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Part II



Missionary organisations are so wide-spread in this country that they seem to constitute �a State within the State�.  The Roman Catholic Church is a highly centralised organisation, Spread over all the world with power concentrated in the Pope, who, in the words of Pope Leo XIII (in the encyclical letter, dated June 20, 1894) �holds upon this earth the place of God Almighty�.  Hence he is crowned with a Triple Crown as King of Heaven and of the Earth and of the Lower Regions.

2. As regards the Protestants, they were divided into various national churches which sent out Missionaries as limbs of �National Imperialisms� (World Politics in Modern Civilization by Barnes. page 273).  They are numerous and on the whole the number of denominations is not decreasing but increasing (page 21, Elements of Ecumenism).  Hence in their case, centralisation was necessary to fight on two fronts, viz., religious nationalism of the country which they assail and Communism which they want to defend themselves against.  With all this effort on centralisation, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church of the Byzantine tradition and the oriental National Churches described as the Monophysites, the Unitarian Churches of England and America have refused to enter the fellowship of World Council of Churches with its headquarters at Geneva and on the other hand it has to meet .violent and growing opposition from the International Council of Christian Churches and another fundamentalist group, viz., the World Evangelical Fellowship (pages 18 to 20, The Elements of Ecumenism).

3. The Evangelical arm of the World Council of Churches is the International Missionary Council.  The National Christian Council of India, which was formerly known as the National Missionary Council, came to be organised in 1914 as the result of the First World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910 and is affiliated to the International Missionary Council which has its offices in London and New York.  It is a constituent member of the International Missionary Council.  It is established on the acceptance of the principle that the Church is central in the Christian enterprise, that the local congregation is basic to its life and witness and that evangelism is its primary task.  Among its various functions are � 

(1) to consult the International Missionary Council regarding such matters as call for consideration or action.

(2) to communicate and co-operate with the National Christian Councils of other countries which are members of the International Missionary Council and with other similar bodies in matters affecting the Christian enterprise as a whole.

4. In India there are Regional Christian Councils in 14 places, viz., Andhra, Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Bombay, Hyderabad, Karnatak, Keral, Tamil-Nad, Mid-India, North-West India, Santhal, United Provinces and Utkal.

5. The foreign personnel in India now numbers 4,877, an excess of 500 on the returns for 1951.  The increased personnel has occurred in the smaller Missions, most of which do not yet have any organised churches associated with them. (Compiler�s Introduction, Christian Hand-Book, of India 1954-SS).

6. In Madhya Pradesh, there are Indian personnel 251 and foreign 402 (page 210 ibid).

7. The institutions which are conducted by the Protestant Missions can be divided under five heads as follows:-

(i) Economic,
(ii) Educational,
(iii) Evangelistic,
(iv) Medical,
(v) Philanthropic and General.

Under (i) Economic, fall the following.-

(a) agricultural settlements,
(b) co-operative societies,
(c) printing presses,
(d) literature distributing centres,
(e) miscellaneous industries.

Under (ii) Educational-

(a) colleges,
(b) high schools,
(c) middle schools,
(d) teachers� training institutions,
(e) industrial schools,
(f) schools for Missionaries� children.

Under (iii) Evangelistic-

(a) theological colleges and seminaries,
(b) pastoral and evangelistic workers training institutions,
(c) Bible correspondence course,
(d) Christian Ashrams.

Under (iv) Medical-

(a) hospitals,
(b) dispensaries,
(c) leprosy institutions,
(d) tuberculosis sanatorium; and

Under (v) Philanthropic and General-

(a) homes for the blind and deaf, etc.
(b) homes for women,
(c) homes for converts,
(d) orphanages,
(e) social and welfare organisations,
(h) Missionary homes of rest,
(g) Christian retreat and study centres.

A statement giving particulars about Protestant Christian Missions operating in Madhya Pradesh and the institutions conducted by the several Missions is to be found in Appendix 3.


The present aims and objects of Missionary activity in some parts of Madhya Pradesh can best be understood against the background of history.  The advent of Christianity in India is shrouded in myth and tradition.  Tradition assigns the origin of the most ancient Christian community in India, called the Syrian Christians to the preaching of St. Thomas, the Apostle.

2. The spread of the Christianity in India may be considered under four definite periods, viz.

(1) The Syrian Period.
(2) The Roman Catholic Period under Portuguese domination.
(3) The Protestant Period under British domination.
(4) The Modern Period.

The Syrian Period

3. Long, before Christ there had been commerce between Europe and India not only by caravans. which took the land route through Persia, but also by ships down the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf.  In fact, the foreign trade of India is as old as her history.  Relics found in Sumeria and Egypt point to a traffic between these countries and India as far back as 3000 B.C. Commerce between India and Babylon by the Persian Gulf flourished from 700 to 480 B. C. Rome in her halcyon days depended upon India for spices and perfumes as well as silks, brocades, muslins and cloth of gold.  The Parthian wars were fought by Rome largely to keep open the trade route to India.  Even in later times Europe looked upon the Hindus as experts in every line of manufacture, woodwork, ivory-work, metal-work, bleaching, dying, tanning, soap-making, glass blowing, gun powder, fire works, cement, etc. (Page 479, Story of Civilization by Durant).

