One More Year…
The living room is the place where family members gets together to discuss family as well as contemporary problems and other issues. These discussions always revolve around either the person who has instigated the problem or victims involved or about the politicians (who always seem to be a root cause to many problems!). Most of the time, such discussions (sometimes lead to arguments too) end up condemning or giving a clean chit the particular person involved. Invariably, we all love to give our opinion and pass our judgment on everything that happens around us (irrespective of whether we are involved in it or not!) This is a regular feature for most of us in our day to day life.
Similarly, the pre New Year week is the time during which the media reviews the happenings of the past one year. The highs and lows are analyzed and predictions and trends for the forthcoming year are talked about.
The last weeks of this year are ending with terrible violence. First was the mind-blowing terrorist-based assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Next was the horrifying episode of school students shooting their own classmate right inside the school campus as an act of revenge for bullying them. In another incident in Noida, an engineering college student shot his classmate who has refused to hang out with him.
After hearing about above happenings, a lot of questions propped up ….What went wrong? Where is the value system? Is it the problem of the media? Is it the problem of improper upbringing? Is it the problem of urban and rural cultural division? Is it the problem of minting money?
In Luke 13: 1-5, Jesus read out the news happenings of that day two thousand years ago. Then He told that the victims were not greater sinners than those who were living. He concluded that the people, whether victims or the unaffected had to repent or they too would perish.
Many times, we compare ourselves with others and say that we are better than so and so. But God has warned us not to do so but think and evaluate our own life in God’s perspective. In the following verses Jesus narrates a parable.
1. God expects fruit:
A person who had planted a fig tree expected fruits from it. When it did not give the expected result he called it as a barren tree. It had no use to either man or to the soil. It only occupied space. It affected the growth of other plants. It sucked the resources of other trees without much outcome.
The barren spiritual life of a person affects the place where he/she is planted to be a witness. They will only fill the space without causing much impact in that area and the purpose of being placed in that area (for instance, our workspot / place of study) would be defeated.
God expects us to bear fruit which will be everlasting.
2. Man pleads for one more year:
A barren tree is used for firewood and not for any other purpose. In the Bible passage, the man who had been tending the vineyard requested the owner of the garden to give a grace period of one more year so that he could try out two things.
1. Dig around it – To make the water flow through it freely and be absorbed by the root of the tree. This was to strengthen the root Eph 3:17
2. Fertilize it. Luke 13:8-9 – To protect it from decaying
3. Man gets one more year:
The owner gave one more year, a last chance for the tree to bear fruit. If the tree failed then the tree would be cut down.
God has given us one more year (2008) as the extension of His grace. He is expecting us to bear His fruit for this forth coming year. He is expecting us to bear fruit instead of comparing and condemning others.
Let us take a resolution as a Christian believer to bear more fruits for His glory.
J. Peter Daniel M.E., 76, Living Spring Avenue, Sanjeevipuram, Bagayam,
GYV wishes you a Happy New Year 2008
Persecution of Christians in Orissa Continues
• In Bramunigam area of Kandhamala District tension started on 24th Dec 2007 , with erection of an arch made by the local Christian in the eve of Christmas at Bramunigaon village of Kandhamala District. Both side resorted to brick batting and ultimately bullets were fired from country gun from other side as reported by our contact person from the locality.
• On 25th Dec 2007 attacks were made on the Catholic Convent at Bramunigam and are destroyed by bombs.
• World vision office at Daringbadi is completely destroyed by fire.
• Ladapanga Church in Daringbadi and Irpiguda Church in Balliguda pastorate union (CNI) are burnt.
• Balliguda town CNI Church is damaged by the fundamentalist group.
• On 25th Dec 2007 morning some people started objecting church service at a NMS church at Puri. They threw Chappal’s, shoes etc inside the church. However due intervention of local gentlemen the situation was controlled.
• On 25th Dec 2007 evening a petrol bomb was kept inside the premises of the Oriya Baptist Church ( CNI) Berhampur. However the police immediately came to the site and removed the material. The situation now at Berhampur is normal.
• Bishop Samson Das of Cuttack Diocese have contacted the DG Police and other state administration to give protection to the churches and the Christian community. He has also appealed through local TV to the people to maintain harmony.
• Curfew has been imposed at Daringbadi, Dasingbadi, Bramunigaon, Balliguda and G. Udaygiri. Last night many people spent the night in the jungle in Balliguda area and Catholic sisters of Daringbadi took shelter with the families at Greenbadi CNI Church.
• Now the fundamentalist have targeted G.Udayagiri area of Kandhamala District. Last night they held the meeting at Kalinga 7 KM from G.Udayagiri and threatened the near by churches and also threatened to demolish the Diocesan office.
• The Bishop of Phulbani Diocese have informed this matter to District Collector and S. P over the phone but they have not yet provided any kind of security .It is reported that every thing is going on in front of the police. Thousands of Christians are watching over Churches in G.Udayagiri area since last night. 26th Dec 2007 is going to be very crucial day as anticipated by the local Christians.
