Stan’ tall for stan’ . . !

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ONE of the saddest pictures I’ve seen in recent times, is the back of a young girl in jeans, head bowed down, weeping over the sliced trunk of an axed tree, her arms holding it tight! That picture was worth a thousand words, because plans for a huge metro project in Mumbai, involving a shed for train cars, supposed to come up in the Aarey forest, was shelved because of that one pic.

One weeping girl over a fallen tree, and a forest saved! But it seems easier to save trees than people, isn’t it? Afterall, nobody walks up to a tree and asks, “Have you been converted into thinking you should use a manure used by those who saved you so you can grow better?” And if the tree had a mouth, it would ask, “What’s that got to do with the good they did?”

But we always require a motive for a good deed! “Stan spoke up for the poor, because he wanted to convert them!” the people shout.

Why would he do that? If a weeping girl could have saved a forest, because she loves trees, and moved the hearts of thousands who also love them, including the chief minister and his son from the state of Maharashtra, then can’t the same be said of a man who stood tall for tribals?

“But he’s a priest!” we say, and “a priest is someone who’s only intent is to convert!” “What about a priest following what his Master wanted him to do?” “What’s that?” you ask, and I open Stan’s text book, and read the words of Stan’s Lord and God, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” All Stan did was follow the instructions of his Text Book, just as an engineer follows a manual and doctors, their medical books.

“But he was a priest!” shout his detractors again. “Yes! One who was supposed to follow orders, especially the two orders given by his Master, which was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Who was Stan’s neighbour? The tribals, the Adivasis and the downtrodden!” He loved his God. He loved his neighbour.

You want to stan’ tall for Father Stan? Move out of your comfort zone, look around you; a little further than the axed trees, and into the eyes of sad, lonely faces of the poor and the marginalized, who have no one to fight for them.

Stand with them! That way, you Stan’ Tall for Stan..!

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