Friday, December 26, 2014

Brother Paul Macwan sj During the Gujarat Province semianr 2013

Ever joyful Paul

Brother Paul Macwan RIP -2

Dear Agnelo,

That was truly sad news of the death of our co-Novice and friend Paul Macwan.

Besides the nearly 4 years in Vinayalaya with him, I was privileged to be in that team of 4 Jesuits viz. Pierre Ceyrac, John Bingham, Paul Macwan and myself who were assigned to work in the Refugee Camp of Phanat Nikhom i.e. from October 1980 till March 1981.  Both of us have been given permission for 6 months only.  This camp was a sort of transit camp where most of the 18,000 or so refugees had been accepted for migration to third countries and had to be cared for until such time that they got official immigration documents.  Most of them were educated Cambodians who had been in the Pol Pot camps and had escaped to Thailand before and after the defeat of the Khmer Rouge.

JRS had not yet been started when we started our Mission.  We went there on behalf of Caritas International and were working under umbrella of the organisation of the Thailand Bishops known as COERR (Catholic Office of Emergency Relief and Refugees).  Paul did a wonderful job there and was immediately given the responsibility by the UNHCR for constructing houses for the Refugees.

If it was not for Br. Paul, who gave me tremendous support and encouragement, I would have not done the little that I could do there.  He had a very close contact with people.  In the Thai town of Phanat Nikhom where we were staying, he got into contact with people.  Very soon he was conducting evening classes in English for some older persons (a couple of them teachers).  In due course he got me involved.  He would take classes for 2 of them and I would take classes for the other 2.  Then, because of his close contact with the Refugees, he realised that many of the Refugees, when they were accepted by 3rd countries were leaving with very little.  He approached me and we both decided to do something.  I got into contact with the Mission Procurators of Germany and Switzerland and very soon started getting financial support from them.  I had told Paul that I would help raise the funds but he had to plan what to do with them.

As soon as we had the funds, he approached two of the Thai ladies whom we were teaching English and they agreed to drive us to Bangkok on a Saturday where we would go to the shopping centre and buy clothes, bags, suitcases and other things needed by the Refugees.etc..  We would then take these to the camps and Paul would be the one who would give them to those who were the next on the list for flying out to either France/USA/Australia or some other country.

With these few paragraphs I just want to say "THANK YOU PAUL!  Thank you for having made those 6 months in Phanat Nikhom so special for me.  May God bless you abundantly for what you have done for so many of us."

All the best Agnelo.  Thank you for keeping me informed.

Brother Paul macwan RIP - 25th Dec 2014


Br. Paul Macwan (GUJ) 76/53, died in an  accident between Umerpada and Mandvi  this evening on 25 Dec 2014. He was traveling with Fr.Aubrey Fernandes, who is hospitalized now.

May the soul of the departed  rest in peace.

Br Paul Macwan SJ

Br. Paul Macwan was inspired to join the Society while he was doing his primary school at Nadiad, by observing the saintly life of Br. Augustine Lobo. He joined the novitiate at Vinayalaya, Mumbai, in 1961.

After spending four years in Vinayalaya, for his noviciate and juniorate, he was sent to De Nobili College, Pune. That was his home for 15 years till 1980. He was moulded there and had been in charge of several offices, including being the first Brother Minister of De Nobili College. He was the founding member of De Nobili College Trust.

In 1980, he was sent to the Thailand Border to serve the refugees of Cambodia and Vietnam, at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees. Paul was in charge of coordinating the construction works, sanitation, electricity and water supply of the camp for over 50,000 refugees. He received a letter of merit from the UN High Commission and a congratulation letter from the then General Fr. Aruppe.

In 1981, Paul was sent to Dediapada and worked there for seven years as Treasurer, Farm Manager, In Charge of Social Work and Secretary of Adivasi Samajik Kendra Dediapada, Relva and Nani Sigloti. He collaborated with Fr. Berechi in starting the first educational project in South Gujarat, opening three Primary schools, a High school and later on a Higher Secondary school. At the same time He was asked by Fr. Berechi to improve the management of the milk cooperative society. So he went to NDDB, Anand for a course in the relevant skills.

From Dediapada he was sent to Africa (Ethiopia). It was one of his dreams fulfilled. He was given charge as Field Director of JRS, and had to oversee a huge multi project: establishing 70,000 displaced people of that country. The project was contracted with the government of Ethiopia which acknowledged the JRS project as a model project. There too Paul was given a letter of appreciation by the Ministry of Health. The Provincial of East Africa with the approval of the Gujarat Provincial, wanted to send him to Somalia for refugee work there.

