(The writer Fr. Anand Muttungal is the PRO & Spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh. This article is his personal view).
I am forced to highlight the plight of the so called ’Almighty Principals’ who run the catholic schools while they are being assulted. The schools are really run in the name of the Christians but the Christians are treated as extra burden to the School. Almost all these ‘powerful pricipals’ have some general traits such as arrogance, pride and an inconcealable effort to hide their incompetency. They fix one hour for parents to interact with them. We must remember that there may be students between two thousand to four thousand. They are never available on phone, do not pick up mobile phones, make people wait for hours etc. are very normal for them. We can judge from the way of their administration that majority of them have become principal just because they belong to the class of priests, brothers and nuns. Their competency in managerial skills is under question. It has put into them a rare variety of pride mixed with disrespect for people and christian lay leaders in particular. It has become an identity of these pricipals. They try to boast their acquaintance with the powerful administrative offcials, leaders, journalists etc. They feel that they can do everything under the sun. But what surprises is that their advisers are printers, publishers, stationary sellers, contractors, peons, drivers and in some cases one or two incompetent teachers.
They very often shun admission requests from senior officials, senior leaders etc. but the Hawaldar of the local police station, corporator of the area, local leaders of antisocial organizations etc. get a number of admissions every year. They do not grant even a single admission to the Christian lay leaders who fight day and night for their protection and the rights of Christians. They argue that the lay christian leaders should only ask for their children but a good percentage of admissions are distributed to whomever they want. A good number of them are sold by those who use their acquaintance with the principal. This has tarnished the image of the Christian community very badly.
Whenever an attack takes place in any of the schools, we do not find any one standing with these almighty principals. They are left with none. No high level contacts come to their support. They sit alone inside the police station waiting for their release. We find a good number of Christian leaders whom they did not allow to get inside the principal’s office are waiting out side to safegurd them. Could there be a greater fall than this for these almighty principal’s?
It is very heart-rending to hear the plight of the Principal of one of the Schools attacked in Bhopal. He is the principal of over thousand children, member of the Sahodaya Organization, (Organization of the CBSE Schools), Inter-diocesan Catholic School Association of Madhya Pradesh, Archdiocesan Catholic School Association and Member of the Archdiocesan Priests Council. There was no members of his gallery of assoications to stand with him for five hours inside the police station. Except the Archbishop of Bhopal who waited hours in the school premises for his return from custody and show his paternal love. No priests, brothers or sisters came to share his sadness. What hanppened to these spiritual beings who offers and participates in the Holy Eucharist and prayers every day. Is it the spirituality of Lord Jesus who died on the Cross?
I do remember the strong objection of the priests, brothers and some nuns about the purpose of founding Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh. Even though it is a socio-cultural organization, it was called a political outfit and refused to associate with it. They strongly argued against making anouncements in the Churches to encourage people to join its programmes to support the Christian community in the state. I feel proud to say that it was the members of this organization that lead the Church in dealing with all troubles in the state. Members of this organization stood with the principal from the time of his attack to his bail from the Court. It is to be asked here the Question of Lord Jesus, Who is your neighbour ? It is the right time the priciples, the parish priests and Church officials make right approach to the lay leadership in the Church. The issue comes up here because they do not seem to have grasped their role in the larger society. They probably still believe that they solely hold ‘the key to the kingdom of God.’
The world needs to be seen as one unified unit. We have been given the duty to make this world into a beatiful place for people to live. Every one is given a role in the process, Prime Minister to peons have a very distinct role. The role of the spiritual leader is to help the world to live in peace and harmony. So that the creation of the Lord progresses uninterupted. If the spiritual leader understands it then his / her out look to the world too takes a new shape. How long this arrogance and pride will go on in the administration? How long the Christian lay leaders will bear the insult and injustice at the hands of these “Almighty Principals” and stand with them in their moments of trouble?
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