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Paul Vadakumpadan, Guwahati says,
Living in an Age of Revolutions
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Guwahati, Sep. 3. We are living through a revolutionary period, or at least so we are told.

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, what next? The Anna Hazard phenomenon in India has been called a revolution, though of a different kind. Massive crowds protested in Delhi demanding an end to corruption. The Gandhi-like figure of Anna Hazard, more of a prophet than a politician, provided leadership as he undertook an indefinite fast. The movement did succeed in making the government accept the need for new legislation. However, whether that alone will solve the problem or even reduce corruption substantially remains to be seen. I am on the side of skeptics. Dealing  with a problem that has dogged humanity for ages merely by creating new structures, however powerful,  reminds me of Hollywood movies where a superstar, single handedly takes on any number of evil men and decimates them with super human efficiency. Should we look for solutions elsewhere too?

All human beings are looking for justice, peace and joy. Recently the UN General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution that intends to make happiness a ``development indicator``. It was the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan that initiated this process. This Buddhist country speaks of GNH instead of the universally accepted GDP, the former standing for Gross National Happiness. This concept measures the quality of life by trying to strike a balance between the material and the spiritual.

In this context the church`s mission becomes all the more significant. Mission is at the service of God`s kingdom, which is characterized by justice, peace and joy. At the birth of Jesus, the angels sang ``Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.`` Every time the risen Lord appeared to the disciples, his greeting was ``Peace be to you.`` Jesus said, ``I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full.`` The beatitudes present the most revolutionary and stunningly new programme aimed at creating happiness, that humanity has ever heard of: ``How blessed are the poor in spirit, Blessed are the gentle, Blessed...`` The good news of Christ is good precisely because it brings about peace and joy, reconciliation with God and among human beings. Christ the Saviour points the way we need to follow in creating a civilization of love, based on truth and he makes it possible for all to lead a life worth living.

It is surprising that the so-called secular world finds God a hurdle in its way. If history is anything to go by, the secular path, that deliberately keeps God out of its way, fails abysmally to achieve what it proposes to. The recent riots in the United Kingdom, a country with an envious record of socio-economic development, where the welfare society has virtually replaced God is but the latest in a series of powerful indications. When man distances himself from God, he distances himself from his neighbour. We end up creating not a terrestrial paradise, but islands of solitude and unhappiness. The sudden outburst of violence is, perhaps, the logical overflow of such unhappiness. The fact that the number of suicides is higher in the richer parts of the world than in poorer areas is yet another indication.

The British Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron, hit the nail on the head when he spoke about the need for confronting the moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our modern society: ``People showing indifference to right and wrong... People with a twisted moral code... People with a complete absence of self-restraint... Selfishness. Behaving as if your choices have no consequences. Children without fathers. Schools without discipline... Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control. Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged - sometimes even incentivised - by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally de-moralised.``

The next synod of Bishops in 2012 on the theme: ``The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith`` will be very relevant in this new situation our world is facing.  By witnessing to and spreading the good news of Christ, the church in mission is rendering a remarkable service to society, enabling it to realize that life is worth living and empowering it to live in a way worthy of God`s children.  


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Paul Vadakumpadan(Guwahati) vvpaulsdb@rediffmail.com
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