Beyond the logistical challenges they face, a number of Indian publishers face persecution that hampers their efforts—one in four cited “cultural hostility and discrimination” as a problem in a recent survey. One in ten specifically referenced “government laws and attitudes.”
Opposition to Christianity in India has increased in recent years. The country ranked 15th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries most resistant to the Gospel—a list headed by North Korea. That was a rise of 16 places from four years ago, putting India ahead even of nations like Egypt and China.
“The level of impunity has gone up markedly, with communities of converts to Christianity from Hinduism bearing the brunt of the persecution,” observes Open Doors. “They are constantly under pressure to return to their old beliefs, and are often physically assaulted, sometimes killed.”
Sathyam Ministries’ founder C.V. Vadavana acknowledges the challenges of “religious bias from various political forces in the political scene has been rapidly changing,” while evangelist Shishye Thompson says that sharing the Gospel in public and distributing materials freely “brings a backlash from Hindu radicals.”
That pressure has resulted in one strength as Christian publishers and distributors look to the future, believes Craig Featherstone, VP of LifeWay Global. “There is a real sense of unity in the church,” he comments. “Because the church is so much in the minority, it doesn’t matter your background. There is a real collegiate spirit.”
Read more about Christian resources in India in our second issue of the bi-annual Global MARKET International News & Trends report.