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Francis Clooney’s talk on his books at Chennai: A Vaishnavite-Christian dialogue

August 5, 2009

Francis Clooney’s talk on his books at Chennai: A Vaishnavite-Christian dialogue

Vedaprakash

Prof Clooney’s lecture had been arranged at F-50 hall of University of Madras on Tuesday August 4, 2009 at 11.00 am. The lecture program was arranged jointly by the departments of Vaishnavaite Studies[1] and the Christian Studies[2], under the auspices of Narasimhachariar’s Endowment Lecture. Even around 10.50, the hall was empty, as there were only four or five sitting there. Slowly, around 40 persons gathered by 11 am of which 3/4th had been Christians of the Christian Studies department and as well as Clooney’s friends[3]. Of the audience, the Vaishnavites (Iyengars or Hindus sporting Namam on their foreheads) had been elders of age above 60 / 70, whereas the Christians have been young. It is not known as to why the students of Vaishnvite department had not attended the program. Thus, it is evident that the program had been dominated by the Christians.

(Note: To understand the proceedings, interested readers and friends are requested to read the mentioned articles[4], as they have bearing on the present lecture of Prof Clooney).

G. Patrick, Lecturer, Department of Christian Studies: As a post-centenary celebration program of University of Madras, several Endowments were constituted during the year 1984 and Sri Narasimhachariar’s Endowment has been one of them…… He has been a Vaishnavite scholar, visiting professor to Mauritius teaching Hindu Philosophy…….. Thus, under the auspices of the Endowment, Prof Clooney’s lecture has been arranged and we are happy to invite Prof Clooney from the Harvard University………. Proof M. A. Venkatakrishnan has been the HOD of Department of Christian Studies (sic) and we thank him for arranging the program [Here, there was some commotion, as one of audience pointed out, he was HOD of Vaishnavaite Studies. An visibly upset Venkatakrishnan, correcting Patrick by shaking hands]. Oh I am sorry, I mentioned unconsciously……..[a comment from the audience, telling that it could be “consciously” also…………. Prof Clooney was starring at that side, where that comment was coming].  There are many programs to take place and I invite all of you to attend such programs……

Patrick addresses

M. A. Venkatakrishnan[5], HOD, Department of Vaishnavite Studies: Prof Clooney has been author of many books on Vaishavism and his interest in Vaishnavism has been remarkable…….. He has written many books on Vaishnavism and he is an authority…………. He is just like a honeybee collecting nectar from different flowers………..I thank Prof Patrick for helping me to arrange this program. It is a lecture of inter-religious dialogue. The University of Madras itself insists that such type of “dialogue” meetings should be conducted., In fact, there has been a proposal to start a separate department to start for inter-religious dialogue studies. Thus, the inter-religious studies have been forefront gaining importance nowadays…There will be two lectures with a break in between with discussion and questions……..

MAVenkatakrishnan, Narasimhachari, clooney and Raghavan on the dias

M. A. Venkatakrishnan, Narasimhachari, Clooney and Raghavan were on the dias, as Patrick spoken.

Narasimhachari receives purse

MAV, Clooney and Narasimhachari.

Clooney comes to address

Clooney got up to address!

Prof Francis Xavier Clooney: I thank organizers…………I happy to be here on the occasion of celebrations of 25th year of the Christian Studies department (started in 1983)…….I know Prof M. A. Venkatakrishna since 1982, when I first met him at Triplicane, who helped me in many ways………….. He helped me in getting books, materials about my study abut Vaishnavism………..I also thank Dr Bhooma[6], who is a well known scholar here, helped me many ways……..I had opportunity to visit many temples going inside…….and learn bakti……in inter-religious studies one has to learn from others crossing the boundaries……….People may think how a Roman Catholic could learn from Vaishnavism………..or they may think the Christians come here and get information and write books….superficial learning or understanding would not help, as one has to read the books completely for better understanding of other religions. As mentioned, my talk would on two books – The Truth, the Way, the Life and “Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Vedanta Desika on loving surrender to God”[7].
There have been different types of approaches in the inter-religious studies:

  • Some people create walls built in between them…….We are Christians and we are Vaishnavites and therefore we should not read about others.
  • Allowing others to learn about us, would be a threat to our religion and therefore, we should not allow others to study our religion…but not allowing learning others is also a bad idea.
  • Our religion is complete and therefore, we need not learn from others is also wrong.
  • The attitude that my religion is superior to yours is incorrect in 21st century……….

The definition of “Theology” has been some thousands years old……..it could be simply “faith seeking understanding”………It could be paradox “faith seeking”[8]..being a believer with questions could be also part of such definition…….I went to Katmandu in 1973 and returned in 1975…..in 1984 I became Dr Clooney. But I cannot stop my studies. I continue research and write books, These two books were released last year and I am going to write a book on “Bhagawat Vishyam”.

One may ask why Vedanta Desika should be taken for comparative study. Why not Vanamamalai or Pillai Lokachariyar?….Definitely, I think about a book on them also……..But here, in the context, the study has been about the “Rahasya Traya Saram” – three mantras of the chapters 27, 28 and 29.

