ASIA/INDIA - International Day of Human Fraternity: to wither away the politics of hatred

Saturday, 4 February 2023 dialogue   human rights   fraternity   fratelli tutti  

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - "The International Day of Human Fraternity that we celebrate today, February 4, is a call to be courageous in defending and promoting justice and the rights of all, so that we can truly live as brothers and sisters, in dignity, peace, equity and love in our Common Home", said Indian Jesuit Father Cedric Prakash SJ, recalling that the Day, called by the United Nations, was inspired by the Declaration on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar on February 4, 2019. "That fundamental document calls on believers around the world to engage in research and reflection in all schools, universities and educational institutions to help create new generations that will bring goodness and peace, and defend the rights of the oppressed and the least everywhere," the Jesuit recalls.
In line with such vision yesterday, February 3, the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat of the Society of Jesus, under the leadership of Secretary Father Xavier Jeyaraj, organized a global webinar titled "Fraternity@Frontiers" that launched an interactive global map of the Society of Jesus social centers, including those in the Indian subcontinent, active promoters of justice, peace and fraternity among communities of different religions.
Father Prakash notes: "We have welcomed the radical call to fraternity especially with those living in the peripheries of our dehumanized world. Pope Francis recently affirmed that fraternity means reaching out to others, respecting them and listening to them with an open heart. And he hoped that Christians will take concrete steps, together with believers of other religions and people of good will, to affirm that today is a time for fraternity, avoiding fueling clashes, divisions and closures. Let us pray and commit ourselves, today and every day in the future, that we may all live in peace in India in an atmosphere of harmony and fraternity".
The Jesuit recalls, then, that a year after the Abu Dhabi Declaration, on October 4, 2020 Pope Francis delivered his latest encyclical to the world on fraternity and social friendship, entitled "Fratelli Tutti": "It is a revolutionary text, which also highlights and challenges the fundamental teaching of all the world's major religions. Pope Francis makes an urgent and passionate call for authentic witness in today's world. He calls for dialogue among all people of good will and, in essence, provides clear direction to all women and men, regardless of their religious beliefs: "Fratelli Tutti" is the path we must travel together.
"Fratelli Tutti" provides a road map for all of us to become more fraternal in our actions, starting with recognizing the fundamental dignity of every person".
According to Father Prakash, that document can be "a Magna Carta, a way forward for all humanity and also for India today, provided there is the political will to ensure it, to overcome hatred, division and violence". At a time when, seeds of intolerance are felt and seen in Indian society, "fraternity," Father Prakash continues, "means recognizing and embracing every single human being, in peaceful coexistence. Fraternity," he recalls, "is also a non-negotiable dimension of the Indian Constitution that appears in its Preamble. It is a pillar of our democracy and refers to the sense of belonging to the country. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution declares that fraternity must ensure two things: the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. From here we can start again today."
"Today," the Jesuit concludes, "our common commitment, with India's Hindu and Muslim believers, is to defuse and wither away that politics of hatred that Pakistani-American writer Farahnaz Ispahani recently described so well in South Asia in her recent book 'Politics of Hate' (HarperCollins 2023 publisher) which analyzes religious extremism in the Indian subcontinent. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 4/2/2023)