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Appeal to observe AUGUST 10th as “Day of Mourning”

 

Respected Moderator /Metropolitan /Bishop /General Secretary /Executive Secretary/ Director /Principal /Executive Committee Member /General Body Member/ National Program Commission Member of NCCI and Dear Ecumenical Friends

Appeal to observe AUGUST 10th as “Day of Mourning”

Greetings from NCCI – Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns!

National Council of Churches in India-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns and Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India-Office for SC/BC jointly appeal to the Churches and organisations to make appropriate and relevant plans for the observance of the ‘Day of Mourning’ on 10th August to raise our protest regarding the continual negligence of the government to the cry for the rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the country.

Over the past couple of years we have been started using the term “Day of Mourning” instead of ‘Black Day’.  The concept of “Black v/s Fair” comes from the castiest mind-set that ‘black is ugly and fair is beautiful’. On the other hand, the Black people and the Dalits hail the colour and the word “Black” and say “Black is Beautiful”. Hence, when we use the phrase Black Day for August 10th, we are assimilating and accepting the concept that Black is negative, ugly and sad.

The infamous Presidential (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950 was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India which says “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the scheduled caste” which was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net. But this law, as we are all aware of, keeps the Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians from the Scheduled Castes list.

We request you to kindly observe ‘Day of Mourning’ on August 10th by organising protest rallies/ demonstrations/ hunger fasts/ submitting memoranda to appropriate authority/ candle vigils/ meetings/ special prayers and other appropriate programmes in your church/institution/ neighbourhood to express our solidarity with the suffering Christians and Muslims of Scheduled caste origin. Should you need any assistance do not hesitate to contact us.

 

With regards,

In Christ,

 

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India

Download the poster 

Tribal and Adivasi Sunday | 4 August 2019

And the people of God said, “Amen” !!

Worship in every Christian tradition has been a corporate affirmation of God’s work amidst us, accomplished in and through all of God’s creation including the human persons.

This year too we affirm God at work in the context of the struggles and resilience of the indigenous peoples of our lands; their affirmation of life, living patterns, search for livelihood options, and more importantly land. Identity, the very essence of being human persons and that which is so intrinsically related to land is denied when land itself is usurped.

We are invited this year during the observance of the NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday to lift our hearts and cry out to this apathy, and more importantly to affirm our participation in the struggle to restore land to the peoples who love, tend and keep it. Affirmed and committed thus, we are also invited to join issue with those persons, policies and processes that usurp land, challenging with all else and God the affirmation of life and dignity to these our kin – the land and her own.

I commend to you the work of my colleague Mr. Pradip Bansrior, the Executive Secretary of the Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns of the National Council of Churches in India, and that of his team, who invite us to worship together and thus to this commitment to restore land to the Indigenous people from whom it is usurped thereby affirming rights that’s just.

Sing unto the Lord a new song . . .

Asir Ebenezer
General Secretary
National Council of Churches in India

download the liturgy 

Download the Poster

Observance of Nakba Day on 15th May 2019

The Nakba commemoration of 71 years was jointly organized by National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns, Urban Rural Mission and India Peace Centre on 15th May 2019 at India Peace Center. People from various walks of life, from different faith communities participated to understand the complex reasons responsible towards the mass exile of the Palestinians from their land which now is under the captivity of Israel. Mr. Rajesh Jadhav working with NCCI -Urban Rural Mission explained in brief the historical background of NAKBA by giving details of the Israeli Zionist thought process in the Exodus and occupied areas of Gaza strip. Followed by the introductory speech a short documentary movie “The Walls of Shame” was screened which highlighted the burning issue of human rights and American right-wing approval for this endeavor. The movie depicted the reality which the people of Palestine have faced since decades in the hands of Israel and its inhuman strategies against a particular faith community.

Followed by the movie Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary of Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns – NCCI highlighted the issues existing in the Indian society and about the invisible wall which is present in the Indian society in the form of caste system and its practices. In between, the Muslim friends offered the sunset prayer Namaaz commemorating the Holy month of Ramadan after which they break their fast with Iftar.  Dr. Suresh Khairnar, National President of Rashtra Seva Dal, Nagpur shared and brought insights and his experiences which he had during his visit to the Gaza strip and Palestine. Dr. Khairnar in his address spoke extensively on the problems faced by the people living at the borders of Israel and Palestine and the key issues which are mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement, and the Palestinian right to return. Dr. Khairnar was eloquent in bringing out the how the world media is reluctant towards the problems faced by Palestinian. He appealed and encouraged the participants to read the book Good Muslim, Bad Muslim written by Mahmood Mamdani in order to understand the degree of suppression, distress and violence the people from the Muslim communities go through in their daily life.The program was concluded with the final remarks on standing together and striving for a justice oriented community and society by large was given by Rev. Kasta Dip, Director of India Peace Centre after which Mr. Rajesh Jadhav proposed a vote of thanks to all the delegates and the organizers of the program and proposed special thanks to Mr. Moses Gaur and Mr. Saurabh Khobragade. This was yet another opportunity wherein the National Council of Churches in India once again stood in strictly objecting the violation of human rights done by Israel in the case of Palestinian and affirming that it stands for peace, justice and love which Christ Jesus commands to share with every human being and the whole creation at large.

