Thursday, August 23, 2012
Sunday, April 3, 2011
“A PERSON IS AT LIBERTY TO CONVERT TO ANY RELIGION AT ANY TIME,” SAYS A JUDGE. (Then why is conversion banned, and converts arrested?)
Some days ago there was an interesting piece of news (The Times of India,
The judge thought otherwise, and said marriage is marriage and the priest had every right to will his property to his wife and child. I tend to agree with the judge. A man has to be responsible for a wife and child, priest or no priest.
But the judge in his verdict also said something else that is very interesting, and might have been missed by many. He wrote: “A person is at liberty to convert into any religion whenever he wants. There was no legal bar for a Christian or even a priest, on converting to Islam.”
If a “person is at liberty to convert to any religion whenever he wants” why do we have the euphemistically labelled Freedom of Religion Act in some of our States that forbid conversion to another religion? I think this is an interesting point to consider and, may be these Acts need to be fought, again, in the light of the recent judgment. Why is conversion to Christianity a crime?
And incidentally today (April 03, 2011) comes the news (in CathNews-India) that “Police have arrested 12 tribals on charges of converting to Christianity in Orissa’s Mayurbhanj district….The converts were arrested for violating the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, which bans any conversion that is done without a permit issued by the authorities.”
If a “person is at liberty to convert into any religion at any time” why does he or she need a permit from the authorities to do so?
Returning to the case of the priest’s marriage, how come it remained a secret? Was it really a secret? Wouldn’t someone or other familiar with the priest known about it? Just wondering!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Cyberspace, is the new playground. That’s where young people gather today. Are the Salesians, the self-proclaimed Missionaries of the Young, able to accompany the young where they now gather?. What’s their presence in cyberspace?
It’s hard to change a mind set and move with the times. Even today, the Salesians in India give priority to running schools and meeting the youngsters on the school playgrounds. If Don Bosco were here today he would be in Cyberspace in a huge way –and not on the school playground. We are missing the boat!
The Salesian have two major WebPages – www.sdb.org and www.donboscoindia.com, the former the official international site and the latter the official South Asian Site. But whom do these serve? The Salesians, of course. What’s the content of these pages? Salesian stuff, of course! In what way do these pages serve young people? Not much! Where’s the content that would attract young people to these pages? Very little indeed! It’s time the Salesians offered a Web that would truly become a playground where the Salesians and the young chat together—walk together. For this Salesians have also to be much more comfortable and adept at using the language and tools of cyberspace, if they are to truly accompany the young today. And have an appreciative, positive attitude toward Cyberspace and its enormous potential for good.
And, if we are to reach the young in Cyberspace, the sites have to be truly interactive, with ample scope for exchanging ideas and making comments freely. From what I have read in regard to this, the Salesians are mighty scared of such interaction capabilities!
But individually some of us Salesians have discovered the power of the personal blog. As our media commentator CM Paul said in a recent email to a former General Councillor, “we are going to have a new revolution free and loud expression of opinions and ideas thru personal BLOGs...That will cover and criss cross all boundaries!”
I can't but quote here a favourite Gospel verse: "Fear is useless. Only trust is needed!"
Welcome to new possibilities!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Something in a few-days-old newspaper lying in my room caught my attention. The headline said, “Bill to hide judges’ assets from RTI.”
One of the recent measures that has been helping to make public officials more accountable to the people is the Right to Information Act (RTI), which has been put to very effective use by socially conscious citizens.
However, the judges of the Supreme Court of India had been resisting the efforts to bring them under the purview of RTI. In particular, they had been resisting attempts to make them disclose their financial assets. The Chief Justice of India had been in the forefront of this resistance, citing reasons of confidentiality. The Government of India was siding with the judges, and was set to bring a bill in Rajya Sabha (that is the Upper House of Parliament) to keep the details of the judges’ wealth out of the public realm, said the news report. “If the bill goes through, then the high court and supreme court judges will be the only people exempt from public scrutiny of their assets,” the report continued, “a privilege not extended even to the president and the prime minister.”
Strange, I said to myself. Why is it necessary that judges’ wealth be kept secret - unless they have something to hide? And the government wants to protect them with the bill – which means the government too has a stake in it. Especially in the context of a number of judges in recent past being found corrupt, the proposed law in question would only encourage judges to be more corrupt.
Recent events have shown the impropriety of such a proposed law. A number of judges of High courts have voluntarily disclosed their assets and even written articles in support of disclosure – in a way standing up to the Chief Justice and the judges of the Supreme Court. Their action forced the Supreme Court judges to give in and agree to disclose their assets. And the Government blinked. It dropped the bill.
A couple of days ago, the Delhi High Court gave a verdict that the Chief Justice of India comes under purview of the RTI. Hurray for democracy! Hurray for the judiciary!
There is more! A day after the Delhi High Court verdict, jurists hailed it. Three former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court congratulated the Delhi High Court for the verdict, and asked the Supreme Court to accept the verdict and not challenge it.
I was glad to hear that one of the former CJI, Justice V. N. Khare reflected my own sentiments expressed earlier in this blog. He said: The Delhi High Court verdict “has upheld the dignity of the judiciary. If we were to hide anything, it would only give rise to suspicion that we have something to hide.” Right!!
Prometheus: Those who have power (that includes Supreme Court Judges) hold on to it, until it is wrested from them. That’s history. And those who are out of power will normally side with the powerless. That too is history.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
India celebrates Teachers Day today and I was invited to address teachers at a school. The following is a recalled description of part of what I said.
Contexts supportive of autonomy, competence, and relatedness were found to foster greater internalization and integration than contexts that thwart satisfaction of these needs. This latter finding, we argue, is of great significance for individuals who wish to motivate others in a way that engenders commitment, effort, and high quality performance.
….if the social contexts in which such individuals are embedded are responsive to basic psychological needs, they provide the appropriate developmental lattice upon which an active, assimilative, and integrated nature can ascend. Excessive control, non-optimal challenges, and lack of connectedness, on the other hand, disrupt the inherent actualizing and organizational tendencies endowed by nature, and thus such factors result not only in lack of initiative and responsibility but also in distress and psychopathology (2000, p. 76).
Teachers are individuals who wish to motivate others in a way that engenders commitment, effort, and high quality performance. More than techniques and tricks, what they require to motivate their students is the ability to create the context in which stufents feel accepted and loved, competent and confident, and free to be creative.
Happy Teachers Day!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Prometheus is the guy who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humankind. The gods got mad and punished Prometheus and bound him in chains.