theology by delhistephen


									                                  Understanding of Poverty
General Introduction
1. The Meaning and Definition of Poverty
1.1. Kinds of Poverty
2. Poverty as Traced Back in the History
2.1. Emergence of Poverty in the West
2.2. Situating Poverty in Indian History
3. Objective of My Study
4. Analysis of Poverty in India
5. Analytical Method of Poverty
6. My Recent Post Experience with the People in Slum
7. Statistical Presentation of Poverty in India
8. Causes of Poverty in India
8.1. Physical and Psychological Health Factors
8.2. Gender Disparity
8.3. Culture and Superstitions
8.4. Dowry
9. Impacts or Consequences of Poverty
9.1. Poverty Brings Underdevelopment
9.2. Division of Rich and Poor
9.3. Unemployment and Underemployment
9.4. Illiteracy
9.5. Poverty Brings People Politically Powerless
9.6. Poverty and Social Discrimination
9.7. Poverty and Land
9.8. Poverty in Religious Context
9.9. Economic Structure

Possible Suggestions
                                       Theology of Poverty
1. General and Common People Understanding of Poverty
2. Definition
3. Who are the Poor in the Bible?
4. Situation Poverty in the Bible
4.1. Old Testament Understanding of Poverty
5. New Testament Understanding of Poverty
5.1. Jesus‟ Understanding of Poverty and Kingdom
5.2. Understanding of Poverty in the Epistles
6. The Causes of Poverty Mentioned in the Bible
7. The Experience of the People Who is their Neighbour and the World
8. Their Experience of God
My Response
                              Understanding of Development
1. The Meaning and Definition of Development
2. Further Clarification on the Term
3. Historical Background of Development
4. Situating the Status of Development in India
5. Globalization
6. Right to Development
7. Development as Humanization
8. Development and Social Justice
9. Alternative Structural Change as Part of the Development
10. Success Story of Development of Dalits in R. K. Puram
11. The Causes and Impacts of Development
Critical Evaluation

                                Theology of Development
1. Definition
2. The Method of Development
3. Different Approaches of Theology for Development
i) An Ethic or Morality of Development
ii) A Pastoral Theology of Development
iii) A Prophetic Theology of Development
iv) A Systematic Theology
v) An Ecumenical Theology of Development
vi) An Existential Approach
4. Human the History Maker and Master of his/ her own Destiny
5. Gandhi‟s Principles of Development
6. Biblical Understanding of Human Development: A Concern of Theology
7. The Church and Development
7.1. The Response of the Church through Documents
8. A Call for Change and Transformation
9. The Mission of the Church
9.1. To Organize the People
9.2. Fraternity and Human Solidarity
9.3. Solidarity and Communion
9.4. Solidarity and Justice
My Response in general and Suggestions
General Conclusion.

General Introduction:
Poverty alleviation has been a pre-eminent goal of India‟s development efforts since its
independence. In pursuing this objective, the planning process in our country has been a prolific
ground for devising interventions. This brought often successful though occasionally overlapping
and ill-conceived. Public measures directed at poverty alleviation have focused on creating
adequate livelihood opportunities for the marginalised population. The provisioning of public
services and goods would bring a direct bearing on an individual‟s living standard and quality of
life. Thus, this might also strengthen the institutions and delivery mechanisms so that the poor
would be empowered, and the targeted development of backward regions might be achieved
through resource transfers and supportive policy measures.
Over the last six decades, there has been a significant decline in the incidence of poverty at the
national level in India, and yet there are a number of concerns that take away the shine from this
achievement. To begin with, the magnitude of poverty continues to be unacceptably high on any
count. India has the largest number of poor among all countries. It is home to one-fourth of the
world‟s poor. There are many pockets in the country where poverty is endemic and persistent.
There is ample evidence to show that inequalities in income, per capita consumption and socially
valued human development outcomes have increased between rural and urban areas and across
some regions /states. Despite a significant improvement in the growth rates of the economy,
particularly in the more recent years, it has not necessarily translated into a sharper reduction in
poverty. Growth though visible has not been adequately inclusive, and perhaps not even
sufficiently widespread. Although there has been a considerable step-up in public allocations to
poverty alleviation programmes, the results are far from corresponding. It has been argued that
besides serious implementation at the cross root level, the issues of development programmes in
agriculture sector might have held back the full impact of these programmes on poverty
alleviation. Therefore, I would say that finally there are changes in the composition and
distribution of the poor across regions and sectors of the economy that are perhaps not being
recognised and adequately reflected in the policy measures. It is a challenge to take a survey and
bring them back to experience the same equality, justice and peace in our country justly through
our constitutional and lawful means. Therefore, the first step to be taken, is to look the society as
it is physically and then do an analysis analogically including both visible structures and
invisible structures at all levels based on the current multiphase reality of poverty and
development its effects and causes with the aim establishing equality, justice, fraternity and just
human community.

                                     Understanding of Poverty
Poverty anywhere and everywhere is a vexed problem, which is more serious in a developing
country like India. It has also become a global phenomenon, which constitute two different kinds
of India. One is on the fast track to development, economic boom, e-governance, information
age, metros and BMWs, state of the art sports complexes, airports and expressways. On the other
hand, we fail to notice the rag pickers, street vendors, those who are busy scavenging and living
in the slums and side walks of the busy city. They constitute the underbelly of the country and
the city. They come from every state in India and have a claim to the national capital and other
mega cities as much as you and me. We need them but we do not affirm their presence because
of the work they do. We wish they were there for us but were invisible, wordless, voiceless and
silent. Due to their castelessness, human dignity, identity and equality at stage. Their very
existence is an admission of our failure to share the fruits of development with them. Therefore,
it is a challenging task for me to analysis the visible and invisible structures of the socio-
economic, political and religious at all levels and try to provide them their due right through
possible empowerment programs to bring about possible changes through approximate methods
for building a just human community. Therefore, I would be mainly focusing in this chapter how
the existing structures have made partially some comfortable and some in distress based on the
caste, work and its consequences.

1. The General Meaning and Definition of Poverty:
Common people living slum understand poverty as a state of deprivation which is marked by the
inadequacy of fundamental and basic needs of food, shelter and clothing.
According to the Random House Dictionary, poverty is, “The sate or condition of having little or
no money, good or means of support; condition of being poor, lack of something specified
deficiency of desirable ingredients, qualities; scantiness and insufficiency.1”
Mc Namara says that absolute poverty is “a condition of life so degraded by disease, illiteracy,
malnutrition and squalor as to deny its victims basic human necessities”2.
A. Sen’s understanding of poverty is that it is highly unequal distribution for all types of assets
including human capital assets and the lack of opportunity to use labour-power leaves at least
one-third of the population into poverty3.

  J. Murickan SJ, (Ed), “Poverty in India, Challenges and Response” A Xavier Board Publication, Bangalore, 1988,
p 311.
  Desrochers, John. “The Evolving Poverty scenario”, Integral Liberation, (Dec 1997), Vol.1, No.4, p.195
  J. Murickan SJ, (Ed), ibid, p. 57

Muhammad Yunus, (Bangladesh), says that poverty is the denial of all human rights. It is not
created by the poor. It is created and sustained by the „system‟ we have built around us4.

Two Kinds of Poverty:
1. Absolute Poverty refers to unfulfilled minimum needs, especially with regard to subsistence
levels of nutrition. 2. Relative Poverty concerns the unequal distributions of income or
expenditure in society and the comparative deprivation of some groups and individuals5.

The three ways of understanding poverty:
1. Poverty as the result of fate:
According to this understanding poverty is considered as being predetermined, as being the result
of forces beyond the control of man. Therefore, poverty will be always with us. This is also
called natural poverty.
2. Poverty is the result of backwardness:
This understanding shows that the people are poor because the country is more than 200 years
behind Europe and USA. They lack technology, they lack education. The institutions are
outdated. Therefore they require modernization.
3. A third understanding of poverty reveals poverty is not fate but it is unjust social order seen as
a historically created condition. It is the making of man and of the institutions created by man in
history. It is seen as directly and proportionately related to the overdevelopment of a few6.

2. Poverty as Traced Back in the History:
2.1. Emergence of Poverty in the West:
The origin of poverty in the west dates back to the beginning of nomadic civilization. Later they
became food gatherers, hunters, and pasturors and slowly became settled farmers in a fixed place
as allotted for their needs. However, gradually with the increase in the members of the family,
the land became insufficient to catter for their needs. This had effects on both nuclear and joint
family and for the community as a whole. Thus, the gap between the haves and have-nots began
to widen to form upper and lower class. Though initially the term „poverty‟ used in a narrow
sense, later it polluted the other systems in the society, in and through different ideologists, isms,
revolutions and the world wars. Today the western understanding of poverty is solely
manipulated and engineered by the few powerful and rich individuals. It is controlled by the
market economy. It is the market that decides the fate of the lower class and the have-nots.
Thanks to different government policies and other health, social securities, one may not find a
destitute poor in the west as compared to the third world countries. However, for sure, there are
poor who victims of market economy as a whole are.

