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

NewsBharati    25-Oct-2022 11:00:10 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

It is stated in the book that Initially the East India company probably supported restrictions on Missionary activities. The reason given was Indians were 'civilized enough and do not need the missionaries '. Of course, missionaries never accepted it. They thought conversion would consolidate the empire.

Wilberforce ( a British politician) addressed the house of commons and spoke in favor of the role of missionaries. The address was full of 'exaggerations, falsehood' and full of humiliating expressions for the people of our country and Hinduism, all put together. Hinduism he said had 'dark and degrading superstitions, ' it is mean, licentious, and cruel in nature. He continued the argument using similar expressions. ( It is not possible to present the argument in its original words. He even referred to the deity Shri Jagannath from Odisha in the same argument with neither truth nor respect.)
Also Read: INSIGHT XI: Reality of Christian missionaries through the lens of Arun Shourie's book

People of India, he stated had to be rescued, obviously, the remedy suggested was Christianity. Natives ought not to be denied access to Christian light. He presented an argument to support the fact that there would be no resistance, as the examples from history proved that Muslim rulers converted Hindus, Hindus converted to Buddhism, and Sikhism, but there was no commotion. (Of course, Buddhism and Sikhism were different in nature but he did not differentiate those from Christianity.) He described the natives as tolerant and patient that nothing can arouse their anger, so there was not any danger but it definitely had a political advantage. It, he believed would definitely strengthen the foundation of the government. Obviously, the bill was passed in favor of missionaries. The system was developed immediately, in a way with the intent to smash the faith of Hindus.

Trevelyan acknowledged the increase in demand by natives for the scriptures in English, he perceived the role of English schools and colleges when noted the fact. The Reverend J Tucker who spent 12-13 years in India, in an answer to the question related to the government's role in the mission stated that influential people subscribe in big numbers. When questioned about the evidence of the improvement, he answered that the habits and appearance of converted natives can be comprehended, they are more 'industrious' and an increase in wealth could be observed. The improvement in their attachment to government, Church, and Missionary Society ( the change brought by conversion caused) could be be easily sensed. The Reverend obviously was proud of the work and looked at it as a means of consolidation of the empire.

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,