The history class of 8th graders told us that they were studying India's Uprising of 1857 against the British rule. It was a humble class in a school set out in the fields specifically for poor Indian villagers. The history teacher in me took over and I began to quiz the students on the uprising and why it failed. Then, I asked them why the independence movement led by Ghandi succeeded with India's freedom from British rule in 1947. The students answered brilliantly, telling me that the groups pushing for independence were at odds with one another in 1857 and could not gain traction, but they were unified by 1947, trusting in nonviolence instead of open violent rebellion. We talked about how Ghandi was influenced directly by Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount, particularly the passage of Matthew 5:38-48, which he read repeatedly. So, in essence, Jesus had tutored India through Ghandi, even though Ghandi was not a Christian.
One student named Shivani (the girl standing in the photo), was particularly impressive. She answered the question voluntarily and directly. She was clear, concise, and confident, yet respectful. She processed the causes and effects of the different approaches and made applications. We were all completely blown away by this girl. Her eyes were bright, her smile was infectious, and she had something to say to all of us. As we continued on through the historical progression, it was obvious that she was a leader. But, more than that, I sensed that God was shining a light on her specifically for some reason. It was a very strange experience, one that I have not had in all of my trips to India.