Rev. Y. David: A Pioneer of Protestant Christian Social Activism in India passes away
(27 June 1940 – 21 November 2016)
The National Council of Churches in India is deeply saddened by the passing away of the veteran ecumenist and Christian social activist, Rev. Yesuadian David, an ordained minister of the Church of South India, Kanyakumari Diocese. A graduate of United Theological College, Bangalore, who served as a Programme Secretary of Student Christian Movement of India, Rev. Y. David became a pioneering model of Christian social activism with his simple and challenging lifestyle, identifying with people’s pain and sufferings, and mobilizing them to affirm and fight for their rights.
He thus became an exemplary Indian liberation theologian, who facilitated the Indian theological fraternities and Churches to look at mission differently. The ‘Off-Campus Programme of the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary was his ‘brain-child, by which ministerial candidates / students of theology were deployed in urban slums to understand and participate in the struggles for life of the slum dwellers.
Rev. Y. David was one among a few Christians who openly opposed the ’emergency’ and was imprisoned under ‘MISA’. He also initiated anti-nuke movements in Kudankulam in late 80s. He mobilized fishing communities to oppose the dangerous Nuclear Power Plant designed by the forces of death and destruction.
He was also one of the dynamic leaders associated with the setting up of NCCI – Urban Rural Mission in India. He joined with likeminded colleagues like the (Late) Rev. M J Joseph and initiated the ‘Programme for Social Action (PSA), and with Bishop Thomas Ninan for constituting the Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), which were post-emergency formations of net-working Christian Social Action Groups.
Rev. Y David was closely associated with the NCCI Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation’s Campaign on Climate Justice. During his last days, he was mobilizing peoples groups and civil society movements on Climate Change. A few years ago he organised a huge rally of Twenty Five Thousand People and representatives of Peoples Movements, and adopted a statement urging the Government to mitigate climate change through policies and their implementation. His suggestion about rainwater harvesting programme was accepted and implemented by the Government of Tamilnadu.
Rev. Y. David participated in several National and Global Ecumenical Movements including the Christian Conference of Asia and the World Council of Churches. He served as a Workshop Facilitator and Speaker in many Ecumenical Initiatives.
His passing away is a great loss to the Churches and Ecumenical Movements.
May the God of solace and strength fill the family, Prof. Dr. Reetamma and two daughters Mrs. Jeena David and Sujatha David, with Peace and Fortitude. The Family could be reached at +91(0)944 306 9291
On behalf of the Council
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary – NCCI