Sociological & Ecclesiological Perspective-Human Resource Development


India is one of the largest democracies in the world and it is proud of its human resources. It abodes nearly 960 million people with diversified cultures and a multi religious society. By the new millennium, we will be a billion. Indian history is a history of colonial domination and resistance. Soon after the Second War, the world witnessed great events of national independence and an era of modern development. The modern trend in development has been the technological advancement of the Northern nations and their consequent domination over the people of the earth in the decades following the war.

India is basically an agricultural country and 80% of our population find their livelihood and survival in agriculture, forests and water resources. India after obtaining Independence, the Leaders of the Country followed the development models of the West. The development intervention thus made had a direct implication for the poor - the onslaught on traditional communication values, simple life styles, cultures, religions, languages, health, agriculture, market and informal economy. The development models only strengthened the market economy catering the minority of the country. The rat race towards consumerism and market accompanied by liberalization as some how avoided the well being of the majority who are the indigenous communities - dalits, tribals, fisher-folk and the rural artisans.

The development plans suppose to have removed poverty, unemployment, ill health, so far has only protected the dominant communities ad dominant values of the minority of our country. This is subtly carried out in the name of National Growth and Development through systematic formal educational structures. The approach to economic growth by the powerful countries through a global economic order and professionalism, which is based on exploitation and appropriation of the people's resources, destroy any human development efforts, justice and egalitarian ethics. This should be countered through a meaningful intervention based on human values and human development, which will give way for building a new society. It is the Church and the people concern should play an active role in bringing the necessary changes in the educational system and society.

Sociological Perspective: Under the yoke domination, the Indian people have shown their determination to be free and independent. With the achievement of political independence, India assumed the responsibility of "economic growth and national development". The planners and the Governments fell into the trap of dominant development paradigm - a development based on western models and culture of colonisation, which lead India to colonize its own country, by the rich.

Development followed with elite oriented education, transfer of high technology, heavy capital investment that strengthened only the already existing unequal feudal structures and the industrial power patterns. This was guaranteed by the west minister model of political and bureaucratic administration, and centralized planning, which means India had to follow the model development of the erstwhile colonizers, which depended on appropriating people's habitat and their life sustaining systems. All these were done under the grab of the rhetoric of National Development. It has become clear that the affluent in India continue to connive with trans-national corporations by acting as abettors in siphoning out the country's natural resources and exploiting the labour.

India is witnessing today the worst human disaster - of exploitation with in the country and eventually, the result is growing hunger, increase violence on women, continuing marginalization, speeding poverty, growing foreign debt, ever increasing militarisation, racism, violation of human rights, manifolds increase in resource appropriation both human and natural resources, nation state conflicts, political governance vs corporate rule, unethical trade relations, less access to health and education, increase in malnutrition, increase in infant & child mortality, increase in child labour, increase in maternal mortality, growing unemployment & illiteracy and expansion of slums due to migration of the rural poor, increase in suicides, caste and religious violence due to growing fundamentalism, increase in ecological and border refugees, increase in the occurrence of natural disasters, alarming rate of environmental degradation, gene robbery, pirating the intellectual properties, global warming and climate change, and torn up between unsustainable development models and secured sustainable livelihood of the majority. The aggressive development models victimize the indigenous communities like the tribals, dalits, fisher folk, and other ethnic groups, the farming communities, landless labourers, the children and the women. These are the faces of India. The challenges to overcome these inhuman situation calls in all who are concerned and sensitive, first as a human and next as a Christian to commit and dedicate to work towards change for the betterment of the society at large through a sustained human resource development - a different paradigm of Human Resource Development.

The Context

Under the new regime of global capitalism, we have entered an era of neo-colonialism and globalisation legitimized by the international financial institutions like the World Bank, IMF and the WTO. The changing roles for corporations, both multinational and national, are accompanied by a market driven ideology. The world has become unipolar. Capitalism has emerged apparently as the only answer to the economic ills of the world. Some ideologues see this trend as the 'end of history', 'end of ideology' and the 'end of hope'.

Globalisation is not new, the colonisation of the entire world by European powers was the first stage of globalisation. The second stage began after the ex-colonies gained political independence. The unversalisation of production and consumption patterns of western industrialized countries across the world became as "development". The Western model is based on 20% of the world population using the 80% of the world's resources; the globalisation of this pattern needs five more planets and not one. The third phase of globalisation is by the trade treaties like GATT and establishment of the World Trade Organization.

One World, One Village: If the world were to have 1000 people: 564 people will be Asians, 86- Africans, 80-South Americans, 210-Europeans and 60-North Americans, in other words 730 of them would belong to the South and 270 of them North. There would be, 300 Christians, 174 Muslims, 128 Hindus, 55 Buddhists, 47 Animists and 296 of them will be without any religion or atheists. Out of every 1000:500 go hungry, 600 live in shanty slums. The present global scenario reveals that:

- 1.5 billion people live in abject poverty.

- One and a half billion people are deprived of primary health care.

- About a billion adults, i.e. 35% are illiterates, out of which two-thirds are women.

- Every day 37000 children die from mal-nutrition.

- One billion people live in areas that are in various stages of desertification.

Keeping this reality in mind, one wonders, the silence and the insensitivity to these grave problems by elected leaders, the Governments, the Churches both in the North and South who boasts of economic growth competing the rich nations.

The failure of the so-called socialist experimentation has added legitimacy to the ideological shift to global capitalism, which permeates global injustice. We seem to be facing a world without alternatives. Even, if were to pursue an alternative sustainable development, it will be difficult to implement in the developing countries because of the negative impact of sweeping globalisation on the growing population.

