Archive for Abril, 2009

Was Saint Paul a Misogynist?

Abril 6, 2009

We find often statements about Saint Paul, based on his letters to the Corinthians , namely that Paul was a misogynist.

Paul and Women: Man and woman are equal (cf.Gal 3:28, “there is no such thing as male and female”; Col 3:11;1 Cor 7:2-4). But also the woman seems to be subordinate to man (Col 3:18;Eph 5:22). In the Corinthian community, Paul reprimands women who pray with their heads uncovered(1 Cor 11:3) and insists that the women should keep silence in the churches–if there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home(1 Cor 14:33). Was Paul a misogynist or a male chauvinist?

Man and woman share equally in the salvation offered by Jesus (Gal 3:28;Col 3:11;cf.1 Cor 11:11f); but fellowship in Christ does not remove the distinction and functional position of leadership in the society of the day with regard to women. In antiquity in general and Judaism in particular, as well as in the rest of the ancient Middle East, the status of women was inferior to that of man. Even in our present day, the daily prayer of the Jew proclaims: “Blessed may you be, O God, for not having made me a Gentile or a woman nor an ignoramus“, while the woman is content to say, ‘Praised be you, Lord, who created me according to your will‘.

In Paul’s letters there is equality of man and woman in Christ–“brethren“, also mentions women;in the lists of greetings(Rm 16),gift of prophecy attributed to men and women(1 Cor 11:5),Priscilla together with her husband, Aquila, is called fellow-worker (cf.Ac 18:2); Mary (cf.Rm 16:6, she worked hard);also Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis (Rm 16:12). He attributes to Phoebe charisms of assistance (Rm 16:1;cf.12:7 and 1 Cor 12:28). But Paul also imposes some restrictions on women, for instance in Christian prayer meetings in Corinth(1 Cor 11:3-16, women were praying or prophesying with heads uncovered); and expressly requires of women that they keep silence in the Church gatherings(1 Cor 14:34f–it is shameful to speak in the Church).

In 1 Cor 11-14, Paul deals with good order in Christian assemblies during public worship (cf.1 Cor 10:32-11:1,which is followed by our passage,11:3-16).Praying with heads uncovered was a novel practice, offensive not only to the Church but also to the Jews and pagans in the cultural,social and religious milieu of the time.As John L.McKenzie puts it (“The Much Misunderstood Paul”, in: The New Testament without Illusion,p.66):”Possibly in Corinth,which seems to have had more prostitutes per capita than any other Roman-Hellenistic city, a woman with her head bare may have been recognized as a working prostitute.All Paul asked was that they should not so identify themselves in the church”. The reasons adduced by him were the following:–“We have no custom nor do the churches of God“(v.16);”Judge for yourselves”: it is not proper according to nature(vv.13-15).But as the women in the Corinthian church were insisting, ‘Why cannot we pray with our heads bare just like men?’, Paul answers:–a woman with uncovered head dishonours her head,just as a man with head covered dishonours his head(vv.4-5);and then he argues as a Jewish rabbi, reared in the culture and customs of the society of his day:–Man should not,but woman should, cover the head,because:-he is the image and glory of God (v.7,cf.Gn 1:26-27);–man is not from woman but woman from man (v.8,cf.Gn 2:21-23);–man was not created for woman but woman for man (v.9,cf.Gn 2:18); and therefore a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels(v.10). As Paul expected that the women would still insist

and be contentious, [1]his decisive argument is the appeal to the custom in all the churches: ‘Stop being contentious. We recognize no other practice than that of women covering their heads in the prayer assemblies. All the churches of God follow the same’. Yet, Paul is clearly aware of the equality between man and woman(vv.11-12).

