But, reality is that church made only
another attempt to put old wine in the new bottle. They demanded to
include dalit Christians in the scheduled caste category on name of
‘Dalit Liberation Sunday’. They criticized Manmohan Singh government for
breaking its promises in this regard.
The slogan looks pleasant
from the hindsight, but reality lies in stark contrast to the ‘words’.
When church has not been able to create equitable order for 2.5 to 3.0
crore dalit Christians, how can they do justice to non-Christian dalits?
The big question to the
entire church organizations is, what church has done over this long
period if, after conversion of several hundreds of years, their
situation is as good as Hindu dalits? Despite 70 percent of total
converted Christians come from dalit framework of Indian society, their
role in the church establishment is almost non-existent. Discrimination
is persistently increasing within the church system. Church is trying to
shift the blame on Hindu system.
“Christianity does not
believe in discrimination of any kind” - this was the main reason our
dalit ancestors opted for this faith. Even Catholic Bishop Conference of
India (CBCI), in its resolution passed in 1981, said that there was no
place for caste-based discrimination in Christianity. This was a bad
system. The study of father Anthony Raj also proved this fact.
criticizes caste based discrimination and untouchability. But, dalit
Christians face this at every step in India. Handful of clergies
controls all the resources of church. Through this demand of including
dalit Christians in the scheduled caste category, church has played a
double game. They have successfully divereted the anger of dalit
Christians towards government and, secondly, they make time and money to
spend on more conversions, which will help them to firm their roots.
Welfare of dalit
Christians has never been an agenda for church but a tool for the
expansion of the church empire in India. This can be understood through
an example. There are 168 Bishops with just four from the dalit
community. There are 13,000 diocesan priests, 14000 religious priests,
one-lakh nuns and 5000 brothers in India. However, merely few hundred of
them are from dalit community. Recently, the only dalit priest from
Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, Father William Premdas Chaudhry, has
described the agony of dalit fathers in his autobiography - “An Unwanted
There is a common feeling
that church has highest volume of land after government of India and
they have land in the posh colonies. In India, church has some
constitutional rights. Regulation must be imposed to control church and
their institutions. There are 480 colleges run by the Catholic Church
only. Currently, 63 medical colleges, 9500 secondary schools, 4000 high
schools, 14000 primary schools, 7500 nursery schools, 500 training
schools, 900 technical schools, 263 Professional institutions, six
engineering colleges and 3000 hostels, 787 hospitals, 2800 dispensaries
and health centres are being run by Catholic Church. If institutes run
by Protestants is included then the number goes to somewhere between
45 to 50 thousands.
Now, the question is - how
many deans, teachers, professors and doctors are from dalit Christian
community in this huge empire of church? How many of them are doctors
in medical colleges and hospitals? How many dalit Christians are
director of social science or services institutions of church that
receives crores of foreign funds for the welfare of converted
Christians, mostly dalits. Church should answer all these questions
while celebrating ‘Dalit Liberation Sunday’. Church should tell how many
dalit Christian students get education in the church run convent
schools. Reality is that church has become a business enterprise and,
now a days, it is being driven by profit motive. If church has the guts,
it should bring a white paper on the issue.
It is a harsh truth that, many people
won’t believe, condition of Hindu dalits has considerably improved and
Christian dalits are now left in this race. Hindu dalits have started
‘Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’ to help entrepreneurship
among dalits. But, I want to ask why any such model for development of
Christian dalits has not come up or started by the church despite having
ample resources? I demand, instead of ridiculing dalits, Church should
first create a system that proper rights and justice to the dalit
Christians in the present system.
is the President of Poor Christians Liberation Movement (PCLM)]