Clooney addresses

The so-called “dialogue” of Discussion and questions: After the first lecture was over, questions were invited. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao asked addressing to Prof Clooney and Prof Venkatakrishnan (MAV), “I am K. V. Ramakrishna Rao from Chennai. I had privilege of having discussion with Fr Bede Griffths[9], Fr Ignatius Hrudhayam[10] of Ikkiya Alayam, I hope Prof Clooney must be remembering him and others of course Prof Clooney whom I met twice earlier and my question has been in the context of inter-religious dialogue. Both of you have been professors in the respective studies. Therefore, if each could accept God of others as one’s own God, then the inter-religious issue can be solved”. Patrick objected to it and urged to ask question related to the topic. Rao insisted that it was related to the topic only. Venkatakrishnan interjected to say that Clooney was making comparative study and therefore there is no question of telling my God is superior to yours or inferior etc. Clooney was telling that the question should be related to his book. Then, Rao asked, “Out of the four mantras, why you selected only, “Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit” comparing with the Divya mantras? But Venkatakrishnan told, “Your time is over”! So the next “questioner” rose to compliment Clooney without asking any question paving way for the second lecture! Thus, in this way, the “dialogue” was conducted!

KVR asks questions

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, an independent researcher who questioned both professors MAV and Clooney.

In his second lecture, Clooney accepted the fact that when De Sales was living there was religious conflict between Protestants and Roman Catholic Christians killing each other. Thus, it is not known in his Vedanta Desikan period, was there any religious conflict in south India?

My God is your God and Your god is no God: The dialoguers have been in the attitude of “My God is your God and your god is no God”. However, in the inter-religious dialogue and comparative studies, such claims cannot be made. Perhaps, Clooney himself has noted such point in his blogs[11]. The quoted Pope’s speech could be noted, as he reportedly mentioned “God” instead of naming the god[12]. Clooney interpreted, “What he really means, it might be said, is that “God” is “our Jewish, Muslim, Christian God,” not “their God.” Unfortunately, here also, the western religious experts want to exclude the Eastern religions from their purview, obviously with the concept of “al-kitabia”, the people with revealed books / scriptures and without. As mentioned by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao[13], “Theo-centric and theocratic eclectics are dangerous as nuclear, chemical and other warheads. The concept of “My God is your God, but your God is no God” does not foster understanding, co-operation and goodwill.” The concept should be changed to “Your God is my God and my God is your God,” and accepted by all religions”. Therefore, instead of allowing Clooney to respond, Venkatakrishnan has evidently committed a blunder. In fact, as he was stressing for “inter-religious dialogue” during his introductory speech, he should have come forward to respond openly, instead of covering up an important issue. Or if Clooney interprets that such mutuality of understanding is applicable only to the three religions mentioned and not to others, then definitely, MAV has failed in his duty and also prevented Rao from further questioning Clooney. Then, naturally, the fundamental question is raised, why they talk about “dialogue” when they do not want or have no guts to have such “dialogues”?

Section of the audience LHS

Was the program stage-managed by the Christians? The way in which the proceedings were conducted appeared that the Christians had stage-managed the lecture-program exploiting the provisions of University of Madras. The Christians dominated at all levels, in organizing the program, assembling in strength and co-coordinating at all levels, whereas, the so-called department of Vaishnavite Studies and the HOD Venkatakrishnan had simply carried on their wish in arranging the program. It is not known that the University of Madras wants to conduct “inter-religious / faith conferences, seminars and lectures” in this way. The above point raised also questions the very fundamental of “dialogue”, after all, the dialogue of religions cannot be done without their gods!

Section of the audience RHS

“The Vaishnavites” failed in the dialogue? MAV should be held responsible for such a situation, as the suspicion of needle points to him also. That is why, few days back, I warned as follows:

“Let us have dialogue with him: There is no meaning in hiding or keeping quite or crying wolf, when he has been very much here. If the Vaishnavites feel really thyat he has offended their theology through his books, he should be challenged in Chennai itself without mincing words. If any such meeting / lecture is arranged, it should be a dialogue and not monologue. Let him talk for 30 minutes or half-an-hour. Then, a Vaishnavite scholar or anybody should be given an opportunity to counter his propositions or arguments the HOD department of Vaiushnavite Studies department Venkatakrishnan in spite of mentioning about “inter-religious dialogue” and so on, actually knows or does not know about it!”

But none cared and ironically, the “Vaishnavites” have only given platform to Clooney and encouraged such “monologues”. The Pope has been very clear and Clooney cannot do anything beyond:

The Vatican II Declaration on the Relation of the Church to non-Christian Religions (Nostra aetate) says ‘The Catholic Church rejects nothing of true and holy in these religions………yet she proclaims and is duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). Besides, the ‘DECLARATION DOMINUS JESUS’ adds, “the various traditions contain and offer religious element which come from God, and which are part of what ‘the spirit brings about in human hearts and in the history of peoples, in cultures, and religions’” (Art No.21).”

