Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The night of the vigil of Easter, the Catholic Church in Mumbai celebrated the baptism of 291 adults who have chosen to become Christians and Catholics. Among them is a young Muslim, Navid. He is 22 years old and was born to a Sunni family. Navid means "good news". "I wonder what good news I brought to my parents, since the only news at home were of crisis, arguments and confusion," he says. His mother was a Hindu Brahmin who never converted to Islam.
Navid says he never really followed the Muslim faith: "I participated in what my cousins and relatives of my father did, but I never actually practiced. I followed what others were doing. And they do not even know the prayers that a Muslim should know. My father however was not religious. " But at home his mother’s religion was practiced: "I grew up with the prayers and devotions to Hinduism. We worshiped idols, we visited people who were called 'Sadhu', men and women. It was not easy, because my father's relatives did not know we followed the Hindu gods. My father closed his eyes. But there was no love in my life, there was no joy, peace, harmony, hope, faith. I thought God served only to satisfy our desires. "
At the age of 11 years Navid was invited by a classmate whose father is a pastor to go to church. "I asked my parents permission and I went. It was an atmosphere of peace, I remember we used to sing hymns, and then there was the reading of the Bible, and the explanation. It 'was as if God had started working in my life. The first taste of the Good News. " Navid, at 17, witnessed a terrible quarrel between his parents, for financial reasons. "I ran away from home, feeling frustrated, desperate and hopeless. I wanted to kill myself. " Gradually he began to regularly monitor the services in church and pray together with his friend at school. "My interest in Christianity was growing, I wanted to know more about Jesus, and then I started to take courses on Sunday."
His parents began to suspect something. "My mother noticed some changes, and said, 'you do not practice our religion, but theirs', and was not happy. But they knew nothing of my baptism. " At 18 Navid had a love affair that ended badly, which devastated him, and once again contemplated suicide. But a friend with whom he confided suggested he read a book "The Divine Revelation of Hell", which spoke of sin and death. "At the end of the book I cried bitterly and repented. And I was afraid. I do not know how it happened but I felt that Jesus held me in his arms, and said to me, 'Son, I forgive your sins and ask you to repent and be saved'. He will always be here with me, no matter what may happen. It was a real joy, and then there are other feelings difficult to describe. At that moment I accepted Christ and my life completely changed. "
A year later, in 2008, Navid began attending the Catholic Church, and found spiritual guidance. "During my spiritual journey I missed my parents very much and I wish they could see me united with Christ. But I know that God has his plans, he will give them a future and hope. I believe that there will be a revelation for them one day, as it was for me. "
At the age of 21, Navid knew that he could be baptized without parental permission. "Baptism is not something casual for me. I had the desire to be baptized when I met Christ. Today words are not enough to express my happiness. I think this is the best moment of my life. Even though I feel the absence of my parents, and I wish they were here with me now. "