Recently our Founder and CEO Pradip Bhandari was present as a panelist on the show We The People which is a regular show on NDTV. The host of the show is Sarah Jacob where she discusses recent issues related to Public, Law and Society. This time the agenda for the discussion was, “What seems to have brought on this nervousness around Christmas celebrations? Do festivals like Christmas that are celebrated across religions warrant the fear of “forced conversions”? In a country that guarantees the right to practice any religion, is the space for that liberty shrinking?”
Christmas carollers roughed up in Madhya Pradesh, a Christmas event disrupted in Rajasthan, schools warned against Christmas celebrations in Uttar Pradesh has prompted Christian groups in India to raise a safety alarm with the Union Home Minister.
Along with Jan Ki Baat’s Founder and CEO, Pradip Bhandari, the panelists for the show were.
1- R. Balashankar – From BJP
2- Kancha Illiayah Shepherd – Former Director of ‘Centre of the Study for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy and also the author of ‘Why I am not a Hindu’.
3- Chandra B. Sharma – Chairman, National Institute for Open Schooling, NOIDA, India
4- Pankhuri Pathak – Spokesperson Samajwadi Party
5- Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas – General Secretary of the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCI)
6- Shivam Vij – Independent Journalist.
The Core Discussion:-
In UP, the Hindu Jagran Manch wrote a letter to all the Christian schools in Aligarh and threatened not to celebrate the festival of Christmas at all (in the school). So Sarah Jacob questioned, “Whether Christianity is under attack in India? Are there any attempts to try and portray Christmas as an Un-Indian festival?” Referring to the warning issued by Hindu Jagran Manch, Sarah Jacob asked the opinion of our Founder-CEO Pradip Bhandari to which he responded that…
“Such cases should be condemned and that is what the Deputy CM of Uttar Pradesh did, he condemned it immediately, he even said that these incidents should be condemned and the Government would take necessary measures in order to ensure that all the religions could be practised freely”.
Next point which he spoke about was, ‘The probability of Law and Order problems’. He said that, “When there are chances of law & order problems due to some festival (be it Diwali or Holi) the Government has the responsibility to tackle law and order problems by taking appropriate measures“.
Coming to the threatening letter written by the Hindu Jagran Manch, he said that, “The required provisions of the law could be adhered to, under which the police can take necessary steps and it is the duty of the Government and the state police to maintain Law and Order situation in the state”.
Next, Mr. Bhandari spoke about the ‘Cases of Forced conversions‘.
He said that, “Forced conversions are taking place in the country, no one can deny that”.
On the ‘Responsibilities of the Schools’, he said that…
“The job of any school should be to teach whatever is in the syllabus; the job of a school is not to decide any individual’s faith. When a child goes to the school he should not be worried about implicitly or indirectly getting converted to another religion and if that is happening then that is not correct. It is so called “forced conversion”. Why should we bracket a school as Christian School or Hindu School? A school is a school and let the faith be one’s personal choice”.
To watch the Full video, visit…
This story has been done by Sparsh Upadhayay.