Paul warns the Corinthians to avoid noise and confusion in the worship when exercising their gift of tongues(cf.1 Cor 14:23.33.40) and when wives would talk in the assembly for the purpose of ‘learning something'(v.35). Probably the wives were interrupting the meeting with questions about things said within it. In the time of Paul women did not receive any substantial education in religious matters, yet they could be present actively throughout the whole meeting (cf.’praying and prophesying’ in 11:5). Paul’s approach is practical/pastoral: “As in all the churches of the saints…(14:33;cf.11:16). He reminds them of the prevailing custom(v.35–in Greek cities only the courtesans engaged in public discussion with men).As a rabbi, he appeals to scripture to argue his point: “They are to be submissive as the law also says” (v.34; cf.Gn 3:16); and to the ‘command’ from the Lord concerning the things he writes to them as their apostle and pastor(cf.v.37). Paul’s final appeal concerning everything that pertains to Christian assemblies in Corinth(1 Cor 11-14) is that “all things should be done decently and in order“(14:40).

Goa: Concert of Classical Music

Abril 6, 2009

I have just come back from Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, where I attended a beautiful Concert of Classical Music. It was presented by Santa Cecilia Choir, of the Patriarchal Rachol Seminary. It was conducted by the young musician Father Romeu Monteiro.

The Chief Guest was The Archbishop of Goa, Msgr.Filipe Neri Ferrao. The Guests of  Honour were Dr.Pandurang Phaldesai, Member Secretary of Kala Academy and Adv.Carlos Alvares Ferreira, Ass.Sollicitor General, India.It started at 6.30 in the evening and lasted till 9.00. It was a pleasant evening. After Jana Gana Mana, the Rector of the Seminary welcomed the audience. The items were Prelude and Chorus from the Operetta “Onesimus”, Symphony no.38, “Prague”, of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Goan Motet: “Koxttovta jiv mhozo”, with the arrangement by Father Lourdino Barreto. Three musicans were felicitated: Mr.Jerry Fernandes, Fr.Bernardo Cota and Mr.Antonio Antao. The Chief Guest praised the efforts of Fr.Romeu to work for the classical music. There was Inflammatus from Stabat Mater dolorosa, of Gioachino Rossini, with soprano solo by Preethi Coutinho.

Although Mozart’s popularity among the Viennese waxed and waned, he was consistently popular among the Bohemians and had a devoted following in Prague. A piece appearing in the Prager Neue Zeitung shortly after Mozart’s death expresses this sentiment: “Mozart seems to have written for the people of Bohemia, his music is understood nowhere better than in Prague, and even in the countryside it is widely loved.” The Prague Symphony was written in gratitude for their high esteem.It was premiered in Prague on January 19, 1787.

Symphony no.38: Mozart wrote it in 1786. The early classical symphony of the 18th century would either have three movements or four (or one movement in three recognizable sections, like the 26th or the 32nd – the latter possibly intended for Zaide), the four-movement symphonies having a minuet in addition. By the time Mozart wrote his Prague symphony, however, the symphony was no longer a step away from the opera overture, no longer bound to this tradition, so that the symphony without a minuet could be, and was, similar in weight to his other symphonies, different mostly in the lack of that minuet and not in overall specific gravity.

The Prague Symphony was scored for full orchestra with the notable absence of clarinets but with the powerful backing of timpani and trumpets.

The work has the following three movements:

  1. AdagioAllegro D major. Sonata form, preceded by introduction Adagio. 4/4
  2. Andante G major. Sonata form. 6/8
  3. Finale (Presto) D major.

The first movement begins with an Adagio introduction, which is atypical for Mozart — he only does this in two of his other symphonies, No. 36 (“Linz”) and No. 39. The introduction gives way to the main portion of the movement, in which six melodies are developed and recapitulated in a very contrapuntal example of sonata-allegro form.

The second movement’s structure is not far removed from one in a typical Mozart symphony dating around this period although the music veers off into the minor-key in a movement of contrasting moods. Though it is structurally similar, harmonically it is unstable (as another G major slow movement, that of the 16th piano concerto, had been earlier and for somewhat similar reasons), and there are several polyphonic surprises.

The third movement is an exuberant piece where the flute plays a prominent role in balancing the main melody in the development section.

Inflammatus from Stabat Mater by Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868). Stabat Mater is a hymn in honour of Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross. The “Analecta” text, which Rossini used, has 20 verses. He set it to music by suppressing them into 10 verses. Inflammatus is the 18th verse of the text and 6th verse of Rossini’s composition for Aria (Soprano Solo), Coro and Orchestra.

