(HPI adds: This article was written by Gary Gnidovic who is a Christian and design director of Christianity Today magazine. It is a very Christian-oriented report and view of India, and quite revealing in its own way.)
INDIA, February 5, 2014 (Christianity Today): In 1971, as an Indian medical student, M. A. Raju read Francis Schaeffer's The God Who Is There and sensed his atheism foundering. He journeyed to L'Abri Switzerland, spent three months in Calcutta with Mother Teresa, then worked alongside Muslims and Jews in Israel trying to understand their religions. By 1976, "I finally came to the conclusion that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life," said the medical missionary based in Kachua, North India.
Now, Raju presides over a struggling hospital, Mujwa, founded by Christian missionaries more than 100 years ago. Raju (who has requested anonymity due to sustained violence against Christians in his area) spoke with Gary Gnidovic on site in Kachua about how Christian missionaries of an earlier era--like the ones in CT's Jan/Feb cover story--benefited India.
The missionaries came on the backs of the colonists. When the missionaries arrived, they didn't find a unified India. They found nearly 70 major kingdoms, warring against each other, says Raju. Missionaries mastered the languages of India. In eastern India, William Carey and his associates mastered Bengali and Sanskrit. German missionaries mastered Tamil. English missionaries mastered Malayalam. American missionaries mastered Marathi. The first dictionary, for example, in Tamil and Bengali was written by missionaries. And they did it because they wanted to master the language in order to translate the Bible into the language. But they were also interested in teaching people to read and write.
Indian Christians have forgotten the impact their missionary forefathers had, on language, education, Indian identity, health, and the treatment of women, outcasts, the poor. Indian Christians are beleaguered. They've gone into a sort of "give me" stage, saying, "We haven't got this," "We haven't got that." One aspect of what I do is to encourage Christians: "Look, you have a great heritage." Our forbearers invested in the future of the country. We should stop complaining and living in fear, and instead contribute like they did to building the nation.