In the meantime he was asked do join his tertianship at Bangalore in1989. At Bangalore he also did a diploma course in catechetic. Since he could not obtain a visa to Somalia, he was sent to Khambhat mission in 1990.

At Khambhat he worked for eight years as an Administrator, Treasurer and the director of Agricultural project, building the high school, hostel, renovating the Fathers’ residence and building a compound wall. He was also in charge of buying land and building a school, hostels and a convent at Varasada and the Shrine and the Retreat House in Nagra. He also took care of the construction of the extension of St Xavier’s, Gandhinagar.

The sudden demise of Fr. Herero at Ankleshwar resulted in the transfer of Paul to he take charge of completing the construction of one wing of the Technical school and the fathers’ residence at Catholic Church, Ankleshwar.

In 1998 he was called to Premal Jyoti, Ahmedabad, to work in the Province Curia. He was appointed Province Treasurer, the first Brother to hold the job. He was also the Province Revisor of Arcarum and Domorum and the Director of XKM Vehicle Office. He was a secretary and treasurer of the Province-run trusts including the Secretary of Xavier Kelvani Mandal Pvt. Ltd. He resided with the community of Gurjarvani. There too he was made Secretary of the Gurjarvani Society and given the charge to supervise the building of the Parish Church (Prayer Hall) on the college campus.

Paul had been trustee of several trusts and had taken keen interest in the development of many centres. Paul was very reliable. He was very good in human relationships. He made friends easily and his friendships lasted long. He was a good administrator, and good at organizing things. He was good at accounts. He was creative. He wrote and spoke well, especially in Gujarati. Before joining the Society he had written a play which was staged at the Town Hall in Baroda.

Since Last 20 years he was assisting a centre for the handicapped children run by an ex-Jesuit Brother at Inderanaj in Varasada mission.

In 2010, he was given a year off to study scripture, Catholic doctrine and catechetics to help in the Pastoral line and for his own spiritual good. In 2014, he was appointed, Treasurer, Building Incharge and Farm Incharge at Nanisingaloti.

Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj SJ

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


                                                                                        -by JOHN DAYAL

ALLWYN FERNANDES, veteran journalist, communication consultant and lay Catholic activist, expired late on Tuesday evening in Mumbai after a two year battle with cancer which he fought as tenaciously as he had fought many social ills in his long and distinguished career.

He is survived by his  wife Enid, children Rohini and Rohan. He is mourned by a large circle of friends in the Media, Politics, civil society and  management circles, including a large number of students he mentored over the decades. His death was announced in social media by Fr Cedric Prakash, SJ, the noted human rights activist and a close friend.

Allwyn Fernandes, born 1 June 1948, headed the Media Practice and conducts Media and Crisis Management Training for Edelman India Pvt. Ltd. Drawing on his 25 years of media experience with The Times of India, Mumbai,  where he held several senior positions, he has been counseling a wide range of global clients on media strategy and sensitivity for almost 20 years. He headed the Communications Skills Training for company spokespersons, Crisis Management Training for senior management and media awareness sessions for key executives, helping them to understand what media is looking for and avoid needless conflict.

Allwyn  conducted media training sessions for senior management of several global and Indian companies including the Tata Group, GE, Citibank, J&J, Wal-Mart, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and technology companies like Yahoo!

Besides media  training, Allwyn was been involved in several crisis management situations and public affairs campaigns that involved spokespersons training. He was invited to share his experiences on "Biotechnology in Asian Agriculture – Generating Public Support" at the Asian Agriculture Congress at Manila in April 2001.

Allwyn majored in Physics-Mathematics from St Xavier’s College (Bombay University in 1969) and then did his journalism from Bhavan’s College of Mass Communication and the International Institute for Journalism in Berlin.


May ALLWYN rest in peace!