4. St. Thomas Christians (or followers of the Church of the East) in small numbers began to visit Malbar frequently for trade purposes, and some of them settled there.  During the Decian and Diocletian persecutions many Christians living in the Eastern Province of the Roman Empire fled to Persia and joined the Church in that Country.  Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople (A.D. 428-431) who denied the hypostatic union and maintained the existence of the two distinct natures in Christ, was condemned and deposed for �heresy� at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. His followers, the Nestorians, were persecuted with such vigour that they were forced to leave the Empire and by the time of Justinian (A.D. 527) it was difficult to find a church within the whole Roman Empire hat shared the views of Nestorians.  The exiled, Nestorians joined the Church in Persia.

5. Between the Fifth and the Ninth centuries Nestorian expansion was phenomenal.  The Nestorian traders brought to Malabar several colonies of Christians from Persian lands during this period.  These colonists had their own priests and deacons and a bishop from Persia.  As the years rolled on these early colonies adapted themselves to the ways of the Hindus and learnt to maintain their racial purity.  Even to this day the Syrian Christians claim that their community has remained unadulterated by proselytism.

Advent of European Christianity

6. The first Latin Christian Missionary who is known to have visited India was John de Monte Corvino, afterwards Archbishop of Cambale in Cathay.  Sent out by Pope Nicholas IV as a Missionary to China, he on his way to China halted in India about the year 1291.  He remained in the country for thirteen months, and baptised in different places about one hundred people.  The next Latin Missionary of whom we find mention is a French Dominican Friar named Jordanus.  About the year 1323 or earlier with other Friars, both Dominican and Franciscan, he found his way to the Bombay coast where it is said his companions were put to death by Muslims.  This was the period when Christianity was unable to stand against the overwhelming forces of Islam.

7. By the close of the Thirteenth century these European, Missionaries were able to create a chain of Christian colonies on the Western coast of India, between Thana (Bombay) and Quilon (Travancore).  Stimulated by the fear of Muslims, particularly Mongols, Rome, got reconciled to many things which it did not like, and a Christian unity was established.  In the early years of the Fourteenth century a complete Persian hierarchy was created with a Metropolitan whose scat was at a town south of the Caspian sea and whose jurisdiction extended over Persia, India, Ethiopia and Central Asia.

The Roman Catholic period under the Portuguese Dominion

8. The Missionary work of Western Christendom began with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1498.  This should be considered the beginning of the aggressive Missionary Era of the Catholic Church in India.  In 1498 Vasco da Gama anchored off Calicut, but on that occasion he had no, intercourse with Christians.  When he visited India a second time in 1502, he was surprised to find a Christian community on the western coast of India.  These Christians welcomed him and applied to him for assistance against their Muslim neighbours.  Large numbers of monks were sent to India with the Portuguese fleets, and Goa soon became the centre of a vigorous missionary enterprise.  By now the Portuguese strategy of establishing the Protectorate of the King of Portugal over the Christians of the Malabar coast had become successful.

9. Although in the sphere of trade and commerce the Portuguese on the West coast made very substantial progress, no great success was at first achieved in their missionary endeavours.  The King of Portugal, dissatisfied with the small progress made, applied to Ignatius Loyola to send the entire Jesuit Order to India.  The motto of Portuguese adventure in India was �the service of God and our own advantage�, and King Manuel was determined to use all available resources to achieve this object.  Loyola could not grant the request; but in 1541 Francis Xavier, the greatest of all Jesuits, was sent to the East, and the day of his arrival may well be called the birthday of Roman Catholic Missions in India.  He only spent about four and a half years in the country, but in that brief space of time he is said to have baptised about 60,000 people, nearly all from the fisherman castes, living on the South-West and South-East coasts of India.  They poured en masse into the Church.

10. This mass movement work of the Jesuits was in fact an appeal to material interests.  The Fishermen of the South-East coast were constantly raided by pirates.  One of their fellow countrymen, living in Goa who had become Christian, persuaded them to apply for help to the Portuguese Viceroy.  So a deputation was sent to Goa, and the Viceroy agreed to deliver them from their enemies on condition that the whole caste became Christian and subjects of the King of Portugal.  The bargain wag ratified by the baptism of all the delegates then and there.  A fleet was sent, the pirates were dispersed, and the whole caste was baptised in a few weeks.

11. The impatient Xavier, still dissatisfied with the result of his labour wrote to the King of Portugal that the only hope of increasing the number of Christians was by the use of the secular power of the State.  As a result of this note, the King issued orders that in Goa and other Portuguese settlements, �all idols shall be sought out and destroyed, and severe penalties shall be laid upon all such as shall dare to make an idol or shall shelter or hide a Brahmin�. (Page 54 History of Missions Richter).  He also ordered that special privileges should be granted to Christians in order that the natives may be inclined to submit themselves to the yoke of Christianity. (P. 54-ibid).

