Biography: Rev. Joseph D’souza

Most. Rev. Joseph D’souza, Moderator Bishop & Primate
The Good Shepherd Church of India

Rev. Joseph D’souza is an internationally celebrated human rights advocate and Christian Bishop whose work in India and around the world has drawn the praise of countless civil and religious leaders. He believes justice and reconciliation are among the most important needs of the modern world. He also believes freedom of conscience and religion are basic components to building great economies, development and nations. He is the initiator of the Christian­Hindu International Forum to create understanding between Christians and Hindus in different parts of the world and to work together for India’s economic development.

He is the Moderator Bishop and the primate of the Good Shepherd Church of India and its associated educational, medical, economic, job development, theological and literature ministries.

Bishop Dsouza is also the founder and International President of the Dalit Freedom Network an inter­caste and inter­racial alliance that works on behalf of the Dalits (sometimes called ‘untouchables’) and other poor and marginalized groups. He is the founding president of the ecumenical All India Christian Council.

 

LONG FORM:

Rev. Joseph D’souza is an internationally renowned human rights advocate and Christian Bishop whose work in India and around the world has drawn the praise of countless civil and religious leaders.

As Moderator Bishop he serves as the primate of the Good Shepherd Church of India and its associated educational, medical, economic, job development, theological and literature ministries.

Bishop Dsouza is also the founder and International President of the Dalit Freedom Network an inter­caste and inter­racial alliance that works on behalf of the Dalits (sometimes called ‘untouchables’) and other poor and marginalized groups. The Dalit Freedom Network now has offices in Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Brazil, and Sweden, as well as network partners in over 25 nations. As the word Dalit means “broken” the Dalit Freedom network espouses the cause of “broken” people everywhere especially broken women.

Finally, he serves as the distinguished, founding president of the ecumenical All India Christian Council, one of the largest interdenominational coalitions of Christians in India. The Council proactively addresses the persecution and oppression of Christians and other minorities in India and is known for strong ties to Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and other faith community leaders.

Bishop D’Souza is an eloquent spokesperson for the need for Church movements to be transformative within societies, addressing both spiritual and social needs. He has stated “I love India and I love Jesus Christ and there is no contradiction between the two loves.”

He is best known internationally for his constant advocacy on behalf of religious freedom for all, as well as for his respect for co­religionists even as he maintains his own faith and allegiance to Jesus Christ. He is a tireless campaigner for the freedom of conscience in India, and an apologist for India which he believes is “as worthy of compliment as it has been for criticism given the extraordinary efforts being made to advance economic and religious freedom for all.” He is an activist for peace and is an enemy of all forms of religious extremism and violence of any kind.

Bishop D’Souza has a particular concern for the rights of “tribals,” “the dalits” and the so­called “backward castes” in India and abroad. In the tradition of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar ­ the principal architect of the Indian constitution – Bishop D’Souza imagines an India, and globe, where racism and caste­discrimination have been eliminated. He has worked especially on the impact of caste discrimination on the trafficking of women and children, and he has worked with leading Dalit activists and prominent members of multiple faith communities to inaugurate a public debate in India and abroad about the need for eliminating caste within the Church.

Bishop D’Souza played an indispensable role in pacifying unprecedented riots in 2002 in Gujarat and also in the Indian state of Orissa in 2008. He has testified on Dalit rights before European political bodies, including the UK Conservative Party Human Rights Commission. He has also served as an expert witness before a US Congressional Sub­Committee hearing on caste­based discrimination, and has been a witness at various United Nations’ hearings including before the Geneva­based Sub­Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. Bishop D’Souza has keynoted countless events and held just as many meetings with members of Parliament in Canada, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom, and Congressional leaders in the United States. He has also held the Presidency of the Christianity Solidarity Worldwide and serves as a member of the Council on Faith and International Affairs.

D’Souza is the author of several books and many articles, and has been interviewed by many notable news outlets such as CNN, BBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Asian News Service.