The greatest challenge today, as HRD is however, the Mammon evil - the Globalisation, Structural Adjustment Programme, Liberalization and New Economic Policy - which is the root cause of all evils that affects humanity, society and the fragile eco system. Growth driven economic model accompanied by greed, selfishness and unsustainable life-styles supported by exploitation of natural resources and the people is called today "the development".

Control of the North over South

The world today is virtually governed by the G-7 countries (USA, UK, Japan, Canada, France, Germany and Italy). The IMF, World Bank, GATT and the World Trade Organization are neatly co-opted into managing the world resources.

Unscrupulous ways of Resources Appropriation form South to North - Who will Challenge?

The major challenge is to find means and ways to stop the resource flow from the South to North and Poor to Rich. Due to global unequal economic structures, there is a massive out flow of financial and economic resources from the South to North. A majority of Southern countries are still exporters of mainly raw materials and commodities to the North. The structure of the world economy seriously impedes the possibility for many Southern countries to implement programs towards sustainable development.

Flow of Human Capital - The Brain drain

Another form of resource transfer from South to North is the migration of highly skilled manpower contributing "intellectual technology" to the North. Through the brain drain, the South loses economic resources in two ways. First, a substantial amount of money (usually public money) had been expended to educate and train professional or skilled personnel in the expectation that they would in turn contribute their skills towards the nation's development; when the personnel migrate, the funds expended on their training are thus lost to the country. Secondly, the country also suffers a cost in terms of the loss of future economic benefits that could have arisen from the application of skills of the migrating personnel. The brain drain thus represents a flow of economic capital from South to North.

Globalisation has delinked the relationship between the community and the state and widened the freedom of corporations further eroding the powers and freedoms of the people. In the process, the State itself is undergoing a major transformation, becoming more one-sided in representing corporate interest and failing to represent citizen and community interest. The power is vested in the hands of corporations. It does not give power downwards into the hands of communities but moves upwards into the boardrooms of corporations. Globalisation has caused massive environmental damage, and the competition for resources between states, capital and people resulting in conflicts and territorial disputes left with ecological and political refugees.

Environment - Natural Resource Conflict and the Challenges

The "green" agenda has been widely discussed in recent years. It is shocking and frightening that the human species on this earth, which came on the scene some where around 80,000 years ago, in the 4.5 billion year-long history on this earth, has been able to threaten the very foundations of life on our planet in only about two hundred years of industrialization - a greed for wealth through the so-called human resource development.

Environmental degradation, including the destruction of forest, marine resources, increased soil erosion, and industrial waste pollution - caused by an emphasis on exports and rapid resource extraction, intensive agricultural methods reveals that the percentage of industries spewing hazardous waste doubled creating severe health and environmental problems and on water, land and forest.

The rise of ecological movements

Natural resource conflicts have risen around issues of human rights, survival and sustainable development. Essentially, these conflicts relate to the conversion of free community resources in commodities whose use is governed by States influenced by corporate market criteria. For example, declaring a forest as a reserved forest takes away the traditional right of local communities to the use of forest produce. Incidents such as Bhopal, disaster or the decline in gene diversity as a result of modern agricultural practices, the hazards posed by the nuclear industry and the research on genetics, raise questions about the rights of generation's sill unborn.

Ecological movements such as Chipko, the Narmada Andolan in India and people's movements and the women's movements and their impact on gender and equity issues are equally significant. The following movements have emerged to question policies, laws, and development interventions that directly endangers the life of people and the eco-systems.

Forest - based struggles: A proposed forest bill by the Government of India in 1982, which sought to give greater control of forest resources to industry was laid off through agitation by NGOs and the people.

Struggle over land: The Land-based struggles have arisen in the context of ownership and control in the form of movements of landless and poor peasants for tenancy modifications and equitable distribution of land in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The struggle against exploitation of mineral resources in the fragile eco-system of the Himalayas, Western and Eastern Ghats and Central India is getting momentum.

The struggle against the recently promulgated Waster lands Development Policy which classify village commons - used particularly by poorer people for fuel, fodder, housing materials, etc- as waster land, and for the state to appropriate them and then put them under plantation of fast-growing tree species both to meet green cover and the needs of industry is questioned and the agitations are on. The change of land related laws in tribal areas to facilitate industrialization is also under question especially focusing on Land Acquisition Act, 1894, 1986 and 1998.

Struggles against big dams: Large multi-purpose dams and river valley schemes have recklessly ripped of the natural and people's resources. This has become the focus of widespread agitation like the Nermodada, in the West, Koel Koro and the Upper Kolab in the East of India.

Struggles against over-exploitation of marine resources: For thousands of years, millions of fisherfolk have susbsisted on their catches form the sea. The subsistence Fishing economy of millions of people came under direct attack by corporate fishing. Hitherto, the Fisher-Folk Federation has now shifted struggles of fisherfolk, which were essentially around the problems of credit, money lending and marketing facilities, and a struggle was launched against trawler fishing companies.

The challenge before us is to build people's movements on the issues around, mal development and environmental degradation, ensure community control over natural resources and over the economy. It is this search for democracy in the age of globalisation towards which we must all struggle. The impact of the so-called modern development is critically visible through the people who are poor, indigenous communities, women and children.


The first and most striking is the poverty. Poverty is not a phenomenon. Poverty in this era of globalisation has assumed new dimensions. Globalisation and marginalisation go hand in hand. What prospects are there for the millions of poor peasants, rural labourers, urban unemployed, slum dwellers, the 23 million refugees, 100 million street children and the millions displaced by "development" projects under the new globalisation regime? In one estimate, the North consumes the equivalent of the consumption of 32 billion people whereas the present day population of the world is only 5.6 billion.

