Being India’s third most followed religion according to the census of 2011, with approximately 28 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent of India’s population, Christianity and Christians are still questioned for it’s roots, it’s moral establishments and quite lately it’s contribution towards the Indian National Freedom Movement .
St. Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, who landed in India in 52 AD introduced Christianity to India. There is a general scholarly consensus that Christianity was definitely established in India by the 6th century AD though sources and proofs supporting the claim is non-existing. The Syrian Malabar Nasrani people represent an ethnic community in Kerala, South India. Their tradition goes back to the beginnings of first century Christian thought and the seven churches established by St. Thomas the Apostle among the natives and the Jewish diaspora in Kerala.
Christianity became further strengthened by various Persian immigrant settlers. The trade routes brought with them not only riches but also stateless nations and nascent worldviews. Evidently the religion has established many missionary educational institutions and hospitals.
This means Christians have contributed vastly to the country’s holistic development. Christians are also prominently present in support of the Indian National Freedom Movement. Both prior and after independence 2.3 per cent of India’s population of Christians have in a significant and unique way contributed to its development. In fact the contribution may be far beyond its numbers both in quality and quantity. Right from the beginning Christianity provided the followers an altruistic philosophy to work for the poor and the deprived. It is in this mission of working for the poor that several Christians stood against the colonial philosophy of loot and plunder of the country’s resources.The influence of Christians was impressive in the various sessions of the Indian National Congress right from 1885. Rev. Kalicharan Banerji along with G.C. Nath from Lahore, and Peter Paul Pillai from Madras (present-day Chennai), represented the Indian Christians at the four sessions of the Congress between 1888 and 1891, and became a prominent leader in the Congress in the early years of its formation. There are records of active Christian partici-pation in the Swaraj Movement (1905), the Non Co-operation Movement (1920), the Civil Disobedience Movement (1930) and the ‘Quit India’ Movement (1942). Since the 1920s, many Christian institutions and organisations that had passed resolutions expressing complete solidarity with the freedom movement. Some of them even took part in massive manifestations against the British colonial government.
Written by : Rose Mary