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Christianity in India: Conversion, Community Development, and Religious Freedom

Author: 
Rebecca Samuel Shah (Author) Joel Carpenter (Author)
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Description

Christianity has been present in India since at least the third century, but the faith remains a small minority. Even so, Christianity is growing rapidly in parts of the subcontinent, and has made an impact far beyond its numbers. Yet Indian Christianity remains highly controversial, and it has suffered growing discrimination and violence. This book shows how Christian converts and communities continue to make contributions to Indian society, even amid social pressure and violent persecution. In a time of controversy in India about the legitimacy of conversion and the value of religious diversity, Christianity in India addresses the complex issues of faith, identity, caste, and culture. It documents the outsized role of Christians in promoting human rights, providing education and healthcare, fighting injustice and exploitation, and stimulating economic uplift for the poor. Readers will come away surprised and sobered to learn how these active initiatives often invite persecution today. The essays draw on intimate and personal encounters with Christians in India, past and present, and address the challenges of religious freedom in contemporary India.

ISBN: 
9781506447919
Price: 
$34.00
ISBN: 
9781506447926
Price: 
$31.99
Release date: 
October 15, 2018
Pages: 
200
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Endorsements

The case studies in this book are nuanced and powerful, and provide us with much-needed information to help us understand why things have gotten to this point.

"The situation of Christianity in India has taken a turn for the worse in very recent years, and it is a story that needs to be watched carefully. Rebecca Samuel Shah and Joel Carpenter have put together a team of scholars who understand what is happening on the ground. The case studies in this book are nuanced and powerful, and provide us with much-needed information to help us understand why things have gotten to this point. I recommend this book highly, in hopes that more people will become aware of the present plight of India's 45 million Christians."

Dyron Daughrity | Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University

A collection of important and insightful essays

"This collection of important and insightful essays explores the various contentious circumstances surrounding India's many Christian communities in contexts of mounting Hindu nationalism. As India's secular constitution is undermined and religious freedoms of minorities are abrogated, the very concept of 'majority' has become a devilish force in contemporary politics and the structural stability India is threatened. Readers will find out how, despite Hindu nationalists’ attempts to diminish Christianity’s legacy and role, Christians of India manage to survive and thrive."

Robert Eric Frykenberg | University of Wisconsin – Madison

In this stimulating volume, Shah and Carpenter assemble a diverse array of authors who provide readers intimate access to the lives of Indian Christians.

"In this stimulating volume, Shah and Carpenter assemble a diverse array of authors who provide readers intimate access to the lives of Indian Christians, while entering provocatively and productively into contemporary Indian debates about Christianity in relation to conversion, development, national identity, and the law. The volume’s authors provide historical and legal context for the current wave of anti-Christian activity and legislation, present startling statistical data on conversion and development, offer thoughtful theological reflection on being Christian in times of persecution, and critique the flattened, homogenized visions of national identity espoused and promulgated by Hindu nationalists. Along the way, the volume helpfully highlights what’s at stake in these debates, not only for the Christians who find themselves the victims of discrimination and violence, but also for India and Indians more generally"

Chad M. Bauman | Butler University

This book could not be more timely

"Christianity in India is an invaluable contribution to the literature on religion and politics in India. Dispelling myths that Christians are forcibly converting gullible Hindus, the essays persuasively demonstrate the agency of those who choose to become Christians, the community’s courageous response to Hindu nationalist violence, and the vital importance of religious freedom to Indian democracy. This book could not be more timely."

Amrita Basu | Amherst College

The volume makes a strong contribution to the study of religion and social development in South Asia.

"This bold and insightful volume introduces readers to timely, hot button issues facing Christians in contemporary India. Drawing from a variety of disciplines, contributors grapple with complexities arising from Christianity’s unique and longstanding relationship with the poor and oppressed. The volume makes a strong contribution to the study of religion and social development in South Asia."

Chandra Mallampalli | Westmont College