Wash­ing dirty feet..!

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

THE prin­ci­pal in charge of the school, a nun, took me to a class­room, “Look at this stu­dent! She is the one you asked ad­mis­sion for last year! Just look at her hair!” “What’s wrong with her?” I asked un­cer­tainly. “Look at the rest of the class,” whis­pered the prin­ci­pal, “See how neatly they have combed their hair, now look at this one!” I looked sadly at the girl, who stood be­fore me her eyes down­cast, I knew the par­ents, they were poor as church mice, yet the fa­ther had begged me to talk last year to the school to ad­mit his daugh­ter, “I can­not give her a dowry!” he had cried, “But if she gets ed­u­cated, she will not go through the strug­gles we’ve been through!”

“Sis­ter,” I said, “Wouldn’t it be use­ful to her, if she learnt from you how to do her hair? Isn’t that why you de­cided to be­come a nun? To serve the poor? Or have you be­come so used to the rich, that the poor are now for­saken?” I walked out of the school, and a pic­ture came to my mind, I saw Christ wash­ing the feet of his fol­low­ers two thou­sand years ago. I knew this cer­e­mony of wash­ing feet was fol­lowed ev­ery now and again, by re­li­gious peo­ple, but did they know that teach­ing a poor girl to comb her hair, was ac­tu­ally the same as the sym­bol of wash­ing some­body’s feet?

I see it hap­pen­ing in ev­ery so called char­i­ta­ble field: Hospi­tals built painstak­ingly to cater to poor sec­tions now look af­ter those who can af­ford to go else­where! Schools and col­leges started by re­li­gious or­ders have now be­come elit­ist in their out­look and look down at the poor. I can imag­ine a scene where Christ bends down to wash feet and his dis­ci­ples say, “One minute Lord don’t touch his feet!”

“Why what’s wrong with them?” asks their mas­ter. “They are dirty! We have se­lected twenty peo­ple, af­ter ex­am­in­ing their feet; we have soaped and scrubbed their legs, cut their toe nails, so you won’t get scraped by them, and have also per­fumed them so they won’t smell! Now mas­ter, go ahead and wash them!”

I can imag­ine the scene, can you? I know their Lord will look at them sadly and whisper, “It’s for the dirty feet I came down!” Yes it’s for those dirty feet that those school, hospi­tals and many other NGOs are started. If you can’t wash those dirty feet any­more, close up shop, but don’t be a hyp­ocrite in­side your wash basins..! —Email:bob­s­ban­ter@gmail.com

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