Archbishop laments backwardness of community
The Latin Catholic community in the state, after independence, failed to organise and empower itself, thus losing several opportunities to bargain and secure what the polity rightfully owed its members, Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram M. Susaipakiam said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
He was delivering the benedictory address at a function organised to unveil a statue of freedom fighter and legislator Annie Mascarene at Vazhuthacaud in Thiruvananthapuram. The Archbishop said he desired to highlight one ‘small illustrative example’ to make his case. Annie Mascarene was one of the founding leaders of the Latin Catholic Mahajana Sabha. Following Independence, the founders, acting on their own volition, disbanded the organisation lest it became communal in nature. This outlook was the community’s greatest strength and also its biggest weakness, he said.
“In present day circumstances, it is difficult to proceed with such a mentality,” he said. Annie Mascarene loved her community. However, she transcended all narrow political and social differences and dedicated herself to the country, the Archbishop said.
A statue of Annie Mascarene in the capital was a long-standing aspiration of her people. It could not have been achieved without the help of Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs K.V. Thomas, the Archbishop said describing the latter as ‘one of our own.’ He said the community was ‘oath-bound to tread and advance on the path laid by Mascarene.'
Annie Mascarene hailed from a backward community. She enriched her community through her life and actions. The Archbishop said the Latin Catholics were an inclusive community, though a significant number of its members still remained backward and poor. Annie Mascarene perhaps best reflected the all-encompassing nature of her proud people, he said. Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam put on record the community’s valuable contribution to the country by giving the nation the geographically important place, which currently housed the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station of the Indian Space Research Organisation, he said.