Francis Gonsalves


Martyrs & Mahatmas

You shall never die” is what we can say to martyrs and mahatmas who leave indelible footprints upon the sands of time. On March 24, 1980, Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot dead because he fearlessly defended human rights. His assassins believed that they silenced him. But, the UNO “raised him up” by declaring March 24 as the “International Day for the Right to the Truth of Victims of Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims”.

A little of David in all of us

David and Goliath are among the most popular pairs in the Bible. While Goliath is considered the embodiment of evil, David is an enigmatic hero. The name David, meaning “beloved”, appears a thousand times in the Bible. Judaism and Islam, too, regard David or Dawud, as Yahweh’s or Allah’s favoured king and prophet.
The story of David slaying the gigantic Goliath is well known. When King Saul tries to arm the boy David with armour and helmet, David pleads: “Remove these, for I’m not used to them!” (1 Samuel 17:39) Then, approaching Goliath, he says defiantly: “You come to me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you armed with the name of God.” David’s slingshot seems a ridiculous mismatch for Goliath’s sword and shield. Yet, David wins.

A leap significance

Today, the “leap day”, will come again only after four years. It is a special day and those born on February 29 are, in some way, special. Morarji Desai, the former Prime Minister of India, remained evergreen even in the dusk of his life with his tongue-in-cheek “I’m only 20 years old!” remark when he was, really, 80 years old.

Pearls of sorrow, joy

Which is the Bible’s shortest sentence? Its longest psalm? Interestingly, the Bible’s shortest sentence (John 11:35) and its longest psalm (119) have one commonality: tears! The two-word sentence “Jesus wept” and the lengthiest 176-verse psalm reading: “My eyes shed streams of tears” (v.126) make me wonder: aren’t tears God-gifted?
Greek philosophy saw God as “The Unmoved Mover” who moves everything while being immovable. While one might associate joy and anger with God, weeping is surely unbecoming of Almighty God. Against this “high” Greek conception of deity, it would seem stupid and shameful for early Christians to even suggest that Jesus wept. Yet, they did.

Colours of martyrdom

Let us all be brave enough to die the death of a martyr, but let no one lust for martyrdom,” wrote Mahatma Gandhi, cautioning us about the ambiguities in our understanding of martyrdom.

Veiled choices

Among other adjectives, the Election Commission’s recent order to veil the statues of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and her party’s symbol is described as “elephantine”. Incompetent though I am to comment upon a political mandate of mammoth proportions, my interest in veils — in India, where everyone from the aam aadmi to its President has a view on veils — is merely to assess their value.

A star-spangled start

The year 2012 has just begun. Believers usually invoke God’s blessings at the dawn of every year as they look ahead to a year full of peace and
prosperity. Come January, Christians celebrate a star-fest known as Epiphany, meaning revelation, commemorating a mysterious star that led three wise men to the manger where Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1-12). The star is a symbol of God’s leading light.

Santa’s gifts and succour

We often miss the deeper meaning of Jesus’ birth due to Christmas extravaganzas, with Santa Claus hogging the limelight. Children love Santa Claus because he brings costly gifts. But there’s a danger in sitting back and expecting society’s Santas to keep on giving us gifts. Christmas is not so much about receiving gifts; it’s more about generous giving.

Good morning!

I love mornings, when the whole universe arises to pray. Birds burst into song with the joy of heralding another morning. The alluring azaan from the minarets of masjids invites Muslims to namaaz, while Hindus recite the Gayatri Mantra and Christians synchronise morning worship with the pealing of church bells. All Indians seem attuned to adoring the Absolute, called by many names.

What’s in a name?

Baby B is just born, yet she is already quite a star. With their appeal to fans to suggest names for their special delivery, Aishwarya and Abhishek will have millions to choose from. When Baby B grows big she might make a name for herself; but, she will surely brag about her name, chosen after meticulous scanning and sieving. Names form precious part of religious resources.

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.