World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC Assembly / Busan, 2013 / Messages and greetings to the WCC 10th Assembly / Greetings of Peace from an inter-religious guest

Greetings of Peace from an inter-religious guest

Professor Ram Puniyani, a former professor of biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, is chairperson of the Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, India.

06 November 2013

Dear Friends in peace and justice,

I am honoured to be invited by this august body, which is deliberating on the global peace. I do thank the organizers for inviting me for participation and experiencing the ongoing striving for global peace.

We in India are witnessing that the World today is gripped by violence of various types and many of this violence is couched under the label of religion. I do hold that most of the religions of the World stand for peace and it is tragic that some political forces are using the cover of religion to fulfil their political and economic agenda. We in India have been witnessing violence against the religious minorities, Muslims and Christians in particular. It is not due to Hindu religion but due to political streams which want to grab power and suppress the human rights of weaker sections of society. Hinduism stands for the concept of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam, (Whole World is one family). The present violence against religious minorities is against the values for which Hindu saints like Kabir, Tukaram and Narsi Mehta stood and committed themselves for a better society. This violence is against the values of greatest Hindu of 20th Century, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. As a matter of fact this Hindu apostle of peace was murdered by a person believing in the political ideology which is currently rampaging our country in the name of Hindutva. This Hindutva is not Hindu religion, it is political word which is against the values of traditions Hindu saints including the one’s like Gandhi.

As such India has been the land where, most of the religions of the World flourished in great harmony with each other. While Jainism and Buddhism came in thousands of years ago, India also had the privilege of having Christianity right from 1st Century AD. It started from Malabar Coast in Kerala in India, and was accepted by the people of India. Its slow and steady march in India has been due to the dedicated work in the area of education and health in remote places, due to its message of peace and co-existence. Christianity helped us in bringing many a positive changes in our society. It is one of the religions, which has deep impact on Indian culture.

Christianity made an important contribution in uplift of poor and needy. It also made great contribution in the field of education and health. Many a followers of this path were key persons in India’s struggle for freedom, contributing to the process of India as a nation in the making. I do appreciate this humane and long lasting contribution of this religion, along with other religions which are prevalent in India, in taking us to the path of peace and progress.

I offer my heartfelt greeting to this assembly, with the hope that India will continue to offer a safe and secure atmosphere for progress of moral values coming from Christianity as well as other religions. Do please accept my heartfelt gratefulness of your efforts in the path of Peace and Justice.

Ram Puniyani

Professor Ram Puniyani, a former professor of biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, is chairperson of the Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, India. Reception of the message was acknowledged with gratitude by the WCC general secretary during the Justice Plenary on 6 November.