Does MAV aid and abet Nostra aetate and Domininus Jesus? Now, a serious question rises as to how and why knowingly or unknowingly, some Vaishnavites should aid and abet the principles of Vatical Council-II? In a single stroke, Clooney has faithfully fulfilled both the above points:

  • yet she proclaims and is duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6): thus, his first lecture revolved around his book: “The Truth, the Way, the Life” So here, he is exposed as, he cannot say that , “Christ who is the way, the truth and the life” is different from his title of the book  “The Truth, the Way, the Life
  • Ironically, it is said, “Francis Clooney’s commentary is explicitly Christian and yet deeply indebted to the classic reading of the mantras by the 14th century theologian Vedanta Desika; it thus exemplifies an interreligious learning appropriate to the 21st century and yet, in the end, still deeply Christian[14]. Then MAV like Vaishnavites act as collaborators of Cloney?
  • Coming to the second point, “the various traditions contain and offer religious element which come from God, and which are part of what ‘the spirit brings about in human hearts and in the history of peoples, in cultures, and religions’” (Art No.21).” Thus, the spirit that Nammazhwar was talking about is only “the spirit” as perceived by the Vatican, the Pope and Clooney.
  • Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit:” is nothing but equivalent to Sri Narayanaya Namaha and SrimanNarayana-caranau-caranau prapadye and “the spirit” is “Narayana”!.

Only “Narayana” alone could help: Indiuans / Hindus have not understood the implications of inter-religious / faith dialogue and inculturation,. Instead of, they have been in their own world and indulging with the westerners extending all logistic supports. But what is targeted has been thousands of years old culture, tradition, heritage and civilization by the conscious Christians. The present modern world has already demolished their fundamental tenets of Christianity rendering Jesus a myth. Under such circumstances, in stead of safeguarding their belief-system, they have unnecessarily but venomously targeted Hindu religion and trying to confuse all. Actually, the Christianity is going to get negative results by indulging in such unethical “theological” experiments.

It is ironical that MAV like Vaishnavas scholars with all their high qualification could not understand Clooney, as hundreds of his articles prove how he has been rather an agent of Benedict, the present Pope. He takes every opportunity and writers / posts a blog supporting the above Vatican.s agenda of inter-religious dialogue and inculturation under the purview of “Dominus Iesu”[15].

Vedaprakash

05-08-2009


[1] For details, see at: http://www.unom.ac.in/vai.html

[2] For details, see at: http://www.unom.ac.in/chris1.html

[3] After the meeting, Clooney was seen with  groups of Christians talking introducing themselves mentioning that so-and-so met him at so-and-so place and so on.

One American Professor (with ponytail) who was staying at Shantivanam also came, in fact he was one of the four audience by 10.50 am. Shantivanam is the controversial “Inculturation” centre, that created heat discussion during 1980s resulting in the series of books published – Catholic Ashrams, The Hindu-Christian Dialogue etc., by Voice of India. There was many letters appeared in Indian Express  (Madras edition) later forming part of the mentioned books.

[4][4] Vedaprakash, How Catholic Clooney became Vaishnavite Researcher?, dated 31-07-2009.

https://vaticanculturation.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/how-catholic-clooney-became-a-vaishnavite-researcher/

………………, “Beyond Compare” and the Christian-Vaishnavite encounters, https://vaticanculturation.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/beyond-compare-and-christian-vaishnavite-encounters/

………………, An Exploration of Inter-religious Understanding: A Hindu-Christian Perspective, dated 18-07-2009.

………………, Francis Xavier Clooney in Chennai!, dated 17-07-2009

J. K. Bajaj and M. D. Srinivas, Core Issues of Hindu-Christiuan Dialogue, Idol-worshgip, Cow-protection and conversion, may have been issued in 2007 subsequent to the “discussion meeting” held on Wednesday March 14, 2007 at the Centre for Policy Studies.

Dr S. Kalyanaraman,  A Note on Comparative Theology as a dangerous intrusion into sacred space, dated 06-08-2005.

……………………., The Futility of Inter-faith Dialogue – A meeting with Francis X Clooney, dated 10-08-2005.

[5] For details, see at: http://www.unom.ac.in/venvai.html and http://www.srivaishnava.org/talks/mav/

[6] Dr. Bhooma is wife of Dr M. A. Venkatakrishnan married in 1982. An avid companion of her husband in all his religious pursuits, Dr. Bhooma has B.Ed (’83), M.A. (Vaishnavism, ’87) and PhD (’95) degrees to her credit. Her PhD thesis was on the topic “The Contribution of Nanjiyar.” In addition to working as a Part-Time Lecturer in the Department of Vaishnavism, University of Madras, Dr. Bhooma also lectures on Sri Vaishnavism at various locations. Dr. MAV and Dr. Bhooma have one son, Chi. Madhusudhanan, who is a student of BCA at Vaishnav College, Chennai.

[7] Francis X. Clooney, Beyond compare: St. Francis de Sales and Vedanta Desika on loving surrender to God, Georgetown University Press, 2008.

[8] When “faith” is faith, i.e, belief, devotion, commitment, faithfulness, loyalty, dedication etc., there is no question of seeking such faith of one group of “believers” about the belief of other “believers”.

