[NOTE : This appendix and the proposal that follows are reproduced from the first two editions of the book as an example only. For the current status of the project mentioned please see the note at the end of the proposal]
Deena was an untouchable, poverty-stricken landless man when he heard about Jesus a few years ago. He committed his life to Christ together with four others from his village. A little congregation was born and it helped him get a small plot of land. Gradually Deena was helped by other Christians to dig a well, borrow a pair of oxen and start farming.
On April 13th, 1984, he came to me and said, ‘Brother, the Government has fixed the price of grain at 250 rupees per quintal [100 kg], but nobody in the market is prepared to give me more then 235 rupees. What should I do?’
‘Don’t sell it,’I advised him.
‘Brother,’ he said, ‘my wife has been asking me to get her a new sari, because the only one she has is torn to shreds. I therefore have to sell this grain, so that I can get her the sari. Though, in fact, I need to keep it for food and seed. If I don’t return home with the sari, she will be deeply hurt.’
‘Well, listen to me,’ I insisted. ‘Don’t sell the grain.’
A friend of mine took the bag of grain to the warehouse, and deposited it there. Then he took the warehouse receipt for the bag, and pledged it to the State Bank of India as security, and arranged with them to give Deena a loan of 237 rupees.
Three months later an excited Deena stopped me on the highway and said that the warehouse manager had advised him to sell his bag of grain as the price had now gone up from 235 to 450 rupees per quintal.
Deena had used 237 rupees so he could not release his bag. We had to advance the cash. After paying 11 rupees’ interest to the bank, he earned 202 rupees extra on one bag of grain.
A village that sells 1,000 bags of grain would have earned 202x 1,000=202,000 rupees. The village would then need neither the donor agencies nor the Government to start a school, a health-care centre or a drinking-water project. It would have the money to purchase the services it needs and thus become self-sustaining.
In 1984, we were able to persuade the Agricultural Development branch of the State Bank of India to finance twenty other poor farmers like Deena. Soon some powerful people saw the enormous economic potential of this scheme in favour of the poor and so they exerted political pressure on the bank manager who stopped financing the scheme. The bank also felt that all small peasants would see the advantage of
the scheme and would flood them with applications for credit against their grain. The bank would not be able to cope with the paperwork required to lend to thousands of farmers.
In 1985 we persuaded another bank to finance the farmers; however, we are afraid that this bank’ management will also give in to the political pressures (because it, too, is nationalised), bribes (which the merchants will no doubt offer), and just the pressure of increased work.
So we are now forced to build up our own revolving fund to finance the poor, and we want to do it without putting any burden on your budget, through the scheme.
Serve While You Save
Many agencies come to you with appeals for money for development projects, but we are inviting you to participate in a movement of service to the poor while you save for your future.
‘Is that possible?’ Our answer is an emphatic ‘Yes!’ Twelve years of direct involvement with the poor in India have convinced us.
Development Is an Issue of Justice Not of Charity
As the Bible says,‘A poor man’s field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away’ (Prov. 13:23).
The small farmer in India is poor and lives at or below the subsistence level because he rarely recovers his production cost. He is forced to sell his wheat (for example) at 162 rupees per bag (100 kg or 200lb), whereas the production cost is approximately 262 rupees per bag. The farmer makes no money and is therefore unable to pay the necessary minimum wages to the hired labourers. Yet the business community and the Government make anywhere between 50 to 200 rupees per bag of wheat. The farmer who cannot make ends meet is forced to exploit not only his laborers, but his land, forest, cattle, family and his own body also. During the British Raj, cotton produced by the Indian farmer was purchased at an extremely low price and taken to the mills in England. The mill-made cloth was then resold in India at a high profit, taking the wealth of India back to England at the expense of the poor primary producers in India. We called it injustice, exploitation and slavery; historians called it Pax Britannica!
National independence in 1947 changed the situation only slightly. The first planning commission was persuaded by the Russian example, that India could accumulate the capital for industrialisation only if it did not pay remunerative prices for agricultural produce, i.e., if it exploited 80 per cent of its population. This policy has continued to this day. Each harvest has been used to transfer money from the field to the factory, from the village to the city, from the poor to the rich. This is PAX INDIANA! During the decade of 1971-81 alone ,22,500 million (pounds) have been transferred from the agricultural to the non-agricultural sector. Because this transfer has taken place not through savings and investment, but through a socialistic strategy of force and fraud, the capital is gone, but the population has remained on the land. The peasants have simply become poorer.