2.2. Situating Poverty in Indian History:

  Desrochers, John. “The Evolving Poverty scenario”, Integral Liberation, (Dec 1997), Vol.1, No.4, p.208
  Desrochers, John. “The Evolving Poverty scenario”, Integral Liberation, (Dec 1997), Vol.1, No.4, p.195
  J. Murickan SJ, (Ed), ibid, p.109-111

 The primitive people though they had nothing but had everything, which means not mere
accumulation of goods and wealth as we think of today. On the contrary, they were more
dependent on nature and on the community for survival. It was the convergence of all members
of the community to contribute his/her might for the welfare of the family, village or community.
However, the classification of labour with the introduction of civilization and industry has
brought divisions in the work, culture (customs), thought patterns and lifestyle. This social
stratification was strengthened with the import of Aryan civilization in India. Gradually, this
stratification was systematized and sanctioned by the Aryan religious beliefs. As a result, the
focus was diminished on the goal of the community and the division of the society was
emphasized. Thus, the gap between the different castes pervaded and got full sanction in the
society at various realms namely in religion, philosophy, politics, economic, and culture.
Therefore, when we speak of poverty today we cannot but avoid casteism with regard to Indian
past history.

3. Objective of my Study:
The objective of my study is to analyze, evaluate and suggest measures to alleviate poverty in
India with relation to its causes and effects, thereby, to arrive at a Christian theological meaning
of our existence.
To expand my thinking and to realize this objective, I would like to consider the following
questions namely, why do we need to study poverty in this globalized, scientific and developed
world? Why do we find a consistent growth in the number of poor in the society? What are the
causes and expected outcomes of this study? What are my rights and duties as Indian citizen and
as a Christian towards my less privileged brothers and sisters?
4. Analysis of Poverty in India:
As India is characterized with two major phenomena namely the massive poverty and the
religious pluralism, here my focus would be to situate this extreme poverty as against economic
growth, development, lack of human dignity, inequality, unjust social structures, cultural
revolution and lack of political will.
To lay focus on the analysis of Indian poverty, one cannot neglect the five-year plans since
independence. Among 11 five-year plans, there are some that specifically focus on poverty.
The five year plans our country are meticulously planned and executed for the development of
agriculture, domestic products and investments of dams through irrigation etc. The fourth plan
nationalized 14 major Indian banks and green revolution was brought about wars against
Bangladesh and Pakistan in 1971. The Fifth plan introduced electricity supply act and widened
the Indian national high way along with the increase of tourism. The eleventh plan (2007-2012)
which is the most recent one had its objectives namely poverty reduction, developing high
quality employment, health care, reducing illiteracy among the people, building up infrastructure
and reducing the gender gaps and fostering environment7.

5. Analytical Method of Poverty:

 R. Vashum and Prakash Louis (Ed), “State, Development and Identity in south Asia, A search for Alternative
Paradigms” Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, 2002, p. 34-35.

Under the analytical method, I intend to employ the following: 1. Interviews 2. Questionare
3.Tabulation of statistics 4. Evaluation

6. My Recent Past Experience with the People in Slums:
People from Salem district in Tamil Nadu experienced massive drought in the years between
1965-1967 which forced a group of people to migrate to Delhi and settle in four different places
namely Kanak Durga Colony in Sec-XII at R. K. Puram, Shiva Camp at Vasant Vihar,
Kusumpour Bhaghadi at Vasant Vihar, F- Block, Air Force Colony and Jhadarpour at Panjabi
Bhagh. These people reached Delhi hoping that they would live a better life in comparison to
their native places but they were not given recognition by the locals and neither the government
helped them. The locals ill-treated them as they belonged to backward caste (Dalits).
Their basic amenities were not fulfilled. Somehow, they accommodated themselves to the local
customs and found a little place where they squeezed themselves. These shanties are called as
slums today. They lost their culture, dignity, oppressed and human rights are violated. They still
continue to fight for their rights but there is no one to pay heed to these feeble voices.
Chetanalya, the NGO through various community development programs tries to uplift them.
Being part of this organization I have seen their struggles and life difficulties when I was taking
survey of an area namely Kanak Durga Colony. Though this organization helps them to form
Self Help Groups this does not give them security for life. Their living conditions and sanitations
are appalling. They do not even have Election id, rations card etc. At times some of the political
parties try even to confiscate the land that they posses. Their struggle for basic human rights
continue to be a dream unfulfilled.
My intention of doing this study is to conscientise them about their rights and to help in whatever
way possible to uplift them. At the same time to introspect myself and see, how much their
struggle affects me personally. Is it merely a part of my theological study or to make their
struggle my struggle and fight for their rights as God given mission of my priesthood just like
Moses was given the mission of delivering the Israelites from the clutches of pharaoh?

7. Statistical Representation of Poverty in India:
The following table clearly explains about the overall percentage of people living below poverty
line.(Number and percentage of population below poverty line 2004-2005 Based on MRP-

All India                  21.8        1702.99       21.7       682.00      21.8         2384.99

8. Causes of Poverty in India:
8.1. Physical and Psychological Health Factors:
Inadequate nutrition in childhood itself is an effect of poverty which would weaken, damage,
undermine and challenge, the ability of individuals to cultivate their full human power,
command, supremacy and thus makes them more defenseless to poverty. According Professor
B.M. Hegde, in his article in India Today says that our country has the largest number of

nutritional immune of deficiency syndromes among children more than 67 million in all. As the
physical health deteriorates the poor people have fear, anxiety, anguish, sadness, worries,
depression, grief, pain, despair, melancholy, mental suffering, stress, hopelessness and pressure
which put down people to lay down their life besides their caste and injustice done to them.

8.2. Gender Disparity:
Our country initially failed to recognize women as equal to men. They were subjugated by both
culture and religion as a weaker sex and made to work more than men did. In spite of having
worked tirelessly, day and night the price that they get for their service is only complaints and
gossips. There is no equality even in this modern and scientific world. However, our
Government is trying to provide equality in all the ways possible through different agencies and
community organization and empowerment programs people attitude towards women
empowerment still remains a vague idea. Because their right to education and owning land is still
forbidden in some of the states in our country, like widows are not given land and if they are
dalits then they doubly discriminated and exploited. Thus, they are thrown open to the world
where they do not get anything but suffer with poverty. This is also one of the causes, which
forces them to go for sex-workers. Thus poverty puts them still down8.

8.3. Culture and Superstitions:
People are born in a particular culture, society and tribe or clan that determines their way of life
it was sanctioned and approved by Varna system in the ancient India. The superstitious beliefs
also became part of culture. Though Gandhi, our Father of Nation, tried to abolish casteism yet it
still plays a vital role in the modern India. Low caste person may have good qualifications but
not recognized by community. Low caste people are not allowed to go to schools and temples.
Always the upper classes have the fear that education might bring a social change and therefore
education is forbidden to the lower caste people9.

8.4. Dowry:
Dowry in India was given as matter of honour and prestige. However, today dowry has become
part of stystem, which stiffen the necks of the poor girls. Money is used to buy and sell girls in
the marriage market. The people living in below poverty line are being turtured when they are
not given the expected dowry. This disturbs them psychologically that they are mentally stressed,
not able to get out fear. Thus, they have no other option than dieing on their own costs10.

9. Impacts or Consequences of Poverty:
9.1. Poverty Brings Underdevelopment:
Growth in the west was inspired by the revolutions. This inspired them to bring industrialization
but in India the freedom struggle, itself was the result of demographic revolution, which had an
immediate success in our nation through different vital patriarchs. It is not easy to develop
because we are dealing with cultural factors. On the other hand, lack of infrastructure,
  Misra. S. N, “Poverty and its Alleviation” Deep Publications, Rajouri Garden, New Delhi, p.101-102.
  Amaladass.Anand, Raj.L Sebasti, Elampassery. Jose, (Ed), “Philosophy and Human Development” Satya Nilayam
Publications Madras,1986,P.23-24
   Chacko. Shubha “Quest For The Right To Information ”, Integral Liberation” Vol. 3, No 1, (March 1999). P.39

unavailability of the resources to the common people, illiteracy and lack of co-operation with the
Government projects in fulfilling it for the common good of the people were other causes that
obstructed the growth. It all shows the capability and condition of the people which is within in
the nation could be impediments, implicit and internal causes. Therefore, people go to developed
countries to have a secured and safety place to live where they could earn their livelihood and

9.2. Division of Rich and Poor:
The division is of rich and poor is also equal to dividing the human into two pieces, one that of
human with rationality and the other with only instinct that is of animal. This is what we
experience in our daily life in our society that we live. It is very nice to see our country having a
well-established structure of caste, which not only distributed the work to have better life but
also made easy to identify who belong to which caste by their settlements in the society. This is
the positive of the society. At the same time when we see the life of the people living under this
structure, it is like the hungry cow, which eats everything faster and when it rests, brings back
everything swallowed to mouth and munches. This is the life style of this structure or the patern
of their life where the rich hunt everything and when they rest, they bring back to their memory
and enjoy about their hunting. Whereas the poor grass, take time to grow and come up. This is
how the poor are identified in our society. The poor are driven bit-by-bit even to the lost drop of
their blood or breath.

