Newsweek | India is Battling a Major Health Crisis. Where are its Elites?

2021-05-06T14:33:23+00:00

One of my friends, a lawyer, passed away recently in Hyderabad, India. He was fit and healthy, but tragically, his body was unable to fend off COVID-19. He leaves behind a grieving family who will be forced to bear an enormous financial burden imposed by the private hospital where he was employed and treated before his death. The world has seen images from cities like Delhi of crematoriums that have been overwhelmed with the bodies of COVID-19 victims. Funeral pyres have been lit in the streets. Our hospital infrastructure has collapsed and countless individuals and families are left hopeless and helpless. Amid the greatest health crisis in India's history, a news story made international headlines: Australian cricketer Pat Cummins, who plays for a team in the Indian Premier League (IPL), donated $50,000 to the prime minister's care fund for India's COVID-19 relief. India's own cricketers have remained silent in the face of our national tragedy.An anonymous official from the IPL, which is worth millions of dollars, recently claimed, "It's probably more important now to hold IPL, when there is so much negativity around. ... The league generates considerable money for the economy. It has to be seen from that context too. How does stopping IPL help?" This official's words are a slap in the face to the people of India. There is not a single Indian who has not been affected by the pandemic, whether through personal suffering or that of a friend, neighbor, relative or coworker. Since the release of that statement, the IPL has been suspended and the Tata Group has announced that they will provide medical supplies and necessities such as oxygen units and beds to hospitals in need. The core issue is [...]

Newsweek | India is Battling a Major Health Crisis. Where are its Elites?2021-05-06T14:33:23+00:00

Premier Christianity | ‘The pain is overwhelming’ As India’s Covid crisis deepens, we need Christians to act

2021-05-05T14:27:30+00:00

Global media have characterised India’s current Covid-19 crisis as a descent into hell or an apocalyptic catastrophe. The media talks about the failure of our healthcare system and lack of governance. All of this has some truth in it, but for those of us who are grappling with the tragedy of this mutant virus on a human level, the pain is simply overwhelming. Covid-19 is infecting and killing people regardless of their religion, ethnicity or caste. While images of cremations in our cities have gone viral, I have seen coffin makers forced to hire more workers to keep up with demand as people continue to die at alarming rates. UNIMAGINABLE SORROW A man, who worked with me years ago, and his wife were both taken by the virus recently. They leave behind a young daughter who is just finishing her nursing training. She now faces a life without parents; her sorrow is unimaginable. THIS IS A WAKE-UP CALL TO MIDDLE CLASS INDIA WHO THOUGHT PRIVATE HOSPITALS WOULD ALLEVIATE THE HEALTH NEEDS OF THE NATION AN AWAKENING OF SOCIAL CONSCIENCE We dread what the month of May will bring. Doctors predict a peak period when we will see 500,000 to 1 million cases of infection per day. The authorities need to realise that by suppressing and denying accurate estimations of infections and deaths, they are doing a great disservice to both the people of India and the world. What India needs right now is an awakening of the public social conscience in the midst of heartbreak and anger. We desperately need to reach out in compassion to the millions who will suffer in the days and weeks to come. The government cannot solve all our problems. Its [...]

Premier Christianity | ‘The pain is overwhelming’ As India’s Covid crisis deepens, we need Christians to act2021-05-05T14:27:30+00:00

Faithwire | Jesus’ Resurrection Spirit Is a Gift to Non-Christians, Too

2021-04-07T14:45:18+00:00

You might say that 2020 was a year of death. A global COVID-19 pandemic, horrific human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Myanmar, the incarceration of Uyghur Muslims in China, protests against murder and racism in the United States, the continued suffering of minorities and “outcastes” in India, natural disasters, the indiscriminate enforcement of globalization economics and the destabilization of democratic rights gave us little hope for the future. It appears the whole of creation is groaning for its resurrection as promised in the gospel of the kingdom of God. ***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, developed by our parent company, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.*** Ever since Jesus was resurrected from the dead thousands of years ago, faithful Christ followers have waited expectantly for their life-after-death resurrection in the world to come. But they also await their life-before-death resurrection in the present world. My work has allowed me to experience a spiritual dimension to human existence often overlooked by skeptics. Yet, Jesus’ resurrection unleashed spiritual and moral forces that are present and evident in all societies around the world, if we only have eyes to see. The spirit of life still ultimately triumphs over the forces of evil, oppression and destruction. As pastors are fond of saying this time of the year, “for every Good Friday there’s a Resurrection Sunday coming.” One does not need to be a believer in Jesus to be under the influence and power of the redemptive forces his resurrection unleashed in history. Easter, perhaps even more than Christmas, is for all the peoples of the world. ***As the number of [...]