One out of every four humans one the earth is absolutely poor, and lives in a condition of malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, high infant mortality or low life expectancy. More than half are small farmers, and between one-fifth and one quarter are landless labourers. Of these, 80% live in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Their poverty is self-sustaining, self-generating, and the women suffer the most.

Implications on Social Welfare Measures and on Society

One of the crucial elements of globalisation is to even intervene in the social welfare measures of the democratically elected governments in the name of structural adjustment and austerity measures as imposed by the World Bank and IMF financial institutions. With increasing liberalization and the market-oriented growth having been accepted by most of the Asian countries, conditional loans have been advanced to developing countries, including India, by institutions like the IMF and World Bank. A necessary consequence has been the acceptance of structural adjustment programme (SAP). The reforms mean deregularisation of economy, less subsidy on food, health and education and privatization of public utilities. A necessary consequence has been the acceptance of structural adjustment programme (SAP). The reforms mean deregularisation of economy, less subsidy on food, health and education and privatization of public utilities.

Women: Women have been forced into he casual labour market for the survival of their families. There they earn pitiful wages as little as US 30 cents a day. Throughout the world women put more time and energy into the bearing and bringing up of children than men. Environmental degradation too has a direct impact on already overworked and undervalued women. Poverty has become feminized to a significant degree. "The continuing exclusion of women from many economic and political opportunities is a continuing indictment of modern progress". In 1940, 40% of the world's poor were women. Today, two-thirds of the poor are women. $11 trillion is missing from the global economy each year because of unpaid housework, childcare, agricultural work and other labour performed by women. Similar unpaid labour by men was calculated at the equivalent of only $5 trillion.

Children: In India, 13.6 Million Child Labour in the age group (0-14 years) were recorded but unofficially it is reported nearly 45 millions. Out of this, 2 million children work hazardous Industries. Every third household in India has a working child and they all contribute over 20% of GNP of India. India has the world's largest malnourished children of about 53% of total under fives, exceeding eve the Sub Saharan countries at 31%. 50% of children in the age group 5-15 years do not go to school. Child abuse through tourism has victimized thousands of Children in Asia. Fifteen percent out of an estimated 2 million prostitutes in India are children. Despite considerable social progress, children are especially vulnerable - hit by malnutrition and illness just when their brains and bodies are forming. Some 160 million children are moderately or severely malnourished. Nearly 70 million children under five are malnourished.

Culture: Culture appears to be an arena in which multinational organizations are particularly active. It is reminiscent of the Bible preceding trade during the first stage of colonialism. The powerful cultural onslaught the third world countries are experiencing today is an attempt to establish cultural imperialism. Culture as imperialism - as a precursor to an all-embracing domination. Through the imposition of the culture capitalism, the third world countries are trained to prepare the ground for, an " administered world", to which corporate capital would have easy access. The cultural imperialism thus provides the groundwork for exploiting the market potential of third world countries. For third world countries like India, globalisation does not augur freedom and progress; instead, it would only ensure the necessary climate for domination and hegemonisation by the consortium of world capitalist countries.

Onslaught on Tribal people

Tribals have their own distinct culture, language, political system, religion, territorial affiliation, and are self sufficient as a society. They are often pitched against non-tribals for controlling the resources, mainly their ancestor land. Millions of tribals perished in this process. Many more have been absorbed into non-tribal society there by permanently losing their tribal characteristics. Presently the ethnic conflicts, incessant wars, conflict induced famines, development process and land hungry non-tribals are displacing the tribals from their ancestor land. Tribals are not only becoming rootless but also forced to lead a dehumanizing existence without a lively-hood, identity, community and culture.

History of Tribals in India is that of subjugation, dispossession, displacement, exploitation and assimilation into mainstream population. But there is history also about their unflinching belief in their culture and value system. It is this pride in their existence led to desert their fertile plains and move into tough terrain like forests and mountains, alienated form lands, and other people.

The forces of development have ushered in conflicts and complexities in the hitherto serene life-style of the tribal people. The tribal areas have been opened up for exploitation of their vast natural resources. Commercial activities in the sphere of mining and quarry, forestry, construction of big dams and industrial projects and Defence establishment and infrastructure facilities like roads, electrification, etc., have introduced alien forces, cultures and influences into the traditionally insulated life and culture of the indigenous people. Lure of money have attracted large number of contractors, middlemen, traders and muscle-men into the placidity of the tribal setting. The tribal people were not able to get employment in the newly established industries because of their lack of technical skills they were forced to live around the newly established industrial towns. Alcoholism, prostitution and destitution spread quite fast and many individual families migrated to cities. (The Rally, August'96)

There are around 300 million tribal people in the world today and nearly one third of them live in India. Often, the violation of their human rights is justified by governments and businesses in the name of 'progress' or 'development'. But scratch the surface and you will find that it is simply a justification for greed and theft. Deprivation of land and forest are the worst forms of oppression that tribal peoples experience. It is resulted in the breakdown of community life and a steady cultural death. This process is been labeled as 'ethnocide'. To tribal people, land rights are therefore a prerequisite of human rights.

Today's ethnocide or genocide need not be, like the Nazi holocaust. The world's tribal people are facing death all the time. In the forests of Amazon, or the hills of Sudan, Bangladesh, and in India. They are being massacred in cold blood, or exterminated by a process of attrition, through which their lands are taken away, their rivers poisoned, their cultures undermined and their lives made intolerable.

