- Views 66
Mangaluru:Bishop Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, who assumed office as Bishop of
Mangaluru diocese recently, began a great initiative for better
harmony in the society in the region. He called a meeting on Monday,
September 24 in which religious leaders from different religions,
political and community leaders, administrators, intellectuals and
heads of media houses participated and discussed openly about bringing
about change in society to promote humanity.
Bishop Dr Peter Paul, briefing about Bandutva said, “As I take up my
office as the new bishop of this diocese, which has 124 churches and
numerous institutions of learning and medical care and social
upliftment, I reflect on enhancing the goodness of Mangaluru. Our life
flows into the life of another and our decisions give directions to
the lives of many. So also the life of others flows into ours. They
have unseen impact and we do feel, no two meetings are the same, even
with the same person. The experience adds newness every day.”
“I have also a message to share and you are called to give your
observations. We are in the process of making this city and this
district a smart city. Surely, for us ‘smart’ would mean different
things. A smart city is a designation given to a city that
incorporates information and communication technologies (ICT) to
enhance the quality and performance of urban services such as energy,
transportation and utilities in order to reduce resource consumption,
wastage and overall costs. Look at the definition. It is a product
-oriented concept and it seems to be less process-oriented. It does
not tell us how we are going to train people to work for harmony and
create fellow feeling. It does not tell us how it becomes deeply
respectful towards human beings and environment and not merely
tolerant. It does not tell us, how it will teach the art of loving and
compassion. Whose duty is it to do these things?” he added.
Smart City with a heart
“I wish our smart city be a Smart City with a heart. It could be a
slogan-Mangaluru, a smart city with a heart. In my childhood, I heard
one song in Kannada that always resounds in my heart ‘Devaramakkalu
Naavella..’ The song appeals the humanity to help one another,
especially the needy, based on the one common brotherhood. We are all
the children of the same God. So any discrimination based on any
factor is unjust and against our creator. If God is Love and
Compassion and Truth, as Christianity, Islam and Hinduism proclaim
respectively, then we also have to become Love, Compassion and Truth
as his image,” bishop said.
“When the blood is transfused from a Christian to a Hindu, does it
become Hindu or does it remain Christian? When a kidney transplanted
from a Muslim to Hindu, does it change religion or retains its status
quo? If our blood gels well and if our organs can be transplanted, and
there is no fear that the body will reject them because, they are of a
person of another religion, how is it then we, when it comes to
totality of the person, reject one another?” he said.
“To recognize our brotherhood and sisterhood, we need to build
Bandutva, fraternity. We have great possibilities of envisioning where
we can come together, dialogue with one another whether it is between
religious traditions, between cultures or languages. We share the
common denominator, humanity. In mathematics, to add or subtract the
fractions, we use least common denominator. In life, to add the
various fractions, various groups, various traditions, can we not use
humanity as the least common denominator?” he asked.
“In the Bible, we are called to love one another as Jesus has loved
us, or love your neighbour as yourself. We are not very sure whether
we really love God, but if we have love for our neighbour, then, it is
a sure sign that we love God.
“I have called this meeting especially to listen, to learn from you,
to begin a cordial dialogue with you in whom I see many brothers and
sisters, my large extended family. What attitude is needed in this
sort of dialogue? All religions insist on the so-called Golden Rule:
‘Do not do to another, what you would not want done to you’. I believe
this Golden Rule is found in every culture and religion as a point of
encounter which enables us to actualise the ‘Art of Loving’, an
authentic method of dialogue,” he said.
“Dialogue first of all means placing yourself on the same level, not
having a priori notions, of being better than the others; opening
yourself to hearing what the others have inside, putting everything
aside in order to enter into their souls and then, naturally, asking
them to listen to us. This process allows us to embrace our
commonalities that are there – and then agreeing to live those
together. That’s concrete dialogue.” he said citing Chaira Lubich.
Among the different types of dialogue the bishop insisted on the
dialogue of action, that is, working together for common causes.
“Another 50 years, many of us would not be here. Before it is too
late, we can make a difference and India can boast of having
Mangaluru, a smart city with a heart,” bishop concluded.
Initiative appreciated, support promised
Sri Jitakamandaji from Sri Ramakrishna Mission appreciated the
initiative and said, “I am happy to learn about this initiative which
will bring a new hope in society. As bishop said we are all children
of same God and we are all equals. There should never be any quarrel
among people based on the religions. Dialogue between all the
communities is the best option to bring harmony in society.”
Prof Vivek Rai said that all the problems should be resolved from the
place the problem took place. “Meetings in higher levels will help to
some extent. But a visit to the place where the problem took place is
more helpful. There you will find more solutions,” he said.
District in-charge minister U T Khader said “I admire the bishop for
this special care within days of assuming office. We the government
and legislators can make laws. There are many departments to maintain
law and order. But to create better human values in society and to
maintain greater love among people, the participation of all the
people is needed. A dialogue between all the parties concerned will
help in achieving this goal. I am sure this concept will definitely
help us in bringing perfect peace in the region. Transformation of a
human being is more important than anything. I want all the
participants to pledge full support.”
Deputy commissioner Shashikanth Senthil said, “The district
administration supports such initiatives. We are ready to implement
all the policies needed to make the society a better place to live.
The administration can perform better with the help of people.
Dialogues of this nature will surely have positive impact in the
society. the fruits of this dialogue will be seen in the times to
Educationist Dr Mohan Alva appreciated the efforts and promised his support.
MLAs Vedavyasa Kamath, Umanath Kotian, Bharath Shetty, Sanjeev
Matandoor, Rajesh Naik and many political leaders took part in the
dialogue including MLC Bhoje Gowda, Mayor Bhaskar Moily, Police
commissioner T R Suresh, former MLAs Ramanath Rai, Moideen Bava,
Shakuntala Shetty, Amarnath Shetty, Abhayachandra, Vinaya Kumar Sorake
and former MLC Ganesh Karnik.
Basti Vaman Shenoy, Roy Castelino, Luvi J Pinto, Vinay Hegde,
Daijiworld founder Walter Nandalike, BJP leader Capt Brijesh Chowta,
JD(S) leaders Sushil Noronha, Akshith Shetty, customs superintendent
Subramanyam and PRO of Mangaluru diocese Fr Victor Vijay Lobo were
present among others.
Trustees from Kudroli, Kadri and Mangaladevi temples participated.
Former MLA J R Lobo was the convenor of the programme. Diocese
pastoral parishad secretary M P Noronha was the co-convenor.
John D’Silva compered. Invocation song was sung by students of Padua College.