FR. AMBROSE IS NO MORE!
It was a shocking news for me. I knew he was ill with cancer and had shifted to Mount St. Joseph. But it was just about six months ago. I thought he could be on the way to recovery. Why do people say, “now cancer is curable’? But Fr. Ambrose’s cancer did not get cured!
I always believed he was the right voice in today’s world. He had a message for world in the present context. He was very much needed. He spoke for the poor, for Dalits, for the exploited. He had the right understanding of what is to be a secular society which alone ensures real democracy. I was very happy to read him in different journals, and newspapers. Listening to him was a great experience. Soft spoken but firm on convictions. Martin Luther King could have called him “a person with tough mind and tender heart”. He did not mince his words and he did not hurt anyone. He could not but get upset with atrocities against Dalits. But his approach was that of a humble yet determined person to demand justice.
He was a great support to the social activists. He understood them and took them at their stride. Constantly with the youth he understood their pulse. He put a great vision before them as their aspiration.
He was a Christian by faith and a Jesuit by vocation. Education was his passion. But his idea of education was “Education for Liberation”. He struck a right balance between his radical commitment for the exploited and his life in the Society.
I affirm that he was very much needed in today’s political and social context of our nation. Our country is led astray by antiquated ideas that propagate majoritarianism as Democracy and Hindutva as Secularism. There is so much intolerance of the people and their way of life, the people who belong to the minorities, Dalits and other backward castes.
There is a great need to bring the direction of our social and political movement back to genuine equality of cultures and democracy. Fr. Ambrose’s voice was very much needed. But he has been taken away from us. This puts on our head a great responsibility to carry forward his mission. His voice will not be silent.
Long live Fr. Ambrose Pinto!