These actions are, of course, illegal. The United Nations defines genocide as 'a denial of the right to existence of entire human groups'. In 1948, it adopted a Convention on 'the prevention and punishment of the crime genocide.

Tribal peoples see through this racism and hypocrisy. They are organizing politically to halt the world's silent holocausts. Their only real demand is that we recognize them as full human beings with the same rights to land and self-determination as any one else (Survival 34 1995).

Impact on Dalits

Dalits mostly live in India are in some parts of Asia. Dalits are the downtrodden or broken community. As per the Hindu Scripture, they are called the untouchable. They do not belong to the social system of Hindu society and treated as outcastes. Nearly 250 million dalits (1/4th of the total population of India) are living in India, out of which nearly 90% of them live in rural areas. Dalits were displaced by historical compulsion some thousands of year back form their own land and habitat. Today they also have been victimized by the industrialization wave. Millions of Dalits who have become landless labourers have been affected by the shift form traditional agricultural system to modem agricultural systems to modem agricultural practices. Most of them are constantly under social oppression, economically exploited and politically marginalized. Dalits in general are the victims of the caste system and now they are also subjugated by the powers of formal economy that is controlled by the capitalist's corporations.


Displacement is not a new phenomenon. Since thousands of years, the natives have been displaced by settlers, invaders, rulers and now by modem development. All these forces have displaced the very people form their habitat culture, religion, occupation, values, language and the identity. The development models legitimized a systematic displacement and dispossession of resources, labour and the very means of human existence of the majority - the poor, indigenous communities, women and the children. People were displaced, dispossessed and thrown out of the socio-cultural fabric and eco-systems that have given meaning to their life for thousands of years. The displaced had to take shelter in places alien to them and therefore the entire life is reduced to the level of nomads, misfits - 'a cultural ethnocide'. Erosion of people's culture, faith systems, religion, values, languages and identity began through assimilation, integration and cooption by invading religious colonisation, education and consumerism - the so called mainstream.

Industrialization and national control over forests have thrown traditional life-styles into disarray. Increasing displacement and migration are leading to greater urbanization and also to co-modification of land in of land in the cities where there is a boom in real estate. The poor are forced to move to the cities for a livelihood and have no choice but to make do with shacks and be considered as illegal dwellers. In India, more than 30 million people are directly displaced due to development intervention. The stories of displacement are multiplying.

Fisherfolk in Orissa in the eastern part of India are being forced from their traditional occupations as a major Indian Corporation is developing a capital-intensive export - oriented prawn industry.

Displacement of people and disruption of communities in large scale by World Bank development projects, such as dam and infrastructure projects failed to protect adequately the rights of such displaced persons. This constitutes violations of many legally protected rights, including rights of livelihood and habitat. As of today, there is no Government policy on rehabilitation of the displaced, it is all left to individual projects often decided by the management arbitrarily.

Human Rights

Some 70% of world trade is controlled by the five hundred largest corporations - i.e., the Global 500. Today, the dominant force of economic development is not aid but trade and investment. Development is defines as "a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals" and "in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized". The Global 500, have become important in their impact on human rights and the quality of life all around the world to be ignored or given only peripheral attention by those struggling to build more just and sustainable future for humanity.

Ecclesiological Context and Perspective: Church in India

The Indian Church has been part of the growing cultural heritage and civilization. It is accommodated itself to the changing socio-economic, political, environment and development trends. Nevertheless, the missionaries who had come to India identified themselves with the oppressed and the poor who lived in the coastal belts - the fisher folk, the inland communities - the dalits and the forest dwellers and the tribes.

The approach though was focused to preach the gospel and introduce a new faith and religious systems had both advantages and disadvantages. Firstly, the communities who have been continuously oppressed in terms of social relationship and economic exploitation found themselves in the new religious structure - a new status and upward mobility, a kind of liberation from the indigenous faith system who are at the lower rung of the society. On the other hand, at the disadvantage level, some of the communities lost their traditional communitarian values, collective wisdom, a decentralized spiritual life harmonious with nature and human relations based on just value systems.

The new religious colonisation had the sanctions of the western imperialistic powers particularly those countries those colonized India for their own economic growth through their expansion and exploitative theory - the hegemony of the western invaders. As of the freedom struggle and post independence era, the Indian Church had to seek an identity in the society and thus the localization of the church administration, theology or the services and congregational power found its way. Until the missionaries were in India, there was no problem for the external resources which came in to support the service institutions initiated by the missionaries - the education, health, development relief and the preaching of Christianity through established theological educational institutions supported by a well organized religious structure.

After the 1944 Quit India movement and as of 1970's, the missionaries who were expatriates created new forms of administration, institutional structures, and resource mobilization patterns so that the local communities can sustain the initiatives of missionaries. All these efforts were only an attempt to strengthen the social welfare approach and therefore did not question the unjust structures and the Church was so institutionalized in par with the other power structures around them - the feudal, the political, the social and economy. Today, the Church enjoys the status of the State structure as it is part of the society and, represent the same. The change and the role model of Church as envisaged did not happen. The church faces the same structural and institutional conflicts - the poor vs the rich, literate vs the illiterate, the employed vs unemployed, the marginalized, the men and the women, the high caste vs the low castes, the powerful and the powerless.

