INSIGHT XI: Reality of Christian missionaries through the lens of Arun Shourie's book

The way Hinduism is described and explained is nothing less than atrocious and totally disrespectful.

NewsBharati    18-Oct-2022 10:00:50 AM   
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Namaskar, the new series 'INSIGHT' is an attempt to present the central thought of a thought-provoking book. "Missionaries In India Continuities, Changes, Dilemmas", a book by Shri Arun Shourie compels readers to contemplate various points put forth.

INSIGHT ix Gandhi and Swami's views on Christian missionaries

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As western (or to be specific English learning) learning was sought along with a western set of values, it was in the interest of British rule. It was obvious that the generation with this education would see a continuation of this rule in their interest. This was viewed as a death knell of Hinduism which sanctions idolatry. ( According to Trevelyan) The natives he thought were bound to come to the path of Christianity because they were on the path of enlightenment. ( Mythological stories were always ridiculed)
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 Also Read: INSIGHT XI: Reality of Christian missionaries through the lens of Arun Shourie's book
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What a convergence of duty and interests of Empire and the Church! " The Christian locomotive placed on the Indian rail;" he described, as the whole work has picked up a satisfactory pace.

Hinduism he reduced to idolatry alone.

The way Hinduism is described and explained is nothing less than atrocious and totally disrespectful. ( One has to refer to the book, no deity, no custom, and traditions are spared, actually, nothing is spared. Everything was condemned openly. He even condemns the Muslim religion and Buddhism in no respectable way.)

His boastful exaggeration was, 'even grammar and spelling book suffice to destroy the Hindu religion. He expected missionaries to give natives Christian knowledge. He stated that conversion need not be measured in terms of numbers alone but anything that is done or introduced influences the natives. By the very existence of Christianity, higher standards of morality are established. The negative feelings against Christianity were gradually disappearing according to him. Most of the great social reformers ( many big names were referred to by him.) were already halfway to Christianity. The social status of converts he felt was changed positively. Missionary schools were crowded,the tutors were in demand.

Admin people and missionaries reinforced each other's work consciously. There is a reference about Mr. Temple who held the most important positions of finance member and foreign secretary. When he addressed the missionary society in England,he praised the works of missionaries in India and urged people to contribute to the corpus of the Church.

In a speech delivered to the Baptist Missionary Society in London ( 1883), he stated that it was the duty of every Christian to help spread the religion, Buddhism and Hinduism were dead. The empire was ready to help, he urged to help the church to enlighten India. Along with tribals, even women ought to be educated and it should be followed by propagation of Christianity. He said that this would strengthen British power and rule.

There is also a reference to Brahmo samaj which had a little soft corner by the British as they viewed it as a way to Christianity. These two major components were working hand in hand to a great extent.

He considered preaching the gospel to the entire world as an explicit command. With the United Kingdom, he felt, rests an obvious responsibility of spreading the religion. It was an obligation according, he pleaded. It might be ensured peacefully or in an aggressive manner( use of warlike situation too not spared). The truth had to be spread as a role of the people of Britain. Thus the influence of missionaries must grow in every territory. Moral and spiritual enlightenment of people of conquered territory was treated to be a duty. He actually advocated and encouraged people in his address to think of it seriously. He referred to the number of converts and hoped that any region where the missionaries work, they would succeed.

Prof. Vidya Deshpande

Professor Vidya Deshpande has had a journey of more than four decades in the field of education. Her  main expertise is in the subject of Philosophy,  and she has worked as a teacher of philosophy and logic with Nowrosjee Wadia college for 36 years. She has been associated with the Janakalyan Blood bank for last for 38 years and has also carried out the responsibility as a management committee member of Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha for 10 years. Her special fields of interest are Philosophy of social sciences, school education, development of skills for self reliance,  and top up skills to make students profession ready,