The grip of the rich over the economic system has become so strong now that to break these chains of slavery and to liberate the poor from this unjust exploitation will require nothing less than a nationwide movement on the scale of the independence struggle. But let us first look at the microscopic level of 1,200 villages in Chatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, where the writer has been directly involved with the poor since 1976.
The reason I insisted that Deena should not sell his grain after the harvest in 1984 was because of what I had seen happen the previous year. In 1983, the Government had announced the ‘support price’ of
grain to be 235 rupees per bag. When the farmers brought the grain to the procurement centre during the day, they were usually told, ‘Sorry - the cash has not come yet.’ Instead of taking the grain back to the village, the farmers preferred to sell it to the merchants at 180 rupees per bag, because they could not be sure that they would get the ‘support price’ even if they returned the next day. In the evenings, the merchants passed on the grain to the procurement centre at 235 rupees per bag, sharing the profit of 55 rupees a bag with officials.
Later in the year, the Government sold the grain at the wholesale rate of 365-390 rupees per bag, making a further profit of 145 a bag. Then the merchants sold the same grain at 425-450 rupees a bag. A Government officer said to me, ‘The MP Government has earned hundreds of millions on grain’. On a million bags, the total net profit of the Government and the merchants works out to be more than 200 million rupees. This is profit. What the farmers get is not even the production cost. Is there any wonder then that the city is now mushrooming with videos and TVs whereas so many villages have no drinking water, no roads, no school buildings or even first aid clinics? The village folk still drink contaminated water and wear rags.
This enslavement of the poor by the rich, of the village by the city, is as evil as any colonialism ever was. It makes us ashamed. It moves us to call for a new national struggle for justice to the poor. What can be done about this injustice? Distributing charity or technology is certainly no answer. Increasing productivity through development projects will not help. The need is to change the unjust system and oppressive ideology that under-girds the system. As the Bible says, God’s desire for us is ‘to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke’ (Isa. 58:6).
AUTHOR’S POST-SCRIPT ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE PROJECT
As a result of this project and my other work with the peasants I was invited to serve as the National Convenor of the Peasant’s Commission of the Janata Party. That position enabled me to write the approach paper for India’s Agricultural Policy. After the Janata Dal formed the national Government in 1989 several of my proposals were incorporated into the national policy. The nationalized banks, for example, are now required to lend to all farmers who wish to avoid “distress selling” with the help of warehousing. The above project, therefore, has achieved its purpose and has been wound up. The Indian Groundworks Trust, however, continues to support other initiatives in India. The appendix and the proposal have been retained in this edition mainly to serve as an illustration of what can be done for the poor.
Now that the interest in the thesis of this book has begun to create ripples in the minds of Christians in many nations, I would like to invite the reader’s prayerful involvement in the proposal contained in Appendix Two.
A World View for World Healing:
Conferences for Christian Students Concerned for APPLYING TRUTH TO SOCIAL REFORM
January 1-4, 1998 (dates tentative)
"I have frequently suggested that, at the edge of the Third Millennium, Christianity...is uniquely situated to be the culture-forming dynamic in world history. After the end of Marxism, Christianity provides the only coherent, comprehensive, compelling, and promising vision of the human future..."
---Richard John Neuhaus, First Things (October 1996), p. 74
"The 21st century will be religious or it will not be at all."
---Andre Malraux (French intellectual, 1986)
"...the problem of the school and the university is the most critical problem affecting Western civilization today...at the heart of the crisis in Western civilization lies the state of the mind and the spirit of the university...responsible Christians face two tasks---that of saving the soul and that of saving the mind."
---Charles Malik (former United Nations Secretary General), quoted by Alan Crippen
The Eve of the Third Millennium
For Europeans, the second millennium was birthed in the secure womb of the Holy Roman Empire, with its vision of Christ triumphant over culture. Christianity was less than triumphant, not only because of theological flaws within Christendom but also because Confucius, Lord Krishna, Gautama Buddha, Allah, and millions of tribal gods and goddesses commanded allegiance outside of Christendom.