9.3. Unemployment and Underemployment:
A person gets educated after a long struggle at the time it costs a family to sacrifice a lot. The
parents sell everything that they own but the person fails to get a job, as there is lot of corruption
and competitions. This makes them to become poorer. It could be also because of the
development of the hi-tech and industrial development where numbers of the workers have been
removed because of the latest technology used in manufacturing. This reduced manpower into
machine power. This creates psychological problem of rejection, which further leads them to
psychological depression.
Underemployment is a kind of oppression from the rich and powerful landlords who would
undermine, undercut and debase them and suppress them. The labour of the person is not
respected but it is being sold and in return given very less wages. There is also underemployment
because of the lack of infrastructure, lack of development projects, lack of education, lack of
sanitations and hygienic living, lack of distribution of land, lack of resources available for the
people and so on. The underemployment could be also from the people‟s side. It is because of
lack of openness to change of life, lack of co-operation and lack of economic status.

9.4. Illiteracy:
It is through education the people are given awareness to know their status and social standard in
the society. . Education is needed in rural areas for the change of methods of cultivation so that
we could introduce new crops and bring forth multiple percentage of income. Moreover, it is also
equally needed for the urban people to live a decent live in the cities. This education can be

     Misra. S. N, ibid, P.104.

availed by those who can afford it. Unfortunately, poor cannot even secure one time meal how
will they be able to afford to education.

9.5. Poverty Brings People Politically Powerless:
The people living in poverty not only lack power to sustain themselves but also lack political
capacity. Poverty makes the people helpless, defenseless, vulnerable, weak, frail, unarmed,
powerless and unguarded. Thus, their life is threatened by the people with power who cannot
only buy their votes but also can buy their lives too. That is how the people lose their identity
and political power in our country. The people are given or rather forcefully exchanged their rite
to vote with the livelihood of money. Thus, they do not know what they do and what have to be
done to their right to vote. However, this happens mostly by the rich people who dominate the
poor and oppress them. Thus, their rite to vote is deleted in their system, which requires
conscientization and creating awareness through education.

9.6. Poverty and Social Discrimination:
When the people live below poverty of any caste falls prey to social discrimination. Because we
are social beings who have social standard in the society, therefore we give respect and dignity to
others as long as they are able to live up to our expectation and level. If they are below our
consideration of status then our value of showing dignity to that person also day-by-day
diminishes. Sometimes it reaches even to the level of treating them as inhuman. Our relationship
thus breaks and we would try to give them separate place in the society for them and try to give
them separate name. That is how the dalit and the low caste people are discriminated every
minite in their work places. It is only because they are poor and not able to come up in lives due
to lack of fundamental livelihood. They depend upon them for their existence even after
undergoing all kinds of injustice, immoral acts in their lives only because they want to live. This
is social discrimination is like putting the dust in our eyes.

9.7. Poverty and Land:
The land is the source of our life and existence. When this is being gripped then we live
nowhere. We lose our identity, life and culture. Thus, our country is poor or in fact, our land is
poor because of the colonization. The foreigners have taken the richness away and we are left
with out of choice. Still we try to make use of the land for our survival. Thus the land that we
live are our home and we build our home according to our desire. However, the effect of the
colonization and the effect of the development projects exploit our land, very, much which cause
our existence into trouble. It affects the total surroundings and us. Thus, we exposed to various
kinds of diseases and all kinds of natural calamities. Sometimes it is due to multi-national
projects people are forcefully made to vacate the place and become landless. This is one of the
causes, which threatens the live of the people.

9.8. Poverty in Religious Context:
Nehru wanted to establish casteless nation or in fact wanted to eradicate caste system in our
nation. Nevertheless, our legislatives failed to execute them in order because if they do it will be
loss for them. They will not get servants for menial works and for other works. That is the reason

they want to keep them in their own caste. It religiously sanctioned and proved as God‟s plan
through „Karma theory‟. Therefore, even if they try to come up in their lives it is against God‟s
plan and the society will not accept them or recognize them. However, society would recognize
as they are. This is how they were not allowing them to have education or to get any access of
government facilities.

9.9. Economic Structure:
Our nation is opened to highly competitive zone of globalization. This reality adds certain sweet
and hard realities to common people‟s life. The immediate truth before us is the globalization,
which is blind towards growth with injustice. The army of people joining inhuman life
conditions is on the hike and those outside in plenty are far above to them and further escalating.
Thus, we can see not only the gulf between the ideal globalization of rich through multistructures
and complexes of skyscraps but also the slums widening day after day due to poverty in both
rural and urban areas. Our country is still under the pressure of UN and it is supplying the best
quality of production to the world economy rather than sharing and supplying it our nation for
our economy. We get the second or third quality of production that is equal to the duplicate of
the original. This shows that our economy is trying to appease the developed countries and want
to keep them satisfied. Therefore, our economy is still not able to develop further. This is also
because of lack of availability to the common people, people suffer in the sense when the prices
are fixed by the market people the poor become daily poor and finally destitution would be the
cause of it. Therefore, the structure of economy should be rearranged so that the poor could also
participate not only in the decision-making but also in the price fixing for the market12.

Possible Suggestions:
1. Promoting awareness programs through both Government schemes and NGOs activities 2.
Providing non-formal education to the illiterate 3. Providing health care facilities 4. Giving
training on capacity building and income generation 5.Providing empowerment and
encouragement to use improved technology for cultivation 6.Building proper sanitization and
proper hygienic environment through different organization at different areas like co-operative
societies, land mortgage bank, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana,
Swarna Jayanti Shahri Rojana, Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana etc13.
Through my analytical studies on Indian poverty, I finally come to have a new understanding
that poverty has to be taken holistically, not partially. It is not a natural calamity but man made
calamity. Therefore, we are still struggling with it in all walks of our lives. We have listened to
different kinds of suffering or situation in which people set tears. This is one of its kinds where
in which the poor listens to his own cry of the stomach and sets tears. Moreover, all our constant
Governmental and NGO‟s working in our country should make sure that this epitome of poverty
through their acts must subdue this reality. Thus, poverty has to be assessed by how well the
poor are able to get the benefits of development programmes and welfare schemes envisaged in

   R. Vashum and Prakash Louis (Ed), “State, Development and Identity in South Asia” Indian social institute, New
Delhi, 2002,p.116
   A. R. Desai, “India’s Path of Development” A Marxist Approach, Popular Prakashan PVT. LTD., Bambay, 1984,

the Plans and to what extent they can influence decisions that affect their life. It implies that the
poor must have cultural, socio-political liberty and civil rights. If the deprived are not given such
power, as signs of the time demonstrate to us, they would raise their context through their mass
mobilization, an obvious example is the resistance offered by the people of Goa against Dupont
Chemicals, Bhopal biogas, and so on at different places. The tribals are fighting for their
ancestral land and rights against the multi-national companies and even from the Government,
which suppose to support and preserve them. Therefore, it is obvious that the present situation in
which we live is not of the olden golden days where they treated them callously, coldheartedly
and unsympathetically. Now, when the powerless rise against the unjustly powerful, it is difficult
to suppress their voices of protest rather it embodies the rich to give the poor their due. Thus if
we follow each one care one then we can alleviate poverty in our society and country as a whole.

                                           Theology of poverty
God creating all of us in his own image and likeness never intended anyone to be poor. However,
in fact our live experience of our country portrays something contrasts to the intention of God
shown through the analysis of the lost chapter. Many live below poverty line because of the
injustice existing at all levels in the society. However, nature has produced a common right for
all, but greed has made it a right for a few. Thus, we find according to the first chapter how
especially dalits and low caste people are discriminated, humiliated and dehumanized politically,
socially, culturally, economically and even religiously. Therefore, my concern in this chapter
would be on the majority of the poor and downtrodden who are deprived of their human dignity,
identity and personhood. Because I have lived with the dalits, experienced their joys and
suffering, and participated in their aspiration, vision and demand therefore I would like to give
my experiential theological reflection in the light of the Bible and church teachings in the context
of multiphase reality of poverty.

1. General and Common People Understanding of Poverty:
People living in the slum told me that poverty is their fate and punishment from God that
deprived them of their right to life, food, shelter, identity and human dignity.

