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India reacts to the death of Christian politician Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy

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Recently, the popular Chief Minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh died in a helicopter crash.What was not widely known before his death was that Reddy was a Christian! One of a small 3% minority of Christians in India, which is dominated by the Hindu religion. Let’s see whether his Christian faith made any difference in the way he was perceived by others.

Here is an article from the Hindustan Times about the reaction of the people.

Excerpt:

Andhra Pradesh plunged into gloom Thursday as it became known that Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy had died in a helicopter crash in the dense Nallamalla forests.

People cried inconsolably in the state secretariat, the chief minister’s camp office and Gandhi Bhavan, the headquarters of the ruling Congress party.

“He is my God. I can’t believe he is no more,” wailed a Congress party worker.

“He gave life to several people through Rajiv Arogyasri (health insurance scheme for poor). Nobody had imagined he will lose his life this way,” said another Congress worker.

The Times of India reports that Reddy’s Congress party swept the local elections in Andhra Pradesh.

Excerpt:

Riding on the sympathy wave following the death of former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh made a sweep of the byelections to local bodies.

Of the 18 Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies that went to polls two days ago, 15 fell in Congress kitty.

[…]The same was the case with the Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies where Congress clinched 12 out of 17 that went to by-elections.

[…]In municipal corporations, [Congress] won four out of five wards…

The Hindustan Times reports that a movie is in the works.

Excerpt:

After statues and temples immortalising late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, the popular leader who died in a helicopter crash early this month will come alive on the silver screen.

Telugu actor Rajasekhar will play the role of YSR, as the late leader was popularly known. Producer-director Puri Jagannath announced Monday evening that he would make the Telugu film titled Rajasekhara Reddy.

Flanked by actor couple Rajasekhar and Jeevitha, Jagannath said he was feeling honoured to make a movie on the towering leader, who enjoyed unbelievable popularity among masses.

“YSR was immensely popular. A large number of his fans died of shock or committed suicide after hearing about his death in the helicopter crash,” he said.

Last and best of all, here is an op-ed in the Deccan Chronicle sent to me by Shalini.

Excerpt:

This brings me to the role of religious minorities in India…

Christians form around 3 per cent of the population of India. There are not many very big Christian landowners or Christian industrial houses… Nevertheless, the community enjoys 100 per cent literacy and has done more for education and medical services of our country than others put together. I would hazard a guess that crime rates including corruption among Christians are probably the lowest.

By contrast, Sikhs who are the richest minority, forming around 2 per cent of the population, have 30 per cent illiteracy, high rate of crimes of violence, and probably the highest incidence of liquor and drug addiction. Worst of all is the plight of the largest minority, the Muslims who form about 13 per cent of our population. Although they have a few multi-billionaires … their literacy rates are the lowest, particularly among women… Instead of getting on with things that matter like education and health-care, their leaders waste most of their time asserting their separateness.

I regard Rajasekhar Reddy as the best example of what a state Chief Minister should be and the Christian contribution to India’s welfare as something other communities should emulate.

Meanwhile, in the West, we have the ACLU trying to suppress the public expression of the very faith that rationally grounds good works. You cannot have the good works of Christianity without the Christian beliefs. How hard is this for atheists to understand? On the atheistic view, survival of the fittest and the pursuit of pleasure in the here and now is rationally grounded. Self-sacrificial love for your neighbor is irrational on atheism.

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