Cardinal Toppo: The faith of India’s Christians a model for the world

February 4, 2013 by  
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In his message for the 64th Republic Day (26 January), the Archbishop of Ranchi reflects on the role of the Church for the future of India. The country can defeat violence, corruption, poverty, hunger and discrimination if it accepts the peace of God as the universal experience of love and justice. The Indian people must live “consistent lives ” in the faith.

Cardinal ToppoJharkhand, January 24, 2013: India can become a model for the world only if its people and Christians live a life consistent with the faith. This is the reflection of Card. Telesphore Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi (Jharkand) and former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), on the occasion of the 64th Republic Day (on 26 January). The cardinal – the first cardinal of tribal origin – notes that these celebrations fall in the context of the Year of Faith, the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, when the pope emphasized the importance of the new evangelization. To respond to India’s problems – violence, corruption, hunger and malnutrition – Card. Toppo invites Christians to conversion and Indians to follow the teachings of Gandhi.

The Church in India has to play an important role in shaping the future of our beloved country. This is our responsibility.  We have to rediscover the Beauty of the Truth, and in this context, our national emblem has the words, ‘Satyameva Jayate Truth Alone Triumphs.

It is significant that our celebrations of  our 64th Republic Day is in the  context  of this Year of Faith, New Evangelisation, 50th Anniversary of Second Vatican Council -and also the Holy Father’s World Day of Peace Message, Blessed are the Peace Makes – as instruments gifted to the Church to fulfil our obligation to the Church in the world.

The Church is a sign of sacrament of salvation..India can become a model for the world, when we live coherent lives of faith, which  means a deep coherence between knowing our Catholic teaching with our minds, truly believing it in our hearts, practicing it with our lives and passing it along to our family and friends. This is our faith, and each of us have a responsibility to fulfil.It is through coherent lives of faith in which we share the responsibility in our efforts to transform the world in and around us.

Corruption and violence may take the form of a crime against humanity itself and they are corroding our nation’s character – the New Delhi rape case is a challenge to our conscience. . It is vital and urgent, for a transformation from a culture of Corruption and violence to a culture of justice and peace.

The Pope Benedict XVI Message for World Day of Peace, – “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” reminds  us that God’s peace is the universal experience of justice and love.

Pope Benedict’s message addresses the personal and structural evils of greed, inequality and violence. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi understood that violence was linked to poverty and injustice.

The Church has to be the light of the world, and as Christians, even as a minority of (2.3%) as per census 2011, we have to live our vocation through witness of our lives.  Regrettably too often, we live our faith with spiritual inertnia, tepidness, routine.  This Year of Faith is a time of Grace to rediscover the original purity of faith which we received in Baptism.

The beauty of Christ, has to be visible in the lives of Christians, the testimony of life will attract people to Christ, the way of beauty is about the culture in the broadest sense of the word. It is therefore, about how we live our lives in every aspect.  Each of us are called to bear witness to the world of the beauty of Christ

There can be no peace without justice and development; Pope Paul VI had already stated that development is another name for peace. Peace is the prerequisite for development, human rights, and Justice especially in the face of growing marginalisation of weaker sections like tribals, women and dalits.   It is only in peace and through peace can respect for human dignity and its inalienable rights be guaranteed.

Hunger and malnourishment are serious problem, a result of poverty in general. Our country has seen over a quarter of a million farmers’ suicides between 1995 and 2010.  Over a third of India’s population lives below the poverty line and about half the country’s 350 million children are chronically malnourished.  Gandhi concept of development is Sarvodaya through Antyodaya, implying the welfare of all through the weakest of the society

The Holy Father writes, “Peace is an order enlivened and integrated by love- in such a way that we feel the needs of others as our own, share our goods with others  Love for God and Love for Neighbour are inextricably intertwined.  Only love is capable of radically transforming the relationships, urging us to have sensibility, or sensitivity for other.

As we Indians celebrate our 64th Republic Day, may we citizens of this great Republic India, take to heart Pope Benedict  message, “Blessed are the Peace makers, be committed to the truth that “Evil is in fact overcome by good.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”

God Bless India !

– Card. Telesphore Toppo

Students refuse food prepared by untouchables *Waste Business

April 9, 2012 by  
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Jharkhand, April 07, 2012: The students of Pahar Middle School in Keredari block boycotted the meal Wednesday as it was prepared by dalits.

Nearly 500 students of a school in Jharkhand’s Hazaribag district refused to partake in the midday meal as it was prepared by dalit cooks.

The students (both girls and boys) of Pahar Middle School in Keredari block boycotted the meal Wednesday as it was prepared by dalits – Anita Devi and Jitni Devi.

The new cooks were selected during a general meeting of the Gram Shiksha Samiti March 27, Times of India reported quoting a delayed report from district headquarters.