• The Bishop of Phulbani Diocese is not staying in Bishop’s house since 24th evening as he is getting regular threats. Please prayer for the Christians in Orissa in particular for the District of Phulbani, Kandhamal, Ganjam and Puri.
Christian Bookstore Owner Arrested in China
Beijing Public Security Bureau officials have detained the owner of a Christian bookstore located near the Olympic Village, along with one of his employees, according to a long-time friend of the businessman. Ray Sharpe said authorities detained 37-year-old Shi Weihan, a member of an unregistered Beijing church, late last week and have confiscated Christian literature from his bookstore as well as personal books from his home. Authorities at the Haidian district substation of the Beijing PSB have refused to tell his family the charges against him or where he is being held. Shi had never had any problems with authorities in the past, Sharpe said, and he sold only books for which he had obtained government permission, Compass Direct News reports.
Two YWAM staff gunned down in USA
USA (MNN) — Youth With a Mission continues to be in shock today after two of their young staff members were killed and two others wounded. YWAM’s Paul Filidis says a man described in his early 20’s came to the YWAM training center dormitory shortly after midnight Sunday morning asking to stay there. That’s when 26-year-old Tiffany Johnson was called. “She explained to him apparently that this was not an option — this was not a place where he could stay. And in response to that, he pulled out a gun and started shooting, killing her and one other person”–24- year old Philip Crouse. YWAM sends Christians around the world — some to places where persecution of Christians is common. Filidis is concerned that “people not shy away from getting involved as God is calling people to get involved in ministry and missions. Pray that this would not detract them from
what God may be asking them to get involved with. We hope that maybe more people will be interested in ministry rather than shying away from it.”
40% of BPL cards with rich:
27 Dec 2007, 0322 hrs IST , Nitin Sethi , TNN
NEW DELHI: It might be meant for the poor, but the targeted PDS is mostly serving the rich. At least 40% of BPL cards have been issued to people above the poverty line, a government commissioned study in six states has found.
The study, conducted by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), found that 84% of BPL cards in Assam and 83.66% in Mizoram, had been distributed to the rich. The situation was marginally better in the other four states surveyed.
Forty three percent of the BPL cardholders in Uttar Pradesh and 49.67% in Rajasthan were held by people above the poverty line. In Bihar and Chhattisgarh, the figures were 39.78% and 38% respectively.
There’s also massive pilferage in the PDS grain before it reaches the cardholder. Leaving aside the issue of more than 2 crore fake ration cards that TOI had highlighted earlier, up to 45% of the grain supplied to states is siphoned off.
The story gets still worse. The government began a special Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) in 2000 to provide super-subsidized foodgrain for the poorest among the BPL category. The rice and wheat meant even for this category is going to the undeserved, the study found. In the case of the two northeast states, more than 72% of the AAY cardholders were too rich to deserve them. In Rajasthan, 37.22%, in Uttar Pradesh, 24.39%, in Chhattisgarh, 28.85% and in Bihar, 35.57% of the AAY cardholders were not from the poorest segment.
The report comes at a time when the Supreme Court commissioners on food security have recommended that the ‘targeted’ PDS system be turned into a larger overarching scheme with coverage under an expanded definition of what constitutes ‘below poverty line’ for the distribution of food grain.
But the government will still have to deal with the startling figures of almost 45% diversion of PDS, even after one discounts the ghost cards and the wrong targeting. Assam recorded 44.98% diversion of PDS grain while Mizoram recorded 38.42% pilferage. In case of Bihar, the diversion was recorded at 23.73% and in Chhattisgarh it was 10.64%.
The authors of the report point out that these figures refer to straightforward cases of pilferage from the system and if figures of other kind of diversion were added up, the extent of the scam would shoot up significantly.
Pune techie accused of $13m fraud
27 Dec 2007, 0226 hrs IST , TNN
PUNE: A software engineer has been arrested for allegedly leaking confidential information on her employer, 3 DPLM, and source code, via email to her husband and others. The company is now suing the woman, who had resigned before the breach was discovered, for no less than $13 million.
Accused software engineer Anjali Sharma’s custody was extended until December 28 by a judicial magistrate on Wednesday after the assistant public prosecutor contended that the company was pressing for damages.
Seeking an extension of Sharma’s police custody, the prosecutor told the court that the custodial interrogation of the engineer was required as she had transferred vital data of the software company via email to her husband, who is also a software engineer, and to other IT firms for commercial gain.
Sharma was working as a developer with the Hinjewadi-based 3 DPLM, which had tied up with a French company to create interop software. Sharma was working on the project as a developer. In September 2007, company officials noticed that Sharma, who had since resigned from the firm, had transferred vital data on the company and source code to her husband and others.
The firm registered a complaint against her with the Hinjewadi police. Apprehending arrest, Sharma moved the district and sessions court here for obtaining anticipatory bail, but her bail plea was rejected recently.