This same millennium ends in the afterglow of a once-secure liberal humanism, formerly confident in human reason as the basis for human culture, now flickering amidst the pessimistic breezes of post-modernism. For all its boast in the establishment of nation-states, of international forums (such as the UN), of technological and scientific achievements beyond all imagination, and of thousands of institutions for higher education, the humanists have failed to triumph just as had Christendom of a thousand years earlier.
So, at the doorstep of the third millennium there is no reigning paradigm, no triumphant voice beyond that of a militant Islam whose passion and purpose is largely a reaction against hollow Western secularism. Who will offer genuine hope to the nations, threatened by the demoralizing impact of almost universal corruption and bribery, the crumbling of national borders in the wake of the global exchange of goods and information, and the never-ending tragedy of billions in poverty? Is it possible that the hundreds of thousands of international students in the USA are the key to the transformation of the nations?
To capture the imagination of a new generation of students, by challenging them to creatively and courageously impact the destiny of their nations with the transforming power of Christ and the Christian world view.
The conference is targeted at the estimated 40,000 Christian international students, scholars, and visiting faculty who populate our colleges, universities, and seminaries in North America. A second group that is invited are "serious seekers", people who are very open to a Christian worldview and who are prepared to explore together with us what it means to effect Christian transformation within the context of our societies. A third target are a small but select group of American Christian college and university students, signifying their global partnership for the healing of nations, including the USA. Projected attendance is 300 - 500 students, scholars, and visiting faculty.
By design, this conference will be undertaken and advertised as a collaborative effort. The MacLaurin Institute will serve by providing leadership and administrative direction, coordinating with members of the Garden Valley Fellowship and other like-minded groups and organizations.
Why is The Conference Strategic?
1. Today's students in US colleges and universities are strategically leveraged
to influence the destiny of nations.
* US universities and colleges breed and promote the ideas that directly impact
the policies and practices of nations around the globe, via
students and scholars who return
* The US State Department estimates that, at any given time, 25% of the world's
future leaders are studying in the USA
* Mark Rentz, a Christian at the Arizona State University, has extensively
documented the correlation between a US education and leadership back home.
(see his "Diplomats in Our Backyard", Newsweek, February 16, 1987)
* The Polish government, for example, has four Fulbright scholarship recipients in its cabinet
* It is estimated that at least 20% of the world's heads-of-state studied in the USA
2. The USA is the meeting ground for the nations.
*Over 200 nations are represented in US colleges and universities, and most
major universities host students from well over 100 different countries
*As the world's meeting ground, the USA provides the context for critical
Christian engagement on matters such as reconciliation (e.g., the public
reconciliation between Korean and Japanese students at the 1994 Post-Urbana
Conference for Internationals, sponsored by InterVarsity)
3. The scope and depth of global problems offers a window of opportunity for
biblically-based solutions that honor Christ's lordship
* See Robert Kaplan's cover article in the February 1995 Atlantic Monthly: "The
* Post-modernism in Western higher education has yielded a pessimism concerning
* Many nations, particularly in Africa where a massive grassroots Christian
revival is underway, are ripe for an infusion of thoughtful Christian leaders who may very well be able to directly transform the social and political institutions in their societies
* Since 1989 (nominally understood to be the end of the Cold War), there have been 85 major conflicts globally, of which 35 were wars. Two-thirds of these conflicts were within national boundaries (Robert Seiple, World Vision).
4. There is a growing pool of Christian international students who need leadership training.
*In the past ten years, it is estimated that ministry to international students and scholars has doubled, even as the international population has only grown by 25%; thus, the percentage of new international Christians needing leadership training has significantly increased
*Virtually all international student ministries are focused on evangelism and discipleship, and are usually not equipped to offer advanced leadership training
5. Students need to see that Jesus practically influences the destiny of their nations.
* The Reformation had a profound impact on Northern Europe
* Lamin Sanneh's (professor at Yale) research on the culture-building impact of the Gospel (cf. Encountering the West)
* Vishal Mangalwadi's research that shows the early missionaries positively impacted Indian society (cf. William Carey: Tribute By An Indian Woman and Missionary Conspiracy: Letters To a Post-Modern Hindu)
* This wonderfully complements the historic Christian emphasis on personal conversion by demonstrating both the socio-cultural rationale and product of salvation
* 1994 research among 118 Christian internationals at the Urbana Post-Conference for Internationals revealed very high interest in conferences and seminars on this topic, as well as those offering biblical and Christian perspectives on their vocations and academic disciplines
6. International student and American student ministries are, more than ever before, committed to large-scale collaboration.
