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Chapter V: South Indian Missions: 1820-1895, Excerpt from The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895
by Richard Lovett [1851-1904]
In Two Volumes, Volume II
1899
P. 52-171

-- The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895, by Richard Lovett, 1851-1904

-- London Missionary Society, by Wikipedia

-- Chapter I: India in 1795, Excerpt from The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895, by Richard Lovett [1851-1904]

-- Chapter II: Nathaniel Forsyth and Robert May, Excerpt from The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895, by Richard Lovett [1851-1904]

-- Chapter III: Pioneer Work in South India: 1804-1820, Excerpt from The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895, by Richard Lovett [1851-1904]

-- Chapter IV: Pioneer Work in North India, Excerpt from The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895, by Richard Lovett [1851-1904]

-- Chapter V: South Indian Missions: 1820-1895, Excerpt from The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895, by Richard Lovett [1851-1904]


CHAPTER V: SOUTH INDIAN MISSIONS: 1820-1895

Each great centre in India occupied and worked by the Society affords material for a volume full of instruction and full of attraction to the student of missions, and to the disciple who is praying for the triumph of Christ's kingdom. But to trace in detail the full course of these many streams of blessing is impossible. The broad features of the work are alike in both Northern and Southern India; but during the century Christianity found more fertile soil in the south among the low-caste section of the Tamil, Telugu, and Canarese countries, than along the valley of the Ganges; it received a much more cordial welcome among the devil-worshippers of Travancore than among the haughty Muhammadans of the north. We shall, then, first trace the stream of Christian influence as it flows and broadens through Southern India. And it seems on reflection to be most satisfactory to allow the three great languages of Southern India to define the course taken by history.

The celebration of the completion of the first twenty-five years' history of the Society gave a great impetus to the work in South India. The reports which had been sent home by Messrs. Tyerman and Bennet of their visits to the Indian stations, and the great influence of the latter on the Board for many years after his return, led to considerable development of the Society's work in India.

I. Tamil Missions. This great Dravidian language, rich in the possession of a varied literature, is spoken along the whole south-eastern coast of India from Madras to Cape Comorin. It is the vernacular of about 15,000,000 people. With the exception of South Travancore, all the chief stations where Tamil is spoken are in the Madras Presidency.

I. The Madras Mission. Madras, like the other great Indian cities, and especially the great ports, has always been a difficult centre for Christian work. Yet many of the great Societies have felt it imperative to maintain there a staff of workers, and have devoted much time and money to Christian service. Here, as in the case of Calcutta, it would be a pleasant task to indicate the good work which has been carried on there throughout the century by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the Church Missionary Society, the Wesleyan, and many other Societies, and also to indicate the great and beneficial results achieved by the two great educational institutions under the care respectively of the Free and Established Churches of Scotland. But we can deal only with the work of the London Missionary Society.

In a missionary magazine entitled Forward, edited by W. Robinson, and first issued by him at Salem in 1893, there is a graphic sketch of the course of the Madras Mission after Loveless returned to England:—

'Before Mr. Loveless retired, the Directors of his Society greatly cheered him by sending out to Madras five missionaries, four of whom were remarkable men. Crisp, Nicholson, Massie, Knill, Traveller, all laboured in Madras, and the results of their labour are still seen. With the exception of Nicholson, who was cut off by cholera in a few months after his arrival, the other missionaries did a noble work, and helped to make the historic past of the London Missionary Society. Like most men of strong individuality, Traveller and Massie went their own way, and it was not the way of the Directors at home. Traveller built Pursewaukum Chapel in an incredibly short time after his arrival in Madras. On the day he arrived the idea was mooted, and he took it up with red-hot enthusiasm; he could not, like Mr. Loveless, be content to hasten slowly, and he went dead against the prejudices of certain Anglo- Indians. Probably if there had been less driving and more leading, things would have turned out more happily than they did. Mr. Traveller's connection with the Society ceased in 1823, but it is significant to note that he ever remained its faithful helper, and took the warmest interest in its welfare.

'Dr. Massie was simply a tornado let loose. He anticipated much of the later scheme of missionary higher education, but he was before his time, and would not wait until his ideas had taken root and fructified. His idea was to found a Christian University for India to be established at Bangalore, and he threw himself into the work of carrying it out with tireless energy. The difficulty is to find out where he did not go to secure subscriptions, for money poured in from all quarters. In those days of slow locomotion and costly postage it was a record feat to have accomplished what he did for his Mysore College1 [See p. 105.]. In other respects he was out of the common run of men — thus, he was married five times. "Last of all the man died also," but not before he had left behind an extraordinary impression of his indomitableness. Dr. R. W. Hamilton once declared that the futility of resisting a certain measure was like attempting "to resist the rush of the Mississippi, or the impetuosity of Dr. Massie."

'Edmund Crisp was a striking contrast to the brilliant but erratic men who were with him in Madras. His devotion to his work never flagged, and he excelled in all departments of it as pastor, preacher, theological tutor. From the Tamil Seminary at Bangalore he sent out some of the ablest native ministers the Tamil churches have had. He was in charge of Davidson Street until the Rev. J. Smith came out in 1828. John Smith was the brother of Mary Moffat, and had his sister's enthusiasm and love for missionary service. He soon had fruit to his labour; the soldiers of the Cameronian Regiment liked his preaching, and some of them joined the church. A godly Sergeant-Major named Symonds opened his house in the Fort for morning and evening prayer; from ten to twenty soldiers regularly attended the meeting, and this is but one evidence of the spiritual activity which abounded in the church.

'Mr. Smith soon gathered round him an interesting band of young men of proved aptitude for spiritual work. The church has never been numerically strong, but its quality has been of the very best. In the fifteen years Mr. Smith had charge of it, the Church sent out the following missionaries: — the Revs. J. Bilderbeck, J. Gordon, J. A. Regel, H. Bower, D.D.,W. Dawson, R. D. Johnston, C.E. Thompson, E. Marsden and others, who were valiant soldiers for the truth in South India.

'In 1843 Mr. Smith went to an Ordination Service at Vizagapatam. Two of his students were set apart for work among the Telugu people. Mr. Smith embarked in the Favourite, a coasting boat, for Madras. It was a dangerous part of the year — the month of May — and the boat is supposed to have been overtaken by a cyclone. Nothing was heard of her or her passengers again.

'William Porter has left the memory of his service deeply graven in the hearts of the people. His was an earnest, unobtrusive ministry. Singularly calm in judgment, warm and devout in feeling, he "Allured to brighter worlds and led the way." Other men have entered into his labours, but he is still remembered with great affection in Madras. Among Mr. Porters successors, the Rev. S. W. Organe, who took charge of the church in 1867, has been conspicuous for his missionary devotion to the interests of Davidson Street. During his time the English Church, being self-supporting, ceased to be an integral part of the mission. The congregation has had much to contend against in the rivalry of other churches which have arisen. Black Town again has grown more and more the centre for mercantile offices, stores, and warehouses. The people have been driven into the suburbs, but they still cleave to the time-honoured chapel, believing that

" Where saintly memories abide,
Perpetual benediction falls."


'The other church around which mission-work centred in Madras in these early days was Pursewaukum, founded, as we have seen, by Mr. Traveller. When his connection with the mission ceased, the Rev. William Taylor succeeded to the oversight of the Tamil and English churches. He was an Oriental scholar, and the list of books and tracts he prepared in Tamil is formidable. He had large private means, and these he devoted liberally to the poor and to deeds of charity. In 1834 he retired from the Society's service.

'Taylor's successor was W. H. Drew, whose memory is held in grateful reverence by Christians all over South India. His ministry was blessed above that of most men. Under his fostering care the Tamil Church grew strong, and he had crowded congregations in Pursewaukum. William Drew went in and out among the people, and won them by his gentle goodness and his glowing piety. The call to rest came to him at Pulicat in 1856, where he was stricken by cholera. He had just time to reach his home in Vepery, and soon after "he was not," for God had taken him.'


As early as 1832 Mrs. Drew initiated girls' schools, and in later years her work was carried forward by Mrs. Porter. When the latter left in 1856, there were 98 girls in the boarding school, and 120 in the day schools. In 1834 a school was begun in Black Town, and Mr. Drew tried, without success, to establish a mission there.

Two remarkable men were at this time connected with the Madras Mission, but each only for a short period. John Bilderbeck, after being received into the Church at Black Town by Mr. Smith, after visiting England in 1831, was ordained and appointed to Madras. He laboured there during 1832 and 1833, and in the latter year removed to Chiltoon. In 1841 he resigned, and later on joined the Church Missionary Society. Robert Caldwell, B. A., was appointed to Madras in 1837, and from 1838 to 1841 was active in the work of the mission. In 1841 he joined the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and for the next fifty years was famous among the great Indian missionaries of that Society. In 1877 he became Bishop of Tinnevelly, and he died at the Pulney Hills, South India, in August, 1891.

In 1851 the school in Black Town for native boys was established. It has ever since been known as the English Institution, because the instruction was given in English, and it has had a most successful history. The first superintendent was the Rev. F. Baylis, who began work there in September, 1851, By December, 1852, the number of pupils had mounted up to 220. Of these, 165 were Hindus, six Muhammadans, thirty-one native Christians, and eighteen East Indians. The second annual report thus describes the work done: 'Besides a good amount of Scripture, the boys have studied history, geography, grammar, and other subjects to a considerable extent. Only those who have engaged in the work can fully realize the difficulty of communicating knowledge through the medium of a foreign language.' In 1853 Mr. Baylis was transferred to Neyoor; in April, 1854, the Rev. George Hall, B.A., took charge of the Institution. He had been transferred to Madras from Jamaica. Mr. Hall continued in charge until 1876, when ill health compelled the relinquishment of the work which for twenty-two years he had carried on with conspicuous success. In 1857 a native church in Black Town was formed in connection with the Institution, and in 1861 Mrs. Hall established a high-caste girls' school in Vepery. The Rev. J. P. Ashton, M.A., who was appointed to Madras in 1859, and who became associated with Mr. Hall in 1860, taking sole charge of the Institution during Mr. Hall's furlough, has also placed on record in the columns of Forward his recollections of life and work in Madras and the Madras Presidency in the middle of the nineteenth century. Writing of the year 1860, he says: —

'Under Mr. Hall's able guidance, my work commenced in the Institution and the theological class, then half through its course of studies. It was a privilege, which I can never value too highly, to help those noble young men in their studies. My work in the Institution prevented my touring except in the winter vacation, but this sufficed to give me a good insight into that department of work. But the experience I thus gained, combined with my frequent visits to the schools in the Tripassore and Pulicat districts, filled my mind with the importance of the work and the great call for more labour in a semicircle of thirty-five miles' radius round Madras as the centre. The matter was brought before the Madras Missionary Conference, and a map was drawn of the district with a view to subdivision of the work among the missions. The grand example of Ragland, Fenn, and Meadows in North Tinnevelly was fresh in our minds, and great resolutions were taken; but obstacles arose, and the enthusiastic proposer, left in sole charge of the Institution, Black Town Church work, and out-stations, was too much involved in other duties to lead the way.

'The District Committee of those days was a curiosity. It consisted of Hay of Vizagapatam, Porter of Cuddapah, Addis of Coimbatore, and Hall of Madras, and no additions of new men were allowed. It having been found that the brethren agreed better when apart than when together, no meeting had been permitted for a space of twelve years. All business was transacted by correspondence; and in those days, when there were no railways, and Mr. Porter was ever on the move, a letter would take a week or two before it could overtake him in the district, and a circular seldom returned to head quarters under three months; and if there was division of opinion, it might take another three months to go round again. This anomaly continued, though several new men had arrived and new stations were in process of opening in the Coimbatore and Salem districts. When Mr. Hall went on furlough, Mr. Corbold acted as his substitute, but was not allowed to be a member. He and I felt that this anomaly ought not to continue, but there appeared to be no means of redress.

'In the meantime the students above referred to had been located in Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Sunkerydrug, Tripatore, Tripassore, and elsewhere. Some prejudice was felt against these city men of high education, who were not so subservient as the worthy old catechists who were their predecessors. Corbold and I thought it would be a good plan to have a Conference of all the Tamil missionaries along with a gathering of these men for examination in a course of private study. Two of the best of the old set, Unmeiudian and Suviseshamutthu, were added to their number. The Directors favoured our plan, and we all had a happy and memorable meeting at Salem, in that grand old compound of ninety acres, in which the large Church, the Mission House, the two Boarding Schools, and the splendid Industrial School were situated.'


Mr. Ashton's graphic picture of the South India District Committee of 1860 must not be taken as applicable in any degree to the committee of recent days. For very many years the South India Committee has been the largest, the best organized, and the most business-like of the Society's Indian Committees. This is not due to deficiencies on the part of the other committees, but to the fact that the number and importance of the South Indian stations necessarily brings to that Committee a large number of able, experienced, and devoted men.

The Report for 1870 gives the ten years' progress of the mission as follows: — In 1860 the native church had twenty-nine members, in 1870 there were sixty-eight members, with the Rev. M. Cotelingam as native pastor. In 1860 there was a theological class of eleven preparing for the native ministry; in 1870, of these three were ordained ministers and six evangelists; but in 1869 from financial reasons, but with a most mistaken conception of the true conditions and requirements of the work, the Directors discontinued this class. The 389 scholars in the Institution in 1860 had by 1870 become 500; in 1860 there were no fees, in 1870 they realized 4,900 rupees.

In January, 1862, the Rev. A. Corbold reached Madras. From 1851-60 he had laboured in the Gujerat Mission. He took charge of the Tamil Church at Pursewaukum and Mrs. Corbold of the Girls' Boarding School. In 1866 Mr. Ashton was transferred to Calcutta. From 1867 to 1871 Mrs. Whyte superintended the female educational work in connection with the high-caste school, and was succeeded by Miss Gordon. In January, 1872, the Rev. T. E. Slater was transferred from Calcutta, where he had been engaged in the work of the Bhowanipur Institution, to Madras. For three years he laboured in connection with the English Institution, together with the Rev. Henry Rice, and then gave himself to work among the educated natives. This, one of the later developments of mission-work, is assuming great importance in the chief centres of Hindu life. The work consists in visiting native gentlemen at their homes, and in receiving them at the missionary's home; in holding meetings and classes for students and non-Christian teachers; and in giving courses of public lectures1 [For further details of work of this kind, see p. 117.]. In 1875, upon the resignation of Mr. George Hall, Mr. Joss of Coimbatore was appointed to succeed him. Mr. Corbold also resigned this year through ill health. In 1876 the Rev. F. Wilkinson, who had been at work for many years in Travancore, joined the mission, and became General Treasurer for the South Indian Missions. He also took charge of Pursewaukum Tamil Church. In 1881 he returned to Travancore. In 1878 the statistics of the Madras Mission were seven European missionaries — four male, three female — two native pastors, four evangelists, two out-stations, 139 communicants, 226 adherents; eight schools, 879 pupils; native contributions, 307 rupees.

In 1895, connected with the Society, there were six missionaries — three male, three female— three ordained native ministers, five preachers, eight Christian teachers, eight Bible-women, thirty Christian female teachers, 179 communicants, and 446 adherents; twelve schools, and 883 scholars; and the school fees amounted to £271, while the local contributions for the mission amounted to £79.

In 1877 Miss Brown and Miss Bounsall, two of the first lady missionaries appointed by the Society, arrived in Madras. The former took charge of the girls' schools at Chulai, and also in connection with Pursewaukum native church; the latter engaged in house-to-house visitation. In the first instance the houses of former pupils were visited, the wives of native pastors and evangelists rendering helpful service. In her report for 1885 Miss Brown gives some instructive illustrations of how far-reaching very often is the Christian instruction given in these and similar schools: —  

'Two pleasing incidents have lately occurred, showing the value of these and similar schools, and the good they are calculated to do to the girls educated in them. One of the girls educated in Chulai school many years ago (when the late Mrs. Hall superintended it) married, and went to live in Triplicane. She never forgot the Bible instruction she received in school, and lately a strong desire sprang up in her heart to see some Christian women, and to speak about the subjects which filled her mind. A school belonging to the Wesley an Mission is located in Triplicane, and every day she walked past this school in hopes of meeting one of the Christian teachers. As she was looking out in this way for some one to whom to unburden her heart, she happened to meet one of the Zenana teachers belonging to the Church of Scotland Mission, and seeing by her appearance that she was a Christian, eagerly accosted her and asked her to come to her house. This Christian teacher has visited her regularly since then to read and pray with her, and now the woman wishes to be baptized.

'The other incident is quite as striking. When Mrs. Whyte had charge of the Black Town schools, a little girl in school was so impressed by reading the lesson on idols in the second book of the Christian Vernacular Education Society's series (still used in the schools), that she entirely gave up idol-worship, and was so determined about it that her friends seemingly let her alone; perhaps her being a widow made them careless about her, as widows are very unimportant members of a Hindu household. After she left school she was visited by a Zenana teacher belonging to the Baptist Mission, and for some years has been a believer in Christ. For some time back she has been very desirous to take her stand on the Lord's side, and has suffered a good deal of persecution from her relatives on this account; but a few days ago she quietly left them and came to Mrs. Dawson, the superintendent of the Baptist Female Mission, and on Jan. 31, 1885, was baptized at her own request by the Rev. N. M. Waterbury, of the Baptist Mission.'


In her decennial report for 1890, Miss Brown points out that in 1870 there were two girls' day schools in the mission, one with 60, the other with 28 scholars. In 1880 Chulai school had 104 girls, Pursewaukum 85. In 1886 the Chulai building collapsed during the monsoon, and for the next year the school greatly suffered in attendance. But in the course of 1888 and 1889 a handsome new building was put up at a cost of Rs. 7,000 and presented to the Society, and in 1890 there were 188 scholars. In 1890 Pursewaukum had 117 names on its roll. A measure of recent progress is found in the fact that in both schools all the teachers but one were Christians, and that one a widow earning her own living, and one over whom the school was expected to exert a Christian influence.

Miss Brown superintended the Society's zenana work in Madras also, and in the report already referred to she states: —

'Zenana visitation in connection with our mission has rapidly extended within the last few years. It was commenced in 1878, a year after my landing in Madras. We began with three pupils — old scholars of the Chulai school — and as the number of pupils increased, Zenana teachers were engaged to visit them regularly and systematically. We have now a staff of five Zenana teachers, and sixty houses in which are one or more pupils. These houses are exclusive of the houses visited by Rebecca, the Bible-woman. An encouraging feature of our Zenana work is the increasing willingness of our pupils to pay fees, and as education among the women becomes more general and more valued, our difficulty in this matter will become less and less, as has been the case in regard to our girls' schools.

'One great difficulty in carrying on Zenana work is the lack of fully qualified teachers, and I purpose to establish a training class for Zenana teachers. Zenana teachers must be women of mature age and established character — mere school-girls will not do; hence our boarding school cannot supply the need, though it has been very useful in supplying teachers for our schools. An institution to give women a proper training and education for Zenana work would be a very valuable auxiliary to our work.'


Miss Bounsall took charge of the girls' boarding school, and also of the girls' school and the evangelistic work carried on in Kosapettah.

Miss Gordon, who since 1871 had been actively engaged in the work of the girls' school at the other end of Madras, in Black Town, was in 1879 placed upon the Society's staff. She continued her active service without furlough to England till 1889-90, and her death took place at Madras in 1894. She was a grand-daughter of John Gordon, who joined the Vizagapatam Mission in 1810, and daughter of J. W. Gordon, who began work in the same mission in j 835. Her work in Madras for nearly twenty-five years had been very quiet and unassuming, but she won the affection of those for whom she toiled, and she gave freely herself to the support of the mission. During Miss Gordon's absence in 1889 her work was under the care of Miss Lois A. Cox, of Adelaide, sent to India by the Australian auxiliary. Unhappily her health failed in 1891. She returned to Adelaide and died there in August, 1892.

In 1880 the Rev. G. O. Newport removed from Salem to Madras. He superintended the mission until 1885, when he returned to England. In the course of 1883 he had visited Australia as a deputation for the Society. Mr. Newport was succeeded by the Rev. Maurice Phillips, who at Madras has carried on very systematic work in preaching in Tamil to the Hindus. In 1893 the Rev. R. J. Ward, who had been for many years a pastor in England, joined the Madras Mission and undertook the pastorate of Davidson Street Chapel.

During the decade 1880 to 1890, Hinduism in Madras and elsewhere, alarmed at the growing influence of Christianity, and fanned by the Theosophical Society, determined to use Christian methods in defence of Hindu faith and practice, and formed for their advocacy and enforcement a tract society and preaching society. For some years vigorous efforts were made to carry on by these agencies an active defensive and offensive propaganda. In 1887 Mr. Phillips refers to this movement: —

'I cannot describe the religious ferment now going on in Madras, and rapidly spreading all over the Presidency, better than by transcribing a few sentences from a Tamil tract published by The Hindu Tract Society, a Society lately established for the purpose of sending forth tracts and handbills against Christianity and in defence of Hinduism. The tract is addressed to all sects and castes. "Missionaries," says the tract, "come from England at great cost, and tell us that we are in heathen darkness, and that a bundle of fables called the Bible is the true Vedam (inspired book) which alone can enlighten us. They have cast their net over our children by teaching them in their schools; and they have already made thousands of Christians, and are continuing to do so. They have penetrated into the most out of the way villages and built churches there. If we continue to sleep as we have done in the past, not one will be found worshipping in our temples in a very short time; why, the temples themselves will be converted into Christian churches! Do you not know that the number of Christians is increasing and the number of Hindu religionists decreasing everyday? How long will water remain in a well which continually lets out but receives none in? If our religion be incessantly drained by Christianity without receiving any accessions, how can it last? When our country is turned into the wilderness of Christianity, will the herb of Hinduism grow?"

'After this wail over the decay of Hinduism and the apathy of its votaries the plan of campaign is sketched. Learned pandits must go forth and put the missionaries to shame by their dialectics. Tracts against Christianity must be published in all the vernaculars and distributed all over the land. Committees must be formed in all the towns and villages to warn the people against listening to Christian preachers.

'"We must not fear missionaries because they have white faces, or because they belong to the ruling class. There is no connection between Government and Christianity, for the Queen-Empress proclaimed neutrality in all religious matters in 1858. We must therefore oppose the missionaries with all our might. Whenever they stand up to preach, let Hindu preachers stand up and start rival preaching at a distance of forty feet from them, and they will soon flee! Let caste and sectarian differences be forgotten, and let all the people join as one man to banish Christianity from our land. All possible efforts should be made to win back those who have embraced Christianity, and all children should be withdrawn from mission schools."

'These extracts show clearly that Hindu zealots are fully alive to the fact that Christianity is a mighty power in India, and that unless it can be overcome it will ere long destroy the fond superstitions of thirty centuries. No more convincing testimony to the marvellous effect of the Gospel can be given than this of its enemies.'


Ziegenbalg liked Freylinghausen's teaching so much that in 1709 he summarized Freylinghausen's Foundation of Theology into Tamil and named it Vetacastiram ('Theological Treatise,).13 [HR, I, 2. Con, 83: On December 7, 1709 Grundler, informed that Ziegenbalg had prepared Vetacastiram and desired to send a copy of it to the King of Tancavur to illustrate what the missionaries in Tranquebar were teaching.] Two palm leaf manuscripts of this Vetacastiram are now recovered (AFSt/P TAM 36 and AFSt/P TAM 93), and each manuscript is divided into two parts. The first part contains seven chapters that deal with the attributes of God as revealed in the Bible. Accordingly, God is understood as the One who is eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all-truth, all-wisdom, all-holy, all-justice, all-mercy and all-compassionate (AFSt/P TAM 36, palm leaves 6v-18r). Ziegenbalg uses this definition of God to evaluate the authenticity and credibility of the South Indian deities. The second part describes the nature of humankind (AFSt/P TAM 85 containing 307 palm leaves) as those who are created in God's image. Out of their own free will they sinned against God and misused the ability to discern between good and evil. Their sin damaged the image of God in them. As far as their present worldly life is concerned, they are able to do several things rightly; but their spiritual life is corrupt....

-- Genealogy of the South Indian Deities: An English translation of Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's original German manuscript with a textual analysis and glossary [Christian Propaganda], by Daniel Jeyaraj

During a phase of persecution in a neighboring region, a Jesuit missionary's library was stored in Tranquebar, and Ziegenbalg found himself suddenly in possession of much interesting materials that included a Tamil translation of the New Testament. This stroke of luck made him an heir to Jesuit research on terminology that had flourished since the days of Roberto de Nobili. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica of 1708, Ziegenbalg already listed sixteen Roman Catholic works and wrote that he had corrected five of them to such an extent that they could be used by his Protestant flock "without any problem" (p. 291-92).

At this early stage he thus began to employ de Nobili's loaded terminology; for example, he often used the word Caruvecuran (Skt. sarvesvara, lord of all) for God. According to Jeyaraj (2003:292), the twenty-six Tamil sermons of de Nobili contain many words picked up by Ziegenbalg -- for example, the Tamil words for God, angels, devil, world, man, soul, death, salvation, remission, and eternal life. Ziegenbalg's Tamil community was likely to learn, just like de Nobili's flock a century earlier, how important it is for manusan (Skt manusa, man) to avoid pavam (Skt. papa, evil), to embrace punniyam (Skt. punya, virtue), and to worship Caruvecuran (Skt. sarvesvara, lord of all) in the form of Barabarawastu (Skt. paraparavastu, divine substance) because there is no other path to the other shore (karai-erutal) of motcam (Skt. moksa, liberation) (p. 292).

Apart from terms for God such as Caruvecuran and Barabarawastu, the juxtaposition of jnana (knowledge, wisdom) and ajnana (ignorance) was particularly important for Ziegenbalg's view of Indian religions and his mission enterprise. The title of the first pamphlet from the brand-new Tamil mission press in Tranquebar reads: "The Veta-pramanam (Skt. vedapramana, Vedic norm) demonstrating that akkiyanam [ajnana] must be detested and how those in akkiyanam can be saved" (pp. 309-10). In the very first sentence Ziegenbalg comes straight to the point: "We have come to you in order to save you from akkiyanam" (Grafe 2004:83-84).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App


But in 1891 Mr. Phillips wrote: —

'The glad tidings of great joy have been proclaimed daily in Madras and the out-stations during the year. We held 919 meetings, and preached 2,228 times to 61,063 people. We sold 404 portions of Scriptures, 2.503 tracts, and 3,600 of the monthly paper, The Messenger of Truth, and distributed gratis 10,785 handbills. Three evenings in the week we preached in the Bazaar at Gujelly to large congregations. In previous reports we had to relate how, in consequence of our preaching, Hinduism was rousing itself like a giant from its sleep of apathy, and putting forth all its strength to thwart our work and hinder the progress of the Gospel. Now, however, we are equally thankful that the giant, feeling its strength unequal to the task, is retiring to sleep. In the city of Madras we were seldom annoyed during the year, and indeed only saw the agents of the Hindu Preaching Society once in force.

'Sunday afternoon lectures to educated Hindus have been delivered by missionaries of different denominations. The attendance was larger and the interest manifested was greater than in any previous year. These lectures are the only special agency in Madras for bringing the Gospel to bear on the educated Hindus and Mahometans who have left the schools or colleges.

'Tours have been made as before in the districts connected with the out-stations of Tripassore and Pulicat, and in both centres a living work appears now to be carried on throughout the year. Public profession of Christianity is still accompanied by such serious social penalties that it is rare. The number of members received during the year was only seven, but indications appear from time to time in unexpected quarters of the way in which the Gospel is silently working among the people.'


Madras is the great port of Southern India; it is the gate through which the missionaries enter to pass to their different fields of labour. It has been from early years a great centre of education, steadily growing in efficiency, in importance, and in influence, and as a centre where Western thought and civilization are beginning powerfully to affect the mind of the younger Hinduism.

2. COMBACONUM AND CHITTOOR. — Combaconum is a town situated on the south of Madras about twenty miles north-east of Tanjore. Its population is about 40,000. In 1825 Mr. Mead, leaving Travancore in consequence of ill health, commenced a mission there with the assistance of six native readers, and at once entered on evangelistic work in the town and neighbourhood, and by degrees opened schools. The Directors of the Society for a time deferred giving their approval of the occupation of this town as a permanent station, probably on account of its proximity to Tanjore, an old and important centre of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. For two years Mr. Mead carried on the work with energy and success, but in 1827, as his health had improved, he returned to Travancore, where in August he met the Deputation of the Society, who arranged that he should superintend the western division of the Travancore Mission, making Neyoor his centre. On this account he did not return to Combaconum, but the work there was carried on with a reduced number of readers. In July, 1829. Mr. Edmund Crisp settled at Combaconum as the resident missionary, and work was conducted with an increased number of readers and with much efficiency and success. In 1833, as Mr. Crisp was suffering in health, Mr. Nimmo. an East Indian agent, who for the past ten years had taken part in the work at several stations in connection with the Madras Mission, removed from Chittoor to Combaconum in order to assist Mr. Crisp, and rendered valuable service in itinerating and other forms of work. In June, 1835, Mr. Crisp left Combaconum to proceed to Madras to take the place of a member of that mission whose health had failed. Mr. Nimmo was thus left in sole charge of the work, and in March, 1837, was ordained and placed on the list of the Society's missionaries. From this time until the close of 1851 he conducted the work with much efficiency, his long experience and his intimate acquaintance with the people and their customs well qualifying him to meet the various demands of the position. But in January, 1852, by the decision of the Directors, the station and district was handed over to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, a step rendered advisable by the near neighbourhood of Combaconum to Tanjore. Mr. Nimmo therefore removed and took up work at Tripassore. But the results of the labour of the Society's agents during the twenty-six years of their occupation of Combaconum remained, though not in a form which would appear in statistical tables. Their persistent itineration, their frequent personal interviews with natives of all castes and creeds, their visits at Hindu festivals, their educational work in schools, and the wide circulation of Christian literature had formed a valuable foundation on which others might build.

CHITTOOR, lying about eighty miles due west of Madras, and properly belonging to the Telugu country, must be mentioned here, as it was worked practically as an outstation from Madras. A church of native converts was formed here about 1825 by Mr. E. Crisp of Madras. From 1831 to 1835 Mr. Nimmo was the resident missionary; from 1833 to 1840 Mr. Bilderbeck laboured here, and at Arni and one or two other out-stations of Madras; and from 1840 to 1842 it was under the charge of Mr. Alexander Leitch. Work at Chittoor appears to have been carried on in a somewhat intermittent fashion, and after this period it ceases to appear as a head station in the Society's reports.

3. Salem. This town, about 210 miles south-west of Madras, gives its name to one of the twenty-one districts which make up the Madras Presidency. Salem District1 [In this sketch of the Salem Mission the author is largely indebted to a sketch written by the rev. Maurice Phillips and issued in 1879.], with an area of 7,604 square miles and a population of over 2,000,000, is divided into nine taluks or sections, and these contain 3,594 villages. Except towards the south the district is hilly, with large plains lying between the hills. The chief river is the Kaveri, second in sacredness to the Ganges only. The language, with the exception of a part of one taluk, is Tamil. A somewhat detailed description of this district may serve for many others in central Southern India.

The majority of cultivators are comparatively poor, but seem quite contented with their lot. So long as the wants of the day are supplied, they think little of the future. Their greatest trouble is (like small farmers in England) the payment of taxes! They rise before dawn and go out to their fields, where they labour more or less all day. The morning meal is generally the cold remains of the previous night's supper, the latter being as a rule the only meal cooked. A piece of white cloth round his loins and another round his head form the only attire of an ordinary cultivator. His wife is equally simple in her mode of life. One or two cloths, ear-rings, and nose-rings, more or less costly, as the husband's circumstances admit, together with the Thali (sign of marriage, answering to our ring), form all her possessions. The children up to ten years or more go in a state of nudity, relieved perhaps by a piece of string round the waist. The ravika or jacket is worn generally by Musulmanis and by women of high castes, but rarely by the lower orders, except above the ghats, where the colder climate makes it necessary. The wealthier classes dress more richly in public, but in their houses their attire is very scanty. The people as a rule are well-made and often handsome.

The great bulk of the people, including cultivators, artisans, and pariahs, though nominally ranging themselves among the followers of Vishnu and Siva, worship certain village gods and goddesses, remnants of aboriginal pre-Aryan cult, the most popular of which is Mari-amman, the goddess of small-pox and other ills that flesh is heir to; and hence she is propitiated on the coming of every calamity by the sacrifice of fowls, sheep, and goats. A rude temple to this goddess is found in every village and hamlet of any importance; and there are hereditary priests to officiate before her. If a village be too small to support a priest, his services are divided between two or three villages. All classes and religionists believe more or less in the doctrine of metempsychosis or transmigration of souls.


The Salem Mission was commenced in the year 1827 by the Rev. Henry Crisp. Several schools which had been established and supported by the collector, M. D. Cockburn, were at once given over to the charge of the missionary. Mr. Crisp, after having acquired sufficient knowledge of the language, entered with much energy, zeal, and devotedness upon his work. He built school-rooms and a chapel, and began to preach and itinerate in full earnest; but he died in 1831, only four years after his arrival in the district. His devoted wife had died in 1829.

For nearly a whole year the station was left without the superintendence of a missionary. In the course of 1832 the Rev. G. Walton, an East Indian, was sent from Bellary to Salem. He carried on the work as he had found it with faithfulness, collected a little congregation around him, and selected five or six men to be his assistants as catechists or native teachers. The schools then contained 350 heathen children, and on Sundays the number of hearers had increased from five to fifty. Mr. Walton from time to time, with some of the native teachers, made evangelistic tours to several parts of this vast district, which then comprised more than a million of souls. Their principal work, however, was in Salem and its immediate vicinity.

In May, 1840, the Rev. J. M. Lechler arrived. He was a German by birth, and had been associated with the Church Missionary Society in Tinnevelly, reaching India in 1835. Prior to settling at Salem, he had worked for some months in Coimbatore. In June, 1841, when the Rev. G. Walton died, he took entire charge of the mission, and laboured alone for twenty-one years.

