Identities: less than an introduction


“When India celebrated the 49th anniversary of its independence from British rule in 1996, its then prime minister, HD Deve Gowda… delivered the traditional Independence Day address to the nation in Hindi, India’s ‘national language’. Eight other prime ministers had done exactly the same thing 48 times before him, but what was unusual this time was that Deve Gowda, a southerner from the state of Karnataka, spoke to the country in a language of which he did not know a word. Tradition and politics required a speech in Hindi, so he gave one – the words having been written out for him in his native Kannada script, in which they, of course, made no sense.” Shashi Tharoor, Catalyst, 18 January 2006.

“…over the past generation the presumption that a single shared sense of India – a unifying idea and concept – can at once define the facts that need recounting and provide the collective subject for the Indian story has lost all credibility.” Sunil Khilnani, The Idea of India, 2.

Enough is enough. I have to say it: Indians can be Christians; Christians can be Indians. As obvious as this sounds to many people, it’s not obvious to other quarters. I’ve quoted Shashi Tharoor and Sunil Khilnani above to support my case. But there are a growing number of voices, arising from within what is termed as Hindu Nationalist ideology that would question my Indianness. I want to listen to those voices, but I reject any claim to take away my Indian nationality from me. I am, and will be, truly and fully Indian.

But regardless of the previous outburst in the above paragraph, the purpose of this site is more to continue to discover the Christian implications of my land-given = God-given identity as an Indian, as a citizen of this country and an inhabitant of this world. For me, both Indian and Christian are not contradictions, but one of the many crucial descripters of a person. I am both a Christian and an Indian, though I also know that sometimes these simply become labels. For indeed it is often our actions and our character that reveals more correctly who we really are.

I entirely reject the “Hindu Fundamentalist” ideology that says Indian Christians (and Indian Muslims and any other Indian who doesn’t believe them) are not Indians. I also entirely reject “Christian Fundamentalist” ideology that does not listen/learn, forces Christianity upon others, and creates a god who is measured in terms of comparisons. But for me, the errors of some Christian ‘fundamentalist’ beliefs does not remove my right (nor another person’s right) to be an Indian and a Christian/Muslim etc.

I want to recover/rediscover and proclaim anew my Christian (theological) views about being Indian and about issues that concern us; and I also want to recover/rediscover my Indian perspectives about Christianity/Christian theology and other related issues that concern me.

I fully support freedom and regeneration, I fully reject force/allurement for conversion.

I will not let anyone take my country away from me. And I will continue to hold on to faith in my God.

And so I reject passive silence. And I embrace active engagement with culture, love/service for humanity, protection/nurture of all creation, worship and prayer that brings us to the door of God.


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Passage for this Season

Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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