15 May Let there be India – A Book Review
LET THERE BE INDIA
Impact of the Bible on Nation Building. . .
A Book Review
You can now hold a book and read it in your mother tongue.
You could go to a school and graduate from a university.
You have grammar books and multilingual dictionaries in your language. And so many newspapers to choose from.
But was there a time in India when we had nothing of these? Of course, there was. It’s hardly 150 or 200 years that we began to enjoy all these. And who were the makers and movers of these modern facilities. Here is the truth of history: Most of these are the creative work of Bible translators and Christian missionaries. Here is the proof in the latest research book.
LET THERE BE INDIA! Impact of the Bible on Nation Building by Dr. Babu K. Verghese is based on a doctoral thesis approved by an making India a modern nation by transforming Indian languages, literature, linguistics, education, printing, journalism and culture. Substantial data is provided proving that it was the Bible that created modern India. For instance, based on his analysis of over 100 Indian languages, the author has proved that Bible missionaries as pioneers developed 85 dictionaries, 116 grammar books and 45 ￼Indian university. It’s a historic research on the pioneering newspapers/journals in these contribution of Christian languages between 150 and 200 missions and Bible translators in years ago when India had nothing of these. Also, modernization of the script in most of these languages was the work of these Bible translators.
With names, dates and other relevant evidence, within its covers, Let There Be India! details out the not-to-be-forgotten contribution of Bible missionaries and Christian missions towards building India. They paid with their sweat, tears, blood, and lives. The book breaks the notion that it was British and other Western foreign invaders who introduced Christianity to India. For example, till 1813, no Christian missionary was allowed to enter the British- controlled territories in India. That is why when William Carey arrived in Calcutta in 1793, he was forbidden to land and had to go to the Danish colony of Serampore.
The book clearly distinguishes between the foreign empires which looted India and the Bible missionaries who sacrificed their lives for the prosperity of India. In the field of literature, in most Indian languages, there was no prose. By publishing Bible portions in vernacular as pioneers, these missionaries introduced prose to India. Also, in many Indian languages, the firstnovel,drama,travelogueor biographywaspublishedbythese missionaries.
In the area of linguistics, details on the historical development of the science of language and translation principles are given in the book, with pioneering contribution by Bible translators. In education, the contribution Christian missions to India is most acknowledged, from kindergarten to universities. Details from most regions of the country are given in the book. For example, the first university in India was established in Serampore in 1818 by missionaries, William Carey, William Ward and Joshua Marshman. Also in the establishment of the famous Bombay, Madras and Calcutta universities in 1857, the missionaries laid the foundation. Moreover, the first school for girls, and slaves, blind and the deaf were also missionary ventures.
In printing, the first press was established by missionaries in 1556 in Goa, followed by units in Tranquebar in 1700 and Serampore in 1800, spreading network of printing presses throughout India. In journalism,the first vernacular newspaper was published in Bengali and Hindi by Serampore missionaries in 1818, besides an English journal, Friend of India. In most of other Indian languages also, the missionaries produced the first newspaper or journal including Arunoday in Assamese (1844), Digdarshanin Hindi, Samachar Darpanin Bengali (1818), MangalurSamachara in Kannada (1844) and Rajyasamacharamin Malayalam (1847).
With all these pioneering development efforts, the missionaries effected major socio- economic transformation in India. The book gives scores of stories of social transformation all over the country.
About the Author
Dr. Babu Karimkuttickal Verghese is a historian and journalist, he has authored several books. His doctoral thesis is on the historical development of Indian languages and literature. As an inspirational speaker, he has lectured in over twenty-five countries.
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