Mr. Lechler was no ordinary man. He possessed both the power to conceive, and the energy and determination to execute, great plans for the propagation of the Gospel and the building up of a Christian church in India. His piety, zeal, earnestness, and reliance upon God, as well as his abandonment of plans when found to be unsuitable, are worthy of imitation by all missionaries.

The first plan which he tried was to establish schools over the greater part of the district where Christian books were taught, and where he and his assistants preached during their periodical visits. This plan failed because the masters were all heathen and could not be prevailed upon to teach the Catechism and Christian lessons.

The second plan was to collect scattered families willing to place themselves under Christian instruction, and to form them into Christian villages, giving them pecuniary assistance to start as cultivators. The catechists in charge proved unfaithful, and the people, when the assistance begun was not continued, went back to their old habits and beliefs! And 'thus,' writes Mr. Lechler, 'the plan of forming Christian villages, and of making them rallying- points for inquirers and depots of Christian truth, also failed almost entirely. In the neighbourhood of those villages, however, much good has been done; many a soul has heard the Gospel, many children have been rescued, brought in and educated in our asylums, and some of the higher castes of cultivators have furnished themselves with copies of the New Testament or portions of it.'

The third and most successful plan tried by Mr. Lechler was the establishment and maintenance of an Industrial School. In 1854 Mr. Lechler visited England and also Germany, and upon his return in 1855 was accompanied by T. G. Kubler as his assistant, and by two artisans, and brought out material for the establishment of this school. The special object was to teach carpentry, smithery, and bricklaying to the boys of the orphanage and any young men desiring to place themselves under Christian instruction. The school, though not fulfilling all of Mr. Lechler's expectations, did good work, and was only abolished after his death, as it was deemed unadvisable to continue it under the altered circumstances of the mission. Many Christian artisans in this and other districts were brought up in the Industrial School, and occupied respectable positions, who otherwise would have been only common labourers.

Mr. Lechler placed a high value on itineration, and 'regarded it as one, if not the most important, means of propagating the Gospel;' but he felt, as every missionary since in the district has felt, that 'it is to be regretted that it can be practised so little where there is only one missionary in a station.'

According to Mr. Lechler's report for 1859, a year and a half before he died, the statistics of the mission were as follows: — Catechists, 11; out-stations, 4; communicants, 35; 'under Christian instruction, about 350.' The schools were: Boys' Orphan and Boarding Asylum, containing 30; Girls' Orphan and Boarding Asylum, containing 25; Industrial School, 25 lads; and six country day schools containing 75 pupils.

Mr. Lechler died very suddenly on June 17, 1861. Mrs. Lechler was then in England about to embark for India, and the sad news of her great loss only reached her after her arrival in Madras. She survived her husband for over thirty years; and was quite a leading spirit in the mission, especially on the Sherarog Hills, where she resided.  

The Rev. Colin Campbell from Bangalore took charge of the mission after Mr. Lechler's death until the arrival of the Rev. Goodeve Mabbs in January, 1862. Mr. Mabbs, in consequence of ill health, was often away for lengthened periods from the district, so that he was able to do but little; and in November, 1865, he was transferred to Travancore, and the Rev. W. E. Morris took charge of the station. Mr. Morris threw his whole soul into the work, but after three years it proved too much for him. He was obliged to go home in February, 1869, to recruit his shattered health, with the hope of returning; but that hope was never realized.

In January, 1869, Maurice Phillips added the charge of the Salem Mission to Tripatur, where he had been stationed since 1862. He resided at Salem, and itinerated through the district. There were at the end of 1869 eleven out-stations, fourteen native preachers, 129 communicants, 475 baptized persons, including communicants; five boys' schools, containing 125 scholars, and two girls' schools, containing 84 girls, in connection with the mission.

In February, 1870, the Rev. Henry Toller and his wife arrived to take the place of Mr. and Mrs. Morris; but within six weeks of their arrival, he was suddenly attacked with cholera, and died in a few hours. Mr. Toller was a young man who had just left Cheshunt College, full of zeal, who, humanly speaking, had a fair prospect of a long and useful life before him, but God, who does all things well, ordered it otherwise. Mrs. Toller returned home in the ship in which both had come out.

The Directors were greatly perplexed when they heard of the sudden death of Mr. Toller. They felt that they had lost four men at Salem during eight years, two by death and two by illness, and naturally feared the consequences of sending another man there. They therefore contemplated handing over the district to the Arcot Mission. The District Committee strongly and unanimously opposed the proposal. They pointed out the disastrous effect it would have in breaking up the symmetry of the field. If necessary to give up any station, either Belgaum or Vizagapatam, or both, on account of their distance and isolation from all other stations of the Society, could be better spared than Salem. They pointed out that much work had been done in the district; that valuable property for carrying on missionary operations had been procured; that the town of Salem only was unhealthy, and not the district as a whole; that the unhealthiness of the town could be avoided to a very great extent by living in the suburbs; and that as Mr. Phillips had had experience of the place, and did not object to live in it, he should be relieved of Tripatur and devote the whole of his time to Salem. In the end the Directors relinquished the idea of giving up the district, and Mr. Phillips continued in charge of the mission until 1884. During Mr. Phillips' furlough in 1873-74, the Rev. H. Rice, of Tripatur, superintended the work from that station.

In July, 1875, Evangelist Mutthu was ordained pastor over the church in the town of Salem, the church agreeing to pay ten rupees a month towards his salary and all incidental expenses of worship. In the same year the Anglo-vernacular school was raised to the standard of a High School preparing scholars for the Matriculation Examination of the Madras University. The old mission house was turned into a school-room on the completion of a new house erected in a healthy locality outside the town, with the money realized by selling a part of the old mission compound. This High School was designed to give a high-class education on Christian principles in a town containing 50,000 inhabitants, and the capital of a district containing nearly two millions. Such a school has now become a necessity, without which missionaries can never exert the influence in the town and the district which they desire. Boys who have been in mission schools are generally the missionaries' friends, and often protect them from the abuse and insolence of crowds when preaching in the streets; and as they come from different parts of the district to pursue the higher education, they always prepare the way for preaching in their villages. This being a new and a most important work, the Directors transferred the Rev. G. O. Newport from Nagercoil to Salem in March, 1877, to take charge of the school and the work in the town and suburbs, thus leaving Mr. Phillips free to devote the whole of his time to itinerating and the out-stations. Ill health compelled Mr. Newport's removal to Bangalore in 1880.

The statistics of the mission at the end of 1878 were as follows:— Native minister, 1; native preachers, 8; out-stations, 12; communicants, 158; baptized (inclusive of communicants), 790; boys' schools, 6, with 335 scholars; girls' schools 2, containing 138 pupils.

The Rev. W. Robinson, of Tripatur, was formally appointed missionary of Salem in 1885. In December, 1885, he was joined by the Rev. A. A. Dignum, who was transferred from the Gooty Mission. For nearly three years the station then had the benefit of two resident missionaries. Mr. Robinson came to England on furlough in October, 1888, and returned to India in the autumn of 1890. During his absence the Rev. C. G. Marshall, appointed to Tripatur, arrived and resided in Salem for a few months, to commence the study of the language and to become familiarized with mission-work. On his removal to Tripatur at the commencement of 1890, Mr. Dignum was left entirely alone for nearly twelve months. The Rev. R. C. Porter was appointed to the mission in 1893.

Mr. Dignum in the report for 1890 wrote: —

'With reference to evangelistic work in the district, I am afraid that I cannot report anything fresh or encouraging. It is a thrice-told tale that the area attempted to be covered is far too large to be thoroughly worked; or, in other words, that the means at our disposal are all too inadequate for the work that needs to be done. Only one of the four taluks — that of Atur — is fairly supplied with agents. In Salem taluk, however, which is the most populous and in every way the most important, we have no mission agents outside Salem except at Yercaud and Razipur. During the year I have spent 137 days in visiting the out-stations and in preaching in the villages, and the conviction has been more and more deeply borne in upon me that a visit once, or at the most twice, a year to the larger villages, unless followed up by frequent visits from strong, earnest, Christian native workers, will not, and cannot be expected to, produce any lasting good.'


Evangelistic work has been vigorously carried on in the town of Salem by the Rev. A. Devasagayam and Mr. Pakkianathan, who completed his course of study at Bangalore at the end of 1889.

Educational work has progressed remarkably in both branches. The High School, freed from Government control, has continued to improve. The number on the roll has largely increased. The heads of the most influential and wealthy Hindu families send their sons to the school, though its Christian character is constantly maintained, all the teachers on the staff being Christians. The girls' schools, though not large, have been very successful in educational results.

As in the other South Indian stations, for many years Christian work was carried on at Salem among the women and girls. But in 1891 new life was infused into this department by the arrival of Miss Lois A. Cox. In the year 1889, largely as the result of the visit of Mr. Wardlaw Thompson and Mr. Spicer, the Australian churches resolved to take a more active share in the work of the Society. In connection with this development Miss Cox volunteered for service, and to her belongs the honour of being the first missionary thus sent forth by the Australian churches. We have already referred to her work in Madras, and in January, 1891, she was transferred to Salem. There she was able to organize and commence, by the aid of Australian friends, four schools for girls. Unhappily her health failed, and in January, 1892, she returned to Adelaide, where she died on August 10. Brief as her career was, she has left a deep and inspiring influence upon the Salem Mission.

Only a few weeks before the compulsory retirement of Miss Cox, Miss Annie Crouch, of Hobart, Tasmania, arrived in Salem as her colleague; and only too soon found the main burden of the work resting upon her. The Church in Hobart from which Miss Crouch came, sent to her in December, 1892, a helper, Miss M. G. Lodge. The report for 1895 stated that in the four girls' schools there were 354 scholars, and that there were five Bible-women in active service. A Lois Cox Memorial Home — a boarding school for girls — was erected by Australian friends, and in 1897 contained twenty-one pupils.

Signs of the great change coming over Hindu society in its recognition of Christians and of Christianity have been evident in Salem. The Rev. A. Devasagayam stated in 1890: 'The chasm which once divided the Hindu from the Christian now no longer exists. They rub shoulder to shoulder on every possible occasion. Is it a social meeting, or one for political reform, a religious address, a lecture on science or literature, or a reception to a public benefactor, you are sure of noticing Brahman, Christian, and Mussulman mingling freely and doing their work as if they all belonged to one brotherhood. This is an unmistakable sign of the decay of caste.' Yet persecution and hostility to the Gospel are not by any means dead, and in Salem, as in other centres, the labours of the nineteenth century have been but the preparation for the success of the twentieth.
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4. Tripatur, a town of nearly 15,000 people, was occupied as a new centre of work in the north-east part of Salem district in 1861; and in September, 1862, the Rev. Maurice Phillips arrived from England as the first resident missionary. School work had been already begun there under the supervision of Mr. Lechler, and by 1864 the mission house was completed.

In 1863 a woman, the wife of a man who had been converted in connection with another mission, was baptized; and she, her husband, the catechist, and his family were formed into a Christian Church, and the Lord's Supper was administered. A vernacular school was opened in the pariah quarter with an attendance of twenty boys; and an Anglo-vernacular school at Vaniambady, a large town fourteen miles from Tripatur, with an attendance of twenty-six boys. In 1864 the late Mrs. Phillips commenced a caste girls' school at Tripatur, and took great interest in it up to her death in December, 1867.

In 1865 the Anglo-vernacular school at Tripatur was discontinued. The Government school-room was enlarged, and the standard of education raised, so that it was impossible for the small mission school-room and limited funds to compete with it, consequently most of the best boys left for the Government school. An effort was made to avert this. An appeal was made to the Directors for sufficient funds to raise the school to the requirements of the people, but they did not respond.

At the end of ten years after the commencement of the mission there were five catechists, four out-stations, twenty-one communicants, seventy-one baptized persons (including communicants), three boys' schools containing 125 scholars, and two girls' schools containing fifty-five girls. Among the converts of this mission were five Brahmans, but one went back to heathenism under great pressure from his relatives.

In January, 1873, the Rev. Henry Rice was transferred from Madras to Tripatur, and after spending three years there was compelled, on account of ill health, to visit England, when the charge of the mission devolved again on Mr. Phillips.

Tripatur was for many years considered an out-station of the Salem Mission, but it became independent in 1875. Its missionary history since that time is, however, an illustration of the extreme weakness of the mission staff in South India for the purpose of overtaking the vast work which is offering itself on every hand. In 1881 the Rev. W. Robinson was resident at Tripatur in charge of the mission, and continued at his post until 1884. In that year the Rev. M. Phillips, of Salem, came to England on furlough, and Mr. Robinson had to take the oversight of the agents and work at Salem as well as at Tripatur. This double duty he performed in the next year also, and necessarily the larger district claimed a considerable portion of his time. In 1885 Mr. Robinson was permanently appointed to the charge of the Salem district, and removed to that place. But as there was no one else to take charge of Tripatur, he retained the care of this mission also. In 1887 the same arrangement continued, and the mission suffered further loss by the death of the devoted and able native pastor, Rev. C. Sundram.

At the close of 1888 the Rev. C. G. Marshall was sent out to take charge, but of course had to devote himself for the first year entirely to the study of the language. Mr. Marshall entered upon responsible charge of the mission at the beginning of 1890, and has been steadily at work since then. As the result of his growing acquaintance with the district and its inhabitants, Mr. Marshall stated: —

'Many of the villagers seem to know the main features of Christianity very well, and some have renounced idol-worship and have placed themselves under Christian instruction. We have altogether about ten genuine inquirers, some of whom we hope shortly to baptize. In wandering about amongst the villages, one cannot help noticing that there is a restlessness among the people and a pretty general suspicion of Hinduism. The work of the catechists and the spread of Christian literature have done a great deal to produce this. If we had an adequate staff of agents, we might reasonably hope within the next decade to have more than double the number of Christians in the district. But at present, with one European missionary, one Bible-woman, and seven native preachers, we are attempting the evangelization of three-quarters of a million of people scattered over an area of 3,269 square miles! It is needless to say that the work is too much for us to do thoroughly. At best, we are able only to visit the chief towns and villages once or twice a year, and many villages never get visited at all. We are constantly being disappointed in hopeful inquirers, because they live too far away to admit of our visiting them often, and they fall away.'


In 1896 the lamented death of Mrs. Robinson led to a rearrangement of work which transferred Mr. Marshall to Salem during Mr. Robinson's absence in England, and placed Tripatur under the care of Mr. R. C. Porter.

5. COIMBATORE. This district contains 7,842 square miles, and a population of 1,700,000. The town is 306 miles south-west of Madras, and stands at the foot of the Nilghiri Hills. It has a population of about 40,000; Tamil, Canarese, and a corrupt Telugu are all spoken in different parts. The story of the Coimbatore Mission is from 1830 to 1861 the record of the wise and persistent labours of one able and energetic worker, the Rev. W. B. Addis, and his devoted wife. He founded and established the mission. and zealously superintended all its details for over thirty years. In broad features the work at Coimbatore resembled that at Salem and Bellary. Mr. Addis strove, and not without success, to make it a native mission by the securing and superintending of a band of competent native pastors and evangelists. Mr. Sidney Long, who took charge of the mission in 1884, and who knew Mrs. Addis well during the later years of her long and useful life, has given the following sketch1 [This sketch, extending over pp. 80 to 86, is from an unpublished life of Mrs. Addis, of which Mr. Long kindly allowed the author to make use.] of this very important department of the work. Mr. Long's description is important as illustrating the nature and quality of the work done not only in Coimbatore, but over the whole Indian mission-field by the now large army of native evangelists and catechists.

Few missionaries can have had any real experience of India without coming to the conclusion that India will be won to Christ by Indians rather than by foreigners. No workers in India need more sympathy, more prayer, more help than the evangelists and catechists who have sprung from the soil, and who are in much closer touch with their fellow-countrymen than any missionaries from the West can be. They frequently occupy posts of great loneliness, especially when a new station has been opened, and they and their family form the whole of the Christian Church in a dark place.

The catechist goes out morning and evening to deliver his message. He is not usually a man of special culture, and the more educated natives pass him by with a sneer. The Brahmans often despise him: he gets his hearers chiefly from the lower classes, but they are too taken up with the things of this world and often too degraded and poverty-stricken to give much heed to his message. His work he is supposed by those around him to have adopted simply as a livelihood, and he is asked again and again in all seriousness how much money he will give for a convert, and how much he will get from his superior for enrolling new names. Does the missionary find work hard and discouraging? The catechist has the same trials to meet, and has not the same stimulus in Christian literature and often in Christian fellowship. Is it the case that catechists are often time-servers, and without zeal? Before we judge them, let us imagine ourselves year after year in their isolation, not infrequently boycotted and persecuted by the great mass of the people around, and then ask how faithful and how zealous we ourselves should be.


Mr. Addis from the first, realizing the immense importance of so doing, set himself to raise a good class of native agents. He did his best to equip them well, and accorded to them that hearty recognition, and gave them that confidence, which go so far towards ensuring the best efforts that one's fellow-workers can exert.

Another principle of great importance with him was this — not only should the work be done by Indians, but according to Indian methods. 'The mission is a native one throughout,' he often and quite correctly asserted. This meant economy and efficiency. Agents were not encouraged to adopt European style of dress, furniture, and food, neither were they educated in English, but only in their vernacular. Such customs as were good or harmless in their own life were maintained. The rules of the mission were very strict in some respects; one was as follows: 'All agents who appear in public with dirty or ragged clothes, or without having on jacket or turban, or who have long beards, shall pay a fine of one rupee for each offence! 'A set of by-laws was drawn up about the clothing and deportment of catechists. The desire was to keep them as much as possible in touch with, and worthy to receive the respect of, their fellow-countrymen. Neither for them nor for those whom they should evangelize was mere change considered desirable. Change is not necessarily conversion. Mr. Addis was convinced that 'all the Hindus require to make them one of the most happy and contented people in the world is the knowledge of salvation through the incarnation of the Eternal Son of God, and the moral principles of the Bible.'

This avoidance of change made merely for its own sake was the rule throughout the mission, with catechists, church members, male and female scholars, and all whom it influenced. In these later days English education should not; and cannot, be excluded, as was the case from 1830 to 1861, but in other respects the principles adopted by the founder of the mission have generally been maintained. Customs that were oppressive and wrong were of course fought against by Mr. Addis; for instance, in 1849, for the first time in Coimbatore, took place in the Mission Church the remarriage of a Hindu widow, in spite of great prejudice and opposition. She was a Christian, but in later years even non-Christian widows have been publicly remarried in Coimbatore.

Mr. Addis brought two earnest native workers from Nagercoil to help him in starting the mission. They very soon returned to their own country, and he was dependent on the agents he raised locally: his first assistant will be mentioned hereafter. When a few converts had been made, the most suitable of them who were willing were set apart for Gospel work, and received training in the 'preparatory class' which has been mentioned. Their studies were in the Bible, theology, geography of India and Palestine, general history, and simple medicine; they also devoted a short time daily to manual labour of some kind. Practically every agent employed by Mr. Addis during thirty years was thus trained by himself; two or three obtained some additional training in the London Mission Seminary at Bangalore. These workers were arranged into four classes, and were designated 'readers,' 'assistant catechists,' 'catechists,' and 'evangelists.'

When located in distant towns or villages, Mr. Addis was always very particular that they should have a dwelling-house, with a well, a school-house, book depot, and where possible a hall for preaching. This arrangement made the catechist independent, and gave him a modest status among his neighbours. Being provided with a well, he was safe from the worst form of boycot, namely, deprivation of water for drinking and washing purposes. He was, however, still liable to be deprived of the village dhobie and barber. The former he could do without, as he was able to wash his own clothes; but not having a barber's services was more serious, as natives are very particular about removing their beards and also the hair on the forepart of their heads: and they not only find it a great difficulty to do this themselves, but consider shaving a menial and degrading occupation. The monthly salary given was 8 rupees, 5 annas, 4 pies. The evangelists had in addition an allowance of four annas, called batta, for each day on circuit; 'it was left to their conscience to do with less if they could, and in the majority of cases they managed on less.' The catechists also were constantly traveling, but in a more restricted circle. In the report for 1855 Mr. Addis remarked: 'They (nine or ten catechists) travelled between 6,000 and 7,000 miles during the year, and this is about their yearly average; they visited and made known Christ and His glorious salvation to the inhabitants of 2,375 towns and villages, performing all their journeys on foot, only being allowed a boy on one anna a day to accompany them with a bundle of Scripture portions and tracts for sale or distribution. They had nothing themselves beyond their regular salary.' By means of the presence of a Christian family in the midst of a heathen village, by the humble journeyings of these men to festivals and weekly markets for preaching, by their daily visits to villages, by their sales of Bible portions and Gospel tracts, how much has been done towards establishing the kingdom of Christ in India, the Last Great Day alone will declare.

Often they had to suffer from suspicion and from open persecution in various ways, but often also these workers made their way into the hearts of the people, and while in one village there existed opposition to the catechist, in another he was highly esteemed. Many of the catechists had a useful knowledge of medicine, and their skill in this respect was generally found to disarm prejudice. In some instances where a catechist had died or been removed by the missionary, the people begged for a successor, or the villagers in a neighbouring place sent a petition that they might be favoured like those who had a catechist resident with them. In one place the heathen gratuitously helped a new catechist to erect his house, in another gave the choice of a locality to be purchased for such a purpose, and in another even gave the ground. Such kindness could not be refused, and the offers of food and hospitality to the agents when travelling were accepted, but no agent, for medical assistance rendered by him, or for any other service, was permitted to receive money from the people around him. Not infrequently such catechists as had won their way with the people would be detained in the villages they visited for several hours after nightfall by the farmers who had been in the fields all day; a suitable place, and lights and refreshments, would be provided so that they might at leisure read and talk about the Scriptures. In one village where a catechist had been working without any apparent success for some time, Mr. Addis recorded that this worker told the people that 'although he was thankful to them for all their kindness, yet that he had great sorrow of heart because they did not fully receive his instructions by outwardly acting according to them in forsaking idolatry, and that he thought of selling his house and removing to some other place. Thereupon they came to him in a great number and entreated him not to leave them, but to have a longer patience; they even went so far as to hold a consultation and to decide that no one should purchase the house, but that they would more attentively listen to his instructions in the future.
This they in part fulfilled, and some time afterwards one of the most influential inhabitants openly declared himself a Christian, and together with his wife and large family, as also with several of his relatives and farm-labourers, constantly attended Divine Service. He was, some time afterwards, publicly baptized, and walked for several years according to the precepts of the Gospel, and died in the faith.'

Mr. Addis hoped to see the time when there should be at least one catechist for 50,000 souls — surely a sufficiently modest desire. That hope was expressed in 1843, over fifty-five years ago, and still such a state of things has not been realized. He felt, as his successors have done, how unsatisfactory is the visit of a missionary to villages two or three times a year, and how much better is the permanent presence of even the poorest Christian worker who has the desire to spread the truth.

As late as 1897 some of the workers trained by Mr. Addis remained in active work in the mission, and they had their own distinctive marks, in the way they dressed, the removal not only of the kudumi, but of all hair from their heads, their skill in medicine, their tidy and methodical ways, not least in their skill as penmen, all having learnt to write a very good hand.

Of these workers, between 1830 and 1861, many interesting particulars might be given. It will, however, suffice if a brief account of one of them be recorded here. The first convert in the mission was Vedanayagam. When Mr. Addis arrived in Coimbatore, he sought, as previously stated, for those who would be willing to teach in a Christian school, and particularly for those who would agree to teach the Christian books used. A learned Hindu who was acting as his munshi recommended a certain 'Nanjen,' an intelligent young man well versed in the Shastras, and a strict observer of his religion. Nanjen agreed, provided he might have one day a week free for his Hindu ceremonies. He taught Watts' Catechism to the younger and Scripture to the elder boys. Others seeing that no harm resulted, volunteered their services also, and within a year six schools were in operation. Meanwhile, Nanjen was invited to the Tamil service in the cottage on the common, but at first refused. After a time his curiosity was too strong for him, and he attended. 'One Sunday,' to quote Mr. Addis's record, 'a tear was observed stealing down his cheek; the following week, when the missionary visited his school, he was surprised to find him at his post, although it was a heathen festival of considerable repute, and upon being asked how it was that he had not attended, he said with much evident emotion, "Sir, I have for ever done with such things." The feelings of the missionary may be conceived, but which of the two was most affected cannot be well said, for he quitted the school, and neither spoke further on the occasion. But now the schoolmaster's trials began — his wife and children left him, and he being a fond father and a domestic man, this was a severe trial indeed, and when he came to the missionary to relate the matter, he could not control his feelings. But on being asked what he intended to do, he answered with much firmness, "Cleave to Christ, let the consequences be what they may."'

After a long period of probation he was baptized, and at the same time the name of Vedanayagam was given to him. This being the first baptism in Coimbatore, it attracted much notice. After some time Vedanayagam's wife and children returned to him and joined the Christian faith, but at first he had no companion like-minded, and his position was both solitary and very difficult. He underwent training and became an able evangelist, serving the mission for fifteen years, during which time no complaint of any sort was brought against him, and this in spite of the fact that latterly he had to act as locum tenens during one or two absences of Mr. Addis on account of ill health. He was cut off at the early age of thirty-seven, and his loss was greatly felt. His funeral was not only attended by those belonging to the Christian congregation, but by numbers of heathen, many of superior caste, and among them real sorrow for his removal was manifested.


Mr. Addis was for some years aided by his son Charles, who though subject to epilepsy did much valuable missionary service, but in 1861 ill health compelled both to resign. Mr. Addis died in 1871, but Mrs. Addis survived in India until 1898. In 1862 Mr. Morris came to Coimbatore, and from 1865 to 1869 Mr. Haslam was in charge. After an interval, in which Mr. Coles and Mr. Henry Rice in succession superintended the mission, Mr. Joss took up the work in 1870. In 1875 he was transferred to the English Institution at Madras, and Mr. H. A. Hutchison became the missionary in charge. The Coimbatore Mission during the last twenty years illustrates the difficulty of keeping up the staff and securing continuity of work in an Indian station. In 1880 there were two missionaries, both young and vigorous men. One of them, the Rev. J. N. Hooker, B.A., who had but recently joined the mission, was a man of exceptional promise, able, devout, enthusiastic. To the outward appearance, therefore, there was the prospect of a decade of very vigorous and successful work, but the hopes cherished were speedily disappointed. Mr. Hooker died in July, 1882, the victim of over-exertion and exposure; and Mr. Hutchison returned to England on furlough in 1883, to retire from missionary work altogether. The Rev. W. Monk Jones joined the mission in May, 1883, in the room of Mr. Hooker, and for eighteen months had the responsibility of this vast district entirely on his own shoulders, though he had only been six months in India when he came to the station. At the end of 1884 the Rev. S. J. Long joined him. By the time Mr. Long had become tolerably familiar with the language, and was able to take his full share of responsibility, the health of Mr. Monk Jones gave way, and in January, 1888, he had to return to England. Again the mission was left with only one missionary for nearly two years. At the end of 1889 the Rev. E. Hawker, B A., was sent out. In 1894 Mr. A. W. Brough, from New South Wales, reached Coimbatore. Under his care a new building for the High School, one of the finest in South India, was erected.

Female mission-work had been carried on since 1882, in which year Miss Horton was appointed, but she left after three months, and no one was sent to occupy the vacant place until Miss Bounsall was transferred from Madras at the end of 1888, to superintend and to develop work among girls and women. Miss Cuthbert reached Coimbatore in 1893, but left on her marriage in 1895, and was succeeded by Miss German.

Such a history of change and disappointment, so strong a contrast to the story of the first thirty years, is naturally the prelude to a story of slow progress and scanty results. Yet in some directions there has been decided progress. The number of catechists and other native workers has increased, and could easily be trebled to supply openings which are full of promise, if only funds were forthcoming for their support. Educational work is in a very healthy condition, notwithstanding bitter and unscrupulous opposition which has shown itself again and again. The High School in the town of Coimbatore attained its highest numbers in 1886. Then came a period of decline, at first on account of the opening of a number of adventure schools, and afterwards in consequence of the fierce anti-Christian agitation in the town, consequent on the baptism, though not in the London Mission, of a young Brahman. The number of scholars decreased to 169 at the end of 1889. The strenuous efforts of Mr. Asirvatham David, the head master, turned the tide, and the school closed in 1890 with an attendance of 221. 'The girls' schools have made steady and satisfactory progress during the decade. The advance is not merely in numbers and efficiency, but in the age to which it has been possible to retain pupils, and the consequent increase of the number of pupils in the more advanced class.'

Notwithstanding this long story and change and disappointment, at the close of the century the signs were all in favour of renewed life and energy and progress in this important missionary district.

II. Canarese Missions. Canarese is one of the four great languages which make up the Dravidian group, of great antiquity, highly developed, and possesses a rich and ancient literature. It is the speech of the inhabitants of the great native state Mysore and the regions contiguous to it on the north, and is spoken by nearly 10,000,000 people. The Society's work in this language has been carried on at three great centres: Bellary, Bangalore, and Belgaum.

1. Bellary. The origin and progress of the work here from 1810 to 1818 has been sketched in Chapter III. The year 1819 was notable from the fact that Mr. Hands then began the printing at Madras of his Canarese version of the Scriptures. In the same year, after nine years' patient labour, the first native member was admitted to the Church, a Brahman, whose after career was, unhappily, inconsistent with his profession. In 1824 a new church, costing 7,000 rupees, a sum raised mainly by local contributions, was built. In 1824 Mr. Reeve returned to England, and Mr. Beynon, who came to take his place, began his long missionary career by three years' service at Bellary. In 1826 a printing press, under the superintendence of Mr. Paine, was established, and for many years rendered service of the highest value, printing the Scriptures, books, and tracts in both Canarese and Telugu.

In 1827 the Rev. Samuel Flavel removed from Bangalore, and for the next twenty years gave most efficient service as a native preacher. This man, whose name stands high in the history of early South Indian missions, was born in Quilon about 1787. While in the service of an official under the Ceylon Government, he found one day, under a tree, a copy of the Gospel in Tamil. This led to his conversion, and he became an eloquent preacher in different parts of Mysore. He was ordained in Bangalore, but the last twenty years of his life were spent in successful work in and around Bellary. He died in 1847. At the end of 1828 Mr. Hands, the pioneer of the mission, after eighteen years' toil, took a well-deserved furlough and returned to England. During this period he had acquired the Canarese language without any of those helps now available; he had translated into that difficult language and printed a large portion of the Scriptures, besides many other books and tracts; in addition to all this literary labour, he had from the first been the centre and life of the mission in all its various activities. He returned in 1832, but in 1835 was compelled to return to England; and though in 1838 he came back to India for a brief stay, he did not return to Bellary.

In 1830 the Rev. John Reid, M.A., took up the work. Like his colleagues in the other South Indian missions, he was deeply impressed by the low moral state of the people, and by the great importance of sound educational work. He established orphan and boarding schools for boys and girls. For several years, as there was no chaplain at the post, he discharged the duties of that official. He continued active in the mission until his death in 1841. The colleagues and successors of Hands and Reid were the Rev. J. Shreives and the Rev. W. Thompson, whose son, Ralph Wardlaw Thompson, in 1881 became Foreign Secretary. Mr. Thompson was connected with the Bellary Mission from 1837 to 1848. In 1842 Mr. Paine died, and in the same year the Rev. J. S. Wardlaw, M.A.. reached Bellary, and founded in 1846 a new English and vernacular school for boys, called the Wardlaw Institution. In 1852 the mission press was given up, and Mr. Wardlaw removed to Vizagapatam. The Rev. L. Valett was at Bellary from 1853-7; J. Macartney, 1857-62; J.G. Hawker, 1866-71; and E. Le Mare, 1873-7. But the chief burden of the work during the last fifty years has rested upon three shoulders: J.B. Coles, 1849-59, 1862-9, and 1875-86; Edwin Lewis, 1865-95; and Thomas Haines, 1870-90.

In 1851 two men from Honoor, a village eighty miles west of Bellary, came to Bellary for religious instruction. Ultimately both were baptized, carried the Gospel back to their village, and between 1851 and 1854 a number of converts, the result of their labours, were baptized.

In 1857, that is, forty-seven years after the mission was begun, there were at the station 2 missionaries, 4 native teachers, 267 baptized persons, 97 communicants, 10 male and 10 female school teachers, 2 boarding schools, 6 vernacular day schools, and one Anglo-vernacular school.

In a paper read before the Missionary Conference in 1858, Mr. Coles said: 'Those who first entered on this mission had to encounter many difficulties, which are now removed. They prepared the way, and gained experience for those who followed them. For many years the missionaries were the only ministers of the Gospel at the station, and performed all the duties of military chaplains. This, though unavoidable, greatly interfered with the work of preaching to the heathen. Moreover, few missionaries have been able to continue many years at their post. Some have died; others have lost their health, and returned to England, or removed to other stations.'

During the century, in addition to the long list of devoted men and women who have laboured there, Bellary was favoured with the consecrated service of three remarkable men — John Hands. J. B. Coles, and Edwin Lewis. Although Mr. Coles began and closed his missionary life elsewhere, the great bulk of his service was rendered in Bellary. His was one of those unobtrusive lives which deserve remembrance all the more from the fact that with quiet faithfulness they do their appointed work.

Mr. Coles was born in London in 1819, and when he was still quite young his father removed to Portsmouth. The family attended the ministry of the Rev. John Griffin. On deciding to become a missionary, largely through having known Robert Moffat as a guest in his father's house, he studied with the Rev. John Cecil, first at Turvey, and then at Ongar. He was one of the first students at Spring Hill College, Birmingham. He laboured in Bellary, with a short intermission of two years in Madras, from 1849 to 1886. There his life-work was chiefly done, and his Christian influence most widely exerted. A good Hebrew and Greek scholar, he soon became proficient likewise in the Canarese language, through which he drew very near to the native Christians of the country. His life was mainly spent in vernacular preaching, and in guiding and building up the native church; he also served the cause of education, and was for years the head of the Wardlaw Institution; while he rendered an efficient ministry in connection with the English congregation at Bellary, a work refreshing to his own spirit, and greatly esteemed by the English Christians. He was in India during the Mutiny of 1857, and when urged to take refuge with the other Europeans in the Bellary Fort, he preferred to stay at his post in the mission house, surrounded by the native Christians. During the severe famine of 1877-8, he exercised a fatherly care over many orphan boys whom he had gathered in; and these he trained and fitted for useful posts in life. He was a man of remarkably wise counsels, calm, clear judgment, and wide sympathies — a mentor especially in committees. His valuable gifts and accurate scholarship, accompanied by a singular unobtrusiveness and gentle influence, did quite as much for the building up of the mission as did the labours of others who were brought into greater prominence.

