Beating swords into plowshares …

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By Rev. Asir Ebenezer

(Isaiah 2:4, Joel 3:10, Micah 4:3)

Indian Republic day 2021

Never before has the recollection of this iconic phrase been more relevant than on this Indian Republic day 26th January 2021 when representatives of the agricultural community are calling the attention of the nation to address the sovereignty of food for securing the sovereignty of the nation and her peoples.

The phrase, used in referencing to the biblical text or otherwise, has been used by Statesmen in their swearing in, while signing peace accords or while addressing the United Nations. It is also used by musicians in different parts of the world calling for peace amidst peoples.

For close to three millennia, the biblical texts have called for an end to war, “… they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). Yet, we have not learnt from our experiences and continue to strife one with another. A large percentage of the budget of almost every nation including the poorer ones has been allocated for improving ‘security’ of the respective countries. Industries of war have been the only beneficiaries while the poor of every nation continue to be at the receiving end.

The tractors of the food producing communities in India run a commentary today on the above biblical texts that point to the fact that the sovereignty of the nations rest not in their weapons of war but in affirming food sovereignties. This will in turn reduce illnesses, eradicate malnutrition, prosper mutual cooperation, ensure fair trade and just commerce, and further fraternal relations.

On this anniversary of the Republic day, the 26th of January 2021, may ‘we the people’ of the Sovereign Socialist Democratic Republic of India challenge ourselves to build for us and for all creatures in our shared home – this planet – secure and sovereign neighbourhoods and states that say NO to sovereignties affirmed through war and bloodshed and YES to affirming sovereignties of food communities of health and healing.

Indians here and everywhere, and those of Indian origin, lead the way everywhere. In considering the call of the farmers we must show the world we have a different socio-political perspective to the healing of the nations, where every individual’s, groups’ and communities’ freedom of expression and conscience, as well as that of religion and belief is respected. We will invite all to join in the familiar anti-war agro-based song:

“And everyone ‘neath their vine and fig tree
Shall live in peace and unafraid
And everyone ‘neath their vine and fig tree
Shall live in peace and unafraid

And into plowshares turn their swords
Nations shall learn war no more
And into plowshares turn their swords
Nations shall learn war no more”

Amen.

Jai Hind !

Rev. Asir Ebenezer, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India

Credit: National Council of Churches in India

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