Although the exact origins of Christianity in India remain unclear, there is a general scholarly consensus that Christianity was rooted in India by the 6th century AD. (based on the available documents).
· However, according to the St.Thomas tradition, Christianity's existence in India can be traced back to the 1st century
· Christianity was established in Indian even before some of the European nations became Christianity.
· Christianity is India's third largest religion, with approximately 24 million followers, constitution 2.3 percent (according to the census) of India's population.
· However, the Census does not take into consideration those who do not explicitly identify themselves as Christians.
· Christians are found all across India and in all walks of life, with major populations in parts of South India, God and North East India.
· Major urban centers also have sizable Christian presence. (something around 13% of urban population, 6% in Bangalore, 5% in Chennai).
· Strong pockets of Christians are also found in south Gujarat,, Punjab, chattisgarh and Bihar.
Categories of Christians
· Syrian, Orthodox, Mar Thoma Christians
· Anglo Indian Christians (first Methodist missionary to India, focused on them, so there are good number of Anglo Indians are Methodists)
· Christians from the upper castes background. (William wilberforce played vital role in 1813 rule which allows missionaries to do ministry among Indians)
o From 1813-1860 lots of early converts of these missionaries were upper castes. most of them were Brahmins and some are Sathyiars.
· Christians from Dalit background. (1850 onwards, there was significant mission movement among Dalits)
o The era of mass movement began from 1850 onwards.
· Christians from Tribal background.
o Most missionaries did not want to go inner part of country. But once mass movement taken place, they started go inside the country.
· Crypto Christians with dual identity. (Crypto - those who do not want reveal their real identity) (they are found in church but not necessarily)
· Secret followers of Christ. (they are not found in church)
· Anonymous Christians.
Some more Categories
· Yesu Bhaktas - (devotees of Christ - mostly they live in Varanasi)
· Yesu Satsongis - mostly from Punjab, they don’t say that they are not Christians but they follow the teachings of Christ.
· Yesu Darbaris - in the court yard of Christ, everyone is welcome, we don’t need to Christians. It was developed by Narayanverma Thilak in Maharastra.
· Believers found in house churches - they don’t feel the need of Christians but they strictly follow the principles of Christ.
· Except the first five categories, the Cencsus of Indian does not record other categories of people as Christians
· The fourth and fifth categories of people largely became Christians through mass movements.
If we put together all these categories, Indian at least should have 5-7% of Christians. It approximately 50 million Christians.