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‘Father Of Mumbai’, The Pastor Who Left A Legacy Behind

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From an engineer to a pastor and writer, his journey has been a blessing to many lives across the globe. Having the opportunity to speak with Pastor Victor A Nazareth about his new book, Lessons From My Father: The Legacy of Pastor Susai Joseph was a rewarding experience.

The book will help preserve the life and teachings of Pst Joseph and his ministry. He was not only known as the “Father of Mumbai” but also a true “slumdog millionaire”, touching and restoring the hearts of millions through the love of God.

In a conversation with Pastor Victor, he shared what inspired him to write this book.

Victor completed his B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and went to the U.S. for higher studies. He encountered the Lord Jesus Christ there and it totally transformed his life and direction.

Q. When did you decide to write this book? What was the first thing that clicked in your mind while writing it down?

Pastor Victor (PV): After my father-in-law, Pastor S Joseph passed away in June 2021, I felt an urgency to pen down the things I had learned from him. He had at least two biographies written on his life but did not like them and ultimately did not approve them for publication.

I felt that I could write not a biography but the things I had learned from his life. The first thing that clicked was to write down what I had learned so that his memory would not be forgotten.

Q. What prompted you to choose this title?

PV: I learned so many things from Pst Joseph that I chose to call the book “Lessons from my Father”. Although he was my father-in-law, he was also my spiritual father and he was a father to many. So the name seemed apt. And the lessons I learned were like an inheritance I received that I wanted to save and pass down as a legacy to future generations.

pastor joseph
Pastor Joseph.

Q. Pastor Susai Joseph was known as the “Father of Mumbai”. Would you please mention some of his accomplishments? 

PV: He cared deeply for the city. Everyone who met him was impacted by his heart. His heart was beating for the salvation of Mumbai, for people to come to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus and find the salvation that he did.

He strategised to reach the city with the gospel and mobilised others to do the same. As a result, he became known as the Father of Mumbai and the Father of the house church movement in India.

Q. Pst Joseph has left a legacy behind which is difficult for us to put on paper. But what is the factor which led him to excel in his ministry?

PV: I think the one factor which led him to excel was to never give up. He came from an impoverished background as an orphan and a penniless person living on the streets of Mumbai, but he always dreamt big and had great ambitions. He did not let discouragement keep him down. He always pushed forward and motivated others to join him in his vision. This caused him to attain greatness and leave a legacy.

Q. As you know, youths hold the future generations. What will your suggestions be for the group to achieve their goal?

Pst Joseph talked about being goal-oriented. You need to know where you are and where you want to go. Break down the process into steps or smaller achievable goals and move forward without giving up.

You need to know your gifts and what God has made you for and excel in those. Don’t try to be someone else. Be yourself and be true to what is in your heart, your goal, your vision. You must aspire to do something that will help others and then do it with excellence.

“All should realise that there is a God who made the heavens and the Earth. He is real, a personal God, infinite, without beginning or end and He loves each and every person. No one is beyond his love. This God has demonstrated his love to us by sending his one and only Son into the World to die for us and to give us eternal life. 

“Salvation, the forgiveness of sins, can be received easily by just believing in the Lord and receiving him into your life,” Pastor Victor Nazareth.

More about Pst Victor: He pursued PhD in Agricultural Engineering at Colorado State University. After returning to India, he had a burning desire to share the good news of Jesus with his countrymen. After working in Oman as a Hydrogeologist, he married Esther, the daughter of Pst Joseph.

Pastor Victor worked with his father-in-law and was part of the massive New Life movement that continues to shape the Christian landscape in the country to this day.

His book is available on Amazon, Kindle, and Flipkart. Read it and be blessed.

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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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