The BD students doing a course on Dalit Theology had a meaningful exposure to a dalit colony known as ‘Christian Colony’ in Kalinayakahalli, about 60 kms from Bangalore, Karnataka on 24th November, 2013. This was arranged as a part of the Dalit Theology course on behalf of the Department of Theology and Ethics of the United Theological College by Dr. George Zachariah and Rev. Raj Bharath Patta, the course instructors. The students from the Student Christian Movement in India also joined the exposure. The intention of this visit was to give a wider exposure to the life and spirituality of rural Dalit Christians so as to understand the dalit realities which would help the students in their discourses of doing Dalit Theology from the perspective of the Dalits and Dalit Christians.
The session began by participating in the communion worship service in the village church followed by group discussions about various aspects and issues of the local Dalit Christians in general and dalits in general. Rev. Raj Bharath Patta, lead the students through a profound exposure to the Christian dalit issues and thus helped in understanding the importance of Dalit Christian realities in doing Dalit Theology. Rev. Rueben Manohar, a UTC alumnus and pastor in this congregation in Kalinayakahalli was instrumental in explaining the life-style, Christian faith and spirituality and issues pertaining to the Dalit Christian realities. Later the students visited the dalit colony and interacted with the people to know better about the dalit life and spirituality. The students discussed the issues that caught their attention and sought clarifications and insights from Rev. Raj Bharath Patta and Rev. Rueben Manohar. The visit was very helpful for the students in forming and articulating theology from the dalit perspective and thus addressing the issues of oppression, alienation, marginalization and humiliation.
The students felt that this exposure gave a better understanding about the life realities and situations of rural dalit Christians and expressed sincere gratitude to the course instructors, Dr. George Zachariah and Rev. Raj Bharath Patta and to the SCMI for organizing such a meaningful exposure. It was also suggested that more such exposures could help in doing theology in dalit and subaltern perspectives in a better way.
Photos and report- Paul Karunakar, BD III