Reported by:

 Mr. Saurabh Khobragade

Mr. Yatharth Jadav

A Sermon on “The Riddle of Genuine Religion: Remembering Ambedkar” to mark the 128th birth anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on Sunday, 14th April 2019

Scripture Reading:   

Old Testament   :           Amos 8:4 – 6

 New Testament    :           James 1:19 – 27

              Gospel               :           Mathew 25:31 – 40

The 128th Birth anniversary of Dr. B. R Ambedkar falls on Sunday, 14 April, 2019. On this particular Sunday it is important for us to have a bird’s eye view of how Ambedkar looked at religion. Interestingly, his understanding of religion has resemblances with the passages given here. Let us examine how Ambedkar viewed religion:

According to Ambedkar the life and practices of the society lay the foundation of religion. Therefore, religion is part of one’s “social inheritance”. He affirmed the role of religion in the society and life of people, but he never endorsed hypocritic expressions in the name of religion. Religion, to him, is the driving force for human activity. He elsewhere remarked that “Man cannot live by bread alone. He has a mind which needs food for thought. Religion instils hope in Man and drives him to activity.”  He linked religion with the social being of the people. He remarked, “The religion which discriminates between two followers is partial and the religion which treats crores of its adherents worse than dogs and criminals and inflicts upon them insufferable disabilities is no religion at all. He wanted a religion which was all inclusive and open to all. Ambedkar also was of the opinion that religion should be rites and ritual free. He emphasized the social value of religion.  The social values talked about by Ambedkar are dignity, equality, liberty and fraternity which are the core values of a society.  Ambedkar believed that for betterment of socio-economic, religious and political way of life, “the prescription of equality, liberty and fraternity was needed.” Ambedkar in his response to religion sees religion in the interest of establishing a society of equals. For him, the questions of the origin, nature and practice of religion were not essential; instead he studied and assessed various religions from a social perspective of justice. Thus, we can say that for Ambedkar the search for a new religion was less of a spiritual quest and more of a longing for a religion free from unnecessary rites and rituals and built on the principles of justice and equality.

Similar to Ambedkar’s views, the prophet Amos criticised religion which discriminates people based on their economic back ground. His criticism is meant to evolve a genuine religion. Let us now look at how the prophetic voice of Amos described the characteristics of genuine religion: Read more

NCCI joins NCDC to include Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in Scheduled Caste list

 

The outcry of the Dalits has always been suppressed in different ways by the dominant hierarchical groups in India. The sheer interference in letting them accept a religion which breaks the bondage of caste and treats them equally comes in the limelight when it tries to uplift them from their suppression. But the tyranny of caste still remains with them as these chains does not leave them free. The reservation policies made to uplift the subaltern groups not only provides them a social status but also uplifts them from their social identity. In this times of trials and tribulations the Dalit Christians and Muslims have faced the termination of enjoying the equal rights which their brothers and sisters of similar identity holds in other faiths especially in Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh religions.

Read more

Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians

National Council of Churches in India- Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns
in partnership with
Henry Martyn Institute, Christian Service Agency and EMW Germany
 Consultation on Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for
 Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians
11-13 February 2019, Henry Martyn Institute, Hyderabad

The tyrannical social system of caste is creating a major disturbance in the society and community. Human dignity is being trampled ruthlessly every day. The Tribal communities as well who are the heart and soul of our civilizational heritage are being dDalitsisplaced in the guise of development to serve the vested interests of the dominants. In such a time as this the National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns reaffirms the divine praxis of liberation of human beings from the clutches of all dehumanizing forces at work so as to achieve authentic humanization ensuring each individual self-respect and dignity in the midst of systemic evils and structures which threaten the very existence of all lives on this planet. The intrinsic value of the entire cosmos needs to be reclaimed. These concerns were the subsistence of the consultation organized by the Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns of National Council of Churches in India on “Ecumenical Formation and Capacity Building for Young Dalit, Tribal/Adivasi Theologians” from 11-13 February 2019 at the Henry Martyn Institute, Hyderabad. The consultation bore witness to 39 delegates and 17 resource persons. 15 Theological Colleges affiliated to Senate of Serampore delegated their students for the consultation. Read more

Dalit Liberation Sunday 2018

Respected Ecumenical Leaders,

Warm greetings from NCCI – Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns

Dalit Liberation Sunday has become an important feature in the calendar of Indian Churches and Ecumenical movements. Over the years, there has been a positive response in sensitizing the local congregations towards concerns of Dalits, for no longer caste issue is visualized as a sociological issue or an issue outside the purview of church but more seen as an issue challenging the core of our faith and gospel. Dalit Liberation Sunday is a joint programme of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (CBCI), aiming at the empowerment of the local congregations for Dalit liberation. Thanks to the enormous support received from across the churches, dioceses, parishes and theological institutions in celebrating this special Sunday.

