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Like many of the children in this camp setting, Priat came from a low-caste Indian family, the Dalits. In years past this group of people were called ‘untouchables’. Dalits are not allowed into Hindu temples, the children are not allowed to go beyond a few years of basic schooling, and only the lowliest, most degrading jobs are given to Dalits, so that they are forced to live in slums.
As a Dalit, Priat grew up with the conviction that she could hope for no more from life than being a farm laborer in one of the local rice paddies. That was until she came to the Christian church one day for a weeklong camp, and heard stories about Jesus.
When camp came to a close, Priat took tentative steps toward the pastor. “In the Bible it says that if a person believes in Jesus as their savior, they become a child of God. Is this true?”
“Yes,” the pastor said. “We can only become a child of God through Jesus the Son of God.”
Priat mulled this over. “So, if a girl believes in Jesus, she becomes a daughter of God?”
“Yes.” The Pastor smiled.
Priat wrinkled her brow. “So, if God is the greatest Rajah (ruler) over all other rulers, then if I believe in Jesus I would become a princess of God?”
The pastor’s smile deepened. “Yes, Priat, when you believe in Jesus, you become a princess of God.”
The young girl’s eyes glistened. “So as a princess of God, I can go to school if I want to.”
I first heard the story of Priat on a recent missionary trip to India. The enlightenment that Priat received that day is one that I had also learned. No matter what part of the world we live in, people must come to the realization that when they belong to Him, they become His sons or daughters of great value, and no one can take that away. And no one can make us feel less than what we are in Christ’s eyes.
This understanding is one that I share in my fictional debut novel, SHADOWED IN SILK.
She was invisible to those who should have loved her.
ABOUT SHADOWED IN SILK
After the Great War, Abby Fraser reunites with her husband in India, where he is stationed with the British army. She has longed to return to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but she doesn’t find the charming husband she remembers waiting for her. Nick has become a cruel stranger and a cruel father to their three-year old son. She draws on her American pluck to overcome the hostility that surrounds her – at home and in the streets of India. But she soon discovers that it will take more than courage to survive.
Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the battle trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. His faith remains true, but it does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from her husband who mistreats them.