The prediction about politicians in India may not have been justified at the early days of independence. Churchill was initially proved wrong as we had tall leaders of the calibre of Gandhiji, Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Ambedkar. But he may well have been right considering the calibre of the politicians of today. No wonder that people have overwhelmingly voted for a change in the last Delhi state elections and a miracle has happened.
The same story of decline is sadly true about Christian leadership in India today. Whether it is the Church leadership or that of Christian Institutions, it may be wise to introspect why our situation has declined to what it is today from the time foreign missionaries gave their all to build institutions in healthcare and education in India.
A classic example that can illustrate this predicament in the Church in India today can be observed by what is happening at the more than hundred year old St Stephen’s Hospital in Delhi. Highly reputed for its service to the poor, Dr Lucy Oommen one of the past greats of the Hospital had received the Padma Sri award from the Government of India.
So, in the case of St Stephen’s, Churchill’s prediction that “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low caliber & men of straw” may be an unfortunate reality today.
The head of one of the prominent Christian hospitals in South India mentioned that it may not be appropriate for him to intervene in this as the situation cannot be all that bad. He said that there cannot be something seriously wrong as at least some members of the board will certainly raise an objection. But, sadly, no one seems to be willing to do anything.
Ela Bhatt, during the NDTV recognition of her as one of the greatest living legends of India in December 2013, said that “Poverty is violence. It is a violence that is perpetrated with the consent of society. A society that is silent or looks the other way in the face of poverty, is giving consent to exploitation, injustice and war.”
The destruction of St Stephens is happening with the consent of the Church and the national Christian leadership, starting with the board of the Hospital to those at the helm at the large Christian Medical Institutions in India!
Is this silence because there are “men of straw” at the helm of the organizations like CMC Vellore, Dr Sudhir’s Alma Mater, CMC Ludhiana, Emmanuel Hospital Association and the Christian Medical Association of India? Is that why they are silent?
Is it not time for an “Anna Hazare” and an “Arvind Kejriwal” to appear in the Church of today? If the Lord has done this in the political administration in the country, should we not pray for that to happen in the Christian Church in India?
Are there no Christians out there who will stand up and be counted?