Tag: justice

Borrowing and lending: What Jesus tells us about lending money?

Moneylending is a serious issue since time immemorial. It is painful, to know how people are enslaved in numerous ways by moneylenders. Many times poor people spend their entire life or even generations to pay off their interests. Usurers extract land, labour, assets, farm produce etc in return. This money lending business is killing many poor people and enslaving many for life. Money lending with interests always worsens the plight of the poor.

When I come across such cases of exploitation, I always think what Jesus said about lending and borrowing. How God commanded Moses to tell His people to lend?

Mosaic Law tells, “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest” (Exodus 22:25). In Deuteronomy 23:19, it prohibits charging interest in any form such as food, money or anything else.   Mosaic Law tells us this, basically for two reasons, first: interest bearing loan would aggravate the difficulties of the poor and secondly: God promised a blessing on the gracious lender that would far surpass any interest he would make. Moreover, this law strongly encourages community living by proposing, every creditor must cancel their debts every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:1). However, the law does tell borrowers to work to return their debts (Psalm 37:21) but it does not encourage lenders to impose interest or forcefully collect the loan.

When the Mosaic Law of 3500 years tells not to lend with interest, what Jesus tells us about this? He says “do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42). He then tells us to lend freely without expecting a return. He goes one step further by telling even don’t expect any return from the needy. He not only tells us to give to our friends but also to enemies in need. He says, “But love your enemies and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great” (Luke 6:35). He strongly emphasizes to give freely, without interest and even in worse cases give without even expecting anything in return. Jesus tells “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

It encourages to give freely and promises a return of our gracious giving from God.  By giving He tells us, we will not become poor rather he tells us our ability to produce wealth comes from God (Deuteronomy 8:18) and it is God who sends both poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts” (1 Samuel 2:7).

When we live in a community we should live interdependently and equality and justice help us all live joyful and meaningful lives rather than living lavishly at the cost of others.  When we are connected to God vertically and to people horizontally in love, it sums up everything. As He blesses freely, it is expected we too bless others freely.

But how far have we gone in the other ways? I wonder where the increasing individualism would take us.

Do Public Opinions and Outrages also discriminate the poor?

In the recent news, there has been a lot of frenzy regarding the torture and killing of a monkey by 4 medical students in Christian Medical College. It was heartbreaking to see this as it is an example of cruelty by very young people who are in fact committed to help other people. This is not an isolated incident, there was another report of 2 medical students who tortured and injured a puppy as well. The perpetrators or the cruelty is not the only similarity, in both the incidents, there was a huge public uproar on social media and action was taken immediately which is remarkable.

These reactions and actions prove how strong public opinion can be and if people make enough noise, the action is taken. While in these instances, the action was taken and justice was served (as some call it), there are countless incidents which are equally ignored, almost all of which include human lives. Either the public opinions and reactions are not strong enough or limited or does not follow through till justice is served.

In the last decade, more than ever people have raised their voices against injustice which has definitely led to action but most of this is limited to metros and cities. What is about animals that stir up these feelings in people? Is it because they are endangered (as was the monkey)? Is it because they are viewed as defenseless? Is it because they can’t raise voices for themselves?

We hear about numerous deaths of children every day especially in the area I work in or in similar tribal belts. Most of the deaths due to preventable causes like TB, Malaria, malnutrition, lack of basic medical facilities Just yesterday, we lost a child to Malaria, in our project area and , more than 100 children have died due to encephalitis in two months in Malkangiri, another tribal area in Odisha.

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http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2016/nov/18/encephalopathy-besides-je-killed-malkangiri-children-1540163.html

What about these children? Do these incidents happen so often that we have become immune? Or are they not endangered enough for people to care?

Each child/ human is an endangered species as they are unique individuals, one of a kind person and each death means that an endangered species is lost. Obviously, these situations cannot be solved with just the public opinion, it requires people who are willing to take risks, the government that pays attention and a lot of other factors; but public opinion and raising voices for them is a start so that there is awareness regarding the magnitude of need that is there.

We often hear, don’t treat people like animals but maybe if we paid the same attention, some change might even be possible.

I believe every life is important whether its human or animal but just because something happens so regularly, we shouldn’t become immune to it. If public opinion and response can bring justice for animals then more so for children who are helpless, don’t have a voice and are endangered.

Are they not worthy of our opinions or outrage or our time???

What unites us? Tragedy or good times?