Koxttovta by Maestro Lourdino Barreto is a traditional Goan motet set to polyphonic choral music accompanied by a string ensemble with clarinets.

Salve Regina is a traditional Latin Marian Hymn. Lourdino Barreto arranged the traditional melody for four Soloists, Choir and Orchestra. It was premiered at the closing of the Marian Year in 1988 and is noted for its complicated polyphonic and contrapuntal arrangements.

Fr.Aleixo Menezes gave the vote of thanks. The last item was salve Regina, by Lourdino Barreto, with soprano solo by Melvy Afonso, alto solo by Sarojini Sardinha, tenor solo by Valentine Dom Paulo Andrade, and bass solo by Jean da Cruz Fernandes.

It is encouraging to hold such concerts of classical music in Goa. Our Youth should be trained and channelled into this type of harmony of life…

The Power of TV:

Abril 6, 2009

One of the most serious problems about the world of television is the way it can dull our sense of reality. There is a great difference between the world of television and the real world.

In his worthwhile book, Christ and the Media, Malcolm Muggeridge contrasts “the fantasy of the media with the reality of Christ”.  He thinks that the TV camera always distorts. Ashe says, “Not only can the camera llie, it always lies”. The distorting character of TV extends to evertyhing it films, including especially the News, which many viewers consider to be the most real of all programs.

Goa Liberated or Invaded?

Abril 5, 2009


© Stories of Heroism, Dr. B.C. Chakravorty, edited by Dr. U.P. Thapliyal, Government of India, Ministry of Defence, History Division.

The Portuguese refusal to transfer her Indian settlements of Goa, Daman, Diu and Anjidiv Islands to the Indian Republic, led to Operation Vijay in 1961. They had ruthlessly suppressed a peaceful Satyagraha launched to liberate these territories in 1955. In 1961, they even fired on some Indian coastal steamers and fishing boats near Anjidiv Island. India, therefore, decided to use force to liberate the Portuguese pockets on her soil.

Goa Operations

On 11 December 1961, 17 Inf Div and attached troops were ordered to advance into Goa to capture Panjim and Marmagao. The main thrust on Panjim was to be made by 50 Ind Para Bde Group from the north. Another thrust was to be carried by 63 Inf. Bde from the east. A deceptive thrust, in company strength, was to be made from the south along the Majali-Canacona-Margao axis.

The Eastern Thrust

On December 18th, the 50 Para Bde Group moved into Goa in three columns. The western column (the 2 Sikh LI Group) marched on the Dodamarg-Tivim-Betim-Panjim axis, the central column (1 Para Punjab) on the Benastarim-Panjim axis and the eastern column (2 Para Maratha) on the Dodamarg-Usgao-Ponda axis. The first 2 competed in the race for Panjim. The western column led by armour moved out at 0630 hrs. The armour reached Betim shortly after 1700 hrs without encountering any opposition. The 2 Sikh LI joined it by 2100 hrs, crossing over mines and demolished bridges en-route. Panjim now lay only 549 metres away. But in the absence of orders from above, the unit stayed at Betim for the night. The same night Major Sidhu of the 7 Cavalry was killed when Portuguese guards fired on an unsuspecting Indian rescue party at Aguada Fort.

On December 19th, the 2nd Sikh LI received permission to cross over to Panjim and the two rifle companies landed there at 0735 hrs. The race to Panjim was won. The central column of 1 Para Punjab crossed the border at 0600 hrs. Up to Bicholim it moved as the eastern column but from there it turned on the Banastarim-Panjim axis. It reached Banastarim at 1730 hrs but was held up there on account of the broken bridge. On December 18th, the water obstacle was negotiated and the column reached Panjim by 0830 hrs, 55 minutes after the Sikhs. The eastern most column (2 Para Maratha) moved on the northern route on the Sanquelim-Usgao-Ponda axis. It reached Ponda at 1345 hours and brought order to the town. The eastern column conducted patrolling in the Ponda-Banastarim sector and established contact with the rear elements of 1 Para on December 19th.