2. Definition:
Poverty is a lack of the means of subsistence (food, clothing, shelter, and so on). But besides
privations of this kind, poverty also connotes helplessness when faced with the demands of life:
ignorance, weakness, bondage, isolation, defenselessness against injustice. Such poverty is more
or less relative. The most radical experience of poverty is the absolute destitution of death14.
Poverty is explained as God‟s will and disposition; or as misfortune and fate; or as punishment
for sin; or as a blessing, which conforms us to the poverty and passion of Jesus Christ. It would
be also result of the people‟s lack of initiative, industry and thrift; or finally as a consequence of
the dominant socio-economic structure15.

     Rohner. Karl, “Theology of Poverty” Encyclopedia.
     J. Murickan SJ, (Ed), ibid, p. 119.

Mother Teresa says that poverty is a kind of deprivation from something, which every human is
endowed inherently with the right to have. The poverty of the lonely, the unloved, the outcost
and the unwanted those are hungry not only for bread but also for love. I think the poorest of the
poor are those who are not yet touched rather, those who have not allowed themselves to be
touched by God‟s love16.

3. Who are the Poor in the Bible?
In the Old Testament Yahweh shows a special favouritism towards the poor, the weak, the
downtrodden and the anawim. They are the economically destitute and the socially outcast,
typified by the characteristic biblical figures of exploited powerlessness: the widow, the orphan
and the refugee. In the New Testament Jesus showed his priority towards the Samaritans,
Gentiles and other marginalized groups17.

4. Situating Poverty in the Bible:
It is our faith experience that it is neither a sin to be rich nor a blessing to be poor. Alternatively,
it is a blessing to neither be rich nor curse to be poor. Therefore, we have contradicting views.
Because we find right from the beginning of the book of genesis God blesses Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob abundantly. In the story of the Exodus, when Israel left Egypt, they did not leave with
empty hands. They left with “articles of silver, gold, clothing”18 (Ex 12:35) and “flocks and
herds a great multitude of livestock”19 (Ex 12:38). Even Job was blessed more riches than what
he had after undergoing all kinds of calamities. King Solomon is shown in 2Chr 9:22 that “So
King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom”20. Besides these, we
also find Israelites suffered and discriminated by all other powerful countries, same like the
Dalits in India experience. How it could be possible that they had everything yet they were poor,
oppressed and suppressed. How could the God who created equally make some to suffer in this
mass poverty and others enjoy with their riches. These were the questions even the Dalits too
asked me when I lived with them. Then how do we understand about poverty and wealth? That
time I was not able to but now I could explain the people. I told them that to understand this fact
we need to know the mind and intention of God as I told in my introduction of this chapter.
Therefore, now let me go down to the reality of the Israelites‟ experience of poverty in the OT
and Jews in the NT to give some sort of answer to this group of people. Why there was poverty
and what were the possible reasons behind it from the Bible?

4.1. Old Testament Understanding of Poverty:
We all know that God is the Creator of all the universe and everything in it belong to him.
Therefore, there is no distinction of rich and poor but we all belong to him. Poverty happened to
exist not by God‟s intention but by human greed. Because we know that God loves his creation
and he honored human and made them stewards. However, this was distorted by our ancestors

   Desrochers, John. “The Evolving Poverty scenario”, Integral Liberation, A BSA Trust Publication, Bangalore
(Dec 1997), Vol.1, No.4, p.211
   Samuel Rayan, “Chronicle, Myths to Start By”, living word, Pontifical Institute, Alwaye, Vol. 83.
No.5(September-October 1977), p.381
   Ex 12:35
   Ex 12:38
   Chro 9:22

and greed entered into this world in and through their disobedience. Thus, we find four fold
alienations from God, oneself, with other and society. This created an unjust societal structure.
Because human concentrated on developing and attaining his name and glory without realizing
that he/ she is beloved creature of God. Moreover, God intervened and destroyed everything
including their Babel Tower they built. Still God listened to the pleading of Abraham and blessed
him yet we find the same consequence of ill-treating the other because of greed and jealousy.
This caused the people to fall under poverty and had nothing no dignity and identity as God‟s
children. Nevertheless, God again selected Moses to be God‟s colleague in this work. He was
chosen because he too had taken note of the affliction and the poverty of the people and had
reacted with anger, had intervened and acted with force. He never let the fire of indignation and
protest and the longing to liberate die down in his heart. From then on, the true living God is the
one who liberates the oppressed, acts to abolish misery and renders justice to the poor. Thus, we
find that the Bible is giving us an understanding of poverty not as natural condition, the fruit of
one‟s Karma, but as the result of oppression, whether human or demonic. Therefore, poverty is
not willed by God but is the result of human sinfulness and injustice. By nature, every Israelite
had a right to land not of ancestors but of God. The land gives them prosperity, freedom, peace,
dignity and identity which demands all truly human life working for the betterment of Got.
In order to subdue the poverty, the Israelite had the sabbatical and jubilee years. Every seventh
year the land should have rest and after every “seven weeks of years”21 (Ex 23:10f, Lev 25) there
was to be a general emancipation. The fields were to lie fallow and everyone could re-enter his
ancestral property. The land cannot be sold absolutely since it belongs to Yahweh. Israelites can
not be cast into perpetual slavery, for they are the servants of the Lord who has brought them out
of Egypt.
In wisdom literature, Poverty is quite realistically presented in Job 24, where the poor are
portrayed as hungry, thirsty, naked, and suffering from various kinds of injustice and oppression
including the loss of wealth, family, and life. In (Pro 29:7, 30:14) we find the most grievous
examples of poverty and severest rebukes come from the prophets. It should be noted, however,
that the prophets were not primarily spokespersons for the poor or the oppressed people; they
were spokespersons for God. Therefore, they clearly called for attention of the people to the
misuse of riches and the abuse of the poor but they were primarily messengers of the Lord.
Particularly, Amos is quite graphic in his portrayal of the oppression of the poor. The poor are
bought and sold, trampled, crushed, oppressed, forced, and denied justice by those who are in a
position to do. Their treatment is a striking example of the waywardness of God's people from
the covenant obligations and their unique relationship with the Lord. Amos underscores this
situation: "They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on
the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed" (2:6-7)22.

   Chamakala, Jacob, “Economic Liberation according to Biblical Law”, St. Joseph‟s Kotagiri, Jeevadhara, April
1976, pp, 170.
   Bernard Orchard, M.A, Sufcliffe.F.Edmund, S.J, (Editors Committee), “A Catholic Commentary on Holy
Scripture”, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd, London Edinburgh, Pairy Melbourne, Toronto, New York. P. 474 -477

5. New Testament Understanding of Poverty:
The situation in India today is not altogether unlike that which Jesus faced in the Palestine of his
time. There too the imperial exploitation of Rome was aggravated by ruthless exploitation by
local elites, religious and secular. Palestine was a colony of Rome. The Roman‟s exacted taxes
and the unscrupulous tax-collectors too added their charges. With this come, the religious
aristocracy who also demanded unjustly high for money exchange and sacrifice. Thus the result
of all this was a growing impoverishment of the common people. Increasing rural indebtedness
brought on by the heavy civil and religions taxation let to the selling off of small land holdings,
which they had normally used for agriculture in pre-Roman Palestine. As a result there appeared
a growing rural proletariat of dispossessed small farmers, now become landless day labourers in
widespread poverty among the peasant population. In this situation Jesus‟ ministry of teaching,
preaching, healing and performing miracles directly addressed the people‟s needs of spiritual,
physical, psychological, socio-economic and political. He also directly confronted the persons
and structures of power and authority. He pointed to the inbreaking of the reign of God here and
now and in and through himself by saying that “Today this scripture is fulfilled”.

5.1. Jesus’ Understanding of Poverty and Kingdom:
Kingdom is not limited to geographical boundary but it is a free, fraternal, non-exploitative
community, which is announced by Jesus as the fulfillment of the hopes of Israel, his people.
Building the kingdom of God on earth was clearly the central mission of Jesus. Though Jesus
gave no definition of the Kingdom, yet we find his preaching, sayings, parables, healings and
beatitudes, and his table fellowship meal point to the building of kingdom irrespective of cast,
race, colour, rich and poor. The good news that he came to announce is to the poor, that is to
bring liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and to usher Jubilee year
which is the year of grace celebrated once every fifty year. He also came to announce God‟s
unconditional love, leading all humans and all creation to participate in God‟s own life and love
in order that the goal of building kingdom would be established. Jesus‟ short active life is fully
engaged in this task of community building and communion making. During his ministry, Jesus
expressed his courage by breaking the traditional boundaries, religious laws and customs to lay
foundation for a just human community which presupposes togetherness of equals and hence
fellowship. His preaching and his life represent a total paradigm shift, a new human culture of
solidarity, a new ethos, the new Christian character. Lk ch. 15 has been termed the good news of
the Good News of Jesus, or a summary of the good news. The prodigal father, symbolizing the
Abba-Father of Jesus waits for his lost son. In a patriarchal system, this is unimaginable. Nor is
the reception and complete rehabilitation that was given to the prodigal. Children had no rights
and so to see such a father is truly amazing. Equally telling are the other two parables of lost
sheep and the lost coin. This shows that we can never be lost to God‟s love and care because we
are precious in God sight. Therefore, He will search and look till He finds us. Indeed, already in
the OT, God was shown as caring, loving and forgiving. In NT carries it to new heights. Or again
think of the Great Dinner, representing the Kingdom Meal. All are invited, even the poor, the
marginalized of society.23

     Thomas V. Kunnunkal, “Human Right and the Gospel Paradigm” VJTR, (May 2002) PP-331.

