INAM SHAH THE POSSIBLE FIRST CONVERT OF LAHORE
THOMAS VELPY FRENCH DEDICATION TO CHRISTIANITY
Most of T.V. French’s students died in his tenure
When Thomas Velpy French arrived at Lahore, there was no one to receive him. He carried his own baggage to an Inn in Lahore. He brought grandoise plans for a Divinity College in Lahore. His other plans was that the locals hated the English language, and one must tell them not to confuse the English language with Christianity. He made the difficult decision to translate the Sacred texts in Urdu and Urdu would be the language of teaching in Lahore. People resented his ideas but he stuck with them to the last. Not only that he even forbade the Western dress for them. He suggested that after conversion, people wearing western dress and speaking in English are immediately isolated from their loved ones, relatives and friends, as well as the society. The idea indeed was good. So good that the American mission took it up too. Reverend Forman got involved in translating biblical texts and it is on record that he made many Urdu translations., In fact a Professor of F.C. College has recently done research on this same subject and offered number of Urdu books on Bible done by Reverend Forman, of course founder of F.C. College Lahore.
The Divinity College started with four students and later on there was an addition of seven of them. But the unfortunate part was that Sickness prevailed and a lot of them died within the short span of T.V. French being Bishop in Lahore. Yes, four of them died very early; one of consumption, one drowned in Jhelum river, another of consumption too, and the other of fever, with which he went into coma. A sad end for the newly converts to happen like this.
Inam Shah, probably of Lahore, became possibly the First Convert in Lahore. Termed and dubbed as a most bigoted Muhammedan (the word bigoted is used by French himself to denote Inam Shah’s family background, for he belonged to a very religious family here), he was ordained by Bishop Milman of Calcutta, and probably sent to Peshawar. Not necessary to know how it happened, but it is said that he was taken back by the biblical words of ‘OUR FATHER’. Inam Shah had rebelled against his own religious father. It impressed him so much that he converted to Christianity. We do not know much more than that.
We do know that T.V. French himself fell sick and went home. He was replaced by Dr W. Hooper, who was a scholar of Sanskirit and interested only in converting Hindus from then on. It seems that there was a superstition evolved in Lahore that converting Muslims led to deaths. This is not our saying. This is a strange confession from the annals of biblical history of Lahore. They were good people, tying o reach out to others to promote their cause. This they never realized that you cannot let a student appear for Matriculation, when he has already taken his PHD on the subject. The evolution of religion in the Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions had culminated in the last prophet of Allah.