“Stan will remain in people’s hearts”
Manan speaks with a deep sense of emotion about his close friend, and he is visibly moved. “Stan was someone who was very calm and quiet, yet had a tremendous inner strength to do good things for others.” The Indian man who worked with Fr Stan Swamy to defend human rights in India attended the solidarity walk, organised by Jesuit Missions, in memory of this inspiring Jesuit priest who died on the 5th of July 2021 after unjust imprisonment in India.
Fr. Dominic Robinson and Fr Damian Howard, Provincial Superior of the British Jesuits, celebrated a mass at Farm Street Church. Following the march, a group of people gathered to pray at India House in London. It is still difficult for Manan to forget about the sadness caused by the persecution of Fr Stan. “We had been in touch before Stan was imprisoned, but I never thought he would be jailed. There is no way anyone could think of arresting Stan”. However, his legacy appears to go beyond this sense of injustice. “Stan was willing to be sent to prison to help the people and I can assure you he will remain in the hearts of people in India, especially activists who work on the ground”. Manan remembers Stan’s birthday celebration as an “incredible event” as “there was such a huge range of activists and people there that I am sure will never forget him. Stan will be in our hearts forever”.
Also speaking to the group was Fr Damian, the Provincial. He reminded participants of the importance of standing out even if in a small group for what we believe in. When he compared the silence of the group and its praying in the midst of the chaotic city center of London to what happened many times with Jesus and the disciples, he pointed out how similar it is. Furthermore, he urged them to remain faithful to the causes they believe are worthy of defending.
The situation in India has become extremely difficult in recent years, according to Manan, who talked to Jesuit Missions about it. “There has been a massive falsification of facts and fake news in recent years, targeting people who are doing good. Things have been very hard for the last 20 years, but now are just getting worse. If you want to do good, you will be arrested, killed, and… That’s how things are now”.