“Sharma’s action is likely to diminish the value of the company’s software and is a violation of the copyright act. It also amounts to breach of trust by employees, which carries punishment of up to seven years,” said the company’s advocate.
A shot in the arm: Monitor trigger-happy kids?
Thursday December 13, 11:46 AM
A Class VIII student of a boarding school in Gurgaon was shot dead by two of his classmates in the school premises on Tuesday.
Fourteen-year-old Abhishek Tyagi, a student of Euro International School in Gurgaon’s Sector 45, and the son of a city-based property dealer was shot by two of his classmates as it is believed to be enmity between them.
The two accused have been sent to 14 days in judicial custody by a local court. They will be lodged at a juvenile home in Faridabad.
“One of the boys had used his father’s licensed revolver and allegedly fired four shots at Abhishek near a staircase in the school. He had then handed the gun to the other accused who fired another bullet,” Police Commissioner, Gurgaon, Mohinder Lal said.
The parents of both the accused have been absconding and have not been traced by the police yet. However, the police have registered an additional case of negligence under the Arms Act against Azad Singh Yadav, the father of the accused but admit that they have not made much headway.
The question that was discussed on CNN-IBN show, Face The Nation was: Should there be security checks in schools?
On the panel to try and answer the question was Principal, Modern School, Lata Vaidyanathan and Professor of Sociology, JNU, Surinder S Jodhka.
Policed Or Just Watched?
Euro International School website claims there are CCTV cameras installed in every classroom. But do they really help? Many schools are also mulling introducing frisking as a security measure.
Lata Vaidyanathan partly agreed to the suggestion and felt a deterrent helps. “I think that some kind of unobtrusive electronic surveillance is essential in large schools where access of human beings to every nook and corner becomes difficult,” Vaidyanathan said.
She suggested that people should feel that they are being watched but not necessarily policed.
Making an interesting point, she also said that the problem simply did not arise out of security checks but a whole culture of confidence, trust and faith must be built up in schools.
“In one side the physical infrastructure and the human intervention in the form of security checks is important but on the other side it is important to have counseling in processes which are compelling and continuous in many ways,” said Vaidyanathan.
Parental Guidance, A Must
When the result of an enmity can reach such a stage that children can put a gun on each other, are parents to be blamed for this kind of situation?
Surinder S Jodhka said that it was a part of a child’s growing up, the kind of relationship that he had with parents and the kind of atmosphere he had in his school.
“I think it is not a question of policing and installing cameras metal detectors, that would not make any difference at all as there would be violence still and there would be aggression. This is not crime. One should make a distinction between what happens in the school and actual cases of crime,” Jodhka said.
Should children given to crime not be deemed as criminals but as children who are neglected and not being taught values? Responding quickly Jodhka said, “Neglected is the wrong word, they are over pampered,”
There’s an argument that it’s because parents were keen on upward mobility and getting ahead in the competitive economy that children are lacking in values.
According to Vaidyanathan, it was important that the home and school in terms of parents and teachers needed to play very important roles in their lives.
“Apart from the counseling that they would get from schools, the role of parents in raising them up is important. Disposable wealth and substituting money from material and other resources for their own love and care is something that is very alarming to see today,” said Vaidyanathan.
Education Begins At Home
There’s an extreme end of this argument as well. Many say the noveau riche culture in urban centers like Gurgaon are unable to live by the “urban-way” of life and hence go back to a culture that rides on money and muscle power.
Vaidyanathan said that the incident would have taken place anywhere other than Gurgaon but what was important was that value systems had to be in place.
“The instances of aggression must be controlled. The ego, the aggression and the violent thinking happening in the mind really needs to be monitored,” she said.
The culture of mass media is also to blame. Americanisation of entertainment and young boys seeking violent entertainment as their recreational choice has also had its influence on Indian youngsters. So who must be responsible – the parents or the teacher?
Jodhka’s said her observation led her to believe that the concept of childhood was missing in Indian culture. “We are all the time trying to make statements about status and power. Children from rich families want to show to other children that they have money so this something which is very dangerous,” he said.
So were parents in denial about the kind of things that children were doing?
Vaidyanathan said that it was possible for the parents to think so without realising that the quality of communication that must happen between them and their children was suffering.
“The role of not just parents but the teachers and society is important in the quality of communication to be revived,” said Vaidyanathan.
So what was the suggestion to get wayward children on track? Would having moral education in school help?
Vaidyanathan said the role modeling was important to monitor harsh behaviour in children and timetable would not be the answer for such things. “The factors that influenced this kind of children is the money spent and the movies watched,” she said.
Making a personal suggestion however, Vaidyanathan said that when the child leaves for school then love and care must be shown by the parents’ able presence and they should communicate more with them.
Jodhka on the other hand felt the need of thinking about institutionalising childhood in the society. “It is important to impart democratic culture and striving hard to create a society without violence,” Jodhka concluded.