Letters

Church can’t be silent spectator of scams & govt’s corruption

Editor,

A barrage of stinging reports and articles have flooded the media on the ills, mal-governance, scams, corruption, omissions and commissions perpetrated by the NPP-led MDA government in the state. This resulted in serious ramifications in the state and has reached across other states and the Union Government. Realising the adverse impact and disastrous effects of the matter, the MDA partners namely the UDP, the BJP, the HSPDP, the PDF and others have distanced themselves and tried to put the blame squarely on the NPP for all the mess (including protests on the signing of the MoU on border settlement with Assam).

All these are nothing but display of pettiness and desperate attempts by these partners to disown responsibility but in fact they are part and parcel, abettors and collaborators of the acts already perpetrated. If they are really clean from all accusations and blames, why have they not withdrawn support to the NPP-led coalition government? Yet, unashamedly, they are still sticking thick and fast to it because the time is still there and the spoils are still plentiful to be shared and enjoyed.

Dear NPP, UDP, BJP, HSPDP, PDF and others, whom are you trying to fool? Is it the voters before the elections in 2023? Remember, it is just six months away. The voters are not so forgetful or foolish as you take them to be. Among the coalition partners, only BJP — especially the President, Ernest Mawrie and its vice-President, Barnard Marak, the MDC of Tura — criticised and condemned NPP publicly for various scams.

The UDP too was not happy with the messy affairs within the government but it is giving the excuse that it wanted to thwart President’s Rule. But it is something else. The MDA government will not collapse if the 9 UDP MLAs and 2 BJP MLAs withdraw support to it for the effective strength of the government will then be 37 MLAs from 48. The BJP here is not unanimous because the two MLAs in the government are determined to support the MDA but the non-MLAs are at odds with it. The central BJP bosses stand firm by the Conrad Sangma-led NPP government, for NPP-led MDA was raised and enthroned by the central BJP to ensure the pan-India agenda of ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’. Even today,  MDA government is cajoled and softpaddled by the Central BJP bosses. Many here called NPP the team B of BJP in Meghalaya in spite of BJP already in existence. But the top bosses in Delhi care Conrad Sangma’s NPP more than the present BJP leaders here.

Now, let us turn to the Christian Church here in Meghalaya. The mandated role of the Church is to serve and work for the welfare and salvation of people. The mandated role of the state (government) is to serve man and work for his overall welfare and ensure his better quality of life as a human being. So, the roles of the church and of the state is similar in many ways. In Meghalaya, we have so many denominational Christian Churches and almost 70% of the population are Christians. But the Christian churches are aloof, least bothered and indifferent to the iniquities, wickedness, corruption in all forms, scams and injustices perpetrated by the state (governments agencies). In the wake of all these ills happening in society, it is expected that the church should play its proactive role (not to remain in hibernation, stay only in comfort zones) by coming out fiercely against corruption, scams, injustices and other evils perpetrated by anti-social groups, the government and its establishments.

Then again, there has not been any instances where the Church goes hammer and tongs against corrupt political parties, politicians and their cronies. The primary duty of the church leaders is to preach and teach against the modus operandi employed by politicians and political parties during elections like various inducements by candidates, giving favours, cash for votes, proxy voting and other unfair means to win elections.

But the Church is scared and hesitant to speak about politics for it was made to believe by former church leaders that politics is dirty and religion should not meddle or mix with politics. This is totally wrong. I do not know who were the Christian leaders or who was the church leader or which Christian church taught or advocated this. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Anyone who says that religion has nothing to do with politics does not understand what religion is.”

On the other hand, Bishop Desmond Tutu of the Republic of South Africa on this issue said, “I am puzzled about what kind of Bible people are reading when they suggest that Religion and Politics do not mix.” In fact, the church (Christian churches) must play its role in cleansing politics. It must combat injustices and oppression, arbitrary domination and intolerance by individuals and political parties. It must do so with integrity and wisdom demanded by political life. We must not forget that Jesus Christ was the greatest politician on Earth and He dared to challenge the Jewish political high and mighty rulers, leaders and teachers of His time namely the Saducees, the Scribes, the Pharisees and even the Sanhedrin of the Jewish race of His time. He chastised and openly rebuked them and even scornfully called them “brood of Vipers”. He introduced a new brand of politics of openness, cleanliness, transparency, accountability, justice, peace, brotherhood, love, charity, service, forgiveness, reconciliation and promised the people of his time a new Jerusalem.

The Church of today in Meghalaya should come out clean on its stance on what to do with the corrupt and rotten politics of the day. It must, itself, first be responsible, blameless and transparent in its financial transactions and other dealings to have the moral authority as a powerful social religious organisation to command and demand responsibility, transparency, accountability and cleanliness from the politicians and political parties, from the state and government. The Church will go a long way (and it is its bounden duty) to wage war against the deep-rooted evils of corruption in the political system, in the government and in the state by devising ways and means, plans and strategies how to win it. It can partly achieve the goal by reaching out to the masses through its inescapable units spread out in the villages where sustained and repeated exhortations, awareness campaigns, teachings and trainings are conducted for church members on how to fight and root out corrupt practices and corruption.

Special common awareness programmes on the subject can also be conducted by selected persons for the whole village with understanding with the village authorities. The authorities of the church (churches) should exercise it social and religious authority to repeatedly appeal and warn politicians and government and its agencies to desist or stop the evils of corruption and corrupt practices here in Meghalaya in order to show good example to the rest of India.

Philip Marwein,

Senior journalist,

Shillong

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