Mr. Edwin Lewis reached Bellary in January, 1866, and at once devoted himself to the work of itinerating the Bellary district. Gifted with great linguistic ability, he soon mastered the language, and became a fine Canarese and Telugu scholar. He also learned Hindustani that he might the more freely work among the Muhammadan population. Not only did he acquire unusual control over three vernaculars, but he was also able to render services of the highest value in Bible revision. Mr. Lewis spent the whole of his missionary life, 1866 to 1897, at Bellary. He was a man of fine appearance, of winning manner, of deep faith and simple fervent piety; and he came to be esteemed, by universal consent, an ideal itinerating missionary. He loved the work — the chat by the wayside, the strange and attractive meetings with those willing to hear him, the little Indian villages with their simple life. And wherever he went, the heart of the Hindu responded to the love that throbbed in the great brotherly heart of the missionary, and through that gate of love he entered multitudes of hearts that would have opened to no other influence. There have been throughout the century men equally gifted, equally wise, equally devoted to, and apt at, itinerating work; but certainly no man has excelled Edwin Lewis in this department of service which he made so specially his own.

A few examples and illustrations, in his own language for the most part, will enable the reader to understand better the itineration work done by European missionaries, not alone in the Bellary district, but over the whole of India.

'It is well known that one very important means, to say the least, of spreading the knowledge of the Christian religion in India, is by missionaries going from town to town and village to village, teaching and preaching. This has been my work. We have lived amongst the people, talked with them in their houses, in their shops, in the market-place, in the heathen temple; we have let the people see that we were not in a hurry to speak to them a few words and then depart, but that, cost what it might, we were prepared to show them a new way. We have found everywhere attentive listeners, in many places intelligent and anxious inquirers. Many at home, I know, seriously question the use of this mode of work; but we have tried it; we have seen its effects; we believe in it most fully as one of the most effective means of spreading the kingdom of Christ in India.

'"But do the people who hear you preach in the streets understand what they hear? Do they remember it? Are they in any wise influenced by it?" We unhesitatingly answer, "Yes." Facts show how through this mode of preaching men become generally enlightened concerning Christianity.

'I. Far away from a mission centre, when we were passing through a large village, a number of men came to me, saying, "Are you a padre?" I said, "Yes. Have you ever seen one before?" They said, "We have. He told us about one God, and Jesus Christ who is the Saviour, and we want you to stay and tell us more." I remained some time in the village, and as I spoke to them, much that they had heard before was brought to their remembrance, and they clearly appreciated what they heard.

'2. I visited Adoni on one occasion, and spent some time in the corn-market, speaking with the merchants there. One man in the company came up to me, and pointing to a large stone near, said, "I remember you sitting on that stone a few years ago, and speaking to us of this religion;" and he told me much that I had taught four years before, on that spot, and amongst other things the Parable of the Prodigal Son. He remembered also a discussion that had taken place on religion in another part of the town at that time.

'We preach to different kinds of people in India, and we have to preach to them in very different ways. In Narraindevara Kerry, a considerable town, a great many Brahmans live. Many of them are learned in the sacred books, and men of great intelligence. Once, when spending several days in the town, I sought out all the different classes of people there, that I might preach to them, and amongst others the Brahmans. In the public streets the congregation was assembled; old men from fifty years of age (a man is considered old in India at that age) to boys of eight or ten were there. They all know I am a padre. The lads looked me straight in the face, eager to hear what I had to say; some of the younger men looked amused, others stood aside and looked at me askance, with a half-sneering countenance; some who professed themselves learned — the Shastris — were ready to watch every word, and eager to entangle me in my speech. Not an illustration will be employed, not an argument used, not a statement made, not a doctrine propounded, that will escape their criticism. I know them well; they are prepared to argue, to discuss, to quibble. The older men think it foolish on my part to speak of any other god than the gods they have always worshipped and trusted in, and at the same time are inclined to be angry if anything is said in disparagement of their sacred books or their priests or their gods. A priest from the temple who is present, proud, haughty, and self-conceited, is almost ashamed to stand and listen, but condescends to wait awhile to hear what this white teacher will say about religion, a subject for which he thinks an Englishman cares little. Such is the group, a congregation of veritable Scribes and Pharisees. To denounce the gods of the heathen would be foolishness, to reason with them would be of no use. I begin by telling them my own experience as a Christian; the things I have felt and tasted and handled of the Word of Life; how I believe in Jesus, who came into the world to save sinners. I speak of my trust in God, and confidence in Him through Jesus, of my hope for the future; of the love of God, of the love of Christ to all men; and before I have finished my address, they are ready to ask me questions about the Gospel of Jesus; very few are inclined to cavil, even when in after-conversation I compare their religion with the Christian, and condemn theirs.

'Another class of people I have had much to do with is the Lingait farmers. They are an intelligent and very conservative people; they are worshippers of Shiva, and wear about them the Linga, the emblem of Shiva. I came into a large village called Vicrapoor at a time of great drought; the agriculturists were all at home waiting, they told me, for rain. I had a large gathering, and spent the whole of one day amongst them. This was my first visit to this particular village, and one of the first questions put to me by the people was, "Who are you, sir? Why have you come to our village? What are you going to do?" My answer was, "I am a sower; I have come to your village to sow seed; I hope there is good ground here, that the seed I sow will bring forth a rich harvest." They were a little puzzled for a time, and argued about what I could mean; when their curiosity was greatly excited, I gave them the key by telling them that the seed I came to sow was good teaching of a pure religion. They saw through the whole, and in a moment said, "The ground, then, is our hearts." I then read and explained our Saviour's Parable of the Sower; and before I left they told me the sowing had been done.


'In some parts of the district where we have preached in this way we have already reaped fruit, and have other fruit almost ready to be gathered in. Sundoor is the chief town in a small kingdom of the same name, ruled by a native prince, and is about thirty miles distant from Bellary. Resident there were two young men, Chennappa and Nagappa, both of highly respectable families and well-to-do in the world. Chennappa, a Lingaite trader, was a married man with two children, who had houses and lands and possessions, a mother and several brothers, all of whom were living in adjoining houses; Nagappa was a young unmarried man, a goldsmith, living at home in his father's house. These two young men were companions and friends in their inquiry and desire to embrace the Christian religion. I had often met them alone away from the town, under a tree in the field, or close by the jungle; and prayed with them, and talked with them of Jesus, and invited them to come. I had written to them notes when I could not see them.

'I knew they were struggling to be free, and deeply sympathized with them. It is not an easy thing to break away from father and mother, and home and friends, and to give up possessions and houses; and this they were trying to do. They prayed earnestly for strength, and entreated me to pray for them; and they had great faith in the power of prayer. At length I happened to be staying in Sundoor for twelve days, and saw them publicly or privately every day. They resolved to be baptized. It became known in the town that they were visiting me and likely to become Christians. The young prince, who was very bitter because three or four persons from his town had already become Christian outcasts, sent for them, reasoned with them, threatened them, forced them to place their foreheads upon his feet, and declare that they would never disgrace their caste.

'On the evening of my leaving Sundoor they wished to join me, and come to Bellary to be baptized. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon they left me to go home and see their friends, and were to steal away at 8 o'clock and meet me two miles out of the town, in a narrow glen between two immense rocks, and go on to Bellary. At 8 o'clock I was there; I waited alone till 9, looking and watching for them: they did not come. I looked anxiously till 10 o'clock, but no sign of their coming; 11 and 12 o'clock passed, still they did not come; I was sad at heart, and wearily and heavily went on my way to Bellary.

'I heard nothing of Chennappa and Nagappa for several weeks. Then Chennappa came suddenly to my house in Bellary, and before uttering a word fell down on the floor by my side, and sobbed and wept bitterly. I raised him up, spoke kindly to him, prayed with him; and he said, "My faith failed me. Oh, how weak I am! How will God ever receive one so weak, so faithless as I! Will God ever give me more faith? I must come; I will come; but oh, sir, 'tis hard to break away from all at home. What shall I do?"

'During the next month I went away on another preaching tour; and on my return home on Saturday evening, the first words I heard were, "Chennappa and Nagappa have just come in from Sundoor; they want you to baptize them to-morrow morning." My heart was indeed glad. On Sunday morning, in the presence of a large congregation, these two young men renounced idolatry; Chennappa gave up his Linga, Nagappa his sacred thread, and were baptized as Christians. Nagappa's father, who was himself not far from the kingdom of heaven, rather rejoiced than otherwise that his son had publicly declared himself a Christian. But the following day Chennappa's mother and aunt and brothers and others of his relations came to him, wept and wailed, entreated him. They had brought money with them to pay the priests whatsoever they might charge to purify him and receive him back again to his caste; but he declared to them his faith in Jesus, and begged them all to join him. 'Twas sad to see his mother weep; 'twas hard to resist her entreaties and refuse her requests; but he could not give up Christ to follow her and be with her. They went away home to mourn over him as dead; his wife would not join him; she was taken by her friends, who sympathized with her and pitied her as a widow; the children were regarded as orphans. Chennappa loved his wife, and would gladly have received her; he yearned for his children. He sought several times to see them in Sundoor, but was not allowed. The little boy died and was buried; the father rejoiced that the spirit of his little one had been taken up into glory; he was afraid that his little girl would be badly brought up amongst heathen relations; and we did our best to get her for her father, but every attempt failed.'


Here is another example which illustrates how the Gospel is quietly making way in many parts of India: —

'Years ago, after a long tour, during which we had preached in more than fifty towns and villages, a man of the Rajput caste came to us and said: — "You have been preaching in many places with which I am acquainted; the people are talking about it, and are often conversing on the words you spoke: near the town from which I come is a village called Maruvani, where are several men who have made up their minds to become Christians." We gave Kappa Sing as much instruction as we could in two days, placed some books in his hands, and sent him to his home. Eiyappa, a middle-aged man, a goldsmith by trade, very intelligent, well versed in Hinduism, one of the company Kappa Sing had spoken of, came into Bellary to visit us, and to learn all he could about Christianity; and returned to report concerning what he had seen and heard.

'More than a year passed, when eight men from Maruvani sought us out and declared their wish to become Christians. They had read several Christian books, had heard the Gospel preached, and declared that there were prophetic words in their own Hindu books which pointed them to Jesus as their Teacher and Lord. They seemed to us very much to resemble the wise men from the East, who were guided by the star to where Jesus was; we preached joyfully to them, and every word of the Gospel seemed precious to them. We told them they had better return to their homes and tell their companions what they had seen and heard, and come to us again as soon as they could. One of them, Virabhadrappa, said, "I shall not return till I am baptized; if you are not willing to baptize me at once, I will remain till you see fit." We baptized him, and he went away rejoicing to bring his wife and three daughters.

'In a fortnight five whole families, numbering nineteen persons, came, gave evidence that they were in earnest, proved that they knew a good deal of Christian truth, and were baptized. A few weeks after they returned home, twenty more persons followed their companions, and we had in Maruvani a Christian congregation of forty persons. This was altogether a new experience to us; we had been accustomed to receive one or two or three caste men at a time; and in most instances, on professing their faith in Christ, they had been cut off from wives, parents, and all their relatives. Here were men with their wives and children coming together, the women as earnest as the men — unbroken families. We gave God thanks for this, the beginning of better days! Another most interesting and significant feature of this gathering was that several castes were represented. There were three Rajputs, four Komatis, two families of Kabberus1 ['Fisherman's caste.'], Lingaits, Goldsmiths; and one splendid young man, a priest, who was ruler over a large number of smaller priests, who held the revenues of several monasteries and temples.

'A single family won to Christ from any of the higher castes produces a profound impression upon the whole caste. It is like a breach effected in a strongly fortified castle. During recent years we have had many such additions to our numbers in the Bellary district; the effect has been great upon a large community of the heathen.

'There are many men and women in India who believe in, who love Christ, who have not publicly professed their faith. Amongst such was numbered for years one of the truest-hearted men I have known. We conversed together as Christian brethren, and our fellowship was refreshing and inspiring. I was troubled because he did not profess his faith; and one day said to him, "When will you be baptized?" He replied, "I can't say." I asked him to tell me frankly the cause of his delay. He said with much emotion, pointing to his wife, "She is the cause; she does not believe as I do; she will not give up her caste. I love her dearly; if I were to be baptized she would leave me, and who knows what would become of her. I cannot leave her." We agreed to pray that God would turn her heart. We waited long; prayers were at length answered; the influence of the Christian loving husband wrought wonders upon the wife. One day, on my arrival in the town, he came to me jubilant, and said, "The happy day has at length come, my wife and her mother are both ready; will you baptize us this evening?" After the baptism we had a meal together, and I was struck with her utter repudiation of all caste observances, and said, "I am surprised to see how thoroughly you have put away caste." She caught up my words and said, "Did you say you were surprised? I am astonished that you should be surprised. Did not you and my husband pray that God would cast out all such devils from me, and now that He has heard your prayer and cast them out, and I am sitting in a right mind at His feet, you say you are surprised." This was a triumph of faith and love, for which we praised God with joyful heart.

'The Indian Christian home will be a great power in the land, and do much to commend the Gospel. One of our young men, a convert from Hinduism, married a young widow who was also a convert. The friends on both sides were astonished, and professed to be scandalized. The fathers were dead, the mothers living. The young people were for some time cut off from all fellowship with kindred, by whom they were treated as outcasts. Report said they had a very happy home; old friends could not resist the curiosity to visit them, and the most fastidious stickler for Hindu customs could see nothing to find fault with. The wife's mother was drawn at last, and made most welcome. Provision was made for her to cook for herself; for she could not eat what was cooked by a Christian, though her own daughter. The old lady had never been in such a home before; she was prevailed upon to stay for weeks; her heart was won; caste prejudice vanished; she became a Christian, and has never left the home. The husband's mother came to see her son, and was even more demonstrative than the other in her praise of the Christian home. She said, "I have several sons. One left me and became a Christian, I thought he was an outcast; one became a fakir, and I felt proud of him. I see now for myself what they are. The Christian's home is like heaven, the fakir's home is a dunghill."'


In 1876 and 1877 one of the worst famines that ever devastated India raged over the central and southern portions. The distress in Bellary was terrible, and Mr. Coles and Mr. Lewis gave themselves to the task of distributing relief. Mr. Coles started a famine orphanage where the boys were taught trades. The distress in Bellary, Belgaum, Cuddapah, and other districts was terrible. The people sold their cattle, and houses, and clothes to buy food, and flocked naked and starving from the villages into the towns, there often to die by the hundred. The Government, when once alive to the magnitude of the impending disaster, took active measures to begin public works, and to establish relief camps. The selfish side of heathenism was illustrated by the fact that whilst from England hundreds of thousands of pounds were sent to relieve the perishing, very few wealthy Hindus contributed to the relief fund; and that while Government officials were straining every nerve and exhausting themselves in their efforts to relieve distress, the Hindu officials sometimes enriched themselves by robbing their starving countrymen of the money from the relief funds with which they had been entrusted.

The friends of the London Missionary Society contributed a fund of £10,665 to the relief, and this was distributed by the missionaries. In this labour Mr. Lewis toiled in season and out of season. He gave relief without distinction of caste or creed; and while many in their gratitude were wishful to become Christians, his invariable reply was that they should wait until the famine was over, and then see. He had a great fear of 'rice-Christians.' His services were recognized beyond missionary circles. Sir Richard Temple visited the district three times, and on each occasion sent for Mr. Lewis to get his report on the state of affairs. The Governor-General and the Famine Commissioner also came, and on these occasions Mr. Lewis had personal interviews with them. Although Government officials were often robbed, and although Mr. Lewis often travelled by night, carrying with him five or six thousand rupees, and attended by only his horse-keeper, he was never once attacked.

Mr. Lewis visited England in 1884, and again in 1894. Prior to the last visit he had devoted much time to the Canarese and Telugu Bible revision, the committees for these both meeting at Bellary. In February, 1896, at the request of the Directors, he visited Australia, and travelled there for some months as a deputation for the Society. He returned to Bellary in December, 1896, but was only spared to carry on his loved labour there for a few months. He died after a brief illness, November 15, 1897, after thirty-two years of active service. His son, Edwin Herbert Lewis, joined the Bellary Mission the same year.

In 1887 Mr. Coles, who had been in connection with the Bellary Mission since 1849, was transferred to Bangalore to succeed Mr. Benjamin Rice. From 1870 to 1890 Mr. Haines, as the chief portion of his duties, superintended the educational work of the Wardlaw Institution. The Rev. H. F. W. Lester joined the mission in 1888, and in 1890 the Rev. Bernard Lucas was transferred from Penukonda to Bellary. The present condition of the district at the close of the century is clearly outlined in Mr. Lewis' report for 1890.

'The work in the district grows in importance, in interest, and success from year to year. Preaching tours have always had a charm for us. Years ago we hoped that in time we should see out-stations established and churches formed as the result of our preaching. We had six such out-stations at the close of 1880, with 123 Christian people; at the end of 1890 we had eleven stations, manned by nine catechists, with 236 Christian people, sixty-nine of whom were communicants. In 1881 Gooty was handed over to Mr. Stephenson. In 1889 two others of our old out-stations — Anantapur and Bukkapatnam — were handed over to the new mission, which will in future be known as the Anantapur Mission. Hampasagara and Hadagally were made out-stations in 1883; Guntakal was occupied in 1886; Alur in 1887; Hudevu and Siragupa in 1888; and Kudatani in 1890. In the ten years eighty-four adults and 101 children were baptized in the district; thirty-four Christian people died. Each of the out-stations has become a centre of work and influence, and calls for much more attention than we can give. The power of native Christian home-life is more widely recognized than ever, and is telling upon the heathen population.

'The Church at Hospett, which is one of our oldest out-stations, has supplied us during the ten years with four young men who are employed as catechists, and promises more in a few years. A new chapel was built at Sandur in 1888, at a cost of 2,500 rupees. A chapel is now being built at Guntakal, and a school-room, which will be used as a chapel, is nearly finished in Kudatani.

'Colportage has been successfully carried on during the past decade. There are very few towns in the district where Scripture portions and tracts are not found, and every year we see evidence that the books distributed are read.

'In Bruce Pettah Church, in the town of Bellary, the attendance, both at the Canarese and Tamil services, has been good. A hearty response has always been given to the call for special services. The prayer meeting is well attended. A large proportion of those on the church rolls ten years ago have died; others have taken their places; there are now in the church more young people than at any previous time, and others are seeking admission. The Kowl Bazaar Church has been fluctuating. One year the membership has been strong, another year weak, as our people have been able to get employment in Bellary, or been obliged to seek work elsewhere. The congregation was less at the end of 1890 than it was ten years ago.'


The Wardlaw Institution in 1890, on the transference of Mr. Haines to Belgaum, passed under the care of Mr. J. P. Cotelingam, M.A., one of the ablest and most highly educated native Christians in South India. Under his superintendence the Institution has become even more useful than in the past.

Mrs. Lewis was for many years most energetic in the work of female education. In 1892 Miss Christlieb, Miss Fooks, and Miss Haskard joined the mission, and the two former were stationed at Hospett, Miss Fooks married Mr. Hinkley, of Anantapur, and in 1896 Miss Beatrice Harband took up work at Bellary. Miss Christlieb carried on an active evangelistic work among the villagers around Hospett. Miss Haskard superintended the Bible-women and zenana work.
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2. Bangalore. Bangalore is the second city of South India, with a population of 100,000, and is situated on the highest part of the Mysore plateau, 3,000 feet above the sea, and possesses in consequence a very pleasant climate. It is midway between the east and west coasts; and so gets the advantages of both monsoons, without the full force of either. It consists of two distinct townships. One is the Petta, or original Hindu town, about two square miles in size, and with now about 80,000 people living in closely packed mud houses. Much trade is done here, and at the head of the main street stands the Fort. The other township  is known as the Cantonment, or the Civil and Military Station. It contains the barracks and the European residences, and a native quarter with about 100,000 people. In the Petta and the district generally, Canarese is spoken; in the cantonment, Tamil and Hindustani. The climate has attracted to Bangalore a considerable European population.

This most important centre was early noted as a suitable spot for missionary labours, but the immediate occasion of the founding there of a station was the report of a visit which Mr. Hands, in the course of an itinerating journey, paid in September, 1817. The Directors, aided by his report and strong recommendation, in 1819 appointed two Gosport students, the Rev. Stephen Laidler and the Rev. Andrew Forbes, to begin the mission. They reached Bangalore, which had already become a great military centre, in the early part of 1820. Mr. Forbes, on being instructed about three years later to remove to Belgaum, resigned; Mr. Laidler carried on the work until the end of 1826, when he returned to England, and soon after left the Society. The Rev. J. W. Massie joined the mission in 1824. His chief work was the attempt to found, together with Mr. Laidler, a seminary to be called the Mysore College. This project, which was outlined upon a very ambitious scale, and in the direction afterwards so successfully followed by Dr. Duff and others, the Directors ultimately could not see their way to sanction, and in December, 1826, Mr. Massie left Bangalore, and in 1827 resigned his connection with the Society.

Owing to the hostility of the native Government, Mysore being an independent state, it was very difficult to get access to the Hindus. Preaching in the native town was forbidden, and every obstacle was put in the way of native Christian evangelists residing in the villages. Thus the early mission-work was rather among the Europeans and the soldiers. A chapel was opened in 1821. Work among the Hindus was really begun by a remarkable native Christian named Samuel Flavel, already mentioned in connection with Bellary, and brought from Madras by Mr. Laidler.

The Mysore Province is Canarese country, but in Bangalore Cantonment there are large numbers of Tamil-speaking natives. Consequently Christian work has been carried on in both languages from the foundation of the mission. From the first also the importance of educational work has been recognized. The Rev. W. Campbell reached the station in 1824. He devoted himself almost exclusively to the Canarese-speaking natives, and established a church and congregation about 1827, together with a boarding school and a theological seminary.

Mr. Campbell had permitted the parents of the children in the boarding school, who were paid for allowing their children to attend, to build houses and live in the mission compound, and thus form what was called the Christian village. In Campbell's judgment this was a model arrangement, and he wrote home the most glowing eulogies of his converts. What really happened was that the sums paid to induce the children to attend school enabled their parents to live in idleness. While outwardly professing Christianity, and attending Christian services, they remained in all other respects Hindus, maintained caste, and indulged freely in every form of native abomination.

From 1827 to 1834 William Reeve was stationed in Bangalore, and there completed his great work, the Canarese and English Dictionary. This considerable achievement is one of the many examples of what scholarship owes to missionaries. It was the first dictionary of the language, and will ever remain a monument of the industry and learning of this skilful and laborious pioneer. In 1834, through failing health, Mr. Reeve left India, and in 1836 became pastor of the Congregational Church at Oswestry. He died in 1850.

In 1834 Mr. Campbell built the Cantonment Chapel, on the site of the small one which had been erected by Mr. Laidler. At first English, Tamil, and Canarese services were all held in this building, but in 1837 a chapel for Canarese services was built in the Petta, and there ever since they have been carried on. In 1832 Mrs. Campbell's health compelled her return to England; and in 1835, because of Mr. Campbell's desire to follow his wife home, the Rev. Colin Campbell, whose original destination was Bellary, was sent to Bangalore. He was young, he knew hardly anything of the language, but in less than three months after his arrival Mr. W. Campbell left him to get on as best he could, and returned to England.

Colin Campbell had keener eyes than William Campbell, and very soon found reason to distrust the Christian village, and finally, in 1837, the village was dissolved. Although the teachers and converts all affirmed that they had given up caste, when an opportunity was provided for them to eat with the missionaries they all declined. It was then discovered that not only was caste maintained, but drunkenness and vice were prevalent, and the village was bringing much dishonour upon the Christian name. W. Campbell in England, not unnaturally, refused to believe that the converts he had praised so often and so highly could be so bad. He persuaded the Directors that the trouble was traceable to Colin Campbell's youth and inexperience. The Rev. John Hands, who was returning to India from a furlough soon after the village was dissolved, was instructed to go to Bangalore and put things straight. When he arrived he soon found that the missionaries on the spot were right, and that William Campbell was in the wrong. The details of this case are important, and also typical of the fate of similar experiments elsewhere. They show how dangerous it is to pay converts, even indirectly.

In January, 1837, Benjamin-Rice and Gilbert Turnbull joined the mission; the latter to labour there only a few months and then to die in Sydney, the former to spend more than fifty years in active service. From 1838 to 1840 Mr. Hands was at Bangalore, and in 1838 the Rev. James Sewell joined the mission. During the next thirty or forty years these three — Campbell, Rice, and Sewell — were associated in the Bangalore Mission. Much itinerating work also was done in the district around. The vernacular schools were provided with good textbooks by Mr. Rice, and Mr. Campbell wrote a Canarese grammar.

In 1840 Mrs. Sewell established a Canarese girls' day school in the Petta, and in 1841 a second school was started. These were the first schools of the kind in this part of India, attracted a great deal of attention, and did much to prepare the way for female education. These schools had to contend with all the opposition which is awakened by a novel movement. But they were patiently maintained by Mrs. Sewell and Mrs. Rice, and extended. In 1865 the Misses Anstey took charge of and further extended them. The movement was now beginning to be popular, and the four contained some 500 girls. Two girls of the weaver caste were baptized, and their baptism led to much litigation. Miss Anstey resigned in 1875. Since then the schools have been carried on by the Rev. B. Rice and Miss Muller, and zenana work has also been started.

In 1841 another important movement was initiated — the Theological Seminary. Students were collected from the various South Indian mission stations of the Society. The buildings were on the mission premises in the cantonment. Mr. K. Crisp began the work, and in 1845 J. Sugden arrived to assist him. The classes were conducted in Tamil, as Mr. Crisp had thoroughly mastered only that vernacular. Some attempts were made, without much success, to teach the students English. This Anglo-Tamil seminary lived only seven years. Some of the students were well on in years; there were no good vernacular books, and the Tamil missionaries not resident in Bangalore thought Madras a better centre for a Tamil seminary. Hence in June, 1849, it was discontinued with a view to re-establishment in Madras on different lines.

At the same time an Anglo-Canarese seminary was instituted with Mr. Sewell as tutor. In this the students were to be young men of acknowledged piety, with sufficient control of English to use it for the acquisition of knowledge. Their own language was also to be carefully studied. In this way it was intended to combine the advantages of both English and vernacular training.

In 1842 the Canarese boarding schools for boys and girls were re-established under the care of Mr. and Mrs. Rice, and they have been maintained ever since.

From 1840 to 1850 Mr. Colin Campbell was at Mysore, where a new station had been opened. In 1850 this was abandoned, because the Wesleyan Missionary Society had also opened work there, and it was not thought desirable for both missions to be working where there was only scope for one. Out of the proceeds of the sale of the mission property at Mysore, a substantial Canarese church was built in the Petta, Bangalore. Mr. Sugden, after the closing of the seminary, acted as general missionary among the Tamil people. Mr. Crisp returned to England in 1848.

As a necessity of its position and advantages, Bangalore became an important centre for educational work, for Bible and tract production and circulation, for Bible revision, and in more recent years for Christian work among educated Hindus.

Benjamin Rice early perceived the enormous possibilities of education. In a letter to the Rev. T. Lewis, dated June 24, 1839, he writes: —

'I look upon education as a very important means of diffusing the Gospel in India, especially a good English education on Christian principles. The schools in connection with the General Assembly's Mission at Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras are beginning to tell amazingly upon the people. Dr. Wilson, at Bombay, has lately baptized three young Parsees who had attended his school: and at Madras, I believe, there are many who are fully convinced of the truth of Christianity, and who are only prevented from making a public profession through fear of the consequences. The respectable natives are beginning to perceive what powerful engines these institutions are in the hands of the missionaries, and are warning parents, through the medium of the native newspapers, not to send their children. They have also attempted to establish opposition schools in which heathenism is to be taught. But these efforts are vain. In spite of all they can say or do, the schools are still full. The advantages of the superior education imparted are too manifest to allow of their being neglected. When it is remembered that every boy who passes through those institutions is thoroughly imbued with Biblical knowledge, who can estimate the amount of influence which a constant succession of such youths, going forth and taking their stations in society, may exert upon the people at large1 [Benjamin Rice; or, Fifty Years in the Master's Service, by E. P. Rice, B. A., p. 58.]?'


The rapid changes caused by failure of health in almost all the South Indian missions has all through the century emphasized the views put forth by many of the ablest missionaries that more concentration and less attempts to cover too wide an area should be made. And yet at the close of the century facts tend to show that the governing bodies of the various Societies have not yet perfectly learned what seems so clearly taught by the experience of the past. In 1841 Mr. Rice points out: —

'The Divine dispensations in regard to missionaries in India are just now very trying. How many both of our own and of other Societies have been either obliged to abandon the field on account of sickness, or have been removed by death! If these things lessen our dependence on man, and lead us to lift up our eyes more earnestly and constantly to Him from whom alone our help can come, their result will be eminently beneficial. I cannot say, however, that I am altogether surprised at the sickness and death of so many of our brethren. The amount of mental labour and anxiety which a missionary, if he be ardently and faithfully devoted to his work, has in general to undergo in a climate like this, must break down his constitution or shorten his days. Concentration of effort and division of labour are what we want2 [Ibid. p. 68.].'


During the sufferings and horrors of the Mutiny, the three Indian Universities were founded at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. Mr. B. Rice returned from a three years' visit to England in 1856, and, realizing from his knowledge of India and the Hindus the expansion of life and thought that was coming, gave more time and thought than before to education. We have seen that as early as 1822 English was used to instruct Christian natives, and the premature Mysore College scheme has been referred to. It was not until 1847 that the use of English schools for the instruction of Hindus began at Bangalore.

'In that year an Anglo-vernacular school was started in Bangalore, the English studies being superintended by the Rev. J. B. Coles, and the vernacular by Benjamin Rice. For the first five years it was conducted in the mud building in the Pettah, which served the common purpose of chapel, mission hall, and school. When that building was replaced by the present more ecclesiastical place of worship, the school was transferred to a rented house opposite, where it had its home for the next ten years.

'It continued to contain about a hundred scholars until 1858, when Benjamin Rice, just returned from England with renewed health and zeal, brought his energy to bear upon it. It then rose rapidly in numbers; a second school was opened in the Cantonment, and in 1859 the two institutions contained 397 pupils. The rented house in which the school was held being very inconvenient for school purposes, it became necessary to seek for better accommodation. Within the crowded Pettah no site was available, but just outside the gate there was a shallow portion of the old Pettah moat. For this unpromising-looking site Benjamin Rice applied in 1861, not without exciting curiosity as to what use he could make of it. It chanced, however, that a pond was being excavated almost immediately opposite, and he asked that the soil might be cast into this hollow; and when it had been thus filled up, a neat little school was erected, which was the germ of the present High School building.

'A second branch school was opened in 1863, and the school went on and prospered. Until 1866 the three institutions had an average of 350 pupils. Since that date it has been under the care of Mr. Walton. It has shared in full measure the popularity of similar institutions, and has been the means of training large numbers of Hindu young men of the higher classes, as well as of giving a good education to the children of native Christians1 [Benjamin Rice, pp. 151, 152.].



In 1864, upon the return to England of Mr. Sewell, the headship of the Theological Seminary, together with the secretariat of the South Indian District Committee, also came upon Mr. Rice.

'The Theological Seminary contained students from the Canarese and Telugu stations of the Society who were preparing for the work of evangelists and pastors. The studies were conducted chiefly in English, and were of great interest to the tutor himself. The great difficulty of the work consisted in the lack of textbooks suited to the requirements of the country. Much labour was spent in the preparation of lectures for the students. A Church History in English was carefully compiled, some small works translated into Canarese on Christian doctrine and Homiletics, and a manual prepared of Bible History in connection with the general history of the world. The patience and pains he bestowed upon the students, and the interest he took in all their affairs, bound them to him by ties of affection.

'He continued to preside over the seminary until 1872, and the standard of education attained by each generation of students was steadily rising. In the height of its prosperity, however, it was closed by order of the Directors, who had an idea that the number of native agents was already too large. The step was deeply regretted and strongly deprecated by all the missionaries of the committee, but their pleadings were in vain1 [Benjamin Rice, pp. 157, 158.].'


This was a most unhappy decision on the part of the home authorities. It was due to the idea that the number of native agents already in the employ of the Society bore too large a proportion to the strength of the Christian community, and that, therefore, men were not needed. After a period of ten years the mistake was recognized and repaired as far as it might be by the reopening of the seminary in 1883, again under the charge of Mr. Rice. But many most valuable years had been lost; the momentum of a continuously growing movement was lost; and the confidence of the native Christians that, if they gave themselves to the ministry, the Society would and could find work for them, received a shock from which it has hardly yet recovered. On Mr. Rice's death the institution passed under the care of, first, J. B. Coles, and then of G.O. Newport. The former died in 1891, and the latter in 1894, and the presidency passed into the hands of the Rev. Walter Joss.

The famine of 1877-8 swept away one-fourth of the population of Mysore, and Bangalore was the centre of many heart-rending scenes.

