Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 25+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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By- Dr. Aniruddha Babar,
Dept of Political Science, Tetso College, Dimapur, Nagaland
The garb of religion is the best cloak for power.
— William Hazlitt
As a Thinker and an Academician, I spend maximum of my time challenging my own notions and beliefs that has been developed over the period of time as a result of physical/sensory experiences, personal meditations and contemplations. I am always suspicious about what I see, what I read, what I learn, what I think, what I say and what I teach. My students and apprentices help me in this rigorous endeavor of ‘Self-examination’ and ‘Introspection’. This present work is a final result of a thought provoking classroom debate that started with academic discourse on ‘St. Augustine’s ‘City of God’.
Christian Socialism is a religious and political ideology that helps in integrating Christianity with socialism. Christian Socialism is mainly intended towards promoting socialist economy and left wing politics. Christian Socialism is developed and built on the teaching of the Bible. The proponents of Christian socialism believe that capitalism is the main evil of the society that results in causing inequality and discrimination. According to the proponents, Capitalism is idolatrous, and associated with the sin of greed. Therefore, Christian socialist considered capitalism as the main source of greed and inequality in the society. The first major movement related to Christian Socialism started in the United Kingdom in 19th century which intended towards becoming politically involved and theologically reflective.
However, despite of the significant Social Equality approach in Christian Socialism, it has been criticized by many scholars and researchers. Christian socialism has been significantly criticized for being pacifist and utopian. The pacifist belief informs that all forms of the violent acts are against the Christian belief. However, there have been Christian social pacifists, who have supported war. For example, Henry Scott Holland, John Clifford, R.H. Tawney supported the First World War.
Moreover, dealing with the debate on ‘Christian Socialism’, In Rendering Unto Caesar, Lawrence Reed, president emeritus of the libertarian-leaning Foundation for Economic Education, writes that Jesus was not a socialist in that he promoted voluntary giving and charity rather than the mandatory taking by government (taxes). Conservative evangelical Christian Johnnie Moore, Professor of Religion at Liberty University, a “bastion of the Christian right” in American politics, writing on the homepage of Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes, claimed that Jesus was a capitalist. Traditionalist conservative Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a Christian fundamentalist organization in the United States, also claimed that Jesus was a capitalist who advocated “voluntary redistribution of wealth”. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was critical of socialist doctrines, and warned that those who seek socialism “may soon have too much of it”. Specifically, he regarded collectivist Christianity as inferior to faith on an individual level. He said that “I would not have you exchange the gold of individual Christianity for the base metal of Christian Socialism”.
Christian socialists and their political ideology is criticized because it is based on utopian thinking and such a belief and thinking is not rooted in reality, rather it remains the vision of entirely just and perfect world merely in a theoretical form. Some of the scholars have also argued that Christian Socialism is a mere political thought, which displays the utopian dream in the worst sense of the present world. It has been further argued that considering the Christian Socialists ideologies are nearly impossible to be translated in practice and in policies of the government, because of lacking reality. Christian Socialism is far from providing any satisfactory answer to how they wish to overcome the problems associated with budget deficits, how they would address mass unemployment, complex tax issues, international relations, strategic affairs, trade & commerce and how they can address other forms of inequalities and discriminations in the society. The opponents of Christian Socialism have also argued that such socialism lack the strong proposal about how they wish society to function. Their utopian vision is considered to be very disengaged with the world around them, and therefore, their socialism is mere a fantasy that would never be able to achieve reality.
Although, Christian socialism is considered as the major critique of the post-modern capitalist’s society, but it is itself filled with many ambiguities. For the Christian Socialists, the new world that they wish to establish is not a society that is more just and safe; rather they consider it to be the ‘Kingdom of God’, and for establishing such kingdom, there would be a need of profound reversal of the entire social order, in which first shall be last and last shall be first (as stated under the New Testament of the Bible). Christian socialists have argued that those who have studied the teaching of the Jesus Christ would have known that he had hardly spoken about the life after death rather he has placed a strong emphasis on establishing the kingdom of God. Kingdom of God, means establishing a right and a communistic society, where every individual would be equal, as every man was made in the image of God. Thus, they shall be equal in his kingdom.
