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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

When PM Modi met Pope Francis

Their meeting represents the coming together of democratic spirit and the Christian faith

Updated: November 2, 2021 9:42:37 pm
PM Modi meets Pope FrancisPrime Minister Narendra Modi with Pope Francis at the Vatican City. (PTI)

Written by Tom Vadakkan

The much-anticipated meet between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his holiness Pope Francis marks a new beginning and end simultaneously: After 12 years, the democratically elected representative of over a billion people converged with the spiritual beacon of Christianity. Christianity covers half the strength of contemporary humanity and thus its impact can permeate caste, gender, religion, or even national boundaries to reach the last man on the ladder, encompassing whole humanity in the process. This meeting of minds can reinvigorate the spirit and value of humanity, compassion, which is the need of the hour as the wounds caused by many crises, tragedies throughout the world are yet to heal. We not only have to fight these tragedies but also the hate in people’s hearts, emanating from factors not in their control.

As an Indian citizen and a Christian, I feel that the same spirit of compassion is represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This meeting symbolised a peaceful synchronisation of the Indian Spirit represented by Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which translates into “the world is a family”, and the Christian spirit represented in 1 John 4:8: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” The word Pontiff, which is used to address His Highness, means “the builder of bridges””. So, this remarkable meeting has kindled a ray of hope in the hearts of too many people to count.

The world has gone through a period of chaos and tragedy as the impact of Covid-19 was felt by the whole of humanity. The pandemic also highlighted the cleavages of caste, race, religion, or country. Very few people dared to cross this divide. I can say with pride that PM Modi worked day and night to combat the pandemic on a national level and did not hesitate to help people in need across borders. This was because of his compassion for humanity. The value of vaccines sent through Vaccine Maitri was as important to the people that received them as the mountain of medicinal herbs brought by Lord Hanuman was for Lord Ram. This spirit was recognised by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with a tweet of Lord Hanuman bringing vaccines to Brazil, thanking India for such a courageous and compassionate step.

When world leaders fail to acknowledge the dire situation of ecological imbalance and climate change, Modi tackles them head-on — the initiative to revive the Ganga is one of a kind. The inclusive spirit of his mode of working is represented through “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. This has a wide enough ambit to include every person. In this regard, Modi’s impact is truly global.

Religious harmony and developmental programmes for minorities have been a top priority of the Modi government. This is clearly visible through scholarships and government initiatives for the uplift of minorities, as “the greatest good of greatest number”” does not do justice to Indian diversity. Steps like insurance for all Indians, more than a billion Covid vaccines, free rations during and after the pandemic, free housing for the poor through PM Awas Yojna are some of the examples of emancipatory steps taken by PM Modi. Women’s empowerment has not been only an agenda on the manifesto. This section of the society has seen consolidated steps in the form of Beti Bachao, Beti Padao”, free gas and electricity connections, and much more to improve the living conditions of families in rural India.

Pope Francis was born in Argentina. On subjects connected to the church, he supports conventional beliefs. However, he has a socialist perspective on international events. He opted to live a less opulent lifestyle than his forebears. He built a bridge connecting the US and Cuba after years of estrangement and conflict by resolving diplomatic concerns between them. Members in the LGBT community find him friendly and welcoming. Pope Francis is a proponent of taking effective steps to address climate change. He has brought forth several changes that have been well received by young Christians all across the world. Pope Francis prioritises religious unity and has friendly connections with the leaders of Islamic countries such as Palestine and the United Arab Emirates. He believes it is the obligation of the entire world to sort out the hardship and challenges that people in war-torn places under ISIS and the Taliban face. He is a fervent supporter of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Great minds make the world a better place. Through love and compassion, great minds bring heaven to earth.

The writer is National Spokesperson, BJP

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