29 December, 2012

January 2013

Years fly away and people are becoming rich in experience. Usually I did make a lot of new resolutions every year only to break them one by one. Yes, I am not good at maintaining a change constantly. But certain things did change and it was mostly related to society and people. This year I made such a decision for my life.

My colleague went to India and I did arrange a well packed travel plan for him. But at the last moment as he is there right now, I had to inform him of the change of plans one after another. The catholic church with all other christen denominations planned a Christmas celebration with a theme ‘Green Christmas’ on 29th of December and at the last moment they changed it pledging unity with the protest going on against the gang rape that happened in Delhi.

For all those who has not read about that internationally discussed matter I add here some details. A young woman of 23 years old was brutally raped by 6 persons in a public transport bus at 21.30 and then when she protested then beat her up and inserted an iron rod through her vagina till stomach damaging the whole intestine and the genitals. Seriously bleeding and with bruises all over the body, she was thrown out of the moving bus. now she succumbed to death at last. shameful India.

A rape is not a wonder in India as every 40 minutes one woman is getting raped as per the statistics and recently the numbers have grown high. When you travel in India just ask the ladies sitting nearby in the bus or in a park or a Café, and I am sure all will have a story of sexual harassment to narrate. It is said that it is better not to be born as a woman in India.

If India is the masters of software and mathematics, and if Indians are the champions of secularism and democracy, and if Indians are proud of being the second fastest growing nation in the world after China, the national entertainment has become sexual harassment against women and children.

From the same tongue of mine which said hundred times a day ‘proud to be an Indian’, I had to feel shameful to be an Indian male. In order to bring back those words ‘proud to be an Indian’, I decided with millions of other men in India to safeguard, respect and protect the dignity of women all through my life. This is the only resolution I make to practice from 2013.

23 December, 2012


Christmas time was the busiest time all through in my life. There are a lot to do during these days.
It was a time for me to write Christmas wishes with my own hand and send it to my friends and relatives. I do that without fail till now. It was then the exam time also. It is no different here in Switzerland as the exams at the university fall before and after Christmas. As an eternal student, never in my life I had a Christmas free of all books.

Then it was the time making cribs. It was particular in our home to make a crib and we as a family really spent a lot of time doing everything. The most important part I loved to do was not placing the little baby Jesus but to decorate the crib with cotton pieces depicting snow. It was a wonder for me as I never experienced snow in South India. At that time without any internet, it was also not possible to google and find it. So I never believed that there was snow or even when there was snow or there is snow that comes from heaven and has nothing to do with earth. It was for me a visible sign of God’s blessing.

That was the reason as I reached Switzerland in 2010; I went extra to Engelberg to have a snow-experience. That day I rolled on the snow, played with snow balls, made different shapes out of snow, lay down over snow, etc. thinking that I am having a visible experience of heavenly Christmas. Needless to say that, without a winter shoe and winter jerking, I came back home wet and shivering only to get a new pair of shoes and Jerking bought the very next day.

Now when I sit and look out through my window, I see snow falling and I still believe it comes from heaven. It is time for the showers of blessing and baby Jesus will be soon here. I continue to hear the Bing Crosby’s 1942 song White Christmas.

"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
I'm Dreaming of a white christmas
With ev'ry christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your christmas's be white"

07 December, 2012

Protest with a difference

The state of Kerala, from where I hail, witnessed a very different innovative style of protest last December 1st. the protest was against the government’s decision to reduce the number of subsidized LPG cylinders and against the price rise of the food items.

The protest was by cooking food along the highways in the state. The Communist Party of India-Marxist activists set up about 7.75 lakh temporary ovens on the highways and women were asked to join the 775-km-long 'fire chain' protest in all the districts of the state.

They cooked rice, tapioca, Bulls eye, noodles and so many other south Indian dishes. The cooked food was later distributed among all those present and also taken to the homes of others who could not participate in the protest. 

An amazing experience it was when the food was cooked in an hour and shared among themselves reminding of the biblical koinonia feelings which means of the participation of people sharing food and their belongingness among themselves. The communist party lived up to the community goals of the early Christians. 

01 December, 2012

Meaningful advent fast.

I happened to read in some newspapers texts about staying in shape during Advent and about advent’s diet, recommendations for advents food and so on. Yes it was just interest generating from my side also, since I am in search of a diet plan which will help to stay fit.

Whatever it is after reading all these I just went thinking. Advent and advent fast are all something to do with religious preparation before the coming of Christ and people started commercializing it also. In this world everything has a business face.

But I was just impressed and attracted to a fasting plan put forward by a lover of Jesus, a lady who is very ecumenical in thinking and an owner of a heart filled with compassion and love. She just needs a glance at the crucifix to let her beautiful eyes well up.

Her plan runs so. She set a goal as per her body mass, a body weight which is set to achieve in these fasting days. She measures her bodyweight every 5 days and for each kilogram above her set goal, she donates 30 Francs for an African mission station where every day hundreds of children queue up for a cup of maize. She donates 30 francs for every extra kilogram fat in her body for those poor homeless children who struggle to find a little food only to stretch their life to the next day.