He is definitely enjoying the eternal happiness to which he has been called to!I have the consolation of spending value time with him on November 10th and again on Nov 14th and finally on November 30th..He was prepared for THAT FINAL CALL! A great soul who has contributed so much to Church and society...A totally authentic and committed person..WE WILL MISS YOU DEAR ALLWYN!!!
His funeral mass will take place on Wednesday December 3rd 2014 at 4.00 pm at St Vincent Palloti Church (Marol Maroshi) , Marol Mumbai followed by burial at St John the Evangelist burial ground Marol
Very sad to inform you that my friend and Communications Professional Allwyn Fernandes expired today 2 December 2014 at 11 pm
He was a well known Communications Professional, a compulsive communicator! He spent the first 25 years of his working life as a full-time journalist and the last 17 years in corporate communications.
He was Senior Asst Editor (1969 - 1994) of The Times of India:
He has been a ANZA High School Teacher, 1966 - 1969
He used was do Media Practice for Edelman India since 1994
He did Advanced Journalism, (1979 - 1979) at Int. Institute for Journalism, Berlin
Journalism Course (1969 - 1970) at RP College of Mass Communication
College in Physics-Maths, (1966 - 1969) at St Xavier's
Schooling (1960 - 1965) at Fatima High SchoolHigh School
Primary (1954 - 1960) at St Ignatius High School Primary & Middle School
He also used to do lot of communications skills training and crisis management. He has been a teacher in journalism schools, written books (the last one being on the late consumer activist and India's Ralph Nader, M.R. Pai). He used to network a great deal in person and on the Internet through discussion groups.
+91- 98 200 48601
Tel: 29253152 /29207125 --->29253152
Res: Flat 11, Prerna, Military Road, Marol, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400 059

Monday, November 17, 2014

Br. Eneriz Manuel (Manolo) (GUJ) 88/67

Br. Eneriz  Manuel (Manolo) (GUJ) 88/67, expired around  2.45 p.m on 12 Nov 2014 in the Hospital at Baroda.

Br. Eneriz  Manuel (Manolo)
He came to India in 1953 and since then he had been the faithful handyman at Anand Press. His contribution to Anand Press has been enormous not only in solving every kind of mechanical problems but also dealing with many human problems. With his innate gentleness, characteristic simplicity, unassuming personality, genial temperament and unfailing goodness, he had been able to exert a wholesome and pacifying influence on the workers in the press. Even when he had to face unrefined behavior, aggressive attitudes and downright insults, he took it all in stride, never losing his perspective and eventually bringing the recalcitrant back o the path of reason and right conduct. Like the Master who had always been his modal and strength, he had been a man of forgiveness and forbearance, accepting, encouraging and comforting, even those who had been difficult to deal with. He had been very patient in training new recruits, in demanding standards of excellence from the workers and always showing them the way by his own personal example of total dedication. Even though a brand new office was put at his disposal, he preferred to walk around among the workers and the machines.

Though he had been one of the strong pillars of Anand press, for whose phenomenal fame he had been one of the main causes, he had manifested exemplary humility by choosing to avoid the limelight and instead to be content with being an assistant for over 5 decades. Jesuits and coworkers had been edified by his humility, sense of humor, infectious joy and his ability to laugh at himself and make others laugh with him.

Personal Information:
Name: Manuel Eneriz Erdozain
Birth: 28-02-1926
Entered the SJ: 10-01-1947
Final Vows: 02-02-1957

Responsibilities Held:
Asst manager of the press at Anand: 1953-2006
Infirmary at Baroda: 2006- 2014


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fr .Amalraj Sebastian (GUJ) 65/42 expired

Kindly note the change in the venue of the Funeral:


Fr .Amalraj Sebastian (GUJ) 65/42 expired this morning around 00.30a.m ( 13- 09-2014 ) in Pillar Hospital, Baroda.
The funeral will be held at 11.00  a.m in  Anand,  on Sunday 14 Sept 2014. 

Please remember him in your prayers.
Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj SJ

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Meditation: Eckhart Tolle

Fr.Arrupe, of happy memory, on Mass communications.

Fr.Arrupe, of happy memory, on Mass communications.
            “ I am no prophet, but I can tell you that in another 10 years India’s teeming millions will be reached only by TV. Today Delhi alone has television; here in Bombay you will have it soon.TV will be possible on a grand scale in about 2 or 3 years when you have satellites as they do in Latin America.
              You must prepare yourselves to turnthis avalanche into blessing. We know the awful waste of time that results from  TV advertisements and cheap films in Europe and many other countries. The Indian Government will be ready to good programmes.  The time to prepare for it is now. After ten or even five years it will be too late. We will have missed the boat! In a church you may have 2000 or 5000 people listening to you. On TV you will be able to contact directly 4 or 5 million listeners and viewers whom you would never have been able to approach in any other way. And this is not wishful thinking but a fact of the very near future.”
(Excerpt from “Relevance of our apostolate to-day”, a talk given to Bombay Jesuits on 21 April, 1971)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pope Francis at the Canteen for lunch

