Bahai News - GOVERNMENT CELEBRATES JUBILEE 2000 IN INDIAN CAPITAL
22-Dec-2000 -- EWTN News Brief
GOVERNMENT CELEBRATES JUBILEE 2000 IN INDIAN CAPITAL
NEW DELHI, Dec. 21, 00 (CWNews.com) - More than 10,000 people including
Indian president K. R. Narayanan and several prominent national leaders
attended on Wednesday in New Delhi the public celebration of the 2,000th
anniversary of the birth of Christ.
While leaders of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish, Zoroastrian,
and Bahai faiths read passages from their scriptures and chanted hymns on
the occasion to celebrate the anniversary, several dance and music programs
based on the Bible entertained the audience. Earlier, Indian President
Narayanan switched on a Christmas tree marking the yearlong celebration of
the Year of Christ in the Indian capital, sponsored by the government of
Jesus preached love and compassion. He advised forgiveness and taught us
to show the other cheek if you are struck," said Sheila Dixit, chief
minister of Delhi and chairman of the Committee for celebrating the Year
of Christ in the Indian capital, welcoming the audience with Indian
president seated in the front row.
"Jesus is one of the greatest teachers and preachers of all times. With
his death on the cross, he showed his love for all of us," declared Dixit,
a Hindu, heading the Congress party-led state government in Delhi.
Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi said that Prime Minister Atal Behari
Vajpayee had "promised" Christians to celebrate the year 2000 as the Year
of Christ, but due to pressure from Hindu radicals in his pro-Hindu BJP
(Bharatiya Janata Party) later "went back" on the promise. Had the federal
government kept up the promise, Archbishop Concessao said, "Christians
would have been much more happy."
The BJP-led coalition government had granted one billion rupees (US$22
million) for the tercentenary celebrations of the founding of Sikhism
apart from sponsoring the celebration of 2,500 years of Buddhism and the
major centenary of Jainism recently.
After the federal government backpedaled on the Year of Christ, Christian
groups appealed to state governments to initiate their own celebrations.
Apart from the Delhi government-- which has decided to set up a park "to
publicize the messages of Jesus" with a grant of 10 million rupees
(US$225,000) for observing the Year of Christ--Madhya Pradesh state,
also ruled by the Congress party, has committed to a state-sponsored
celebration in the central Indian state.
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