'Here, as elsewhere, the calamity suddenly swept onward with a rush which foresight could not anticipate, and which measures of palliation were unable to cope with. Actual starvation, with its attendant train of diseases, soon became common. The miserable inhabitants, losing all traditions of social cohesion, flocked into Bangalore by thousands, only to die in the streets of the cantonments. On the one hand, grain was poured into Bangalore by the Madras Railway; but the means for bringing the food to the hungry mouths were inadequate. When the rains of 1877 again held off, during July and August, the crowds at the relief centres increased, and the mortality became very great. It was in these circumstances, at the beginning of September, that the Viceroy visited Bangalore, and directed the adoption of a system of relief based on that followed in the Bombay Presidency. The labourers were to be concentrated on large works, and the relief establishment was generally augmented. The suffering reached its worst in September, 1877, when a total of 280,000 persons throughout the State were in receipt of relief, of whom only 24,000 were employed on works under professional supervision. In that month the famine deaths reported in the town of Bangalore averaged about forty a day, while double that number perished daily in the relief camps and hospitals.

'Benjamin Rice was a member of the local Famine Committee which sat during the crisis. And when large numbers of fatherless children were left on the hands of the State, and were being entrusted to various philanthropic agencies and missions to be cared for, he resolved, although he had no resources on which to depend for their maintenance, to receive a number of boys and girls, and for this purpose to re-establish the long-closed Boys' Boarding School. Seventy boys and girls were thus received, all in a very emaciated condition. It was found that the boys had passed through much greater sufferings than the girls — for while the girls had, on the death of their parents, come straight to the Government relief camps, the boys had generally wandered about for some time, satisfying the pangs of hunger on the pith of trees and other injurious substances, and had thus contracted diseases to which they sooner or later succumbed. Many of the boys thus died, but almost all the girls survived; and those who should now see them, some in homes of their own, and some still in the school, would never imagine what scenes they had passed through in that time of trial.1 [Benjamin Rice, pp. 159, 160.].'


In January, 1887, the Rev. B. Rice completed fifty years of missionary service, during which long period he had visited England only once. An event so unusual and so full of interest was duly celebrated at Bangalore. He had devoted much attention to vernacular literature, and to the auxiliaries of the Religious Tract Society and of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and also to the work of Bible revision. Many addresses and marks of appreciation of his long and varied services were presented to him from the Directors, the South Indian District Committee, the Mysore Wesleyan Mission, and other bodies and friends. In his reply it was but natural that he should take many retrospective glances, and the words of so competent a judge deserve more than passing notice.

'In India, considering the gigantic difficulties which have to be overcome, the progress made in missionary labour is remarkable indeed. It is not sixty years since an order was issued by the Indian Government that "missionaries must not preach to natives." Now the officers of Government themselves praise the work done by missionaries. Then it was with difficulty that Hindus could be induced to send their children to Christian schools. Now they flock to them by thousands. Then few natives would take Christian books even as a gift. Now they buy them in great numbers. Then the education of women was looked upon with utter contempt. Now the education of the girls of India receives more attention than did that of the boys forty years ago. Nor is the increase in the number of native Christians less encouraging, the number in Protestant Missions having risen from 27,000 in 1831 to nearly 500,000 in 1881, when the last census was taken.

'Here in the Mysore Province also the progress has been very marked. When I came to India, Bangalore was the only Canarese Mission station in the Mysore. Now numerous stations and out-stations are established, and in active operation, throughout the country.

'So far as my own station is concerned, all the results of the past five decades of missionary work are known to God alone. So far as they are tabulated, the Report for 1836 states that the number of native Christians, Canarese and Tamil, then in connection with the London Mission was 100; communicants, 26. In 1886 the numbers reported are 444; communicants, 171. To these numbers should be added fully half as many again, for deaths and removals to other stations. In 1836 there were only two or three small schools — and school-books none. Now we have schools numbering hundreds of pupils, well supplied with teachers, books, and school apparatus. Then there were scarcely any suitable tracts for circulation amongst the people, and the Scriptures were only to be had in an inconvenient form, and in a translation which, though good as a first effort, yet needed much revision. Now we have a variety of publications — the Scriptures have been revised and published in convenient forms — and instead of being given away, Christian books are sold. The number of native evangelists has increased. Native pastors have been appointed to the churches. Out-stations have been formed. And the progress of the mission would have been greater still, had the Directors of our Society been able to respond to the appeals we have made from time to time for extension of our work.

'Nor must the blessing which has attended the efforts of the female members of the mission be omitted; witness the pious and intelligent wives and mothers raised up in the Boarding School, and the flourishing girls' day schools that have been established.

'So much for the past: what of the future? Have we not good grounds for believing that progress will go on in an increasing ratio — that the results in coming years will be even greater than in the past? As a recent writer has truly said: "India is just entering upon a career of transition, preparatory to the establishment of a new order of things, and we have every reason to believe that the native Christian community, which is making steady and solid progress in every direction, is destined to play by no means an insignificant part in the regeneration of their country." Yes, faith can realize even now a glorious prospect. Steadfast and persevering effort is alone needed to bring about a grand consummation1 [Benjamin Rice, pp. 178-80.].'


The jubilee celebrations were barely over when the veteran's labours on earth ceased, and he passed to the higher service of heaven. On February 9, 1887, he gently slept away. Four years later another South Indian veteran, the Rev. J. B. Coles, died, on January 2, 1891. He began and he closed his long career of forty-seven years' service at Bangalore, although it was at Bellary that he spent the years 1849 to 1886 2 [See page 91.].

In 1874 the Rev. Colin Campbell, who for nearly forty years had been on the active staff of the Society, retired. When on the point of relinquishing work he said: 'Preaching to the heathen in town and country, in the Canarese tongue, has been my principal work during all my time in India. I have laboured according to the grace given, and I praise God for what I have seen of the progress of the work since I came to India in 1835.' To succeed him in this special department of evangelistic and itinerating service, the Directors had in 1873 appointed the Rev. E. P. Rice, B.A., a son of Benjamin Rice; and he, for the next eighteen years, itinerated over the large district connected with Bangalore. In 1892 he, accompanied by Mr. Hickling and Mr. Cairns, established a new mission at Chikka Ballapura, thirty-five miles north of Bangalore, a place which for many years had been worked as an out-station. His work in Bangalore then passed to the care of the Rev. W. J. Lawrence.

Towards the end of 1882 the Rev. T, E. Slater removed from Madras to Bangalore, to carry on his special work among educated non-Christian Hindus. From Bangalore as a centre Mr. Slater also visited other large towns, such as Bellary, Belgaum, and Cuddapah. This is one of the most recent and most important developments of mission-work in India. The Government schools and universities are rapidly educating large numbers of the highest caste Hindus, and at the same time almost ostentatiously refusing to exert the slightest religious influence upon them. Government provides an education that almost necessarily and automatically shatters any faith they have in Hinduism, and makes English essential to Government employ. Hindus are thus exposed to the assaults of Western infidelity, and yet the Indian Government has so frowned upon Christianity, that until quite recently it was a positive disadvantage for a native in respect to employment to be an avowed Christian. Until recent years also there has been a lack of fully qualified native Christians. The mission schools now turn out large numbers of men annually, quite as well equipped as those who go through the Government schools, who in addition have received a good head knowledge of the Bible and of the essential Christian doctrines, yet over whose hearts and consciences the truth has so far obtained no controlling power. In the hands of this class, able, intelligent, educated, bound to come to the front and to exert a controlling influence in social and in political life, a large part of the future of India lies. Missionaries of all Societies are feeling more and more the importance of bringing Christianity to bear upon these men; and to aid in the special work of teaching them, Mr. Slater and other experienced men have been set apart. Mr. Slater has been in the habit of giving in his annual reports a very interesting review of the attitude of the educated Hindu community throughout India, in addition to a description of the work annually attempted and accomplished in Bangalore and the district. Some extracts from that issued for the year 1894 will show how important, how attractive, how necessary, and how difficult this department of service has become. This contact of the best-educated and yet non-Christian mind of India with the Gospel and with the culture of the West, represents what will doubtless be the great conflict in India during the next century of missionary labour and Christian influence.

Mr. Slater refers to two movements which deeply stirred the currents of Hindu thought — the visit of Mrs. Besant to India, and her lectures there; and the career and teaching, especially at the Chicago Parliament of Religions, of Swami Vivekananda.


'All these outside influences, not forgetting the crusade of Swami Vivekananda in America and his eloquent exposition of philosophic Hinduism, have had the effect of stimulating national thought and pride; and just as a patriotic feeling in political matters manifests itself in the Indian National Congress movement, so in religion a spirit of revival is visible throughout the country, in some places even working towards an organized Hindu Church. It is one of the wavelets of the great roll of civilization coming from the West; and, regarded as a sign of the deep and wide changes that are slowly spreading over Indian society, it certainly deserves attention. Under the influence of British rule, India is being stirred as she never was before. The prevailing feeling at the present time is one of general unrest. For good or for evil, many of the things that are old are passing away; much that is new to Indian thought and life is pressing itself forward. Instead of the studied silence of the past towards religious questions, there is a sense of dissatisfaction with many Hindu beliefs and rites; a constant discussion of religious themes, and a consequent unsettling of long-established faiths, and a reaching out after something purer and more reasonable. The same feeling is manifested in regard to social customs and political institutions.

'It is remarkable, however, that this feeling does not seek fulfilment in the same direction; but while striving after a Western ideal in regard to social and political amelioration, it looks to a revival of the most ancient national ideas in regard to religion. For the former, the modern Hindus welcome the light of Western guidance; but as for the latter, they seem at present to refuse to recognize the right of the West to guide them.

'This is sometimes explained by the conviction, said to be gaining ground among the educated classes, that the West is by no means superior to the East, either in point of morality or of religion. Others who look deeper, and are inclined to be more friendly, see nothing in Christianity to justify the belief that its acceptance by the East should lead to moral corruption; they rather base the present somewhat defiant attitude of Hinduism on the more hopeful ground of the essential similarity between the two religions. It is becoming more and more patent, they say, to all careful students, that the great religions of the world — such as Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Christianity — do not differ materially in their essential principles and in their more important teachings; and that any future creed which the Hindus may accept, will have to come in the guise of an outgrowth from the system based on their own ancient revelation.

'In two directions, however, the inherent weakness of Hinduism is manifesting itself. If it looks to a revival of the national faith in regard to religion, how is it that it looks to the West for its social and political ideas? In this strange divergence, it confesses its utter weakness as a social force; that there is nothing in its ancient institutions to revive which will fit the nation for its keen struggle for existence; but that for the elaboration of a better order in society it must look outside itself. This severance of religion from sociology; this failure of Hinduism as a reforming agency, a regenerator of society, an instrument of progress, robs it of half its strength, and encourages the Christian advocate to hope that, as the thoughtful men of India come to study the sociological results of Christ's religion in the West, and see it to be the pioneer of all true progress, the only effective agency in destroying the old evils, they may be led to pay a deeper respect to its underlying and distinctive truths.

'Another confession of the weakness of Hinduism appears in its new treatment of converts to Christianity. Hitherto a caste convert has generally been regarded as cutting himself off from Hinduism for ever, and he has been treated as dead. Now, however, this exclusiveness is relaxing, and the door is open for the convert to return. Hinduism, acted on by forces that can be no longer ignored, cannot afford to be as imperious and independent as it has been; and overtures are made to the deserters. This compromising attitude on the part of Hinduism is an unmistakable sign of weakness.


'Christianity and Hinduism are now meeting face to face; and the great lament which we as missionaries have to raise is in respect to the tone of mind generally prevalent in the country. To so many minds, religious truths appear to be little more than the material on which to exercise the ingenuity of controversy and speculation. There is enough and to spare of criticism and discussion; but serious thought and earnest inquiry are very rare. Besides the spirit of false patriotism that is abroad, the materialistic tendency of the age deadens the concern for spiritual things. Interest in mere worldly pursuits and in amassing wealth seems to be just now all-absorbing; and the "gospel of getting on" gains more hearers than any other. If one had not firm faith in the instinctive religiousness of the Hindu nature, as well as in the unfailing power of the Gospel of Christ, and therefore the persuasion that a reaction in favour of positive religious belief must assuredly come, the outlook would be disheartening. But history is bound to repeat itself in India; and when the people have removed every god from their pantheon, they will turn in their need to the one true object of human hope and worship — God in Christ.

'With these mingled experiences, gained by constant contact with the educated classes, I have laboured through another year with ever-increasing interest and thankfulness. The work has been carried on upon the old lines — lectures, discussions, classes, house-visitation, literature; it being difficult to devise any new and more suitable methods. But something more than lectures and discussions and even classes is required in order to get into friendly touch and intimate relations with Hindu gentlemen, so as to understand their thought and religious position; and that is private interviews. Many of my most pleasant and profitable hours — generally in the early morning between eight and ten, and occasionally in the afternoon — have been spent in this way. All shades of thought are met with; from sheer religious indifference, up through the gradations of materialism, pessimism, agnosticism, pantheism, and theism, to the mind distinctly influenced by the teaching and spirit of Christ. In no country is the attitude towards religious questions so diversified, and the fermentation of thought so great.'


At the Calcutta Missionary Conference, 1S92-3, Mr. Slater read an exhaustive paper on this great subject of work among the educated classes1 [All the papers and speeches at this session of the Conference are full of valuable information upon this most important subject. See Report, vol. i, PP. 258-313.]. He showed that although in 1891 only one-seventh of the population had received any education, and that only about three-quarters of a million — that is, one out of every 380 — could speak English, yet in this number were included the leaders of society, of public opinion, of reform, and that no classes stood in greater need of the Gospel. He then gave a masterly summary of the present position of things in India: —

'Owing to pantheistic perversion, the depraved yet proud Hindu intellect, which fails to see any necessary connection between conviction and practice, needs to be regenerated no less than the heart and conscience. Intellect and culture, apart from moral stamina and will-power, have often proved perilous to the individual and to the State. The secular and destructive system of education that prevails so largely in India, fails to supply any new principle of good; and the Government has, in recent years, become alarmed at the growing want of reverence and obedience in its schools and colleges. Old restraints and religious sanctions are gone, and there are new dangers ahead. Drifting from the old moorings, without rudder or chart to steer by, many make early shipwreck of their souls. There is the intellectual rock of rationalism or agnosticism, and the moral rocks of unchastity and intemperance, on which it is to be feared an increasing number of young lives are driven. Losing faith in the Hindu marvels, and observing that many scientific minds of the West have rejected traditional Christianity, many incline to disbelieve in any revelation beyond that afforded by Nature, and to condemn all miraculous religions as inventions of designing priestcraft.

'One of the commonest complaints of the day is the weakness of the native ministry — the lack of highly educated and forceful men. The efficiency of natives in the past has been, the late Bishop Caldwell stated, "in exact proportion to their education and attainments." And if we are to get a supply of such men, we must look, in the main, to the educated classes. The leaders of Hindu religious movements, such as the Brahmo Samaj, the men who have exercised power over their countrymen, have come from these classes: and thoroughly transformed in nature, sanctified through and through by the spirit of Christ, they must furnish the Indian Church with the best trained ministers, the skilled evangelists, the professors of theological schools, and the writers of its Christian literature. If we are to touch Hinduism proper, we must have men of native genius and temperament, of Eastern fervour and individuality, who, acquainted with Indian religious thought and life, shall sympathetically approach Hindu minds; men who shall not transplant English or American or German Christianity, and present a Christ, as Chandra Sen used to say, "in hat and boots," but who shall sow the seed of the Kingdom, and let it grow; who, nurtured on the various learnings of the East and the West, shall interpret the practical West to the philosophic East, and show that the religion of Christ is in accord with the best sentiments of India's best minds1 [On this subject generally see Hindu Pastors, by J. Ross Murray, M.A., formerly scholar of St. John's College, Cambridge.]. . . .

'The attitude of educated Hindus towards their own religion and towards Christianity depends very largely on the influences in which they have been brought up, and on the localities where they have been trained. The difference between those who have received a purely secular education and those who have had the advantages of earnest, thoughtful Christian teaching is frequently very marked. Even in those more advanced in life, who attended a mission school far back in their earlier years, the Gospel appeal often meets with a sensitive response.

'Brahmoism has, I believe, been wellnigh stationary since the death of Chandra Sen. In the south, at any rate, it is nowhere conspicuous. But the worthy elements of Brahmoism— prayer, repentance, moral struggle, self- effacing consecration to God, active philanthropy, and radical, social, and domestic reforms — are essentially Christian, and can flourish only in genuine Christian soil. In the meantime. Brahmoism is being overshadowed by the Aryan Revival.

'Set on foot by the Arya Samaj of North India, and fanned by that pride of nationality which has been stirring in the country, and by the zeal and propaganda of the Theosophical Society which extols the past glories of the East; above all, put upon its mettle by the advancing power of Christianity, this Indian renaissance or revival, not so much of religion as of philosophy, maintains that, in its purified form, Hinduism is well able to hold its own against every other form of faith. It has, without doubt, checked for a time the extension of the Christian Church, having come, in many cases, between Christ and the awakened conscience of the Hindus. Briefly described, it opposes Indian theism — the supposed monotheism of the Vedas — to what is called foreign theism, and thus enlists on its side the patriotic preference for Indian literature and thought.

'This development, which will naturally attract many of the best minds, has been sympathetically watched by Christian missionaries, and can be wisely guided only under the impulse of that larger, brighter, healthier thought now happily prevailing in the best theology of the day; though the final struggle in India will not be between Christianity and a purified Hinduism, but between Christ and unbelief. We may rest assured of two things: first, that only a simple and broad presentation of Christianity, appealing to rational intuitions, attaching less importance to dogma and far more to life, and in touch with all true social and political aspirations, will be accepted by progressive India; and, secondly, that Christianity will never become a national power as long as the people feel that it is prejudicial to their native customs and habits of life; that it denationalizes those who accept it, and so withdraws from them a large body of their countrymen.


'With these provisos, the outlook at the end of the nineteenth century, though perplexing and disheartening, is brightened with hope. It is a time of transition. The way is steadily clearing. Bigoted hostility, though still deep and pronounced, is nothing like what it was. The best thought of India turns not towards Hinduism but towards Christ. He, who used to be blasphemed, is now revered. There is a general admiration of His life and ministry and moral greatness, an acknowledgement that He is the crown of character, the highest product of nature, though still a holding back from Him the sceptre of divine authority.

'Until the whole social system relaxes this must continue to be our greatest obstacle. Tyrannical custom, intense conservatism, popular sentiment, hereditary prejudice — to change which is to sin — are at once the strength and weakness of Hinduism. India's great need is that awakening of conscience and religious convictions, under a sense of sin and the power of the Cross, which shall courageously and loyally suffer "the loss of all things" that it "may gain Christ and be found in Him."'
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Part 4 of 6

3. Belgaum. Belgaum is a district in the southern part of the Bombay Presidency, and is the only station occupied by the Society in that presidency. The district covers 4657 square miles, and has a population of about 900,000. The town of Belgaum — a military station — contains about 23,000 people. Marathi, Hindustani, and Canarese arc spoken, the last being the leading vernacular. In 1820 the commanding officer at this station, which is about 120 miles north-west of Bellary, applied to Messrs. Hands and Reeve at Bellary to send him a missionary who could work among the troops, promising his support should one be sent. This request was granted, and Mr. Joseph Taylor went. He settled at Belgaum in September, 1820, and a Christian Church was soon organized there. In 1830 the Rev. W. Beynon was transferred thither from Bellary, and acted as colleague to Taylor until the latter's retirement in 1854.

From the commencement of the mission much time was devoted to the public preaching of the Gospel in Belgaum and Shapore and surrounding country; and to the education of the young. Chapels were built, and English, Canarese, and Tamil congregations collected. By 1858 upwards of 400 natives had been baptized, of whom more than half were adults, chiefly Tamil people, and a few Muhammadans. Of the number baptized, the proportion of Canarese people is stated to have been from thirty to thirty-five. The first Canarese converts were two Brahmans, Dhondappa and Devappa, who were exposed to great persecution, and lost considerable property. They were enabled, however, to remain steadfast, and died in the faith of Christ at a good old age.

About the year 1830 Messrs. Taylor and Beynon extended their labours to Dharwar, where they were invited to establish a permanent mission, but were unable to comply. The station was subsequently occupied by the missionaries of the Basel Society. For many years Mr. Beynon was in the habit of attending the great festival of Yellamma, at which, among other odious rites practised, was that of visiting the shrine in a state of perfect nudity. By Mr. Beynon's exertions in memorializing the Government, this obnoxious practice, and also that of  hook-swinging, was prohibited.


Why Some Hindus Spent Their Weekend Hanging From Hooks and Laying on Nails People in West Bengal, Bangladesh and Northeast India are celebrating Charak, a Hindu festival that involves turning devotees into a human spinning wheel.
by Shamani Joshi
Vice.com
April 15, 2019, 6:54am

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A HINDU DEVOTEE CARRIES A CHILD AS HE HANGS FROM A ROPE WITH HOOKS PIERCED IN HIS BACK, AS PART OF A RITUAL DURING THE CHARAK PUJA FESTIVAL IN DHAKA, BANGLADESH. PHOTO VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

This article originally appeared on VICE India Charak or Charak Puja is a part of the Gajan folk festival celebrated every year in West Bengal, Bangladesh and parts of Northeast India, and is basically the equivalent of a New Year Eve party in accordance with the Bengali calender. Except, instead of being subjected to the tortuous intake of tequila shots, this ritual actually has devotees subjecting themselves to pain as a sacrifice to Lord Shiva. And if you thought the Mother of Dragons having to eat a horse’s heart to prove her devotion to Khal Drogo was painful to watch, this festival involves the devotees accomplishing every imaginable feat—from walking on burning coals to burying themselves in mud, from jumping on sharp objects like machetes to lying on a bed of nails—to show you they’re serious about appeasing their god.

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A DEVOTEE HOLDS A MACHETE WHILE ANOTHER LIES DOWN ON A BED OF NAILS IN A PUBLIC PERFORMANCE. PHOTO: ANKITA DAS

In fact, one of the main rituals requires them to embed iron hooks into their back and then hang themselves on a pole, around which they are made to swing like a human chakra (wheel)—the word that ‘Charak’ is derived from—to denote the movement of the sun.

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THE SHARP METAL IS PIERCED INTO THE BACKS OF PERFORMING SAINTS IN A BLOODLESS PROCESS THAT HAS BEEN DEVELOPED WITH YEARS OF PRACTICE. PHOTO: DIBYOJYOTI BOSE

Here’s a video, if you still don’t believe us.



Although its exact origin is unknown, a paper titled ‘A Barbarous Practice: Hook-Swinging in Colonial Bengal’ talks about how the Britishers tried to get it banned way back in 1860. Today, this tradition is taken very seriously and requires devotees to spend a month fasting. On the last day, they break their fast alongside inflicting pain on themselves in a bid to eliminate all their sins from the previous year. In fact, the sanyasis (saints) taking part in the ritual even believe that no harm will come to them if they have not sinned, something that can actually be attributed to the specific way the tongue and body are pierced. "It is believed that such acts are done by the priests to experience the pains of womanhood, including childbirth", says Ankita Das who lives in Assam. Das has been witnessing the festival happening in her backyard for many years, growing up listening to stories on the importance of this festival from her mother.



With a focus to follow strict penance in the hope of a good harvest season, devotees worship a tree and dress up as deities, so, you know, there's some fun stuff as well. However, cultural experts have spoken about how celebrations of this festival are restricted to rural areas and may have been a result of a tradition imposed on lower castes by the upper caste Brahmins, thereby questioning the true motive behind this practice.

Even after all the on-screen wedding violence that George RR Martin has gifted us, this tradition does leave us more shook.


Mr. Taylor continued in active service until about 1857, and he died at Bombay in 1859. Mr. Beynon retired in 1870, after forty-five years' uninterrupted service, during which he had never revisited England. After a visit to England he returned to Belgaum in 1871, where he died in 1878. On the occasion of his retirement the address presented to him by the native community not only sums up his long life of quiet unobtrusive labour, but it also sketches the first half century of the Society's Christian work in Belgaum: —

'You have been to us a friend in need and a faithful counsellor in our difficulties. Your connection with the Belgaum Mission English school will be held in perpetual remembrance. This school has the great credit of being the first English school in Belgaum; there was no Government school here until twenty years later. It has supplied the various branches of the public service with competent young men; and to this day they are holding responsible posts in the revenue, judicial, engineer, postal, educational, and other departments. You and your late lamented colleague, the Rev. J. Taylor, have been the first to open vernacular schools for boys and girls in this place. Hundreds of children, who would have been otherwise the source of misery to their parents and of mischief to the public, have been thus brought under restraint and regularity, and fitted for higher branches of learning. Female education in this part of the country owes its origin to you.

'Those of us who have embraced the faith which you came to preach to our countrymen, beg leave to say a few words on the work of your mission. God has blessed your joint labours in the conversion of many souls. You have been permitted to see the fruit of your labours. You have not only sown the seed, but in some measure gathered the fruit. The tender plant of a native Church (both Canarese and Tamil) in Belgaum has taken root in the soil. The evidence of its life is seen in the organization of three churches and a regularly ordained native ministry to maintain the ordinances of religion.

'In the multiplicity of your duties as a teacher of the young and a preacher of the Gospel, you have not been wholly unmindful of literary labours. You were the first to translate into Canarese the first part of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and some tracts which are still in circulation.

'We cannot close this humble address without paying a tribute of respect and gratitude to Mrs. Beynon, who has been indeed a helpmeet to you. She has always taken an active part in the work of the mission, and we gratefully remember her labours in the Sunday-school, and in the visitation of our families.'


In January, 1867, Mr. James Smith reached Belgaum, and in 1871 Mr. J. G. Hawker. From that time till 1895 these two were in charge of the mission. In 1886 J. W. Roberts was appointed for evangelistic work, but his health failed after only two or three years' service. The Decennial Report, 1891, thus summed up the later condition of the mission.

'The care of the churches has, of course, occupied much time and attention. Schools have been carefully fostered, and in nearly all cases have shown a tendency to grow. The High School has been markedly successful. In 1881 it had 337 pupils; in 1890 it contained 433. In 1881 it passed five matriculates; in 1890 it passed thirty-one in Matriculation and University Final School examinations, which are of about equal difficulty. In 1881 the fees amounted to 867 rupees; in 1890 to 5,281 rupees. In the vernacular boys' and girls' schools and in the Sunday-schools there had been a noticeable increase.

'In evangelistic work the decade has been marked by a successful effort to carry the Gospel to every Canarese-speaking town, village, and hamlet within the bounds of the district. In accomplishing this purpose about 5,500 square miles were traversed (many of them again and again), 1,300 different towns and villages visited, and about a million of population touched. Accompanying and supplementing the efforts of the preacher have been those of the colporteur. Throughout the whole district two, and sometimes more, colporteurs have been persistently soliciting attention to their books, and have succeeded in leaving among non-Christian people 35,081 Scriptures and 23,735 tracts, receiving from them 1,130 rupees in payment.

'Knowledge has increased, desires have been excited, opinions have been affected; but only fifteen have been baptized from heathenism, and scarcely any of these as the result of direct effort. But the Kingdom of God is of such a nature that it comes not with observation, and while gathering few out of Hinduism into professed connection with the Christian Church, we have seen, with much joy, many indications of the Spirit's presence and working in the hearers of His Word.

'The English services conducted on Sundays and Thursdays for the soldiers have been well attended, and have been greatly blessed. The native churches in Belgaum and Shapore make very slow progress, partly because the "offence of the cross" is still very great among the Hindu people of these towns, but partly also, it is to be feared, because the Christians themselves have very imperfectly learned of Christ, and exhibit a painful amount of weakness. Evangelistic meetings are carried on regularly in both places, and a considerable number of persons have come to hear the Gospel, some becoming frequent and interested listeners.'


In 1892 the Rev. Thomas Haines was transferred from Bellary to Belgaum, to act as the colleague of Mr. Hawker and Mr. Smith. III. Telugu Missions. The Telugu language, the 'Italian of the East,' is spoken by about 20,000,000 Hindus who live along the lower basins of the Kistna and the Godaveri rivers. The mission-work among these people has been carried on at four centres: Vizagapatam, Bellary, Cuddapah. and Nundial.

IV. Vizagapatam and Vizianagram. The early history of this station is given in Chapter III. The fact that twenty-seven years passed from the arrival of Cran before a single native convert was won illustrates the hardness of the work and the difficulty of many of these fields. Mr. Pritchett died in 1824, Mr. Gordon in 1828, and Mr. Dawson in 1832. For three years the station was without a missionary, but in 1835 the Rev. J. W. Gordon, son of the former missionary, took up the work. Considerable educational work had been done, and Mr. Gordon had a good knowledge of the vernacular. Under his care the firstfruits of the mission — two or three native women — were gathered into the church. In the same year the Rev. E. Porter joined the mission, and in 1836 a chapel, holding 300 people, was built. In 1837 there were four native communicants, and in 1841 fourteen. In 1840 the Rev. John Hay joined the mission, and gave himself largely to educational work, Mr. Porter having great gifts as an evangelist. In 1844 the latter was sent to Cuddapah. In 1843 Mr. Gordon returned to India, after an absence, due to illness, of nearly three years.

About the year 1844 the Directors determined to abolish the small vernacular schools, taught by untrained teachers, who were found to exert over their pupils an influence sadly at variance with the main object of their appointment; and in place of them, to devote all the available strength and funds at the disposal of the mission to one Anglo-vernacular school of a higher order. But in those days, except in the presidential towns, very little inducement was held out to the natives to accept such instruction as was then offered to them. Education was then, as indeed it mainly is now, a mere marketable commodity, and the supply was equal to the demand. This was the first Anglo-vernacular school in the Madras Presidency.

For many years a printing press was maintained in Vizagapatam, and the Telugu Scriptures, books, and tracts sent out from it circulated wherever Telugu is spoken — from Madras to Ganjam.

In 1847 Pulipaka Jagannadham, who in the Anglo-vernacular school for the first time heard idolatry denounced as sinful, avowed his belief in Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. His conversion roused such a storm of opposition, that the magistrate in charge of the station felt it necessary to call for a large military escort to protect him on his way to the mission house. Mr. Jagannadham was ordained in 1857, and appointed to succeed the Rev. L. Valett in charge of the mission at Chicacole.

In 1853, a day school for caste girls was begun by Mrs. Hay, in which there were at one time as many as 100 children under instruction. The average attendance was about sixty. They were taught the elements of general knowledge, and the truths of the Gospel; and were also instructed in those branches of female industry that might be useful to them in future life.

In 1855 the Rev. John S. Wardlaw, M.A., was transferred from Bellary to this mission, for the purpose of more efficient co-operation with Mr. Hay in the preparation of a new and more accurate translation of the sacred Scriptures into Telugu, but was obliged by failure of health to return to England in 1858. Mr. Hay was also sent home in 1860; and at that time the Anglo-vernacular school was broken up, and Mr. Gordon was left in sole charge of the station.

Caste feeling is very strong and firmly maintained in Vizagapatam. The natives as they become acquainted with Christianity recognize that it is impossible to retain caste and yet to be a Christian. This was long a great obstacle in the way of those who wished to enter the mission school, in which all caste distinctions were ignored; but in later years the Brahman and the Pariah have been seen in close fellowship, aiding each other in the preparation of their tasks. Neither here nor elsewhere would it be fair to claim for direct Christian teaching all that has been done to undermine and abolish Hinduism. The public administration of justice in the courts; the abolition of rites once deemed holy, but which the most bigoted Brahman would now blush to acknowledge as having ever belonged to the religion of his fathers; the waning power of the Brahman as the Sudra rises to positions of influence; the absence of all respect, often amounting to positive disrespect, shown to caste in Government offices and schools; the mental activity called forth in the pursuit of secular wealth and position; the withdrawal of Government patronage from the temples and temple-worship; — all these have done their part in undermining the faith of the people, and preparing them for a great religious revolution.

About the middle of 1863 Mr. and Mrs. Hay returned to the station, and in February, 1867, the Rev. Henry De Vere Gookey came out, appointed to reopen the Anglo-vernacular school, which he did in the beginning of 1868. Notwithstanding the existence of a native High School, where the reading of the Bible was forbidden, and which in a very marked degree was under the patronage of Government officials, as soon as the old mission school was reopened there was a rush into it, plainly indicative of the important fact that the reading of the Christian Scriptures is not an insuperable barrier in the way of those Hindus who seek sound education for their sons.

Mr. Jagannadham was at this time recalled from Chicacole to take charge of the native church and render assistance in the restored educational institution.

Severe family affliction necessitated the return of Mr. Hay to England, and the mission was then, 1869, left in the hands of Messrs. Gordon, Gookey, and Jagannadham at Vizagapatam, and Mr. Thompson at Chicacole. With such a body of workmen, the prospects of the mission might be regarded as favourable; but they were soon beclouded. In 1871 Mr. Dawson was absent, on the Nilgiris, dangerously ill; Mrs. Gookey died in 1872, and her husband was ordered home by his medical adviser. A brief sojourn on the hills seemed to restore his health, and before the end of the year he was able to resume his place in the school and engage in other evangelistic work at the station along with Mr. Gordon: while Mr. Hay. who had returned to the station in April, 1872. devoted a large portion of his time to the work of translation and revision. But in 1875 entire prostration of health rendered it necessary for both Mr. Gookey and Mr. Dawson to leave the country. Mr. Dawson died on his way home; and Mr. Gookey was forbidden by the doctors to return to India.

The educational institution again came under the management of Mr. Hay in 1875. That year Mrs. Gordon died, and Mr. Gordon, after some forty years of faithful labour, felt constrained to retire. In 1876 Mr. E. Midwinter and Mr. H. J. Goffin were appointed to the district. The former was barely allowed to survey the field and manifest his earnest desire to be engaged in it, when he was called away; and Mr. Goffin settled at Vizianagram. In 1878 Mr. Morris Thomas reached Vizagapatam.

Although distinct stations, Vizianagram and Chicacole must historically be regarded in connection with the Vizagapatam Mission. Chicacole was first occupied as an out-station of the mission in 1838 by Mr. WilHam Dawson, who received ordination in 1844, and continued to labour there until 1852, when he was removed to Vizianagram, where it was thought desirable to open another branch of the Telugu Mission. Mr. C. E. Thompson, assistant missionary, was then sent to Chicacole; but the mission gradually declined by the removal of the Christians, about forty in number, to Vizianagram and Vizagapatam. In 1857 the mission was somewhat revived under the care of the Rev. L. Valett, but in consequence of the entire failure of Mrs. Valett's health, Mr. Valett was compelled to return to Europe, and he was succeeded at Chicacole by the Rev. P. Jagannadham.

