"Is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself, both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions?"
Baha'i Faith in India
India has been associated with the Baha'i Faith right from its inception in 1844, as one of the first eighteen people who recognized and accepted the Bab, the forerunner of Baha'u'llah, was from India. Today, over 2 million Baha'is representing the great diversity of the Indian nation live in every state of India in over 10,000 localities.
Baha'u'llah (1817-1892) is the Prophet of the Baha'i Faith. He is regarded by Baha'is as the most recent Divine Teacher in the line of the Messengers of God that have enlightened the peoples of the earth with their divine teachings. These include Divine Teachers such as Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. The central theme of Baha'u'llah's message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification into one global society. The principal challenge facing the peoples of the earth, as perceived by Baha'u'llah, is to accept their oneness and, to assist the processes of unification of the entire human race and to thereby carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.
Unity in Diversity – the Central Theme of the Baha'i Faith
The Baha'is of India are actively engaged in seeking the betterment of society through the pursuit of processes of individual and social transformation. They are thus engaged, in consort with men, women, children and youth from the larger society, in a collective learning enterprise. The guidance and resources for all these activities are channelled through Baha’i governing councils at the local, regional and national levels. At present, there are seventeen regional and about 600 local councils functioning harmoniously in a spirit of non-adversarial consultation under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of India, which is the apex body looking after the affairs of the Indian Baha'i community. Through these efforts and in collaboration with a number of like-minded organisations, the Baha'is of India are learning to address the grave challenges facing present day society such as the prevalence of caste and class prejudice, gender inequality, communal disharmony, illiteracy, lack of education, violence, poverty, corruption and moral degradation. It is the fervent hope and aspiration of the Baha’i community in India to see their dear nation grow in material and spiritual prosperity, to see that the bonds of unity between the thousands of ethnic and religious communities living within its borders grows, that its people not only excel in the acquisition of scientific knowledge but also become renowned for their moral character and for qualities such as love, justice, compassion, equality and rectitude of conduct and that India makes its own distinct contribution to the advancement of world civilization.
Community Building Activities of the Baha'is
Inspired by the teachings of Baha'u'llah and the guidance of the Baha'i institutions, Baha'is of India follow a systematic pattern of human resource development in a seamless fashion building capacities of individuals from different age groups and different walks of life to enable them to lead a life of service to society.
The experience and learning of the Baha'is of India lends credence to the fact that human beings are born noble and that it is the word of God which is endowed with that regenerative power- understanding of which helps one to engage in an enduring path of spiritual and social transformation. The activities that drive this process are: