Delhi, the capital of India and a unique city-state is one of the most strategic locations for university missions in the country. It has a core urban population of over 17 million spread across 9 districts. The student population (in under-graduate and post-graduate institutions) is estimated at 4.7 lakhs, studying in 21 universities and over 100 colleges. Delhi is a cosmopolitan melting pot of different cultures – this is true of UESI Delhi as well, with many of the students and graduates having moved from other parts of the country.
The UESI ministry in Delhi began in the early 1960s when Bro. P. T. Chandapilla moved into the city. An EGF Bible study was started and by 1967-68, this was regularly held at the YMCA. In 1970 the first EU camp was held and by August 1970 the Delhi EU was born, with EU cell groups at Lady Hardinge Medical College and St. Stephen’s College hostels. The work was for a long time dependent on the EGF alone, with the first dedicated staff for the city in place only by 1979-80. By the late 1970s cell groups also began functioning in Indian Institute of Technology, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur College of Nursing, the Agricultural Research Institute and AIIMS. A few graduates also concentrated on students at Jawaharlal Nehru University. The UESI ministry in the city has grown over the years, with intervening periods of growth and decline.
The city has been divided into 7 regions with around 18 functioning student groups in these regions. Delhi has 4 affiliated EU/ICEUs and 4 functional EU/ICEUs. Each of the seven regions has active EGF Bible studies meeting either weekly or fortnightly apart from the monthly fasting prayer. Also regular meetings of the EU/EGF are held every month on a citywide basis every second Saturday at CNI Bhawan.
Around 50 graduates/ families are actively involved and the active EU membership is around 60. This number is expected to double every 2-3 years. While the focus is on having as many regional programmes as possible – annual graduates-students’ conference, Graduating Students Training Programme (GSTP) and Missions/ Leadership Training are some of the common efforts. A key means of communication between various stakeholders is an attractive monthly newsletter called “Interface”.
A consultative conference was held in September 2009 and formal decentralisation of UESI Delhi was approved at the National AGM in July 2010. One national staff is located in Delhi – Sathish Simon; in addition we have three state staff – Beena Roy, Leroy Sam Varughese and
Jenkins R. Kongkongho and an Inter-serve partner Caleb Kong who supports the ministry in Delhi.
UESI Delhi clearly recognises the leadership position that it needs to play in the region. Some of the initiatives by graduates in their personal/ organisational capacities include the constitution of an informal reflection and writing group, setting up of a micro-finance organisation, a school for mentally challenged children and an art gallery focussing on socially relevant themes.
We need to pray for the growth of the students’ ministry and greater student initiative. Do pray for the present Executive Committee – for wisdom, the growing financial needs and increased and meaningful involvement by the graduates. Pray for the various special initiatives that many graduates are involved in, so that increasingly UESI, Delhi would become an agent for transformation and change in North India and the rest of the country.
DELHI TRENDS & STUDENT TREND
• Delhi, the political and cultural capital of several empires adds another chapter to its glorious history as it marked 100 years of its re-emergence as modern India’s capital. But amidst its glory’s “the fall in the child sex ratio is a matter of concern.” In association with Salt Initiative, UESI-Delhi along with other Campus Ministries is envisioning to spread the awareness of this evil that exists right among us – of female infanticide and foeticide.
• The major cities of the NCR area, namely Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and NOIDA, have in recent years absorbed a lot of growth impulses emanating from Delhi. These cities also need to be studies alongside Delhi to provide a complete picture of the urban growth in this region”
• Education in campuses are gradually shifting from being a theory-oriented, exclusive, closed-classroom system to becoming practical-based, inclusive and open system.
• Students in Universities here have a passion for “justice.” They want to stand up for the rights of HIV/AIDS victims and the victims of human trafficking.
• Meanwhile student also do stand in danger of becoming cocky, over-confident and counter-productive. The rising acts of juvenility and truant behavior, the condescending attitudes, the lack of respect for teachers—all these are the warning signs. Newspapers of New Delhi are replete with examples of the heinous acts that lack of proper guidance and the mindless popularizing of the “high-status” materialistic attitude can go a long way in destroying a human being.
• Cut-offs in Delhi is becoming more insane by the day and the students are under great pressure to score well to get admission in a top college.
• College students still have the same basic needs—for connection, community, wholeness
I accepted Jesus as my personal saviour in my first year, when I shifted to north campus. My perspective towards God changed. Now, He is not only my God, my saviour but my Father and my Friend too… and I became more confident and enthusiastic, especially, regarding personal evangelism and towards my responsibility as a treasurer too –S Merina Vaiphei, St.Stephens College Delhi
I have enjoyed the comfort that comes from knowing Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour … but the more I interact with the society in general, and the youth in particular, I realize that God’s will for me also includes the pain that comes from realizing what they do without the Lord….. This is what I guess that triggered my sense of Christian duty that is spurred by one’s longing for Christ’s eternal kingdom. And in the present day scenario, I can say with a confidence that comes from the utter faith I have in God’s wisdom, that he has used even me, who was once ignorant of His greatness and majesty, constantly strengthening me with his Word and with His daily reassuring Presence. -Simi Sara Thomas, Student (B.Ed.),IPU, New Delhi
Having come to know the Lord, the Word of God has become my source of strength, even when I did not get admission though I applied to many colleges abroad to do my doctorate. God promises have carried me through and during the farewell conducted by IITD Bible study students, I was given a book on ‘Where is God when it hurts?’ which was very useful in increasing my faith, trust and hope in him. –S.Renuka, IIT-Delhi.