ibnlive » India

Aug 10, 2008 at 01:22am IST

Made in India: Bible which draws from Vedas, Gandhi

Kochi: A new version of the Bible published by the Roman Catholic Church has become a huge hit in Kerala.

References in the Indianised version of the Bible have been picked up from the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Manusmriti.

The characters in the Bible have also been dressed up in Indian clothes. A sketch shows Joseph wearing a turban and Mary in a sari. Mother Mary holds baby Jesus in her arms in the sketch.

However, the sketch is just one among the 24 sketches in the new Indianised Bible published by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Indianisation does not end with the sketches. The Bible not only contains commentaries with references to the Upanishads, the Gita and the Manusmriti, it also has references to Gandhi and Miraben.

Nevertheless, the text is the accepted Catholic version.

“I welcome this unprecedented step as long as the message of Bible is never compromised with. The Biblical version, which we have been reading in India, is mostly the translations by European scholars. For example, The Jerusalem Bible poem. However, the Indianised version is a new attempt by Asian scholars and theologians,” says Theologian and thinker, Professor PT Chacko.

The Indianised bible is a revised edition of the popular Christian Community Bible, which is produced by French priest Bernardo Hurault, for non-English speaking audience. About 30 scholars have worked on the Indian interpretations, which are published as footnotes.

“There are about seventy references to non-Christian texts in both the Testaments. About 30 scholars participated in making the commentary. Some of them have included Indian scriptures, while others have not,” says Spokesperson of Syro Malabar Church, Father Paul Thelakkat.

Meanwhile, the Church says the idea is to give a cultural relevance to the message of the Bible and going by the response in Kerala, it seems that the idea has been well received.