Faithwire | Jesus’ Resurrection Spirit Is a Gift to Non-Christians, Too2021-04-07T14:45:18+00:00

The Guardian | ‘Untouchable’ Bollywood poster provokes outrage over caste stereotypes

2021-01-25T20:40:38+00:00

A picture of a woman holding a broom. Anywhere else, the image might pass unnoticed. But in India the poster for the film Madam Chief Minister, loosely based on the life of politician Mayawati, who is a Dalit, has triggered uproar for perpetuating caste stereotypes. Bollywood actor Richa Chadha, who plays Mayawati, tweeted an image of the poster ahead of the film’s release later this month. She is shown looking dishevelled and holding the kind of large broom used by municipal roadsweepers. The tagline of the poster reads: Untouchable, Unstoppable. The poster has offended on many fronts. “Untouchable” is now an unacceptable term in India – although some Dalits are reclaiming it – and the actor’s unkempt appearance implies Dalits are unwashed and untidy. For Dalits who have strived to escape the hereditary, menial jobs that defined and dehumanised them, the broom is a particularly potent symbol. The outrage was instant. Chadha and director Subhash Kapoor were lambasted for being incapable – as upper-caste and privileged Hindus – of escaping simplistic conceptions of Dalits. Many expressed their views on Twitter. One wrote: “Over the years, Bollywood in the guise of breaking caste barriers and making progressive cinema has furthered caste prejudices and solidified symbols associated with discrimination. What does a Dalit leader going on to become CM have to do with holding broom?” Another tweeted: “UCs (who claim to be secular, liberal) understanding of casteism is always flawed. Apparently everybody wants to make movies on Dalits these days because it’s profitable and they in turn do more harm to the community.” While another wrote: “The recent poster of Madam Chief Minister makes me feel heartbroken once more. I lack words to talk about the deliberate reluctance [...]

The Guardian | ‘Untouchable’ Bollywood poster provokes outrage over caste stereotypes2021-01-25T20:40:38+00:00

RNS | What Christians can learn from Indian Sikh farmers’ desperate protests

2021-01-19T18:23:05+00:00

For months, farmers in India have been protesting new agriculture reform laws instituted in September 2020, which leave them to the mercy — or lack thereof — of corporate giants.Almost immediately, farmers in Punjab, many of them Sikhs, began protesting locally, but in November, hundreds of thousands of farmers surrounded New Delhi in the largest mass protest India has seen in decades. Although these protests are largely leaderless, millions of farmers across the nation are united in their struggle for human dignity.What can we learn from the protesters?Humans have a right to a dignified livelihood.Globalization and the so-called market economy — which is built upon making money with money, not generating wealth with labor — have destroyed the livelihoods of numerous working-class people around the world. In India, globalization has wreaked havoc on the masses.One effect has been to force Indian farming communities, which comprise 70% of India’s people, to grow nonessential crops for unsustainable compensation. In the state of Bihar, where the new agriculture laws were implemented, many farmers have become destitute. The dynamics that are starving farmers are also worsening India’s already dire water crisis.Every person desires the right to dignified labor and compensation, the right to which was given to humanity by God, as recorded in Genesis:And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ …The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.Though human work eventually became corrupted by the sin of the first man and woman, work gives [...]

RNS | What Christians can learn from Indian Sikh farmers’ desperate protests2021-01-19T18:23:05+00:00

Newsmax | 4 Critical Issues India Must Address to End Sexual Violence Against Women

2021-01-08T16:40:53+00:00

On Sept. 14, a 19-year-old Dalit woman was brutally gang raped by four upper caste men in a field near her home in Uttar Pradesh — the largest state in India. Tragically, she succumbed to her injuries two weeks later, on Sept. 29, including a severed spinal cord. Adding insult to injury, authorities denied her family their right to their daughter's body and hastily cremated it themselves under the cover of night. Her story raises four critical issues India must address in order to end rampant sexual violence against women. State complicity How could the local police deny a traumatized, grieving family the last rites for their daughter? In India the answer is predictable: because they are Dalits. Even in death India's caste system denies human dignity. In barring this young woman's family from preparing her body for a proper funeral — and disposing of it themselves — the police of Uttar Pradesh were complicit in the dehumanization of this dear Dalit woman. They were also trying to cover her brutal rape. Such lawlessness among those who are supposed to uphold the law bodes ill not only for Uttar Pradesh but also for other states in India. This is one of the reasons why Martin Luther King, Jr., was correct when he said "injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere." If perpetrators of crime are not punished in India's largest state then what keeps the authorities from doing the same in others? Thankfully, in this case, the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), intervened, confirming the rape and charge the upper caste perpetrators. Unfortunately, this is too uncommon, and it should have happened first at the authority of the state itself. Caste discrimination As Isabel Wilkerson explains in [...]

Newsmax | 4 Critical Issues India Must Address to End Sexual Violence Against Women2021-01-08T16:40:53+00:00

