The Other As A Companion In Struggle

Several nations in Asia gained independence from colonial rulers during the first half of the twentieth century. For example, India and Pakistan became independent nations in 1947 and Sri Lanka was to follow suit the following year. In such an ethos of nationalism, Christians in Asia found themselves standing alongside other religionists in the struggle for independence and in the arduous task of building a new nation. The writings of Paul Devanandan and M. M. Thomas of India influenced many in India to see the people of other religions as their companions in the task of building up a secular India. One of their early books, Christian Participation in Nation-Building,11 ends with an invitation to probe the 'theological basis of Christian Non-Christian cooperation', and recommends a vision of the other as a partner in the struggle for justice and peace.12 Such a vision of the other as a companion is not limited to patriotic activities alone. Today this companionship is expressed in the struggle to bring liberation and freedom to the marginalized peoples in Asia. For example, the liberation of women calls for such a companionship and so does the project to enable the Dalits to free themselves from the age-old bondage and oppression under the caste system in India.

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