Form 1970's, things started changing in the Church structures and the ideology - this happened with the influences of liberation theology, black theology, peasant theology, feminist theology, dalit theology and may be a theology of human and environment would continue influence the Church's role in the society not only in the South but also in the North. The so-called radical Christians, Christian activists, development practitioners started to question the foundation and fundamental of Church's Ideology and the theology as it is preached. Things started to change in its theology, services and slowly moved to questioning the structure and institution of the Churches, which were considered to be exploitative and unjust. Form social welfare approach the direction and focus became social justice approach, which means questioning the unjust social systems and unequal economic status in the society and the unjust global relations in terms of trade and market. Male domination, pro rich policies, ecological imbalance caused through un-sustainable development models, dominate political structures, and social oppression and racism.

Change in Vision, Mission and Development of Churches

There was a drastic change in the theological thinking - on contextual theology, a theology of the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized and the victims of the so-called western models of development - a new praxis - justice, peace and integrity of creation. Depending on the Church leadership and radical theologians, the focus of the Church through its ministries had a shift in the paradigm of theology and human development. Churches ministries moved form relief and social welfare to development, development to social justice. Through in India the Christians being the minority have a major role to play a role model in the approaches to development of the poor. Form being implementer of services it has moved to be change agents of the society.

Lutheran Churches in India

We are proud of having an history of Lutheran heritage and Christianity since 1700. The Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Germans, American missionaries have brought changes in the lives of thousands of dalits, tribals and the poor in India through their committed and dedicated services. The Lutheran Churches in particular have identified themselves with the socially oppressed and economically exploited communities in the South, East and in the Central parts of India. Out of 30 Million Christians in India, the Lutherans are nearly 1.35 million. The Lutheran Churches in India has been playing a vital role in the sectors of services through its institutions in the field of education, health care, development and attending to emergencies. Currently, most of the Churches are involved in education, health care, development and relief along with the evangelical work. All the above Churches, (at least most of them), were part of the Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (FELC) which was formed in early twenties. After, several decades the Lutheran Churches came into an umbrella called the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India (UELCI) having its secretariat at Chennai, in Tamil Nadu.

The context of the Church in today's Society: Christians and Churches live and act in different contexts. Their possibilities for action in the area of economic, social, cultural and political life will be affected by these contexts; in some situations Christians form the majority of the population, while in other situations, they are a minority without much public influence. Some Churches live and witness within secular societies, while in other places the values of society are shaped by other religious traditions. This is where and how the Church and Christians are placed, it is for the Christians and the Churches to stand up against injustices in the society - with the hope to establish Kingdom of God on Earth.

The Church must find new relevance and acceptance of the new challenges to the Church. The Church, which was commissioned to live with reality, has moved out form its core commitment as preached and practiced by Lord Jesus. What we have got from the missionaries is only a religion, which gives us mental satisfaction to be spiritual and god-fearing. The word of God as preached by the missionaries form the West used Christianity as a means to subdue the struggling and suffering people. I remember a quote from Julius Nyrere, when he became the first President of Tanzania, when he was addressing the ex-colonizers and the missionaries, he said, "You have come to preach us good news and you have give the Bible to us and you have taken the land from our people. But today, we are happy to tell you that you can take back your Bible and give back our land". This is how in many of the Southern countries after the missionaries came in, colonized the people through religion. Seldom we find the missionaries are in a position to preach the real Gospel to the poor to liberate themselves from their oppressive and exploitative systems. Instead, we derive a solace of faith and put all our burden of societal problems to God trough prayer for He will bless us with what we need.

Today in many Southern countries, theology is contextualised in favour of God's people who are poor and oppressed - Liberation, Black, Peasant, Dalit and Feminist Theology. We need a theology change. To change our situations form bad to good, worse to better, and live the life in all its fullness. But there seems to be a conflict between the theology in the north and the theology of the south. What we see happening around the world is a strong market force basically emerging from the so-called Christian countries in the North. We still wonder as to how a Christian nation which believe in Christ and His teachings, can become oppressive and exploitative of His Creation and his people. The theology even in the West needs change in imbibing values that were preached by our God, which is universal. There cannot different theological understanding, one for the North and one for the South; one for the poor and one for the rich.

Both the Old and New Testaments come out boldly on two tenets -1) Justice-especially to the poor and 2) Identification with the poor, the poorest of the poor and the downtrodden. The churches commitment is to go into action and commence this process by its identification with the poor, with all poor and not just the Christian poor alone. The crux of Church's commitment is to build a new humanity.

Many times the Church structures become an obstacle for change. The hierarchical structure of the Church as it is maintained today is very rigid and autocratic. The laity are too often second class citizens in the Church, to function only at the initiative of the pastors and bishops. Nearly in all the countries women are victims of multiple oppression and injustice, which is also felt among Christians and in the churches. It is important in this context that the Church eliminate from its midst every semblance of discrimination based on sex/gender. All Christians must be able to see that in the Christian Churches there is real equality and justice; that in them the future world is already being realized. The institutionalized Churches both in the north and the south would be so wealthy than the assets of those of the rich in their own countries. As a result of this wealth, which is manifest to all, the poor are neglected and the rich are favoured.

Churches should first make sure that they conform to the canons of distributive justice in their own institutions. Therefore, it is urgent to examine the Church's own institutions and structures. What role have they played in the societal dram that is now unfolding? Are they elite-oriented? Do they help to maintain vested interests and in turn are helped by them? Both the biblical studies as well as the missiology of the Church was related to the 18th century concept of western mission going abroad and winning people to Christ in numbers.

The approach of the early missionaries was that the Western Christianity must give to the people not only the Christian faith, but also Western culture in which it was embedded. All vestiges of indigenous culture were thoroughly uprooted from the minds and hearts of their converts so that they became, in a sense, westerners or foreigners in heart and mind. The culture that was absorbed by these converts was rootless, and therefore only superficial.

