By Fr Paul Melwyn, Pamedi, Capuchin
Dec 25: Anniversaries are conscious social acts of commemoration and celebration. December 25 is the birth anniversary of many. Madan Mohan Malviya (Freedom Fighter and Founder of Banaras Hindu University), Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Former Prime Minister of India), Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Leader of All-India Muslim League), Isaac Newton (physicist, mathematician, Astronomer), Nawaz Sharif (present Prime Minister of Pakistan), Louis Chevrolet (Founder of the Chevrolet Motor car Company), a few personalities to mention were born on December 25. "Manusmriti Dahan Divas", a different type of anniversary has also been celebrated on December 25, since 1927. It was Dr B R Ambedkar, who led burning of the Mansusmriti to assert symbolically the civic rights of Dalits, who were suppressed and oppressed.
Today, December 25, is the first anniversary of ‘Good Governance Day’. It will continue to be an annual observance to mark the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former Prime Minister of India and the first President of BJP. Objectives of ‘Good Governance Day’ are several. To put the record straight, is to provide an “open an accountable administration”. According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “good governance is putting people at the centre of the development process.” It is an empowerment of disempowered. In India, a “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic” celebration of good governance is not a luxury, but a fundamental requirement to achieve sustainable development. Good governance, cannot be achieved just by organizing variety of activities in the government offices, schools, colleges and other educational institutions. No doubt, essay writing competition, debates, group discussion, quiz competitions, and sports may lead to awareness of good governance, but it is the existence of strong, effective and efficient parliament that plays a crucial role in promoting and achieving good governance.
The existence of a parliament is not synonymous with democracy, but democracy cannot exist without a parliament. A parliament is an oversight body. It is in the parliament the democratically elected representatives of the people have the honourable responsibility to ensure government by the people and for the people. Members of the parliaments gauge, collate and present the views and needs of the people. They articulate the expectations and aspirations of the people and determinate development agenda. Unfortunately, in the present scenario it is not happening in the Indian parliament. We have been witnessing how parliamentarians behave in the parliament, a deciding body of good governance. Much time is wasted criticizing, defaming and accusing one another often ends up in disruption, acrimony, agitations and forced adjournments. In short, citizenry is robbed of the celebration of good governance. The affirmation of the first anniversary of ‘Good Governance Day’ then is an occasion to ponder over.
Christians around the world celebrate arrival of Jesus on earth on December 25. He, the Son of God entered into humanity for humanity’s sake. This unique event called Christmas has become a universal festival and is hugely celebratory in nature. People irrespective of their beliefs enjoy being part of Christmas celebrations. Last year, 2014 Narendra Modi took to twitter to wish for Christmas. He tweeted, "Merry Christmas to everyone around the world. May this day enhance the spirit of harmony, peace and brotherhood in society." His intentions were clear. The ‘Good Governance Day’ has no reason to ignore Christmas nor can one miss it.
Who then will miss Christmas? The first Christmas was missed by King Herod. He was a paranoia personality. His entire life was one of plotting and execution. He was a ruthless murderer and killer. He never wanted any competition for his throne. He was well informed about Christmas event. It was no surprise he panicked when he heard Jesus, the King of Peace was born in Bethlehem. He was deeply troubled and pretended that he wanted to Worship Jesus Christ. He was unsuccessful in his mad efforts to wipe out one child ‘Jesus’ but ended up only massacring scores of children. He saw Jesus as threat and missed Christmas.
The celebration of Christmas is not a threat to any individual person, religion, culture and nation. Jesus and His message of peace, forgiveness and love is no threat to anybody. However, anyone wrapped up in his/her own pride and arrogance, fear and anxiety, cannot create an atmosphere of spirit of Christmas. Resisting Christmas celebrations, become alien and foreign only to those who consider God is irrelevant in their lives.Activities, during Christmas, such as shopping, gifts, banquets, parties, concerts, carols, Christmas tree and decorations, make celebration more vibrant and joyous. No doubt Jesus is the reason for the season. Besides, we are actually celebrating the God-Man’s arrival and not celebrating just a date on the calendar. Christmas is a reality to accept and not to miss. May the blessings of Christmas be ours and our leaders to promote good governance.