[9] Founder of the controversial “Catholic Ashram” and builder of Hindu-temple like Church and crucified OM there at Tannirpalli (Kulitthalai, Karur District) very near to Sri Ramakrishna Tabhovanam and some 100 kilometres from Sri Rangam! As mentioned, Clooney was camping there.

[10] Founder of another controversial Ashram at Chennai near to Mylapore, where Clooney had stayed several times during his sojourn to Chennai since 1980s.

[11] In Case You Missed It: Pope Benedict’s Most Generous Interreligious Vision Posted at: 2009-06-02 20:58:08.0 Author: Francis X. Clooney, S.J.

http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&id=98558261-3048-741E-8226182426431865

[12] http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2009/may/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20090511_dialogo-interreligioso_en.html

[13]

[14] http://www.peeters-leuven.be/boekoverz.asp?nr=8407

[15] Francis X. Clooney, SJ: “Interreligious dialogue is here to stay”

“The Pope Speaks – As If Dialogue is Here to Stay”, by Francis X. Clooney, SJ. America April 25, 2008:

http://benedictinamerica.blogspot.com/2008/05/francis-x-clooney-sj-interreligious.html

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“Beyond compare” and Christian-Vaishnavite encounters

July 31, 2009

“Beyond compare” and Christian-Vaishnavite encounters

Recently,  the book, “Beyond compare” written by Francis Xavier Clooney, Professor of  Theology, Harvard University appears to have created a lot of heat among the Vaishnavites.

Beyond compare: Wrapper of the book

Beyond compare: Wrapper of the book

About the comparison of Vedanta Desikan and Francis de Sales, they have not only relished, but also raised serious objections.

Beyond Compare is an amazing book. The research is thorough and the appreciation of Sri Vedanta Desika’s thoughts and writings prove beyond doubt that this Harvard Divinity School Professor has imbibed the teachings of our great Teacher in the true spirit of a Srivaishnava. The comparative study of St.Francis de Sales’ Treatise and Swami Desika’s Srimad Rahasyatrayasara makes most interesting reading and invites Srivaishnavas to read about the Catholic saint’s ideas on loving surrender to God. Beyond Compare is truly beyond compare! .”—Anuradha Sridharan, associate editor, Sri Nrsimhapriya

In his commentary, Clooney achieves multiple goals—the book is a contribution to Christian spiritual theology, highlighting for today the beautiful insights into love by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1623), Doctor of the Church. At the same time it points out how even in our world of many religious paths, we can recover and deepen the ancient tradition of loving surrender into God’s hands by opening ourselves to the wisdom of India and one of Hindu India’s most famous traditions of loving God, explained to us by the south Indian Hindu theologian Sri Vedanta Desika (1268-1369). Clooney goes further, offering a comparative study of these classic works in which he self-consciously writes about the process of reading the two works and the impact this approach has on the reader. The good advice found through this deep engagement with these texts offers a deeper insight into how we can most fruitfully and spiritually think about religious pluralism in the 21st century, remaining open in heart and mind while loyal still to our own tradition.

As mentioned elsewhere, some of them have been unhappy the way in which he is being encouraged and promoted by the Vaishnavites of India and abroad.

the preface of the book can be seen here:

http://press.georgetown.edu/pdfs/9781589012110_Preface.pdf

Table of content can be seen here:

http://press.georgetown.edu/pdfs/9781589012110_TOC.pdf

In the process of “inculturation”, no Christian has ever hidden their agenda and therefore, it is quite amusing that these learned Vaishnavite elites would not know Clooney’s motive.

Francis X. Clooney Anand Amaladass

Francis Clooney and Anand Amaladass have brought several books on the subject of “comparative theology”.

Having helped him, as could seen in the reports available as early as 1992, there is no meaning in crying wolf about his activities.

Since 2005, there has been a feeling that Clooney has been going beyond the limits in his methods of “inculturation” involving his friends in such “inter faith dialogues” with or without their knowledge.

M A Venkatakrishnan Anbil Ramaswamy

It is learnt that under the auspices of “Centre for Policy Studies”, Clooney was reportedly invited for a “dialogue” and he was allowed to speak. But later, when discussion time, the attended scholars and others reportedly appreciated him and even honoured him with salvai and all. Only S. Gurumurthy asked one question pointing out that his writings had been addressed to the western audience E for which Clooney replied in affirmative!

S. Gurumurthy Velukkudi Krishnan

How Catholic Clooney became a Vaishnavite researcher!

July 31, 2009

How Catholic Clooney became a Vaishnavite researcher!

Vedaprakash

As the interview given by Clooney to “Frontline” and the write-up appeared in 2006, the following interview of Clooney appeared in Kumudham dated 05-11-1992 has also been revealing. Therefore, I have decoded to translate and post for the benefit of all:

What is Saranagathi? The debate between Catholic priest Clooney and Agnihotram Ramanujachariyar!

Agnihotram Ramanujachariyar, an expert in the Tamil associated with Vaishnavism and Sanskrit literature and Francis Clomney, an American Christian priest, who had come to India to research into Vaishnavism had met and debated. Cloooney had already come to him few years ago (1990-91?) and learned Mimamsam from him. The dialogue had been as followsd:

Clooney: The Vaishnavite scripture has emphasized only the “Saranagathi tatva”, which I would like to know from you.