Very impressive. And she is not the only one who does that by now; there are a few in this chain. In case, if anyone wants to know more about her, I would personally give the details.

30 November, 2012

Iron lady of India

The most under developed area of India is the north eastern part. The seven northeastern states are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The developmental projects are not at all reaching there as it is to the other parts of India. And naturally the people there are very much skeptical about the central governments developmental interests to them. During the course of time a number of insurgent groups have evolved in each of the states and they demand for independence also.
Christian population is also seemingly high in comparison to the other parts of India. My five colleagues are working there as missionary and they tell me the sad stories of the poor people there. My colleagues have no telephone access over the hills and no proper transport. They come down to the nearest city every month once to check the emails and for telephonic contacts.
The difference of approaches from the different governments from center towards the north eastern states and the attention they receive form the population from the other parts of India can be studies through the twelve year fast of Irom Sharmila and the response of government.
Fasting is not something new to Indians as we fought for freedom under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi through fasts and peaceful protests. The right to fast comes under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Irom Sharmila follows the footsteps of what all our freedom fighters did. It deals with right to expression.
Who is Irom Sharmila? She has been on a fast unto death since 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA. She is a poet, civil activist and a political activist. So then why she is against AFSPA? Ms Sharmila's protest was spurred by the Malom massacre on November 2, 2000, in which 10 innocent people were shot dead by the personnel of Assam Rifles. They were waiting at the bus shed in Malom on the outskirts of Imphal.  (The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), was passed on September 11, 1958, by the Parliament of India. It entitles certain states as ‘disturbed states’ and so the armed forces are given extraordinary powers and legal immunity. Apart from the northeastern states, Jammu Kashmir also comes under the purview of this AFSPA.)
She started the fast in November 2, 2000 and recently completed 12 years of long fast making her the longest fasting person on this earth. She is frequently fed forcefully by the police as she remains in the judicial custody of police.  The tragedy is that she doesn’t get the due attention from the authorities and no one addresses the issue she raises. Thank Facebook and Twitter she is known to the world outside of Manipur. Recently India witnessed a number of fast where Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev and some others received even global attention as I read the reports of it even in Swiss newspapers.
I find that Irom Sharmila is fighting for a fundamental human rights cause and it is a high time for a national and international intervention. She was given a lot of awards by different groups but now she declines all the awards demanding that it is not awards what she wants but she needs a solution for the problem. She is right in her thinking and needed respect.
I entend my support for the cause for which she fights. Let you be also one among those few who have a human heart.

22 November, 2012

Grim day

"Very grim day, most of all for women priests and supporters, need to surround all with prayer & love and co-operate with our healing God." This was the twitter reaction of the next bishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England.
Yes, for me also it was a disappointment. The synod witnessed more than 100 speeches and half of them by women before it went for the voting. 

On last Tuesday the church put to vote after a long 12 years of debate, deliberation and theological explanations, after almost 30 years of campaigning, the needed legislation to appoint women bishops in the Church of England. They already have women priests which mark a sign of equality of everyone among the whole humanity.

The surprise was that the motion got passed in the house of Bishops and house of Clergy with a two-third majority and more than that but in the house of Laity it failed to achieve the two third majority with the margin of a mere 6 votes. Tragic.

The votes were 44 for and three against with two abstentions in the House of Bishops, 148 for and 45 against in the House of Clergy, and 132 for and 74 against in the House of Laity. The vote was only lost by a handful of votes amongst lay members, which means the vast majority of Anglicans are in favour and will feel deeply disappointed. The catholic group in the synod, as expected, backed a ‘no’ vote, and is happy now. Very unfortunate.

Naturally the question would be, why should I be disappointed who is a catholic where the whole church’s top roles and the clergy roles are accessible only for men, or better to say half of the human kind is discriminated out? Time to introspect and get to know the pulse of the people. Is the church running behind the times? Are we still hanging on with the thinking that Eve, the so called first woman, is solely responsible to have brought sin to the world? What we need to get around a Eucharistic table to deliberate in favour of including everyone in the ‘Kingdom of Church’? Thank God, at least in Kingdom of God, there is no discrimination.

For me, in all areas of the church, in all offices, and in all activity of the Church, women need to find free access as children of God. If we followed the traditions and practices of the wider society in the early ages to form a church headed by men, it is time to see that the same society has changed itself to pave way for the eradication of all inequalities. After all, both men and women are created in the image of God.

I would be happy to celebrate a Eucharist with a galaxy of women priests concelebrating.

I just remember the bible story of Moses where he was asked to select elders so that they may be poured with the spirit of the Lord and they prophesy. As they started prophesying in the Tent, two others Eldad and Medad started prophesying outside the tent in the camp. Joshua asked Moses to stop them. Bit Moses replies, “Are you jealous?  I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lordwould put his Spirit on them!” so people outside the tent can also have the spirit of the Lord and not the only ones who are elected and given authority.

Let not the society one day feel that it is better off without the contribution of Catholic church.

10 November, 2012

why an expensive democratic extravaganza?