5.2. Understanding of Poverty in the Epistles
Exhortations to detachment from the economic and social pressures of life give way, in the post-
Pauline letters to warnings against riches as a danger to salvation. And we find in 1Tim 6:6-10 a
stunning judgment on the insatiable hunger of the consumer societies of the “developed world
and also to those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and
hurtful desires that plunge human into ruin and destruction. It urges a Gandhian contentment
with the basic necessities of life and propounds the oft-repeated but the little credited maxim that
“the love of money is the root of all evil”.
The equality of persons before God is an important principle of the New Testament with the
most powerful statement of the equality of rich and poor coming from James, who emphasizes
God's sensitivity to the poor and their faith (2:5). He notes that discriminating between the rich
and the poor is both a sin against God (2:9) and an insult to the poor (2:6).

6. The Causes of Poverty Mentioned in the Bible:
Oppression, fraud, exploitation, disobedience, persecution, misfortune, laziness, negligence,
gluttony, greed, castism, malnutrition, unjust structure, unequal distribution and heavy taxing,

7. My Experience of the Slum people: Who are their Neighbour and the World?
The poor perceive the OTHER as similar to themselves like something similar to Jesus‟ love
commandment and Adivasi‟s at the human level. They feel at home with those who care for
them. Because, their experience is unique to themselves and their strength lies in their
generosity, spirituality, equality, open-mindedness and spirit of service. Therefore, Origen says
that it is our duty of all Christians to fast as a way to feed the hungry and support the poor. The
wealthy and the clergy have a special obligation to do so. Aristides adds that the poor also are
bound to help other poor. Moreover, if there is one poor and needy among them, and they have
no extra means, they fast two or three days to provide the necessary food for the one in need24.
This is my personal experience with the dalits that whatever they have, they share in one name of
building humanism like the early Christian community which is practically present in the form
of SCC. They express solidarity with those who voluntarily share their suffering. They expect
help form the powerful and well to do. They seek harmony and peace. They feel insulted when
evicted at regular times from their shanties by the government. Lack of education cripples them
when they meet others they inferior.
The outside world seems challenging and beyond their reach. They feel that it is unjust. They
feel deprived of basic necessities by the rich from whom they have to literally beg. They do not
have easy access to hospitals in times of ill health. They feel deprived of basic happiness by the
rich. They have demand better facilities from the government. They have high respect for guests
and visitors. They even sacrifice their own food to make a guest feel at ease. They wish that one
day the world would come to accept them and realized the pain and sorrow of hard living25.

     J. Murickan SJ, (Ed), ibid, p. 145
     Fernandes, M Lancy, “Being a Voice for the Voiceless” Indian Currents, Vol.XXII, Issue NO.9, PP.37-39.

8. Their Experience of God:
In spite of their state, they believe in a just and caring God who sustains them in the midst of
misery. They feel that God is not allowed to bring prosperity to them because of the hard-hearted
rich. They do not actually blame God for their misery, but the well-off. They accept everything
in life as God‟s will. Prayer and faith in the providence of God helps them accept life one day at
a time. They do not worry about tomorrow for they know that God will provide. Festivals are a
time for them to forget their grief and renew their hope. They never forget to perform the
traditional rituals, for they believe that these bring them solace and peace26.

My Response:
Today we are called to be Prophetic proclaimer, pioneers and partners in building the kingdom.
Therefore, it is also worth to recall the words of US President Barack Obama, “Change we can,
Change we must and Change we will.”27 We have to open our eyes to accept the fact that the
poor too are humans with the same feelings and aspirations as ours. Therefore, we need to be re-
humanized. Remember, the oppressor is dehumanized by dehumanizing the oppressed. There
needs to be a transition from socialism to selfless love. Therefore, it is up to us to be one with
them and understand them. We must seek the well-being of others by „being more‟ rather than
having more. Their dehumanized cry needs to be heard. Someone else approach may not appeal
to us. We need not be able, to be bold and radical as Sr. Rani Maria, Fr. A. T Thomas SJ,
Archbishop Oscar Romero or Bishop Helder Camara or Gandhi and Mother Teresa. Each of us
needs to discover or invent a personal effective approach that our heart in dialogue with the
spirit, according to the needs of the time.

If society is to be built upon truth and love, then poverty needs to be meaningfully tackled.
Because humans are the most developed of all, but how many live at that level? Why is there so
little concern for others? The longing of the poor today is to be responded and helped. They long
for meaning and healing which ultimately challenge and demand us to act radically and
denounce injustice as prophetic persons. Jesus addresses God as “Abba”, meaning God is a
father to him and to all humanity. Jesus pronounces God‟s blessings on the poor and the needy
and demonstrates God‟s presence with the persecuted (Mt5:1-14). Jesus‟ call is a vocation to
each one of us to leave the security of our dwellings and to travel with him as he journeys the
dusty roads of human suffering, preaching the good news, healing the sick and casting out
demons. Therefore, let us walk with Jesus, born poor, lived as poor and died too as poor. Let us
follow him to become co-workers of building God‟s kingdom where each one will freely enjoy
justice, equality, freedom and liberation.

     Ibid, p.38.
     Fernandes, M Lancy, “Being a Voice for the Voiceless” Indian Currents, Vol.XXII, Issue NO.9, PP. 39.

                                 Understanding of Development
Development is a process, which gradually takes place in both externally as well as internally.
We also witness this growth within and outside of us. Some grow faster and some grow slower.
However, we are the agents of our growth and destiny. Thus, no one can develop or impose on
us. At the same time, no one develop in isolation. As we are social beings, each one depends on
one another. There is a principle within us under lying called mutual giving and taking which is
universally present in the creation. Nevertheless, this has been distorted by some people and
became so rich and developed causing pain and suffering to others unjustly. Thus, the originality
and purpose of the principle of development is lost, and has become only benefit oriented.
Moreover, I being member of this growth and development, it is a challenge for me to look
forward to establish a just society as mentioned in the previous chapter through my observation
and experience and formulate a critical analysis for building a just human society whereby all
could share the equality and dignity.

1. The General Meaning and Definition of Development:
People living in slum say that development is the fulfilling of day and night with basic and
sustainable necessities of food, shelter and clothe.
There is a division based on the concept of development at the socio-economic level. That is the
recognition of only an economic development. There is still another confusion of terminology.
The so-called developed countries are developed, but they contain sectors, which are under-
developed. In the same manner, the so-called underdeveloped countries include quite developed
sectors. Thus, it is very difficult to give a clear, unequivocal and satisfactory explanation of the
term “development‟. As a result, it has meant, and will continue to mean many things to many
To the economist, it is growth, which is another identical for development based on only benefit
orientation. For the religious, it is the new name for peace. Moreover, for planners and policy
makers, it represents their attempt „to open to our people opportunities for a richer and more
varied life‟.
A. Barrere, President of the French Social Week, has written that development is a process of
establishing values in a society where because of the improvement in material conditions a
fulfillment of being is possible for the individual and the collectivity. Therefore, it is not a goal, a
state to which one can arrive in a definitive way, but a continuous “march forward” of man and
society towards perfect fulfillment29.

   Vellilamthadam, Thomas, “A Divided World –Terminological Clarifications” Jeevadhara, Vol. 16, No. 91, 1986,
   Piero Gheddo, (translated by Kathryn Sullivan), “Why is the Third World Poor?” Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New
York, p.28.

2. Further Clarification of the Term:
The term development itself evokes poignant reaction because of its positive connotation that
deals with material development. This material is related to quantitative concept of development,
that is, one often equated with the economic growth or increase in G.N.P. (Gross National
Product). However, any development that we look up to should be for the integral growth of the
human person. Therefore, economic development though essential and indispensable for all other
progress, is only one aspect of the concept of development. Whereas, development should be an
integral and holistic progress and advancement of the whole human being. This comprises the
economic, social, political, cultural and religious aspects as well individual and societal
dimensions of human life. Through this integral development, human become conscious of
themselves, their dignity, their tasks and their potentialities. As a conscious subject, humans
shape their own destiny and that of their fellowmen towards a better tomorrow.
Thus, I would like to define and focus my observation on development as an integral promotion
of creation, exercising freedom with responsibility, trying to establish just society by librating
from all kinds of servitudes, backwardness, oppressions, alienations and exploitation, which
could enhance my own development for the theological reflection30.

