advantage in converting Hindu Dalit into Christianity.

Recently many people died in Kandhmal District in Orrissa. Many churches, institution and houses were burnt and there was a heavy loss of wealth and life. There are Schedule Caste people, belonging to Pana Caste, who are converted into Christianity. Church leaders are fighting and demanding the state government that the people of Pana Caste must be given the status of Schedule Tribe so that they may not loose quota after accepting the Christianity, otherwise they are loosing the quota after the conversion. This is the real reason of hurdle for conversion for the leaders of the church. Since many decades, church leaders were/are trying to remove this root cause which is the hurdle for converting Hindu Dalit of Pana Caste into Christianity and forcing the government to give them the status of Schedule Tribe. This struggle has been going on since many years. Because of this struggle the tension built up in the region. Actually the church leaders are not interested in the development of converted Catholics rather they want to increase number in the Church. The Church leaders are having an eye on 16 crores Hindus. The Church leaders are playing double standard game. If the people of pana caste are given Schedule Tribe status, they will retain quota / reservation after accepting the Christianity and the Church need not to give anything to them, and on the other hand the conversion may go on smoothly. The church leaders are running the shop of conversion.

Indian Catholic Church have to follow rules and regulations(Canon Law) of Catholic Church. The Vatican appoints the Indian Bishops. Usually Catholic Bishops gives less importance to local community and that’s why interference in their work by the local priest can only bring suffering to these local priests. In the year 2000, Fr. Anthony Fernandez SJ, was harassed, persecuted and asked to leave the society because he raised the voice against conversion and refused to change the religion of local community, he also challenged the various rights of Bishops. Fr. Henry of Jhansi Diocese was insulted and persecuted because he took the side of local poor Christians. In our country today also lots of priests are facing punishment and standing in neglected places for being Dalit and raising voice for their own people. “Poor Christian Liberation Movement” (PCLM) is one of the leading organisation who is working for Dalit Christian has asked the Church Authorities to give equality and respect to their Priests and Nuns who have come from the Dalit background. According to the words of Jesus Christ we should be like salt. If the salt become tasteless there’ll be no use of it instead it will be thrown outside like dust and will be trampled within our legs.

[By R.L. Francis, President, Poor Christian Liberation Movement -PCLM]


4 Responses to Dalit Christian Pastor tells Pains

  1. I believe you are right completely

  2. Extraordinarily well written article..

  3. Thank goodness some bloggers can write. Thank you for this blog post.

  4. Youre indeed correct with this piece!!!

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