America elected Obama in a fair and transparent presidential election and at the same time in China, another country of importance, Xi Jinping is gearing up to be the next leader in a very secret and mysterious (18th Chinese Communist party congress) process without democratic ways. Two extreme ways of political institutionalism.  Total spending on the presidential and congressional election in the US crossed 5.8 billion US dollars and for sure the Chinese process cost very less compared to the American expenditure in election. Democracy seems to be a very expensive extravagance. For example in the 2009 the parliament elections in India cost a slightly more than 2 billion US dollars. The same day when the expenditure details of US elections were published I happened to read in Twitter a text from the World Bank. The study reveals that there are 2.47 billion people in the world who live below 2 US dollars a day. Interesting to note that the poverty rate in US jumped up from 11.3% in 2000 to 15.3% in 2010. The election expenses indicate the worth of the value system of the American politicians. What a paradox? At least in India there are some restrictions to the amount of money to be spent by every candidate in the elections. If the cross the limit of their permitted expense level, the candidates will be suspended of all their offices they have won and also debarred from contesting elections for the next six years. Why to promote such a very high expensive election process of democracy which denies food and shelter to the poor? A Facebook post that attracted my attentions runs as follows. “I don’t believe in democracy because it is the system that freed Barabbas and crucified Jesus”. More than that now an added reason. In world where one of every seven people go to bed hungry, it is very expensive to uphold the democratic system at a very high cost. Need to go for a new system ………

31 October, 2012

Becoming Jesus

These days in Switzerland I don’t read newspapers at the morning hours. So after the busy and tiresome hours at the university when I walk back through the railway station I begin my newspaper reading with ‘Blick am Abend’ and end up in the regular dailies. My colleagues tell me that it needs to be the other way around. But on 17th of October when I took the Blick in my hands the main news struck me. It was tragic news of a Swiss family losing its father at the shores of Mediterranean see at Tuscany. He saw his three kids drowning in the rough waters and he jumped inside and fought the rising waves to save his three kids and at last he breathed his last due to exhaustion. Very tragic. Here I remember the word ‘vicarious’ which is used to attribute the vicarious atonement of Jesus. The word has its root in latin word vicarius or vicis meaning substitute, change, alternate, surrogate or representative. Often the act of Jesus dying for many is attributed to as a vicarious act of atonement.  If Jesus is the savior of the world, this father of the family who breathed his last saving his three children, is the Jesus of that family. In reality it is a big loss to the family, but his name would be written in eternity for turning his life to be a savior to his three children. I remember writing in an article nine years before, that my only prayer in my life is to become a ‘Jesus’ or a saving inspiration at least to one. I still wait for that moment in my life. 

23 October, 2012

World police again

The third and the final US presidential debate is over. Who did win the debate, is not of my concern. Both of them sounded somewhat same and similar in the way they aired their foreign policies. All through the debate we heard the words Iran, Israel, China, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria being repeated all through the debate. In their rhetoric trying to woo voters they are just playing with nations. Sitting and watching the debate live midnight, I was getting irritated the way both of them dictating terms as if US is more than UN. I still doubt the efficiency and efficacy of the US to play again the role of world police or a protector of justice and democracy. I read it at the same time UN thinking of sending peace keeping force to Syria after forcing both the parties for a ceasefire. But Obama says the days are numbered for Asad in Syria and Romney suggesting supplying arms to the opposition there. I am sure that the coming days will see the response from Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and other countries mentioned there. Rightly China had already warned on the anti-China tone of both the candidates. Whatever may be, after watching the final debate I was not at all interested on who wins the election but I would say to both of them to have some respect to other nations. They are not play toys in their hands.

15 October, 2012

Crazy world…… when will you learn?

A shocking matter that is being discussed all over India these days caught my attention also. Seventeen girls were raped last month in the state of Haryana in North India. Haryana is the state where I lived three years working with my colleagues in the village. We were mainly concentrated on working for the upliftment of the women. (Haryana is the state famous for female feticide as the census 2011 terms the female male ratio as 830 females to 1000 males). So this news affected me. Later I went into the matter more and then I read in other reports that from 2007 an average of fifty women are raped every month here[1]. Most of them who are raped are Dalit[2] (low caste) women.

More than the shocking news, I was astonished, startled and disappointed to hear the solutions put forward by the Khap Panjayaths[3]. (It is a social political administration or organization which tries to protect the caste rules and imposed regulations of the society. They are mainly in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh).

The solutions are very strange and they never address about the inequality of women and the caste discrimination. Some of the solutions were the following.

Marry off the girls at an age of 15.
Stop eating fast foods, as these foods increase the sexual hormones in women.
Teach the girls some self-defense techniques such as Judo, karate, etc.
Child marriage[4]

So bizarre, unreasonable, foolish and illogical are the solutions. Still they are blaming heavily the victims of rape for the incidents. Even one Haryana Congress leader Dharambir Goyat[5] blamed women telling that 90% of rapes occur due to consensual sex. West Bengal state chief minister Mamta Banerjee[6] said that Rapes are happening because men and women are interacting more freely. And so in this pattern goes the blame.

But no one except the NGO workers and social activists demand to punish the rapists. No one thinks of doing anything to eradicate the social inequality or to make rules to stop oppressing low caste people by the high caste people.

