As India celebrated its 77th Independence Day, the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) issued a poignant statement through its General Secretary Rev. Asir Ebenezer, urging citizens to remember the courageous individuals who stood up against oppression and to reflect on the nation's journey towards progress and unity.
The NCCI is the apex body and ecumenical expression of Protestant and Orthodox Churches as well as ecumenical organisations, regional councils and agencies in India. It represents about 14 million members and is made up of 30 Member Churches, 17 Regional Christian Councils, 18 All India Organisations and 7 Related Agencies.
The NCCI emphasised that Independence Day is not only a time for festivity but also an occasion to revisit the path the nation has traversed and the milestones achieved since 1947. The council joined fellow citizens in commemorating the legacy of self-determination while recommitting to forge a better present and future together.
Highlighting recent accomplishments, the NCCI underscored India's democratic traditions, applauding the fair electoral processes across various states of the Indian Union. The statement commended the nation's resilience in upholding the value of dissent and striving for accountability within the public sector.
However, the NCCI acknowledged that despite these achievements, the nation is not without its flaws. The council candidly admitted to instances of failing to uphold constitutional rights, particularly in contexts perpetuating discrimination based on caste, gender, abilities, and sexual orientations. It addressed the challenges of ethnic conflicts, communal discord, religious minority scapegoating, and the detrimental impacts of market-driven greed on impoverished populations.
In a heartfelt plea, the NCCI called for a collective awakening. The council stressed the need for citizens to recognize that progress and prosperity should extend to the most vulnerable among them. The statement resonated with a deep desire for a society where the benefits of independence are accessible to all, especially those still yearning for its fruits.
Furthermore, the NCCI fervently advocated for unity in diversity. It urged the nation to embrace and honour the richness of differences, considering diversity as a potent means to achieve true unity. The statement urged citizens to stand in solidarity with those who continue to aspire for the promises of independence, thereby reinforcing the spirit of inclusivity and social justice.
As India's journey of progress continues, the NCCI's Independence Day message serves as a call to introspection, encouraging citizens to work collectively to overcome challenges and build a more equitable and united nation.