The Northern Thrust

The 63 Indian Inf. Bde. moved into Goa from Anmond in two columns. The right column (2 Bihar) moved through a track whereas the left column (3 Sikh) moved down the existing road. Both columns linked up at Mollem and then moved on to Ponda taking separate routes. 3 Sikh could not go beyond Darbandora on December 18th. 2 Bihar went further to settle at Candeapar for the night. Meanwhile the 4 Sikh, the rear battalion, reached Candeapar river crossing at midnight. At 0600 hrs on December 19th, 4 Sikh crossed Candeapar by wading through chest high water and by mid-day rolled into Margao. It then marched on to Dabolim through Verna where a number of Portuguese surrendered at 1530 hrs. Finally it moved to Vasco Da Gama where the Portuguese formally surrendered at 2030 hrs. With the 4 Sikh in the lead, 2 Bihar also pressed on in the direction of Margao. But finding the Sikhs well set on the outskirts of the town it advanced on Verna. The enemy stronghold was attacked on both flanks and their resistance collapsed.

The swift action of 2 Bihar at Verna enabled the 4 Sikh to press on to Dabolim and Marmagao unhindered. The 3 Sikh was put on reserve on December 19th. From here it marched on to Margao and beyond in two columns. Some 400 Portuguese soldiers surrendered before it on December 20th. A diversionary move was made from south along the Majali-Canacon-Margao axis, in company (4 Rajput) strength. It was meant to mislead the Portuguese about the direction of the main Indian thrust. The southern column marched up to Margao overcoming road blocks, mines & broken bridges and helped in restoring order there. The 17 Division ended more than four centuries of Portuguese rule over Goa in just 40 hours. The IAF also played a useful role as its Canberra aircraft, twice bombed the Dabolim airfield whereas Hunters bombed Bombolim Wireless Station.

Daman Operations

Operations in Daman were conducted by the 1 Maratha LI. It launched an attack on Nani Daman from the north after neutralising the Flying Control Tower and Post-175 in a pre-dawn sweep. By 1700 hrs, the two companies had reached the Garden area south of the airfield. The battalion settled in this area for the night. At 1100 hrs on December 19th, the Portuguese made a surrender in Daman without giving any fight. In this push forward, artillery and air support played an effective role. The Army captured 600 soldiers and some guns & mortars in Daman. The Army suffered 1 JCO and 3 ORs killed and 1 JCO and 13 ORs wounded in the Daman operations. Portuguese suffered 10 killed and 2 wounded.

Diu Operations

Diu was the smallest Portuguese possession in India. A two-pronged attack was made on Diu-one from the north-west and the other from the north-east. The north-western thrust on Kob-Forte-Do Passo-De Covo axis was made by two companies of 20 Rajput, to establish a bridge-head and to capture the airfield. But the Rajput effort was frustrated by the well sited MMG and LMG fire across the creek. The Rajputs (B Coy) where, however, successful in their thrust on the Ahmdepur-Gogal axis. They replaced the 4 Madras and successfully attacked Gogla at 1600 hours. The enemy resistance was overcome with heavy pounding of guns. Portuguese garrison showed a white flag and surrendered. In Diu operations the IAF gave very useful support to the Rajputs. Toofani aircraft gave much needed support by bombarding the citadel and the control tower at the airfield on December 18th. On December 19th, the 4 Madras (C Coy) occupied the Island of Panikota and captured 13 Portuguese soldiers.

Anjidiv Island

Anjidiv lies to the south of Goa. The task of capturing this Island was entrusted to the INS Mysore and the INS Trishul. While the INS Mysore was to provide covering fire, the INS Trishul was to land a party on the Island. The assault party called ‘Rustum’ landed there successfully at 0715 hrs on December 18th. Another party followed at 0746 hrs. At this stage, the Portuguese hoisted a white flag near beach Lima. But this was a deceptive move and the Portuguese soon started firing on the second Indian party nearing the beach. The Army suffered some casualties in this treacherous attack. INS Trishul and the INS Mysore thoroughly shelled the enemy strong points to break the resistance. As a result of this pressure, many Portuguese surrendered on December 18th. More prisoners were taken over on December 19th. At 1425 hrs on December 19th, the Indian Flag was hoisted at Anjidiv.

