Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 20 - Murshidabad, India

The Twentieth Day (Saturday, September 20)

The land of the Nawabs

Murshidabad District is a district of West Bengal in eastern India. When India became independent on the 15th of August 1947, Murshidabad, on the basis of the fact that Muslims were a majority, was part of (East) Pakistan for two days. Thereafter it became part of India on the basis of the final award of the Radcliffe Commission.

Spread across both sides of the Bhagirathi (Hooghly) River, a main tributary of the Ganges, Murshidabad district was the seat of Muslim power in the Bengal region after 1704. The greatness of Muslim rule is still visible in the museum of Hazar Duari (the Palace of a Thousand Doors), the Imambara, the Katra Mosque and a number of other monuments. This land was once famous for its Nawab dynasties (Muslim Moghol provencial governors). However, it has largely been forgotten in recent times. With its rich history of artisans and strong agricultural crops this district provides skilled workers to a number of trades across India. Murshidabad’ industries include ivory-carving, as well as silver and gold embroidery, silk-weaving and fine crafts.

Unfortunately the region is also now known for its numerous problems, including cases of human trafficking, child labour, severe poverty and local political assassinations. It has largely missed out on the foreign influence and development that have been present in other parts of West Bengal.

There are approximately six million people in Murshidabad district with almost 90% of these people living in rural villages. While the majority of the population of West Bengal is Hindu, Murshidabad is 64% Muslim (3.8 million people). The number of Muslims in Murshidabad district rival that of the entire populations of nations like Albania and Lebanon. There is less than one full time minister for every million Muslims in this district.

Prayer Starters
* Pray that God will reveal Himself to the young and old Bengali Muslims in Murshidabad (Acts 2:16-21).

*Pray that Muslim background believers will be called, equipped and motivated to witness and teach the Way of Christ in unity with other believers (Matthew 28:20).

* May the Messiah’s glory be revealed in the land of the Nawab dynasties.

God is active in Murshidabad
Although there are only a handful of believers, their witness has already brought many Muslims to life changing faith. Many believers are now experiencing severe persecution in the transparency of village life, where nothing is hidden. On a recent trip one believer visited a Bengali Muslim family known to him through a common acquaintance. This family expressed interest in the Gospel and made a joint decision to follow the Messiah. There are many families like this one among the Bengali Muslims residing in the area, but many never have had an opportunity to hear the Gospel in their own language.

HT: 30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus

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