Christian Socialism is significantly inclined towards establishing a grand and glorious society, with the passionate aim of making the world like heaven. However, how real is this belief, when there are no strong strategies or policies to establish such society? How this new society would sustain? However, it has also been identified that not all the Christian Socialists have similar perspective, such as R.H. Tawney and William Temple have opposed such Christian view of establishing the kingdom of God or if such kingdom could be established ever on Earth. Tawney had been one of the most influential Christian Socialists, who had believed that humans could not be freed from their sinfulness, nor a perfect human society could be established. Therefore, it is important to consider and acknowledge the realistic view of the human nature, for understanding that how men and women would function within a new society.
Christian socialists have distinct perspective within themselves, for example, some of them believe that sinfulness of the humans would be ended for establishing the new world, while others within them argue that sinfulness of the humans could not be ended, but it would have no impact on establishing a socialist communist world. For example, a Christian Socialist Headlam, have written that sins would not disappear under socialism, but he nowhere suggests that it would have any impact on establishing a righteous society. These evidences informs that Christian Socialism is based on the fluid ideas that do not have any strong bases, rather theological ideas are tried to be included in political ideology of socialism. Christian Socialists seek to establish a society on the basis of mutual cooperation and collaboration. For example, Christian socialists Hardie, Lansbury, Tawney and Temple have positively argued about the collective ownership of the properties and land. Although, they believe that personal property would remain as it is, but it is the private property that is identified under dispute. However, again because of the lack of proper strategies and ideas about how such disputes would be resolved, Christian socialism again leaves a gap. This is the reason that Christian Socialism is denied and opposed as being not only the part of socialism but also the philosophical spectrum of Politics & Statecraft, because the Christian socialist methods are without any solid base, and ideas. Competition, which is an important element of the modern society, is completely against the Christian worldview, as competition is ethically dubious. Christian Socialism lacks the answer towards how the new society would be able to respond towards the extremely competitive, technologically oriented modern complex world. Therefore, Christianity and socialism are incompatible to each other in all forms, as both are dissimilar in forms of origin, aims, methods and principles.
Finally, as I lost deeper in the abyss of my mind in the middle of the silent night; I ask one question to myself. How wise is it to regenerate and crossbreed theological principles with political philosophy? Will Theology be able to withstand the ‘Realist Temptation’ of power’? Being a follower of Jesus Christ, a realist thinker and a student of Philosophy, Christian Theology and Comparative Religions; I can say that the Jesus Christ was a social reformer of his day, advocating the transformation of oppressive systems of power. He gave hopes to those who had been thrown at the bottom of the pit. Naturally, therefore, his first disciples were all from the lowest strata of society who could relate to his ‘teachings’, the ‘path’ and most importantly his ‘suffering’. However, with the passage of time the light of Jesus’ wisdom went through multitude of ‘prisms’; reaching to the kaleidoscopic paradox which not only disturbs me but also makes me want to question the nexus between the Political Power & Religious Faith. The Franciscan friar Richard Rohr (2018) explains this paradox:
“As long as Jesus’ followers were on the bottom and the edge of empire, as long as they shared the rejected and betrayed status of Jesus, they could grasp his teaching more readily. Values like non-participation in war, simple living, inclusivity, and love of enemies could be more easily understood when Christians were gathering secretly in the catacombs, when their faith was untouched by empire, rationalization, and compromise. In 313 A.D., Constantine legalized Christianity. It became the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380. After this structural change, Christianity increasingly accepted, and even defended, the dominant social order. The church slowly lost its free and alternative vantage point.  Before 313, the church was on the bottom of society. Within the space of a few decades, the church moved from the bottom to the top, literally from the catacombs to the basilicas. When the Christian church became the established religion of the empire, it started reading the Gospel from the position of maintaining power and social order instead of experiencing the profound power of powerlessness that Jesus revealed.”
As night passes, the clouds of thoughts gathers in my mind and my inner eyes starts searching for Jesus who has been in the ‘Prison’ of the conscience of his followers for eternity. Time has come to free ‘Jesus’ from our own selfish interests and political ambitions. Jesus was the first and last Christian who never gave ‘Christianity’, but rather taught how to live like a man which I believe we all have forgotten in our mad rage for the ‘POWER’.