Copyright © BHARAT RAKSHAK. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of BHARAT RAKSHAK is prohibited.

M.Boyer and Goan Drama:

Abril 5, 2009

Mr. M. BOYER (as he is popularly known on the Konkani stage or otherwise, born on 11th October, 1930 in Ponda as Manuel Santan Aguiar) whose with  presence on the Konkanni stage has made a significant impact for over half a century.

With his in-born acting talents being apparent very early on, it seems at the age of 15, he composed and sang his first song which gained him all round appreciation.

While in School on account of his School Principal (at the Catholic Education Institute, where he studied upto the Xth Standard), being a strict disciplinarian, who would not allow his students to go into acting lest, they neglect their studies, made Manuel Santan Aguiar take on the pseudonym of M. Taylor (while acting) at first, but was to be caught once by his Principal and being accordingly reprimanded. But this did not deter him as his love for acting prevailed and thereafter, he took to the stage with the name of M. BOYER, a name by which he was to become well known and is being referred to, till date.

It seems that M. Boyer wrote & presented his first play “Rinkari” at the age of 18 and over the years he, with his talents as a composer, singer, script-writer, actor, director and producer by Writing, directing & producing more than 25-plays, participating in more than 5000 performances, Composing & Singing over a 1000-Songs, as well as performing in major Indian cities, in London, East Africa and the Gulf Countries, Mr. M. Boyer has contributed a lot to the Konkanni stage thereby, enriching the same and leaving his special mark on the same. He also has been a source of inspiration for a lot of other artistes.

During the course of our tete-a-tete, he mentioned about the late Mr. Anthony Mendes, who, he considers as a very good comedian as well as a kind hearted person and the one who was instrumental in giving him his initial break & also guiding him. But had to say that Mr. Anthony Mendes may have shown him the initial way, but he, himself, with his hard work was reponsible for making his main way in life and become what he is today.

Citing an example of staging a drama in the early days, wherein a lot of hassles were encountered and due to this, it seems many of the directors used to contract out their shows to contractors, but about himself, mentioned about his doing all the ground work and staging the shows by himself specially in the main centers and attributes this, as the main reason for he & his family being able to lead a comfortable though not a luxurious one.

M. Boyer mentioned that his relationship with the other artistes was very cordial and remembered the early days (when he was one of the youngest artistes) about his Seniors admiring him and also recalled the late Souza Ferrao, who, after listening to his songs, guiding him by offering him tips and and even pointing out his mistakes which he greatly appreciated then, and had to say that even today, if somebody was to point out any of his mistakes he would not mind, as constructive criticism does help one to do better and also as no one is perfect. Further added that the present day artistes may not take criticism very sportingly.

M. Boyer recalled of the time when he was taken to Bombay to act in Kamat de Assolna’s tiatra “Mai Ho Guiniam Tujo” in 1948, wherein it seems he played the main comedian’s role and also remembered an instance when he sang 7-songs in one tiatra which according to him was a record as it seems the most number of songs that any artiste would sing, were three.

Colonialism: Its Advantages and Disadvantages

Abril 5, 2009

We speak today of the sin of colonialism. What is colonialism?

There has been strong opposition to India’s action in Goa. Was it ‘invasion’ or ‘liberation’? There were outbursts of indignation in USA and Britain. Colonialism is a sin and should be obliterated from the face of the earth. When peaceful processes are exhausted or are of no avail, teh only alternative left to us is to use force to achieve a consummation. Afro-Asian nations unanimously hailed it, because they also experienced it.

India had used force against China’s encroachments of Mao-tse-tung on the Mac-Mahon Line and its refusal to accept the Chinese fait accompli in Ladakh, now it had to use it against the colonial “pimples”. There were only two ways of resolving a colonial problem of this kind: a)peaceful and voluntary withdrwal by the colonial power; or b)a forcible ouster of that power by the people.

A Thirty-six Hour Wonder:

The entire operation covering Goa, Daman and Diu lasted less than 36 hours.

