Since the communal riots in the Old City of Hyderabad 1990 and 1992 with hundreds of killed men and women Henry Martyn Institute is working for peace and reconciliation between people of different faiths and cultures. Always when I’m coming to the Institute and have the chance to visit their projects I’m deeply touched by the commitment of the Hindu and Muslim ladies working together in the Amman Shanti Community Centers.
Peace as Goal – Justice as Perspective – Reconciliation as Methodology! This is HMI’s aspiration.
Beside all the academic and extension programs on their own compound HMI is running five different community development centers in the old city of Hyderabad. Beneficiaries are mainly women, children and youth of the Hindu, Muslim and Dalit communities in the old city through schools, health clinics, income generating activities, literacy programs and cultural and social exchange programs. In all these programs Hindus, Muslims and Dalits are sitting side by side learning and working together. Over all the years this created trust between the religious communities and the riots came down and peace could grow.
Although the people are very much committed to their work and peace between the religious communities could be established it is sad to see that most of this very poor communities are still poor and that there are no really chances for them to participate in the economical growth and in India! The gab between the rich and poor is still visible and many families are earning per day only just enough for the needs of the day.
My visit together with Solomon Benjamin, Liaison Secretary for India and East Asia at Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) in Stuttgart gave the chance to discuss with the Director of HMI, Dr. Packiam programs to bring pastors and students from Germany for a sabbatical or a six month study program to HMI and to get the experience of intercultural and inter religious encounter and learning.