Indian Man Goes From Gangster to Prisoner to Preacher
Wed., Mar. 23. 2011 12:09pm EDT
In another article, we shared a short account of how Rev. K. Paul in India went from a gangster to a prisoner to a preacher.
Here is a more detailed testimony from Rev. K. Paul:
I think it is time I told you my full story, as people will be moved by it and by God's grace turned to the Lord as did one soul who heard about me and joined a Biblical institute and is now a pastor!
I was born and brought up in Singapore. My family were Hindu migrants from North India. Having a long indian name, which was a tongue twister in Singapore, I adopted an alias 'Paul' and all hell broke lose at home. I was accused of having converted to Christianity and a traitor to the Hindu faith. Still I kept the name and was better known as Paul.
At age 19, as per the laws there, I joined the military but I picked the Air Force as a long term carrer option instead of the mandatory two years service. I grew in rank and soon was an intelligence personnel. In one of my tours of duty I became close to the Indian crime syndicates. What was supposed to be an information gathering role turned real life and I became a gangster myself in India.
I enjoyed the life of a criminal in India. I had money, women and was involved in all the sins that came with this role. Eventually I even killed people. Ultimately in 1992 at age 28, I was arrested on a red corner Interpol notice by the Indian police and charged for murder. I was convicted and got sentenced to life imprisonment. But even in prison I was enjoying all the benefits of a gangster.
My associate, the U.S. designated international terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, made sure I was well taken care of even behind the prison walls. In 1999, some Christian prisoners came to me saying that I, as a Christian and gangster, could help them to have Sunday worship without any objection from the prison staff. They did not know that I had the name Paul only as an alias and was not even a Christian!
But we gangsters in prison had a reputation of being the helpers of the other prisoners. We never said no to help others. Hence I agreed to accompany them every Sunday and start their Sunday worship without any hindrance from the staff. All went well and their church grew in numbers. They could openly worship and have fellowship with all the Christians lodged in different parts of the prison.
Suddenly on Sunday, they requested me to prepare a surmon for the next week. That came as a shock as I had never really read a Bible before. But then we gangsters could not decline a request. I returned to my barrack and asked a fellow real Christian gangster to help me but even he said that he had never read the Bible before. But his family had sent him a Bible and suggested that we could maybe sit down and together read it. At least he would have accomplished something that his family wanted him to do in prison.
So we sat down every evening and sent a couple of hours and read the Bible together. I was doing it to help him read it and get some ideas for the coming Sunday surmon. Eventually I presented a lesson that weekend and everyone at church was happy. I thought that was the end of it and continued helping my friend to read the Bible every evening. Then another request for a surmon came and this time I found it easy to give a lesson.
My lessons became a regular session every Sunday soon and without knowing it we were actually have two sermons every week, one by me. The daily evening Bible readings were having a direct effect on me. I was changing from within and it was showing in my daily walk too. Everyone soon noticed that I was a changed man,from the prison staff to all my gangster buddies.
In 2001, I decided to sever all ties with my gang and live separately. I was finally transfered to another prison in 2002 and started to live like any other prisoner. But the prison staff there too regarded me with fear and let me do whatever I wished. Strangely they realized that I was not doing anything illegal but on the contrary was advising and counseling my fellow inmates on the rights and not the wrongs every Sunday. I was appreciated and projected as a role model by the prison administration.
I even did a short law course and soon was helping the helpless in their legal matters. And a two-year self study course of the Holy Bible. Soon some NGOs started visiting the prison and they got directed to me and I was assigned as their convict assistant. I had the full support and trust of the prison staff and took decisions without prior consultations with the prison administration as far as prisoner reforms were concerned.
In 2008, after having successfully got scores of inmates released by my limited law knowledge, I decided to file a premature release petition before the High Court half expecting anything to come out of it as none had ever got released that way. But by the Grace of God, on December 23, 2008, I was summoned by the superintendent of the prison and informed that the High Court had ordered my immediate release and the remaining sentence commuted to what has so far been served.
After 16 years, four months, and 20 days, I walked out of the prison a free man. I was 44 years old and before I left, I made a promise to my fellow inmates that I will not forget them and will continue to help them from outside the prison. But again God had other plans. I was baptized in a couple of months and was ordained a minister within the next year. Soon I returned to the prison but this time as a member of an NGO and the only ex-life convict ever to be permitted to visit all the prisons as a preacher and social worker.
What was I? I met a student at the Union Biblical Seminary here, where I was invited to give a lecture, who confessed that he had heard about me while I was still in prison and he had then decided to be a preacher. How God was using me!. He knew the needs of His flock in prison and used me, a gangster and non-Christian, to help them start a regular church in prison. He changed me to do that!
He got me to study the Bible by using my friend as a tool. He too finished reading the Bible with me and was realesed in 2002. God was working out His plans in a way that only He knew how. Whatever is His plans for me and His flock here, I am no one to ask but to do as He directs. Today I am married and have a small dwelling from where I continue to do His bidding.
Whatever I do, I do for His Glory. I was a criminal who deserved no mercy but He forgave me and delivered me out of bondage to serve Him. I will serve Him and am now in trying to open a Church specifically for ex-prisoners. Yet are we not all prisoners in this world? Are we not imprisoned by sin? Satan is the prison that only Jesus can set us free from.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Feel free to share this with anyone and everyone. You may also give out my email ID. I am always there for His service. This is not my testimony but God's testimony of His Love for all sinners.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. K, Paul