22. Being firm in faith and making the Reign of God concrete in its life, the Christian community holds on to the Gospel values in shaping a humane society and in building the nation. The result has been the special concern for the poor and oppressed, the pouring out of love as service to the neighbour, fidelity to the rule of law to maintain the social order, respect for the nation's constitution and the values it enshrines as well as reverence and esteem for those belonging to other faiths.
23. In that process, creative interaction with the liberative and the humanizing elements in the diverse traditions take place. Thus dialogue in action and fellowship among religions become actual. In this process, almost as the first requirement, we need new mindsets to redesign our togetherness as a nation. For instance, the new mindset could be constructed on considerations like 'the other is me,' 'the person beaten by the police is me,' 'the child crying for food is me,' 'my selfhood is only a part of a wider selfhood'. These considerations are life - affirming and since life itself is of supreme value, any life-damaging or life-destroying tradition, institution, value or ideology needs to be rooted out.
24. As the fundamental and inalienable rights of a person constitute the firm foundation for individuals, families and communities, any violation of these by the State or any religious or ideological group must invite condemnation by all citizens. It is our solidarity with one another and the conviction that pain - joy, hunger - satisfaction, need - fulfillment, quest for meaning and realization are the same for all that bring about a deeper communion among all citizens of our country. Such convictions will enable us to reach out to all humans in the world beyond the boundaries of our nation.
25. Next in importance is the need to affirm that citizenship, and not communal or caste identity, is accepted as the basis of all our committed actions for the well being of society. The latter is divisive and fragmenting; the former is cohesive and unifying and provides a common platform for persons living in this land. On the bedrock of common citizenship every form of plurality receives recognition and contributes to the richness of the nation.
26. All Christians should endeavour to express solidarity with their fellow citizens. They must feel their pain and express their protest whenever a person of any faith or culture or race or profession, is made to suffer deprivation or violence anywhere in the country. They need to register promptly their concern at the destruction of ethnic, cultural, or religious symbols like sacred books, sacred temples, sacred places, and the disrespect shown to these.
27. As responsible citizens we need, next, to make the Directive Principles of State Policy the framework of our service, along with the Constitution. Against the background of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these normative documents function as reference points for inspiration, planning, implementation and evaluation. The dignity, rights and freedom of every Indian citizen become the concern of every Christian. If these in anyway or anywhere interfered with anywhere, repressed or deprived by any agency, civil or State, the Christian as a responsible citizen must, along with other concerned citizens, alert society to intervene and to restore them. As every right has its corresponding duty, every citizen has the obligation to fulfill these duties.
28. In our life as citizens and as members of the Church we should work to promote structures that enable the participation of all, upholding the value of transparency, so vital to democracy. Our national motto Satyam eva Jayate has to be normative in every transaction, from the Indian President to the common man/woman in the street. Hence seeking additional gratification when one has merely performed one's duty is to be condemned as immoral and harmful to the interests of the nation and to the integrity of our culture. The cancer of corruption that has been eating into the social ethical fabric of our society needs immediate treatment.
29. We, belonging to the Christian community, reaffirm the culture of pluralism with in the framework of the nation that is pluralist in its conception. We regard the diversity of races, cultures, religions and languages as richness bestowed on the nation, and reject any effort to do away with such diversity as a step towards its impoverishment.
30. Every citizen needs to be reminded of the implied meaning of the social contract: the mutuality of one's relationship with the society on which he/she patterns his/her existence. While the State is expected to honour the rights and freedom of the individual citizen, he/she, in turn, has an obligation to contribute to the make up and well being of the State, i.e., civil society as a whole. The commonly invoked 'rule of law' and 'law and order' need to be given far greater respect and adhesion than these receive today, in order to make our society more livable. Care is to be taken that such laws will be enacted only after taking into account the multicultural make up of India and the authentic interest of all citizens. If ignoring, by-passing, violating and subverting the rule of law has become more common today, there is a greater need to restore the just and egalitarian social order envisaged in our Constitution so that healthy freedom and sound social inter-relationships are enjoyed by all. As members of the Christian community, it is also our responsibility to practise and, further, to promote its compliance.
31. Harmony and contentment in society will ensue when the State strives to satisfy the legitimate needs of all its citizens. Such striving will be the primary and chief duty of the state. Accumulation of grievances consequent upon neglect of the basic needs or abuse of power that leads to violation of justice and denial of rights are among the reasons for the manifold violence that irrupts in many sectors of society: race, gender, caste and religion. Distress and forms of violence mostly spring from a total or partial dereliction of this duty by the State or wielders of power. An important contribution to nation building will be our effort to reshape the State or administrative apparatus capable of listening to grievances.