In 1881 there were four missionaries in the three stations which formed the Northern Telugu Mission of the Society. Chicacole was occupied by the Rev. M. Thomas, the Rev. H. J. Gofhn was labouring in Vizianagram, and Vizagapatam was supplied with two European missionaries, the Rev. John Hay, M.A., and the Rev. James Sibree, jun., and had in addition an ordained native minister. In reality, Vizagapatam had only one European missionary, for the Rev. J. Sibree had returned to England and then resumed his work in Madagascar.

Chicacole lost its missionary in 1882,when Mr. Thomas was transferred to Vizagapatam. It was worked for some time as an out-station of the Vizianagram Mission, but was in 1883 handed over to the Baptist Missionary Society. Vizianagram remained a centre of the Society's work until 1889, and was then with great reluctance given up, and the two missionaries who were occupying it were transferred to the district of Cuddapah. Vizagapatam alone remained, and it gave evidence of such vigorous rejuvenescence and progress that withdrawal ceased to be a possible contingency.

The Rev. John Hay retired, after a long and influential career of service, in June, 1882, and the Rev. Morris Thomas took charge of the mission in 1882. He was joined at the end of that year by the Rev. G. H. Macfarlane. After a few months, however, Mr. Macfarlane was transferred to Vizianagram to take the place of the Rev. H. J. Goffin, who was compelled to return to England on furlough. In 1883 the Rev. E. Le Mare joined the mission, and worked in connection with it until the end of 1886, when he resigned and returned to England. Then Mr. Thomas was left alone until the end of 1888, when the Rev. John Knox was sent out. Mr. Thomas died, after twenty years' service, in 1898,

Fortunately, Vizagapatam has been exceptionally well off in the quality of its native workers, so that it has been easier than in some other stations to keep up the continuity of work. When Dr. Hay retired from the mission the chief feature in the work was the mission High School, which had under his very able management become an important educational centre, and had also been the means of modifying  to a considerable extent the hostility to Christianity which had been formerly strongly marked in the town. Since the resignation of Mr. Le Mare the school has been under the care of the able Christian head master, Mr. D. Lazarus, B.A. The local European missionary exercises only a general control over the finances and management. In 1881 the school had 251 scholars on its roll, who paid fees to the amount of 2,611 rupees; in 1890 the number of scholars was 387, and the fees received amounted to 6,364 rupees.

The religious teaching in the school has been as faithfully attended to as the secular subjects. And though all but a very small percentage of the boys were heathen or Muhammadan, the Sunday-school, which was entirely voluntary, was attended during 1890, on an average, by 260 of the day scholars, no inducement being held out to encourage attendance beyond the distribution monthly of copies of a religious paper, The Messenger of Truth.

The native Christian church and community have also slowly but steadily grown in numbers.

Reference is made in Chapter IX to the lifelong literary and Bible translation work carried on by John Hay. When, in 1882, he retired from the service of the Society, he returned to India to spend the remaining years of his life in labour upon his beloved Telugu Bible. On January 7, 1890, he completed fifty years of missionary service, and upon this memorable occasion thirty-three of the Society's South Indian missionaries joined in conveying to him their congratulations and their deep affection. As in the case of Benjamin Rice, his senior by a few years, he did not long survive his jubilee. At Madras, on October 28, 1891, he passed away, full of years and strong in the affection, not only of his relatives and friends and colleagues, but also in the grateful affection of many of the sons and daughters of India, to whom during his long life he had been the means in God's hand of bringing the light and liberty and joy of the Gospel. W. Robinson, of Salem, who knew him well during his later years, has placed on record a loving tribute to the beauty of his life and the greatness of the work he accomplished1 [Chronicle, 1892, p. 10.].

'Dr. John Hay was the profoundest Telugu scholar in India, and his acquaintance with other vernaculars was extensive. Sanskrit he studied, and with such marked proficiency that he could meet Hindu pundits on their own ground. A greater end was served by it, because it gave him a weapon of precision in conveying to Hindu minds an exact definition of theological terms. In one of his rare intervals of leisure he wrote an exquisite little tract, Jesus is Mine. This tract had a circulation of one million copies; it had all the tenderness and insight of Rutherford in his best letters; it brought light, comfort, and certitude to many a penitent but doubtful soul. Like all Dr. Hay's writings, this book was issued anonymously, and, as is the fashion in the common everyday blessings of our life, people accepted the gift and never thought about the giver. But he wanted no blare of trumpet; his purpose was to do "the quiet lightning deed, and heed not the applauding thunder which follows at its heels." I have known him nurse a sick man and be as full of gentle ministries as a woman. His generosity knew no limit when there was real distress to relieve, and he gave all he had to help the poor.

'His Friday evening sermons at the English chapel, Vizagapatam, were productions which would have made the reputation of a minister at home. Full of ripe scholarship and rich experience, simply and clearly told, they fertilized the souls of the people, and dropped like balm upon many a sad heart. His lessons to crowds of Hindu lads in the Sunday-school worked for righteousness.

'Looking back at the year I spent with him, the most abiding impression I have of him was his infinite capacity for work. I have known him begin his translation work at 3 a.m. and keep at it till 3 p.m., with intervals for food; then teach two hours in the High School; preach if it was service night, and if it was not visit the poor and sick; get home at 7:30, have his evening meal, and work until bedtime. This was not a mere spurt of work, it was the habit of his life, kept up almost till the last. No Jesuit ascetic was more abstemious than Mr. Hay. From first to last he was a total abstainer from alcoholic stimulants, and his food was of the plainest kind. It was a wonder how he managed to do the work he did on so little food. Throughout his life he kept the thin, spare, erect frame he had when he came to the country. Looking at his well-poised head, his clear-cut face, and his lofty, dome-like forehead, you felt the presence of an old warrior-saint, such an one as Paul the aged, whom no opposition could daunt and whose indomitableness no obstacle could conquer.

'In the Telugu country his name is graven deep on the hearts of the people. They know how prompt he was to help, how tender and yet faithful to rebuke, how gently he would lead back the wanderer. Most of all, how he would cherish the lambs of Christ's flock. Among the apostles of India there has arisen none greater than John Hay.'
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 5 of 6

2. CUDDAPAH. This is another large district of the Madras Presidency, lying to the north-west of Madras. It contains 8,745 square miles, and has a population of 1,125,000. The taluk and the town also bear the same name, the town containing about 20,000 people.

In 1832 the Rev. J. Hands, of the Bellary Mission, began work in Cuddapah by preaching and establishing vernacular schools. The Rev. W, Howell, who was appointed to labour in Cuddapah, was ordained at Madras in 1824. With the aid of G. J. Waters, Esq., Zillah Judge, and a few other friends, a mission house and a small chapel were finished in 1825, and in the same year a Christian fellowship was formed. A small number of people from the poorer classes became Christians; employment was found for them, houses for their accommodation were built near the chapel, and a school was established for their children.

For several years preaching was regularly carried on in and around Cuddapah; Scripture readers and colporteurs were employed, and schools opened in several villages. Occasionally baptisms took place, as that of Veerappa, a Brahman convert, in 1831; Venkappa, a Sudra farmer, and nine other adults of the Sudra class through the influence of Venkappa; and others of less prominence.

Mr. Hands frequently spent some weeks of the cold season in visiting the larger towns of the Cuddapah Zillah. In 1838 Mr. Dawson joined the mission, but was obliged to leave very soon on account of ill health. About this time the first out-station was commenced. The prisoners in the gaol were often visited by the missionary, and a man of the Mala caste1 [In the Cuddapah district the Malas are equivalent to the Pariahs of the Tamil districts.] from Rudrawaram embraced the truth. On being released from prison he returned to his native village, and told his friends and neighbours what he had heard in Cuddapah. This led, in the course of a few years, to several families in that village and others in the neighbourhood renouncing idolatry and becoming Christians. In this way the work commenced amongst the Malas in this and the adjoining district which has so largely extended in later years.

In the year 1842 Mr. Howell left the mission and joined the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. After his departure the work was left in the charge of a native catechist, but was superintended by missionaries at Bellary and Madras. Mr. Johnston and Mr. Gordon each took the oversight of the mission for a brief period. The Rev. E. Porter was appointed resident missionary at Cuddapah in 1844, but his first stay was not long, and the care of the mission again devolved on the Rev. J. Shrieves, of Bellary, who remained till January, 1849, when he was relieved by the return of Mr. Porter.

In the year 1851 many Malas living in villages to the north and north-west of Cuddapah expressed their readiness to renounce idol-worship, and to place themselves and their children under Christian instruction. The first village in which this movement took place was Paidala, forty miles north-west of Cuddapah, where twenty families relinquished idolatry. After eighteen months of instruction forty of these inquirers were, at their earnest solicitation, baptized. In 1852 the spirit of inquiry spread to the Malas of other villages, and at the end of the year fifty persons were baptized in Abdulapuram. In 1853 a few Malas residing in the villages of Polar and Jutur, near Nundial, in the Kurnool Zillah, came to Cuddapah, and whilst there were instructed in Christianity. Two of their headmen were baptized; and after they returned to their villages, upwards of a hundred Malas from those and the neighbouring villages placed themselves under Christian instruction.

From the beginning of 1858 to 1860 the chief points of interest in the mission were — the application made from different Mala villages to be enrolled as Christians, and their desire for Christian teachers to be sent to them. A few had apostatized at Dhur; and great opposition had been shown to Christians by Sudras and Brahmans. The report for 1858 says: 'Through their influence two of our Christian schoolmasters were shamefully beaten, and the schools in consequence suffered severely for a time. Five of the principal offenders were apprehended, and after being tried and convicted were punished by the magistrate of the district. Four were imprisoned and one heavily fined. This had a most salutary effect on the enemies of Christianity in the neighbourhood of our out-station, so that the children have again returned to our schools, and the congregations are more numerous than before.'

From 1860 to 1862, during which time Mr. Porter was in England, Mr. Johnston removed to Cuddapah, from which station he superintended both the Cuddapah and Nundial missions. When Mr. Porter again returned to his work, he had as his colleague the Rev. A. Thomson, who died after being in the country eight months.

During the year 1864 seventy-three persons, of whom forty-one were adults, were baptized. The manner in which the Gospel sometimes spreads is shown in the following instance, adduced by Mr. Porter in his report: 'The people of Velavely, a village about two miles from Dhur, have been under Christian instruction for five years past, so that it cannot be said that they have embraced the Christian religion in haste. The first seed of divine truth sown in this village was a tract, which was left by our former catechist in the hands of a Sudra weaver, and another tract left in the hands of a smith. These both read the tracts carefully, and by these means were convinced of the folly of heathenism. They also read them to the people of the village. The new inquirers also heard the substance of these tracts, and were convinced of the folly of their superstitions. They then went to Dhur and asked for a teacher, and from him obtained further instruction. After this, one of the elders came forward and said, "Come, let us pull down our dumb idol, which we have served in vain for so many years, and embrace the new religion, which shows our sins and the goodness of God in sending a Saviour, who came and gave up His life for sinners." On hearing this, the people all agreed to pull down their stony god, which they had long served and it now forms part of the wall of the new school-room. On Monday, November 21, they came to Dhur chapel, adults and children, forty in number, to be received into the church by baptism.'

On December 19, 1864, Mr. Joseph Mason was ordained as the first native pastor of the church at Cuddapah. In the latter part of 1864 the Rev. W. G. Mawbey and the Rev. D. Meadowcroft arrived in India, both for the Cuddapah Mission. Mr. Meadowcroft was detained in Madras for English work; and Mr. Mawbey took up his work in Cuddapah in the beginning of 1865, from which time he shared the various duties of the mission with Mr. Porter. In 1867 Mr. Mawbey removed to Madras to take charge of the congregation at Davidson Street, and Mr. Porter worked alone. This year a great change was made in the out-stations. Whilst at the close of 1866 twenty-three out-stations were mentioned, at the end of this year only twelve are reported, although an increase appears in the number of native adherents. Up to this time any village where Christians resided was denominated an out-station, but from 1867 only those where a teacher or schoolmaster is located have been so described.

In the beginning of 1868 Mr. Moses Williams was ordained in Cuddapah, and appointed to take charge of the church in Venturla. Mr. Porter retired from Cuddapah and from mission-work, having been thirty-three years in the field, twenty-three of which were spent in Cuddapah. Mr. Mawbey returned from Madras to superintend the district, and set himself heartily to work amongst the village congregations, leaving the church in the town in the charge of the native pastor. The out-stations were decreased to ten, and each station was required to subscribe for the support of its teacher. It was felt important to have a good number of young men under training as village schoolmasters, who might, in addition to their teaching, be able to conduct Christian worship amongst the adult members of the congregations. Some of the most promising lads were, from time to time, chosen out of the village schools and brought into Cuddapah, where they received a more or less systematic course of instruction in the vernacular to fit them for this work.

Public preaching by the missionary and native evangelists continued to be carried on with great vigour far and near; the congregations were large and very attentive in the villages; there were many signs of an awakening interest in Christianity amongst the Mala population; and we find at the close of 1870 that there were again twenty-three out-stations, and a very considerable increase in the number of adherents. The efforts put forth by the native Christians themselves, in spreading Christian truth amongst their friends and neighbours, became more earnest and gratifying. The result was that one village after another came forward desiring to give up their idol-worship and receive Christian teaching; in 1871 twelve new out-stations were added to the list, and at the close of the year fifteen village teachers besides evangelists were employed.

In 1872 there were still larger accessions; but 'as the people came over in promiscuous groups from the lower classes, it was thought advisable not to admit them to the ordinance of baptism without previous systematic instruction, and a fair trial of their steadfastness. This delay in baptizing adherents will account for the small number of baptized persons compared with the number of catechumens. A still greater inequality existed between the number baptized and those received as communicants, which arose from the reluctance of the missionary to receive into church fellowship any, unless there was good reason to believe that they were the subjects of Divine grace.'

In 1873 twelve hundred additions to the number of adherents were reported, and Mr. Mawbey was put to great straits to provide teachers to instruct them. Much attention was given this and the following year to the improvement of the village schools. This was not without good effect, as may be learned from the fact that grants from Government, under the system of payment for results, were given to fifteen schools in 1874.

The year 1875 was one of great trial through the prevalence of cholera in the district. Many Christians, as well as heathen, died; but Mr. Mawbey reported: 'I have known of two cases only in which, in the midst of this general time of trouble, there have been any drawings back towards heathen worship and ceremonies.' In November of this year, the Rev. J. R. Bacon arrived from England to join the mission. The statistics for the year show that at its close there were eighty out-stations; thirty-one native teachers; 147 Church members; 1,386 baptized persons; 3,925 adherents; and twenty-seven boys' schools, with 419 scholars. With the exception of Travancore no field in India could show such striking results.

In the month of August, 1876, Mr. Mawbey left Cuddapah for a period of furlough to England. It was expected that he would return early in 1879, and it was thought that the increased knowledge of medicine and surgery which he had acquired during his visit home would have been of the greatest service to him in his work in this district; but he was appointed by the Directors as medical missionary to Hankow, China.

After Mr. Mawbey's departure the whole superintendence of the mission came upon Mr. Bacon, and that too upon the eve of the worst famine from which India has ever suffered. The famine scattered village congregations, and prevented the possibility of carrying on the usual work. In his report for 1877 Mr. Bacon writes: 'The effect of the extreme distress upon the Christians of my mission will be understood by the fact, that out of 5,168 belonging to this mission at the close of 1876, no less than 750 deaths have taken place, and 418 are missing, having left their villages for other places where they hoped to obtain food or work; they have in all probability perished on the roads, as hundreds besides have done. I have thus lost 1,168 by death and other causes. The natural consequence of the famine has been to stop much of the ordinary work.' In 1878 prospects began to brighten; many of the village schools that had been discontinued were recommenced; more teachers were sent out from the training class in Cuddapah to work in the district; and most hopeful signs appeared of an opening amongst the caste people, many of whom applied for schools to be established amongst them, and showed that they were interested in the teaching of Christianity.

The orphan school for boys and girls has for many years formed an important part of the work in Cuddapah; and the wives of successive missionaries have worked hard, and taken much pains to make it efficient in itself, and useful to the whole mission. At the opening of the year 1878 the boys' school-house was quite destroyed by fire. The portion of the building occupied by the girls was pulled down, as it was thought well to rebuild the whole. In the report for 1878 Mrs. Bacon writes: 'Instead of the old building there now stands a most spacious and substantial orphanage. It was planned, built, and inhabited in nine months and four days from the burning of the old.'

Mr. Bacon was reinforced by the appointment, in 1884, of Mr. W. H. Campbell, M.A., B.D., and, in 1889, of Mr. G. H. Macfarlane. The Decennial Report for 1890 gave a very hopeful account of progress and prospects, although here, as in other parts, the harvest is plenteous but the labourers are too few.

'The district still includes an area of 6,500 square miles, and such are the conditions of the work that no appreciable relief seems to have been afforded to the workers by the changes made. Of the five taluks which form the mission district of Cuddapah, only two — those of Jammulamadugu and Prodatur — are systematically worked. The others are visited for evangelistic purposes every year, and in one of them — the Sidhout taluk — a native evangelist has been labouring for some years past. But the people have not yet been encouraged to put themselves under regular instruction, because there are not teachers to supply their needs. The spirit of hearing and the desire to be brought under Christian instruction has continued as marked as ever throughout the whole of the wide field of this mission, and the influence of Christianity among the Sudras seems now to be quite as strong and general as it has been among the Malas. "Our work amongst the Sudras promises to exceed that amongst the Malas. It is now passing from the stage of individual movement to that in which whole communities come under the influence of the Gospel. In 1890. for the first time in the history of our mission, we received a body of Sudras as adherents. In June, ten families of farmers and weavers came to us asking for a teacher: they brought with them, and this pleased us very much, the Malas of their village, and with them entered into an agreement to give up idolatry, receive instruction, and submit to discipline. Within the year seven of their number have received baptism. We have sent a teacher to their village, and we have good hope that the movement will spread."

'Mr. Campbell and Mr. Macfarlane have devoted themselves unweariedly to the work of itineration, directing and encouraging the teachers and evangelists, instructing the village congregations, and preaching to the heathen. There were in 1890 forty-three village teachers at work, but six congregations were still without regular instruction. At least twenty village communities, which had received partial instruction, have gone back to heathendom within recent years, because there were no teachers for them. The importance of the Training Institution, which has been established for the benefit of the Telugu Missions as a whole, and which has hitherto been situated at Cuddapah, is thus becoming vital to the continued success of the missions. During 1890 forty students were under the care of the Rev. J. R. Bacon, of whom eight completed their three years' term of training during the year, and found work to do at once. Fever prevailed among the students very seriously during the first three months, and was followed by an epidemic of influenza, which stopped all work for a time. In consequence of this, the Directors decided to remove the institution to Gooty, which is a much healthier station than Cuddapah, and more central for all the Telugu Missions. Accommodation is to be made for a greatly increased number of students. By this means it is hoped that the pressing needs of this deeply interesting district may be more adequately supplied.

'From 1880 to 1890 a great growth took place in the number of native agents, and also in the Christian congregations and baptized Christian community. In 1890 there were sixty native agents at work, and 1,346 church members, as against 138 in 1881. The baptized Christian community increased by over 1,000, being in 1890 2,825, and the unbaptized adherents were limited only by the caution of the missionaries, who would not encourage people to come over to Christianity until they had some means of instructing them. The only part of the work in which there has been retrogression has been education. The quality of the instruction in the village schools has not improved, and the numbers under instruction have not increased. This is a very serious shortcoming, in view of the fact that the mission schools are the only means by which the villagers can obtain instruction, and until they learn to read the Scriptures their Christianity cannot fail to be exceedingly weak and unsatisfactory. The chief, if not the only, cause of this shortcoming is that "the extreme paucity of agents available for evangelistic work has compelled us to denude our schools of every man of even moderate ability in order to maintain our preaching staff."

'We rejoice to be able to record a steadily increasing work amongst the Sudras. During the past five years 149 have been received to baptism. This we regard as the most important feature of our work in the period now closed.'

'The chief drawback to the otherwise cheering state of this mission is that converts do not make the advance in Bible knowledge and spiritual life that we desire to see in them. There are several reasons for this fact. One is doubtless the extreme poverty of so many of them. Another is that during all the history of the Mission, until last year, the European staff has been so small that the personal intercourse and supervision required to develop Christian character in our converts have not been possible. Further, the men whom alone we were able to place in charge of them to teach them were but imperfectly instructed themselves, and these men were frequently drawn away to strengthen the evangelistic staff. These Christian congregations need the time of two European missionaries to be devoted to them entirely. With a proper number of well-trained teachers to aid them in teaching the converts, two missionaries could have this work well in hand, while the other European missionaries were engaged in evangelizing in the less forward parts of the field.'


In 1891 a vigorous effort was made to reinforce the Cuddapah Mission. The Rev. J. M. Ure and Mr. T. V. Campbell, M.A., M.B., were sent out. To the latter was entrusted the work of establishing a Medical Mission at Jammulamaduqu. In the same year a new station was opened at Kadiri, and placed under the care of the Rev. H. J. Goffin. In 1893 two lady missionaries. Miss Darnton and Miss Simmons, were appointed to Cuddapah.

The Cuddapah Mission is the field in the whole of South India most ripe for a great Christian harvest, were but the faith and zeal and liberality of the church equal to the great opportunity. Thousands are ready and waiting to receive the Word of Life, could only suitable teachers be sent. It should be one of the main duties of the Society during the second century of its history to see that this rich and fruitful harvest is duly gathered in.

3. NUNDIAL, GOOTY, AND ANANTAPUR. The Nundial branch of the Telugu Mission was due to extension of work in the Cuddapah district in 1853.

Nundial is a large town, in the taluk of the same name, situated in the Kurnool district, and distant eighty miles from the town of Cuddapah. When Mr. Johnston settled there in 1855, there were three villages in the immediate neighbourhood, where 246 adherents lived, of whom, however, only a few were baptized. Two schools were at once established, into which thirty-four scholars Were received, and after a short time a boarding school was opened. During the first ten years of work, there was steady onward progress; the out-stations increased from three to seven, and, but for the lack of suitable native teachers, at least three others would have been taken up; the schools increased to eight, with an attendance of 156 scholars. The number of adherents also increased from 266 to 450, and the communicants from seven to twenty-two. A native evangelist with a Scripture reader was placed in Kurnool in 1864, and it was hoped that Kurnool would be permanently occupied as an out-station.

In 1870 Mr. Johnston went to England on furlough. During his absence Mr. Mawbey paid several visits to Nundial and the out-stations, and exercised general supervision; but Mrs. Johnston, who remained in Nundial, superintended much of the ordinary work, with the help of the native pastor from Venturla. The Report for 1872 shows a considerable increase. In it Mr. Johnston writes: 'At the beginning of the year the total number of persons connected with the Mission, baptized and unbaptized, was 729; at the close of the same the roll exhibited an aggregate of 1,590; of these 712 were baptized persons, and 878 adherents, who had placed themselves under Christian instruction, preparatory to baptism.' It was found impossible to provide these new adherents with regular and constant instruction. As in Cuddapah, so here there was great need of a staff of trained Christian young men for village teachers.

The Malas have frequently to encounter opposition from caste people when it is known they wish to become Christians. Mr. Johnston says: 'This spirit of antagonism on the part of the Sudras and others does not, I am inclined to think, arise so much from their feeling any concern whether the Malas become Christians or not, as from their dislike to seeing them raised to a better position than they had before, their children educated and capacitated for other employment than what fell to their lot heretofore.'

At the end of 1875 Mr. Johnston reported: 'While our statistics thus exhibit a large numerical increase, it would not be safe to infer, simply from that fact, that genuine spiritual results have been produced to the same extent; or, to speak more plainly, that all our adherents are Christians in the true sense of the word. There are no doubt some among them who, to the best of our belief, have been actuated by no other than right and spiritual motives in coming over to Christianity.'

The Rev. W. W. Stephenson arrived from England and joined the mission early in 1877. During that year many of the Christians in the district suffered extremely from the famine, and from various forms of sickness; and the numbers were very considerably reduced. In 1878 Mr. Johnston left India for England, after forty years of mission labour, nearly twenty-four of which were spent in this district.

In 1881 the mission was removed to Gooty, and has since been carried on there by Mr. Stephenson, and for a short time by Mr. Dignum as his colleague, appointed in 1882. In 1895 Mr. Ure was transferred there from Cuddapah. The work is on exactly similar lines to those followed in the Cuddapah district. In 1890 Mr. Stephenson reported: —

'The reason for there being no practical increase in the number of congregations I have stated more than once. It is simply owing to my unwillingness to take on additional congregations while we have not the means of teaching those already in our charge and nominally under instruction. Under these circumstances, to profess to take on more and instruct them would be a mere pretence. Many who have come forward desiring instruction have gone back because we could not place a teacher in their midst. We can add congregations almost indefinitely so soon as we can give teachers.' This is, and has been for years, the weak point of the Society's Telugu Mission, and arrangements have been made to remedy it as far as possible.

In 1895, during the absence of Mr. Bacon, the Training Institution was under the care of the Rev. F. L. Marler, who was appointed to Gooty in 1889. As Christian work consolidates more and more in the Cuddapah district this Institution grows in importance. It is satisfactory to note that the level of native catechist sent out has been steadily rising.

4. Anantapur. In 1890 a new station was opened at Anantapur. This station is intended to connect Gooty on the north with Bangalore on the south. Mr. and Mrs. Hinkley have made a very hopeful and prosperous beginning there.
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Part 6 of 6

IV. The Gujerati Mission. Reference has been made on page 39 to the projection and the founding of the mission at Surat. This large town is in the Bombay Presidency, about 100 miles north of Bombay, on the west coast of India. Though among the earliest missions planned, it was not actually begun until 1815, when Mr. William Fyvie and Mr. James Skinner established the mission. Mr. Skinner died in 1821, but Mr. Fyvie's term of service was coextensive with the Society's connection with Surat. He was joined in 1822 by his brother, Mr. Alexander Fyvie, who died at Surat in 1840. Mr. Thomas Salmon, who went out as a printer in 1825, and became a full missionary in 1831, laboured there until the end of 1832, when he returned to England. Mr. W. Flower and Mr. W. Clarkson both joined the mission in 1839.

Preaching and educational work were actively carried on, and a great deal of time and attention devoted to the mission press. Mainly by the labours of Mr. Fyvie the Scriptures were translated into Gujerati.

The Surat Mission was isolated from all the other Indian centres of work occupied by the Society, and partly on this account was, in the year 1847, transferred to the care of the Irish Presbyterian Church Mission. Mr. W. Fyvie, after thirty-two years of diligent and effective labour, retired from active work when the transference was complete.

The only other station occupied in the Gujerati country was Baroda, about 100 miles north of Surat. This station was begun in 1844 by Messrs. Clarkson and Flower. But the latter, who retired in 1846, died in 1847; and in 1847 Clarkson removed the mission to Dhevan, on the Mahi River, later known as Mahi Kantha. Mr. J. V. S. Taylor, son of the veteran Belgaum missionary, reached Baroda in 1846, and removed with Clarkson to Mahi Kantha. Clarkson retired in 1854, the mission was transferred to the Irish Presbyterian Missionary Society in 1858, and in 1859 Mr. Taylor became a missionary of that Society. In this way the Society's connection with Gujerati came to an end. V. Tamil and Malayalim Missions in Travancore. The remarkable early history of this mission has been narrated in Chapter III. The later history is both instructive and suggestive, and deserves the careful consideration of all students of Christian missions. In numbers of adherents, native churches, native workers, and assistants it has been the most successful field, with the exception of Madagascar, hitherto occupied by the Society. At the same time it must be borne in mind that Christianity has, throughout the century, exercised comparatively feeble influence on the one hand in modifying the heathenism and caste tyranny of the Government, and on the other in winning the adherence and self-denial of members of the higher castes. That is, until quite towards the close of the century the adherence of large numbers of Shanars and Pariahs to Christianity has left practically untouched the currents of life in Travancore, which most directly and powerfully affect public opinion and Government action.

In 1825 the missionaries in charge of the work at Nagercoil were Charles Mead and Charles Mault. Messrs. Ashton and Cumberland were there as assistants, and there were twenty-seven native readers. The report for that year contains a list of nearly fifty out-stations, worked by the native readers under the superintendence of the missionaries.

Nagercoil was the centre of a vigorous evangelistic and educational work. The native church was large in numbers; there were several important schools for boys; and, as early as 1823, a good girls' school had been started; and this notwithstanding the fact that in no part of India has hostility to female education been more marked than in Travancore. A printing establishment had been set up, liberally aided by the Religious Tract Society of London, and from this centre large quantities of Tamil books and tracts were annually circulated throughout Travancore.

For many years Mr. and Mrs. Mault were the life and soul of the Nagercoil Mission; and much of the later success was due to the energy and consecrated skill with which they laid the foundations of organized work. The difficulties in the way of, and opposition to Christianity, common to all Indian mission-fields, were in Travancore somewhat more serious and bitter.

'Caste,' writes Mr. Mault in 1827, 'is viewed through very opposite mediums by missionaries as well as others. Some suppose that it is compatible with Christianity, and that they can exist together; while others are of opinion that the form of religion may and does exist, but that the life of religion in the soul cannot, where caste is retained. If brotherly love and humility form a part of real religion, and if it cannot exist without them, I think it is impossible to reconcile caste as compatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
and it affords me unspeakable pleasure to state that those whom I have reason to believe are real converts to Christianity in Travancore are of the same opinion, and have renounced it.

'For several years after our arrival in Travancore such was the opposition to female education, not only among the heathen, but likewise among those who made a profession that we could only succeed in obtaining five or six girls, and these were from the families of persons who were dependent on the mission for a livelihood; but in this department there is a very visible improvement; we have now more than fifty females under instruction on the premises, and nearly as many attend the schools that are established in the different Christian villages.'

In another letter, dated June 10, 1829, Mr. Mault enables us to see how the Gospel spread so rapidly in this out-of-the-way corner of India, and how the numerous native churches sprang into life: —

'Agateeseram is situated twelve miles east of Nagercoil and two miles west of Cape Comorin, in the midst of an extensive forest of palmyra and cocoa-nut trees. In the year 1818 a few families in this village renounced the service of the evil spirit, which is the principal object of worship among the lower castes in this part of India, and took upon themselves the profession of Christianity. While they enjoyed tranquillity and the smiles of the world their numbers continued to increase; but this was of short continuance, for a persecution commenced by the instigation of the principal man of the village, and the consequence was many relapsed into idolatry. Such was the enmity manifested at this time to the Gospel, that the shed in which the Christians met for divine worship was burnt down, and the very name of Christian became a reproach in the place. Under these circumstances scarcely anything remained of the form of religion but the school, in which Christian instruction was imparted, till the commencement of the year 1823, when J. Clarke was appointed to this place to read the Scriptures, who, being a person of much energy and activity, a revival soon began, and a considerable congregation was raised. The school-room, where the small congregation had been accustomed to meet for public worship, became too small, in consequence of which a neat chapel was erected, principally at the expense of the people.

'At this period the Word was not published without effect, for one person named Nullatamby was truly awakened, and led to flee for refuge to the hope set before him in the Gospel. As he has taken an active part in extending the religion of Christ, I shall make a short digression to give a little further account of him. Having experienced the Gospel to be the power of God to salvation, he was anxious to bring others to a participation of the same inestimable blessings. He commenced by telling all he knew of Christ to his neighbours, and then visited the villages in the vicinity for the same purpose; and his labours of love were not in vain. By him two converts from Mahometanism first heard that He who died on Calvary is the Saviour of the world. Through him the Gospel was introduced into the village of Sandadypathoor, where there is now a flourishing cause. His sister and her husband, belonging to the congregation at Calvilly, two humble and consistent disciples of Christ, were first led to seek for mercy through his influence.

'The outward condition of the congregation continued to prosper, and many from time to time were added to the number of the professed followers of Christ. In 1827 so great was the increase, that the chapel became too small for the regular worshippers, and it was enlarged by the industry of the congregation.'


A letter from the pen of Mrs. Mault illustrates in the first place the skill with which the early missionaries endeavoured to make their missions self-supporting, and in the second, gives a dark picture of the grievous hardships with which those whom they tried to benefit had to contend. The lace-making described in this letter has continued to the present day, and is noted all over India. The slavery, happily, came to an end in 1854.

Provisions of the Indian Penal Code of 1861 effectively abolished slavery in British India by making the enslavement of human beings a criminal offense. Criminalisation of the institution was required of the princely states, with the likes of the 1861 Anglo-Sikkimese treaty requiring Sikkim to outlaw the institution.

Officials that inadvertently used the term "slave" would be reprimanded, but the actual practices of servitude continued unchanged. Scholar Indrani Chatterjee has termed this "abolition by denial." In the rare cases when the anti-slavery legislation was enforced, it addressed the relatively smaller practices of export and import of slaves, but it did little to address the agricultural slavery that was pervasive inland. The officials in the Madras Presidency turned a blind eye to agricultural slavery claiming that it was a benign form of bondage that was in fact preferable to free labour.

After the British government passed legislation which abolished slavery in 1833, the Indian indenture system arose in response to labor demands in regions which had abolished slavery. The indenture system has been compared to slavery by some historians. According to Richard Sheridan, quoting Dookhan, "[the planters] continued to apply or sanction the means of coercion common to slavery, and in this regard the Indians fared no better than the ex-slaves".

