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Fr. Bismarque Dias is a remarkable man. I’ve known him for some time now, perhaps three years or so.And from the very beginning, I sensed that this was no ordinary priest, no ordinary man.

His love for nature, for the simple things in life, his appreciation of the fragility of our life-giving ecosystem, are quite transparent to anyone who meets him even fleetingly.

It was Fr. Bismarque Dias who gave me hope that all is not lost for Goa.We needn’t wring our hands at the seemingly downward spiral nosedive of corruption and greed and a total absence of moral values that our beloved land seems to be taking. This is something he’s always maintained: that we the people can turn things around. And this doesn’t have to be by antagonising anyone, be it a person, a group, a party, a consortium. We can engage even those who disagree with us, in dialogue.

So when I learnt that Fr. Bismarque had decided to stand for elections from Cumbarjua constituency, a part of me was surprised, yes: at the boldness of his action, at how unprecedented it was. But another part of me wasn’t; on the contrary, it seemed the next logical step for a genuine activist whose heart beats for Goa, for India, for the world at large.

In one single stroke, he had succeeded in purifying my view of politics here. Suddenly, after years of scornful scepticism from the sidelines, I WANT to participate in the electoral process. Never mind that I don’t even belong to Fr. Bismarque’s constituency!

He has proven by example that politics need not be a dirty game if you yourself are clean. And this alone is quite a radical thought that must be making some “regular” politicians lose sleep at night. For if more people like Fr. Bismarque join the fray and by sheer weight of their numbers push the political debate towards honesty, transparency, accountability, and uprightness, towards never losing sight of the greater good, then it could be goodbye to the status quo and the lucre that comes from being the “usual” politician.

The other thing that moved me was Fr. Bismarque’s propagation of Kindness with a capital K, not only as a nice thing to do, but as his Election Manifesto, his election plank. Far from being an idealistic platitude, this is the very core of everything that he and every citizen with a conscience wants for Goa, for India, for our planet.

Think about it: every social ill, from rampant mining to deforestation to sand mining, even to the garbage problem, the problem of speeding, drunk driving, the road traffic accident and death rate, the parking woes… all have at their root a basic lack of kindness, or courtesy, for one’s fellow human beings, for other living creatures, for the environment, for future generations of life on Earth.

So by reaching into our innate resources of kindness (for we all have this wondrous capacity within us), we will unerringly strive in the right direction, because our moral compass is pointing where it was meant to do. This makes sense at every level, from the microscopic to the cosmic.

This is why I’ll be voting for Kindness on March 3.

Here’s Fr. Bismarque talking about his decision, and what drove him and why:

 

Click here to read the Kindness Manifesto in full.

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