INDIA: THE PEOPLE & THE ISSUES
Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
You can’t cross the sea merely by staring and staring at the water.
Words from India’s most famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore.
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.
My charity,Friends of the Poor in South India has changed its name. Same work but now we're called
BUILDING BETTER FUTURES INTENATIONAL.
Hope you like our more up-to-date name
Sadly my dear friend Chris Brown who helped found our charity with brother Phil Brown 12 years ago, has died. He was a wonderrful inspiration to so many. He helped to transform the lives aof the poor of India We miss him greatly.
MY VISITS TO INDIA &
HOW THE CHARITY IS DEVELOPING
"I have learnt so very much about the world from visiting India. To begin I found it an extraordinary assault on all my senses – including my sense of justice – and I returned to the UK feeling that I had understood nothing. So I returned, and slowly but surely have fallen in love with the Indian sub-continent.
It is really impossible to sense what India is all about unless you visit and even then it is important not simply to follow the tourist paths but to get off the beaten track and find out how such a wealthy country can still be so poor, and how poor people can be so joyful. We have so much to learn.
I visit regularly to meet my Indian friends, especially those who are working alongside the poorest of the poor, so that I can learn how best we can be of assistance. But we have great times being invited to share the lives of the poor, to be with them in their shanty homes and to share food, fun and conversation.
On a visit in 2010 i went with two purposes in mind. First, to attend a conference in Bangalore on the subject of Post-Colonial Theology – how the history of Empire still insinuates itself into our international relationships and even affects the way we think about ourselves and others. My part in the conference was to give the inaugural address and also to serve on a panel discussing recent post-colonial tendencies in ecclesiology – what vestiges of domination-behaviour are still to be found in church life and structure.
I also shared the life of the fisher folk of the east coast who struggle to maintain any semblance of acceptable standard of life. They welcomed me into their homes which were simply huts made of mud or old torn sheets and they delighted in sharing their few scraps of food – and were distressed if I should not accept it readily.
My second purpose in visiting India that year was to journey southward to explore with local project workers the plight of some of the poorest of the world’s inhabitants. Venturing deep into the blisteringly hot forests to listen to the dispossessed so-called “tribal” peoples, as they shared something of their suffering, was humbling – and their hospitality amidst their iron-age domestic circumstances was deeply moving.
My dear friend and colleague Chris Brown is an inspiration to so many of us, and along with his brother Phil we have set up a charity called the “Friends of the Poor in South India” which you can read all about above.
After some years visiting India Chris and I realised that what would really help these very poor families would be for us to raise enough money to buy a coconut plantation for them. The generosity of family and friends allowed this dream to come true!
In some villages, local workers are bringing the women together to create co-operatives, providing the villagers with the wherewithal to work and make a living to feed themselves and their families. The work of these co-operatives is so inspiring and the villagers so hardworking and enthusiastic that many of the projects have really taken off.
As a member of the Post Colonial Theology Network it seems ironic for me a White Englishman to be investing my savings so they can buy a coconut plantation in India !! But of course it actually belongs to the poor of South India now, although it's wonderful to be their guest.
PS: Only idiots dare drive on Indian roads!