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on 27 May 2002
I will try to explain concisely why I love the book. There is a wealth of subjects covered, but mostly Mangalwadi is countering a leading Indian politician (Mr Shourie) who is not alone in advocating post-modern revisionism in the history of (in this case) India. The book is a collection of the Authors letters to Mr Shourie (whether he actually read them or not we know not), but the message is for any thinking Christian, and indeed those familiar with Indian politics, though here the postmodernists ideas are truly (sadly)global.
Subjects range from racism, education, literacy to Hindu power struggles and death. All are covered from the perspective of one idea: the effect of Western , mostly British, missionaries and the Christian values they brought to India. Mr Shourie begins each chapter witha paragraph from one of his speeches, and the rest of the chapter is a letter from Mangalwadi countering Shouries non-historical view. What the Author fills in is mid-blowing in its perception and depth of communication. The nam truly wants the world to become different, and his love for his home nation is emmense, and shines through, but what is more amazing to many Western readers is that the nation of India is only a great nation because of one thing: the lasting effect of the Christian miossionaries.Thir effect was to bring not only Christian beliefs to India, but so much more, a culture that elevated Hindu people to a level of dignity because they recognised them as being made in the image of of the God Who Is There, rather than rotting away as they became like the idols that they worship. Such truths as these are dripping from this book.
The point of the "Missionary CONSPIRACY" title is that is is a false and popular idea these days to revise history and declare that the Christian missionaries of the past who went from the West to Africa, India and China damaged those nations with their "Bible Culture" and took what they could by oppression and imposing their faith on others. Here is a breath of fresh air, as the real story in India is unfloded. What Mangalwadi asserts again and again is that the missionaries from Europe gave to India and Indians a dignity that it had never before possessed. It was prscisely because those missionaries believed that God loves everyone in every nation that they even went at all, and in great hardship (many of them could have been professors at home)to a people who could not repay them.The point that there were many from England amongst their own Empire building people who sought to exploit and not to love the Indian people (not least the original East India trading Company who provided a way for the Missionaries to eventually legally come to the Sub-continent), and the racism or complacency amongst missionaries themselves is not overlooked or hidden. Nor are the reasons for those missionaries coming from England and later elsewhere overlooked. There is no sickly sentiment over the greatness of the European nations and there own natural benevolence, rather the stark truth of history that when the East India Company first set up in Bombay, England and the English Church was far away from the gospel love of the Lord Jesus Christ which was later showered on India to a great and lasting effect, even until now.
The fact that it took a renewal of the church in England from the lead of Whitefield and Wesley, and their influence on Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery through Christian convictions that all people had a dignity because of their God bearing image,are all covered so that no one need be in doubt. In doubt of WHAT? That the missionaries really believed that God had given India to the British so that they could bless India and Indians and not so they could exploit them. So it ios that the author laments the current political moves to overthrow all that is Christian on India and return to the pre-civilised days that were the centuries before the truth of Gods love for all people came to India. There is an anger in the authors tone that what has gone on since that time of Ghandi in India has been a race to overthrow not only the (evil)colonialism of the British Empire, but also the (Good)civilisation of the Missionary movement that came to India on the back of that empires trade routes and shipping. Towards the end of the book is a fascinating doiscourse on hoq ALL the good things that Indians now want to fight for have their roots in the missionary movement of the 19th Century and before (since William Carey). Things such as education for all, literacy(even the indigenous Indian languages were given grammar bases and written scripts by the missionaries who even translated thier Indian holy books into Hindi, Urdu etc for the purpose of giving people language and the capacity to use critical facilities to understand their lives and give their own histoy a record and a meaning - WHY? so that the dignity that God gives to all people in all nations might be shown to Indians too!), and then there is a discussion on the rights of women and Chilldren and the sick who possessed none before the missionary movement of love touched that vast land.
The only nagging question remains:Did Shourie respond at all to Mangalwadis letters?
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