India’s Catholic bishops urge citizens to overcome their differences and work to bring peace to the people of Manipur as the nation celebrates its 76th anniversary of independence.
By Prasanthi Mandapati
“In that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake,” says the poet Rabindranath Tagore in the poem “The Heaven of Freedom,” an excerpt from Tagore’s classic book. Gitanjali.
The poet prayed for the independence of India, which they longed for during the years of colonization. This song of freedom continues to ring in the ears of the Indians when they think of freedom and celebrate Independence Day.
India is a diverse country with different cultures, languages, religions and traditions. Despite his differences, he is known for his unity in diversity while respecting the differences of others.
Indians proudly and patriotically commemorate the nation’s 76th Independence Day on August 15, 2023. It is a day when the nation’s leaders and citizens remember the great sacrifices made by the freedom fighters with their lives for the independence of the nation.
peace in manipur
On the occasion of the nation’s Independence Day anniversary, Church leaders sued for peace in Manipur, India. The people of Manipur have been living in fear, violence and insecurity for several months, especially the women and children.
People and leaders from all over the country have called for peace in Manipur. Along with hymns of freedom and patriotism, Catholic Church leaders in various parts of India pleaded for the necessary actions to bring peace to Manipur.
In a press release, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) said: “Our nation’s strength derives from its ability to face and resolve internal challenges with empathy, understanding and unity. The diverse fabric of our country is a source of strength, but it also requires continued efforts to ensure that the rights and aspirations of all citizens are respected and protected.”
The bishops also called on the government to “defend the secular fabric of our country, reinforce constitutional values, and cultivate an environment of peaceful coexistence for various communities.”
stand up india
Recalling the situation in Manipur on the occasion of its Independence Day, Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes, Auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai, urged peace, saying “Stand up India.”
“However, it is unfortunate that in present-day India/Bharat, we are beginning to see a great divide along religious and communal lines,” Bishop Savio said. “There is so much hate and poison spreading, vitiating the harmony that once existed in our great nation. Under the pretext of defending national interests, long-buried old conflicts are being stirred up, thus creating doubt and confusion in people’s minds and dividing and polarizing society.”
The bishop recalled that India is the homeland of Mahatma Gandhi and called for a new path of peace.
“Every law-abiding and peace-loving Indian has a responsibility to overcome differences and strive to promote love, tolerance and sensitivity again in the hearts of all Indians,” he said. “The principles that are valued by our Constitution must be protected.”
Bishop Savio invited the Indians to replace hate with love and turn any thought of revenge into an opportunity to forgive.
“So, indian rise and your billions lead and follow the path of Love, to be a light to all the nations of the world,” he said. “Let’s follow Gandhi’s path of love, non-violence, equality, respect for all human beings, sacrifice, justice, peace and brotherhood.”