By Pallavi Bhattacharya
IT took Gul Kripalani, a Sindhi businessman, a while to see the hand of God behind a successful seafood empire. When he realized that it was Jesus Christ who filled his nets with fish, he stopped crowing about his own talents and marketing strategies that he thought were behind the success of his business. His wife Sheila, a devout Protestant Christian, introduced him to Jesus. Thereafter, it did not take Gul, who thought washing the feet of religious gurus would bring him good luck, much time to realize that the greatest of gurus is Lord Jesus Christ. Despite being God in human form, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Soon enough, Gul accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He is now a fisher of men who spreads the good news in the marketplace.
In an interview with The Christian Messenger, Gul Kripalani, managing director of Pijikay Group, president of the Indian Merchants Chamber and President of the Federation of the Indo-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and Culture, spoke on his walk with God and the ethics of a Christian businessman. Excerpts:
You come from a Sindhi Hindu background. I’ve read somewhere that as a Hindu you would worship gurus and wash their feet in devotion. How did you understand that Jesus is the truth, the way and the life?
My wife Sheila introduced me to Jesus and I was touched by this one guru who washed the feet of His disciples. I had grown up washing the feet of my gurus. Then I was introduced to this guru, who was so humble that He came down to earth to save us and died on the cross for us. It doesn’t matter to Jesus if we are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists or Christians. I was overwhelmed by Him. He didn’t come here to create a religion but to create a direct relationship between God and man. When I was reading the Gospel according to John, I was touched by the fact that God had come down to earth in the form of a human being, faced challenges similar to the ones you and I face and had died for us.
How did your community react to your acceptance of Jesus as your savior?
I cannot say I faced any real opposition when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. People, however, did say: ‘You are a Sindhi, how can you become a Christian now?’ As a matter of fact, I was excluded from a major Sindhi event at the Raj Bhavan 10 months ago because I’d become a Christian. I feel honored as the Bible says that if we are persecuted because of Jesus’ name, we should consider ourselves fortunate, so I am okay with that action.
Can one be a committed Christian and a successful businessman at the time? The Bible says you cannot serve both God and the Mammon…
You are not serving the Mammon just because you are in business. You serve God and follow His principles as an honest businessman. If people like us don’t work, how will we talk about Jesus in the marketplace? Every opportunity I get in the marketplace, I talk about Jesus. My Rotary Club is the only one in the country to have invited Gladys Staines, Ravi Zacharias and Ramesh Richards. However, I don’t talk about religion at Rotary Club meetings. Whenever I talk about Jesus, I find a context in which to do it. I believe every Christian businessman must be able to talk about Jesus in the marketplace.
What’s the key to success as a Christian businessman?
Jesus is the key to success.
The full length interview is only available in the print edition.
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