In the Indian indenture system, indentured Indian laborers were brought to regions in which slavery had been abolished to replace Africans as laborers on plantations and mines. The first ships carrying indentured labourers left India in 1836. Once they arrived at their destination, they would then be sent to work under various planters or mine owners. Their work and living conditions were frequently just as poor as the slaves they replaced, being frequently confined to their estates and being paid low salaries. Any breach of contract by them brought automatic criminal penalties and imprisonment. Many of the indentured laborers became indentured through fraudulent means, with Indians from inland regions over a thousand kilometers from seaports being promised jobs, were not told the work they were being hired for, or that they would leave their homeland and communities. They were hustled aboard the waiting ships, unprepared for the long and arduous four-month sea journey. Charles Anderson, a special magistrate investigating these sugarcane plantations, wrote to the Colonial Secretary declaring that with few exceptions, the indentured labourers were treated with "great and unjust severity"; planters enforced their Indian laborers in plantations, mining and domestic work harshly, to the extent that decaying remains of deceased laborers were frequently discovered in fields. If labourers protested and refused to work, the planters would refuse to pay and feed them.


-- Slavery in India, by Wikipedia


The letter is dated June 2, 1830.

'In the year 1821, to assist in defraying the expenses of the school, lace-making was introduced on a small scale, and from that time to the present, greater facilities for disposing of the lace being afforded, it has been gradually enlarging; the profits of which, together with subscriptions from England for the support of twenty-two girls, and occasional donations realized in this country, enable us at the present time to provide board and education for sixty children.

'To be able to read well is conceived to be of great importance; no girl is therefore allowed to turn her attention to other pursuits till she can read the New Testament, when she is permitted to enter one of the working classes, if her time is not too nearly expired to admit of it. These classes consist of those who make lace, and those that learn plain needlework; the number employed at the former is twelve, and that of the latter is seven, which are kindly superintended by Mrs. Addis. As the people of this country have not yet arrived at such a state of civilized improvement as to require needlework, and as we are too remote from European stations to obtain work thence, but little can at present be done in this department beyond the wants of the school and our own families. In reference to lace-making, it may be remarked that to the proceeds of this branch the school is indebted for more than half its support; and, could a more regular supply of materials from the liberality of British Christians be calculated on, the number of workers would be immediately increased, and the school augmented in proportion.

'Many of these poor children are orphans without a friend to care for them, who, but for this asylum, would be left to perish in ignorance, vice, and wretchedness: a friendless child in this unfeeling land is an object pitiable beyond expression. Moreover, not a few of these girls are slaves; and it is our wish that they should, if possible, obtain their freedom while they are in the school, that, when they leave it, they may go free. No arguments are necessary to prove the importance of this measure, when it is stated that slavery as it exists in this kingdom is in some respects worse than that of the West Indies, inasmuch as the owner feels himself under no obligation to provide for his slaves any longer than it is convenient to employ them, hence he calls them to work during seed-time and harvest, and then dismisses them to gain for themselves and children a scanty and uncertain pittance in the best way they can, till the returning season. As the owner takes no notice whatever of the children of his slaves, till they are old enough to work, it is easy to account for some of this unfortunate class being in the school; and some faint idea may be formed of the sensations of a poor girl, when her master appears to take her away, from the following instance. An interesting girl, apparently about eleven years of age, was discovered near our premises in a state of exhaustion through hunger. She was brought in and supplied with food, and as soon as she recovered strength, she told us she was a slave, but, owing to her master denying her sufficient for sustenance and severely flogging her, she had run away; her emaciated frame and the marks on her body abundantly confirmed her statement. It was with the greatest reluctance she informed us where her owner resided; even the mention of his name seemed to make her tremble.

'In eight or ten days a stern-looking man made his appearance, and demanded his slave. The girl, who had heard of his approach, had hid herself; but when she found she could conceal herself no longer, she came and begged in the most feeling manner, that he might not be allowed to take her away. Every effort possible was used to induce him to give her up, and a sum more than her estimated value was offered him, but in vain; he was unmoved, his iron heart had no relentings. "I want not your money, but my slave," said he, as he walked away with her. No sooner was the poor girl seen following her master to his home, than the school-girls rushed out, and with tears entreated for her release, but all was unavailable. This, my dear friends, this is the slavery from which we wish to see all delivered, that are trained up in our school.

'The plan adopted to secure the freedom of the slave scholars is to teach them in preference to others to make lace, and as soon as their earnings amount to more than their support, to allow them a small portion of their work, to reserve for the purchase of their liberty. Eight girls have gained their freedom by industry, since they have been here, and others are labouring in prospect of soon doing so.
 

'The instruction that has been received here has been the means of raising two female schools in the villages near, besides the attendance of many girls in our other schools; and we hope that in time many of our scholars will find openings in their native places to impart instruction to their own sex. Experience and observation teach us not to overrate the advantages of instruction. Education may be given, and religious principles inculcated, but these alone will not change the heart, for that is the work of the Spirit of God; nevertheless we are encouraged to use the means, and to exercise faith in the divine promises.'


From 1827 to 1830 Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Addis were at Nagercoil with Mr. Mault. They removed in 1830 to begin the Coimbatore Mission. In 1827 the mission was divided into eastern and western departments, and in 1828 Mr. Mead began a new station at Neyoor, Mr. Mault taking sole charge of the eastern section.

Mr. Mault sent home early in 1830 a report of the preceding half-year's work, in which he sets forth very clearly the difficulties due to the character and surroundings of the people. But he also gives strong testimony to the character and usefulness of the readers or evangelists: —

'Among a people of such habits and dispositions as the lower classes in this country, it is no difficult thing to perceive that the readers stationed in their villages need to be men of good common sense, prudence, and piety. Judging from the manner they have exercised their talents among the people, the success that has attended their labours, we have no hesitation in saying that some possess these qualifications in no ordinary degree; and others, though inferior in many respects, we believe to be conscientious men. In our absence they conduct the public worship of God nearly on the same plan as in our Congregational churches in England, frequently in a way that secures the attention of the audience and promotes their edification. Their residence in the midst of the congregations serves to render them well acquainted with the character of every person in their flock; and if they observe the absence of any at public worship, during the interval of service or on the following day they visit them and inquire the reason, and give such admonition as circumstances suggest. As often as practicable they visit every family under their charge, to impart catechetical instruction, and read the Scriptures and other books; and to exhort those that can read to a diligent perusal of the word of God. In the times of affliction they afford such instruction to those who are deprived of the benefit of the public worship as their state may require. The readers look upon these seasons as peculiarly fitted to arouse the careless, and bring the thoughtless to reflection. Such is their allowed superiority in knowledge to most around them, that their advice is frequently sought, and is freely given; but in the disputes of their neighbours they take no part.

'The care of their respective congregations is but a part of their work, for they continue to go into the villages and highways around them to publish salvation to all that will listen to it. The seed thus sown has in many instances brought forth fruit, in others appearances are favourable, which hold out encouragement to expect that a harvest will be gathered in due time, where we have hitherto met with little or no success. Some, whose attention has first been directed to the truths of Christianity by the readers, have been led to us for further information; and have lately shown more solicitude to obtain a knowledge of Christianity, and books on that subject, than we have ever before witnessed.'


Connected with these readers a curious system of special subscriptions had been initiated in England. An individual or a group of individuals in Great Britain subscribed annually the cost of one of these readers, and he was considered in a special sense the reader or agent of the subscribers who supported him. Special reports, entailing great labour upon both reader and missionary, were sent home, and if these were not forthcoming subscriptions often lapsed. Repeated representations of the inconvenience of this system were sent home from time to time, finally, especially when, about 1850, the whole system was energetically reformed, this practice ceased.

In 1827 Mr. W. Miller joined the mission, but he died after eight years' labour. In 1834 Mr. C. Miller was added to the staff, but he died in 1841. In 1838 J. T. Pattison, James Russell, John Abbs, and a medical missionary, Archibald Ramsay, were sent out. The last named retired in 1842. Mr. Pattison was stationed at Quilon from 1838 to 1844, when the Board dissolved his connection with the Society. The other two gave many years' service. Mr. Abbs, after eight years' residence at Neyoor, removed in 1845 to Pareychaley. In 1840 the South Travancore Mission had 15,000 adherents, and 7,500 scholars, of whom nearly 1,000 were girls.

The Rev. J. O. Whitehouse, who reached Nagercoil in 1842, devoted himself mainly to the highly important work of the seminary for the training of native agents. In 1846 Ebenezer Lewis, who had been at work for six years in Coimbatur and Madras, joined the Nagercoil Mission. Upon his arrival it was re-divided into three districts, Nagercoil, Jamestown, and Santhapuram, under the care respectively of Mr. Mault, Mr. Russell, and Mr. Lewis.

Mr. Whitehouse, after eight years' experience in Nagercoil, sent home under date of March 5, 1851, a statement of the condition of the Travancore Mission after nearly half a century's work, so clear and so important as to deserve permanent record. So far as we know it has never been printed before: —

'The origin, continuance, and increase of many of our congregations are to be traced to oppression. People have been driven to Christianity by fear, and not drawn to it by conviction. They came, not because they think that the religion taught is true, but because they think those who teach it have influence with the ruling powers in the country, and are therefore able to protect them. Thus any body of religionists, whether Papists or Mohammedans, or any thing else, provided they be thought to have power and willingness to protect and aid those who embrace the faith they teach, would meet with considerable success in gathering professed converts; and the more liberty of conduct the teachers will give their converts, the more will flock to them. A proportion is often to be noticed between the degree of oppression and the number of converts newly presenting themselves. And in certain months in the year, when the demand of the Government upon the people in making preparation for heathen festivals is very burdensome, the number of those who seek exemption by embracing Christianity is the greater.

'Some years ago, through the influence of the British Resident, a proclamation was issued, declaring that the natives who embrace Christianity are not liable to be called upon to perform the various services for the heathen temples, demanded by law of those who continue to be heathens. Much vigilance is necessary to prevent the lower officials from depriving Christians of their right of exemption, but up to the present time the higher authorities act consistently with the proclamation, the issue of which they, without doubt, greatly regret. And, as in many cases, it was not truth which drew, but trouble which drove people to Christian profession, the moment the trouble has passed and protection has been obtained, many return to idolatry, sometimes to return again and again to Christianity as convenience may suit. From the operation of these principles by far the greater number of converts come to us, frequently in tens, twenties, or a village at once.
But though many soon renounce Christianity (if indeed they can be said to renounce that which they never really embraced) many remain, and the adherence which originated  in inferior reasons often becomes one of superior reasons — a rational conviction of the truth of Christianity. In intelligence, energy, and all other good characteristics, I think the Travancoreans stand lower than other Hindus, low as they are; so that were it not for the temporal advantages connected with Christian profession, I believe even Christian professors would have formed a very small band.

'The members of our congregations may be divided into three classes: first, those who have become Christians for the sake of protection or other temporal advantages; second, those whose relatives were Christians, and who are the same because their fathers were such; and third, those who have embraced Christianity through conviction of its truth. Of these classes the last is, as may be expected, the smallest; the second is increasing with time. Some individuals may belong to two or even all the classes, and many have risen from a lower to a higher.

'Such are the materials on which we have to work, and they for the most part belong either to the Shanar or Pariah caste. If we were more lax in discipline, if Christians were left to learn or not, and to act just as they please, and if caste distinctions were recognized, more of the higher caste natives would join us; but as we make the Scriptures the rule for practice, and the acquirement of Christian knowledge absolutely necessary, and disregard and discountenance caste distinctions, only a few of those who are considered of higher caste have embraced Christianity. No missionary but one who has been brought up in the country, and has been constantly used to caste distinctions, or who has looked very superficially at the subject, can fail to see the chilling and contracting influence of caste, and how counteractive it must prove to the warming and expanding power of Christianity. Those churches in India where caste is recognized are very graveyards of Christian hopes.

'From a more than thirty years operation of these collecting or retaining influences, above referred to, a large body of Christian professors is now met with around us
; among whom there are many who are more than professors, who are actuated by Christian principles, and, considering their circumstances, are very interesting characters. But with this before me, I cannot say that the time is surely near when India will be the Lord's. I cannot understand how some can say so. It is true we have numbers, but numbers of what class of people, — the lowest, the poorest, and the most degraded, people who have little or no influence in the country, people who have everything to gain and nothing to lose by becoming Christians. We have numbers, but even among them only a small minority feel the power of the truth. How then can it be said that India will soon be the Lord's, when the mass of the people, the intelligent, the wealthy, and the influential, though they may in many cases assent to the truth of Christianity, feel nothing of its power? The felt power of Christianity alone can bring such to number themselves with the followers of Christ; and with such multiplied hindrances as there are to such a step, for some of them to become true Christians will indeed be a triumph. Nothing but a strange revolution in things can cause Christian profession quickly to become general, and without such a revolution nothing but an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit's influence can bring over the higher classes of Hindus to us. This is a view which observation and common sense lead to; and one held, I think, by all intelligent modern missionaries.

'With the numerous openings for Christian instruction alluded to above, an early question with the missionary was, In what form is instruction to be given, and by what agents? The Scriptures, and Watts' first, second, and Scripture catechisms, translated into Tamil, together with tracts on various subjects, were and still continue to be put into the hands of the readers for the instruction of the people, and these readers were the best qualified persons that were obtainable. Deficiency on the part of the teachers and of those who were to be taught tended to prevent progress. The minds of the converts were so constantly occupied by matters of fact around them, so unused to think and deal with anything abstract, and so unaccustomed to hear grammatical Tamil, that Watts' catechisms were almost unintelligible to the majority. Besides this, the readers were so obscure in their views and so limited in ability to illustrate and develop the principles laid down so simply, as we think, in the catechisms, that but little improvement was made.

'These defects still exist, though of course not to the extent of former years. The elder brethren who had most to do in the construction and early working of the machinery of this mission were, and in a measure are still, of the old school. They left England in the days of catechisms and learning by rote. Since they left, education has been more clearly understood, and more systematically, philosophically, and successfully carried on. Thus old educational fashions have been continued here, and have been adopted by later comers, because they were the modes of procedure which they found were being pursued. The importance of paying great attention to the training of agents has not been felt so strongly as it should have been; at least, the amount of effort to this end seems to indicate this. The difference between knowing and being able to teach does not seem to have been recognized very clearly; and thus, while instruction has been given to the agents, little or nothing has been done in training them to teach; yet with most of the people, simple as children, ignorant and degraded in the lowest degree, teaching powers of a high order are required. With such a people Watts' catechisms must be simplified; tracts, such as we have, which are in the sermon form, mostly translations from English tracts and sermons, are obscure and hard to be understood; and sermons, in making which some of the readers succeed pretty well, are ineffective. Some in the congregations who have had greater advantages can readily understand and profit by the tracts and sermons, but the majority cannot; and we, as foreigners, and speaking grammatical Tamil, find it a great difficulty to reach the minds of the majority, and I believe rarely succeed in doing so. With such a state of things — and I have not exaggerated — a most vigorous teacher training is of the highest moment. The want of it has weighed heavily on my mind for some time.

'I am sure if our readers and schoolmasters were better teachers we should see greater progress. I have been quietly experimenting on this point lately. I have regularly visited a small congregation every Sunday morning, and, in the presence of the reader, talked with the people on a subject; sometimes I have let him talk, and listened, and put in a word or suggested an illustration occasionally. Now I am sure the effort has been useful, both to the reader and the people. The congregation is that at Tattanviley.

'I have at my side one or two, whom I have trained, and who fully understand my views of what teaching should be; and thus, with the seminary in full working, weekly training classes, and perhaps a normal school for school teachers, I hope with their help to bring about a better state of things. But this must not supersede constant diligence, on the part of those who have the charge of districts, in directing the studies and guiding the mental operations of the agents employed by them. Many minds drawn out and disciplined in the seminary in former years have, on being employed as readers, sunk into mental sloth and been suffered to rust, by not requiring enough mental effort of them, and by joining them in classes with teachers of inferior powers and attainments. With a very little mental exertion the machine will work after a fashion; and some agents, seeing this, have been satisfied with this fashion, and give only the effort required for this, and have sunk in mind and been like cyphers, holding a place but nothing in value. The catechism and memoriter system has done much to produce such merely mechanical doings.'


Mr. Whitehouse, who by his skill, energy, and perseverance did much to revolutionize for good the system of training in the seminary over which he presided, and in the schools throughout Travancore, further emphasizes the unsatisfactory character of the mission in a letter dated August 30, 1852. In this letter he expresses views which the experience of the last fifty years goes far to confirm: —

'Situated as much of India is as to government and laws, the persecution to which Christian converts in those parts can be subject is mainly of a petty kind, confined chiefly to the family and social circle of those who have embraced the truth, and the scope for persecution has been greatly narrowed lately by the "Lex Loci" Act. While a large number of the young men educated in these institutions will reject idolatry as absurd, it is to be feared that many will find rest in a frigid deism, yet we may expect that the number of those who will go on to know and trust in the Lord will increase, and thus they will by degrees form a body who after a time will be tolerated and then received as a part of general native society.

'But I see no such prospect for Travancore, as things are now going on. There is no spirit of inquiry on any subject among the natives, whether high or low. Though all the Shanars and Pariahs in the country were to become Christians, there would be no sensation among the influential classes. The case is just this: a Christian mission was commenced in Travancore by persons supposed to have power and influence; hundreds of oppressed outcasts, accounted to be the dregs of society, fled to it as a great charity and asylum, and not as an institution designed to improve the spiritual condition of the people. A field for effort was at once presented to the missionary, and his time and strength were expended in giving instruction to persons who did not care about the instruction and only wanted the protection of the missionary. Agents from the same classes were employed to teach the people, who themselves needed to be taught, who because of their position in society hardly dared to speak to those of high caste, and who were unable to meet any but the most feeble of the arguments, or answer any but the simplest inquiries of heathens and others about Christianity. Even now very little is done among the higher classes. A few schools have been established among them, which must always be conducted by high-caste masters, and which would be instantly deserted if low-caste men were appointed to the office. The almost undivided attention of the missionaries is given to the protection and oversight of the Christian congregations, and the result is a large circle of professing Christians, four-fifths of whom would be heathens or anything else to-morrow if they thought they would better their condition by it; and, connected with this, a great expense for the support of readers whose capabilities are very small, and whose instructions are sought for by only a small minority.

'I think the Scotchmen have been the most long-sighted in their proceedings. They also present an attraction: instruction in the English language and science, which is an attraction to the higher and influential classes, especially at the seats of Government. They draw around them thousands of native youths, and in them in a short run of years they will influence the head and all the chief members of Hindu society. In them they are sending forth minds that only want time and wisdom, and they will enlighten, elevate, and reform the Indian social community. Progress has commenced, and if the church does not stay it by looking too much to human instrumentality and too little to the great Regenerator of society — the Spirit of God — it will go on with accelerated velocity, and thirty years hence surprising advance will have been made. But in the present system of Travancore missions, I expect thirty years hence things will be found but little in advance of their present position.'


Pareychaley was the last main station in the Tamil district to be occupied. It passed under the care of Mr. Abbs, and from 1838 to 1845 he supervised it from Neyoor. In 1845 he removed to Pareychaley, and continued in active work there until his return to England in 1859.

Side by side with the Tamil Mission, work has been carried on, though without conspicuous success, in the Malayalim country. The two main stations were formed, Quilon in 1821, and Trevandrum in 1838. In 1827 Mr. J. C. Thompson took up work at Quilon, and laboured there for twenty-three years, until his death in 1850. For a brief time in 1832 he had a colleague, Mr. W. Harris, but his health soon failed, and Mr. Thompson was left alone. It was not till 1837, after ten years' residence, that a native church was formed, and then with only six members. At his death the Christian community numbered about 200. He was succeeded by Mr. Pattison, referred to above.

In 1851 Mr. Mead, who had been associated with the mission for thirty-five years, for the most part at Neyoor, married a young Pariah, and thus destroyed at a stroke his influence and usefulness. He retired from the Society's service the same year. Somewhat similar circumstances led to the retirement of Mr. Cox from Trevandrum in 1861. The ill health of Mr. Whitehouse compelled his retirement in 1857. Mr. C. C. Leitch took up medical work at Neyoor in 1853, but was drowned in 1854. Mr. J. J. Dennis reached Nagercoil in 1856, and for some years carried on most vigorous and useful work; but in 1862 his health failed, and after a visit to England, which failed to restore him, he died at Nagercoil in 1864. Mr. Duthie in 1859 assumed charge of the Nagercoil seminary, and at the close of the century's work (1895) he was still there in full and active service. Mr. Duthie's colleagues during this period were— Mr. G. O. Newport, 1867 to 1877; Mr. S. Jones, 1871 to 1877; Mr. W. Lee, 1877 to 1884; Mr. A. L. Allan, 1884 to 1895; Mr. A. Thompson, 1888 to 1891.

At Neyoor the succession of workers in the same period was — F. Baylis, 1854 to 1877; F. Wilkinson, 1860 to 1865; I. H. Hacker, 1878 to 1895. The Medical Mission, the most successful in India under the care of the Society, of which a detailed account is given in Chapter VII, has been successively in charge of C. Leitch, 1853 and 1854; Dr. Lowe, 1861 to 1871; Dr. Smith Thomson. 1873 to 1884; E. S. Fry, 1885 to 1892; and Arthur Fells, 1892 to 1895.

Trevandrum is the capital of Travancore, a town of 60,000 inhabitants, and important as the centre and seat of the native Government, and also as the residence of the British Resident and British officers. It was not until 1838 that Mr. Cox succeeded, through General Fraser, in getting a grant from the rajah of a piece of waste land upon which mission buildings could be built. At that time there were about forty Christian adherents in the town and district. Mr. Cox laboured steadily at Trevandrum until 1861.

Samuel Mateer, whose name with that of James Duthie has been closely associated with Travancore for over thirty years, reached Pareychaley, to which he had been appointed, in 1859. In 1861, on the retirement of Mr. Cox, he took temporary charge of Trevandrum and Quilon, and in 1863 his headquarters became Trevandrum, while in 1866 Mr. Wilkinson took charge of Quilon. For the next twenty-five years, except during furloughs and temporary charge of Quilon, he was continuously in the Trevandrum district.

About 1855 persecution by the Sudras again broke out, and in 1856 matters were so serious that pressure was brought to bear upon the Madras Government to intervene. This Lord Harris did, and the rajah promised to do what he could to improve matters. But unhappily the British Resident, General Cullen, was a man with no sympathy towards Christian work; and having resided in India for nearly fifty years, had practically ceased to be an Englishman and had become nearly a Hindu. Only with great difficulty could he be induced to exert any useful influence. The origin of the troubles was the same as that which had caused an outbreak at an earlier date, in 1827 — the indignation and anger of the high-caste people at the education and beneficial influences brought to bear upon the low-caste and the out-caste population. The old indecent heathen law required women of low caste to go about naked down to the waist. Naturally the Christian native women were taught to disregard this custom, and about 1856 many had begun to wear the 'upper cloth' which distinguished women of the higher castes from those of the lower. The proclamation of the Queen's supremacy, either through ignorance or design, was twisted for a time into a declaration against the continuance of Christian work. The police and lower officials were very bitter and oppressive against all Christians. Men were beaten, imprisoned, and often falsely condemned; chapels and schools were destroyed; the clothing of women was torn from them in the markets and in the streets. After a long controversy between the rajah's officials and the missionaries, who were very reluctantly compelled to invoke the aid of the Madras Government, Sir Charles Trevelyan, who was then governor, promptly and effectively interposed. On July 26, 1859, a proclamation appeared stating that there was no objection to Shanar women dressing in coarse cloth and tying it round their shoulders. In 1864 another proclamation extended this right to women of the Ilaver and all lower castes. In this grudging way the native Government yielded to pressure. For a time Christian natives were thus prevented from wearing fine cloths, and from wearing them in a manner not openly conveying an acknowledgement of inferiority. Time has, to a large extent, abolished the grievance. During 1858 and 1859, so great was the excitement aroused by these events, that about 3,000 persons renounced heathenism for Christianity.

In 1860 Travancore was visited by a grievous famine, and for the first time on a large scale relief came from Great Britain. Multitudes died; but multitudes, who would certainly have died, were saved by this benevolence. 'Nothing,' wrote the Dewan or Prime Minister, 'can be a nobler spectacle that that of a people, thousands of miles remote from India, contributing so liberally to the relief of suffering here.' In 1861 no less than 4,000 Shanars joined the Christian community.


From 1862 to 1867 great progress was made in the Pareychaley and Neyoor districts, and in 1867 alone the Christian community received nearly 4,000 new adherents. Mr. Mateer, making a tour through the villages inhabited by these people, tells us that he found there 'a remarkable spirit of earnestness, diligence, and attention.' He found scant time, even for refreshment; in every village the building set apart for worship was crowded with people, 'eager to hear the Word of life.'

On February 13, 1866, an important forward step in the policy of the Travancore Mission was taken. C. Yesudian, who had long been head master of the seminary at Nagcrcoil, was ordained as an assistant missionary, and was placed over twelve congregations in the northern part of the Nagercoil district. At the same time three others were ordained as native pastors: Devadasen, a Brahman convert, who became pastor of Nagercoil Church; Zechariah, of the church at Neyoor; and Masillamani, the grandson of the first Christian convert in Travancore, of the church at Dennispuram. In the following year, 1867, at Trevandrum, seven additional native pastors were ordained. The rearrangement of work caused by these events led to the removal of Mr. Wilkinson from Santhapuram to Quilon.

Devadasen, one of those ordained in 1866, had a remarkable history. He was first employed by Mr. Mault as a school teacher, when still a heathen. After four years' training he married a wife, then only five years old. After five or six years' service he began to read the Bible, and he was stimulated by learning from another Brahman that the Puranas were only legends. Finally he resolved to become a Christian, but fearing persecution asked to be sent to another mission. But at length his courage rose to the occasion; he broke his sacred string, and prior to baptism he ate with Mr. Mault. His conversion greatly enraged all his friends, who said he was mad. His wife was not allowed to join him; and later he married a Pariah Christian, with whom he lived for ten years. Some time after her death his old heathen wife sent him word that she was now willing to become a Christian, and finally he married her in the Christian form. For many years he presided over Nagercoil Church.

So rapid had been the growth of the Christian community during the decade 1860 to 1870, that in the latter year there were in Travancore nine missionaries, eleven native ordained ministers, 210 native preachers, 2,331 church members, 30,969 adherents, 138 boys' schools with 4,168 scholars, and 23 girls' schools with 883 scholars. The local contributions in 1870 reached £905.

In 1890 there were seven missionaries, eighteen ordained native ministers, 174 male and 67 female evangelists and catechists, 279 congregations, 21,706 baptized persons. 6,004 church members, 321 schools (of which 32 were for girls), 10,869 boy scholars and 3,779 girls. The local contributions amounted to 15,441 rupees.

To detail the history underlying these figures, and to indicate the multitude of attractive and instructive facts they represent, is impossible. They represent the practical conversion from heathenism to Christianity of a whole community. It is true that the individuals for the most part belong to the lowest classes in the social grade, but such is the uplifting and ennobling influence of Christianity and education that the Shanar and Pariah classes are now beginning to possess a determining influence upon public opinion and social life. The Brahman and the Sudra still despise them as inferiors, but they are disagreeably surprised at times to find the Christian Pariah rivalling them in education and in capacity for public service. Slowly and surely in this, as in so many other fields in the world's story, God has chosen the weak things to confound the mighty, and the despised and the things that are not to bring to nought the things that are.

[Authorities. — Letters, Manuscripts, and Official Reports; History of Protestant Missions in India, Sherring; The Land of Charity, by S. Mateer; The Gospel in South India, by S. Mateer; The Life of the Rev. Richard Knill, by C. M. Birrell; Benjamin Rice; or. Fifty Years in the Master's Service, by E. P. Rice, B.A.; Twenty two Years' Missionary Experience in Travancore, by John Abbs; Missions in South India, by Joseph Mullens; The Reports of the Conferences of South Indian Missionaries at Dotacamand in 1858; and at Bangalore in 1879; also Reports of the Calcutta Conference, 1882, and the Bombay Conference, 1892.]  
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Slavery in India
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Accessed: 7/4/22

When Ziegenbalg baptized the five slaves on May 12, 1707, the first Protestant church in Tranquebar, purely meant for the South Indian Christians, began to take shape.29 [Germann, 1883, 529 f.: The three male slaves received their baptismal names as "Friedrich, Christian and Conrad." They were the servants of Johann Sigismund Hassius (1704-1716), the Danish Governor in Tranquebar. One woman was Sophia. She was a slave belonging to the tax collector Diedrich in Tranquebar. The fifth baptized person was Hetwiga, a slave girl belonging to Eidzil Abigael Bergs, the widow of the Danish pastor living in Tranquebar. Thus the first members of the Protestant church were slaves of Europeans... Most of the converts received German baptismal names... Ziegenbalg's servant Cepperumal was baptized with the German name Andreas... By August 1708, there were about 102 church members in the Jerusalem church. Most of them were slaves of Europeans in Tranquebar; a few however were free Tamil people who became Christians along with the members of their families... In 1713, there were 126 Tamil Christians in Tranquebar, who formed the nucleus of an alternate socio-religious community [???] ... they followed the prescribed Danish liturgy... they adopted as part of their Christian life certain Tamil habits connected with marriages and funerals [???]... Ziegenbalg... informed them that the Tamil Christians had freedom to wear any dress, eat any food and observe any good social behavior. However, they would not apply holy ash on their foreheads, wear the beads around their neck, have extravagant marriage processions and use the Tali... without the symbol of Tali no Tamil marriage would be complete... the church music was followed a certain system of South Indian tunes that the Tamil children used in their schools to learn new lessons...

He did not want complete social and cultural dislocation of the converts... This conversion does not mean either changing one's name or exchanging the place of worship (e.g., church instead of temple) or total break with the social dignity, code of honor, cultural identity, way of dressing and eating [???]... No Tamil person was required to become a German in order to express his/her Christian faith. [???]...

A German church should not be transplanted in the South Indian context, rather the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ should be planted in Tranquebar so that an Indian Christian church could emerge [!!!]...

Within the church community the women enjoyed a special status of equality and freedom to make their own decisions. [???]...

[ B]oth women and men to sit together in worship services, and participate together in the Eucharist....both women and men had an equal opportunity to learn reading and writing, claim their rights and exercise their responsibility in a divided community ... The church as an alternate socio-religious institution helped its members to regain their human dignity, re-interpret the meaning of being created in the image of God, find ways to alleviating poverty and illiteracy, live a good human life and seek to achieve a higher quality of social wellbeing. [???]

-- Genealogy of the South Indian Deities: An English translation of Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's original German manuscript with a textual analysis and glossary [Christian Propaganda], by Daniel Jeyaraj

Before describing the work of Ringeltaube, who can fairly claim the title of pioneer for Travancore — the scene of by far the greatest successes in the way of converts hitherto achieved by the Society in India— we will sketch the country and people in the words of Travancore's literary missionary, the Rev. Samuel Mateer2 [The Land of Charity, pp. 2, 3, et seq.].
'The distinct castes and subdivisions found in various parts of Travancore are reckoned to be no less than eighty-two in number. All these vary in rank, in the nicely graduated scale, from the highest of the Brahmans to the lowest of the slaves. Occasional diversities, arising from local circumstances, are observable in the relative position of some of these castes. But speaking generally, all, from the Brahman priests down to the guilds of carpenters and goldsmiths, are regarded as of high or good caste; and from the Shanar tree-climbers and washermen down to the various classes of slaves, as of inferior or low caste....

'The Sudras were originally the lowest of the four true castes, and are still a degraded caste in North India. But in the South there are so many divisions below the Sudras, and they are so numerous, active, and influential, that they are regarded as quite high-caste people. The Sudras are the middle classes of Travancore. The greater portion of the land is in their hands, and until recently they were also the principal owners of slaves. They are the dominant and ruling class. They form the magistracy and holders of most of the Government offices — the military and police — the wealthy farmers, the merchants, and skilled artisans of the country. The Royal Family are members of this caste....

'The Ilavars, Shanars, and others form a third great subdivision of the population. These constitute the highest division of the low castes. . . . The Ilavars and Shanars differ but little from one another in employments and character, and are, no doubt, identical in origin. The Shanars are found only in the southern districts of Travancore, between the Cape and Trevandrum; from which northwards the Ilavars occupy their place. These are the palm-tree cultivators, the toddy drawers, sugar manufacturers, and distillers of Travancore. Their social position somewhat corresponds to that of small farmers and agricultural labourers amongst ourselves....

'The Shanars of South Travancore are of the same class as those of Tinnevelly, and in both provinces they have in large numbers embraced the profession of Christianity. Their employment is the cultivation of the Palmyra palm, which they climb daily in order to extract the sap from the flower-stem at the top. This is manufactured into a coarse dark sugar, which they sell or use for food and other purposes. The general circumstances of the Shanar and Ilavar population in Travancore, especially of the former, have long been most humiliating and degrading. Their social condition is by no means so deplorable as that of the slave castes, and has materially improved under the benign influence of Christianity, concurrently with the general advancement of the country.

'The slave castes — the lowest of the low — comprehend the Pallars, the Pariahs, and the Pulayars. Of these the Pariahs, a Tamil caste, are found, like the Shanars, only in the southern districts and in Shencotta, east of the Ghauts; but they appear to be in many respects inferior to those of the eastern coast. Their habits generally are most filthy and disgusting. The Pulayars, the lowest of the slave castes, reside in miserable huts on mounds in the centre of the rice swamps, or on the raised embankments in their vicinity. They are engaged in agriculture as the servants of the Sudra and other landowners. Wages are usually paid to them in kind, and at the lowest possible rates. These poor people are steeped in the densest ignorance and stupidity. Drunkenness, lying, and evil passions prevail amongst them, except where of late years the Gospel has been the means of their reclamation from vice, and of their social elevation.'

... It was to this earthly Paradise, but rendered loathsome by the ignorance, cruelty, superstition, and pride of man, that the steps of Ringeltaube were providentially directed. His journal for 1806-7 describes how at Tuticorin the call to enter it came to him: —
'When in the evening, sitting in the verandah of the old fort (formerly the abode of power and luxury, now the refuge of a houseless traveller, and thousands of bats suspended from the ceiling), enjoying the extensive prospect, and communing with my own heart, and the God to whom mercies and forgivenesses belong, something frightened me by falling suddenly at my feet, and croaking, Paraubren Istotiram, i.e. God be praised; the usual words our Christians pronounce when greeting: I rejoiced to see an individual of that tribe among whom I had been so anxious to labour. Entered into conversation with him, as well as I could, to ascertain his ideas about religion, but was soon nonplussed by his stupidity. I could not force a word from him in answer to my plain questions, which he contented himself literally to give back to me. With a sigh, I was forced to dismiss him.'