3. Historical Background of Development:
        It all began with the colonization process. Our country close to the equator is enriched
with abundant natural resources and great potential for agrarian development. The Western
colonial powers who invaded our country in the 16th century found the climate and natural
resources viable for establishing their rule, and made our country their colony. They exploited
not only the wealth of the nation but also our labor power. While the native kings and feudal
lords who allied with the colonial masters became rich, the vast majority became poor and
downtrodden. It is very evident in our country when we trace back our history. In 19th century
the colonialist opened coal mines in Jharkhand, tea gardens in Assam, coffee plantations in
Karnataka and other schemes elsewhere which gave them raw material and labour power. It is
like cooked bones when we eat we try to take the substance of it in the same way they have taken
the substance of our natural resources and we are left with skeleton. This caused rather I would
say deprived many lakhs of people of their sustenance and were forcefully displaced particularly
dalits and tribals in Jharkhand and Karnataka. Most of them got indebted and became bonded
labourers. Thus, nearly 300 years of colonization made these countries poor and underdeveloped.
       After the II World War, the colonies engaged in a long struggle for independence.
Although we became independent nation, the long period of colonial rule made our nation
dependent upon the so-called `developed countries' for our day-to-day economic survival. To
develop our industry we had to look to the costly import of science and technology from Europe
and America. As a result, our country became indebted and had to approach the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) for loans. Having no other alternative, many third world countries availed
themselves for IMF loans, accepting the tough economic requirements known as "Structural
Adjustment." These requirements indirectly brought the death knell to the people of these
countries. MNC‟s were invited in with little or no restrictions; land was grabbed on a large

  Vellilamthadam, Thomas, “A Divided World –Terminological Clarifications” Jeevadhara, Vol. 16, No. 91, 1986,

scale, taking the very source of survival of countless agricultural laborers. Subsidies were cut to
vital sectors like health and family welfare, education, and the public distribution system (PDS).
Therefore, once again, a neo-colonization process is taking place, redistributing wealth and
power to the `developed' from the „underdeveloped nations31.

4. Situating the Status of Development in India:
The Indian economy has emerged in recent years as one of the fastest growing economies of the
world. The Indian market along with that of China is considered as one of the major engines of
growth for the global economy. Domestic factors have led to the recent vigorous, healthy and
robust economics growth. The key factors that underpin, support, and strengthen the transition
from moderate to high growth are the improvement in corporate and household savings; and
more importantly high investment rates aided by easy liquidity. The major contributors of growth
other than savings and investment are a spurt in exports, recovery of the manufacturing sector,
and substantial flow of foreign direct investment that has complemented the domestic
investment. We could see a distinct hastening and acceleration in GDP growth, which has
occurred between the Ninth and Tenth Plan periods reversing the deceleration of Eighth and
Ninth Plans. The annual growth rate averaged 6.5 percent during the Eighth Plan period (1992-
1997), slipped to 5.5 percent during the Ninth Plan (1997-2002), but accelerated to 7.6 percent
during the Tenth Plan period (2002-2007). The growth performance in recent years is even more
impressive. The growth rate rose to 9 percent in 2005-6, 9.4 percent in 2006-7, and is projected
to grow at close to 9 percent in 2007-8. The recent assessment of the economy attributes the
better performance to better capital utilization and a turnaround in the total productivity in
manufacturing since 2002-3, and a steady improvement in productivity growth in services. For
instance, during the past three years, capacity utilization in all industries exceeded 80 percent.
What is more, it exceeded 90 percent in electricity. The tight monetary policy being adopted
reflects the need for caution. However, recent high investment may augment the capacities with a
lag, and to some extent relieve the pressure and restore macroeconomic stability32.

5. Globalization:
Globalization is a multidimensional reality which adds certain sweetness and hardness to
common people‟ life. Moreover, the immediate truth before us is that globalization in blind
towards growth with injustice. “Therefore, it needs comprehensive analyses which involve the
liberalization of national and global markets in the belief that free flows of trade capital and
information will produce the best outcome for growth and human welfare.” From the economical
point of view, globalization refers to increasing liberalization and privatization. In whatever
ways globalization is understood and interpreted, ideal globalization is desirable. Because it
implies the process of connecting an economy with other parts of the world in a two-way
network of flows of information, trade finance and people. It allows not only factors or
production but also people also to move freely around the global village33.

   Parappally.Jacob, MSFS, (Ed), “Theologizing In Context” Statements of The Indian Theological Association,
Dharmaram Publications, Bangalore 2002, P.270-71
   R. Radhakrishna (Ed), “India Development Report 2008” Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2008, p.1-3.
   R. Vashum and Prakash Louis, “State, Development and Identity in South Asia” Indian Social Institute, New
Delhi, 2002, p.114

6. Right to Development:
In today‟s world and India, the right to development remains largely ignored and forgotten. Yet,
it is closely related to several other rights and constitutes a necessary basis for their deeper
implementation. Especially in the context of developing countries, economic and social rights are
prerequisites for the full enjoyment of civil and political rights. One can perhaps even say that
the right to development should have priority over all other rights. Its very core is the right to
life, the right to live as a human being. Whatever may be our view on this question, it is
imperative and high time that India takes much more serious steps to implement the right to
development in its legislations, policies and actions34.

7. Development as Humanization:
It is perceived as liberation of every human being from the less human and hygienic conditions
of life such as poverty, disease, exploitative and oppressive structures, excessive social
inequalities, ignorance, lack of culture and egoism.

8. Development and Social Justice:
From the history of our planning commission we can easily find the development experts of our
government and non governmental agencies began to think of establishing justice and greater
equality. Due to the careless of distribution of economy, the gap between the rich and the poor
was further widened leaving the poor masses as well as the developmental experts into utter
confusion and desperation. But recently a new perspective is being added to the concept of social
justice by extending its scope to the whole of nationality. Thus national communities it is an
accepted principle that every citizen has a fundamental right to get a fair share in the wealth of
one‟s own country to develop oneself and to settle down35.

9. Alternative Structural Change as Part of Development:
The traditional societies, though they have a cultural patrimony to feel proud of, have very
incompetent and outdated social arrangements as that of castes, gender disparity and racism in
our country. At the same time there is a heavy concentration of political and social powers in a
few individuals and groups of people, while the masses remain without due chance of
participation in the decision making process of society. Thus, this has very serious bearing on the
marginalized people like dalits and tribals. It is quite natural the decisions would be of selfish
interests of rich and consequently damage to the poor. There is no doubt about this existence
even in the international scene. However, every development process should have to produce
benefit for the poor to uplift their existing status in the society to have equality and prosperity.

10. Success Story of Development of Dalits in R. K. Puram:
The people living in the slum have marvelously developed and now some are able to stand on
their own feed for their survival. Though they live in slum, yet their hard work brought them
benefit. Mr. Francis and Nicholas working in one of the software international Irish companies as

  Daniels. Christina, “Development – A Human Right”, Integral Liberation” Vol. 3, No 1, (March 1999). P.11
  Chakiath. Thomas, “The Christian concept of development” pontifical College, Alwaye, Jeevadhara , 1986
(January) Vol. 16. No. 91.p.66

servants were part of SHG in Chetanalaya, took loan and bought Maruti car together. This car is
used in the offices itself. Their income was moderate before but they saved money to establish
themselves. However, they develop and lead a standard life according to the recognition of the
society. However, due to their identity as Dalit, they are not recognized in the society. Still most
of them struggle to eat a meal per day due to so various causes.

11. The Causes and Impacts of Development:
Some of major causes, backwardness, lack of infrastructure, exploitation by rich, lack of
education, lack of technological growth. Some of the impacts are displacement, domination,
cultural insecurity, Job insecurity, environmental insecurity36.

Critical Evaluation:
Globalization is the recent phenomenon that we need to reckon with today. It is a fact not an
option. I do not think we can reverse the process. There is no way to wriggle out of this growing
interdependence among the people in the world. All we can do is to strive vigorously towards
capitalizing its strengths and eliminating its ill effects. We need to work towards creating a
globalization with ethics, which would cause less violation of human rights. We should work for
equity, which would bring less disparity between and within nations. Moreover, our effort and
motivation to respect the dignity of human person indicates an inclusion that would make less
marginalization of people and countries. Through various functions of the Government and
NGO‟s, human security is protected by bringing less instability and less vulnerability of people.
Through various schemes, we need to build a sustainable development, which might keep all
growing to become better human persons. Thus, we might be able to live in a just society with
equity and prosperity.