Agni: It is very simple, the “Saranagathi tatva” means total surrender and it is common to all. Instead of sacrificing body, physical entity and soul separately, the total and complete surrender of all has been the real “Saranagathi tatva”. “Namaha” means the total surrender. “ma” means, “mine”; “na” means “not”; thus, that is nothing to me and thus surrendering totally has been the real meaning.

Clooney: I have read in Pasurams, “I have entered below your feet”. Does this status resembles exactly the Sanskrit word “Saranagathi” or not?

Agni: “Saranagathi” means not exactly “falling at the feet” or as described. Without any way or path, (when man) “falling at feet” only has been the “Saranagathi”.

What Vedas have taught has been a kind of Bakti. The popular Bakti has been that of what is followed Nammazhgvar. This has been the category of approaching God with right.

Clooney: You have explained very nicely (about the “Saranagathi tatva”). I am very happy to have met you today.

Bama Gopalan’s interview with Clooney:

“My native place is New York. I was born in 1950 and my father, mother, sisters (elder and younger) are there. I have no (younger) brother. My father has been a retired Police Officer after serving for thirty years.

“I got B. A. degree in Fordham University. Completed  Master’s degree thereafter. Did Ph.D in Sanskrit.

“I desired to become a priest at the age of 15 itself. Every week, when I used to go to church, I used to ask myself, “Should I become doctor, lawyer or engineer?”, addressing to God. The voice of God told him, “You should become a priest”!

“I learned Tamil at the University of Chicago from the alphabet stage. I learned both reading and writing of Tamil. I had understood the Tamil grammar well. I started reading small stories in Tamil – At my 29th age, I read many village-stories (folk-tales) and stories of spirituality, then, Sangam literature, Periya Puranam, Kamba Ramayanam, Tiruvacakam – and like this I read many.  I got interest in literature. The liking that I could not explain.

“I lost my mind in the Pasurams / poems of Tirumazhiyisai Azhwar, Peyazhwar and Andal. I like Nammazhwar most, as his Pasurams are simple, sweet, beautiful and attracting my mind Thus, I developed interest to read more and more of Nammazhwar’s Pasurams.

“I came to India only for the purpose of researching into Nalayira Divya Prabhantham. I went to the house of Tiruverngadam, the Vaishnava College Professor at Nepal and learned Nammazhwar’s Pasurams daily.

“Prof. Sampathkumar, Head of Logic department of Vivekananda College has been from the tradition of Manavalsa Mamunigal.  Prof. S. Ramanujachariyar, editor of “Tirumal” and Prof. Sampathkumar taught me Tiruvazhmozi Vyakyanam every Sunday. For this, I used to come to Madras for months together and even years together.

“As I have been Associate Professor of Theology at the Boston University, I am coming here on vocations to learn and then return (to attend to my duties).

“I used to get up at 5.30 in the morning; do Puja; go to Church and do Puja (prayer) in Tamil; after doing japam and dyanam, I used to listen to Tiriuvazhmozhi on cassettes for 10-15 minutes. Then, I take food.

“We should not see movies in the months of August, September and October. So, I see in other months. When I used to watch for Tamil movies, I used to take anyone as company, because, when somebody explains in Tamil only, I am able to understand (the movie).

“Generally, Sangam style (pani) – Nalayira Divya Prabhantham has been very nice. Though, the Pasurams have been with complications, thery have been with the usage of beautiful Tamil expressions. Particularly, I like the following two Pasuras of Nammazhawar:

[A free translation of the cited poems is given as follows (I just translate freely so as to test myself about my understanding):

  1. You helped this slave, when I am ignorant; because of such ignorance – without knowing your “ma-mayai” (the Great Secret), Mavali (Mahabali) donated the three-feet land to you; you thus cheated him demanding but measuring (the three Worlds) merging in my soul.
  1. I cannot give anything in gratitude back as it has been merged with my spirit; I gave my spirit into you and disappeared and there is no way to escape; as you drink the seven oceans, my spirit merged with you; what / where is my spirit? And who am I? You give and take away this body”]

Bama Gopalan: Can you write in Tamil? Why can’t you write 10 sentences in Tamil?

Clooney: Yes, I write (he writes with his left-hand. Clooney has been left-hand practicing person. What he wrote appeared on the front page of Kumudhamn dated 05-11-1992).

The translation has been as follows:

I read Divya Prabhandam, here in Chennai this year, because they attracted me most. Daily, I read Tiruvazhmozhi – in original and commentary. I would be very much happy, when I read these Pasurams or think about them. To know my Christanity, Nammazhar has been helping me a lot.                   Francis Clooney, S.J

This was published with the following comments: “The American Christian priest has come in search of Azwar”

Bama Gopalan describes the room where Clooney was staying:

“An American has been researching into Nalayira Divya Prabhantham composed by Azhwars.

“He is a Roman Catholic priest.

“Dialogue Centre” board is there on the building at “Ikkiya Alayam” situated on the Santhome High Road. Foreigners have been coming here staying and researching into many subjects.