Humble and living by example ...
Pope FRANCIS stuns Vatican workers by dropping into the
canteen and grabbing his lunch on a tray

His visit was 'like bolt out of the blue' when he popped into canteen for lunch, dressed in cassock and skullcap... he picked up tray and queued for food, picked up His food, and then sat with group of ordinary workers and chatted to them while eating
Man of God..Pope Francis tucked in to a plate of pasta without sauce and cod with grilled tomatoes, washed down with a bottle of water

Ultimate grace: He was introduced to the staff and others there and asked them questions about themselves and their work
Then, to everybody's astonishment, he sat down at a long table with a group of workmen and said grace before tucking in to his meal.
Describing the papal visit as 'like a thunderbolt out of the blue,' the canteen’s chef Franco Pai'ni told Vatican Radio the Pope was introduced to the staff and others there and asked them questions about themselves and their work.  

People's Pope: He seemed genuinely interested in what the Vatican workers had to say, chit chatting casually as he ate his meal

Leisurely lunch: Having arrived just after midday, he stayed in the Vati-canteen
for more than half an hour before paying his compliments to the chef, giving everyone his blessing and heading off to get back to work

Afterwards, he paid them compliments on the quality of the food, gave his blessing and took part in a group photo before leaving.
He made the shock visit after meeting privately with a Sudanese mother
in Rome who was put on death row for refusing to become a Muslim,
blessing both her and the baby she had while in prison
The Vatican said Pope Francis had 'a very affectionate' meeting with
Meriam Ibrahim, 27, her husband and their two small children
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said: 'The Pope thanked
Meriam and her family for their courageous witness and constancy of faith.
For her part, Meriam expressed gratitude to the Pope for the great support
and comfort she received from his prayers and from so many others
believers of good will.'

God Bless Pope FRANCIS & Guide Him Every Breath Of His Life On Good Mother Earth.Amen.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kandhamal girls rescued

Kandhamal girls rescued from Mumbai bondage

The nuns learnt that these girls were not allowed to come out of the company as their agent has taken their salary and escaped.

Nine girls from Odihsa's riot-hit Khandamal district, who were forced into bounded labor in a Mumbai fish processing firm, were rescued with the help of Catholic nuns and voluntary agencies.

The attempts started July 14 when Holy Spirit Sister Julie of Streevani in Pune called up Bethany Sister Violet in Panvel, Mumbai, and said that some girls who are trafficked from Kandhamal are working in a fishing company at Taloja, Panvel.

The nuns learnt that these girls were not allowed to come out of the company and their agent has taken their salary and escaped.

Sister Violet and a MSFS priest at Taloja visited the factory in person without revealing our identity but the tight security at the gate did not allow them inside.

The nuns said they did not want to inform the police fearing that local police may help the factory owners move the girls to other places over night since trafficking is a big racket in Mumbai city.

They also contacted child helpline but were not satisfied with their directions, Sister Violet said in a note circulated to press. On July 16 they contacted a voluntary organization called Indian Rescue Mission.

The mission team worked out the strategy to raid the factory. On Friday with the help of Panvel Police commissioner and Labor commissioner, the organization members raided the place and found out that there are above 200 girls working and among them 97 are minors.

The four managers are arrested and in Jail and they are in search of the agents who brought these minors to work. The FIR under child labor has been filed against the Managers. The minors are shifted to remand home at Mumbai for further investigation and care of the children.

The 9 girls from Kandhamal received their three months salary that they were deprived of and have been sent back home with two social workers from Kandhamal.

The minors are from Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

St Ignatius of Loyola

By Cecil  Azzopardi, S.J.


My Dear Brothers and Friends,
I would like to share with you four dimensions from the life of St. Ignatius that forcefully come across to me in my exposure to this man, namely, his relationship to God / to Christ / to the Church / and to the World.
!gnatius is a man taken up with God,, and this comes across more forcefully because it was not always so. He was 31 years old when because of the experience he had at the river Cardoner, his whole life is projected in a dynamic movement towards God. And from then on there was no looking back for Ignatius.
There was only one reality he searched for with every fiber of his being, GOD. Only God, solely God, God alone are phrases we keep constantly bumping into in his writings. This
why Ignatian Spirituality can be summarized in just two words, ‘SEEK GOD’ — Seek God everywhere, seek God anytime, seek God anywhere, seek God in all things. And just living out these two words is a whole way of life.