The theme for this year’s Dalit Liberation Sunday is “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). We take this opportunity to invite you to observe Dalit Liberation Sunday on 11th November 2018 in your church/local parish/institution in a creative way and rededicate our commitment to the Gospel by accompanying the unaccompanied. However, if you already have some programme on 11th November 2018, you may think of celebrating this Special day on later Sundays.

You can download the POSTER (.jpg Hi-Res 6.70 mb | .jpg Lo-Res 537 kb) and special ORDER OF WORSHIP SERVICE (.pdf HI-RES 18 mb  | .pdf MED-RES 12.5 mb  | .pdf LO-RES 2.77 mb) for the day. You may take the freedom to use the entire worship order and translate it in your vernacular language or adapt parts of it.

We would appreciate if you send a brief report along with a few photographs of the observance to the undersigned. Let us join to observe Dalit Liberation Sunday on 11th November 2018.

Thanking you in anticipation.

With regards,

In Christ,

Pradip Bansrior,
Executive Secretary,
Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns.
National Council of Churches in India.

 

DOWNLOADS (Right-click and “Save link as…”):

  1. POSTER (.jpg Hi-Res 6.70 mb | .jpg Lo-Res 537 kb)
  2. ORDER OF WORSHIP SERVICE (.pdf HI-RES 18 mb  | .pdf MED-RES 12.5 mb  | .pdf LO-RES 2.77 mb)

‘Day of Mourning’ on 10th August 2018

The National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns observed the Day of Mourning on 10th of August 2018 as a protest against the infamous Presidential Order 1950 (August 10th) Paragraph 3, which excludes Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians from the Scheduled Caste (SC) status, and the related affirmative action benefits of the Government.

Thus the Day of Mourning was a time to express  solidarity with the struggles and problems of  Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians in  contemporary India where they are deprived of their rights.  On this day the NCCI staff gathered on the lawn of the NCCI premises, displaying posters expressing their protest. This act was not only an expression of mourning  but also an urgent appeal to the authorities to repeal the unconstitutional law that violates the rights of the ones who are genuinely in need of it. A short speech was delivered by Mr. Saurabh Khobragade, NCCI Intern of Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns, regarding the significance of the protest.  He not only cited the infamous Presidential Order that was signed on 10th August 1950, but also emphasized how concerned people should  respond in times like this – to be critical  about the unjust ways of the authorities, to relate justly and responsibly  with our neighbours in society, and to be responsible citizens and  stewards in the service  of God. The observance of the Day of Mourning  concluded with a word of prayer remembering the suffering of  marginalized people, and seeking  God’s  intervention in the struggles for justice and inclusivity in the society and country at large.

 

Tribal and Adivasi Sunday 2018 Report from Different Churches and Theological Colleges

Report from  Bishop’s College, Kolkata

The community of Bishop’s College, Kolkata, observed Tribal/Adivasi Sunday on August 5, 2018. The leader of the worship Rev. Priscilla Papiya Durairaj led the worship service following the order of worship provided by NCCI, Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns with certain modifications. Among the few modifications were lighting of lamps by different members of the community to invoke the divine presence; an adivasi dance procession of different tribal/advasi groups from the community at the beginning of the service to celebrate jal, jungle and jameen. This was followed by the bringing of water, plants and earth at the altar, as symbols of thanksgiving for God’s gift to us. The sermon focused on the selected verse from the theme Leviticus 25:23 and highlighted certain facts about water, land and forest considering them as the natural gifts to us from God and hence these have to be preserved instead of exploiting them. The sermon highlighted the significance of honoring and protecting the natural resources which are explained in the Bible particularly in the gospels and the specific use of parables having  natural imageries. The sermon emphasized the vulnerable condition of and struggles faced by the tribal and adivasi communities and the responsibility of church and faith community towards caring for these communities and also caring for the gifts given by God.  There were two special songs sung by the student community, apart from the two songs in the order of worship. The service concluded with the benediction, followed by an Adivasi dance in which the congregation also participated, dancing and going out to affirm and celebrate Jal, Jungle and Jameen once again. Read more

Report of the Consultation on “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustices” (July 24 – 26, 2018 | CSI Centre, Chennai)

The Church cannot be dumbfound towards the precarious issues faced by Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis as they have been ostracized from the historical accounts by the dominant historians and writers of ancient Indian history. The need of the hour therefore, in  contemporary times, is to listen to the people from the margins, about their struggles […]

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