People buy goodies in Ranchi on Sunday. (Prashant Mitra)
Twin messages of peace, hope and the need for change set the festive mood in the state as people geared up to celebrate Christmas.
Both Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo of Roman Catholic Church and Moderator Nelson Lakra, India chief of 167-year-old Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church (GEL), called upon people to work for peace, hope and change, stressing that good governance alone could alter the state’s fortunes.
“The need of the hour is a stable government and proper leadership in Jharkhand. Things are not working as they ought to. God has blessed this state with all the world’s riches. Therefore, people need to close ranks, work for unity and solidarity and display a sense of belonging. This will be my Christmas message to the people,” Cardinal Toppo told The Telegraph.
The Cardinal added that he prayed that the birth of Jesus — the reason why Christmas is celebrated — would send a message to those who needed to be saved from hardships.
“Christmas is not just an event. It is a happening. The all-powerful God became man, born into a poor family, to share human sufferings. The birth of Christ brought liberation. Today, Christmas has become a commercial celebration with the bright lights hiding the mystery of God’s humility and simplicity. Christmas is not just about merry-making, but an occasion when we need to rededicate ourselves to state’s and mankind’s good,” Toppo stressed.
The brutal gang rape of Delhi and similar crimes against women also found a mention in the Cardinal’s Christmas message. “The gory incidents of rape — the worst crime against civilisation — are on the rise. No one is safe — mother, daughter, sister and even the mother’s womb is now in peril. The effects of globalisation are affecting the health of each family. Families are being torn apart by lust, greed and endless cravings for more and more. Therefore, this Christmas, we need to stand up, consolidate our strength and fight for a common cause,” the Cardinal said.
Moderator Nelson Lakra, GEL Church, echoed same feelings.
“It is sad that despite the overwhelming presence of the world's riches in Jharkhand, people residing here are the poorest. People of the state are still dying of hunger every year though our rulers stoutly deny such deaths. The real Jharkhand is still a dream,” Lakra said.
There is too much disparity in our society today. The distribution of income is heavily tilted in favour of a particular class. God has gifted Jharkhand with all the world’s riches — forests, rivers and a host of minerals. A strong political will is needed to ensure that these resources are used effectively to satisfy human needs, he added.
Lakra feels that love and sacrifice as taught by the Christ are the panacea of all ills that plague the society. “Love is truth. It calls for immense sacrifice. Love others as you would love yourself,” said the Moderator.