The Church and seminaries should review the theology and the curriculum, and examine in what ways the Church could be relevant to the challenges of poverty, hunger, disease and corruption both in the Church and society. Theology is seen as an universal teaching of the Gospel, therefore, theology is globalized. It should be contextualised and more relevant to the situations - a living gospel.

The Church must be instrumental in raising its voice against the root causes of poverty. The Church should question the present economic policies especially globalisation which is impoverishing the nations through the hegemony of the market of the rich nations.

A Review of the role of the Church: The Church's engagement in human resource and people's development has been through the schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages, widow homes and development programmes. But, after centuries of such engagement of the Church, we find massive poverty and increase in human right violations. We have to review the strategies of development and the role of the Church. It is very clear that over project approach makes no impact on the vast millions of people.

The Church unfortunately is unable to play the change Agent. There are many reasons for this incapacity. The Church is tragically irrelevant and isolated for the societal reality. Many Bishops, Pastors and Priests are still labouring under traditional models.

The Church of the Future: The time has come for the Church to accept responsibility and challenge in relation to the factors perpetuating the dehumanizing conditions of millions of God's people. We are deeply convinced that the message of Christ is capable of transforming the present unjust system and bring about a society of love, equality, fraternity, justice and solidarity. As representatives of the Church's we should realize that the church is the best source. It is very important that exploitation injustice, economic inequality, gender discrimination, poverty, communalism, environmental degradation, abuse of women and children, mal-development which is unsustainable, climate change, corruption, and all other manifestations of unethical trade practices through globalisation on human - the increasing numbers of suffering millions those who are exploited must be the challenge and concern of the Church and these concerns must be the core the agenda of God's mission. In other words, we are restoring to the Churches an agenda what Christ himself was doing in his life time - a liberation from the present and look forward for societal justice " an egalitarian society" based on human values.

Tragically, the Church so far has not fully internalized this message. Hence, it is not in a position to bring the necessary social transformation in the society. As the Body of Christ, Church should have taken a very clear open stand for bringing about a right orientation to true human values. The Church can effectively carry out Christ's mission by standing fully on the side of the poor. This, the Church can do enabling them to organize and empower themselves, by helping them to identify issues and struggle together and thus grow in unity and solidarity. Realizing together with them that issues are part of a large system we should raise the level of social and political consciousness of all and become part of a broader political framework and the forces in the locality and in the country which are committed to liberation and justice.

Church as People's Movement: The Church is one of the largest people's networks in the world. The Church is a well-organized religious institution and is capable of being the only organization that can bring change in the society both in the North and in the South. Unfortunately, we have not even attempted to understand this major strength.

The church must realize the concept of 'mission' as a movement of the people. The Church is so conveniently structured to keep the base communities and the poor out of the Church except for worship. If Church takes the mission as people's movement, then the Church itself will become a movement of people. Let us realize the importance, effectiveness and necessity of people's direct action, non-violent as far as possible, to effect changes and this should be endorsed by the Churches as being conductive to social justice. We all believe that the struggle is an integral part of the mission.

If he institutional Church is not capable of fulfilling the mission given by Christ of bringing the world to live in peace, justice and love, the question arises as to who is to fulfill this mission, and how. In spite of what we have been as a Church, we are aware that there are many dedicated Christians who understand the real thrust of Christ's life, the message, and the mission. It is these individual Christians, given the present concrete situation; to be for and with Christ is to be for and with the people and to be part of the people's struggle.

We shall not be nave, and shall not forget that God's mission have to be brought with a price. In action for justice, there is danger and risk. We remember Archbishop Romoreo and the thousands of women and men killed in Central America and South Africa for taking a stand for justice and the dignity of the people. We remember the martyrs of Asia who have borne witness to the truth of human beings before Asia's dictators, generals and regimes. We remember Jesus, the martyr of freedom and justice. In this context, it is important for the Church to critically analyse its role in human resource development.

Context - Human Resource Development: Since the pre-independence period and immediately after independence India assumed the development path of national growth through democratic governance. The Government therefore inherited the qualities and knowledge of development planning from the erstwhile British regime. Planning in this country was supposed to eliminate social injustices, economic inequalities, political oppression and the marginalisation of the poor, instead widened the gap between the rich and the poor, unethical trade practices and undemocratic means of political governance.

After Independence, many non-governmental organizations, religious institutions and philanthropic groups took the responsibility of complimenting and supplementing the efforts of the Government through social welfare activities. This was followed in 1960's with intensive economic development programmes to increase the income levels of the poor communities.

In mid 1970's the country witnessed one of the worst oppressive democratic governments. During this period merged a concrete and contextual analysis of the society, which paved way to question the political governance and the development approaches and its impact on the poor. Individuals who dreamt of a society, free from oppression, reduce economic exploitation and caste and classless society were totally disillusioned and disappointed of the realities. Social and judicial activism within the democratic framework was on the rise and a new development ideology, thinking, approach and strategy arose. From social welfare to economic development and to social justice almost set in the minds of the people in late 70's.

In mid 1980's when the country moved from protected market to free market, called in for several policy changes which ultimately led to formulate legislations and acts which became anti people, anti environment and detrimental to the development of communities through democratic means. In 1990's, the new economic policy, Industrialization and structural adjustment programmes again reinforced the structures of exploitation - consumerism and market economy.

The change was, instead of our own capitalist exploiting our people and our common resources, the rich in India joined hands with the multi-nationals of the world to accelerate the so-called 'development'. Needless to say, its impact on the poor, the resources and the fragile planet earth which is devastating and threatening. The juggernaut force of globalisation ripping of our resources in the name of partnership and development continues to gain grounds with the support of the so-called democratic political governance.