“Francis Clooney has been one of them. He is about 5 feet 6 inches; his hair is reddish;  his beard has also been of the same (colour); lean body structure with spectacle; wearing dhoti

“His room, where he is staying has been rectangular. On the table at corner, there is a novel written by “Lakshmi”. Dinamani of the day and a copy of “Tirumal” magazine (are also there).

“There is another steel almirah without doors; Andal picture was on the top panel; then there are Dasavatara dolls (purchased at Mada veedhi, Mylapore during Navarathri).

“On the top panel, there is a cross made of palm-leaf”.

Clooney’s Father (name not mentioned)– : My father worked in the Police department for 27 years and retired now. He is 73 and has been giving counselling to youth of both sexes for their problems. However, he is not a trained psychologist. He would not talk in high pitch. He does not smoke and drink.

Clooney’s Mother – Zareen: She has immaculate and kind mind. She does not talk much. But raises her voice, when required. I became a priest, when I completed 18 years and 5 days. My mother blessed me and sent for priesthood.

Vedaprakash

31-07-2009

The dubious role of “Salvation Army” in Tsunami House building – II

July 27, 2009
The dubious role of “Salvation Army” in Tsunami House building – II
Published on January 31st, 2008 In Uncategorized, Blogging, Philosophy, Politics |  Views 370

Indian Missionaries Get Rs.600 crores for Tsunami Conversions from
UK

Posted December 7, 2005
By S.Anand
Outlook

India

“You can create 10 new Nagapattinams with the kind of money the NGOs have.”
– A. Selvamani, fisherman, Akkarapettai

As of 9 November 2005, according to Relief Web (www.reliefweb.int), the commitments, contributions and pledges for tsunami-related work routed via UN agencies and INGOs from the world over account for USD 6,138,895,063 (more than USD 6 billion). Compiled by OCHA (the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) on the basis of information provided by donors and appealing organisations, this works to Rs 28,853 crores. About 40 percent of these are private donations. AlertNet, a Reuters-managed site that runs a ‘Global Pledge-o-meter”, almost doubles the figure to USD 11,234,100,000.

The Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) in
London, a consortium of 12 UK-based INGOs, raised a record £350 million (Rs. 2800 crores) under its Tsunami Earthquake Appeal. Of this,
India is a recipient of Rs 565 crores (see Table). According to a senior INGO official,
India is likely to be a recipient of at least 20 percent of the overall Rs 28,853 crores (the lower world estimate). The tsunami-related NGO aid flow into
India would then be in the range of a minimum of Rs 6,000 crores. It could go up to Rs 8,000 crores. Tamil Nadu being the most affected, and since the government has been eager to incorporate NGOs, close to 70 percent of these funds would have made their way, making it a recipient of a minimum of Rs 4,000 crores which could be used up to the next three years. Of the Tamil Nadu share, the worst affected Nagapattinam district would be the recipient of at least Rs 3,000 crores. All these lower-end estimates.

Of the overall fund flow to
India, according to one estimate, close to Rs 400 crores would have accrued to the Catholic church (CASA, Caritas, CRS) and about Rs 200 crores to Protestant groups such as World Vision.

In Nagapattinam, in January 2005, there were 600 NGOs working. Today, there are 193 NGOs registered with the NGO Coordination and Resource Centre (NCRC), but more than a hundred NGOs work without coordinating with the NCRC. The NGOs, ironically, have injected life into the Nagapattinam economy. Says V. Vivekandandan, chief executive of South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS), instrumental in establishing NCRC: “In a state that has seen 61 per cent urbanisation, Nagapattinam has recorded only 14 per cent. The economy here remains largely rural, Nagapattinam is caught in a time-warp.” Now with the strong NGO contingent, the district is being artificially fast-forwarded into the future.

In Karaikal, the office of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is located in a bungalow rented for Rs 33,000 per month. MSF has offices in
Pondicherry and Nagapattinam too. Two new Boleros and a Qualis bear testimony to the INGO”s ‘field-work” in 30 tsunami-affected villages in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam. The World Vision office in Nagapattinam has rented a building for Rs 7,500. It would have fetched Rs 2,000 pre-tsunami. In Nagapattinam, the resourceful broker G. Anandan has rented offices and homes for more than 50 NGOs and the people who work for them. One of his clients is the NGO Coordination and Resource Centre (NCRC), a nodal agency established under UNDP”s supervision, housed in a sea-facing building rented for Rs 13,500 per month. NCRC has hired two office buildings and six residential ones for its staff. “The rents in Nagapattinam and neighbouring Karaikal have gone up fourfold,” says an understandably delighted Anandan. As far as Annie George, NCRC coordinator, is concerned: “The general infrastructure in Nagapattinam has improved post-tsunami. Power cuts have come down and the roads are much better.” The district administration certainly values the opinions of cash-rich NGOs which have made Nagapattinam their temporary home.