But for Ignatius God is not only to be sought. God can also be found.
The whole of the Spiritual Exercises is founded on this
be tangibly experienced,
“Let God deal directly and personally with the retreatant,” Ignatius tells the Director of the Spiritual Exercises.
This means we are not chasing a dream, or running after a cloud. God can be met and tangibly experienced.
Ignatius was touched by this God.

— He shed tears that really spoilt his eyes because of his encounter with God.
— We find in his personal diary that his hair stood on end when his whole being was flooded by.God.
Hence Ignatius would dare say in his autobiography that towards the end of his life,
“each time and hour that he wanted to find God he found him.”
My Dear Brothers, I find this statement frightening in its boldness — and yet inspiring in its honesty.
It is in Christ that Ignatius finds his way to God. From early in his conversion lgnatius comes to discover that Jesus can take a hold of his heart as intensely and passionately as the lady of his dreams.
And so initially in remorse, but later out of gratitude and wonder Ignatius turns to ‘Christ our Lord hanging on the Cross and asks of himself:

“What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought Ito do for Christ?”
These questions well up from a heart moved with profound gratitude and love, for when eh was on the brink of despair because of guilt, he finds himself embraced in God’s mercy. This experience of God’s mercy is the foundation grace that links lgnatius and every Jesuit to Jesus.
Later on his pilgrimage through life we find a prayer of longing arising from the depth of his soul, an anguishing 

Prayer, “Mary place me with your Son Jesus)’ ignatius knew that Jesus, and Jesus poor, had become the most precious love of his life. This he had no doubt. But has the Lord accepted him in the intimate circle of his friends? — “like the apostles” is often fond of repeating.
And so he asks Mary to intercede for him with her Son.
I would like to place here the deep-felt request we find Ignatius making later on in his spiritual journal, when he pleads.
“Eternal Father confirm me, Eternal Son confirm me,
Eternal Spirit confirm me, My only God confirm me.”
16 years after Pamplona Ignatius is confirmed, when at La Storta on his way to Rome, God the Father places Ignatius with His Son carrying the Cross.

                         Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me

There the Father binds lgnatius to Jesus by making him the servant of the same mission He entrusted to the Son.
— It is as servant of this mission that Ignatius is placed with Christ.
— It is as servant of this mission that Christ places him in the heart of the Trinity.
In his personal diary Ignatius will note down:
“I felt Jesus presenting me, or placing me, or simply being the means of union in the midst of the most Holy Trinity.” (February 27th, 1544)

This is why Ignatian mysticism is a mysticism of service. Union through service — Service out of loving union. Every human person is on a journey into the heart of the Divine. But for us Jesuits it is only as servants of Christ’s mission that we can find ourselves placed with Christ In the heart of God.
Ignatius’ relationship with the Church is intriguing and challenging.
He launches out as a free-lancer in the Church.
Touched by God he wants to converse with anyone willing
To listen about what is burning in his heart. However while doing this, he gradually finds himself coming in confrontation with the authorities of the Church.
While Ignatius nourishes his conversion experience in the arms of the Church, his first public encounters with Church authority seem to be one of opposition. For him at this stage, the Church seems to keep coming in the way of what he wants to do.

And yet, it is precisely in facing this authority in freedom that he finds the way where God is mysteriously leading him to.
In his Autobiography we do find, that whenever he feels that the Church closes the door to what he thinks he should be doing, Ignatius asks himself, “What must I do now?”
In this question we discover that Ignatius does respect the authorities of the Church. He takes seriously what is asked of him. And at the same time the very question reveals that he is not stifled. He keeps searching. lgnatius keeps that freedom of spirit not by fighting back, not by confronting, but by constantly searching.
Ignatius by integrating in a very delicate balance, obedience to the authorities of the Church without surrendering his liberty of spirit and his availability for the service of God’s people, he comes to discover his apostolic vocation within the Church. He is  more a free-lancer in the Church but an apostle sent by Christ through the Church.
Placed with Christ as servant of the mission entrusted by the Father, Ignatius finds himself sent through the Church into the whole world.

