Monday, July 8
Triumph of spirit over injustice was celebrated in Chennai at the Second Dalit Graduation Celebration on January 23, 2012. After 2,000 years of denial of education to Dalit people, the celebration was highly charged with emotion, just like the Black Grad graduation at Pomona College in Claremont, California it was modeled on. The huge hall at Loyola College reverberated with the beat of the parai, traditional Dalit drums. Two hundred graduates in all fields, from more than eight universities, were honored with certificates and medals by a Tamil Nadu government minister. Fifteen outstanding Dalit achievers in fields such as journalism, human rights, arts, sports, and education were honored. School students with their teachers were inspired that they too can achieve the unimaginable.
Rev. M. Azariah, a Dalit Christian leader and retired bishop, was especially joyful to see 14 graduates from CSI Ewart Women’s Christian College, which he founded for rural women. They burst into song to greet him with a Tamil hymn of praise that he wrote. He serves as inspiration for many of the organizers and participants. On May 17, 2012, he passed on to glory after a full life of 78 years serving God and people.
Loyola College, a Jesuit institution, leads the way in Dalit admissions in India and trains these students in a comprehensive leadership-development program. Using just crumbs from the loaves, God has multiplied and transformed communities through education and faith.
The Dalit Graduation Celebration affirms that Dalits are now overcoming obstacles to earn their legitimate place in Indian society in ever-increasing numbers. This celebration is also a tribute to the greatness of India’s democracy, its Constitution, and the visionary author of that Constitution, Dr. Ambedkar.
Let us join in prayer for:
Presbyterian Church of India: Rev. Laldawngliana, administrative secretary
Church of North India: The Most Rev. Dr. P.P. Marandih, moderator, Mr. Alwan Masih, general secretary
Church of South India: The Most Rev. G. Devakadasham, moderator, M. M. Philip, general secretary
Baring Union Christian College: Dr. Edward Masih, principal
Christian Medical College and Hospital at Vellore: Dr. Sunil Chandy, hospital director, Dr. Alfred Job Daniel, principal of Medical College
Kodaikanal International School
Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology & Sciences, Deemed University: Dr. Mani Jacob, chancellor
Sangli Industrial School: Mr. Sandip W. Raut, principal
United Theological College, Bangalore: Rev. Dr. John Samuel Raj, principal
Wanless Hospital, Miraj Medical College: Dr. Nathaniel Sase, director
Woodstock School: Dr. Jonathan Long, principal
Presbytery Partnerships: Grace Presbytery, with the Church of South India; Sacramento Presbytery, with Joining Hands
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Vince LaMazza, BOP
Jeffrey Lawrence, PMA
Let us pray
Bountiful God of hope, you sent your son, Jesus, so that all may have life and live it abundantly. We thank you for the emancipation of people formerly enslaved in body and spirit. May freedom and dignity multiply throughout the world, as witness to your love and compassion. Let the people sing: Amen.