John Haidar, a minister of the Mennonite Church in India and a first-generation evangelistic worker with the American Mennonite Mission (MC) in Dhamtari, Madhya Pradesh (M.P.), India, was born 22 February 1890 in Rajnandgaon, M.P. His parents were Muslims; his father being an imam (priest). His father died when John was very young and his mother, Jebarbi Bai, worked as a domestic for American missionaries F. E. Ward and his wife. The Wards worked under the Missionary Bands of the World Mission. In 1899 John's mother became a Christian and an embittered John ran away from home. Love prevailed, and in 1900 John Haidar was baptized. He and his mother continued working for the Missionary Bands Mission until 1910. In 1911 John Haidar married a Christian woman from the mission orphanage in Rajnandgaon.
In 1910, he and his mother moved to Dhamtari where they found employment with the American Mennonite Mission, she as a Bible woman (lay evangelist) and he as an office clerk under M. C. Lehman. Haidar was soon assigned to teach Bible in the mission schools in Dhamtari and to work in village evangelism, also helping with pastoral work in the Sunderganj congregation. In 1920 he observed and studied mass movements with Mukut Bhelwa in North India. In 1921 he was ordained deacon for the Sunderganj congregation, continuing also as a village evangelist until 1932, when he was ordained a minister. He was the first treasurer of the Home Mission program jointly sponsored by the mission and the church. Later, with the development of the Evangelistic Samaj (1931), he became a board member.
Until his retirement from active service in the mid-1950s, Haidar remained active in the conference and life of the American Mennonite Mission. He was a forceful and colorful speaker; fearless in the defense of the gospel before unbelievers and unhesitating his criticism of imperialism in missionaries. In addition to his work with the mission, he served pastorates in Sankra and Durg. In retirement he ministered to the Christian communities developing in the industrial area of Bailadila in Jagdalpur District. He died 26 August 1981.
Information from Lydia (Haidar) Thomas.
American Mennonite (MC) Mission (AMM). Building on the Rock. Scottdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1926.
50th Anniversary of the American Mennonite Mission. Scottdale: MPH, 1949).
Contribution register for Dhamtari Orphanage, AMM, 1914ff.; minutes of the Evangelistic Committee, AMM, 1920-1928, Minutes of the Evangelistic Samaj, 1934. All at Archives of Mennonite Church USA (Goshen, Indiana, USA)
AMM Annual Report (1923): 43-44. (1932): 137, 142;
"History of the Rajnandgaon Mission Church." from historical records of the Rajnandgaon Church, circa 1979.
|Author(s)||John A Friesen|
 Cite This Article
Friesen, John A. "Haidar, John (1890-1981)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 31 Jul 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Haidar,_John_(1890-1981)&oldid=104522.
Friesen, John A. (1987). Haidar, John (1890-1981). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 July 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Haidar,_John_(1890-1981)&oldid=104522.
Herald Press website.
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