Why are the right wing politicians who rule the Kerala State today so blind to the deep commitment of Gandhiji to truth? Gandhi’s devotion to relative truth was an integral part of his dedication to the absolute truth. He wrote in My Experiments with Truth about this commitment in these words: “I worship God as Truth only…… I am prepared to sacrifice the things dearest to me in pursuit of this quest. Even if the sacrifices demanded be my very life, I hope I may be prepared to give it. But as long as I have not realized this Absolute truth, so long must I hold by the relative truth as I have conceived it. That relative truth must meanwhile be my beacon, my shield and buckler.” It was based on this fundamental principle that he led many satyagrahas for the liberation of the nation and transformation of the society.
But today many politicians including the present state leadership indirectly say that ‘craze for power is our beacon, our shield and buckler’. Marinating power without any regard for morality is the governing principle of Political realism. Henry Kissinger in his masterpiece Diplomacy has extensively described political realism unhindered by his moral feelings or those of politicians of his stamp. Why do the present state authorities follow just the ideology of Kissinger or Otto van Bismarck rather than Gandhiji.
When there is a dispute regarding any issue and opposing claims regarding truth, it is not politicians or any officials of the government who make a verdict to determine truth and the right procedure in future. Political interests or any other interests should not blind people to see the truth. That is why a deep analysis of all claims and an impartial concluding verdict by the courts are extremely essential and relevant.
Upholding the 1995 Supreme Court verdict concerning the Malankara church and rejecting the suit filed by Antiochean loyalists (OS 43/2007) , the Ernakulam district court gave the order that Kolenchery church should be governed by the 1934 constitution as any other parish in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. An appeal for stay against this was rejected by the High court of Kerala on September 6th, 2011.
Why is the Executive reluctant to do the needful earnestly to ensure the implementation of justice? Why are a group of church members and certain politicians arguing for a settlement through reconciliation at this juncture? Why cannot this be considered as contempt of court and dishonouring of the Judiciary. Why is the state promoting mobocracy? Is this not an indirect encouragement to people by the State to resort to goondaism and violence to get their selfish interests fulfilled? Is this not an attempt to ridicule the law abiding people of this nation?
Exhortation to love one another is the core of the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God, the governing principle of unity in the Church, inspires the faithful to follow Christ and grow in Him. Why can’t we think of the Formulation of a Constitution for the Church to ensure this unity as part of the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Then what was the spirit which moved those who gave leadership to a division in Malankara Orthodox Church disregarding the Constitution and Christ? As a conclusion of the consequent legal suits, the apex court of this country gave the verdict that there is only one Malankara Orthodox Church, which is governed by the 1934 constitution. Before and after this also there were many official and unofficial discussions to restore unity. The Supreme Court judgment as well as the District judgments like that in the case of Kolenchery church are invitations to restore unity of the faithful in the Church. When the parish follows this order, most of the people even in the patriarchal faction will also be joining the parish to promote unity in the church. But a few leaders, who were struggling to keep them away against the will of the Spirit of truth, fear this re-union. So the present fasting and satyagraha under the leadership of H.H. Baselios Marthoma Paulos II is a struggle and motivation for the unity of the Church too.
It is very important to hope against hope that fasting and prayer will unleash divine energy to overcome egoism and all evil forces in all factions to strengthen this ancient church in unity.
The martyrs of the Church who offered their lives out of their love to God or their commitment to the church and society which was inspired by that love, declared their fearlessness publicly. They were not ready to succumb to pressures of the State to give up their commitment to truth and justice. For them, love of God was more valuable than self love. Let us wish and pray that the present struggle for justice be ultimately a boost for following Christ in truth and love. May God bless us to experience a glorious union of justice and love so that we could be an instrument of peace in the society.
(Excerpts from Fr. Dr. Bijesh Philip’s address to the Nagpur Seminary community (STOTS) on the occasion of coordinated fasting and prayer at the Seminary in solidarity with the Church’s struggle for justice at Kolenchery.)