Tulsi Sao, the headmaster as well as the secretary of the managing committee, said, “12 members of the samiti, including panchayat samiti member Umera Khatun, were present at the meeting and approved of the appointments.”

Surprisingly, Khatun joined the agitating students supporting the boycott.

It, however, could not be ascertained how the students came to know that the cooks were dalits.

Sao said, “I am trying to identify the guardians who influenced the students to boycott the meal. After that I will submit a report to the district collector and the police so that action can be taken against those who propagated casteism and untouchability in the village.”

District Collector Manish Ranjan described the boycott as a serious issue and said he has constituted a three-member to inquire into the incident and submit report in three days.

He also directed that awareness be created both among teachers and students about the evils of casteism and untouchability.

– timesofindia

Waste Business


An interest in waste management is shaping into a full-fledged business venture for three friends at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). In the final year of their Masters in Social Entrepreneurship, the three, who are also engineers, have recognised that ‘waste is unrecognised wealth’. Sampurnearth Jayanth N, Debartha Banerjee and Ritvik Rao started off by exploring a waste management project for Bandra Reclamation area. Land hiccups stuck the project and led them to focus on their own campus. “Last year, we started working on a project with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) whereby the entire waste of Bandra Reclamation had to be managed and the dry waste had to be sent to recyclers after segregation. Land was to be given by BMC, but it got delayed and the project was stuck. We then turned to different private entities like corporate offices, townships, housing societies and also our campus at TISS, Mumbai,” said Jayanth.

TISS approved the zero-waste campus idea and funded it. “The institute gave Rs 10 lakh with which a biogas plant (based on BARC technology) was set up next to the dining hall,” he said. Instead of sending waste generated mainly at the dining hall to dumping grounds, it is segregated. Wet waste is used to generate biogas and manure and dry waste sent to recyclers to be converted into useful products, thus creating a zero-waste campus. “The three of us are engineers and while exploring various options for our venture, we looked at waste management and saw a lot of technological and scientific solutions. Their environmental and social implications were immense. Waste can be converted into many useful products and one can simultaneously create economic opportunities. Once we got into waste-management and started executing projects like the one at TISS, there was no looking back,” said Banerjee.

Biogas generated at TISS is now used for cooking. “An estimated 15 kg of LPG equivalent would be produced daily to be used for cooking purposes on campus. About 40 kg manure produced daily would be used in TISS gardens. We also plan to market the manure outside,”  said Jayanth. Non-biodegradable waste like plastic and glass is collected and sent to recyclers. Paper waste is recycled and sourced back to be used for products like notepads and envelopes for TISS. Along with Stree Mukti Sanghatana, an NGO working with waste-pickers, the three are now setting up business ventures and working with 25 corporate houses and several housing societies. They are in talks with three institutes in Mumbai to replicate their zero-waste project. “Every unit should be paying back after a few years. The TISS project for instance will save Rs 1,000 worth LPG everyday. Instead of buying manure, one gets the best quality manure for horticulture. The recycled products include stationery that can serve needs of corporate houses and institutes,” Banerjee said.

They are in the process of formalising a partnership with the NGO, which works with 3,000 ragpickers. While the NGO has helped organize them into 300 self-help groups and made cooperatives, the TISS student-entrepreneurs are looking at increasing their employability and productivity. “The ragpickers make Rs 100-150 dail, but work is limited and cannot be guaranteed everyday. We plan to formalise their work and give them regular income and better working conditions. While the NGO will continue to organise them and take care of their health and education needs, the business end will be handled by us,” said Jayanth. The ragpickers will be employed for various waste management services, including TISS, thus ensuring they have a regular source of income.

If you are inspired by the above Engineers, and would like follow their example, here is a list of NGOs or individuals who can guide you.

♦ Denzil Rego +91 9221472472,

♦ Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS). Dadar – Tel. 2417438; Chembur: 25297198; Govandi: 65745835 / 65745840 Email –

♦ Dr Emmanuel D’Silva, Environmental Scientist: Email –

♦ GARBAGE CONCERN: Email –, Tel.02228680636/09820702096/09892027518.

♦ Subhash Patil, Officer on Special Duty: 09322835712;
♦ Seema Redkar, Community Development Officer, BMC: 09820165156

♦ Raj Kumar Sharma: 09820989310 ; Email –

Navi Mumbai
♦ Vani S. Karnik: Email –, Tel. 27526668, 09819934022
♦ GEM Resource Team: Douglas Menezes – Mob.  09004082825

♦ Poonam Kasturi:

♦ Green Goa Works, Letcia Apartments, Khorlim, Mapuca, Goa. Tel: 2255217.

♦ ARTI’ web site:  Email –  Tel: 91-20-24390348 / 24392284, 91-20-24390348

♦ Narendra Jindal: Mob. 098694461942; Email –

-fwd: fr. felix rebello