Source: The Times Online
Barefoot and wearing a sari, with a bindi on her forehead and a naked baby on her shoulder, the woman in the picture is unmistakably Indian. So is the man behind her, clad in a loincloth and turban.
They could be any poor family in an Indian village, or at one of the country's teeming railway stations. This, however, is no ordinary family.
The image is one of the Virgin Mary with Joseph and the baby Jesus in the first “Indianised” version of the Bible, published by the Roman Catholic Church last month.
The New Community Bible is part of an attempt by the Vatican to attract more converts in the world's second-most populous country as congregations decline in Europe and North America.
“I am sure this Bible, made in India and for Indians, will bring the word of God closer to millions of our people, not only Christians,” Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, said at a ceremony on the Bible's release.
Produced by the Society of St Paul, the Bible is the first in this nation of 1.1 billion to be written in simplified English. It features 27 sketches of typical Indian scenes: one shows a family in a slum beneath skyscrapers. Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa also feature in lengthy notes interpreting the text for Indian readers.
The notes even quote Hindu scriptures, such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, to help to explain Christianity to prospective converts. “We wanted to show the parallels between the themes in the Bible and in Indian religions,” Father Tony Charanghat, a spokesman for the Archbishop, said. “We've put the sacred text in a local context.”