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Happy Gestures

During the pre-independence period certain prominent Christians of India had stood against communal representation. Early in the twentieth century Joseph Baptista, a prominent Christian leader in Bombay said, "I thoroughly disapprove of separate electorate for Indian Christians in water-tight compartments". He was wisest when he considered it best not to alienate the sympathy of majority by clamouring for separate electorates. He could stand up against the pressures of certain Muslim League leaders and strongly refused to have anything to do with them on this proposal. Bishop Azariah another leading Christian, opposed communal representation and in 1928 he issued an appeal recommending the abolition of all forms of communal representation. K.J.Paul of the Y.M.C.A. movement advised : "We cannot exalt merit, character and efficiency in the services or insist on probity in public leadership, and at the same time do what is commonly called fight over community".

There were quite a few well-intentioned Christians and their goodness was duly reciprocated by the Hindus. Christianity in India was mixed up with the British rule and to some extent with the rule of the Portguese. The Indian Christians were uneasily aware that their bonafides were under a cloud and one of the foremost leaders of the Christian community, H.C. Mookerjee, confessed "We have to demonstrate by every word we utter and by every act we perform that the professing of a different religious faith has not tended in the least to make us less Indian in our outlook than our non-Christian brethren, that we are prepared to play our part and to shoulder our share of the responsibility in every kind of work undertaken for the benefit of our country as a whole".


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