12. In 1514 Pope Leo X granted to the Kings of Portugal the right of patronage over Churches and of nomination to all the Benefices which they would establish.  In 1534 all trading stations from Bombay to Nagapatnam where the Portuguese flag was floating, soon became Catholic centres with resident Chaplains.  Along the coast Franciscans had baptised some 20,000 Paravas (Fishermen) even before Xavier landed in India.  Goa, the capital of Portuguese India, was made an Episcopal See.  Now successive waves of invasions of India by Catholic Missionaries from the West were started; besides the Jesuits in (1542) the Dominicans (in 1548), the Augustinians (in 1572) also arrived in India with the active support of the Portuguese Kings.  By the middle of 1577 a Christian centre was formed in Bengal by bands of Portuguese adventurers and an Augustinian Father and their slaves.  Thus the Portuguese continued their work of �winning Indians for Christ their Lord� with the mighty sword in one hand and the crucifix in the other.

Catholic expansion

13. In 1872 the Augustinians distributed their missionaries in Basein, Bengal and other parts.  The Jesuits had been making determined efforts to reform the Syrian Church in accordance with Roman ideas and to bring it into subjection to the Pope.  In 1594 a Jesuit Mission started from Goa to the court of Akbar the Mughal and they got his permission to establish Christian centres in Agra, Delhi and Lahore. The Catholic writers say that in 1600, after a century of Mission work the Church had gathered about 2,70,000 converts in India.

14. A new departure was made at the beginning of the seventeenth century by another great Jesuit Missionary.  He was an Italian of noble birth, of great intellectual ability and devotion.  He came to Madura, capital of a Hindu Kingdom, outside the jurisdiction of the Portuguese Viceroy.  His name was Robert De Nobili.  He saw that the policy of Xavier and other Catholic Fathers who were making mass conversions of lower castes by using the secular power of the State was disastrous.  He clearly saw that unless the Higher classes were won for Christ the Church was not going to drive her roots into the soil of India.  So he at once threw over the policy of Xavier and struck out a line of his own.

15. Nobili appeared in Madura clad in the saffron robes of a Sadhu with sandal paste on his forehead and the sacred thread on his body from which hung a cross and took his abode in the Brahmin quarters.  He thus attracted a large number of people.  He gave out that he was a Brahmin from Rome.  He showed documentary evidence to prove that he belonged to a clan of the parent stock that had migrated from ancient Aryavart and assured the members of the high castes that by becoming a Christian one did not renounce one�s caste, nobility or usage. (Pages 65-70 Christians and Christianity in India and Pakistan).  He learnt Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit, and took up the Brahman style of living.  He wrote in Sanskrit a Christian Sandhyavandanam for Brahmin converts.  He declared that he was bringing a message which had been taught in India by Indian ascetics of yore and that he was only restoring to Hindus one of their lost sacred books, namely the 5th Veda, called Yeshurveda.  It passed for a genuine work until the Protestant Missionaries exposed the fraud about the year 1840. (History of Missions, Richter, Page 57).  In five years, from 1607 to 1611, he baptised 87 Brahmins.  These conversions, then so marvellous, drew upon De Nobili the eyes of friend and foe alike.  A big controversy raged among the Roman Catholic missionaries the world over for a considerable length of time.  Much of the opposition could be explained by wounded pride on the Portuguese side.  In 1623 Pope Gregory XV gave a bull in favour of De Nobili, declaring thus: We allow the present and future converts to wear the (Brahmin) thread and the tuft of hair as distinctive marks of race, social rank and office, to use sandal wood as ornament and to take ablutions as a matter of hygiene.  This Brahman Sanyasi of the �Roman Gotra�, Father De Nobili, worked for 40 years and died at the ripe age of 89 in 1656.  It is said that he had converted about a lakh of persons but they all melted away after his death.

By 1700 India had 6,00,000 of Catholics.

16. The Catholic expansion continued.  The French Jesuits, who had their headquarters in Pondicherry from 1700, passed it on to the Paris Foreign Mission Society in 1776.  At Calcutta a Catholic chapel was erected in 1700.  The Italian Capuchins penetrated into Tibet in 1713.  Thus, a network of Roman Catholic Missions was spread all over India, from Tibet to Cape Comorin and from Punjab to Assam.  Within two hundred years after the Portuguese landed in India, it is claimed the Catholic Church had 9,58,000 adherents in India (Catholic Directory, 1950).

The Protestant period

17. The Missionary work of the Protestant Church began in India in 1706.  Soon after the Dutch, the Danes entered India and established a number of factories on the eastern and western coasts of India.  In 1706, German Lutherans, sent by King Frederick IV of Denmark, reached Tranquebar as Missionaries to the Danish Possession in India.  Their work at first was mainly confined to the Danish and English settlements.  Later they did a lot of preaching, teaching and Bible translation.  Ziegenbalg, Grundler, Schwartaz and others under the patronage of the King of Denmark were the pioneers of the Protestant Mission in India.  The Danish Missionary Society in association with German Missions opened the era of Protestant Missionary enterprise in India.  The Bible was translated into Tamil by them.  They laid the foundations of the Church in the districts of Tinnevelly, Trichinopoly, Tanjore and Madras.