32. The nation, for the most part, has gratefully acknowledged the Christian contribution to it through education. The existing social order is seen by perceptive analysts as unjust t and even sinful since it is structured hierarchically and operates unjustly with regards to the economic resources and disregards the needs of vast sections of society. In this situation our commitment demands reorienting education to render it capable of removing these evils and serving the
needs of the marginalized in society and to empower them. Should not those who pass from Christian institutions become the champions of those values that build a just society?
33. Participatory culture that is found operative in India's heritage is the very soul of a healthy democracy. The current phenomenon of several and varied people's movements has this culture as its main component. However, a culture based on caste or shaped in the colonial past or deriving from an uncaring ecclesiastical hierarchical structure poses obstacles to the growth of a participatory culture. The Christian community has the responsibility to critique those cultures that stifle or inhibit the growth of genuine participatory processes and structures, and promote a genuine participatory culture in and through our institutions.
34. A renewed commitment to the marginalized would also call for identifying with the dalits of the dalits, the adivasis of the adivasis, and the poorest of the poor. Support and encouragement must be extended to them very specially so that they find their strength in solidarity with all peoples. A discerning support for people's movements, especially for the subaltern movements, ideologies, and associations will help to strengthen the campaign for a better human social order.
Implications of our Commitment to Nation-Building.
35. Our commitment to social transformation demands that we prioritize our goals. Sarvodaya through antyodaya is the very essence of the biblical work of restoration. And so we join and struggle with those who are oppressed by the caste- system and patriarchal structures, namely, dalits, women and tribals, and all those economically deprived, so that they can take their legitimate place in the mainstream of Indian society.
Commitment towards nation building in the present context of violence and division calls for a vibrant and focused action plan for the youth, laity, clergy and religious, so that they are able to join forces with those who seek justice and peace.
36. National issues, concerns of social justice and human rights should have a prime place in the catechetical formation of the Christian community especially of the youth. Respect for other religions is another key component of their formation especially in our multi-religious situation to promote interreligious fellowship and interfaith communities. Christians, especially the youth, should be encouraged to participate in the festivals of other religions with respect and reverence.
37. Christians have to realize that participating in civic and political life is an essential expression of Christian faith. This will call for a faith formation that stresses and encourages participation in the civic-political life of the nation, openness to people of other faiths and promotion of human rights. Gramsabha, Panchayatraj, collaboration with NGOs, and people's movements are the new arenas for rendering effective Christian service in the process of nation building.
38. Lay leaders, the clergy and the religious should be equipped, on a priority basis, to participate in the process of nation building from the early stages of formation. National issues related to culture, politics, economics and society should be given due importance in the syllabi drawn up in institutes of theology and other formation houses. Importance is to be given to .studies concerning dalits, tribals, women, and deprived members of society and subaltern religions.
39. A new theological framework and focus are needed for such a comprehensive and effective participation in the task of nation building. To be competent and equipped in this new task, a theology must be developed that takes its origin from God and is firmly grounded in the world (In 3:16). In this theology the nation with the history, classical cultures, the economic struggles of peoples, the social processes at the regional and national levels, becomes the key coordinate in the process of theologizing. Discerning and articulating how God has been and is active in our nation's history and civilization becomes an essential element of this new theology. It also demands that together with the Christian community at large, theologians make special efforts for an evolution of Christian liturgical worship that emerges from the life struggles of the people and that is genuinely immersed in the local culture and traditions.
40. To participate pro-actively in nation building the Christian community as a whole is called to reconsider its vision and task. In this regard, Christian living and ministry should include primordial insights, symbols and archetypes like Sarvodaya through Antyodaya, Vasudhaivakutumbakam, Dhamma through Sangha, that have emerged from the experience and insights of the people in India. The envisaged Christian praxis would include collaborating and networking with the people of other faiths, neighbourhood communities and specifically chosen people's movements. This new praxis will be centred on and oriented towards the people
for whose benefit a nation's agenda is drawn up. It will also entail taking a firm stand against the forces that exploit the earth and its resources for their selfish purposes. We need to work in solidarity with all those movements and groups which are committed to the preservation of the earth and its environment.
41. Our commitment to nation building also demands that we support all who advocate as well as work towards good neighbourly relationship with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. As ministers of reconciliation, Christians will endeavour to bring about a culture of dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation. Being aware of the nefarious intentions of nations that instigate conflicts and actively engage in the arms trade for monetary gain, we denounce the anachronistic culture and institution of war and uphold and re-affirm the highly ethical- spiritual 'weapon' of non-violence so effectively practised and so convincingly preached by Gandhiji, the father of our nation.