The dream of equality of women and social equality among all people still remains in the words of constitution which came into force in 1949. So the untouchability and discrimination exists in most parts of India, especially in North India. I am also a witness and victim to this to a certain extent when I was in North India engaging in the social work. Thank the rapists, at least they treat Dalit women without any discrimination and touch too much. Crazy world.

13 October, 2012

Private life and Public life

I am not a fan of USA but I am interested in presidential elections and the debates. And all the more as a student of political science who is interested in the international politics, I closely watched the debates and their foreign policies. Now the first two debates are over and still the picture is not clear. The presidential debate at the Denver University and the vice-presidential debate at the Centre College gave some impression of the republicans taking upper hand. Both Romney and Ryan were clear and tangible about their plans and made their policies clear also with their charm and effective specificity. Even though Obama did lose his support base a little after the debate, his vice-presidential mate did try his best to regain it. So the race to the Whitehouse is evenly poised. Among all the issues discussed and debated, what caught my attention was that this vice-presidential debate was the first ever all catholic candidates’ debate and with no surprise Martha Raddatz, the moderator, raised the issue of abortion. Both stick to their catholic positions and the difference made by them is mentionable. Ryan did say that his position is based on his faith, science and his personal experience. He said “we saw that heart beat and our little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day we have nicknamed our first child Liza ‘bean’. Now I believe that life begins at conception.” He also questioned Biden’s view of not imposing abortion on people of other faith. “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith.” Yes, there I am into. I also believe that life is a complete whole and I can’t have two views in my life, one for me and another for public. If I follow something in my personal life, it is based on my conviction and knowledge. Two have two stands in life questions one’s integrity and reveals what Jesus called as hypocrisy. I can’t sacrifice the truth and my convictions at the cost of the membership in a political party, or any institution or any religion and neither for my personal gains and ambitions. Compromising the convictions is suicidal. 

01 October, 2012

Mahatma Gandhi

The one who led in front to the realization of the notion of the nation called 'INDIA'. Let all Indians bow their head in reverance to this great personality. he led billions into the protest against the colonizing England, but all in a non-violent approach. Proud to be an Indian after you, MAHATMA GANDHI.................. Jai Hind. Today, october 2, all Indians celebrate it as Gandhi Jayanti. Just watched the famous 1982 movie Gandhi. Moved and touched in the heart and the person Gandhi has inspired many but he is being forgotten in the days. The same right wing fanatic who killed Gandhi has more followers in India these days and the country which was once knows for the special brand of secularism in accepting and respecting people of all class, creed, religion and caste are getting divided in the name of religion, caste, class and creed. The extreme right wing religious nationalism spread roots into the disturbed minds of the citizens who are misled by the rhetoric of the people with vested interests. It is time for me and for all to wake up to hold the hands together to recite again and imprint in our hearts the pledge ‘India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters……’ That was taught when I was a child and I still remember the days when we at the ground of St.Aloysious High School, recited the whole pledge early morning before the classes began with all the colleagues. I am proud to be an Indian. I love to be known, identified and die as an Indian rather than a representative of any religion, caste, class or creed. 

26 September, 2012

Cry of the poor is applause in West

The economic reforms in India were really painstaking to the poor in India. And I did feel very bad the way the right capitalistic government in India treat the people who voted them to power. And these days I was reading all the news about the protests all over India and was feeling one with the poor…….. But now today in my International Political Economy class I was taken into surprise with the comments about the recent developments in India. The government in India was highly praised for the economic reforms and special attention was given to the prime minister telling that he has at last opened his eyes and is awake………. This is the difference when we study politics in Europe………….. The way things are seen from here is different. The areas of concern for the western political scholars are different. The more the markets are open the more the government is appreciated. In a world where everything runs capitalistic (no one sees the depressions and the crisis) India becomes no different. Mr.Singh needs only the western appreciations and not the appreciation from his majority citizens who are poor (World Bank index shows 75.6% of the population (828 Million) are living below $2 a day). No wonder as he also did study economics in west. 

12 September, 2012

When I can study something in my mother tongue?

When I went came out of the school and started my college studies the most difficult part was to study everything in English as it is naturally a foreign language to me as our mother tongue and the national language were other than English. So I went through the pain of studying philosophy and theology in English. Then I said to myself blessed are those who are privileged to study all these in their mother tongue.

As time passed I could mast the language to a certain extent. But the next challenge was waiting for me at the door. It was to pursue my studies in the German language in Switzerland.  Oh yes, it was a challenge more than I expected. With a year of German language studies in India and the two years now in Switzerland, I am still struggling to understand the technical terms at the university and to express my thinking and opinions.

I am staying positive still. I remember the first week at the university and in Switzerland when I heard my colleagues speaking something very different from the German which I studied at the Goethe Institute in Pune. My best German teacher once asked about the intention of studying German and when I said that I do this with the intention of pursuing studies at a university in Switzerland, she stared at my eyes and said that I am actually in a wrong place to learn German.
Yes, that was right. I hear a different German and I speak a different German. I hear Swiss German in their dialect and I speak another German which is called ‘Hoch Deutsch’. Because of all these my mind is still occupied with the language part more than the university studies and discussion.  A free flow of my thoughts and analysis of what I read and study is still at bay.