Newsmax | Drop the Term ‘Conversion’ to Preserve Cultural Identities

2020-12-16T20:03:19+00:00

India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, recently passed an anti-conversion ordinance with the stringents of penalties. It’s not the first Indian state to pass such a law — at least eight others have some version of an anti-conversion law. But Uttar Pradesh is the first to include a provision to punish inter-religious marriages suspected of being carried out for the purpose of conversion. Under this new law, people who want to change their religion have to apply to the district magistrate and undergo a police inquiry to get permission to do so. Interfaith couples who violate the law could be penalized with up to 5 years in jail. To the casual observer, it’s obvious this new law is directed at the so-called notion of "love jihad," the idea that a Muslim man marries a Hindu woman to convert her to his faith. It’s no coincidence that Uttar Pradesh also has the highest Muslim population in India. Already a Muslim man was arrested for marrying a Hindu woman, even though she said she did it of her own volition. In terms of civil rights, this ordinance will violate the individual rights of adult Indians. What if the bride and groom voluntarily choose to keep their respective religions? Or on the other hand, voluntarily decide to adopt their spouse’s faith? Does the state have the authority to impinge on such intimate human affairs such as love and marriage? Unfortunately, these laws also have a history of inciting harassment and attacks at the local level against minorities such as Muslims and Christians. This summer, several Christians were attacked in Haryana after the chief minister announced a similar anti-conversion bill. For the Christian community at large and in India these anti-conversion laws raise the fundamental question [...]

Newsmax | Drop the Term ‘Conversion’ to Preserve Cultural Identities2020-12-16T20:03:19+00:00

The Christian Post | Condemning Islamic Terrorism is not Islamophobia

2020-12-07T16:09:32+00:00

For more than two weeks now, the world’s attention has been on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. As I write this, America remains divided on who is the rightful victor of the 2020 presidential election — and it could take weeks before the matter is officially settled. Yet outside of the U.S., life has gone on, and other countries are dealing with political crises of their own. In particular, France has been in an intense debate over the limits, or lack thereof, of freedom of expression following the death of Samuel Paty, a French teacher. According to news reports, Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old refugee of Chechen descent after the teacher showed his class cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. These were the same cartoons published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015, which inflamed tensions with the Muslim community, culminating in a mass shooting at the magazine’s offices that killed 12 people. Paty’s murder is inexcusable — that is something we should all be able to agree on. We should also be able to agree that freedom of speech allows for people to express what they think or believe, even if we find it offensive, and condemning this horrible crime as an act of terrorism is not in the least Islamophobic. Yet some state and religious leaders do not seem to agree. President Recep Erdogan of Turkey called for a boycott of French products after French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Paty’s murder and cracked down on religious leaders and groups spreading extremist ideologies in France. Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, also accused Macron of encouraging “Islamophobia” when the French president condemned “Islamist separatism” in his country. In fact, Macron’s stance triggered [...]

The Christian Post | Condemning Islamic Terrorism is not Islamophobia2020-12-07T16:09:32+00:00

The Christian Post | All is not lost when Christian leaders fail

2020-09-29T21:28:38+00:00

The public fall of Jerry Falwell Jr., the former president of Liberty University, is a sobering reminder that even our most respected leaders are not exempt from failure. Increasing revelations of the Falwells's lifestyle, which went on for years, paint a more disturbing picture than what was originally revealed. Falwell now joins a tragically growing list of Christian leaders whose moral failures have severely damaged not only the organizations they led and built but also the reputation of the gospel. From my perspective as a bishop, I believe Falwell’s failure is in part due to how evangelicals have built a culture that leaves little to no room for regular confession of sins, repentance and restoration. I believe we lost the practice of a confessional life because in our efforts to stay rooted in our Protestant beliefs we distanced ourselves from anything that could be remotely interpreted as Roman Catholic. Being saved, for many evangelicals, means being declared righteous by the redemptive work of Jesus — all well and good, but “being saved” does not mean we stop being sinners. On the contrary, we need saving because we are sinners. As long as we are on this earth, we have a sin nature, even if we have committed and submitted our lives to Jesus. The inability to acknowledge the fact that we are all works in progress is a major flaw in evangelical subcultures. This is not a modern Christian concept. Jesus himself taught his disciples the parable of the publican and the pharisee (Luke 18). The publican is praised not because of his righteousness but because of his repentant position before God as a sinner. In Acts we also read the early Christians said they belonged to [...]

The Christian Post | All is not lost when Christian leaders fail2020-09-29T21:28:38+00:00

RNS | Is It Time to Add ‘Caste’ as a Category in US Anti-Discrimination Laws?

2020-09-11T18:14:07+00:00

It’s a statement many Americans pass right over as they are filling out job applications: “No applicant for employment … is denied equal opportunity because of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, status as a parent, national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or other non-merit based factors.” This list is part of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s policy statement. A product of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, the policy initially protected Americans from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The law has now been expanded to include more than 15 categories. Yet one category has been conspicuously absent over the years: caste. Caste discrimination stems from India’s 3,000-year-old system that stratifies society into groups or “castes” based on the purity of a person’s birth. Those belonging to low castes — such as the Dalits, formerly known as “untouchables” — are consigned to the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Despite the fact that India banned the practice of untouchability more than 70 years ago, Dalits and other low castes face discrimination and even violence to this day. While many Americans may think the caste system exists only in India and other South Asian countries, it’s present all over the world, including in the U.S. Take, for instance, the recent case of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Cisco Systems Inc. An Indian man — identified by the alias “John Doe” in the case — alleged that his supervisor, another Indian man, discriminated him because he was a Dalit. According to the case, the two men knew each other from their college days in [...]

RNS | Is It Time to Add ‘Caste’ as a Category in US Anti-Discrimination Laws?2020-09-11T18:14:07+00:00
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