Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Rock that crumbles...

In the history of Kerala an entity that has survived the ravages of time and remained afloat despite the changing political winds has been the Church. From the time of the travancore-cochin kings to the british through to our UDF-LDF netas they have time and again asked for and recieved largesse beyond their rights and needs. The success of the church spurred on the birth and growth of other socio-religious organizations like the Muslim League, NSS and SNDP but money, power, lack of cohesion and alienation from the people they claim to represent have left them discredited. Today the Church is in danger of falling into the same trap their peers struggle to come out of.

What made the Church and its institutions grow phenomally was their passionate commitment to providing education at all levels, medical care without overkill and men and women who dedicated their life to the service of humanity. With liberalization the Church lost a level of protection that it took for granted earlier...private schools began cropping up causing a loss of students, private hospitals that grew at a meteoric pace despite naked hankering for profits and with that the church realized they had to be competitive now. That was fine but they forgot the basic tenets of their ministry. A case in point, they rushed into starting self-financing medical and engineering colleges but on finding the cash-flow needed to sustain them not enough(maybe make a profit too!!) led them to pressuring the govt to root out merit seats which i believe gave the sfi a cause to agitate last week. I wudnt praise the sfi bcoz their leaders were the ones who started all this mess in the first place!

When I see some archibishops sitting on gold plated chairs that look like thrones at public functions and their palatial residences and swanky cars it amuses me how these men could call themselves modern-day representatives of the man who made a humble yet triumphant entry into jerusalem on a donkey. I dont know...maybe it makes them stand apart...maybe it gives them an aura...maybe they think all these trappings makes people respect them...for me the very thought of their inability to relate with us jars. Anways all i know is every man who can justify his actions doesnt see himself as doing any wrong for all wht other people may think. Maybe the church is going through a period of transition...maybe it is going thru the same phase of decadence that the vatican once went thru...for me now some of the church leaders in kerala looks like more like executives of a multi-national corporation with all their lobbying and business acumen than men of god. I know this post is an insult to many bishops and priests...some very close to my family and I know them to be good men...hope that when they become the "arch"s they pursue a path more concordant with wht jesus and the many saints that followed him took.

6 comments:

silverine said...

Some years back acquaintance's uncle 'D' took on the Bangalore bishop as he sold prime church property to land sharks. The bishop was rewarded with a Mansion which included a heated swimmimg pool near Windsor Manor hotel!!!!

However this uncle went to court and won the case against all odds to stop the selling spree. The court verdict was clear. Church property belongs to parishioners. But the damage is done. Most people have lost respect for the men of cloth.

Vinod/Kakka said...

The church has been running exclusive, expensive schools and colleges for some time now. Loyola School, Christ Church, Marthoma, St.Thomas, Carmel, Holy Angels etc in Trivandrum are not run with the welfare of any people in mind.
The missionary schools that are run almost free are run on the tax payers money. So are the colleges. There are no unaided colleges or schools that the church runs which gives free education.
And about the self-financing fracas that is going on in Kerala: The managements had promised free seats and then back tracked. The first instituition that went to court was Pushpagiri College.

Jiby said...

as u said loyola or the others are not run with ppls welfare in mind...to be practical to provide education at that level they do requires high fees....but with the fees they charge today i wonder if i return to tvm and have kids i cud afford to send them there. 40 years back the best schools in tvm where smv, model and st.josephs but within a short span of these "elite" schools starting, they lost their erstwhile glory. in regards to aided schools the difference is the church runs these schools much better compared to govt schools and any money even if it is taxpayers spent on educating children is only for kerala's good in the long run!i dont understand why u call it missionary schools though...many hindu and muslim acquanintances of mine who studied in xian schools never felt an underlying conversion motive as part of their school curriculum. maybe we can cut some flab off the huge beauraucracy, loss-making state-run corps, etc but who the hell from our politicians to our highly literate citizens gives a damn for budget deficits or on long-term development in kerala and are more interested in political intrigue and scandal.

anjali,ur uncle's crusade is a pointer to the masses on the need to keep tabs on the clergy...i wonder how he wud have overcome the stigma the church thru a section of ultra-conservative clergy, moneybags, biased media and self-seeking cronies wud have inflicted on him if he took the same path in kerala.

Vinod/Kakka said...

Jiby,

I am a loyolite too. Passed out in 1987. I and 2 of my brothers studied there, my nephew is a student now. Nice school.

We lived through a phase in Loyola where first the tie went off the uniform, then the compulsory shoes, and then a new rule saying that you could not tuck in your shirts. Also, speaking in English in the school campus was no longer mandatory.

Jiby said...

Cheta, what is your name. Just read your other posts now...to be frank they are dark but you make your points forcefully and all you write is so true. I am from the isc'98 batch...we didnt need ties, shoes, the tuck-ins or were forced to speak in english...not much has changed i think with the school though except nowadays the fees is much higher than then as u said, the kids play cricket rather than basketball and the senior kids are more fashionable than we were back then.

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