When can I at last study in my mother tongue and express freely what I think and philosophize?

30 August, 2012

Go Yuvi, Livestrong

The one who played a key role in India winning the cricket world cup after 28 years in 2011 and in turn became the player of the tournament, the great Yuvraj Singh was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Seminoma. Cricket means a lot to Indians as Ice hockey to the Swiss. So in a land where thousands of Gods are being worshipped, Yuvi also became a God-like character. As he received the twitter message from Lance Amstrong, “Go Yuvi, Livestrong”, Yuvi took it as the greatest inspiration he could get and a personality he could look forward. I also remember the days I gave talks to the school students and every time I took the example of lance Armstrong to motivate the students who are crippled with a lot of real life struggles. He was a big inspiration to those who battled their life under life threatening sicknesses. He was a hero for many. But when he is now found guilty of doping and later he is stripped of all the seven Tour de France medals, I get confused. Whatever people say, he remains still a hero to me. He came back to life with a bang after fighting a testicular cancer and the brain tumor. I still remember the quote from him which I used to read several times whenever I needed a push in life. It runs so. “We each cope differently with the spectre of our deaths. Some people deny it. Some pray. Some numb themselves with tequila. I was tempted to do a little of each of those things. But I think we are supposed to try to face it straightforwardly, armed with nothing but courage”. Yes, Amstrong continues to be a model of inspiration. His fight against the cancer is bigger than his doping. As Yuvi says “Lance continues to be my hero. As a cancer survivor, I know it is difficult to come back and perform. I don't know how they banned him but he will always be an inspiration to me".

08 August, 2012


Probably I was more organized and disciplined in my life during the formation years. It was some time when everything was set to a timetable. I did have time for everything, I mean for meditation, games, studies, recreation, fun, prayer and all. As I did grow in age and maturity so many of the set things disappeared and in the light of the extras freedom I began to enjoy after the formation years brought other habits.

The modern media did find a place in my everyday life. It became disorganized and gave it a way for spontaneity. Now with all the times being eaten up by the new language and the studies, I found myself being with printed papers, laptop, books, assignments, social media, etc. it was moving like a machine getting at a certain time and then at the university and other assignments. Every day I went to bed seeing the long list of things which I am supposed to do and thinking how I am lagging behind.

Even God was forgotten in my life due to the heap of the papers and notes from the lecture halls. I found no time for ‘me’ till I did meet someone who could light up my life. Yes, it was a lady who just asked me about my life as if someone sent her to do so. She made me to convince to spend every day 15 minutes in silence introspecting and reflecting about the whole day. It was a daily analysis of the day and it helps me now to make my next day better and more fruitful. All what that went away from my life came back.

So the last thing I do before I go to bed is to sit and cool myself reflecting the day behind me now. Yes God sends messengers to bring order in one’s life. Thank you, my beautiful lady messenger.

31 July, 2012

Why the church is not women friendly?

What I like the best at the university is the interactions we could make during the lectures and there is a lot of respect given to the opinions of the students. Discussion is one of the mail tools at the university which clarifies all theories in practice. No one is discriminated or measured on the basis of ones opinion and stand points.
On one of these occasions we had to discuss from the church and the politics of the land. The debate was about using religious symbols at the schools. From among all the opinions and suggestion one caught hold of my attention raising a lot of questions in my hearts.
One student said that she opposes the use of religious symbols at the school. As she sees the symbol of crucifix at the classrooms she automatically gets reminded of the Catholic Church. For her Catholic Church and pope are not women friendly and not democratic where decisions are forced upon people by the authorities of the church.
I don’t want to comment here for or against as the theme is more controversial and surely it provoked a deep thought and some introspections.

13 July, 2012

Ausserdem sind wir doch nicht auf Mallorca..

In Indian whenever I travelled in public buses and trains in the general compartments, I saw that because of the overcrowded situation, people used to reserve the seats from outside before they got inside, by placing a bag or a handkerchief or any other article through the window. The rush doesn’t allow them to get inside first and those who get inside first remain standing as the seats are all in this manner privately reserved. So funny I found this system. Often there were so many arguments between those people who did reserve the seats and those who could get inside the bus first pushing and pulling and it led sometimes to brawls. I preferred to stand to travel often in order to avoid any sort of arguments. I find this system very funny and not just.
This semester here at the university I encountered a similar situation. The seats at the university canteen are of high demand and so the seats are already reserved by placing the bag, Jerkins, laptop or a shawl. My preference was to get the food and find a seat and often it is all occupied but no one sitting there. So funny a situation. It happens in Switzerland also and all the more at the university where youngsters are culturally formed.  
The student organization noticed this unofficial funny custom and intervened. Wir ……auch zahlreiche andere Studenten, wären froh, wenn man zur Mittagspause doch die Tische nicht VOR dem Essenholen mit Jacken, Taschen und Laptops reservieren würde. So sind diejenigen benachteiligt, welche das Essen vorher holen, aber dann aufgrund der "Reservationen" keinen Platz finden können. Ausserdem sind wir doch nicht auf Mallorca..
Everything settled and now the problem fixed.

20 June, 2012

I go for a walk...........

