India ranks 15th on the World Watch List, a global survey that monitors Christian persecution around the world. The tragic story of Bartu Urawn shows why India deserves its ranking.
For 10 years, Bartu and his wife had been living as Christians in their village located in India’s Jharkhand region, an area where citizens had long practiced Sarna Dharam, or “Religion of the Holy Woods.” Throughout that timeframe, neighbors initiated a cruel and systematic persecution of the Urawn family.
For starters, they forced the Christians to attend their religious services (which included the ingestion of animal sacrifices). When that didn’t work, villagers openly attacked the couple’s sons and daughters-in-law with public beatings. Again failing to convert the Christian family back to their beliefs, the villagers then poisoned the Urawn’s drinking water. The persecution would stop, claimed the villagers, if the Urawn family would only recant their faith in Christ.
But the Urawn family was unwavering in their devotion to Jesus.
Angry and impatient, the villagers finally bound Mr. and Mrs. Urawn and carried them to a lake where they were submerged for 17 straight hours in frigid temperatures. When the couple was finally removed from the freezing waters, they were both beaten unmercifully. Mrs. Urawn was able to recover from her wounds, but Bartu was beaten so severely he became paralyzed and died of nerve damage a few days later.
Adding insult to the immense injury, Bartu’s young son, Beneswar, was initially forbidden to bury his father. Villagers stood around the dead man’s body wielding weapons, but eventually allowed the young Christian to bury his martyred father.
Once again, Jesus’ ancient warning rings true. “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Bartu’s faith may have cost him his earthly life, but it also guaranteed him eternal life with Jesus.
Israel My Glory, “Christian Persecution,” Page 8, 2017.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)