After undertaking a critical look at the Indian development in detail, still there are opportunities
available for our country to develop. At the same time, it has experienced severe agrarian crisis,
which have manifested in farmer suicides. There has been a growing recognition of our country
among the developing nations to achieve high growth but making it pro-poor is another major
issue for us. So many policies have been made in favour of inclusive growth but the out come is
very less due to corruption and immoral activities. The govt has to be honest in both policy
making and in executing so that our country would achieve a continuous sustainable growth in
production and manufacturing as well as it would establish a nation providing equality, dignity
and justice.

                                    Theology of Development
Development has not been seen always as a concern of theology, as it was presumed to deal with
purely material betterment. During the many centuries when mission was understood primarily,
or almost exclusively, as the expansion of the church, mostly by verbal proclamation of the

 Earathara. George, “Underdevelopment: Concept, Causes and Consequences” Pastoral Orientation Centre,
Cochin, Jeevadhara, 1986 (January) Vol. 16. No. 91. p.29-30

Gospel leading to baptism and entry into the church where salvation was alone assured, the
matter of human development, material betterment of people‟s lives just was not the concern of
mission. Even today, such an understanding of mission survives in the minds of some people
according to whom the main concern is the eternal salvation of souls; the socio-cultural,
temporal, earthly realities are outside the scope of the church‟s mission. However, for most, that
understanding has changed and many see development itself as a theological issue, as it is about
the betterment, which necessarily affects their relation to God and to one another, in one way or
another. Thus in the following reflections I would like to focus on the past, present and future
aspects of development comprehensively which would include all the people holistically and
inclusively by forming one family under the umbrella of God‟s creation.

1. Definitions:
Development in a broader sense today is understood as theological issue. It is about the plan of
God for humans in society, which is community based, looks after the betterment of humans in
their concrete total human context.

2. The Method of Development:
The methods I mean all instruments, ways and means by which the goals of development are
implemented. The church is called to be the beginning of the new humanity in this time and
world. Therefore, as Christ the founder of the church or the head of the body, there are given
standards of servanthood, self-giving and sacrifice, which the church must follow. It also further
indicates or rather needs to determine the stance of service for the church as a “fellowship” as
well as an institution, which transcends national interests and contains within its membership
rich and poor.37

3. Different Approaches of Theology for Development:
i). An ethic or morality of development. Its main aim is to stimulate the Christian communities
to reflect upon the questions which the word of God puts to them and to others in respect of
service, charity, justice, and transcending individual and collective selfishness, to live up to the
claims of evangelical brotherhood in a real and active community life which classifies the issues,
involved and brings to bear Christian social ethics on them38.
ii). A pastoral theology of development: This pastoral theology concerns the implementation of
the results obtained by dogmatic and moral theology among Christians and in the world by the
activity of the Christian communities. It is here that it is possible to see the importance of
pastoral works of love and their impact on development. For this reason, a theology of
development only has value as it acts, since its aim is to represent the love of the Lord in human
development. A speculative theology of development cannot be regarded as necessarily a
theology for development. Thus, the priest must speak of the long-term goals of development to
raise the question of fundamental Christian‟s values and priorities, and provide the horizons for
what needs to be done.

     A Sodepax Report, Fr. Gerhard B. Ibid P.68.
     A Sodepax Report , Fr. Gerhard.B. Ibid. P.39

iii). A Prophetic theology of development: The prophetic theology of development has the
following elements: just as the prophets always announced both the kingdom of situations, calls
for liberation, awakens active hope, points to a plan which is utopian in the positive sense of the
word and points our God‟s intervention in events.
iv). A systematic theology: A theology, which attempts, in the way of traditional theology and
by means of inference and conjecture and preferably, by dialectical interaction, to secure for
itself a clear understanding, science, and wisdom of development.
v). An ecumenical theology of development: a theology which includes openness to the beliefs
of other Christians and even of non-Christians.
vi). An existential approach: a theology of development could not be conjured out of words as
if by magic. It could only arise from a fundamental, local, incarnate, concrete community which
lives and manifests development, taking its bearings from the biblical pattern, particularly the
pattern of the Exodus. Only on this condition, would there be a new language of faith, a
collective tool for the transformation of world39.

4. Human the History Maker and Master of his/ her own Destiny:
According to humanist, approach which places the concept of development in a broader,
historical context, in which human is seen as shouldering responsibility for his/ her own destiny.
This involves a change in perspective, which we should prefer to designate by the term
liberation. Liberation is considered at three levels of meaning, which are interconnected. At the
social and political level, liberation is an expression of aspirations of the oppressed classes and
peoples. This liberation emphasizes the conflict in the economical, social and political process
between the oppressed and the oppressors. At the human level, the liberation is conceived as a
historical process in which people develop consciously their own destiny through the social
changes. At the religious, salivific level the liberation means liberation from sin, the ultimate
source of all deviation from fraternity, of all injustice and oppression. It brings man back into
communion with God and fellow men, which is the radical, total liberation. These three
processes cannot be separated; they form a unique and complex process ("proceso unico y
complejo"). We can say that the liberation of man in the course of history entails not only
improved living conditions, radical transformation of structures, and a social revolution, but
much more: the continual creation of a new manner of being human, a permanent cultural
revolution. That is to say, what is essentially involved is a dynamic and historical concept of
man, which is definitely oriented toward his future and acts in the present with reference to
tomorrow; with a view to an increasingly fuller and even total self-realization in solidarity with
all humanity.

5. Gandhi’s Principles of Development:
Two principles of authentic development, according to Gandhi, were self-reliance (swadeshi)
and welfare to all (sarvodaya), and here Gandhi has drawn much from the teachings of Jesus. By
contrast, the world in which we live today is one of great disparities. Much of the world's
population lives in abject poverty, and the gap between rich and poor widens day-by-day. At the
international level, a few rich countries continue to increase their dominance over the poor
     A Sodepax Report , Fr. Gerhard.B, Ibid. P.39

countries, thus increasing dependency; at the national level poor and marginalized people, such
as the aboriginals and the dalits in India, are dominated and exploited by the rich in their own
country. In such a situation, all those who participate in development activities have to work
towards removing the shackles of dominance by the rich and contributing to the self-reliance of
the poor and the marginalized. They have to work towards creating a condition in which every
human sits under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid. This is what
holistic development involves.

6. Biblical Understand of Human Development: a Concern of Theology:
The biblical accounts of creation and of God's activities leave us in no doubt that God's concern
in creation is focused primarily on the human being -- male and female: "So God created
humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them male and female. God blessed and
said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over
the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the
earth" (Genesis 1:27-28). The Psalmist, who reflects on the Genesis account of creation, also
affirms that the humans were created above the rest of creation and that all other created works
were meant to serve their needs: "You have made them a little lower than God [or: than the
divine beings] and crowned them with glory and honour. You have given them dominion over
the works of your hands; you put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the
beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of
the seas" (Psalm 8:5-8). This, however, does not mean that the human is given the license to
plunder and exploit nature but we need to be responsible stewardship in use of nature.
When we come to the New Testament, the focus of Jesus' mission is also the human being. The
"Son of Man" came to seek and save the lost. Over one human being saved; there is great joy in
heaven. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, came that all his sheep may have life, and have it abundantly
(John 10:10). The saving and protecting the life of the human was the measuring rod or criterion
for all of Jesus' activities. He subjected his own religion, Judaism, to scrutiny using this criterion.
When there was a controversy over the healing of a sick man on the Sabbath, Jesus raised the
question, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?" When he
received no answer, he went ahead and healed the sick person on the Sabbath day (Mark 3:4-5).
Jesus subjected religion -- and for that matter any system or ideology -- to the welfare of the
human: "The Sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath" (Mark
2:27).Thus, we see that the focus of God's concern is the holistic development of the human, the
holistic development of every human person in the total human community, including both
present and future generations. Any development discussion must therefore take into account
both ecological and futuristic concerns.

7. The Church and Development:
The church in the multi-hitch world makes use of all the means for its governance and mission to
facilitate the congregation about the vision and intention of not only the Pope but also of the
local dioceses and local institutions through media and publication. It is used for the triple
functions of preaching, teaching and governing the church and for other social and moral issues.