In all these phases of development, what we fail to critically understand is the development models we have pursued and the necessary human resource development that we opted for. These are not bringing in any social justice and the needed ecological balance. Before we enter into the next millennium, at least, we should start reflecting all these interventions of development, which is giving us even today a pseudo and utopian development illusions.

Since the Church intervention in empowering the marginalized communities there has been a change in the trend in capacity building and human resource development in relation to the development concept and programmes implemented in the last few decades. Development of the communities was seen in the early 50s and mid 60s in terms of social welfare, in the late 60s increase income of the poor through economic development measures in the field of agriculture, industry where the country witnessed green, blue, brown and white revolutions as claimed by the regimes in power.

However, from early 80s to late 90s the trend of development intervention changed from earlier development models to liberation, social change and social justice focusing on the issues of political marginalisation, ecological destruction, gender oppression and unsustainable development interventions. On the other hand, the mainstream development continuous to co-opt the human resource development into their agenda of dominant development ideology. Policy makers are looking forward towards development models and continue to ape destructive development practices, unethical trade relations and systematically use the so-called political governance-democracy and the educational structures for the favour of the rich and their development.

In the name of HRD training, people were/are selected for training in different fields viz., social work, agriculture, industry, technology, banking, information, medicine etc. These people were/are trained in a context, which is not relevant to our society. Same thing happened in the field of development at the Church level, where even the funding agencies supported the training in abroad through scholarship and sponsorship to the students from India to be trained in development institutes based at England, Canada, Germany, United States and Netherlands.

We need to question this approach and critically analyse what has happened to the trained experts in the field development in our context and the role they play in people's development. Several training institutes have emerged to serve our 800 million people who are still poor and oppressed by the structures of exploitation and getting reinforced day by day. Even the so-called professional Social Work academic studies introduced by the government and the other social institutions failed to address the root causes of poverty and under-development.

The mainstream development of formal education as inherited from the British regime continued even after Independence. The social context, issues confronted by the majority were never part of the studies rather it alienated the learner from the realities. The Church and the academic institutes followed the same path of formal schooling and educational systems. New Values, new options and new learning by the learners did not allow to question the systems that exploit the people but only strengthened the dominant development ideology. What we need today is a deschooling process that would enable a person to acquire knowledge systems that would bring about desirable changes in the life of the people.

As formal education given the importance and priority in our planning, more and more resources were spent on individuals to become professionals to serve a system that rules, dominates and exploits. Even the potential resources of an individual were exploited. To reflect on the theological education systems with in the Church framework also played a role of taking the learners far away from the reality and the people. Nevertheless, attempts are being made to change the curriculum, teaching methodology, ideology of theology contextualising the learning process, a theology of the oppressed, a theology of rationalization, a theology of liberation, a theology of humanity and justice.

With this context, Church Leaders, NGO Heads, social scientists, social activists, development experts, CReNIEO, a UELCI related programme with its vast experience in the field of practical development and research decided to build-up a new human potential development processes, a different paradigm of leadership training to question the present unjust structures in the society and move towards building sustainable communities and a sound civil society governed by civil and democratic rights within the constitutional frame work to become free independent and strong self reliant communities based on people's wisdom, knowledge, skills and capacity.

Human Resource Development: Our precious experience in the field of Human resource and Human Potential Development of preparing leaders for the present and future context is the main focus to provide young people to explore their potentials and confidently face the challenges in the society and struggle for social justice. The center will provide all necessary facilitation to the candidates to emerge as committed leaders to play an important role in the society for a change and address the problems with a sense of dedication and selfless service to the humanity. From the experiences, the Centre is convinced that human resource development is a necessity for achieving a real break through in the development of the rural people. We need people to train others, train the whole communities for a better future.

Keeping this in view, CReNIEO started the Two Year Rural Development Management Training Course to offer capacity building of Social Workers, Social Activists, Non Government Organization Staff, Individuals, Representatives of Resource Agencies and those who are committed to work among the marginalized - the dalits, the tribals and the fisher-folk, the poor who live in the tribal, rural and urban areas.

It is the Church's role to see that the International and National Church Organisations do not fall into the trap of globalisation models of education but promote alternatives, viable decentralized models of learning.

To effect this meaningful endeavour, the Churches should look forward to access their own capacities, potentials, strength and weakness and equip with skills and knowledge, capacity, new organisational culture that will strive for a genuine human resource and people's development, partnership and global justice.


The Church too must be ready to die in order to rise again, rise not necessarily as Church, but as something greater, something transformed something new as a movement towards the Kingdom of God.

Let this be the challenge to all Christians and the Churches today - a challenge that can be faced with the spirit and a hope - a genuine human resource development towards human and social justice.

A case study on Human Resource Development - Micro Context

Training the whole Community-Human Potential Development: A People's Infrastructure: As mentioned in the vision and methodology the human potential development is the foundation for Social change through which the communities and the staff learn from on another from their own situational experiences. The Human Potential Development is the central focus too build and strengthen people's knowledge, wisdom, skill and capacities to work towards a better society. This is an ongoing programme and part and parcel of the empowerment processes. The human potential development is carried out firstly by organizing the communities in the villages. Every village is brought under this programme. The people's infrastructure is primarily understood as a basic resource and human capital to effectively use the potentials and capacities towards establishing a civil society. Secondly, it includes organizing the women separately. Thirdly, both these organizations are supported by cadres otherwise called the leaders form the village who are selected form among the communities and trained to act as change agents in the communities.

