Lesson on 'salt of India'

Incomplete without Christians: Bishop

By Mita Mukherjee and Jhinuk Mazumdar in Calcutta
  • Published 11.04.18
Bishop Philip S Masih (left), governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and junior foreign minister MJ Akbar at Calcutta Boys’ School. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Calcutta: The Indian community is "incomplete" without Christians, just as the " daan" offered by a Hindu to a pandit is incomplete without salt, the head of the Methodist Church of India for the Bengal and Lucknow regions said on Tuesday.

"In the Garuda Puran, it is said that when the seedha daan is offered to a guru or pandit, it should consist of rice and salt. Both in Hinduism and Christianity, salt is considered divine.... So, the Indian community is incomplete without Christians," Bishop Philip S. Masih said.

The Garuda Puran lists various reasons why salt is endowed with divinity. Before a priest conducts a puja, a daan (offering) of uncooked rice, vegetables and salt has to be made. Without salt, the offering is incomplete.

The Bishop was addressing an event at the 141-year-old Calcutta Boys' School, run by the Methodist Church of India.

Among the audience and on the dais were several illustrious old boys of the central Calcutta school - such as M.J. Akbar, the minister of state for external affairs who graduated from Calcutta Boys' in 1967. Also on the dais was governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who was a member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

Jesus had called Christians "the salt of the earth", the Bishop said. "It (salt) dissolves the same way Christians should merge with society and transform it to the level it should be."

Christian schools like Calcutta Boys' had been following the same principle, the Bishop added. "When children come to our school, we transform them into what society will demand of them.... And that is why these Christian schools have produced scientists, artists, doctors, engineers and great persons in every field."

"In India, we (Christians) are a micro-minority. Therefore, this example of salt makes more sense in India," the Bishop said.

"I'm interpreting what Christ had said.... Jesus said, 'Don't keep your identity but merge yourself wherever you are'.... You get merged in society and have society transformed.... That is the purpose of salt.... That is the purpose of the Christian community in India and the same is the purpose of the schools run by the Christian missionaries."