Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Subsidy for Christian pilgrims in Andhra

Uma Sudhir

Thursday, February 14, 2008, (Hyderabad)
Christians have reason to rejoice in Andhra Pradesh. The state government has announced subsidy for Christians going on pilgrimage to Israel.

"Our dream to go to the holy land to visit Jesus graveyard. That's the last intention and hope of the Christians and Catholics but the ticket is very expensive, so we have been asking to put us on the lines of Haj scheme,'' said Martin Michael, President, Catholic Association of Hyderabad.

The government has not yet clarified on the quantum of subsidy nor how and from when it will come into effect only that it will be similar to the Haj scheme for Muslims.

Political analysts say the scheme aims to woo Christians, who comprise 1.5 per cent of the state's population, ahead of assembly and general elections.

"Elections are numbers, so in a number game, you need to have more and more votes. My question is if tomorrow fundamentalist Hindu groups demand subsidy for poor Hindus to go to Kashi or Varanasi, what will their answer be? Will they be able to take the financial burden?'' asked K Nageswar, Political Analyst.

It's perhaps only incidental that YS Rajasekhara Reddy is a practicing Christian.

Political observers say since the state is a secular entity, priority for subsidies should rather be for more basic essentials like food, water and housing.

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