Anglican Missions

18. The Danes had scarcely commenced assuming political power when they were superseded by the British.  The first English Mission established in India was that of the Baptists in Bengal.  By the Charter of 1690 the East India Company was charged to see �All chaplains in the East India Service shall learn the language of the country in order that they may be better able to instruct the Gentoos, heathen servants and slaves of the Company and of its agents into Protestant religion� (page 102, Richter: history of Missions in India).  The S. P. C. K. appointed the Rev. Clarke Keirnander�s mission in Calcutta in 1789, but he left that position in 1791 and became a chaplain in the East India Company�s service. William Carey landed in Calcutta in November 1793, and established his headquarters at the Danish settlement at Serampore, a few miles north of Calcutta.  In 1801, Lord Wellesley made him Master and Professor of Bengali, Marathi and Sanskrit, at the newly established college in Calcutta for training candidates for Government services.  Thus, Carey�s activities were extended to Calcutta.  The Serampore trio, viz., Carey, Marshman and Ward were carrying on a vigorous crusade, pouring coarse and scurrilous invectives against both Hinduism and Islam.  When a Mission tract in w Hazrat Mohammed was called an imposter had been brought to his notice, Lord Minto wrote to the Chairman of the East India Company in 1807 to say how the publications of the Serampore Press had the effect not to convert but to alienate the adherents of Hinduism and Islam.  He said �pray read especially the miserable stuff addressed to the Hindus in which�� without proof or argument of any kind pages are filled with hell fire denounced against the whole race of men, etc��.� (Parekh Christian Proselytism in India, page 126).

19. The Church of England prevailed upon the East India Company to appoint chaplains, and ardent evangelistic like Henry Martyn were brought to India.  The S. P. C. K. made financial grants to the German Missionaries in South India.  In 1813, there was held in the Parliament the famous debate on the subject of sending out Missionaries to India.  Mr. Charles Marsh, a retired Barrister from Madras, opposed the measure in a vehement speech which ended with the preroration: �What will have been gained to ourselves by giving them Calvinism and fermented liquors; and whether predestination and gin would be a compensation to the natives of India for the changes which will overwhelm their habits, morals and religion� (page 36, Volume II, Life and Times of Carey, Marshman, Ward by J. C. Marshman, 1859).  In 1814, the C. M. S. sent two clergymen to South India, and in 1816 two others to Bengal as regular Missionaries.  In 1820 the Bishop�s College in Calcutta was established �for instructing native and other Christian youth in the doctrine of the Church�. - With the arrival of Alexander Duff, the Scottish Missionary, 1830, a fresh epoch began in the history of the Protestant Missions.

20. Duff was confronted with the same position in Bengal that faced De Nobili at Madura two centuries earlier.  The situation which the Missionaries had to face in the middle of the last century is well described by Captain Cunningham in the History of the Sikhs (1849) in these words: �They cannot promise aught which their hearers were not sure of before��the Pandit and the Mullah can each oppose dialectics to dialectics, morality to morality, and revelation to revelation.  Our zealous preachers may create sects among themselves, they may persevere in their laudable resolution of bringing up the orphans of heathen parents��but it seems hopeless that they should ever Christianise the Indian and Mahomedan worlds� (pages 19-20).  The Indian Christians drawn nearly entirely from the lower castes were looked down upon and despised.  It seemed impossible that they could be the evangelists of India.  Dr. Duff, therefore, conceived the plan of converting the Brahmans by means of English education saturated with Christian teaching and with the help of the English providing them with Government jobs.  Dr. Duff�s example was followed by other Missionaries, and high schools and colleges were founded during the next fifty years in all parts of India with lavish aid from Government.  The Government despatch of 1854 provided that the education imparted in the Government institutions should be exclusively secular.  Canon Mozley, discussing the prospects of Christianity in the fifties of the last century, warmly supported the neutral attitude of the Government and argued that their �so-called Godless education left the Indian mind purged desiring to be filled.  Several witnesses before the Parliamentary Committee of 1853 affirmed that Government schools were doing pioneer work for Christianity� (Mayhew: Christianity and Government of India : page 177).  The underlying policy of the Educational Despatch was apparently that the Missionary institutions should impart the knowledge of Christian religion directly while the Government institutions were to do the same indirectly.  With this object the Mission institutions came to receive grants as much as five times of all private institutions put together and they got control of almost all the secondary schools (ibid page 170).  In the shaping of Government policy on education, there was a tendency to identify the interest of Government and Christian Mission�� the Missions definitely included the education of all kinds and grades among their instruments for the evangelisation of India (ibid page 160).

21. With the increase of political power of the British in India, the Protestant Missionaries with the active support of the British Residents in the Native States established churches and Mission centres all over India.  When the Indian War of Independence (called the Mutiny) broke out there were about 90 Missionary societies at work in India, in addition to the Missions of the Church of Rome, and their workers ordained and unordained, numbered over 2,600.