For the past 2 weeks or even more, every time I check the news, I look for updates on Chennai, the rains, the flood, the relief. Why do I care so much when I am living more than 1000 kms away?? Chennai is my city, my home; it was where I spent 5 important years of my life, most of friends and my family live in Chennai.

Chennai: People rescue from their Watter lodged houses during heavy rains in Chennai on Wednesday. PTI Photo (PTI12_2_2015_000351A)
Web pictures

Of late, Chennai has been witnessing the worst rains and floods, nature’s fury was unleased as rains lashed mercilessly but Chennai has also witnessed peaks of humanity. Very few disasters have had such response from within its people. The expanse of the help rendered by Chennaiiteis is unbelievable. It is not NGOs or government that took initiatives. It was every day Chennaiites who opened their homes, distributed food, offered rides. A lot of corporate companies, franchises have also come forward to support each other. It has also spread to other neighbouring cities like Bangalore as well. It’s amazing hNYT2008112822242898Cow one tragedy can bring people from all walks of life together and make them so selfless.

But the one question amidst all this is, Do only tragedies unite us as a state, country, as people and as humanity? The Nirbhaya rape, Mumbai attack, the Chennai Floods or the Paris attack; what is it about grief and suffering that brings us together that happiness and joy cannot do? Are we able to share others grief but not celebrate their victories? I am not sure what the answer is, but sure, I and almost every india-rape-casesingle human being would prefer that it was a celebration and not a tragedy that brings us together. Do we have to wait for yet another tragedy to appreciate our neighbours and friends? Shouldn’t we unite for a better government, unite for prevention of natural disasters, prevention of injustice.

It is amazing now we can stand together in grief and pain and this is important but I think it is also important to appreciate people we live with every day. It is important to unite to celebrate, unite for justice, and unite to celebrate other’s victory, and finally unite to make the world a better place.

Finally, I leave you with this question to ponder upon: why do our tragedies unites us but not our good times?

Note: Please do continue to pray for Chennai and its people.

65th Republic Day

On 26th January, we celebrated our 65th Republic Day. This day our constitution; world’s longest written constitution came to force. The celebration happened almost in every places of our country, both in rural and urban area. Lot of speech, discussion, songs, music, feast, dance and many more things happened on the day. We discussed about people like Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru and many others. We all celebrated the day with cheerful hearts.

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(Photo: Republic Day celebration at our Hospital Campus)

 But the real question is, did we have enough reason to celebrate it cheerfully, with cheerful heart?

We all say India is shining…. India is developing rapidly etc….. We all talk about DEVELOPMENT but how many of us understand development & its complete picture?

Our Republic Day is not just to celebrate but think and rethink whether we have really moving forward towards the dreams of our great national heroes? What they thought while writing our constitution?

Its time, let us stop and think and then advance.

Where are we now?

I would not say anything on whether we are moving towards the great vision of our heroes or not? I would leave this on readers to decide where we are?

Can we be joyful, knowing that 25.7% of people in rural areas now live below poverty line?

Can we say we are doing justice, after knowing: 836 million Indians survive on less than Rs. 20 (less than half-a-dollar) a day?

Can we say there is equality, after knowing: 10 million people die every year of chronic hunger and hunger-related diseases?

Can we say we are proud on 65th Republic Day, knowing that:  Over 25 lakh Indians die of hunger every year?

Yes, there are many good things that have happened and our country has achieved success in various areas but I don’t have enough reason to be glad. Until everything happening is sustainable and everything happening is reaching to the last person of the country. Until we are able to give justice, equality, liberty and fraternity to all of our citizens I would not say we are doing good.

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(Photo: We were called to a village for the Republic Day celebration on the same day)

Our constitution was a dream of our ancestors and they gave us this to fulfill their dreams – the dream India. The heart and soul of our constitution ‘The Preamble’ : What it says?

“WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA,

having solemnly resolved to constitute INDIA into a

SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR,

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economics & political:

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith

and worship.

EQUALITY of status and opportunity: and to promote

among them all;

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and

the unity and integrity of the nation”

Can there be a better dream for a country?

This is the dream that our ancestors had seen of India and it is the responsibility of every one of us to fulfill this. But the question is how far we have fulfilled this wonderful dream? (And you know why am I saying it a dream – because it is not a reality still)

But we can change the world, we can change our country and we have ability to attain any heights.  We can promote justice, equality, liberty and fraternity and can make the whole world a better place to live.

The development which abides justice and equality and is sustainable

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem” – Mahatma Gandhi

Jai hind

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(Our SAO hoisting our National Flag on Republic Day at the Hospital campus)

God Bless You

Abinash Biswal