Last day one of my brothers here in the friary showed me an apparatus, Pedometer, which is used to count the total number of steps we tread a day. So it seems that we need to or at least we must walk 10000 steps a day. So he went for an extra walk in the evening to fulfill the ten thousand mark. Till the end of September 2012 I was also walking up to the university and then to all the city visits. But now I did buy a Zone Pass since I need to travel regularly. In turn to maximize the usage of the pass, I now go to the university and all nearby places in bus. And what is the outcome? More fat getting settles in my body. When I was in North India in the mission station, there were times we all had to walk 7 to 10 kilometers since there were no bus services to certain villages. And whenever I reached later than 18.00, I had to walk 9 kilometers to the friary. Those days when it was so usual to walk I never said to anyone that ‘I go for a walk’. Now here in Switzerland, I go for a walk and in India I walked never thinking that I am walking. There was a time I never went for a walk for the sake of walking, and now I make an extra walk. What is the difference? In two years’ time in Switzerland I put on extra flabs in the form of 8 kilos fat. In a country with less transport and comfort I need not do an extra walk or an extra sport to keep me in fit. It was all part of the life. Burning out these 8 kilos seems to be more difficult than that life with minimum food and less facilities in North India. Now I may also need a pedometer to check my calorie burns. 

17 May, 2012

Used copies of the books

Today our professor showed two famous books and said that they are the basic books for his lecture and recommended to buy them. They are expensive ones and the automatic suggestion I made as usual was that to buy the used copies of it online. I have already bought books in good condition from Amazon. It cost really reasonable and we get it sometimes for unbelievable prices. What difference that makes when we read the same matter in a used copy or in a new copy of a book? As I did suggest to my new colleagues at the university, they gave a stare at me. What does that mean? No idea… Sorry, coming from a third world country but a fast developing one, I am used to buying used copies…………Any problem? May be the capitalistic thinking may not allow such a move as it may not support the one who produced it. With all respect to the publishers, I would go only for a used copy. I belong to a class created by the world which does not belong to the belief system of spending ‘just’ when I have an ‘unjust’ pocket which is sometimes empty. Knowledge is knowledge without anything less if it is attained from an old or a new one. Let all those who are lucky and ‘blessed’ to eat soup with gold and silver spoons pay for the loss I made to the publishers of those books which I bought and which I will buy in the future after a worthy use.

03 April, 2012

Indian or African, any thing.......

So these days I miss someone, or someone’s sound.  On last year when I did not hear anything from the down stairs chapel at midnight, I found early morning that the brother who did offer mass with Br.Niklaus every ‘night’ was lying dead. From this week I don’t hear again the voice that made me awake halfway my sleep. Yes, Br.Niklaus left the friary to the nursing home for the old. I used to go to bed late at 00.00 every day and almost every day by 2 or 3 or 4 he began his celebration of Eucharist very loud. Since my room is just direct above the Chapel for the sick, and since it was all a wooden roof separation, I did hear loud his strong hard base voice. It was a very loving disturbance which never evoked in me a feeling of irritation. Niklaus is 97 years old and he believes in celebrating Eucharist every day without fail and he did that till his last day in Luzern. He did speak with me every week many times and almost every day. We were together here in one community for more than two years now and my only complaint is that till the last day I failed to convince him and make him remember that I am an Indian and not an African Capuchin. After repeated efforts once he did introduce to a group of his five family members that I am a student from Africa. On that day I decided to be an ‘African’ only for Niklaus till he left us to Schwyz Pflegeheim. After all it doesn’t make any difference to get identified to a continent. It is good to be a ‘transnational’. ………… I miss you, Niklaus

15 March, 2012

family physician

Is family physician a luxury? How many families have a family physician? Anyway I have one now. Today I went to the family physician as I had to. Why? Nothing special but a pimple caused me to suffer. In India I could wait as see the pimple to naturally subside and accept a defeat against attacking me. But I am no more in India. So what is the result? I had a one hour long counseling and he did measure my blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol level, body weight, height, pulse, etc. and so many which I did not understand and never did in my life in a very detail manner and he gave all the results in a computer program and the result did shock me. I am 10 kilos overweight. He asked me to reduce enjoying Swiss gastronomy and to walk every day. I need a Pedometer now. To have a family physician for every family and to let regularly examined is really a part of luxury. I did never have one in India. This sort of examination once in a while and some disciplining in life would help all to maintain a healthy life.  In India I never heard of such health counselors. I used to think that those with big bellies are the strongest ones. So funny was my thinking. So a family physician who does a health counseling regularly and who does a steady examination in regular frequency can help people live long healthy. This can be a good idea to implement in the Indian mission stations and to help the poor villagers gratuitously and in turn they live long. After all, a long life is god’s blessing. So says proverbs 4:10 “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.”

13 February, 2012

Love? on Valentine's day..................... g f xavier

“Will you love me in December as you do in May,
Will you love me in the good old fashioned way?
When my hair has all turned gray,
Will you kiss me then and say,
That you love me in December as you do in May?“ James J. Walker.

This may be a very important day in everyone’s life (Valentine’s Day). The search for love and to live for love and the demands of love are the ones that make people happy and sad. “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” Mother Teresa. All are in search of love. And then the question arises, what is love? It is very complicated. The explanation or definition of love depends upon each person. “Without love, what are we worth?  Eighty-nine cents!  Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals walking around lonely” Laurence Marks.

