//Fr. Ekka Marcel, SJ (MAP) 1952-2022

Fr. Ekka Marcel, SJ (MAP) 1952-2022

Fr. Ekka Marcel SJ, participated in a fellowship programme in Social Management in Ahmedabad in 1985, and in 1986 involved himself in training the Balwadi Activists, organizing protest rallies against the Semarsot Wildlife Sanctuary project with the villagers, and strengthening Adiwasi Swasasan (Tribal Self Rule), as a Social Activist of the Province.

Fr. Marcel was remarkably sociable, amicable, happy, having an easy life-style, sense of humour, compassion and solidarity with the struggles and hardships of the people. He had a moustache so Jesuit companions nicknamed him “Muchhu Marcel”. His smile was contagious. The books he wrote jointly with Fr. Agapit Tirkey SJ and Fr. Jacob Kujur SJ, were “Kodakus at the Cross Roads” and “Adivasi Adhikar”.

He accompanied 120 affected Tribal people in their struggles from Semarsort to Ambikapur and Bhopal, to sound their grievances to the state administration. He networked with NGOs of Madhya Pradesh. He participated in the Social Action World Jesuit Meet at Naples. He struggled to release 60 Tribal people who were jailed in Ramanujganj and Ambikapur. He prepared village leaders to take up the tribal movement against exploitation and oppression. He formed many Self-Help Groups (SHGs) for tribal women. He worked to add membership of the Raigarh-Ambikapur Health Association (RAHA) to benefit from that health scheme, prepared village health workers, and conducted Balwadi programmes to educate children. He motivated people to elect capable Sarpanches, Block/District Development Committee (BDC /DDC members) and to run community shops for income. He was in-charge of the Kodaku Community Development (KCD) project. He took part in rallies and Dharna (Agitation) for the land reform Act, practised direct Evangelization of Tribals and Kodakus, also had the experience as JEPASA coordinator and Superior. Today many relish the fruit of his affection for and dedication to social upliftment.

Henry Lakra, SJ