An intelligent estimate of the number of vehicles – Boleros, Scorpios, Tata Safaris, Qualises – procured by NGOs post-tsunami would be 80. Of these, a majority would have be servicing Nagapattinam and Cuddalore. Most of the vehicles would be disposed in less than a year. Says Eve Richard, field coordinator for MSF, “We are an emergency organisation. We will leave in a few months, but our partners will work.” The fuel consumption of these SUV guzzlers could perhaps meet the daily kerosene needs of the thousands of households in the temporary shelters.

In the early weeks of the tsunami crisis, there was great concern over the orphaned children and issues of adoption and child-trafficking. Over 11 months, 376 affected villages in TN have been treated as ‘orphans” which the NGOs have clamoured to ‘adopt”. The ‘adopters” sometimes neglect and abuse, and sometimes pamper their ‘children”. The NGOs certainly have not proved to be good parents.

UK-based Disaster Emergency Committee”s Contribution (to
India from its overall Rs 2800 crores)

Contributing Agency Rupees (crores)
Action Aid 60.46
CAFOD 126.31
CARE 18.44
Christian Aid 84.48
Concern
India
2.93
Oxfam
India
31.57
Save the Children 46.40
Tearfund* 23.02
World Vision 146.40
HelpAge
India
36.28
Total 576.29

(*Comprising Discipleship Centre (DC), Evangelical Fellowship of
India Commission on Relief (EFICOR) and Salvation Army)
Source www.tsunami.dec.org.uk

VEDAPRAKASH

29-01-2008

The dubious role of “Salvation Army” in Tsunami House building – I

July 27, 2009
The dubious role of “Salvation Army” in Tsunami House building – I
Published on January 31st, 2008 In Uncategorized, Blogging, News, Politics |  Views 278
The dubious role of “Salvation Army” in Tsunami House building

The following news items appearing in different sites and reading together raise several questions.

N       To what extent the NGOs, particularly with religious back ground have actually rendered help to the Tsunami victims?

N       How the “Salvation army” with all funfairs should have stooped down to such level to fool the Tsunami victims?

N       Salvation Agency, based on the government decision to build temporary group houses for tsunami victims, laid the foundation for constructing 44 houses in September 2005.  How then, they hurriedly built permanent houses?

N       The petitioner sought action against Salvation Agency for building “illegal and substandard houses” for him and other tsunami victims in the Uzhavar Nagar area. “The construction was substandard, very bad and dangerous to live in and cannot be occupied.” –

V      How the generously and graciously helping international organization with millions of donation lavishly given or reportedly sanction for the Tsunami victims could have gone to production of such “illegal and substandard houses”?

V      How the houses could be of “The construction was substandard, very bad and dangerous to live in and cannot be occupied.”

N       Oh God / Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing! Just like that can we forget?

Demolish tsunami houses: HC Chennai, 28 Jan. 2008 (New Indian Express) The Madras High Court has directed Salvation Agency (India South Eastern Territory), an international social welfare organisation, to demolish the houses it built for the victims of the tsunami in December 2004. The agency had built houses in Uzhavar Nagar of North Poigainallur, Nagapattinam. The First Bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla said that the houses were unfit for habitation and the agency should demolish the houses and remove the debris from the place of construction at its own cost. The Bench also directed the State Home Secretary and the Nagapattinam District Collector to take possession of the vacant land and arrange for the construction of proper and quality houses or allot any other readily available houses in the vicinity of North Poigainallur to each of the 44 families. All this should be carried out expeditiously, preferably within two months, the Bench said, and directed the Collector to file his compliance report within a week of the expiry of the stipulated two months. The Bench gave the ruling while allowing a public interest writ petition from A Subbian of Uzhavar Nagar, a tsunami victim.

Date:17/10/2007 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2007/10/17/stories/2007101761600900.htm


Panel to inspect quality of houses for tsunami victims

Special Correspondent

PIL petition has sought action against Salvation Agency


“The construction is substandard, dangerous”Agency asked to file a report in six weeks


CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has set up a committee of experts to inspect the quality of houses constructed by the India  South-Eastern Territory of the Salvation Agency for tsunami victims in Nagapattinam district. Passing orders on a public interest litigation petition filed by A. Subbaian of Uzhavar Nagar in North Poigainallur, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice P. Jyothimani, said: “We direct the Chief Engineer (Buildings) of the Public Works Department, along with one expert civil engineer to be nominated by the Vice-Chancellor of Anna University, to inspect the houses constructed by the respondent (Salvation Agency) at North Poigainallur, Uzhavar Nagar, and report the nature, quality and construction to be put up by the respondent to the District Collector.”

It asked the Collector to ensure that Salvation Agency put up a proper construction in accordance with the committee’s report, and file a report before the court in six weeks.

The petitioner sought action against Salvation Agency for building “illegal and substandard houses” for him and other tsunami victims in the Uzhavar Nagar area. “The construction was substandard, very bad and dangerous to live in and cannot be occupied.” Salvation Agency, based on the government decision to build temporary group houses for tsunami victims, laid the foundation for constructing 44 houses in September 2005.

He submitted that Salvation Agency itself gave an undertaking to rectify the defects noticed by the Collector and others.

Matter adjourned

The Bench has adjourned the matter to November 6 for further proceedings.