* This event will also include collaboration with relief and development agencies (such as Food for the Hungry, YWAM's Mercy Ships, and Harvest)
* The Bedford Conversation (October 4-6, 1996) highlighted the collaborative vision of international student ministries
Why is the Conference Unique?
1. It brings together a truly international array of speakers who understand and address the impact of the Christian world view on the destiny of the nations.
2. It is a first-ever context for groups of Christian nationals to meet together to pray, to discuss, and to strategize a Christian vision for healing, blessing, and discipling their nations. In all likelihood, continuing groups will develop along national or regional lines
3. It brings together international and American college and university students and scholars as partners in the global Christian enterprise.
4. It serves as the catalyst for a variety of envisioned programmatic endeavors that will continue and enlarge the conversation:
Summer Institutes in Theology, Economics, and Community Development
Internships for Future Change Agents
Christian world view curriculum for use by trained campus staff ministers
Future regional and national "A World View for World Healing" conferences Regional international seminarian conferences.
Plans are already underway to begin training over the next five years, 10,000 churches in India in biblical worldview and wholistic discipleship, as it relates to the soul of India.
5. It demonstrates Christian engagement with the pressing problems of bribery and corruption, ethnic hatred, poverty and intolerance.
6. It aims to publish a set of papers from the conference.
*These will be available with study guides
*Published in English and several other major languages (such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Russian and French)
7. By heavily recruiting in Christian colleges and seminaries, this conference enables future church leaders to interact with future business, political, and educational leaders concerning God's intentions for their societies.
The program will include plenary sessions, workshops, and worship centered on God's intentions for our nations. Objectives:
i. Communicate the outlines of a biblical world view
ii. Identify God's purposes in the history and future of our nations
iii. Discover a deep sense of responsibility for the future of our nations
iv. Identify the central role of the church in the healing of nations
v. Learn how to be a Christian change agent within the context of one's vocational calling
vi. Enable students to meet with fellow countrymen to discuss and pray over the future of their nations. By the use of "worldview mapping", students will also identify cultural idolatries and cultural signposts of the Kingdom within their cultures, and begin identifying strategies for promoting
God's healing of their nations.
vii. Provide practical examples of Christians who have profoundly affected
the destiny of their nations, especially stories of returnees
viii. Learn Biblical teaching concerning leadership, corruption, bribery,
reconciliation, and political and economic development, and discover some strategies for bringing resolution in these areas.
The MacLaurin Institute
The MacLaurin Institute is named after Colin MacLaurin, a devout believer in Jesus Christ and Great Britain's finest scientist in the 18th century. As a Christian study center based at the University of Minnesota, the Institute's mission is "to present the Christian world view to university and international scholars so that they will bring Christ's transforming influence to their cultures and academic disciplines".
The founder is Dr. William Monsma, now serving as Director of Academic Programs. Robert Osburn serves as Director, along with his role as Director of International Programs. Several other staff and fellows are associated with the Institute. The board is composed of Dr. Chris Macosko (Professor, University of Minnesota), Dr. V. Elving Anderson (Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota), Dr. Rutherford Aris (Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota), Dr. Sandra Menssen (Professor, St. Thomas University), Fen Hiew (Management Team, Reliastar Financial Corporation), and the two staff directors.
The Institute is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit chartered under the laws of the State of Minnesota.
For further information and involvement contact:
Bob Osburn, Director, The MacLaurin Institute
331 17th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
(Phone: US +1 6123782159 Call ; US +1 8005828541 Call ; Fax: 612-378-1935)
Proof-Reading - Ted West, Shailesh Mark
Editing - Prof. (Dr.) D. Blank
Finance - C.L.A.S.P.
Office Assistance - M. A. Hope
Printing - Ajay Verma
Technical Assistance - Tony Malik
Cover Design -
Production - Nivedit M. Daliya
See page 65 on the Greek word ecclesia. Very strong political sense behind the word.
Share with your friends: