Christian philosophers assert India’s diversity

The Association of Christian Philosophers of India (ACPI) discussed the theme Becoming a nation: processes and prospects. India’s Christian philosophers have resolved to celebrate the nation’s cultural diversity and religious pluralism to help the country uphold its secular traditions and affirm citizen’s human dignity and equality.

The Association of Christian Philosophers of India (ACPI) said this in a statement issued after their hosted its 41st annual research seminar at St. Albert’s College in Ranchi Oct. 20-23. The statement of some 80 philosophy teachers and students took pride in India’s secular and democratic nature, its Constitution that safeguards the fundamental rights, religious plurality, scientific advancement and immense potentiality.

“The nation’s variegated religious and spiritual traditions and its multicultural richness enhance the uniqueness of the process of becoming a nation. We are invited to affirm human dignity and equality in spite of cultural and religious differences, said the statement issued after discussing the theme, Becoming a nation: processes and prospects.

They noted “unenlightened and dysfunctional attempts” being made “to challenge and subvert” many of India’s strengths and assets. Other challenges included a colonial hangover resulting in religious polarization, the assertion of cultural supremacy and developmental projects lacking ecological sensitivity.

“Current developments seem to lead to a narrow understanding of nationalism, with fundamentalist and anti-secular overtones foregrounded by the politicized use of the media, resulting in mob violence and terrorist activities,” said the statement.

“While dissent is an integral part of democracy, what we are witnessing is the suppression of dissenting voices of intellectuals and the masses. Numerous challenges to the integrity of the Constitution via anti-democratic and anti-minority policies have emerged, resulting in cultural and economic exclusion which will have severe consequences for various subaltern communities,” they said.

“The process of “becoming a nation” invites us to celebrate differences, to recognize and accept one another, to affirm cultural liberty and plurality, and to appreciate a mutually fecund co-emergence grounded in an ethics of compassionate care,” they said.

They pledged support to democratic and rational approaches and egalitarian moments, especially of the voiceless. They also supported sustainable development that recognizes “the mutuality of science and religion, and is aimed at integral and holistic growth.”

“We will cultivate a spirit of pluralistic patriotism rather than chauvinistic nationalism. As Indians who profess the Christian faith, we will celebrate overlapping socio-cultural spaces with our fellow country men and women at macro and micro levels,” they asserted. “Our interrelationships and collaboration with diverse communities will be aimed at fostering a spirit of harmonious coexistence,” said the statement.

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