The recent pastoral letters issued by the archbishops of Delhi and Goa to the laity asking them to fast, pray and vote for a change of government in the 2019 General Elections has stirred a hornet’s nest among a section of the electorate. The directives by the Vatican-appointed archbishops are being seen as an open intervention by the Roman Catholic Church in India’s politics.
But the history tells us that this is not new. The Church has always intervened in the internal affairs of the country since the departure of our former Colonial masters. The only difference was that the cardinals and archbishops performed their task in a more subtle manner. All people who matter in the country know well that the Church has a role in all policy decisions. It took time for us to understand that the Church plays an active role in Indian politics and that too because of some intellectually honest westerners.
It was Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the then US Ambassador to India who revealed the role of Vatican and the Central Intelligence Agency in dethroning the democratically elected E M Sankaran Nampoothirippadu (EMS)-led Communist government in Kerala in 1959. The dismissal of the EMS under Article 352 of the Constitution was the culmination of a bloody agitation all over Kerala by a group sponsored by the Church, CIA and of course, supported by the Indian National Congress. Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister of India and his daughter Indira Gandhi was the President of the party.
It was not because of “any turbulent political atmosphere that posed a threat to democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation” that the Church supported, funded and sabotaged the democratically elected Communist government. The Communists, as it is the practice they continue even now, engaged in the class annihilation of their enemies.. The local party leaders played the role of local home ministers. The administration turned out to be a scarecrow while party apparatchiks called the shots from the local offices of the party.
What infuriated the Church authorities was the decision of Prof Joseph Mundassery, a Catholic-turned-Communist fellow traveler, who was appointed by EMS as the Education Minister of Kerala tried to liberate the education system of the State from the shackles of the Church. The majority of the schools and colleges under the management of the Church which foresaw the business and commercial potential of the sector and had opened a number of educational institutions under the Church management. They charged exorbitant fees from the students and capitation fee for appointment as teachers. But the salary of these teachers was paid from the government treasury.
Prof Mundassery thought enough was enough and the time has come to make the school and college managements accountable for appointments, admissions, and transfers. “The school manager, in most of the cases, the local Catholic parish priest would get the teachers to sign on the receipt stating that they had received their monthly salary of nine rupees from the manager who would part with only five rupees and pocket the remaining four rupees. We cannot question this impropriety. The salary itself was not paid regularly,” wrote Father Joseph Vadakkan, who had waged a war against the Communist government in the infamous Liberation Struggle of 1958-59 as a foot soldier of the Church. Father Vadakkan joined the Lefts afterward and spilled the beans on how the Vatican had funded the Liberation Struggle.
The Church was and still is totally against any kind of government intervention in their institutions like self-financing colleges, hospitals, medical colleges and other professional colleges. They want to have the cake and eat it too.
The Catholic Church had received vast amounts of foreign exchange in US dollars during the Liberation Struggle (popularly known as Vimochana Samaram in Malayalam). Late Lonappan Nambadan, CPI(M) leader, who had begun his life as an evangelist and school teacher as a supporter of the Catholic Church had detailed the role of Vatican and CIA in his famous autobiography “Sancharikkunna Viswasy” (The believer who travels) (Page 18 to 22). The foreword for the book was authored by V S Achuthanandan, former chief minister of Kerala and a long time friend of Nambadan. What VS wrote in the foreword is that Nampadan’s memoirs about Liberation Struggle that was funded by the Vatican is an authentic account of the incident.
“Elsworth Bunker, the US Ambassador to India during 1957, has openly stated that the CIA and Vatican funded the Liberation Struggle through the Church to get rid of the Communists from the Indian polity,” says Nambadan, who had participated in the Liberation Struggle. The then Union Minister S K Patil was the one who distributed the funds for Liberation Struggle in Kerala.
But what is shocking than all these revelations is the disclosure by Nambadan about the role of James Robert Hawks, then Vatican Ambassador to India in the whole agitation. “The Catholic Bishops held a special conclave at Bangalore on December 4, 1958. The conclave came out with a blueprint to sabotage the Communist Government and this has been reported by The Hindu and Indian Express in their issues dated December 5, 1958,” writes Nambadan.
Who was Nambadan? A born-Christian fundamentalist. He was in the forefront of the Liberation Struggle held in 1958-1959 against the EMS-led government. After 1982 he left the Church-sponsored Kerala Congress and joined The CPI(M) which made him a minister in the 1987 Left Democratic Front government led by E K Nayanar. Later he was fielded as a CPI(M) candidate from the Mukundapuram Lok Sabha constituency in the 2004 General Election and won hands down.
Nambadan wrote the book in and passed away in 2013. Till date no one has questioned any of the points raised by Nambadan in his memoirs. He has also quoted an answer provided by the then Union finance minister in December 1959 to a question raised by the CPI member in Rajya Sabha. “During 1959 January to 1959 July, US dollars to the equivalent of Rs 13, 96, 162 was encashed through various banks in Kerala. This was a princely sum during those days writes Nampadan.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his book A Dangerous Place has mentioned about the role of CIA and Vatican Liberation Struggle in Kerala.
To be continued…
 List of Presidents of the Indian National Congress – Wikipedia.org