The Spiritual Exercises open with the Principle and Foundation and it is here that we can find a basis for understanding Ignatius relation to the world.
His search for God, his openness to the beyond, his quest for the more, takes place in the very context of the world. There is only one path for lgnatius to journey to God, and this 32 .IGNIS — 1999/3
is in and through the rest of creation’ as he puts it in the Principle and Foundation.
Because at the Cardoner Experience God is encountered at the center of everything, for Ignatius discovering God is simultaneously affirming the whole universe.
Hence after the Cardoner Experience there is a total re-orientation that takes place in his life:


— from a penitential to an apostolic spirituality;
— from imitating Christ, to serving him;
— from renouncing the world to getting involved in the world.
If Ignatius asks us to seek and find God in all things, it is because God is at work in all things, even in the sinful situations of our world and the brokennes of humanity.
And so my Dear Brothers, without the slightest hesitation we can invest the whole of ourselves in the service of the world, seeking God, where God is not only just present but is also labouring in the world.
It is precisely because God is already at work in the world before we are sent, our Last General Congregation dares to affirm that for us Jesuits there is a level of consciousness of God that is only accessible in and through our apostolic commitments. (GC. 34, No. 252)
This is the core of an apostolic spirituality.
My Dear Brothers,
Touched by God, embraced in His mercy, sent with his Son into the world, may we be found to be men ablaze with God, who wish to give greater proof of their love and distinguish ourselves in the service of the Lord.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Audio Album from Gurjarvani, Ahmedabad, India, to be released soon.

This album of songs in Gujarati is inspire young people to come forward to serve needy people in the world. Young people can serve others wherever they are, in whatever capacity according to their generosity. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Silencing dissent and sowing hate in India

Silencing dissent and sowing hate in India

New government policies are stoking the fires of tribal conflict.

By John Dayal
New Delhi: 
A recent report from India’s Intelligence Bureau demonizing non-government organizations (NGOs) and several activists including a Catholic priest -- the late Father Thomas Kocherry -- was a precursor of more direct action to come.

All were accused of working against Indian national interests.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took immediate action, ordering Greenpeace, which it had targeted as the prime culprit in delaying if not preventing big money projects in tribal areas, to obtain permission before trying to seek any funding from overseas.

That is not to say that the previous Congress government did not use the notorious Foreign Contribution Act to punish NGOs in Tamil Nadu.

The initiatives that suffered included a Catholic diocese, for supporting a local people’s movement against a nuclear power plant at Koodamakulam.

Critics said the federal and state governments wanted the plant not so much for the electricity it would produce but for the political gains it could bring Congress and the AIDMK party that ruled the state.

The risks posed by the Russian-made reactor could be overlooked in the name of development.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government in New Delhi differs in a critical area from its Congress predecessor.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government led by Manmohan Singh was pilloried for its inertia, its corruption and its inability to control inflation.

But it had a human face that changed the lives of the rural poor through a slew of welfare programs that did reduce the pain of poverty a little.

Above all, it did not seek to divide people along the lines of religion or egg them on into violence.

Modi’s government carries a deadly political baggage that seeks to do just that, polarize communities, pitting the majority faith against religions that it brands as alien.

In the mineral rich and heavily forested tribal belt that extends from Jharkhand to Madhya Pradesh and beyond, including much of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, this polarization has almost totally wrecked unity among people against exploitative and environmentally destructive industrial and mining projects.

By attacking ethical NGOs empowering people on the one hand and unity in people’s movements on the other, the government has opened the doors for exploitation by crony capitalists.

This can be seen in a move in June by several village councils in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region to ban entry of Christian workers, and prevent Christian worship, in their areas.

It was prompted by the hardline Hindu groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.

The village council diktat is that only Hindu religious workers will be allowed into village areas in the tribal belt. This is of course entirely illegal, and violates the constitutional provisions of freedom of expression and movement.

The coercive methodology of branding every tribal as a Hindu, and make him or her oppose Christians, injures the secular nature of society and the peace that has existed there for such a long time.

Such bans on a particular faith and the frictions they breed can so easily lead to violence against religious minorities.

Memories of the extreme violence in Kandhamal in 2007 and 2008, which had its roots through such indoctrination and communalisation, are still fresh, and the struggle for justice for the victims still continues in the courts.

The state government of Chhattisgarh and the federal authorities in New Delhi must therefore act urgently to stem this explosive evil while there is still time.

John Dayal is the general secretary of the All India Christian Council and a member of the Indian government's National Integration Council.