© Copyright 2000 – 2008 The Hindu

Interestingly, the place figures in Tamilnadu Government Tender also (see below for details):

http://tenders.tn.gov.in/innerpage.asp?choice=ct5″tid=drd582″work=1

Complete details of the selected Tender

Indian Missionaries Get Rs.600 crores for Tsunami Conversions from
UK

Posted December 7, 2005
By S.Anand
Outlook

India

“You can create 10 new Nagapattinams with the kind of money the NGOs have.”
– A. Selvamani, fisherman, Akkarapettai

As of 9 November 2005, according to Relief Web (www.reliefweb.int), the commitments, contributions and pledges for tsunami-related work routed via UN agencies and INGOs from the world over account for USD 6,138,895,063 (more than USD 6 billion). Compiled by OCHA (the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) on the basis of information provided by donors and appealing organisations, this works to Rs 28,853 crores. About 40 percent of these are private donations. AlertNet, a Reuters-managed site that runs a ‘Global Pledge-o-meter”, almost doubles the figure to USD 11,234,100,000.

The Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) in
London, a consortium of 12 UK-based INGOs, raised a record £350 million (Rs. 2800 crores) under its Tsunami Earthquake Appeal. Of this,
India is a recipient of Rs 565 crores (see Table). According to a senior INGO official,
India is likely to be a recipient of at least 20 percent of the overall Rs 28,853 crores (the lower world estimate). The tsunami-related NGO aid flow into
India would then be in the range of a minimum of Rs 6,000 crores. It could go up to Rs 8,000 crores. Tamil Nadu being the most affected, and since the government has been eager to incorporate NGOs, close to 70 percent of these funds would have made their way, making it a recipient of a minimum of Rs 4,000 crores which could be used up to the next three years. Of the Tamil Nadu share, the worst affected Nagapattinam district would be the recipient of at least Rs 3,000 crores. All these lower-end estimates.

Of the overall fund flow to
India, according to one estimate, close to Rs 400 crores would have accrued to the Catholic church (CASA, Caritas, CRS) and about Rs 200 crores to Protestant groups such as World Vision.

In Nagapattinam, in January 2005, there were 600 NGOs working. Today, there are 193 NGOs registered with the NGO Coordination and Resource Centre (NCRC), but more than a hundred NGOs work without coordinating with the NCRC. The NGOs, ironically, have injected life into the Nagapattinam economy. Says V. Vivekandandan, chief executive of South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS), instrumental in establishing NCRC: “In a state that has seen 61 per cent urbanisation, Nagapattinam has recorded only 14 per cent. The economy here remains largely rural, Nagapattinam is caught in a time-warp.” Now with the strong NGO contingent, the district is being artificially fast-forwarded into the future.

In Karaikal, the office of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is located in a bungalow rented for Rs 33,000 per month. MSF has offices in
Pondicherry and Nagapattinam too. Two new Boleros and a Qualis bear testimony to the INGO”s ‘field-work” in 30 tsunami-affected villages in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam. The World Vision office in Nagapattinam has rented a building for Rs 7,500. It would have fetched Rs 2,000 pre-tsunami. In Nagapattinam, the resourceful broker G. Anandan has rented offices and homes for more than 50 NGOs and the people who work for them. One of his clients is the NGO Coordination and Resource Centre (NCRC), a nodal agency established under UNDP”s supervision, housed in a sea-facing building rented for Rs 13,500 per month. NCRC has hired two office buildings and six residential ones for its staff. “The rents in Nagapattinam and neighbouring Karaikal have gone up fourfold,” says an understandably delighted Anandan. As far as Annie George, NCRC coordinator, is concerned: “The general infrastructure in Nagapattinam has improved post-tsunami. Power cuts have come down and the roads are much better.” The district administration certainly values the opinions of cash-rich NGOs which have made Nagapattinam their temporary home.

An intelligent estimate of the number of vehicles – Boleros, Scorpios, Tata Safaris, Qualises – procured by NGOs post-tsunami would be 80. Of these, a majority would have be servicing Nagapattinam and Cuddalore. Most of the vehicles would be disposed in less than a year. Says Eve Richard, field coordinator for MSF, “We are an emergency organisation. We will leave in a few months, but our partners will work.” The fuel consumption of these SUV guzzlers could perhaps meet the daily kerosene needs of the thousands of households in the temporary shelters.

In the early weeks of the tsunami crisis, there was great concern over the orphaned children and issues of adoption and child-trafficking. Over 11 months, 376 affected villages in TN have been treated as ‘orphans” which the NGOs have clamoured to ‘adopt”. The ‘adopters” sometimes neglect and abuse, and sometimes pamper their ‘children”. The NGOs certainly have not proved to be good parents.

UK-based Disaster Emergency Committee”s Contribution (to
India from its overall Rs 2800 crores)Contributing Agency

576.29

(*Comprising Discipleship Centre (DC), Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR) and Salvation Army)
Source www.tsunami.dec.org.uk

VEDAPRAKASH

29-01-2008

Note: I have some problem in posting this entry. Therefore,  have posted in two parts, as some portions asre truncated or not appearing in full.

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