22. Two years after the Mutiny, Lord Palmerstone, Prime Minister, could say in public : �It is not only our duty but in our own interest to promote the diffusion of Christianity as far as possible throughout the length and breadth of India� (page 194: ibid).  The Secretary of State Lord Halifax appended the statement to it : viz., �Every additional Christian is an additional bond of union with this country arid an additional source of strength to the Empire� (page 194: ibid; and page 29: Missionary Principles and Practice by Speers).  In 1876, there was a chorus of official praise when Lord Reay (Bombay) introducing to the Prince of Wales a Deputation of Indian Christians said, referring to the Missionaries, �They were doing for India more than all those civilians, soldiers, judges and governors whom Your Highness has met�.  Sir Charles Eliot (Bengal) described their work as �an unrecognised and unofficial branch of the great movement that alone justifies British rule in India�.  Sir Macworth Young (Punjab) described them as �the most potent force in India� (page 194: Christianity and Government of India by Mayhew).  During the first half of the nineteenth century there were a few converts from distinguished and talented families in India.  But in the latter half or that century there arose powerful movements of Arya Samaj, Brahma Samaj and Theosophy.  Great spiritual personalities like Dayanand, Ramkrishna and Vivekanana, Madam Blavatsky, Col. Olcott appeared on the scene.  This religious upheaval made all the attempts of the Missionaries among the intelligent classes wholly abortive.  In the eyes of the missionaries, Madam Blavatsky was an �arant cheat�; Col. Olcott �a credulous man�; Dr. Beasant �a famous defender of materialism�� who could not be named in the same breath with honest students such as MaxMuller and Deusson who after profound research have arrived at a favourable judgment upon Hinduism� ; �Vivekanand was known for many years to be under the influence of the most adventurous Sanyasi� ; Ramkrishna Paramhansa whom Maxmuller raised to unmerited repute by the publication of his biography�.  Swami (Vivekananda) frequented American hotels, ate food prepared by white man, a shoodra appearing as the apostle of Hinduism (Richter : pages 382, 384, 385 and 387).

23. The growth of the Protestant Church during the period of British Raj in India was due mainly to the great patronage and support the Church was getting from the Government of India.  Instances of Land grants and financial aid to build Churches, missionary centres, hospitals, educational institutions etc., are numerous.  All Cathedrals entrusted to the Bishoprics under the Ecclesiastical establishments were built from State funds.  Not only in cities and towns and in military stations in British India, but in almost every Indian State we can find big Churches and Missionary buildings erected almost entirely with Government aid.  To protect the Christian converts and their inheritance in British India, Act XXI of 1850 was passed, as the then prevailing customary law stood as an impediment to conversion of Hindus to other religions.  All the concessions given to missions in about 350 major Anglican centres need not he mentioned in detail in our Report.

24. In the Residency area of every State there stand to this day huge churches and other mission buildings for the construction of which lands and nearly all funds were contributed by the Ruler or Chief of that State at the instance of the English Residents or Political Agents.  This kind of patronage from a non-Christian country for evangelism within its territory is unique in the history of nations.

25. The progress of Christianity up to the end of the first decade of this century was described by Sir Bamfylds Fuller (who like Sir Andrew Fraser had been a C. P. Officer before he went to Bengal as Governor) in these words: Christianity has been offered to classes that have remained outside the pale of Hinduism, hill tribes and the lower strata of the cooly population��� Among the higher and better educated classes evangelism has been less successful��� It is surprising that Christianity has not spread more rapidly.  For a century it has not only been preached in the streets but has been taught in numerous schools and colleges; it has behind it the presage of the ruling race; and yet probably there are less than 2½, million native Christians in India, if we deduct those who owe their conversion to Nestorian Missions or to the Portuguese (pages 210, 364 Empire of India, 1913).

26. The number of Missionary Societies considerably increased about the middle of last century and they used to hold conferences in various centres in India viz.  Calcutta in 1855, Benaras in 1857, Ootacamund in 1858, Lahore in 1862, Allahabad in 1872 and Bangalore in 1879.  During that period there was a tendency on the part of all the Missions to focus their activity particularly on the aborigines.  They achieved unexpectedly great success among the Kols as in 1851 the number was only 31 it rose in 1861 to 2,400, in 1871 to 20,727 and in 1881 to the large figure of 44,024.  In view of this success with the Kols the Missionaries pressed their work among other tribes as they realised that there was a movement on the part of the aborigines to raise themselves in the social level by adopting Hindu manners and customs, which would be taken advantage of to gather them into the Christian Church and thus �save them from the rapid onward march of Hinduism�. (Richter: History of Christian Mission pages 214-215).

27. For the purpose of understanding the vigorous and highly intensified Missionary activity concentrated in Surguja district after the merger of the States in 1947, it is necessary to cast a glance at the origin of Missionary enterprise at Ranchi, which can be gathered from the History of Chhota Nagpur.  As far back as 1845 the Deputy Commissioner Mr. Hanington invited four German Missionaries from Calcutta and their work began with some orphan children who had been handed over to them during famine.  The number of converts to Christianity began to swell and the Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Mission began to extend its activities around Ranchi.  The Gossner Mission operates in the territory formerly comprised in Jashpur, Surguja, Udaipur and Raigarh States. It has still its headquarters at Ranchi.  Later on in 1885 they were joined by the Roman Catholic Mission.