This interview, unsatisfactory as it was, with a degraded and ignorant Shanar, strengthened the desire which already possessed Ringeltaube to reach Travancore...

Prior to Ringeltaube's departure a successor, Mr. Charles Mead, had been appointed....
'During the two years after Mead and Knill's arrival, about 3,000 persons, chiefly of the Shanar caste, placed themselves under Christian instruction, casting away their images and emblems of idolatry, and each presenting a written promise declarative of his renunciation of idolatry and determination to serve the living and true God. Some of these doubtless returned to heathenism when they understood the spiritual character and comprehensive claims of the Christian religion, but most remained faithful and increasingly attached to their new faith....

The missionaries were the friends of the Resident, and connected with the great and just British nation. Hopes were perhaps indulged that they might be willing to render aid to their converts in times of distress and oppression, or advice in circumstances of difficulty. Moreover, the temporal blessings which Christianity everywhere of necessity confers, in the spread of education and enlightenment, liberty, civilization, and social improvement, were exemplified to all in the case of the converts already made. The kindness of the missionaries, too, attracted multitudes who were accustomed to little but contempt and violence from the higher classes, and who could not but feel that the Christian teachers were their best and real friends. What were these to do with those who thus flocked to the profession of Christianity? Receive them to baptism and membership with the Christian Church, or recognize them as true believers, they could not and did not; but gladly did they welcome them as hearers and learners of God's word. The missionaries rejoiced to think that the influence for good which they were permitted to exert, and the prestige attached to the British nation in India, were providentially given them to be used for the highest and holiest purposes. They did not hesitate, therefore, to receive to Christian instruction even those who came from mixed motives, unless they were evidently hypocrites or impostors.

... The broad features of the work are alike in both Northern and Southern India; but during the century Christianity found more fertile soil in the south among the low-caste section of the Tamil, Telugu, and Canarese countries, than along the valley of the Ganges; it received a much more cordial welcome among the devil-worshippers of Travancore than among the haughty Muhammadans of the north....

A somewhat detailed description of this district may serve for many others in central Southern India.

The majority of cultivators are comparatively poor, but seem quite contented with their lot. So long as the wants of the day are supplied, they think little of the future. Their greatest trouble is (like small farmers in England) the payment of taxes! They rise before dawn and go out to their fields, where they labour more or less all day. The morning meal is generally the cold remains of the previous night's supper, the latter being as a rule the only meal cooked. A piece of white cloth round his loins and another round his head form the only attire of an ordinary cultivator. His wife is equally simple in her mode of life. One or two cloths, ear-rings, and nose-rings, more or less costly, as the husband's circumstances admit, together with the Thali (sign of marriage, answering to our ring), form all her possessions. The children up to ten years or more go in a state of nudity, relieved perhaps by a piece of string round the waist. The ravika or jacket is worn generally by Musulmanis and by women of high castes, but rarely by the lower orders, except above the ghats, where the colder climate makes it necessary. The wealthier classes dress more richly in public, but in their houses their attire is very scanty. The people as a rule are well-made and often handsome.

The great bulk of the people, including cultivators, artisans, and pariahs, though nominally ranging themselves among the followers of Vishnu and Siva, worship certain village gods and goddesses, remnants of aboriginal pre-Aryan cult, the most popular of which is Mari-amman, the goddess of small-pox and other ills that flesh is heir to; and hence she is propitiated on the coming of every calamity by the sacrifice of fowls, sheep, and goats. A rude temple to this goddess is found in every village and hamlet of any importance; and there are hereditary priests to officiate before her. If a village be too small to support a priest, his services are divided between two or three villages. All classes and religionists believe more or less in the doctrine of metempsychosis or transmigration of souls....

The Malas have frequently to encounter opposition from caste people when it is known they wish to become Christians. Mr. Johnston says: 'This spirit of antagonism on the part of the Sudras and others does not, I am inclined to think, arise so much from their feeling any concern whether the Malas become Christians or not, as from their dislike to seeing them raised to a better position than they had before, their children educated and capacitated for other employment than what fell to their lot heretofore.'...


It must be borne in mind that Christianity has, throughout the century, exercised comparatively feeble influence on the one hand in modifying the heathenism and caste tyranny of the Government, and on the other in winning the adherence and self-denial of members of the higher castes. That is, until quite towards the close of the century the adherence of large numbers of Shanars and Pariahs to Christianity has left practically untouched the currents of life in Travancore, which most directly and powerfully affect public opinion and Government action....

A letter from the pen of Mrs. Mault illustrates in the first place the skill with which the early missionaries endeavoured to make their missions self-supporting, and in the second, gives a dark picture of the grievous hardships with which those whom they tried to benefit had to contend. The lace-making described in this letter has continued to the present day, and is noted all over India. The slavery, happily, came to an end in 1854. The letter is dated June 2, 1830.
'In the year 1821, to assist in defraying the expenses of the school, lace-making was introduced on a small scale, and from that time to the present, greater facilities for disposing of the lace being afforded, it has been gradually enlarging; the profits of which, together with subscriptions from England for the support of twenty-two girls, and occasional donations realized in this country, enable us at the present time to provide board and education for sixty children.

'To be able to read well is conceived to be of great importance; no girl is therefore allowed to turn her attention to other pursuits till she can read the New Testament, when she is permitted to enter one of the working classes, if her time is not too nearly expired to admit of it. These classes consist of those who make lace, and those that learn plain needlework; the number employed at the former is twelve, and that of the latter is seven, which are kindly superintended by Mrs. Addis. As the people of this country have not yet arrived at such a state of civilized improvement as to require needlework, and as we are too remote from European stations to obtain work thence, but little can at present be done in this department beyond the wants of the school and our own families. In reference to lace-making, it may be remarked that to the proceeds of this branch the school is indebted for more than half its support; and, could a more regular supply of materials from the liberality of British Christians be calculated on, the number of workers would be immediately increased, and the school augmented in proportion.

'Many of these poor children are orphans without a friend to care for them, who, but for this asylum, would be left to perish in ignorance, vice, and wretchedness: a friendless child in this unfeeling land is an object pitiable beyond expression. Moreover, not a few of these girls are slaves; and it is our wish that they should, if possible, obtain their freedom while they are in the school, that, when they leave it, they may go free. No arguments are necessary to prove the importance of this measure, when it is stated that slavery as it exists in this kingdom is in some respects worse than that of the West Indies, inasmuch as the owner feels himself under no obligation to provide for his slaves any longer than it is convenient to employ them, hence he calls them to work during seed-time and harvest, and then dismisses them to gain for themselves and children a scanty and uncertain pittance in the best way they can, till the returning season. As the owner takes no notice whatever of the children of his slaves, till they are old enough to work, it is easy to account for some of this unfortunate class being in the school; and some faint idea may be formed of the sensations of a poor girl, when her master appears to take her away, from the following instance. An interesting girl, apparently about eleven years of age, was discovered near our premises in a state of exhaustion through hunger. She was brought in and supplied with food, and as soon as she recovered strength, she told us she was a slave, but, owing to her master denying her sufficient for sustenance and severely flogging her, she had run away; her emaciated frame and the marks on her body abundantly confirmed her statement. It was with the greatest reluctance she informed us where her owner resided; even the mention of his name seemed to make her tremble.

'In eight or ten days a stern-looking man made his appearance, and demanded his slave. The girl, who had heard of his approach, had hid herself; but when she found she could conceal herself no longer, she came and begged in the most feeling manner, that he might not be allowed to take her away. Every effort possible was used to induce him to give her up, and a sum more than her estimated value was offered him, but in vain; he was unmoved, his iron heart had no relentings. "I want not your money, but my slave," said he, as he walked away with her. No sooner was the poor girl seen following her master to his home, than the school-girls rushed out, and with tears entreated for her release, but all was unavailable. This, my dear friends, this is the slavery from which we wish to see all delivered, that are trained up in our school.

'The plan adopted to secure the freedom of the slave scholars is to teach them in preference to others to make lace, and as soon as their earnings amount to more than their support, to allow them a small portion of their work, to reserve for the purchase of their liberty. Eight girls have gained their freedom by industry, since they have been here, and others are labouring in prospect of soon doing so.


'The instruction that has been received here has been the means of raising two female schools in the villages near, besides the attendance of many girls in our other schools; and we hope that in time many of our scholars will find openings in their native places to impart instruction to their own sex. Experience and observation teach us not to overrate the advantages of instruction. Education may be given, and religious principles inculcated, but these alone will not change the heart, for that is the work of the Spirit of God; nevertheless we are encouraged to use the means, and to exercise faith in the divine promises.'

... Mr. Whitehouse, after eight years' experience in Nagercoil, sent home under date of March 5, 1851, a statement of the condition of the Travancore Mission after nearly half a century's work, so clear and so important as to deserve permanent record. So far as we know it has never been printed before: —
'The origin, continuance, and increase of many of our congregations are to be traced to oppression. People have been driven to Christianity by fear, and not drawn to it by conviction. They came, not because they think that the religion taught is true, but because they think those who teach it have influence with the ruling powers in the country, and are therefore able to protect them. Thus any body of religionists, whether Papists or Mohammedans, or any thing else, provided they be thought to have power and willingness to protect and aid those who embrace the faith they teach, would meet with considerable success in gathering professed converts; and the more liberty of conduct the teachers will give their converts, the more will flock to them. A proportion is often to be noticed between the degree of oppression and the number of converts newly presenting themselves. And in certain months in the year, when the demand of the Government upon the people in making preparation for heathen festivals is very burdensome, the number of those who seek exemption by embracing Christianity is the greater....

'Such are the materials on which we have to work, and they for the most part belong either to the Shanar or Pariah caste. If we were more lax in discipline, if Christians were left to learn or not, and to act just as they please, and if caste distinctions were recognized, more of the higher caste natives would join us; but as we make the Scriptures the rule for practice, and the acquirement of Christian knowledge absolutely necessary, and disregard and discountenance caste distinctions, only a few of those who are considered of higher caste have embraced Christianity. No missionary but one who has been brought up in the country, and has been constantly used to caste distinctions, or who has looked very superficially at the subject, can fail to see the chilling and contracting influence of caste, and how counteractive it must prove to the warming and expanding power of Christianity. Those churches in India where caste is recognized are very graveyards of Christian hopes....

I cannot say that the time is surely near when India will be the Lord's. I cannot understand how some can say so. It is true we have numbers, but numbers of what class of people, — the lowest, the poorest, and the most degraded, people who have little or no influence in the country, people who have everything to gain and nothing to lose by becoming Christians. We have numbers, but even among them only a small minority feel the power of the truth. How then can it be said that India will soon be the Lord's, when the mass of the people, the intelligent, the wealthy, and the influential, though they may in many cases assent to the truth of Christianity, feel nothing of its power?

... Mr. Whitehouse, who by his skill, energy, and perseverance did much to revolutionize for good the system of training in the seminary over which he presided, and in the schools throughout Travancore, further emphasizes the unsatisfactory character of the mission in a letter dated August 30, 1852. In this letter he expresses views which the experience of the last fifty years goes far to confirm: —
... [T]he scope for persecution has been greatly narrowed lately by the "Lex Loci" Act. While a large number of the young men educated in these institutions will reject idolatry as absurd, it is to be feared that many will find rest in a frigid deism, yet we may expect that the number of those who will go on to know and trust in the Lord will increase, and thus they will by degrees form a body who after a time will be tolerated and then received as a part of general native society.

'But I see no such prospect for Travancore, as things are now going on. There is no spirit of inquiry on any subject among the natives, whether high or low. Though all the Shanars and Pariahs in the country were to become Christians, there would be no sensation among the influential classes. The case is just this: a Christian mission was commenced in Travancore by persons supposed to have power and influence; hundreds of oppressed outcasts, accounted to be the dregs of society, fled to it as a great charity and asylum, and not as an institution designed to improve the spiritual condition of the people. A field for effort was at once presented to the missionary, and his time and strength were expended in giving instruction to persons who did not care about the instruction and only wanted the protection of the missionary. Agents from the same classes were employed to teach the people, who themselves needed to be taught, who because of their position in society hardly dared to speak to those of high caste, and who were unable to meet any but the most feeble of the arguments, or answer any but the simplest inquiries of heathens and others about Christianity. Even now very little is done among the higher classes. A few schools have been established among them, which must always be conducted by high-caste masters, and which would be instantly deserted if low-caste men were appointed to the office. The almost undivided attention of the missionaries is given to the protection and oversight of the Christian congregations, and the result is a large circle of professing Christians, four-fifths of whom would be heathens or anything else to-morrow if they thought they would better their condition by it; and, connected with this, a great expense for the support of readers whose capabilities are very small, and whose instructions are sought for by only a small minority.

... In 1851 Mr. Mead, who had been associated with the mission for thirty-five years, for the most part at Neyoor, married a young Pariah, and thus destroyed at a stroke his influence and usefulness. He retired from the Society's service the same year. Somewhat similar circumstances led to the retirement of Mr. Cox from Trevandrum in 1861....

About 1855 persecution by the Sudras again broke out, and in 1856 matters were so serious that pressure was brought to bear upon the Madras Government to intervene. This Lord Harris did, and the rajah promised to do what he could to improve matters. But unhappily the British Resident, General Cullen, was a man with no sympathy towards Christian work; and having resided in India for nearly fifty years, had practically ceased to be an Englishman and had become nearly a Hindu. Only with great difficulty could he be induced to exert any useful influence. The origin of the troubles was the same as that which had caused an outbreak at an earlier date, in 1827 — the indignation and anger of the high-caste people at the education and beneficial influences brought to bear upon the low-caste and the out-caste population. The old indecent heathen law required women of low caste to go about naked down to the waist. Naturally the Christian native women were taught to disregard this custom, and about 1856 many had begun to wear the 'upper cloth' which distinguished women of the higher castes from those of the lower. The proclamation of the Queen's supremacy, either through ignorance or design, was twisted for a time into a declaration against the continuance of Christian work. The police and lower officials were very bitter and oppressive against all Christians. Men were beaten, imprisoned, and often falsely condemned; chapels and schools were destroyed; the clothing of women was torn from them in the markets and in the streets. After a long controversy between the rajah's officials and the missionaries, who were very reluctantly compelled to invoke the aid of the Madras Government, Sir Charles Trevelyan, who was then governor, promptly and effectively interposed. On July 26, 1859, a proclamation appeared stating that there was no objection to Shanar women dressing in coarse cloth and tying it round their shoulders. In 1864 another proclamation extended this right to women of the Ilaver and all lower castes. In this grudging way the native Government yielded to pressure. For a time Christian natives were thus prevented from wearing fine cloths, and from wearing them in a manner not openly conveying an acknowledgement of inferiority. Time has, to a large extent, abolished the grievance. During 1858 and 1859, so great was the excitement aroused by these events, that about 3,000 persons renounced heathenism for Christianity....

In 1890 there were seven missionaries, eighteen ordained native ministers, 174 male and 67 female evangelists and catechists, 279 congregations, 21,706 baptized persons. 6,004 church members, 321 schools (of which 32 were for girls), 10,869 boy scholars and 3,779 girls. The local contributions amounted to 15,441 rupees....

It is true that the individuals for the most part belong to the lowest classes in the social grade, but such is the uplifting and ennobling influence of Christianity and education that the Shanar and Pariah classes are now beginning to possess a determining influence upon public opinion and social life. The Brahman and the Sudra still despise them as inferiors, but they are disagreeably surprised at times to find the Christian Pariah rivalling them in education and in capacity for public service.

-- The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895, by Richard Lovett, 1851-1904

The early history of slavery in India is contested because it depends on the translations of terms such as dasa and dasyu.[1][2] Greek writer Megasthenes in his work Indika, while describing Mauryan empire states that slavery was banned in Indian society.[3] However, some sources suggest that slavery was likely to have been a widespread institution in ancient India by the lifetime of the Buddha (sixth century BCE), and perhaps even as far back as the Vedic period.[1]

Slavery in India escalated during the Muslim domination of northern India after the 11th-century, after Muslim rulers re-introduced slavery to the Indian subcontinent.[1] It became a predominant social institution with the enslavement of Hindus, along with the use of slaves in armies for conquest, a long-standing practice within Muslim kingdoms at the time.[4][5][6] According to Muslim historians of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire era, after the invasions of Hindu kingdoms, Indians were taken as slaves, with many exported to Central Asia and West Asia.[1][7] Many slaves from the Horn of Africa were also imported into the Indian subcontinent to serve in the households of the powerful or the Muslim armies of the Deccan Sultanates and the Mughal Empire.[8][9][10]

Slavery in India continued through the 18th and 19th centuries. During the colonial era, Indians were taken into different parts of the world as slaves by various European merchant companies as part of the Indian Ocean slave trade.[10][11] Over a million indentured labourers (referred to as girmitiyas) from the Indian subcontinent were transported to various European colonies in Africa, Asia and the Americas to labour on plantations and mines.[12][13] The Portuguese imported Africans into their Indian colonies on the Konkan coast between about 1530 and 1740.[14][15] Slavery was abolished in the possessions of the East India Company by the Indian Slavery Act, 1843.[1][16][17][18]

Slavery in Ancient India

The term dāsa and dāsyu in Vedic and other ancient Indian literature has been interpreted by as "servant" or "slave", but others have contested such meaning.[1][19] The term dāsa in the Rigveda, has been also been translated as an enemy, but overall the identity of this term remains unclear and disputed among scholars.[20]

According to Scott Levi, it was likely an established institution in ancient India by the start of the common era based on texts such as the Arthashastra, the Manusmriti[21] and the Mahabharata. Slavery was "likely widespread by the lifetime of the Buddha and perhaps even as far back as the Vedic period", however he elaborates that the association of the Vedic Dasa with 'slaves' is "problematic and likely to have been a later development".[1]

Upinder Singh states that the Rig Veda is familiar with slavery, referring to enslavement in course of war or as a result of debt. She states that the use of dasa (Sanskrit: दास) and dasi in later times were used as terms for male and female slaves.[22] In contrast, Suvira Jaiswal states that dasa tribes were integrated in the lineage system of Vedic traditions, wherein dasi putras could rise to the status of priests, warriors and chiefs as shown by the examples of Kaksivant Ausija, Balbutha, Taruksa, Divodasa and others.[23] Some scholars contest the earlier interpretations of the term dasa as "slave", with or without "racial distinctions". According to Indologists Stephanie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton, known for their recent translation of the Rigveda, the dasa and dasyu are human and non-human beings who are enemies of Arya.[24] These according to the Rigveda, state Jamison and Brereton, are destroyed by the Vedic deity Indra.[24] The interpretation of "dasas as slaves" in the Vedic era is contradicted by hymns such as 2.12 and 8.46 that describe "wealthy dasas" who charitably give away their wealth. Similarly, state Jamison and Brereton, the "racial distinctions" are not justified by the evidence.[24] According to the Indologist Thomas Trautmann, the relationship between the Arya and Dasa appears only in two verses of the Rigveda, is vague and unexpected since the Dasa were "in some ways more economically advanced" than the Arya according to the textual evidence.[25]

According to Asko Parpola, the term dasa in ancient Indian texts has proto-Saka roots, where dasa or daha simply means "man".[26] Both "dasa" and "dasyu" are uncommon in Indo-Iranian languages (including Sanskrit and Pali), and these words may be a legacy of the PIE root "*dens-", and the word "saka" may have evolved from "dasa", states Parpola.[26] According to Micheline Ishay – a professor of human rights studies and sociology, the term "dasa" can be "translated as slave". The institution represented unfree labor with fewer rights, but "the supposed slavery in [ancient] India was of mild character and limited extent" like Babylonian and Hebrew slavery, in contrast to the Hellenic world.[27] The "unfree labor" could be of two types in ancient India: the underadsatva and the ahitaka, states Ishay.[27] A person in distress could pledge themselves for work leading to underadsatava, while under ahitaka a person's "unfree labor" was pledged or mortgaged against a debt or ransom when captured during a war.[27] These forms of slavery limited the duration of "unfree labor" and such a slave had rights to their property and could pass their property to their kin, states Ishay.[27]

The term dasa appears in early Buddhist texts, a term scholars variously interpret as servant or slave.[28] Buddhist manuscripts also mention kapyari, which scholars have translated as a legally bonded servant (slave).[29] According to Gregory Schopen, in the Mahaviharin Vinaya, the Buddha says that a community of monks may accept dasa for repairs and other routine chores. Later, the same Buddhist text states that the Buddha approved the use of kalpikara and the kapyari for labor in the monasteries and approved building separate quarters for them.[30] Schopen interprets the term dasa as servants, while he interprets the kalpikara and kapyari as bondmen and slave respectively because they can be owned and given by laity to the Buddhist monastic community.[30] According to Schopen, since these passages are not found in Indian versions of the manuscripts, but found in a Sri Lankan version, these sections may have been later interpolations that reflect a Sri Lankan tradition, rather than early Indian.[30] The discussion of servants and bonded labor is also found in manuscripts found in Tibet, though the details vary.[30][31]

The discussion of servant, bonded labor and slaves, states Scopen, differs significantly in different manuscripts discovered for the same Buddhist text in India, Nepal and Tibet, whether they are in Sanskrit or Pali language.[31] These Buddhist manuscripts present a set of questions to ask a person who wants to become a monk or nun. These questions inquire if the person is a dasa and dasi, but also ask additional questions such as "are you ahrtaka" and "are you vikritaka". The later questions have been interpreted in two ways. As "are you one who has been seized" (ahrtaka) and "are you one who has been sold" (vikritaka) respectively, these terms are interpreted as slaves.[31] Alternatively, they have also been interpreted as "are you doubtless" and "are you blameworthy" respectively, which does not mean slave.[31] Further, according to these texts, Buddhist monasteries refused all servants, bonded labor and slaves an opportunity to become a monk or nun, but accepted them as workers to serve the monastery.[31][30]

The Indian texts discuss dasa and bonded labor along with their rights, as well as a monastic community's obligations to feed, clothe and provide medical aid to them in exchange for their work. This description of rights and duties in Buddhist Vinaya texts, says Schopen, parallel those found in Hindu Dharmasutra and Dharmasastra texts.[32] The Buddhist attitude to servitude or slavery as reflected in Buddhist texts, states Schopen, may reflect a "passive acceptance" of cultural norms of the Brahmanical society midst them, or more "justifiably an active support" of these institutions.[33] The Buddhist texts offer "no hint of protest or reform" to such institutions, according to Schopen.[33]

Kautilya's Arthashastra dedicates the thirteenth chapter on dasas, in his third book on law. This Sanskrit document from the Maurya Empire period (4th century BCE) has been translated by several authors, each in a different manner. Shamasastry's translation of 1915 maps dasa as slave, while Kangle leaves the words as dasa and karmakara. According to Kangle's interpretation, the verse 13.65.3–4 of Arthasastra forbids any slavery of "an Arya in any circumstances whatsoever", but allows the Mlecchas to "sell an offspring or keep it as pledge".[34] Patrick Olivelle agrees with this interpretation. He adds that an Arya or Arya family could pledge itself during times of distress into bondage, and these bonded individuals could be converted to slave if they committed a crime thereby differing with Kangle's interpretation.[35] According to Kangle, the Arthasastra forbids enslavement of minors and Arya from all four varnas and this inclusion of Shudras stands different from the Vedic literature.[36] Kangle suggests that the context and rights granted to dasa by Kautilya implies that the word had a different meaning than the modern word slave, as well as the meaning of the word slave in Greek or other ancient and medieval civilizations.[37][verification needed] According to Arthashastra, anyone who had been found guilty of nishpatitah (Sanskrit: निष्पातित, ruined, bankrupt, a minor crime)[38] may mortgage oneself to become dasa for someone willing to pay his or her bail and employ the dasa for money and privileges.[37][39]

The term dasa in Indic literature when used as a suffix to a bhagavan (deity) name, refers to a pious devotee.[40][41]

Slavery in Medieval India

Slavery was brought during the medieval era with the Muslim conquests of the Indian subcontinent.[5][6] Wink summarizes the period as follows,

Slavery and empire-formation tied in particularly well with iqta and it is within this context of Islamic expansion that elite slavery was later commonly found. It became the predominant system in North India in the thirteenth century and retained considerable importance in the fourteenth century. Slavery was still vigorous in fifteenth-century Bengal, while after that date it shifted to the Deccan where it persisted until the seventeenth century. It remained present to a minor extent in the Mughal provinces throughout the seventeenth century and had a notable revival under the Afghans in North India again in the eighteenth century.

— Al Hind, André Wink[42]

Unlike other parts of the medieval Muslim world, slavery was not widespread in Kashmir. Except for the Sultans, there is no evidence the elite kept slaves. The Kashmiris despised slavery. Concubinage was also not practised.[43]

Islamic invasions (8th to 12th century AD)

Andre Wink summarizes the slavery in 8th and 9th century India as follows,

(During the invasion of Muhammad al-Qasim), invariably numerous women and children were enslaved. The sources insist that now, in dutiful conformity to religious law, 'the one-fifth of the slaves and spoils' were set apart for the caliph's treasury and despatched to Iraq and Syria. The remainder was scattered among the army of Islam. At Rūr, a random 60,000 captives reduced to slavery. At Brahamanabad 30,000 slaves were allegedly taken. At Multan 6,000. Slave raids continued to be made throughout the late Umayyad period in Sindh, but also much further into Hind, as far as Ujjain and Malwa. The Abbasid governors raided Punjab, where many prisoners and slaves were taken.

— Al Hind, André Wink[44]


In the early 11th century Tarikh al-Yamini, the Arab historian Al-Utbi recorded that in 1001 the armies of Mahmud of Ghazni conquered Peshawar and Waihand (capital of Gandhara) after Battle of Peshawar (1001), "in the midst of the land of Hindustan", and enslaved thousands.[45][46] Later, following his twelfth expedition into India in 1018–19, Mahmud is reported to have returned to with such a large number of slaves that their value was reduced to only two to ten dirhams each. This unusually low price made, according to Al-Utbi, "merchants came from distant cities to purchase them, so that the countries of Central Asia, Iraq and Khurasan were swelled with them, and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor, mingled in one common slavery".

Delhi Sultanate (12th to 16th century AD)

See also: Turkish slaves in the Delhi Sultanate

During the Delhi Sultanate period (1206–1555), references to the abundant availability of low-priced Indian slaves abound.[1] Many of these Indian slaves were used by Muslim nobility in the subcontinent, but others were exported to satisfy the demand in international markets. Some slaves converted to Islam to receive protection. Children fathered by Muslim masters on non-Muslim slaves would be raised Muslim. Non-Muslim women, who Muslim soldiers and elites had slept with, would convert to Islam to avoid rejection by their own communities.[47] Scott Levi states that "Movement of considerable numbers of Hindus to the Central Asian slave markets was largely a product of the state building efforts of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire in South Asia".[1]

The revenue system of the Delhi Sultanate produced a considerable proportion of the Indian slave population as these rulers, and their subordinate shiqadars, ordered their armies to abduct large numbers of locals as a means of extracting revenue.[6][48] While those communities that were loyal to the Sultan and regularly paid their taxes were often excused from this practice, taxes were commonly extracted from other, less loyal groups in the form of slaves. Thus, according to Barani, the Shamsi "slave-king" Balban (r. 1266–87) ordered his shiqadars in Awadh to enslave those peoples resistant to his authority, implying those who refused to supply him with tax revenue.[49] Sultan Alauddin Khalji (r. 1296–1316) is similarly reported to have legalised the enslavement of those who defaulted on their revenue payments.[49] This policy continued during the Mughal era.[6][50][51][52][53]

An even greater number of people were enslaved as a part of the efforts of the Delhi Sultans to finance their expansion into new territories.[54] For example, while he himself was still a military slave of the Ghurid Sultan Muizz u-Din, Qutb-ud-din Aybak (r. 1206–10 as the first of the Shamsi slave-kings) invaded Gujarat in 1197 and placed some 20,000 people in bondage. Roughly six years later, he enslaved an additional 50,000 people during his conquest of Kalinjar. Later in the 13th century, Balban's campaign in Ranthambore, reportedly defeated the Indian army and yielded "captives beyond computation".[53][55]

Levi states that the forcible enslavement of non-Muslims during Delhi Sultanate was motivated by the desire for war booty and military expansion. This gained momentum under the Khalji and Tughluq dynasties, as being supported by available figures.[1][53] Zia uddin Barani suggested that Sultan Alauddin Khalji owned 50,000 slave-boys, in addition to 70,000 construction slaves. Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq is said to have owned 180,000 slaves, roughly 12,000 of whom were skilled artisans.[6][48][53][56][57][58] A significant proportion of slaves owned by the Sultans were likely to have been military slaves and not labourers or domestics. However earlier traditions of maintaining a mixed army comprising both Indian soldiers and Turkic slave-soldiers (ghilman, mamluks) from Central Asia, were disrupted by the rise of the Mongol Empire reducing the inflow of mamluks. This intensified demands by the Delhi Sultans on local Indian populations to satisfy their need for both military and domestic slaves. The Khaljis even sold thousands of captured Mongol soldiers within India.[6][56][59] China, Turkistan, Persia, and Khurusan were sources of male and female slaves sold to Tughluq India.[60][61][62][63] The Yuan Dynasty Emperor in China sent 100 slaves of both sexes to the Tughluq Sultan, and he replied by also sending the same number of slaves of both sexes.[64]

Mughal Empire (16th to 19th century)

The slave trade continued to exist in the Mughal Empire, however it was greatly reduced in scope, primarily limited to domestic servitude and debt bondage, and deemed "mild" and incomparable to the Arab slave trade or transatlantic slave trade.[65][66]

One Dutch merchant in the 17th century writes about Abd Allah Khan Firuz Jang, an Uzbek noble at the Mughal court during the 1620s and 1630s, who was appointed to the position of governor of the regions of Kalpi and Kher and, in the process of subjugating the local rebels, beheaded the leaders and enslaved their women, daughters and children, who were more than 200,000 in number.[67]

When Shah Shuja was appointed as governor of Kabul, he carried out a war in Indian territory beyond the Indus. Most of the women burnt themselves to death to save their honour. Those captured were "distributed" among Muslim mansabdars.[50][failed verification][68][failed verification][69][70] The Augustinian missionary Fray Sebastian Manrique, who was in Bengal in 1629–30 and again in 1640, remarked on the ability of the shiqdār—a Mughal officer responsible for executive matters in the pargana, the smallest territorial unit of imperial administration to collect the revenue demand, by force if necessary, and even to enslave peasants should they default in their payments.[68]

A survey of a relatively small, restricted sample of seventy-seven letters regarding the manumission or sale of slaves in the Majmua-i-wathaiq reveals that slaves of Indian origin (Hindi al-asal) accounted for over fifty-eight percent of those slaves whose region of origin is mentioned. The Khutut-i-mamhura bemahr-i qadat-i Bukhara, a smaller collection of judicial documents from early-eighteenth-century Bukhara, includes several letters of manumission, with over half of these letters referring to slaves "of Indian origin". In the model of a legal letter of manumission written by the chief qazi for his assistant to follow, the example used is of a slave "of Indian origin".[71] Indian slaves continued to be sold in the markets of Bukhara well into the nineteenth century.[citation needed]

The export of slaves from India was limited to debt defaulters and rebels against the Mughal Empire. The Ghakkars of Punjab acted as intermediaries for such slave for trade to Central Asian buyers.[66]

Fatawa-i Alamgiri

Main article: Fatawa-e-Alamgiri

The Fatawa-e-Alamgiri (also known as the Fatawa-i-Hindiya and Fatawa-i Hindiyya) was sponsored by Aurangzeb in the late 17th century.[72] It compiled the law for the Mughal Empire, and involved years of effort by 500 Muslim scholars from South Asia, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The thirty volumes on Hanafi-based sharia law for the Empire was influential during and after Auruangzeb's rule, and it included many chapters and laws on slavery and slaves in India.[73][74][75]

Some of the slavery-related law included in Fatawa-i Alamgiri were,

• the right of Muslims to purchase and own slaves,[74]
• a Muslim man's right to have sex with a captive slave girl he owns or a slave girl owned by another Muslim (with master's consent) without marrying her,[76]
• no inheritance rights for slaves,[77]
• the testimony of all slaves was inadmissible in a court of law[78]
• slaves require permission of the master before they can marry,[79]
• an unmarried Muslim may marry a slave girl he owns but a Muslim married to a Muslim woman may not marry a slave girl,[80]
• conditions under which the slaves may be emancipated partially or fully.[75]

Export of Indian slaves to international markets

Alongside Buddhist Oirats, Christian Russians, Afghans, and the predominantly Shia Iranians, Indian slaves were an important component of the highly active slave markets of medieval and early modern Central Asia. The all pervasive nature of slavery in this period in Central Asia is shown by the 17th century records of one Juybari Sheikh, a Naqshbandi Sufi leader, owning over 500 slaves, forty of whom were specialists in pottery production while the others were engaged in agricultural work.[81] High demand for skilled slaves, and India's larger and more advanced textile industry, agricultural production and tradition of architecture demonstrated to its neighbours that skilled-labour was abundant in the subcontinent leading to enslavement and export of large numbers of skilled labour as slaves, following their successful invasions.[59][82]

After sacking Delhi, Timur enslaved several thousand skilled artisans, presenting many of these slaves to his subordinate elite, although reserving the masons for use in the construction of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand.[83] Young female slaves fetched higher market price than skilled construction slaves, sometimes by 150%,[84] as they could be kept as sex slaves.[6]

Under early European colonial powers

According to one author, in spite of the best efforts of the slave-holding elite to conceal the continuation of the institution from the historical record, slavery was practised throughout colonial India in various manifestations.[85]

17th century

Slavery existed in Portuguese India after the 16th century. "Most of the Portuguese," says Albert. D. Mandelslo, a German itinerant writer, "have many slaves of both sexes, whom they employ not only on and about their persons, but also upon the business they are capable of, for what they get comes with the master."

