Church And The Question Of Narcotic Jihad

bishop pala
Bishop of Pala, Joseph Kallarangat

NDCW-National Dalit Christian Watch- expresses it deep anguish and displeasure against the recent unwarranted, unethical and un-Christian remark made by the Bishop of Pala, Mar Joseph Kallarangat of the Syro Malabar Church that ‘Narcotics Jihad is being used to lure Christian Youth’.  This disparaging remark has caused, not only an unprecedented controversy in the socio – religio- political spheres of Kerala and across India, but also has an adverse element of instigating all Religious Fundamentalist outfits, to take advantage of their Islamophobiac perception and position.  The damage caused could have been averted, provided the Church leadership has a proper perception on ‘religious freedom, hate speech, patriarchy, Casteism, Indian Constitution and also Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.

Indian Churches-the Roman Catholics, Mainline Protestants and the Independent-Charismatics, mainly in Kerala, have a unique heritage with distinct history and communities drawn from various cultural, caste and denominational backgrounds. In such a back-drop, the remark made by a Church leader, however he is an intellect or naïve, not only disturbs the sentiments of Christians mainly the Dalit Christians, who form majority within in Indian Christians, but also is detrimental to the very secular fabric of this great nation, which is known for its laudable Constitutional values.

Since NDCW stands for ‘Caste Free Church, Ecumenism and Communal Harmony among all Faith based Communities’, it does not advocate the terms “Love Jihad and Narcotic Jihad” etc., which go against to a particular religious sect, accusing it as the main reason for all what happens in this soil and elsewhere in the world in the name of religion. It equally condemns those, who safeguard the remark of the Clergy, with a justification that ‘The Bishop voiced this statement for protecting the Youth of Christian Community’, which is still worse, as it trespasses into the very liberty and freedom of youth, who have a ‘mind and choice’ to look for their life partner and life style. In addition to this, such remarks and also the supportive voices, affirm the ‘Patriarchal and Casteist’ mindset of the Clergy and also the Lay, who go against to the Christian Teaching and Faith that ‘All are Created in the Image of God’; There is ‘neither Jew, nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female-but all are ONE’. Protecting the Church and the Christian Community should be based on how the Clergy and the Lay inherit Christian insights and follow the Scriptural values and see that their ‘preaching and practicing go together’ and not through other means like making derogatory remarks.

On the Legal side, such remark–‘Narcotic Jihad’, goes against to the very Secular spirit of Indian Constitution that upholds religious harmony among its citizens. The argument “Protecting our own Youth with such remarks” goes against to the very principles that were enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution – ‘Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ and also the Fundamental Rights ensured to its Citizen, ‘the Freedom of Choice’. On the Political side, such remarks may have direct or indirect ramification to ‘fillip’ the political religiosity to marginalise and oppress the religious minorities and other vulnerable.

NDCW urges Indian Church leadership to restrain from making such scathing attacks in the name of protecting their own community. Instead, it should exercise its ‘mind and heart’ to address the issue of ‘Caste based discrimination’ that exists in all its domain and also ‘protect Women from all Patriarchal values and designs of Church’ to prove that ‘ALL are one’  in the Church.  Protecting Youth could be taken up through ‘practicing of what they preach’ and not through such statements which are detrimental and derogatory to the very insights and values of Christ and Church ! NDCW stands with those who raised their voice against this undesirable episode and look forward to a ‘Church and Society without Caste and Patriarchy ‘!

Rev Dr Vincent Manoharan


NDCW – New Delhi 


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