South Asian Christianity

Over the past centuries, Christianity has introduced and grown in South Asia Considerably. Following are some of the statistics:

India: Christianity was India’s third-largest religion according to the census of 2001, with approximately 24 million followers, constituting 2.3 per cent of India’s population.[2] The works of scholars and Eastern Christian writings state that Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle, who visited Muziris in Kerala in 52 CE to spread the gospel amongst Kerala’s Jewish settlements.

Pakistan: Christianity is the second largest religious minority in Pakistan after Hinduism. The total number of Christians in Pakistan was estimated at 2.5 million in 2005, or 1.6% of the population. Of these, approximately half areRoman Catholic and half Protestant.[2] Many Christians in Pakistan are descended from recent converts during British rule.

Bangladesh: Christianity arrived in what is now Bangladesh during the late 16th to early 17th century through the Portuguese traders and missionaries. Christians account for approximately 1% of the total population.

Nepal: Protestant Christians came to Nepal primarily through the Nepalese who were living outside of Nepal during and prior to the Rana Regime. After the collapse of Ranas rule in Nepal in 1950, Nepali Christians living in India came in, along with some western missionaries. United Mission to Nepal, International Nepal Fellowship and others are a few earliest western mission agencies that came in and brought Christianity. According to the government data, Christian followers in Nepal accounts for about 1.4% of the population.

Sri Lanka: Christianity is a minority religion in Sri Lanka. Roman Catholicism was introduced by the Portuguese in 1505. There were conversions by Dutch persons in the 17th century. As of the 2011 census 7.4% of Sri Lankans are Christians (6.1% Roman Catholic and 1.3% other Christian).

Bhutan: The French Internet site “Aide à l’Eglise en détresse” (Aid to the Church in Need) puts the figure of Christians in Bhutan at 12,255, with 1,000 Roman Catholics, making it a total of 0.9% of the population. In 1627 two Pourtugese Jesuits, Fr. Estêvão Cacella and Fr. João Cabral, traveling from Cochin and attempting to make a new route to the Jesuit mission in Shigatse, Tibet, visited Bhutan.

Maldives: Christianity is a minority religion in the Maldives. The Maldives are among the countries with the least tolerance towards Christians. According to the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, no religion other than Islam should be allowed in the Maldives. Public practise of the Christian religion is prohibited. The Annals of the Propagation of the Faith mentions that in 1833 after the consecration of Clément Bonnand as the Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry, he was authorized by the Holy See to send missionaries to the Maldive Islands where the Christian faith has not reached. Citizens of the Maldives who convert to Christianity lose their citizenship and risk torture. Expulsions of Christians occurred several times in the last 10 years.