Monday, 5 August, 2013

Tribal and Adivasi Sunday worship held in UTC

The Tribal and Adivasi Sunday worship was held in UTC by the NCCI yesterday in the Tagore Hall at 6:30 P.M.. The celebration of the wonderful diversity and energy offered by the tribals and adivsasis in India has not come to the forefront in churches in India. The alarming realities of the increasing violence and violation of Human Rights and Dignities meted out against the Tribal and Adivasi (original inhabitant of the children of the soil) communities in India today makes the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) feel that the Church can no longer afford to remain a silent spectator. 
Way back in the year 1994, during its General Assembly, the United Nations had, for the first time, pronounced the 9th of August as International Day of the World’s Indigenous People all over the World. By following this UN day, on the 17th September 2010, during the Annual General Body Meeting of the National Council of Churches in India in Bangalore, the NCCI, for the first time, announced the observance of NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday. The NCCI therefore from then urges and requests member constituents to annually observe every First Sunday of August as the NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday, commencing from year 2011 and that the date be marked in the Church Calendar and Dairy.

In order to have a better understanding of the life situation of the Tribal and Adivasi communities in India, and to have a common form of worship for this special Sunday, the NCCI, Commission on Tribals and Adivasis therefore brings out this Liturgy. The NCCI acknowledges that many Churches do not follow a liturgical form of worship, still the NCCI requests those Churches to use this Liturgy by adopting it suitably in their own tradition.  At the same time the NCCI is also aware of the absence of Tribal and Adivasi communities in certain Churches, yet the NCCI requests all those Churches to observe this special NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday to show our solidarity to our fellow citizens and to the people of God who are oppressed and marginalized in various ways.

The NCCI hopes that the observance of this Special NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday will be an enriching exercise in our faith affirmation and for widening the horizon of our Ecumenical Journey. May God bless us all to become better citizens in the Kingdom of God here on Earth by bringing the struggles of the Tribal and Adivasi communities within the worshipping communities.

The expression ‘tribal’ and ‘adivasi’ means ‘original inhabitants of their land’ and ‘children of the soil’ across India. Not all the tribals and adivasis are included under the Scheduled Tribes of the Government of India. According to Census 2011 the percentage of Scheduled Tribes of the total Indian population (1.21 billion) is 8.6 % (104,281,034 million). Majority of the SC lives in Rural areas (11.3% - 93, 819,162 million) while only 2.8% (10,461,872 million) reside in Urban areas. About 16% of the mineral resources in India is found within the tribal/adivasi land, which is the major cause for the present crises done to them in the name of globalization through so called development.    

In the service in UTC Dr. H.T. Sangliana the former Police Commisoner of Bangalore and former member of parliament talked on the importantance of quality education for the tribal and adivasi people in order to address our issues of poverty, alienation and our struggles to overcome violence and violation of our rights. We need to get right information and right knowledge in order to challenge and rise above the problems we are facing today.

Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi, the secretary of the Commission on Adivasis and Tribals, NCCI, preached on the theme God, the tree of life lead us to justice and peace. She took the metaphor of the tree of life as a life giving source, providing us with food, fodder and fuel, where people take refuge, and how significant it is for the tribal and adivasi people. God, the tree of Life is our shelter in a stormy weather, our refuge when we get the life giving oxygen, our ultimate symbol of life, the Cross, where Jesus gave up his earthly life for people who are ostracised and wronged as a mark of Justice and Life. The church is called to take steps in order to bring healing and peace in society. Dr. Chhungi spoke on the texts: Prov 3:18-20 and Rev.22:1-2..

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