Children in a Chennai slum. Attribution Some rights reserved by Flickr user jcandeli

Faithful Dalits

Christians and caste

The streets of Chennai, formerly Madras, India's fourth largest city, are jammed with bikes, buses, trucks and cars, all careening in and out and around each other, honking incessantly and largely to no avail. An occasional sign on the back of a truck or cab that reads "Please honk horn" seems hilariously irrelevant.

Along one of those busy thoroughfares is an imposing gate that opens onto the campus of Gurukul College, a major Lutheran theological center in India. One of the buildings houses the office of the Chennai Slum Women's Advance­ment Program, a ministry under the auspices of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India headed by Vidhya Rani.


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