Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lure of Christianity divides Ulhasnagar Sindhis

  • tags: no_tag

    • Mumbai
    • For the last five to six years, Ulhasnagar has been seeing a quiet spurt in the number of “prayer halls” where a pastor chaperones a weekly congregation. There are now between 50 and 70 such halls in Ulhasnagar, a hub of Sindhi traders and businessmen.


      Whether it’s due to losses suffered in business or traditional family ties breaking down, several thousand Sindhis in Ulhasnagar have found themselves drawn to Christianity. Some of them belong to Hindu scheduled castes and a large number are poor Sindhis.

    • Local politicians say the number of “converts” in Ulhasnagar is around 7,000. “But the real figure is closer to 25,000,” says Pastor Chawla, who runs a trust that owns a 2,000-sq-foot prayer hall in Ulhasnagar Camp No 3.


      That growing number has now drawn a sharp divide in a town that was, until now, more homogenous than other parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.


      A large number of Sindhis fleeing Pakistan during Partition arrived in Mumbai’s suburbs, settling in Chembur, Thane (Kopri) and a large number of them in Ulhasnagar, on the banks of River Ulhas. As the area developed, Sindhis nurtured their culture, making Ulhasnagar synonymous with the Sindhi population.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.