15 Days of Prayer for the Hindu World – Day 6
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was the first capital of British India and remains one of the world’s largest cities, with over 15 million people residing in its metropolitan area. Bengali-speaking people groups make up the core of Calcutta’s population, but migrant speakers of Hindi, Oriya and other Indian languages account for nearly half of Kolkata’s population.
Many great missionaries of the Protestant tradition considered Kolkata the Gateway City to the Hindu world, British India, and South Asia as a whole. These included William Carey (who taught in Kolkata for decades), Henry Martyn (who focused on the Muslims of India), Adoniram Judson (who pioneered missions in Burma (Myanmar)), and Alexander Du˜ (who established higher education as Christian outreach in India).
The Christ-influenced movement Brahmo Samaj began in Kolkata in the 19th century, during which many Brahmin and other upper-caste Hindus came to Christ. Today, however, while Kolkata remains the key Gateway City to North and North-east India, it probably has the least Christian influence among all the major metropolitan areas of India. Christians must engage the rich heritage of Bengali culture in Kolkata with integrity and excellence so that the love of Christ would be known.
Rabindranath Tagore is a famous 20th Century Bengali poet-writer. His numerous works, available in many languages around the world, are admired for their insight into Hindu culture and religion. His novel, Gora, illuminates the tensions between Hindu traditions and illustrates the general irrelevance of traditional Christianity to Hindus. The Hare Krishna movement is also rooted in a 16th Century Bengali spiritual movement.
- Pray for Christians in Kolkata to live out true spirituality in ways that genuinely move Hindus with the truth of the gospel.
- Pray for house church movements to be born among the dozens—even hundreds—of unreached people groups in the massive city.
- Pray for Bengalis now living all over the world, that lovers of Christ would seek them out for friendship and offer an engaging representation of Christ.