The Dutch, too, largely dealt in slaves. They were mainly Abyssian, known in India as Habshis or Sheedes. The curious mixed race in Kanara on the West coast has traces of these slaves.[86]

The Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade was primarily mediated by the Dutch East India Company, drawing captive labour from three commercially closely linked regions: the western, or Southeast Africa, Madagascar, and the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius and Reunion); the middle, or Indian subcontinent (Malabar, Coromandel, and the Bengal/Arakan coast); and the eastern, or Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea (Irian Jaya), and the southern Philippines.

The Dutch traded slaves from fragmented or weak small states and stateless societies in the East beyond the sphere of Islamic influence, to the company's Asian headquarters, the "Chinese colonial city" of Batavia (Jakarta), and its regional centre in coastal Sri Lanka. Other destinations included the important markets of Malacca (Melaka) and Makassar (Ujungpandang), along with the plantation economies of eastern Indonesia (Maluku, Ambon, and Banda Islands), and the agricultural estates of the southwestern Cape Colony (South Africa).

On the Indian subcontinent, Arakan/Bengal, Malabar, and Coromandel remained the most important source of forced labour until the 1660s. Between 1626 and 1662, the Dutch exported on an average 150–400 slaves annually from the Arakan-Bengal coast. During the first thirty years of Batavia's existence, Indian and Arakanese slaves provided the main labour force of the company's Asian headquarters. Of the 211 manumitted slaves in Batavia between 1646 and 1649, 126 (59.71%) came from South Asia, including 86 (40.76%) from Bengal.
Slave raids into the Bengal estuaries were conducted by joint forces of Magh pirates, and Portuguese traders (chatins) operating from Chittagong outside the jurisdiction and patronage of the Estado da India, using armed vessels (galias). These raids occurred with the active connivance of the Taung-ngu (Toungoo) rulers of Arakan. The eastward expansion of the Mughal Empire, however, completed with the conquest of Chittagong in 1666, cut off the traditional supplies from Arakan and Bengal. Until the Dutch seizure of the Portuguese settlements on the Malabar coast (1658–63), large numbers of slaves were also captured and sent from India's west coast to Batavia, Ceylon, and elsewhere. After 1663, however, the stream of forced labour from Cochin dried up to a trickle of about 50–100 and 80–120 slaves per year to Batavia and Ceylon, respectively.

In contrast with other areas of the Indian subcontinent, Coromandel remained the centre of a sporadic slave trade throughout the seventeenth century. In various short-lived expansions accompanying natural and human-induced calamities, the Dutch exported thousands of slaves from the east coast of India. A prolonged period of drought followed by famine conditions in 1618–20 saw the first large-scale export of slaves from the Coromandel coast in the seventeenth century. Between 1622 and 1623, 1,900 slaves were shipped from central Coromandel ports, like Pulicat and Devanampattinam. Company officials on the coast declared that 2,000 more could have been bought if only they had the funds.

The second expansion in the export of Coromandel slaves occurred during a famine following the revolt of the Nayaka Indian rulers of South India (Tanjavur, Senji, and Madurai) against Bijapur overlordship (1645) and the subsequent devastation of the Tanjavur countryside by the Bijapur army. Reportedly, more than 150,000 people were taken by the invading Deccani Muslim armies to Bijapur and Golconda. In 1646, 2,118 slaves were exported to Batavia, the overwhelming majority from southern Coromandel. Some slaves were also acquired further south at Tondi, Adirampatnam, and Kayalpatnam.

A third phase in slaving took place between 1659 and 1661 from Tanjavur as a result of a series of successive Bijapuri raids. At Nagapatnam, Pulicat, and elsewhere, the company purchased 8,000–10,000 slaves, the bulk of whom were sent to Ceylon while a small portion were exported to Batavia and Malacca. A fourth phase (1673–77) started from a long drought in Madurai and southern Coromandel starting in 1673, and intensified by the prolonged Madurai-Maratha struggle over Tanjavur and punitive fiscal practices. Between 1673 and 1677, 1,839 slaves were exported from the Madurai coast alone. A fifth phase occurred in 1688, caused by poor harvests and the Mughal advance into the Karnatak. Thousands of people from Tanjavur, mostly girls and little boys, were sold into slavery and exported by Asian traders from Nagapattinam to Aceh, Johor, and other slave markets. In September 1687, 665 slaves were exported by the East India Company from Fort St. George, Madras. Finally, in 1694–96, when warfare once more ravaged South India, a total of 3,859 slaves were imported from Coromandel by private individuals into Ceylon.[87] [88] [89][90]

The volume of the total Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade has been estimated to be about 15–30% of the Atlantic slave trade, slightly smaller than the trans-Saharan slave trade, and one-and-a-half to three times the size of the Swahili and Red Sea coast and the Dutch West India Company slave trades.[91]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 2

Slavery in Malabar

The main agrestic slave castes in Malabar were Pulayars, Parayars, Kuruvars, Cherumas. The principal Collector estimated that the Pulayars and Cherumars constituted about half of the slave population. Buchannan in 1801 stated that almost all cultivators were slaves. He stated that the slaves were primarily used for field labouring and the degree of slavery was the worst among the Parayars, Pulayans and Kuravans who were made to work like beasts. Cheruvans and Pulayans were brought to the towns to be bought and sold. The slave population increased by 65 percent in 36 years from 1806 to 1842. Children born to slaves were also made slaves.[92] According to Dr. Francis Buchanan's estimate in 1801 AD, 41,367 people were slaves in the Malabar's south, central, and northern divisions, out of a total population of 292,366. Travancore had 164,864 slaves in 1836, out of a total population of 1,280,668. During the middle of the nineteenth century, Kerala had an estimated 4.25 lakh (425,000) slaves.[93]

Social oppression was also part of slavery. They were not allowed to wear clean clothes and were to keep away from the roads of their masters who were Brahmin and Nairs. Major Walker stated that they were left out to nature and abandoned when they suffered from diseases and some times made to stand in rice fields for hours which gave them Rheumatism, Cholera and other diseases.[92] The slaves belonged to the lower castes and were employed only for feudal work, and the stigma that they should be kept away from their masters was strictly followed. Samuel Mateer, noted that even in the working fields the slaves were supervised from a distance.[93] The caste system kept them as untouchables and divided into numerous sub-castes. The condition of the Cherumars was no different in 19th century, the Kerala Patrike in 1898 wrote that the Cherumar slaves had high regards for their masters because the higher castes convinced them that they were obliged at birth to serve the Higher castes.[92]

Between 1871 and 1881, an estimated 40,000 slaves converted to Islam, according to the 1881 census. During this time, many slaves in Cochin and Travancore converted to Christianity. It was stated at the 1882 Christian Mission Conference that the population of Muslim Mapillas was rapidly expanding due to conversions from the lower strata of Hindu society, and that the entire west coast could become Muslim in such a phase.[93]


18th to 20th century

Between 1772 and 1833, debates in the British Parliament recorded the volume of slavery in India.[94] A slave market was noted as operating in Calcutta, and the Company Court House permitted slave ownership to be registered, for a fee of Rs. 4.25 or Rs.4 and 4 annas.[95]

A number of abolitionist missionaries, including Rev. James Peggs, Rev. Howard Malcom, Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, and William Adams offered commentaries on the Parliamentary debates, and added their own estimates of the numbers effected by, and forms of slavery in South Asia, by region and caste, in the 1830s. In a series of publications that included their: "India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghau Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India", "Slavery and the slave trade in British India; with notices of the existence of these evils in the islands of Ceylon, Malacca, and Penang, drawn from official documents", and "The Law and Custom of Slavery in British India: In a Series of Letters to Thomas Fowell Buxton, Esq" tables were published detailing the estimates.

Estimates of slaves held in various East India Company territories and Native Kingdoms in the 1830s[96][97][98]


Province or Kingdom / Est. Slaves

Malabar / 147,000
Malabar and Wynad (Wayanad) / 100,000
Canara, Coorg, Wynad, Cochin, and Travancore / 254,000
Tinnevelly (Tirunelveli) / 324,000
Trichinopoly / 10,600
Arcot / 20,000
Canara / 80,000
Assam / 11,300
Surat / 3,000
Ceylon (Sri Lanka) / 27,397
Penang / 3,000
Sylhet and Buckergunge (Bakerganj) / 80,000
Behar / 22,722
Tizhoot / 11,061
Southern Mahratta Country / 7,500
Sub Total / 1,121,585


The publications have been frequently cited by modern historians when discussing the history of slavery in India, as it included individual letters and reports discussing the practise in various regions throughout India, frequently mentioning the number of people being enslaved:

Slavery in Bombay. In Mr. Chaplin's report, made in answer to queries addressed to the collectors of districts, he says, "Slavery in the Deccan is very prevalent and we know that it has been recognized by the Hindu law, and by the custom of the country, from time immemorial'." Mr. Baber gives more definite information of the number of slaves in one of the divisions of the Bombay territory, viz., that " lying between the rivers Kistna and Toongbutra," the slaves in which he estimates at 15,000; and in the southern Mahratta country, he observes, "All the Jagheerdars, Deshwars, Zemindars, principal Brahmins, and Sahookdars, retain slaves in their domestic establishments; in fact, in every Mahratta household of consequence, they are, both male and female, especially the latter, to be found, and indeed are considered to be indispensable."

— Par. Pap. No. 128, 1834, p. 4.

Historian Andrea Major noted the extent of European involvement in slave trading in India:

In fact, eighteenth century Europeans, including some Britons, were involved in buying, selling and exporting Indian slaves, transferring them around the subcontinent or to European slave colonies across the globe. Moreover, many eighteenth century European households in India included domestic slaves, with the owners' right of property over them being upheld in law. Thus, although both colonial observers and subsequent historians usually represent South Asian slavery as an indigenous institution, with which the British were only concerned as colonial reforms, until the end of the eighteenth century Europeans were deeply implicated in both slave-holding and slave-trading in the region.

— Andrea Major[11][99]


Regulation and prohibition

In Bengal, the East India Company (EIC) in 1773 opted to codify the pre-existing pluralistic judicial system, with Europeans subject to common law, Muslims to the sharia based Fatawa-e-Alamgiri, and Hindus to an adaptation of a Dharmaśāstra named Manusmriti, which became known as the Hindu law,[100] with the applicable legal traditions, and for Hindus an interpretation of verse 8.415 of the Manusmriti,[21] regulating the practice of slavery.[96]

412. 'A Brahmen, who, by his power and through avarice, shall cause twice born men, girt with the sacrificial thread, to perform servile acts, such as washing his feet, without their consent, shall be fined by the king six hundred panas;

413. 'But a man of the servile class whether bought or unbought, he may compel to perform servile duty; because such a man was created by the Self-existent for the purpose of serving Brahmens:

414. 'A Sudra, though emancipated by his master, is not released from a state of servitude; for of a state which is natural to him, by whom can he be divested?

415. 'There are servants of seven sorts; one made captive under a standard or in battle, one maintained in consideration of service, one born of a female slave in the house, one sold, or given, or inherited from ancestors, and one enslaved by way of punishment on his inability to pay a large fine.

416. 'Three persons, a wife, a son, and a slave, are declared by law to have in general no wealth exclusively their own: the wealth, which they may earn, is regularly acquired for the man to whom they belong.

417. 'A Brahmen may seize without hesitation, if he be distressed for a subsistence, the goods of his Sudra slave; for as that slave can have no property, his master may take his goods.

-- Institutes of Hindu Law: Or, The Ordinances of Menu, According to the Gloss of Culluca. Comprising the Indian System of Duties, Religious and Civil, Verbally translated from the original Sanscrit, With a Preface, by Sir William Jones, 1796


The EIC later passed regulations 9, and 10 of 1774, prohibiting the trade in slaves without written deed, and the sale of anyone not already enslaved,[99] and reissued the legislation in 1789, after a Danish slave trader, Peter Horrebow, was caught, prosecuted, fined, and jailed for attempting to smuggle 150 Bengali slaves to Dutch Ceylon.[99] The EIC subsequently issued regulations 10 of 1811, prohibiting the transport of slaves into Company territories.[99]

When the United Kingdom abolished slavery in its overseas territories, through the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act, it excluded the non-Crown territories administered by the East India Company from the scope of the statute.[101]

The Indian Slavery Act of 1843 prohibited Company employees from owning, or dealing, along with granting limited protection under the law, that included the ability for a slave to own, transfer or inherit property, notionally benefitting the millions held in Company territory, that in an 1883 article on slavery in India and Egypt, Sir Henry Bartle Frer (who sat on the Viceroy's Council 1859-67), estimated that within the Companies territory, that did not yet extend to half the sub-continent, at the time of the act:


Comparing such information, district by district, with the very imperfect estimates of the total population fifty years ago, the lowest estimate I have been able to form of the total slave population of British India, in 1841, is between eight and nine millions [9,000,000] of souls. The slaves set free in the British colonies on the 1st of August, 1834, were estimated at between 800,000 and 1,000,000; and the slaves in North and South America, in 1860, were estimated at 4,000,000. So that the number of human beings whose liberties and fortunes, as slaves and owners of slaves, were at stake when the emancipation of the slaves was contemplated in British India, far exceeded the number of the same classes in all the slaveholding colonies and dominions of Great Britain and America put together.

— Fortnightly Review, 1883, p. 355[102]


Image
Growth of East India Company controlled territories (pink) between 1765, 1805, 1837 and 1857

Image
Growth of East India Company controlled territories (pink) between 1765, 1805, 1837 and 1857

Portugal gradually prohibited the importation of slaves into Portuguese India, following the 1818 Anglo-Portuguese anti slavery treaty, a subsequent 1836 Royal Edict, and a second Anglo-Portuguese treaty in 1842 reduced the external trade, but the institution itself was only prohibited in 1876.[15]

France prohibited slavery, in French India, via the Proclamation of the Abolition of Slavery in the French Colonies, 27 April 1848.[103]


British Indian Empire

Provisions of the Indian Penal Code of 1861 effectively abolished slavery in British India by making the enslavement of human beings a criminal offense.[1][16][17][104] Criminalisation of the institution was required of the princely states, with the likes of the 1861 Anglo-Sikkimese treaty requiring Sikkim to outlaw the institution.[95]

Officials that inadvertently used the term "slave" would be reprimanded, but the actual practices of servitude continued unchanged. Scholar Indrani Chatterjee has termed this "abolition by denial."[105] In the rare cases when the anti-slavery legislation was enforced, it addressed the relatively smaller practices of export and import of slaves, but it did little to address the agricultural slavery that was pervasive inland. The officials in the Madras Presidency turned a blind eye to agricultural slavery claiming that it was a benign form of bondage that was in fact preferable to free labour.[106]

Indian indenture system

Main article: Indian indenture system

After the British government passed legislation which abolished slavery in 1833, the Indian indenture system arose in response to labor demands in regions which had abolished slavery. The indenture system has been compared to slavery by some historians.[107][108][109] According to Richard Sheridan, quoting Dookhan, "[the planters] continued to apply or sanction the means of coercion common to slavery, and in this regard the Indians fared no better than the ex-slaves".[110]

In the Indian indenture system, indentured Indian laborers were brought to regions in which slavery had been abolished to replace Africans as laborers on plantations and mines.[111] The first ships carrying indentured labourers left India in 1836.[111] Once they arrived at their destination, they would then be sent to work under various planters or mine owners. Their work and living conditions were frequently just as poor as the slaves they replaced, being frequently confined to their estates and being paid low salaries. Any breach of contract by them brought automatic criminal penalties and imprisonment.[111] Many of the indentured laborers became indentured through fraudulent means, with Indians from inland regions over a thousand kilometers from seaports being promised jobs, were not told the work they were being hired for, or that they would leave their homeland and communities. They were hustled aboard the waiting ships, unprepared for the long and arduous four-month sea journey. Charles Anderson, a special magistrate investigating these sugarcane plantations, wrote to the Colonial Secretary declaring that with few exceptions, the indentured labourers were treated with "great and unjust severity"; planters enforced their Indian laborers in plantations, mining and domestic work harshly, to the extent that decaying remains of deceased laborers were frequently discovered in fields. If labourers protested and refused to work, the planters would refuse to pay and feed them.[111][112]


Contemporary slavery

According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, 40.3 million people were enslaved worldwide in 2016. India accounts for almost 8 million or 20%, making it the largest absolute contributor to modern slavery.[113] This typically involves types of forced labor such as bonded labour, child labour, forced marriage, human trafficking, forced begging, and sexual slavery.[114][115][116][117][118]

The existence of slavery, especially child slavery, in South Asia and the world has been alleged by various non-governmental organizations (NGO) and media outlets.[119][120] With the Bonded Labour (Prohibition) Act 1976 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (concerning slavery and servitude), a spotlight has been placed on these problems in the country. One of the areas identified as problematic is granite quarries.[121][122]



See also

• Veth (India), a system of forced labour
• History of slavery in Asia
• Child labour in India
• Labour in India

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87. S. Subrahmanyam, "Slaves and Tyrants: Dutch Tribulations in Seventeenth-Century Mrauk-U," Journal of Early Modern History 1, no. 3 (August 1997); O. Prakash, European Commercial Enterprise in Pre-Colonial India, The New Cambridge History of India II:5 (New York, 1998); O. Prakash, The Dutch East India Company and the Economy of Bengal; J. F. Richards, The Mughal Empire, The New Cambridge History of India I:5 (New York, 1993),; Raychaudhuri and Habib, eds., The Cambridge Economic History of India I,; V. B. Lieberman, Burmese Administrative Cycles: Anarchy and Conquest, c. 1580–1760 (Princeton, N.J., 1984); G. D. Winius, "The 'Shadow Empire' of Goa in the Bay of Bengal," Itinerario 7, no. 2 (1983):; D.G.E. Hall, "Studies in Dutch relations with Arakan," Journal of the Burma Research Society 26, no. 1 (1936):; D.G.E. Hall, "The Daghregister of Batavia and Dutch Trade with Burma in the Seventeenth Century," Journal of the Burma Research Society 29, no. 2 (1939); Arasaratnam, "Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean in the Seventeenth Century,".
88. VOC 1479, OBP 1691, fls. 611r-627v, Specificatie van Allerhande Koopmansz. tot Tuticurin, Manaapar en Alvatt.rij Ingekocht, 1670/71-1689/90; W. Ph. Coolhaas and J.van Goor, eds., Generale Missiven van Gouverneurs-Generaal en Raden van Indiaan Heren Zeventien der Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (The Hague, 1960–present), passim; T. Raychaudhuri, Jan Company in Coromandel, 1605–1690: A Study on the Interrelations of European Commerce and Traditional Economies (The Hague, 1962); S. Arasaratnam, "Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean in the Seventeenth Century," in K. S. Mathew, ed., Mariners, Merchants and Oceans: Studies in Maritime History (New Delhi, 1995).
89. For exports of Malabar slaves to Ceylon, Batavia, see Generale Missiven VI,; H.K. s'Jacob ed., De Nederlanders in Kerala, 1663–1701: De Memories en Instructies Betreffende het Commandement Malabar van de Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, Rijks Geschiedkundige Publication, Kleine serie 43 (The Hague, 1976),; R. Barendse, "Slaving on the Malagasy Coast, 1640–1700," in S. Evers and M. Spindler, eds., Cultures of Madagascar: Ebb and Flow of Influences (Leiden, 1995). See also M. O. Koshy, The Dutch Power in Kerala (New Delhi, 1989); K. K. Kusuman, Slavery in Travancore (Trivandrum, 1973); M.A.P. Meilink-Roelofsz, De Vestiging der Nederlanders ter Kuste Malabar (The Hague, 1943); H. Terpstra, De Opkomst der Westerkwartieren van de Oostindische Compagnie (The Hague, 1918).
90. M.P.M. Vink, "Encounters on the Opposite Coast: Cross-Cultural Contacts between the Dutch East India Company and the Nayaka State of Madurai in the Seventeenth Century," unpublished dissertation, University of Minnesota (1998); Arasaratnam, Ceylon and the Dutch, 1600–1800 (Great Yarmouth, 1996); H. D. Love, Vestiges from Old Madras (London, 1913).
91. Of 2,467 slaves traded on 12 slave voyages from Batavia, India, and Madagascar between 1677 and 1701 to the Cape, 1,617 were landed with a loss of 850 slaves, or 34.45%. On 19 voyages between 1677 and 1732, the mortality rate was somewhat lower (22.7%). See Shell, "Slavery at the Cape of Good Hope, 1680–1731," p. 332. Filliot estimated the average mortality rate among slaves shipped from India and West Africa to the Mascarene Islands at 20–25% and 25–30%, respectively. Average mortality rates among slaves arriving from closer catchment areas were lower: 12% from Madagascar and 21% from Southeast Africa. See Filliot, La Traite des Esclaves, p. 228; A. Toussaint, La Route des Îles: Contribution à l'Histoire Maritime des Mascareignes (Paris, 1967),; Allen, "The Madagascar Slave Trade and Labor Migration."
92. Thomas, K.T. (1999). "Slaves an Integral Part of the Production System in Malabar (19Th Century)". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 60: 600–610. ISSN 2249-1937. JSTOR 44144128.
93. Nair, Adoor K. K. Ramachandran (1 January 1986). Slavery in Kerala. Mittal Publications. pp. 38–43.
94. Hansard Parliamentary Papers 125 (1828), 128 (1834), 697 (1837), 238 (1841), 525 (1843), 14 (1844), London, House of Commons
95. Sen, Jahar (1973). "Slave trade on the Indo-Nepal border, in the 19th century" (PDF). Calcutta: 159 – via Cambridge Apollo.
96. Slavery and the slave trade in British India; with notices of the existence of these evils in the islands of Ceylon, Malacca, and Penang, drawn from official documents
97. The Law and Custom of Slavery in British India: In a Series of Letters to Thomas Fowell Buxton, Esq
98. The British and Foreign Anti-slavery Reporter, Volumes 1-3
99. Andrea Major (2012). Slavery, Abolitionism and Empire in India, 1772-1843. Liverpool University Press. pp. 43–54. ISBN 978-1-84631-758-3.
100. John Griffith (1986), What is legal pluralism?, The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, Volume 18, Issue 24, pages 1-55
101. An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies 3° & 4° Gulielmi IV, cap. LXXIII (August 1833)
102. "Slavery In British India : Banaji, D. R. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive". Internet Archive. 1 July 2015. p. 202. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
103. Peabody, Sue (2014). "French Emancipation". Atlantic History. Introduction. doi:10.1093/OBO/9780199730414-0253. ISBN 978-0-19-973041-4.
104. Islamic Law and the Colonial Encounter in British India Archived 29 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
105. Campbell, G. (Ed.). (2005). Abolition and Its Aftermath in the Indian Ocean Africa and Asia. London: Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203493021
106. Viswanath, Rupa (29 July 2014), The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India, Columbia University Press, p. 5, ISBN 978-0-231-53750-6
107. Walton Lai (1993). Indentured labor, Caribbean sugar: Chinese and Indian migrants to the British West Indies, 1838–1918. ISBN 978-0-8018-7746-9.
108. Steven Vertovik (Robin Cohen, ed.) (1995). The Cambridge survey of world migration. pp. 57–68. ISBN 978-0-521-44405-7.
109. Tinker, Hugh (1993). New System of Slavery. Hansib Publishing, London. ISBN 978-1-870518-18-5.
110. Sheridan, Richard B. (2002). "The Condition of slaves on the sugar plantations of Sir John Gladstone in the colony of Demerara 1812 to 1849". New West Indian Guide. 76 (3/4): 265–269. doi:10.1163/13822373-90002536.
111. "Forced Labour". The National Archives, Government of the United Kingdom. 2010.
112. K Laurence (1994). A Question of Labour: Indentured Immigration Into Trinidad & British Guiana, 1875–1917. St Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-12172-3.
113. Walk, Free (2018). "Global Slavery Index" (PDF).
114. Browne, Rachel (31 May 2016). "Andrew Forrest puts world's richest countries on notice: Global Slavery Index". Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. Fairfax. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
115. Gladstone, Rick (31 May 2016). "Modern Slavery Estimated to Trap 45 Million People Worldwide". The New York Times.
116. "India".
117. "Bonded labourers, sex workers, forced beggars: India leads world in slavery". 31 May 2016.
118. Mazumdar, Rakhi (June 2016). "India ranks fourth in global slavery survey". The Economic Times.
119. Vilasetuo Süokhrie, "Human Market for Sex & Slave?!!", The Morung Express (8 April 2008)
120. Choi-Fitzpatrick, Austin (7 March 2017). What Slaveholders Think: How Contemporary Perpetrators Rationalize What They do. ISBN 9780231543828.
121. "Modern slavery and child labour in Indian quarries - Stop Child Labour". Stop Child Labour. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
122. "Modern slavery and child labour in Indian quarries". http://www.indianet.nl. Retrieved 9 March 2016.

Further reading

• Singh, Akanksha (2021), "'Enslaved for Life': Construing Slavery in Nineteenth Century India", HumaNetten 47
• Scott C. Levi (2002), Hindus Beyond the Hindu Kush: Indians in the Central Asian Slave Trade, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
• Lal, K. S. (1994), Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. [1]
• Salim Kidwai, "Sultans, Eunuchs and Domestics: New Forms of Bondage in Medieval India", in Utsa Patnaik and Manjari Dingwaney (eds), Chains of Servitude: bondage and slavery in India (Madras, 1985).
• Utsa Patnaik and Manjari Dingwaney (eds), Chains of Servitude: bondage and slavery in India (Madras, 1985)
• Andrea Major (2014), Slavery, Abolitionism and Empire in India, 1772–1843, Liverpool University Press.
• R.C. Majumdar, The History and Culture of the Indian People, Bombay.
• Andre Wink (1991), Al-Hind: the Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Brill Academic (Leiden), ISBN 978-9004095090
• KT Rammohan (2009), 'Modern Bondage: Atiyaayma in Post-Abolition Malabar'. in Jan Breman, Isabelle Guerin and Aseem Prakash (eds). India's Unfree Workforce: Of Bondage Old and New. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-019-569846-6

External links

• The law and custom of slavery in British India in a series of letters to Thomas Fowell Buxton, esq., by William Adam., 1840 Open Library
• Modern Slavery, Human bondage in Africa, Asia, and the Dominican Republic
• The Small Hands of Slavery, Bonded Child Labor In India
• India – bonded labour: the gap between illusion and reality
• Child Slaves in Modern India: The Bonded Labor Problem
• Legislative Redress Rather Than Progress? From Slavery to Bondage in Colonial India by Stefan Tetzlaff
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Jul 06, 2022 12:25 am

Excerpt from "India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India"
by James Peggs
1832
p. 218-219

-- India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India, by James Peggs

-- Slavery in India: The Present State of East India Slavery; Chiefly Extracted From the Parliamentary Papers on the Subject, Printed March, 1828, August 1832, August 1838, by James Peggs, Third Edition, 1840

-- Slavery and the Slave Trade in British India; With Notices of the Existence of These Evils in the Islands of Ceylon, Malacca, and Penang, Drawn from Official Documents, by Thomas Ward and Col, And to Be Had At the Office of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1841

-- Slavery in the Bengal Presidency Under East India Company Rule, 1772-1843, by Amal Kumar Cattopadhyay, Thesis presented at the University of London for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1963


Image
BURNING A HINDOO WIDOW

Image
BURYING ALIVE A HINDOO WIDOW

Annotation

Toward the end of the 1700s, the evangelical movement in Britain argued that one’s commitment to Christ should be reflected in action, primarily the effort to end slavery in the British empire and to proselytize or seek converts among the “heathen.” Initially, the English East India Company had prohibited Christian missionaries from living within their territories and seeking Indian converts in order to prevent any unrest or opposition to the Company’s trade and political control. In 1813, when the British Parliament was considering the renewal of the charter that authorized the Company’s trade and political control in India, members of Parliament who were committed evangelical Christians, mainly Baptists and Methodists, forced the Company to permit missionaries to settle in their territory. Once in India, Protestant missionaries criticized Hindu religious practices such as the use of images in worship and social customs such as early marriage and sati as superstitious and barbaric.

James Peggs (1793-1850) had been a missionary at Cuttack, Orissa, south of Calcutta, and published this edition of his book in 1832 when Parliament was again reviewing the charter of the Company. Then residing in England, he sought to influence Parliament to give firm instructions to the Company to exert greater control over Hindu social customs and religious practices that he considered evil. Peggs claimed that self-immolation continued among Hindu widows, and that the Company must take more vigorous measures to enforce the prohibition on sati.

In this book, Peggs includes a description of a sati witnessed by Rev. J. England of Bangalore, in the princely state of Mysore (now the state of Karnataka in which the dominant language is Kannada or Carnatic) in south India, in June 1826. Although Company law, which permitted sati if it were voluntary, did not extend to a princely state, England is still concerned to indicate whether or not the widow was coerced to commit self-immolation. Peggs stated that his image of “Burning a Hindoo Widow” was a representation of that sati.

This source is a part of the Sati teaching module.

The account of the Suttee represented in the engraving, is from the pen of the Rev. J. England, of Bangalore, under the Madras Presidency, in June 1826.


I received a note from a gentleman that a Suttee was about to take place near his house. On hastening to the spot, I found the preparations considerably advanced, and a large concourse of spectators assembled. On my left stood the horrid pile; it was an oblong bed of dry cow-dung cakes, about ten feet long, seven wide, and three high. At each corner of it, a rough stake, about eight feet in length, was driven into the ground, and about a foot from the top of these supporters was fastened, by cords, a frame of the same dimensions as the bed, and forming a canopy. This frame must have been of considerable weight; it was covered with very dry small faggots, which the officiating Brahmuns continued to throw upon it, till they rose two feet above the frame-work. On my right, sat the poor deluded widow, who was to be the victim of this heart-rending display of Hindoo purity and gentleness; she was attended by a dozen or more Brahmuns; her mother, sister, and son (an interesting boy of about three years of age), and other relatives were also with her. Her own infant, now twelve months old, was craftily kept from her by the Brahmuns. She had already performed a number of preparatory ceremonies; one of which was washing herself in a strong decoction of saffron, which is supposed to have a purifying effect. It imparted to her a horrid ghastliness; —her eyes indicated a degree of melancholy wildness; an unnatural smile now and then played on her countenance: and everything about her person and her conduct indicated that narcotics had been administered in no small quantities. Close by me stood the Fousdar, a native officer, who, besides regulating the police, is the chief military officer of the station. So heartily did he engage in this murderous work, that he gave the poor widow twenty pagodas (between six and seven pounds sterling), to confirm her resolution to be burned!

The Rev. Mr. Campbell addressed her in the Carnatic language, but the effect of his address was counteracted by the influence of the Brahmuns. The pile being completed, a quantity of straw as spread on the top. An increase of activity was soon visible among the men, whose ‘feet are swift to shed blood.’ Muntrams having been repeated over the pile, and the woman and every thing being in readiness, the hurdle to which the corpse of the husband had been fastened was now raised by six of the officiating Brahmuns; the end of a cord about two yards long, attached at the other end to the head of the bier, was taken by the widow, and the whole moved slowly towards the pile. The corpse was laid on the right side, and four men furnished with sharp swords, one stationed at each corner, now drew them from their scabbards. The trembling, ghastly offering to the Moloch of Hindoism, ...

[Librarian's Comment: rather, the ego of husbands, who don't want their wives to "go" with other men, or "leave their house without their consent", as is also the case with the Mahomedans' slave-concubines, who cannot be emancipated against the Mahomedans' own rules of emancipation of slaves, for the same egotistical reason. Otherwise, why are the children allowed to live, but not the wife/mother?]

... then began her seven circuits round the fatal pile, and finally halted opposite to her husband’s corpse, at the left side of it, where she was evidently greatly agitated. Five or six Brahmuns began to talk to her with much vehemence, till, in a paroxysm of desperation, assisted by the Brahmuns, the hapless widow ascended the bed of destruction. Her mother and her sister stood by, weeping and agonized; but all was in vain—the blood-thirsty men prevailed. The devoted woman then proceeded to disengage the rings from her fingers, wrists, and ears; her murderers stretching out their greedy hands to receive them: afterwards all her trinkets, &c., were distributed among the same relentless and rapacious priests. While in the act of taking a ring from her ear, her mother and sister, unable any longer to sustain the extremity of their anguish, went up to the side of the pile, and entreated that the horrid purpose might be abandoned; but the woman fearing the encounter, without uttering a word, or even casting a parting glance at her supplicating parent and sister, threw herself down on the pile, and clasped the half-putrid corpse in her arms. Straw in abundance was heaped on the dead and the living; gums, resin, and other inflammable substances were thrown upon the straw which covered the bodies, while muntrams were repeated at their head; six or eight pieces of kindled cow-dung were introduced among the straw, at different parts of the pile; ghee and inflammable materials were applied, and the whole blazed in as many places. The men with swords at each corner then hacked the cords, which supported the canopy of faggots—it fell and covered the lifeless corpse and the living woman! A piercing sound caught my ear; I listened a few seconds, and, notwithstanding the noise of the multitude, heard the shrieks of misery which issued from the burning pile. In an agony of feeling, we directed the attention of the Brahmuns to this; and while so doing, again—still louder and more piercing than before—the burning woman rent the air with her shrieks! Several of the Brahmuns called out to the half-consumed, still conscious and imploring widow, TO COMFORT HER! The pile was now enveloped in flames, and so intense was the heat, that, as by one consent, the Brahmuns and spectators retreated several paces; they then sang a Sanscrit hymn; the hymn ended, but not the shrieks and groans of the agonized sufferer; they still pierced our ears, and almost rent our hearts! Scarcely conscious of what I did, I left this fiendish barbarity.

Credits

"India’s Cries to British Humanity," in World History Commons, https://worldhistorycommons.org/indias- ... h-humanity [accessed July 3, 2022]
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