When Will Aam Atmi Liberated?

This story is well known in whole world that under the law of anti-national activities the President of the Students’ Union of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya were arrested and jailed in 2016. They were accused that they organized a students’ programme on 9 February 2016 and shouted anti-national slogans. According to the reports published in English and Gujarati newspapers unclear photographs were presented in the court in which both the accused and the witnesses were seen. The news has also come out after forensic laboratory tests that the video footage which has been submitted in the court as proof has been adulterated!

National and international voices have been raised against accusing the JNU students with anti-national crimes. On February 17, 2016 no less than 93 professors and international rationalists issued a public statement. The statement describes the steps taken by Modi government against the JNU students as Shameful Act and strongly criticized it.

According to the The Times of India, Ahmedabad edition of March 3, 2016 the learned 69 professors from the educational institutions like IIMA and NID   issued a public statement opposing tooth and nail the steps taken by the Delhi police under Modi government and their solidarity with the persecuted students. Eight professors from IIMA were there in signing the public statement. Yet IIMA issued an official statement explaining that the IIMA Professors have on their own responsibility signed the public state!

Like the steps taken by Modi government against the student leader Kanayakumari the Education Minister Ms. Smruti Irani through 4-5 letters sent to Hyderabad Central University brought communal pressure as some news papers have reported on Dalit student Rohit Vemula. Unable to withstand the persecution the student staying in the university hostel committed suicide. According to some newsmagazine analysis of Vemula’s suicide there are clear indication of the students’ union of ABVP and the Education Minister Smruti Iran’s hand in the suicide of Dalit student Rohit Vemula.   The intolerance and persecution started against the minorities during the last three decades are now showing at national level against the poor, Dalits, intellectuals and finally against all who are not with the BJP and the  Sangh Parivar. The unheard roar of those in power is “come with us or perish” Obviously the experience of all types of incentives, bribes and threats tried in Gujarat Laboratory seems to have extended to the whole country.

To understand this situation perhaps an incident from the communist Russia may help us. After the death of Lenin in 1924 Joseph Stalin came to power in Russia. Stalin is defamed even today in Russia for killing innumerable people with machine guns, who have raised their voice against Stalin. He was a personification of cruelty.

When Stalin died in 1950 Kruchev came to power in Russia as the leader of the Communist Party. He in the twentieth congress of the party strongly criticized the tyrannical intolerance of Stalin.

“Now you are criticizing Stalin. But why did you not oppose him then? Why did you not raise your voice?” Someone from the congress asked.

Kruchev the true disciple of Stalin got very angry. Stamping he foot he thundered, “Who asked the question? Let him up. I will answer him!” the congress filled with delegates was so silent that even a drop of pin could be heard. Frightened to death, no one moved, no one had the courage to stand up!

Kruchev said laughing, “Friends, this was the situation then, if I had opposed then, I would not have been standing here before you!”

Friends, thanks to our constitution and the visionaries like Dr. Ambedkar in the constitutional assembly, such a frightening situation will hopefully never happen India. Still people who move   among ordinary people know and experience that a situation of fright exists everywhere in the country. Why speak about the opposition. In the ruling party beginning from ordinary party workers and the members no one including central ministers dare to raise the voice against the mostly elegantly dressed globe totter.

People know that no stone was left unturned in harassing and persecuting those who stood up against Godhra and post Godhra massacres of thousands of innocent people. Those who prevented such massacres in their jurisdiction were harassed and persecuted. Even today such harassment and persecution continue. (The sudden death of Chief Justice Loya in November 2017 at Nagpur is an example)

Still silver rays of hope are seen amidst the situation of fear and intolerance. There are many people in our midst who protest the atmosphere of intolerance and who have returned their government sponsored awards. Sad to note, that some paid with their lives. Among them are Dr. Narendra Dabolkar, Govint Pansare, Dr. M. M. Kulkarni and Journalist Ms. Gauri Lankesh. They are Martyrs for expressing their independent views and opinions fearlessly and courageously.

I see them as people who walk in the path shown by Jesus in his life, death and resurrection. When I remember these great people I recall a great humorist of Kerala by name Kunjan Nambiar. A famous king in Kerala, Marthanda Varma died in 1758. His successor was Rama Varma. Kunjan Nambiar was a member of friend circle who always sang praises of the king.

One day king Rama Varma decided to test the faithfulness of his friends. Everyone was served food. There was sweet ‘Payasam’ (a sweet item).  After tasting it the king Rama Varma said, “This Payasam is bitter” and he got up without eating it. “Payasam is bitter.” “Payasam is bitter”, repeating it after the king others at table also got up with the king. But Kunjan Nambiar continued eating the Payasam. The king turned to him and asked: “What Nambiar?  Isn’t the Payasam bitter?”

“Your honor, the great king, your servant likes this bitter Payasam” and he ate the whole Payasam served for him.

The king’s flatterers knew that the Payasam was not bitter but sweet. But no one dared to tell the truth that the Payasam is not bitter. They did not have the courage to contradict the king. But Kunjan Nambiar very subtly told the king the truth that he likes ‘this bitter Payasam’!

Today our masters proclaim “Satyamev Jayete” (The truth will win)! But they themselves keep away from the truth and take recourse to half truths and naked lies! But when sticking to truth and seeking “Liberation in India itself” student leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar and his companions are in the open field to fight; So we can certainly hope for resurrection after death.

This faith in the resurrection after death is the foundation of Christian faith. The message from Jesus, who rose from death on the third day, is that of love, of service, of compassion and of faith. The followers of Jesus spread this message of Jesus through sharing the Bible and other biblical literature. The Feast of Easter is celebrated to help the followers to be filled with this message of Jesus. Jesus sends his disciples filled with the message to spread it to the whole world.

Love is the message of the   risen Jesus. From the day of resurrection till his ascension after 40 days. Jesus appeared to his followers with great love in different places in various forms.  The message of Jesus resurrection was first received by his women disciples at his tomb. Jesus also met them on the way. Jesus entrusted to the women to communicate the news of his resurrection to his disciples!

(Given the social-religious situation) Jesus’ disciples did not believe the women but thought that the women’s message of Jesus’ resurrection bogus and meaningless! In the words of St. Luke, “But the apostles thought that what the women said was nonsense and they did not believe them.” (Lk 24; 11) Still Jesus meets his disciples with great love and greets them with “Peace be with you” ( Jn 20: 19 & 20).

Meeting with the Risen Jesus brings about total transformation in his disciples. The meaning of human life is transformed radically. They begin to understand the meaning of all messages which Jesus gave them during his life with them. Everything good and bad gets new meaning. With the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples too receive new life, new peace, new happiness, new power. In other words, the disciples experience in their lives the presence of the unseen Jesus after his resurrection. They feel empowered to face any situation of life. So they reach the ends of the earth with the message of Jesus.

Every person who understand well the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection may hope and dream like St. Paul. A missionary in forefront St. Paul writes in his letter to Philippines, “All I want to know Christ and experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his suffering and become like him in his death in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life” (Phil 3: 10-11)

In short;  through his death on the Cross and resurrection Jesus has gifted to us, the Aam Atmi, new life and liberation from death, the conquering of sin.

Changed On: 01-10-2018

Next Change: 16-10-2018

Copyright Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ – 2018