Can indigenous people of Manipur co-exist ?

Fr Paul Lelen Haokip
Contd from previous issue
At the same time, indigenous trait like coexistence is taking political landscape and highly influenced by economic dividends. This value-erosion is a challenge to indigenous culture.
Religion as a Mask
“Lord, Lord, Halleluiah, God is good, Praise that Lord, taking recourse to fasting and prayer, talking about peace, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, turning the other cheek if someone hits” inside the Church but not practicing Christian values outside the Church is the highest form of hypocrisy. “Not everyone that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
The will of God the Father is to love one another. Domesticating God as if He is only for a particular community, tribe, group is a complete opposite of the mission of Jesus Christ who came to save the earth (not just a group). Thinking that God will be in one’s side even while doing wrong to humans and nature is a whole distortion of truth and turning religion into a form of opium for hallucination. Selective choosing of Biblical verses for one’s survival at the expense of others equals to defilement of the good book. While the Old Testament is filled with themes of revenge, war, sectarianism, etc., the New Testament is completed with Jesus’ call for love, brotherhood and mutual coexistence. If your religion makes you to hate others, then perhaps you need a new holistic religion that can accommodate the world. Are we wearing religion as a mask to flaunt unchristian behaviours ?
Need for enlightened leaders
Mere rhetoric and sweet-talk are not the brand anymore. Today, we need leaders who know real histories (not distorted), science, social sciences, politics for growth, long-term visions. We need daring game changers who are educated and broad-minded to join the legislative Assemblies. We expect leaders with values and those who are aware of National and International goals (like SDGs) which aim at coexistence and peace. We need leaders who can ascend clan-centric politics, tribe-based propagandas, and see humanity as a family here on earth.
Inclusive pluralism is a building block for authentic leadership. We need people who can show us a way forward from regression and stagnation.
We can choose to survive together or perish together with the coming of the railways and Act East Policy. We don’t need sectarian leaders anymore. We need to see the truth of the gospel, not a personal (faulty) interpretation of the Bible. Christianity is not just for Sunday; it is a way of life. To what extent can Christianity take us for peaceful coexistence ? Inclusiveness should be an overriding model for coexistence and development. “Ching-Tam” slogan should see practical and fruit-bearing projects for coexistence.
Exclusivism is a “no-no” for a 21st century model of living.

The author is a PhD Research Scholar, Dept. of Sociology at CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India. Email: [email protected]