India: A centre of counter-ideology

?Christians should work as part of a larger community to fight social injustice.? Ambrose Pinto SJ, interviewed by Arul Elango SJ, is completing his three-year term as Executive Director of the Indian Social Institute (ISI) in New Delhi. The Jesuit-managed institute works in a broad network with some 5,000 voluntary organisations and universities for the socio-cultural rights of the poor and minorities, especially dalits, tribals, women, fisherfolk and forest workers. ISI expresses solidarity with them in words and deeds through research, advocacy, networking and the elaboration of alternatives. The Institute has won credibility with its opposition to Indian nuclear policy and to Hindu nationalist ideology (Hindutva) which Fr. Pinto feels is in political and intellectual decline, opposed most of all by Hindus themselves. He explicitly invites the Church not just to react defensively when its own interests are directly attacked by extremists, but to learn to analyse problems at their roots, to co-operate with progressive forces in civil society, and to speak with one voice. The fact that the Church is a minority institution is no reason to isolate itself. As the people of God, the Church is called ?to mix with others in larger society for the nation?s concerns, and our institutions must identify with other communities and together work against all kinds of exploitation,? against ethnic-religious chauvinism (?communalism? in Indian parlance) and against policies of liberalisation and privatisation which benefit only the wealthy 5 percent. [HL10703]