People's Organization: The people's organizations are formed from the members selected form the community represented by both men and women belonging to socially oppressed, economically exploited and politically marginalized. The organisation's role is identify issues confronting the poor. They also become stronger and stronger after every action they take against injustices. They also slowly replace the erstwhile village traditional leadership and traditional organization which have been always of an institution that does not take positions in favour of the poor but work against the poor. The members of the people's organization are also periodically trained in various subjects which are relevant to their immediate environment and needs.

Women's Groups: The formation of Women's Groups in each village is crucial for a just development. As the culture forces in keeping poor women

Oppressed, it is difficult for the women to come out and explore their potentials. By organizing the women separately, the women get self-confidence by being part of the group. These women sit together from time to time and discuss their own problems, the problems of the family, community and society. The regular meetings provide an opportunity to take part in development activities and join with other groups on common concerns, issues, struggles as part of women's and people's movements.

Leadership: In any community development process it is important that local leadership emerge form the stakeholders. These local leaders play a vital role in bringing change in the different aspects of community life and development. Sustain the efforts of development a set of cadres are identified to meaningfully involve and take the community along with the changing trends of human development ensuring quality if of leadership in the field of development, women, political leadership, literacy and health.

Leadership in the grass root democratic institutions: This programme is important crucial for every village to prepare their own political leaders to participate and actively involve in grass-root politics. Leaders are identified from the political constituency for the post of Ward Member, Sarapanch, the Chairman ant the Block and at District level. Even though the majority are Tribals, Dalits and poor and Women being half of the population, women's representation in the political structures were not there. If we believe in real development and empowerment it is out basic role to prepare selected people both women and men for leadership and give proper orientation on the political vision and mission, political training covering all aspects of role of leader, formation of party, manifesto, democracy, election and the strategies to adopt for election campaign. Accordingly WIDA has been involved in developing people's leadership and place them in the democratic institutions like the panchayat raj - the third tier democratic structure of the country. In the last tow elections (1992 & 1997) the people were able to capture power in these institutions for the post of village leadership, panchayat, samiti and at district levels through democratic means. All these posts during the last years were held by the rich and high caste people. Today, for these posts the women, the landless and the poor are elected.

Leadership in Community Health: From out experience we strongly believe that only if people realize regarding the health situation nothing can be changed. Though there is a potential in the village to develop local systems of treatment on medicine. This has to be documented and given back to the people. Therefore health cadres are identified by the community and trained by the project. These trained cadres work with the traditional health authorities like the native doctors and the traditional birth attendant. The health cadres also continuously undertake preventive and promotive health measures apart from curative work.

Leadership in Indigenous Medicine Practice: Traditionally the communities have been practicing indigenous health systems. However the local medical practice is completely dependent on oral knowledge of health practice and traditions. The native doctors in the villages play a vital role in helping the communities immediately even if the native doctor may not know the causes of the diseases. For years this native doctors who have received knowledge of medicine from their ancestors depend very much on the availability of herbal medicines in the forest. As forest is depleting very fast so do the availability of herbs. The idea of working with the native doctors is to strengthen their own knowledge on medicines and the practices they have been carrying for years and help them to grow medicinal herbs in the garden, in the village and in the forest.

Leadership in Mother and Childcare: When we talk about mother and child and pre and postnatal care, it is very important to us to understand the role of village dhais otherwise called Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). They have immense knowledge and experience of delivering the baby and care of pregnant mothers. Very seldom they go wrong. However, in the absence of herbal medicines and the present modern health delivery system has some how disturbed their traditional roles as TBAs Attempts are made to support the TBAs in their work and emphasis is put on for training to other women who will be selected by the village to play the TBAs role. Most often the TBAs in the villages are very old and the transfer of TBAs' knowledge to younger generation seldom happens. Through the above activities leadership in Community is managed by the local leaders.

Leadership on Village Administration: The Village Administrator's Training programme is a new concept for WIDA. Village Administration covering accounts, management of the organization, raising of resources, role of office bearers, minutes maintaining, reporting, proposal write up, study, plan and banking. This training will equip in each village on skills and techniques of village administration. This will be a sep forward in the empowerment process and enabling the community's representatives in handling resources from the Government. Even, WIDA or any other NGOs who will be interacting with the communities on development will ultimately depend on the leaders who have already trained in the village administration therefore avoiding NGOs and Government control of resources, which is meant for the people.

Information Infrastructure to sustain leadership and People's Development

Information is the most neglected link in development. As most of them are illiterates and the villages are not electrified neither the print nor electronic mass media reaches the people living in the interiors. The project disseminates develop information through traditional media like songs, drama, story telling. The project gives emphasis on developing communication linkages in the villages through radio, television and newspapers.

Advocacy & Campaign: The project facilitates involvement of people in campaigns against antae-people policies and anti-development programmes. The campaign strategy is to mobilize people on the issues related to their life. This ultimately gives them solidarity among the victims to fight the cause on a sustained and joint action. The campaign is basically to express the sufferings of the poor. The NGOs who are working in similar situations are invited to take par and foster solidarity with the struggling poor. So far, people have dealt with the issues related o wages, mortgage of lands, marketing, high rate of interest, minor forest produces, commercial plantation, unity, harassment by the police, revenue, forest department and the village level workers like the school teachers, the Government staff, middlemen and contractors.

Leadership in promoting sustainable development initiatives: What is today is required is to identify, strengthen and promote sustainable initiatives in the field of agriculture, native medicines practices, local technologies, land, water and forest management social and organisational institutions and religious and spiritual knowledge systems that respects and regards human and nature.

William Stanley


November, 1998