Thursday, October 15, 2015

Returning of awards has a tradition!

Returning of awards has a tradition!
Reporters Name | CAMIL PARKHE | Thursday, 15 October 2015 AT 09:08 AM IST
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Camil ParkheblogIndira GandhiOperation Blue StarGolden TempleKhushwant SinghPadma Shrireturning awards

When Indira Gandhi ordered Operation Blue Star to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple, senior editor and  die-hard loyalist Khushwant Singh returned his Padma Shri to protest against desecration of the Sikh shrine. I was then working in a Panaji-based newspaper and I remember we journalists had a heated discussion that evening on the issue whether the news merited  front page space. Most of us opined that Operation Blue Star was justified and there was no need to glorify Khushwant’s action.

However, the editor’s veto prevailed – he was trained under Khushwant Singh in the ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’ – and the news was carried on page one.

Khushwant Singh perhaps was the first person to return his Padma Shri. In early 1990s, anti-corruption crusader and social activist Anna Hazare had also threatened to return his Padma Shri to protest against the government policies.

Prior to Operation Blue Star, India had witnessed a dark period in the form of Emergency and yet at that time no one returned their awards instituted by the government or by bodies appointed by the government. At that time, Marathi writer and research scholar Durga Bhagwat had given a call to littérateurs not to share dais with the ruling politicians or shun government funds for hosting literary conferences as a sign of protest against the government.

The present spree of veteran writers in the country returning their literary and other laurels to protest against the increasing intolerance and the passive role of the government has once again brought the intelligentsia and the government face to face.

There is indeed a marked difference in the situation prevailing during the Emergency and now. The present government has been duly elected with popular support and it has mandate to rule for its full term.  During the era of pro and anti-Mandal agitations, the atmosphere in the country was charged with people fiercely supporting or opposing the quota rule. So much so that there was a spurt in youngsters attempting self-immolations to protest against the reservation system.

It would be easier to label the writers and others returning their Sahitya Akademi and other laurels as ‘anti-Modi’ or ‘pseudo-secular’ people and skirt the main issue. Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma has almost done that. But the government authorities need to take into consideration that some of these protesting members of intelligentsia may have supported Narendra Modi when he only spoke of ‘development’ in his Lok Sabha poll campaign. The people in the country had then not imagined the scenario they are experiencing now. Considering this, the government needs to seriously consider the concerns being expressed by the dissenting writers and immediately undertake the remedial measures.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Holy Angels Church centenary celebrations on Oct 11

Holy Angels Church centenary celebrations on Oct 11
Reporters Name | CAMIL PARKHE | Wednesday, 7 October 2015 AT 10:55 PM IST
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Members of the church have arranged special programmes on the occasion

Pune: The Church of Holy Angels in Rasta Peth is wearing a new look after renovation to celebrate its centenary on Sunday, October 11.

The members of the 100-year-old church have arranged a special programme  to commemorate the occasion. Rt Rev Dr P C Singh, Moderator of the Church of North India (CNI) and CNI Pune Diocese Bishop Andrew Rathod will attend the celebrations.

A souvenir, highlighting history of the 100-year-old church, will be released at the function, said Madanmohan Thakore, Secretary of the church committee. 

The Church of Holy Angels, located near the Power House in  Rasta Peth, has nearly 300 member families. The church is included in the heritage structures list of the Pune Municipal Corporation.

Prior to 1915, Christian families from Rasta Peth used to attend religious services at the Church of Holy Name at Panch Howd. The land for building a church in Rasta Peth was acquired for a price of Rs 50 by a Christian teacher Bhikubai Dhuraji Bhalerao. Construction of the church was carried out from 1907 to 1915. Rev Vasant David led the prayers at the newly built church on October 10, 1915. Sushila, daughter of Bhagubai and Yakob Ohol, was also baptised at the church on this day.

The church conducts prayers at 6.30 am and 8 am on every Sunday. Rev Devdan Makasare is the present priest at church. The other members of the church committee include Deepa Khandagale, Joint Secretary; Vilas Borde, Treasurer; Ravindra Patole, Assistant Treasurer; and  Nalini Chandanshiv, President of women’s wing; and members Sarala Barse, Manali Salawi and Rajanikant Bankar. 

“Church of Holy Angels has records of  various sacraments like baptism, marriages and funerals taken place at the church during the last 100 years. The church was initially a part of Bombay Diocese and became a part of the Kolhapur Diocese in 1970. It joined the Pune Diocese after this diocese was created.”  
—Madanmohan Thakore,
Secretary of church committee

Sunday, October 4, 2015

US, Cuba visit: Pope Francis brings fresh winds

Pope Francis brings fresh winds
Reporters Name | CAMIL PARKHE | Thursday, 1 October 2015 AT 09:18 PM IST
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Many world leaders including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington recently. Pope Francis was one of these leaders to whom US President Barack Obama played host and whose itinerary was well covered by the world media. The spiritual leader of over 1.2 billion Catholics in the world was also the first pontiff to address a joint meeting of US Congress. The pope utilised this tour to advocate for environment conservation, an issue on which he had recently issued a papal encyclical.

The visit of the pope to the USA was preceded by a tour of Communist Cuba. Both these tours were significant in several ways. First of all, the Argentina-born has been the first person outside Europe to be elected to the papacy, the first from the American continents and the first non-European pope after 1,300 years. He also described himself as a son of immigrants.

Pope John Paul II had played an important role in the silent political revolution in his native Poland nation. Pope Francis too has been instrumental in thawing the five decade-old bitter relations between the sworn enemies of Cuba and the USA. Pope Francis has consistently encouraged both Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro to hold talks. That is why in his address, President Obama said, “Holy Father, we are grateful for your invaluable support of our new beginning with the Cuban people, which holds out the promise of better relations between our countries.”

There were speculations that the pope would also utilise this tour to shake hands with or exchange greetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping as both of them were on the USA tour almost in the same period. But this did not happen. The Holy See has been working hard to establish formal ties with China although the latter has not relaxed its curbs on churches or other religious institutions.

That was the reason the pontiff in an attempt not to antagonise the dragon power had avoided meeting the Dalai Lama when he was in Rome recently. In his media interview while returning Rome, the pope has expressed the confidence of having improved relations with China.

“We are moving forward. But for me, to have as a friend a great country like China, would be a joy,” he has said.

After taking over from his ailing predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has indeed brought fresh winds in the Catholic Church. Like John Paul III, he has also been often on a tour of various nations, winning appreciation even from the non-Catholics as well as non-believers for his stance on various issues including human rights and environment.

He has emerged as a moral power to guide the nations on various humanitarian and social issues.
James Selvaraj - Sunday, 4 October 2015 AT 10:04 PM IST
The pope speaks from his heart ! His concerns are genuine.
Joseph Pithekar - Sunday, 4 October 2015 AT 03:09 PM IST
The present Pope does not talk from high towers. He wants to dialogue with every section of humanity, especially the poor and neglected. he sends very powerful message for India too. This man goes beyond religion, but does not minimize values. now that our government is trying to impose their values and almost non acceptable values on every one he could be a model to follow. He thinks of the Church for the poor and of the poor. Could our country be for the poor and of the poor.