Christian Leaders in India Encourage Holi Participation to Promote Religious Harmony

ICC Note: Christian leaders in India’s Madhya Pradesh state have encouraged their followers to participate in Holi celebrations to promote interreligious harmony. Madhya Pradesh has become a hotbed of Christian persecution in India with Hindu radicals attempting to alienate the tiny Christian community. Will Christian participation in Holi help mend the damages done by Hindu radicals?

03/04/2018 India (UCAN) – A Catholic Church leader in India has encouraged Hindus celebrating Holi on March 2 to welcome people of all religions so the event, also known as the festival of colors, can serve as a bridge between different faiths.

In Bhopal, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh, which has been branded a hotbed of anti-Christian activity, people could be seen dancing to the sound of beating drums throughout the day. They daubed colored paint on each other’s’ faces and clothes and sprinkled water to mark the advent of spring and wish for a plentiful harvest.

“It is a festival of joy and unity, peace and harmony for all India,” said Bhopal Archbishop Leo Cornelio.

The prelate wished “happiness and prosperity to our Hindu brethren” in the predominantly Hindu state, where he has been making efforts to build inter-religious amity by promoting the festivals of each faith.

Archbishop Cornelio, who also serves as chief of the state bishops’ council, made an appeal for “maintaining unity and harmony in the country” in a special festive message.

“The entire Christian community is with the majority community promising our support for all forms of universal brotherhood,” he said.

The prelate’s appeal comes as Christians complain of rising cases of radical Hindu violence after the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.

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