In the year 1995, I had the chance of visiting China. At that time, I was posted as the Development Commissioner for Iron and Steel and the visit was in connection with the study of the steel sector in China. We were a group of seven persons led by me. It was a very useful trip and it gave us an insight into China’s progress, their way of working and their future. There was a lot to learn from them notwithstanding the fact that all is not well with them also. People there did not appear free and could not express their opinion freely. Even personal beliefs of the people were greatly influenced by the government. That is why doubts are raised about its official progress vis-a-vis real progress. Anyway, this is just by way of giving a feel of the environment there.
On this visit, I had a very interesting experience. As usual, I was carrying a few books for reading during this ten-day trip. One of them was ‘Power of God’ and was published almost a century back. This book had been given to me by a friend on loan and I had to return it soon. Therefore, I used to carry this book to read while I travelled. In China, we had the company of a young interpreter who used to help us in our conversation. He was a handsome and smart boy, still unmarried. Within no time, he became friendly with us and we would talk on many subjects beyond our official matters. When this young boy saw a book on God in my hands, he became curious and asked why I was reading such a book when there was no God. Chinese, in general, are brought up in an environment that doesn’t place value in the concept of God. Though I knew about it, such a staunch denial of God came as a surprise to me. More than that, such a statement was a pointer to many limitations of the Chinese society. Then and there I threw a challenge to him that during my stay in China, I would make him believe in God.
Since he was in our company almost all the time, we had several occasions of discussion on various dimensions of human life and Nature. In these discussions, quite often, we used to reach a dead end, going beyond which was not possible without the assumption of a superpower, at which point, he had a tendency to escape. But certainly, he used to feel trapped though he didn’t want to accept the existence of such a power because of his strong beliefs and also because of the prevailing socio-political environment in China. Such situations arose several times. When the visit was coming to an end, I wanted to know the result of my efforts. When asked, he honestly admitted that “There may be God.” This was far beyond his initial statement that “There is no God.” For me, it was a partial victory.