I believe love is a healing or curing material for most of the sicknesses. Sicknesses begin basically from mind and if one’s mind and heart is filled with satisfactory love relationships, it helps the whole person. May be holistically is love the main remedy for all sickness. But this love which fills ones heart depends on each ones concept of love. “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence” Eric Fromm. The concept of love is formed by birth and the initial child development ages or pre-school ages. The parents have a major role in the formation of concept of love in each one. Some live for love, some search after only sex in love, some want only a little cuddling, some enjoy living together, some hate living with another, some find fulfillment in partners, some seek love among same gender, some hate making love, some cant love at all, etc… “Sometimes it's a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence” David Byrne. Can love and sex be seen differently? Making love is a need of age. People never made love lack a major part of their state of normalcy.  "Being with someone in bed gives trust, fulfillment, satisfaction, self-confidence, self-acceptance, happiness, self-belief, etc… “Love is the word used to label the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle-aged, and the mutual dependence of the old” John Ciardiso.  I believe love cannot be defined and the definition suitable for each one can be formed in each one’s mind depending of his or her personality.

(My spiritual outlook) I believe god is love and there is no god without love. Some say God is a judge who judges each one’s life according to his or her activities. But he is not a judge based on our thinking. He doesn’t judge on the basis of testimonies and witnesses. It is not a civil court and the justice is not based on the investigations. His justice is justice based on love. He doesn’t see one as a culprit and accuse anyone or destroy anyone. He is keeping his hands open and welcomes all to be good. Love is just including each and every one. No one will be excluded on the basis of his deeds.

But I don’t believe the love of God without love of human beings. "The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration”. Pearl S. Buck. God’s love is witnessed in the love and relationship of each other. So there is no love life without God. If god is love, let all be given a chance to love. And it is natural to love someone of other sex and if anyone is in love or feels to love someone of same sex because of the development of his or her personality, is also natural to the person. So all forms of love and all demands of love from each and every one needs to be respected as each and every one has the freedom to live on this earth and to find the fulfillment of love in their life. Everyone’s dreams need to be fulfilled and one needs to facilitate others in their fulfillment of their search of love. “Take away love and our earth is a tomb” Robert Browning.

“Love is a symbol of eternity.  It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end” Author Unknown. And what is there greater in one’s life other than to know that ‘I am being loved’. To love and to be in love is like being in ‘heaven’. It is the most important form of experiencing God or just living weightless. It is feeling of flying in the air like birds. “There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.  It is God's finger on man's shoulder” Charles Morgan.

“Do I love you because you're beautiful,
Or are you beautiful because I love you?” Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Cinderella.

05 February, 2012

Communism and Jesus (recent controversy in Kerala)

These days the discussion in the state of Kerala in India is something that could be mentioned and thought of. Is Jesus a revolutionary? Is Jesus Christ the first communist? Who is a communist and who is Jesus Christ? Jesus cannot be a communist as the communism itself is a product very late in history when compared to the presence of Jesus almost 2000 years before. So he was not a communist in the very simple sense. But in the area of ideology and philosophy, is he a communist? Not fully but to a certain extent. The differences begin with the concept of atheism. Then Jesus preached love and there was no place in his teaching for violence and hatred. But communists have employed violence and hatred in their teachings. Nothing was compulsory for Jesus in his teaching and it was open for all to follow or to decline. But the communism is a compulsory result. Thus there are a lot of differences if we go on basically analyze the whole of the teachings of Jesus and the philosophy or ideology of communism.

The history has also witnessed the enmity of communist followers against the Christians or it can be interpreted directly as against Jesus. But Jesus is not responsible for all the mistakes made by the church and so the communism was against the church. It is thus solved.

But if we concentrate on the similarities in the teachings of Jesus with the communistic ideals, I would say it just covers or overlaps the whole of differences. The definition of communism needs to be thought of. Communism comes from the Latin word communis, which means "shared" or "belong to all". The definition commonly used is that communism is “a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state“. Now just read the following bible verses.

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts." (Acts 2:44-46 NIV). "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need." (Acts 4:32-35 NIV). I think we don’t need any explanation or interpretation other than to explain things away.
(Photo source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2007/2331830273_5513c60598_o.png)

www.allaboutphilosophy.org would give us the following details.
According to The Communist Manifesto, Communism has ten essential planks:
1.    Abolition of Private Property.
2.    Heavy Progressive Income Tax.
3.    Abolition of Rights of Inheritance.
4.    Confiscation of Property Rights.
5.    Central Bank.
6.    Government Ownership of Communication and Transportation.
7.    Government Ownership of Factories and Agriculture.
8.    Government Control of Labor.
9.    Corporate Farms and Regional Planning.
10. Government Control of Education.
Fundamentally, The Communist Manifesto was a rebellion against the extreme poverty of the lower class.