28. Before 1948 the diocese of Ranchi included the territory which consisted of eight feudatory states, seven in the diocese of Ranchi and one in the diocese of Nagpur.  Mission work was strictly forbidden in all those States.  In 1907 however a great movement of conversion took place in Jashpur State, but for nine years the Missionaries could not even erect a shed to live in.  By and by five Mission stations were erected.  Another movement of conversions took place in 1935 in Udaipur State.  Till 1941 no priest or catechist was allowed to enter she State.  From 1941 to 1949 the priest was allowed to go from outside the State to visit persons dangerously ill and four times a year to say mass.  But he was prohibited from staying more than 48 hours in the State.  With the integration and merger of the States in 1948 and the promulgation of the Constitution in 1950 full freedom was conceded to the Missionary activities.  The diocese of Raigarh and Ambikapur was erected on the 13th of December, 1951 by being cut off from the diocese now Arch-Diocese of Ranchi.  The diocese still forms part of the Ranchi Mission (1954 Catholic Directory page 264).

29. The work of these Missions was much facilitated by the economic and social problems which arose as a result of the permanent settlement made by Lord Cornwallis in 1793.  As stated b E. De Meulder S. J. the Christian Mission could provide the aborigines with schools, colleges, hostels, hospitals and co-operatives of various sorts, but they could not give them lands, �for these belonged to the foreign sponsored permanent settlement of Rajahs and Jamindars or to the �Laissez faire�, �liberal�, zamindari regime inaugurated by Lord Cornwallis whose fatal signature meant the death of the ancient village republics� (page 1 Tribal India Speaks by E. De Meulder S. J.). Up to that time the custom was to regard the aboriginal as owner of the land in the forest, which he reclaimed it and the Zamindars were only farmers of revenue.  The cultivators had to render certain feudal services in return for the lands which they held.

30. In fact most of the Zamindars and Rajahs were tax collectors, never owners of the land, in the previous regimes, but after the permanent Settlement they claimed ownership in about the same way that the ancestors of British Landlordism had done at the time of the Reformation in England. (Page 63 Tribal India Speaks).  The disputes between them and the Zamindars arose when the number of the aborigines embraced Christianity.  In introducing the Bhuinhari Bill in the Bengal Council on November 16, 1868 Mr. M. H. Dampier, I.C.S. quoted the following remarks of Col. Dalton:

��the Kols who embraced Christianity imbibed more independent notions, and in several instances successfully asserted their rights.  From this the belief unfortunately spread through the district that when the Kols go to the Court as Christians they are more uniformly successful than those who have not changed their religion.  It was stated in the report on the Census of India 1911 Volume V., page 220: �Another attraction is the hope of obtaining assistance from the missionaries in their difficulties and protection against the coercion of the landlords��� it must not be imagined that the Christian Missionaries held out such offers as inducement to the aboriginals to enroll themselves in the Christian ranks but the knowledge that the Missionaries do not regard their duties as confined to cure souls but also see to the welfare of their flock and the agrarian legislation which is the Magna Charta of the aboriginal was largely due to the influence of the Missionaries�. (Legend of the Kols by S. Haldar pages 8-9).

In the Settlement Report of 1901-10 Mr. John Reid remarked that the aboriginal converts were backed by the moral support and some times by the financial support of the European Missionaries (page 16 ibid).

31. As said by Lord Northbrook in his preface to Chhota Nagpur by Bradley Birt, the aboriginal tribes of India afforded a promising field for the Missions; and accordingly, the Belgian Jesuit Mission entered the field in 1885 and has since then been collecting a large following.  The Catholic Jesuit Missionaries also tried to exploit the agrarian grievances of the aboriginals and as is evident from the Commissioner�s report to Government in 1890 wherein he stated that Mr. Renny, the Deputy Commissioner of Ranchi �condemns the action of the Jesuit priests in very strong language, charging them with encouraging the discontent and laying at their doors the responsibility for disturbances which might have led to serious consequences� (page 18: Legend of the Kols).  It is well-known that in 1895 there was an uprising of aboriginals led by a German Mission convert by name Birsa who styled himself as the brother of Jesus, and it had to be suppressed with military aid.

32. There was a similar rebellion in 1910 in the Bastar State which was attributed to the activity of a Missionary by name Mr. Ward.  In the report, dated the 12th July 1910, the officer in charge of the expeditionary force in Bastar State stated that Mr. Ward was the most dangerous man in the State.  Mr. Ward was transferred to some place outside Bastar, but even from there be wrote secret letters to the Christians in Bastar instigating them to agitate for his retransfer to Bastar and in a search of the houses of certain Christians �treasonable and seditious correspondence was found�.  Mr. J. May, Diwan of the State, wrote to the Mission authorities at Raipur to say that on enquiry he was satisfied that he and the Christians were instrumental in causing great deal of disloyalty and discontent.  Mr. Ward subsequently was sent back to America.

