Sindhis Who Converted To Christianity
A number of Sindhis around the world have chosen to become followers of Jesus.
A book has been compiled by Deepak and Celia Mahtani in which nineteen Sindhis share how they came to place their faith in Jesus Christ.
[Pakistan is notorious for frequent incidents of conversion of Sindhi Hindu girls to Islam, while the India is known for conversion from Hinduism to Christianity and reconversion to Hinduism. In certain cases, Muslims too have converted to Hinduism in India. According to Wikipedia, 1200 people were reconverted to Hinduism from Christianity during 2021 in Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur area. The same year, 209 Christians and 32 Muslims converted to Hinduism. There is no official conversion process or ceremony for converting to Hindu faith. To become a follower, one needs to have the will and commitment to study the scriptures and abide the proper practices. In America and some other countries too several cases of conversion of faiths – from Christianity to Hinduism and Hinduism to Christianity are reported. About 55 percent of the 900 Cham people from Vietnam, settled in America, are also Hindus.
Mass conversions to Christianity among Sindhi Hindus were reported from Ulhas Nagar, Mumbai. According to a 2018 report some 20000 to 30000 Sindhi Hindus had converted to Christianity in Ulhas Nagar. Some cases of such conversions took place in scattered areas of India as well as abroad. The conversion process of Sindhis in India had started some decades back, which had developed unrest among the Sindhi community resulting in individual efforts for reconversion.
A book ‘Sindhi Journeys of Faith’ has also been published, authored by a prominent businessman Deepak Mahtani.
Following is the narrative one Deepak Idnani, who not only shares how he converted to Christianity, but also reviews Deepak Mahtani’s book in detail – Nasir Aijaz, Editor, Sindh Courier]
Deepak Idnani writes:
I am Deepak Idnani. I was born in India to Hindu Sindhi parents, and at 9 months of age immigrated to England with my family. As a small child, I knew God existed. I believed the blowing of the wind through the trees and the movement of white fluffy clouds across the sky to be the actions of Guru Baba.
When I was five, and my brother four, Christian neighbors started taking us to Sunday school. When the teacher first mentioned Jesus’ name, something stirred deep within my spirit and I felt drawn to this person.
So, from an early age we learnt about Christianity at Sunday school, and Hindu gods at home, where we participated in pujas and other rituals. Both faiths had many morals and principles in common, but also significant differences which confused me, but my heart was deepening in love for Jesus and I spent a lot of time praying to Him and reading my Bible.
I was almost ten when I believed strongly that I had to commit my life to the one living God and His Son, Jesus, who had died to pay the penalty for my sins. One Sunday night, I knelt by my bed and asked the Lord Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life. From that moment, I knew I was accepted by God and would be with Him forever when I died.
Concerned about my parents’ reaction, I decided not to tell them but continue going to Sunday school for as long as they would allow me. At 14 my parents felt I was getting too interested in Christianity and asked me to stop going to church (my brother had already stopped, having decided he didn’t want to become a Christian).
I still didn’t have the courage to tell them I was following Jesus and decided instead to respect their decision and stop going to church until I was an adult. I hid my Bible under my bed and read through it in the middle of weekend nights. I kept praying that I would have the courage to be honest with my parents about my faith.
In February 1985, during my first year at university, I gained the boldness to write a letter to my parents informing them that I was a Christian and explaining my reasons for that choice. Their reply expressed shock and concern and asked to discuss the matter during Easter vacation.
After a long discussion, also involving my brother, they agreed to let me follow my faith and get baptized, though they chose not to attend the service that May. After some time, my parents came to terms with my decision, even attending a few Christian events themselves.
Watch: Humaira Channa sings Christian Song
Over the years, I have found I can talk to the Lord Jesus about anything and trust Him to guide me and provide for all my needs. He has given me a deep love for God and people and given me an inner strength, most notably demonstrated in 1998, when I was diagnosed as having the rare disease Pemphigus Vulgaris. It causes the body to start destroying its own skin by raising large blisters over it, mistaking it for a foreign body.
It’s incurable but can be controlled by high doses of strong steroids and immunosuppressant, which were quite debilitating and I had to be away from work for a long time. During this time I took comfort from the experiences of Job, whose body was also covered with painful sores, and I was strengthened by the prayers and love of family, relatives and friends from all faiths. I sensed the Lord’s presence near me and found that I could accept His will even though it was hard. I opened myself up to receive His joy and peace.
Over the next two years God brought an almost complete healing, and I now have only rare and isolated skin lesions and have been able to work again normally since 2001.
In February 2004, I sadly lost my father. He had read some of the Bible, attended church with me and listened to a few Bible teaching tapes. My pastor was at the hospital bedside when he passed away and we both felt a sense that he had come to know the Lord Jesus in his spirit and was now at home with Him. As a family we have known tremendous peace and comfort from God since the bereavement.
Sindhi Journeys of Faith – A book by Deepak Mahtani
Introducing the book, Deepak Idnani writes:
A number of Sindhis around the world have chosen to become followers of Jesus and a book has been compiled by Deepak and Celia Mahtani in which nineteen Sindhis (including me) share how they came to place their faith in Jesus Christ.
The stories are written by men and women of all ages, residing in different countries. They include medical professionals, housewives, entrepreneurs, teachers and accountants.
A common thread in all the stories is that the persons were seeking a God whom they could know personally and intimately.