Recently I could find again this blog to read the 20 reasons this blogger sited to state why Jesus is a communist. http://jwray.videosift.com. I quote the 20 reason down.
1.  He threw the moneychangers out of the temple and called them theives.  They were just ordinary businessmen in a laissez-faire economy. 
2.  He said, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."
3.  He encouraged people to give everything they could, and promised that god would support everyone in need.  Just like socialism.
Matthew 19:21
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
4.  "turn the other cheek"
5. "love thy enemy"
6.  "blessed are the peacemakers"
7. "blessed are the meek"
8. "woe unto ye who are rich"
 9. "forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors" -- clearly he would favor bailing out poor people with subprime mortgages.
10. "Give us this day our daily bread" -- what a sense of entitlement to demand handouts!!! 
 11. "Every mountain shall be made low, every valley shall be exalted" --although this is actually from Isaiah's prophecy about the messiah, it looks like a metaphor for proletarian revolution
 12.  Some early christians (before 200BC) actually established agricultural communes.
 13. Jesus is soft on crime: anybody who believes in his scapegoat-like sacrifice will be forgiven.
 14. Jesus loves the poor, the prostitutes, the lepers,  etc.   And he gave them free healthcare!  That's not what Ronald Reagan or John McCain would do.
15. Jesus said nothing about or against homosexuality.
 16. "and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy father which is in secret" -- clearly Jesus opposes school prayer.
 17. Jesus performed the "miracle of the loaves and fish" -- divine government handouts for the poor.
 18. "ask and it shall be given to you.  Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and the door shall be opened" -- giving the poor a sense of entitlement
 19.  "Blessed are the merciful"
 20.  "And if any man will sue thee, and take away thy cloak, let him have thy coat also.  And whosoever shall compell thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away"
Even though I am not totally for what he states here but it gives ample provocations to find the similarities.

Personally I would not say that Jesus is not a communist, but I would not go against the claims made by any groups to show the similarities and pointing on that telling that he is a communist on the basis of the teachings. For me Jesus was a big socialist. Socialism is friendlier than communism for me. But the new communist parties that are active are no more clinging to the violent approaches they had or are they not so uncompromising. They are friendlier and more humane.
What is socialism? "1. A theory or policy of social organization which aims at or advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole, and their administration or distribution in the interests of all. 2. A state of society in which things are held or used in common." (from Oxford dictionary)

Gandhian aspects were more close to Jesus teachings than the communists. But he never advocated capitalism, which brought the evil of poverty on this earth. Capitalism widened the disparity between the poor and the rich. Rich became richer and poor poorer. It created a society of competitions and unhealthy comparisons. Globalization deepened the wound further.
Where is the role of church now? Those who know the church history well and in detail would know why the church was against the communists and why the communists were against the church. Read the causes of French revolution along with this. But all these mistakes were duly acknowledged by the church and the Catholic Church was ready to change the stance. Church thereafter tries its best to be poor friendly and charity oriented. The whole of the west is trying the best to be spiritual in becoming more charitable. To a certain extent I find that communism was a historic necessity to renovate the Catholic Church and it did do the mission in a meaningful way.

But why I say all these? The history has changed. There is peace in this area of societal differences and understanding. It may be useful at least to read and know what is Christian communism and biblical communism. These are some movements based on the studies done in these fields.

I would say those who protest at this moment against the CPM (communist party of India, Marxist) to just not to be blind against the truth. The party has taken the courage to acknowledge the world’s best and greatest revolutionary in the person of Jesus. He lived and died fighting against all the sociological evils that were prevalent in the society. I would be proud to say that although very late, the party has made a right move. This shows the openness and the broad thinking of the CPM and their readiness to include all people rather than excluding some. Jesus never excluded anyone because some were sinners or outcastes. He embraced all to his brotherhood. CPM takes this example now.

To CPM. It is not that Jesus is a communist but better Communists were the ones who brought the teachings of Jesus into their ideology and tried to bring into practice rather than the Christians. Gandhi did the same but in a better way.

To the revolting few among the Catholics. Please do not mislead and inject hatred and wrong teachings into the innocent young blood. Rather than revolting and digging the grave, do gratefully acknowledge the positive moves done by CPM to bring the poor, downtrodden and suffering together under one umbrella. Please do not divide the folk on the basis of religion and beliefs.

(I happened to watch a video where I saw a priest leading a group of KCYM youth with lighted torches and sounding malicious words against CPM party and making warnings of violent reactions. What is happening to them? Who is worse, these who malign the name of Church and Jesus or the party which positively depicted Jesus as a revolutionary?)

In fact the Communist party never titled him as ‘communist’ but as a revolutionary. As I was attending the catechism Sunday classes when I was child, I did had a text book titled, ‘Jesus the revolutionary’, in my mother tongue ‘Yeshu oru vimochakan’.

There are mistakes among everyone and in all the religions, political parties and persons. Change the attitude to blindly being against some on the basis of false and past theatrical reasons. It is time to change for the church or else the believers themselves may have to change their sides. Be inclusive of all irrespective of rich and poor, high caste and low caste, and all that divided society. Read again and again what Jesus said, and not what the church interpret as Jesus said. Remain in the words of Jesus and bible and not in the political agenda.

Mark 9: 38-42. (A Bible verse to reflect)
 38And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40For he that is not against us is on our part. 41For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. 42And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone was hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.