The Karnataka High Court is holding a hearing on March 21 to tackle a legislative proposal for the regulation of online gambling in the state. If it pushes through, the proposal could be a step forward to regulating the sector in India for betting and gambling websites like PureWin.com.

Ban on online gambling and betting in Karnataka sought

On February 16, the state government presented a proposal before the Karnataka High Court that sought to ban all forms of online gambling and betting—until regulation is established. Gambling in Karnataka is governed by the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, as well as the national Public Gambling Act, 1867.

Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum granted a six-week timeframe, allowing the state government to file any objections to the proposal.

“AGA seeks time on the ground that a proposal to have a legislation is being placed before the cabinet. He seeks six weeks’ time,” the division bench stated in its order. “State government shall place on record the decision taken by the cabinet while filing the statement of objections.”

Filed by Sharada D R, the petition noted how the “complete regulatory vacuum” in the online betting and gambling sector has resulted in exposing the vulnerable sections of society—particularly youth—to the “hazardous and predatory situations” amid the ongoing pandemic. Karnataka is one of the six states that account for the majority of new COVID-19 cases in the country, according to the Health Ministry.

The petition pointed out that the state doesn’t have a mechanism to monitor whether an online game is a game of chance or a skill-based game. For instance, the game of rummy is considered a game of skill, but “what holds good for the game in the offline mode may not be true for the online mode.”

An ENV Media report, titled India’s Richest Cities and Its Large Online Gambling Communities, placed Karnataka among the states and cities with the biggest online gambling penetration and presence. Karnataka recorded 9.3% in traffic generation (along with West Bengal), while Telangana has 9.9% share. Leading the pack is Maharashtra with 17.4% in traffic generation.

Other states also reviewing online gambling acts

India’s gambling industry has been largely operating in a grey landscape at the moment, but that is poised to change in the near future as more state governments start to amend their Gaming Acts to match the current landscape.

The Kerala state government, for instance, has amended the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960 to ban online rummy with immediate effect.

In November 2020, the Madras High Court has asked the state government of Tamil Nadu to bring a law that will curb online betting, resulting in the introduction of an Ordinance recently. In Gujarat, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in October 2020 to add online gambling to the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh has also banned online gambling games including rummy, poker and fantasy sports. These popular games can be played on websites such as https://www.purewin.com/en-in/

The Tamil Nadu state government also passed a bold legislation to ban online betting. The bill, which has passed the state assembly, sought to give any individual violating the ban imprisonment of up to two years or fine not exceeding 10,000 rupees.

IT News
Imphal, April 25:

Amidst complaint about lack of oxygen supply across the country, the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) Imphal has taken up an urgent initiative with support from the Chief Minister of Manipur to make sure that the state doesn’t have the problem of oxygen shortages.
At what could be term as a relief for COVID -19 patients as well as those in need of oxygen support, RIMS authority had installed 5 PSA Oxygen Generators Plants yesterday. According to a source from the RIMS, each generator can produce 10 jumbo cylinders.
“Now RIMS has the capacity of producing around 50 Jumbo cylinders of Oxygen per day on its own. This unit is functional from yesterday”, the source added.
When asked to the Director A Santa in connection with the new initiative, Imphal Times has been told that the Oxygen generator plant is a new Technology.
“It’s called PSA ( Pressure Swing Adsorption) technology generating Oxygen from Atmosphere air. Most experts including Director of AIIMS Prof Guleria appreciated RIMS efforts for this environmentally friendly plants”, Director of RIMS A Santa informed.
Mention may be made that the Chief Minister of Manipur had stated that there will be no shortage of oxygen in the state.

IT News
Imphal, April 25:

The All India Youth Federation has demanded the resignation of the Narendra Modi Government over its failure in every aspect of managing the COVID pandemic.
“Narendra Modi government has failed in every aspect of managing the COVID Pandemic”, a statement signed by Aftab Alam Khan, National President of the AIYF and Thirumalai Raman, General Secretary alleged.
The statement said that the second wave of COVID-19 has put the nation again into serious troubles. The shortage of oxygen and medicine, particularly Ramdesivir and the government’s vaccine policy has made the scenario worst.
Union government initially announced that the vaccines will be provided free and even conducted “Vaccine Festival’ throughout the nation. Now, the Serum Institute has announced that the price of the vaccine is 150 INR for Union Government, 400 INR for State Governments and 600 INR for private hospitals, the statement said and added that this government which advocates for one nation, one tax, one religion and one language, has kept mum about two prices for one vaccine. Even now, the shortage of vaccines has become the headlines. AIYF demands the nationalisation of vaccine production companies such as Serum institute and Bharat Biotech.
The statement also said that Oxygen demand has killed many people across the nation. Anticipating the COVID second wave, the government should have concentrated on producing more oxygen that was exported in 2020-21 which is 50% higher than the previous year.
“This has caused the deaths due to oxygen demand. The AIYF accused the Union government as responsible for the death. The high court of Delhi has expressed its disbelief in the Union Government asking the government to beg or steal oxygen.
The AIYF also said that the BJP government has announced 5 Kg grains for 80 crore poor families. It said the quantity is negligible and demanded 7000 INR per family as Covid relief fund.
The AIYF alleged that the Covid -19 has exposed the inefficiency of the BJP government to handle issues and demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister and his cabinet .

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