Deepak Mahtani was a successful businessman who had acquired considerable wealth and possessions but felt an emptiness within himself that could not be filled. In fact, the more he had, the more he felt something was missing. The tragic death of his 28 year old sister in 1984 caused him to become very angry and depressed and thus began his spiritual quest. He started with the Hindu scriptures and also read the Koran, the Bible and Buddhist writings but nothing seemed to give him answers and he became more confused. He wanted to know with certainty where he had come from, what he was doing here and where he was going to go. A Sindhi Christian friend encouraged him to read the Bible again and as he did so things started to make sense, which led him to join a Bible study group.
He realized that God had created the world and that this God had a deep love for each person on this earth. He came to understand that God is a holy God whom we have offended by our wrongdoing and our wrong attitudes including pride, anger and selfishness. Although God’s penalty for this was eternal separation from Him and lack of peace, He so wanted to restore His relationship with us that He sent His son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty on our behalf. This thought staggered Deepak – he did not have to do anything but ask for God’s forgiveness and accept His offer! After accepting God’s offer and allowing Jesus to be his Lord and Savior, he found the void was replaced by peace and he did not have to live in fear every day. This was tested when he was diagnosed with the hereditary kidney disease that had taken the life of his mother when he was only 12. I felt his anguish as I read of how he was told he would have to wait at least two years for a kidney transplant and then shared in his ecstatic joy when his prayers for a matching kidney were answered within just three weeks of his name being placed on a waiting list! Deepak is very thankful to God for his new spiritual and physical life and that he can know Him as Father, Brother and Friend.
A businessman from Hong Kong had destroyed his life through drug addiction and reached a place of desperation. He and his brother were deeply involved in crime in order to finance their drug purchase, so that what had started as fun had given way to excruciating fear. I read on eagerly to see how he would be freed from this terrible state. He was attracted by the freedom he saw in the lives of Christians who would walk the streets telling the drug addicts about Jesus. While attending a Christian rehab in the Philippines, he prayed a simple prayer, “God if you are real, show me.” Joy and gladness filled my heart as I read how he sensed Jesus instantly cleansed away all the awful things he had done. As the tears streamed down his face, he encountered a loving and forgiving God and felt so light and free.
His life has been a continuing process of healing and change and it has been very difficult for him at times. However, his faith in Christ has enabled him to walk up to higher heights than he had ever imagined he would reach. He knows without a doubt that he would not be alive if Jesus had not died and gives all praise and glory to Him.
A high school teacher from Hong Kong was brought up to worship the Hindu gods, which she did with a passion. During the monthly Sat Narain katha she would feel incredibly holy as the waves of incense floated around her. While at University she saw something in her Christian friends that seemed to make them wiser with a quiet confidence even when life was difficult and she was eager to find out what this was. When she attended Christian worship she was deeply moved and felt like laughing and crying all at the same time. She was drawn to this God who did not come in a chariot with a bow and arrow but as a servant king to reconcile us to God the Father through being the ultimate sacrifice. He came to die for us, knowing He would be despised, rejected and beaten. This God seemed more real to her than any other god she had prayed to in the past.
As she read the Bible she developed a strong desire to be like Jesus, to love like Him and to show His compassion, patience and generosity. The words in the Bible became so alive and spoke directly to her heart and she found that incidents that would have previously provoked jealousy, malice and unforgiveness were now drawing very Christ like reactions from her. She found this less easy when she later married a Sindhi Christian but as they both practiced the teachings of the Bible they found a depth of love for each other in which they were bound together in God’s grace and mercy. She looks forward to crossing the finish line together with her soul-mate and meeting their Savior face to face.
Likewise a housewife from Indonesia who was brought up to serve the Hindu gods came to faith in Jesus even though her parents would not allow her to attend church. My heart was touched very deeply as I read this description of her relationship with the Lord Jesus: “I would talk to God for many hours and I became very intimate in my relationship with Jesus. At times I would feel Him so close like He was holding my hands and walking with me and I would be filled with such unspeakable joy that I would sing love songs to Him with such adoration and intense devotion, Suddenly I would hear myself singing as if Jesus were responding to my love for Him. The book of Songs of Solomon became my favorite book and I found myself so deeply in love with Jesus that I would call Him my husband and my lover. It was at such intimate moments that God’s love would overwhelm me like a blanket.”
Watch the Video: A Sindh Film ‘Living the Christian Life’
This second edition of the book also includes a heart-warming testimony of an 87 year old lady called Bhagwanti. She had lost her husband in 2001 and her life had become very lonely, empty and meaningless. I felt sad reading how her health had deteriorated to the extent that she was wheelchair bound and in constant pain. She suffered a severe lateral stroke in December 2008 and her large family were preparing themselves for the worst. However, Christian members of her family and various Sindhi Christian ladies came to visit her in hospital and pray over her. They shared with her about Jesus and I rejoiced as I read how she yielded to Jesus as her Lord and Savior whilst in hospital. In time she was given a Sindhi New Testament, which she read avidly many times and it was a delight to read how God spoke to her through His word and strengthened her faith. She was baptized in December 2009 in a joyous celebration during which she spoke heartily about what the Lord had done for her. Having received her to Himself, our gracious Lord took her to her eternal home peacefully in 2010.
All the writers have come to know a God who has reached down to man and who wants a deep, intimate relationship with each one of us. We and many others around the world know God as our Father and closest friend who is with us through good times and bad and whom we know we shall go to be with forever when we die.
Courtesy: South Asian Christians (Posted on August 6, 2022), Amazon, Christian Faith, Afternoon Voice, Open The Magazine and other websites.