Its advantages and disadvantages:

Priest: Doctor of the Soul

Abril 5, 2009

Today there is crisis of confidence and identity among priests. There are new ministries and roles of service in the church. Lay people are assuming, legitimately, many of the tasks formerly performed exclusively by the clergy.

The question arises: What is their unique contribution that they can offer, distinctively, to the people of God. Priest is a bearer of the Mystery, a mystagogue, at the one who guides the people into the grounding and sustaining Mystery which is God. The mystagogue is the artist and poet who fires hearts with the power of the Catholic imagination, the shaman who lures people into a confrontation with the Mystery that suffuses and transcends all our experience. The priest is not so much psychologist or social worker as he is spiritual leader, pastor of the soul, the one who leads people to a discovery of that deepest self which is in  living contact with god.

Doctor of the Soul: The description of the priest’s “task” is correct, but incomplete. Before conducting to God, he must heal of whatever spiritual ill, whatever blocks, prevents the journey of self-surrender. Closely related to e role of mystagogue, then, is “doctor of the soul”.

The Gospels are filled with acounts of Jesus’ healing encounters with those whose spiritual energies are unable toflow. Much of the ministry consisted in teaching people how to see (the Kingdom of God), howto hear (the voice of the Spirit), how to walk (thereby overcoming the apralysis of the heart), how to be free of themselves so as to discover God. Jesus was referred to in the early church as the saviour (soter or salvator), therms of the one who brings healing.

Patristic Spirituality:

Abril 5, 2009

What is spirituality? What is the teaching of the Church Fathers?

Secular Age:

Abril 5, 2009

What is secular age?

Alcoholism: A Sickness

Abril 5, 2009

Alcoholism is a sickness. It involves also a troublesome human behaviour. It is a triple sickness: a sickness of the body; a sickness of the mind; and also a sickness of the soul. The vast majority of Catholics believe that drinking alcoholic beverages with true moderation is within the bounds of the Christian virtue of sobriety. In most cultures and almost all religions it is pretty well agreed that there is something wrong or illicit about drunkenness. When a person acts in a way that makes it impossible for him to behave like a human being any longer, that is not morally correct. There are various subsidiary questions here too about how wrong it is; and about how drunk does aman have to be before he can reallu be called drunk. Buyt we are all agreed here that drunkenness, or the clearly excessive us of alcoholic beverages, is morally wrong.

Alcoholism is different from those other problems because alcoholism is drunkenness plus. Alcoholism is drunkenness plus serious life problems, plus the inability to stop drinking without help (and this includes the peculiar blindness which keeps so many alcoholics saying over and over that it is everything but the alcohol that is causing all their woes).

An alcoholic can be defined descriptively as that drinker whose drinking has been going on that way for years (as a rule), and who does get into serious life problems as a result of his drinking, and who can’t seem to stop drinking for good, even if he really wants to, unless he gets some outside help. They drink too much and get intoxicated, abuse people or spoil peace at home and in the neighbourhood. This description fits most people, for instance, who go to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) for help. Alcoholism is a sickness and a moral problem. He does not do it that way, or on purpose. “Don’t do it again” school or “swift-kick-in-the-pants” school of therapy cannot succeed. You cannot say to an alcoholic: “Just use your willpower, and that is all there is to it”. Alcoholism is a sickness of the body, as the physiologists can study. It is a sickness of the mind, as psychology ad psychiatry can study. Psychiatrists speak of alcoholism as a symptom of an underlying emotional or mental disorder of some kind. Obviously, some alcoholics are psychotic individuals, many are neurotic individuals. Alcoholism itself is a mental or emotional disorder of some kind, it is addcitive or compulsive or obsessive. They think of the next drink when they take the first drink. They always say that they can take it or leave it, but they always take it. Often, they set out to prove it: they give it up for Lent plus one day or one week extra. They rationalize. If they go to AA, they may give him the bar room test–it consists of taking just two, real drinks every day for three months, let us say, and no more than two drinks. If a person could drink that much regularly, day in and day out for three months, he ought not to be called an alcoholic. But he will not persist in it and succeed.

It is part of the sickness of the mind in alcoholism–it implies a diminution of freedom and a consequent diminution of human responsibility. They are threatened by their wives, or bosses or priests.