KUWAIT: Charity is the manifestation of love of God towards mankind and as such charity service must be the responsibility of every human being, said Baselius Marthoma Paulose II, the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church, India. Talking to Kuwait Times in an interview, the 91st reigning Catholicos of the East chose to draw a clear distinction between generosity and responsibility when he defined charity. Quoting late Paulose Mar Gregorious, he said charity is sacramental humanism because it is the expression of God’s love towards mankind.
It must not be for publicity or popularity. In today’s world, charity has become a tool for ‘economic imperialism’ or ‘neocolonialism’ because of the foreign sources of funding. Charity must become an as an expression of human love, he said quoting late Mar Paulose. Baselius Marthoma Paulose II arrived in Kuwait along with Dr Joseph Mar Dionysius to attend the annual harvest festival and Sunday School Golden Jubilee valedictory ceremony of St Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, the largest parish of Malankara Orthodox Church at Al-Jeel Al-Jadeed school auditorium, Hawally on Friday. The Sunday School which had a humble beginning in 1964, has grown to be the largest school under the Malankara Orthodox Church over the last 50 years with 1,350 students and 135 teachers.
According to Paulose II, the Sunday school movement has been a significant influence in molding the character of younger generation. “In this modern world, the fast-changing advancements in science and technology have both positive and negative influences on children. So it is imperative to impart noble values to the growing generation. The Sunday school plays a significant role in inculcating good values to children and helping them become successful in life. This will also help the society and the country,” he said. He said the church has established a human empowerment department in order to help people choose the right direction in their life. “Today, we see a lot problems in our society as a result of abuse of modern technology such as the Internet and smartphones. We have come across several cases of children becoming addicts of alcohol and drugs. In many cases even parents are not aware of the gravity of the problem.”
“So, the church has initiated an awareness campaign against such abuses and unhealthy tendencies. We have released short films and CDs to generate awareness among people against abuses of the Internet and drugs,” he said. He said the Malankara church is giving importance to charity activities following the words of Jesus Christ. The Kuwait parish holds harvest festival every year to support its various humanitarian and charity projects in India. The parish is actively involved in humanitarian activities to help the needy and economically backward people in the remote and undeveloped areas of northern India.
In Parumala, the Malankara church is establishing a cancer hospital with an investment of Rs 120 crore. “Our objective is to make cancer treatment accessible to people from the financially weaker sections of the society. In many government hospitals in Kerala, treatment is not available because of many systemic problems. In Parumala, we can reduce the referral profit of the middlemen. We can also reduce outsourcing of patients as much as possible,” he said. “It is practically hard to run a cancer hospital alone. A cancer hospital can only be an annex of a super-specialty hospital,” he said. “Even though it needs huge investment, the hospital will be run on the basis of no-profit, no-loss basis,” he said. In Kerala the number of cancer patients is increasing alarmingly.
“According to a recent survey, one out five people in Kerala is suffering from cancer. So we look at the project as a social commitment. We want to reduce the commercial activity in treatments. Similarly, we can help people in detecting the disease at an early stage and give timely treatment,” he said. According to him, common people in Kerala would like to live in peace and religious harmony. “Unfortunately, over the last few years, we can see some growing signs of religious disquiet in the state. I suspect that that there could be some parochial interests or certain political forces behind this alarming tendency that are trying to sow the seeds of disharmony among the people in the name of religion and castes,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to the Kuwaiti government for hosting a large number of Indian expatriates in the country and looking after their welfare. “So, it will be our bounden duty to obey the law of the land,” he said. Acknowledging that the Gulf expats are the backbone of Kerala economy, he said, “Your hard work and efforts must continue to help support the economic wellbeing of our people and the society back home,” concluded.
By Sajeev K Peter