7.1. The Response of the Church through Documents:
The first official church on modern problems of mass poverty, the plight of the proletariat and
social justice namely Rerum Novarum was issued by Leo XII in 1891. This letter deals with the
condition of the working classes, mutual duties of the rich and the poor and of capital and labour.
Through document, Leo rejects the socialist solution of community of goods and the socialist
method of class war. He exhorted the rich to be generous, to give alms and to be stewards of God
who employ their wealth for the benefit of all. He urged the state to set limits to competition and
see to the common good. He calls on the poor to be moderate in their desires to remember that
poverty is not disgrace. However, the virtue poverty is within the reach of all so that we might
recognize that we are also children of God and that wealth or lack of it matters little for eternal
happiness. Nevertheless, some inequalities and sufferings are inevitable.40
 Thus, the church stands for, pleads for, strives for a new, a different social economic and
political order. It shares the conviction that “it devolves on humanity to establish a political,
social and economic order which will render better service to human and help individuals as well
as groups to affirm and develop the dignity proper to them.” The church feels at one with the
claims for a better deal, made by workers, farmers, women and all the deprived sections of the
population everywhere, and with the aspirations of people for a “universal community of
equality and justice.41 This would be a new set up in which everything necessary for leading a
life truly human must be available. This “social order and its developments must unceasingly
work for the benefit of the human person. Their disposition of affairs is to be subordinate to the
personal realm and not contrariwise, as the Lord indicated when He said that the Sabbath was
made for man and not man for the Sabbath”.42
Pope Benedict XVI has taught that “love for widows, orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy
of every kind, is as essential as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the
Gospel”43.This preferential option for the poor and vulnerable includes all who are marginalized
in our nation and beyond unborn children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and terminally ill,
and victims of injustice and oppression.

8. A Call for Change and Transformation:
Faced with this tragic situation of poverty, powerlessness, injustice and oppression the bishops
recall “the radical transformation of the world in the Paschal Mystery of the Lord.” That
transformation gives full meaning to the efforts of men and women, and in particular of the
young to lessen injustice, violence and hatred to advance together in justice, freedom, goodwill
and love. It is God‟s promise to restore the oppressed to new life and complete dignity and to
entrust to them the future of the earth. The paschal mystery is a summons to struggle unto death
for justice and freedom and a loving social order, with the assurance that God lifts up the lowly,
fills the hungry with Good things and gives the kingdom to the poor and the oppressed.
Moreover, it is up to us to link up with all the movements and efforts to transform the world, for
the church is not alone responsible for justice in the world. There are others both among
   RN 2 & 60. RN was published on May 15, 1891. E. Gilson, ed., “The Church speaks to the Modern World, The
social Teaching of Leo XIII (New York, Doubleday, 1945, 1958)
   GS 9
   GS 26
   Caritatis in veritate

believers and non-believers who esteem human values and seek justice sincerely and by
honourable means. Therefore, Synod professed to share the aspirations and participate in the
building up and enjoyment of a just and more fraternal world44. All must work together to
overcome day by day the opposition, obstacles and ingrained privileges which are to be met with
in the advance towards a human society

9. The Mission of the Church:
9.1. To Organize the People:
Organization of the people begins with people reflecting together and critically no their situation
and on Indian society. Together they discovery the factors which keep them poor and enslaved
for centuries though it is their hand work that produces the wealth of the country. They band
together to struggle for change and for their own liberation. In the process, they discover
themselves, their united strength, and the resources of their own traditions. They come to the
conviction that only they can liberate themselves, and that their liberation is God‟s plan and the
beginning of the liberation of those who oppress them.
This is often a slow and painful process. It takes patience and courage. It is full risks. It calls for
faith and deep community spirituality continually refined through self-criticism. The field is
unfamiliar to the church, the strategies untraditional. The church, at official and semi-official
levels sometimes supports the move, sometimes warns it against going radical, and sometimes
opposes it, depending on the nature of the movement and the dominant interests and interplay of
forces in the church in each situation. Through it all the Indian church is today more awake and
thoughtful than ever before, and aware of challenges45.

9.2. Fraternity and Human Solidarity:
The Biblical tradition holds that value of human relationship in the family and in the community
at large in high regard. Because on one can live in isolation. All are made to be in communion
with each other. Therefore, the human spirit of conscience brings us closer and demands us to
bend down to the needy rather than neglecting them by showing our solidarity, empathy and
9.3. Solidarity and Communion
Solidarity, an indispensable condition for a true development of all people, is not only a moral
and social attitude, but also a Christian, faith-based demand.
Solidarity has profound consequences for the development of individuals and peoples. To open
oneself to the reality of others and work for a change in the misery that affects the vast majority
of peoples, it is necessary to shed individual interests, break with the desire for wealth at any
cost, and commit oneself to the cause of justice. We are all responsible, collaborates in the
common history of humanity. It is the path demanded by faith.

   Synod of Bishops, “Justice in the World” (Rome, Nov 1971) no, 36,62, 2-3.
   J. Murickan SJ, (Ed), ibid, p. 241-242
   Parappally.Jacob, MSFS, (Ed), “Theologizing In Context” Statements of The Indian Theological Association,
Dharmaram Publications, Bangalore 2002, P.230

9.4. Solidarity and Justice:
Solidarity cannot remain only as the good will of people, groups or nations. It is a demand for
justice that requires profound changes in individuals and peoples. On the one hand, as Vatican II
stated that it is aimed at solidarity through assistance that rich nations should provide developing
nations. It is also social justice, which means changing the unjust commercial relationship
between strong and weak nations. At the same time, it is a demand for universal charity, which
means promoting a more just world for all where everyone must give and receive, and where
progress of one person does not become an obstacle for others. Solidarity, justice and charity are
interrelated and essential dimensions of the human being, and without them, there cannot be true
development.47 For Christians, solidarity means professing the mystery of the Incarnation. It also
means listening to the cry of the poor whereby we are challenged to answer, "What have you
done for your brothers and sisters?" It is the God who is passionate and moved by humanity, who
is present in human history by assuming our mortal flesh through Jesus Christ to make us all
brothers and sisters by giving dignity as men and women.

My Response in General and Suggestions:
The church in India sponsors numerous development projects, supervised usually by dioceses
and in some cases by religious orders. Financial support comes from Caritas India, Indo-German
Social Service Society, Misereor, CRS, and many other funding agencies. Several individuals,
families and occasionally certain localities have benefited and improved economically example
Jhangirpuri, Baleshwa, Bhawana, Kanak Durga Colony, Kerichripur and Sangam Vihar through
Chetanalaya, the diocesan social service funding agency. In that sense and measure, the projects
are an effective response to poverty to uplift the standard of living among the slum people
through organizing SHGs. However, closer analysis shows that the major part of the blessings go
to the better-off families and sectors who have the means to grasp and utilize the possibilities
offered by projects because of their education, hard work and shrewdness. Thus, the result has
been the widening of existing gaps. At any rate, projects have not changed the overall picture of
nearly half the population living below the poverty line. This is an ongoing mission, which we
need to launch into deeper and deeper to the ground realities of the society. Because it is a
process in the kingdom of God, not one-day work. Therefore, let us take the challenges into our
hearts, theories into our minds and become wholeheartedly praxis-oriented persons so that we
might accompany the oppressed by getting into their shoes to feel one with their suffering as part
our life and give for our life for them as Jesus our Master did.

In the multi-religious and mutl-hitech country like India every society is trying, their level best to
safe guards rather preserve its values, cultures and tradition. It gives due respect and dignity of
human person as he/ she is the pattern of all the development. Moreover, it is necessary for all of
us to take a common position to include all in the developmental process to establish concretely
in this world the kingdom of God or new earth where we could experience equality, justice,
peace, fellowship, fraternity and love. Thus, we as Christians should form ourselves in such a
way even to lay down our own life for the neightbour who is in need by our dedicated and
selfless service and action.

     GS, no.43-44

General Conclusion:
As we walk around in this fast developing hi-tech world, where everyone seeks name and fame
and runs for power and wealth, having no time to chill and enjoy because of the busy schedule
and less time given makes us deaf to hear even our own children‟s cry for help. And at the same
time, along the road while travelling by bus, train, two wheelers and auto to our work place we
find some unusual traffic signals intervening with baskets lifted up either for asking money or for
our helping hand. Even some time we might find people sick, naked and dying. This reality
disturbs us and must disturb us because these are the results of our free choices, in the sense, we
need not to go and select but it comes opposing to our living with the questions why don‟t you
look at me? Why don‟t you love? “I was hungry and you fed me, I was naked and you clothed
me and I was in prison, came to visit me. Therefore, are they with us in the same shelter of this
universe created by God with the same image and likeness? Yes, they are, so you and I must take
up the responsibility and bear the cross to abolish poverty and make our mother land a balanced
dwelling place of both rich and poor. Thus, we shall cloth, we shall cure. Moreover, this is the
job, we have undertaken. They are our brothers and sisters. Now, are we ready for that? It can be
done only through radical change in our heart, mind, hope and social structure. Let us earnestly
acknowledge for what we have done and accept the harm and ask forgiveness like Nelson
Mandela who said to the White people in South Africa, accept that you have done wrong and
then we will forgive you. This is the kingdom, which Jesus came to establish to give life in
abundance to all, which is to give equality, justice, joy, peace and harmony. This is a common
task and challenge to all the Asian who try to liberate and emancipate the Dalits and people who
are oppressed. This mission of Christ requires total commitment and dedication like Jesus even
to the extent of giving life for liberation. He should be our lifestyle and model. Let us put on
Christ‟s nature and attitude in serving, caring and loving so that we might be able to impart the
same inspiration to others and give witness to his love.

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