India, a nation "of democracy, freedom and dignity of all citizens " yesterday celebrated the 65th Republic Day .
anniversary falls on the day on which the current Constitution came into force,
on 26 January 1950. Card. Oswald
Gracias, President of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) and archbishop
of Mumbai, reflects with AsiaNews on the meaning of this feast and how the
country is now "facing unprecedented challenges: inequality, dehumanizing
poverty, violence against women, attacks on life , threats against the ecology".
Below we publish Card. Gracias' reflections.
Our Republic Day is
celebrated as the day when the Constitution of India came into effect on - 26th
January 1950, Our Constitution is our charter of democracy and of the rights of
the people. Individual freedom and dignity is guaranteed under the fundamental
rights included in the Constitution. It
is a day, we celebrate our beloved country as a "sovereign, socialist, secular,
Republic Day signifies
India's enduring commitment to democracy and freedom. As we celebrate
Republic Day, let us reflect on the core values enshrined in our
Constitution- and rededicate ourselves in service to our country and
rededicate ourselves in promotion
of these core values of our country.
Our Constitution embodies
and reflects certain basic values, philosophy and objectives that were held
very dear to our founding fathers. The values expressed in the Preamble are
sovereignty, socialism, secularism, democracy, republican character, justice,
liberty, equality, fraternity, human dignity and the unity and integrity of the
to them, our Constitution promotes respect for diversity and minority
Articles from 25 to 28 ensure
freedom of religion to all its citizens, prohibiting any discrimination on the
ground of religion.
faces , unprecedented challenges like the scandal of glaring inequalities
and dehumanising poverty, the
violence on women and the attacks on life and threats to ecology.
In the face
of these challenges, we come across two types of India: on the one side there
is a fast developing economy and on the other, the fast growing number of poor
Around 300 million of India's 1,129 million still
live below the poverty line. It is agonizing that close to 1.3 million children
die every year in India because of malnutrition, according to the World Health
Organization (WHO)-this is a scandal.
of violence on women which begins even before she is born, is a shame and
disgrace. Women are victims of discrimination, abuse, rape, dowry-related
murder, domestic violence and acid attacks.
on life- and the increasing culture of death.
Violence to life takes various forms such as abortion, ethically
unacceptable artificial reproductive techniques such as IVF and surrogate
spiritual heritage and tolerance, today being reduced to religious intolerance
faces ecological threats, with growing urbanization India has witnessed an
increase in environmental problems such as land degradation, deforestation, air
and water pollution and climate change. Respecting
nature means protecting man from the danger of self-destruction.
on India's 65th Republic Day, is a time for introspection and re-dedication
especially in the run up to the 2014 General Election, to make our democracy a
vibrant and effective one.
This is a very significant Year, for the Archdiocese of Bombay, which is
dedicated to the "Year of the Eucharist".
The Eucharistic selfless love that
leads us beyond the turbulence of our times to find deep meaning, fulfilling
joy and abiding peace.
In this Year of the Eucharist, will grace us to be
committed to bearing more forceful witness to God's presence and solidarity', in
our beloved motherland India".