33. In 1936-37, there was an unauthorised attempt made by the Jesuit Missionaries to enter into the Udaipur State for Missionary enterprise.  It was found on enquiry by the Agent to the Governor-General that they used their station at Tapkara outside Udaipur State which was a forbidden area for proselytising the subjects of Udaipur, by making loans to people to attract converts and opening Mission schools in Udaipur State without permission and the abstraction of 120 boys and girls from Udaipur for education in the Mission centre at Tapkara, and the Government of India warned the Jesuit Mission that any further development of Missionary enterprise in the Udaipur State should be avoided.  The Mission was also asked to maintain a register showing in the case of each new convert, his name, his father�s name and other particulars including any kind of material benefit given to the converts at the time of their conversion (Col. Meek�s Report).

34. In 1948, Rev. Lakra, the head of the Lutheran Mission at Ranchi, attended the Conference of the World Council of Churches held at Amsterdam.  Mr. Dulles from America was also present there.  As a result of the money received from the United Lutheran Church in America amounting to 8,000 dollars and Rs. 90,000 in 1953 there were conversions in the Surguja district on a mass scale (Gharbandhu, November 1952, page 13, and Gharbandhu, November 1953, pages 15 and 16).  The Mission also obtained from America Rs. 67,500 to make good the deficit in its expenditure (Gharbandhu, December 1953, pages 4 to 7).  It is clear that in the keen competition that arose between the various Missions it was found necessary to advance Rs. 30 to some of the converts as an inducement to change their religion. (Gharbandhu, December 1952, pages 2 to 5).  In 1954, the Lutheran National Missionary Society requested for a grant of a large amount for engaging the services of the Uraon personnel needed for mass conversion work and through the good offices of Dr. F. A. Schiotz, Chairman of the Luther an World Federation Commission of World Missions, and Dr. C. W. Oberdorfer, the Federation President of India, they secured a grant of 1,500 dollars on the basis of �Partnership in Obedience�. (The National Missionary Intelligencer, April 1954, page 5).  There was practically an invasion in the Surguja State of Missionary enterprise backed by substantial finance and personnel with the result that there were more than 5,000 conversions.

35. At this stage it may be necessary to see how the Missionaries penetrated into the Eastern States of Madhya Pradesh. In 1893, Sir Andrew Fraser who was then Commissioner of Chhattisgarh gave authority without reference to the local Government for acquisition of land for Mission purposes in the Bastar State when it was under the Government management.  The developments which occurred thereon have already been stated above.

36. In 1894 an application made by the Missionaries for the acquisitions of land in the Kawardha State was rejected by the Local Government on the principal that when a State is under the administration of the Government the alienation of land for Mission purposes should be refused in view of the fiduciary position of the Government.  Towards the beginning of the 10th century the German Lutheran Mission opened two stations in the Gangpur State without the permission of the Ruler and without reference to the Local Government.  Inspite of the Chief�s protest the political authority did not take any action and one of the Missionaries openly preached disobedience to the Chief�s orders in the matter of begar, although rendering of such services was due from the rent-free holders only.  The Missionaries generally made promises to the ryots that they would secure their freedom from various petty demands from the Darbar.  As this introduced the principle of insubordination one Missionary was removed from the State under the orders of the Commissioner of Chhota Nagpur who acted then as Political Officer.  Later a European Diwan found that the Christians were getting quite out of hand and he dealt firmly with the position.  He formed the opinion that the majority of the people who joined the Missions did so in the expectation of some material advantage and not for any spiritual benefit.

37. About the same time the Roman Catholic Mission also entered Jashpur.  How the rulers of the State were treated by the Government is clear from the letter dated 10th June 1923 from the Roman Catholic Arch Bishop of Calcutta to the Political Agent at Raipur, in which occurs the following sentence:-

�In Gangpur the Rajah-under pressure of the Government of Bengal, within whose Jurisdiction Gangpur then was -gave me a perpetual lease at the usual rent, of an extensive plot of Taur land at Kesaramal in 1907; and since then the Chief quite willingly this time has granted me leases of two more plots, one at Hamirpur and one at Gaibera.  In Jashpur so far we have had only verbal grants.�

The Arch Bishop desired the Political Agent to give him a set of perpetual leases but he was disappointed.  The circumstances in which the Rajah of Jashpur came to be deposed are highly significant, to show the influence which the Missionaries exercised on the Government of the day.  In 1906 the German Lutheran Mission applied for the issue of a license to permit entry of Indian preachers into this State.  The Rajah was reluctant to grant the permission for the entry of the preachers but was prevailed upon by the Political Agent, Mr. Laurie to withdraw his opposition.  Mr. Brett the new Political Agent found that about 30,000 people and 15,000 were claimed, respectively, by the Roman Catholics and the Lutheran Mission as enquirers and they were all of the Uraon tribe.  He reported to Government that the Chief had accepted the agreement mentioned above under pressure from the Political Agent, but the Central Provinces Government held that the Chief could not be given general permission to forbid all Missionaries and preachers from entering the State.  But at the same time it warned the Missionary Societies that they could not expect any support from Government against the Chief if their preachers encourage the subjects to resist his lawful demands.  But on account of continuous conflict between the Chief and the Missionaries the Political Agent, Mr. Blakesley made a thorough enquiry and submitted a full report to the Local Government in 1913.  He pointed out that the movement towards Christianity in the Jashpur State was in no sense a religious one, and that the Missionaries had acquired a considerable hold on the people by means of loans.  He also showed that under the guise of religious proselytism political propaganda had been spread throughout the State.  His recommendation was that the Chief should be permitted to exclude the Jesuit Missionaries and their catechists but the Government declined to accept his recommendations.  Mr. Blakesley�s statement as to the nature of the religious proselytism was later amply borne out by an admission made by the Arch Bishop of Calcutta to Mr. Napier, the Commissioner of Chhattisgarh in 1912.  The Arch Bishop said to Mr. Napier, that putting aside all cant he did not suppose that the majority of the aboriginal Christians in the State had much feeling either way in the matter of religion and that they embraced Christianity in the hope that material benefit would result to themselves.  The trouble arose in 1922 in Jashpur when a Society by name �the Unity Samaj� came to be formed by the Lutherans of Ranchi, and there was a report of a dangerous movement amongst Missions� preachers in the State.  The Roman Catholic Arch Bishop of Calcutta, wrote to the Political Agent sending an account by one of his priests that Lutheran preachers had been fomenting trouble that would lead to a rebellion which in fact did ensue and resulted in the deposition of the Rajah of Jashpur.

It was to avoid such trouble that the Conversion Act 1936 came to be enacted by the Raigarh Darbar.

38. Let us now turn to the steps taken by Government to afford protection to the aborigines.  The Government of India Act of 1870 conferred upon the Governor-General in Council the power to approve and sanction laws and regulations made by local Government for the administration of certain special areas to which previously the Secretary of State in Council had applied the Act.  In 1874 the Indian Legislature passed the scheduled Districts Act XIV of 1874 whereby the Local Government was empowered to declare in respect of the tracts specified in the Act what enactments were or were not in force therein.  It was in pursuance of this that the Central Provinces Government passed the Land Alienation Act in 1916.  The Government of India Act of 1919 under section 52-A (2) empowered the Governor-General in Council to declare the territories occupied by the aborigines to be a backward tract.  The Statutory Commission of 1928 grouped the backward tracts into two large categories one as wholly excluded areas and the other as partially excluded areas.  It was found that the aboriginal people such as the Gonds had taken part in political movements, viz., non-co-operation movement of 1920-21, the Nagpur Flag Satyagarh of 1923 and the Forest Satyagraha of 1930. (Page 49 the Aboriginal Problem in the Balaghat District).  In the annual report intended for submission to the British Parliament the aspect of forest Satyagraha, was particularly stressed to show that the violation of the Forest Laws enabled the agitators to achieve a substantial measure of success in fostering unrest among the tribes. (India in 1930-31 page 554).  When the proposals of the Statutory Commission came up before the Parliament Col. Wedgwood said that he had received �An infinity of letters from India�, urging that the tribes should be allowed to be looked after by the Indians but in his opinion the educated Indians wanted �to get them in as cheap labour�. Adverting to the African parallel he expressed his conviction that the best hope for backward tribes everywhere lay in the Christian Missionaries. (Ghurye-The Aborigines page 134).  It is well known that a list was finally prepared and embodied in the Government of India (excluded and partially excluded areas) Order 1936 in accordance with sections 91 and 92 of the Government of India Act of 1935.  The distinction between the two was that the Governor was required to exercise his functions in regard to the excluded areas in his own discretion and in regard to the partially excluded areas he was to seek the advice of the Ministers.

39. As a result of the Statutory exclusion of these tribes they had been treated as if they were the close preserve for Missionary enterprise.  Reviewing the problem as a whole the real inroad on tribal solidarity was made by the introduction of the British rule which destroyed the authority of the tribal elders, and their traditional panchayat systems.  Even Dr. Hutton who contributed Chapter XII to O�Malley�s Modern India and the West stated that the establishment of the British Rule in India, far from being of immediate benefit to the primitive tribes did most of them much more harm than good. (Page 173 Ghurye the Aborigines).  The Forest Conservancy Laws, the excise Policy and laws, tyranny of petty officers, forced labour and rapacious money-lender have all contributed to the disruption of the tribal solidarity, and that has given an opportunity for the enterprise of the Missionaries.

40. Dr. Elwin wrote in 1944 bringing into prominence the evil effects of excluding the tribal areas from the general administration of the country and pointing out that in practice all it appeared to have achieved had been to give encouragement to proselytising Missions for exploitation of these people so remote from the scrutiny of public opinion.  Speaking about the Mandla district he says:

�In Mandla the situation has grown serious for here the Fathers of the Apostolic prefecture Jabalpur are proselytising on an unprecedented scale and on the method that would have been considered disgraceful in the middle ages.�

Further he says:

�The Missionaries usurp many of the functions of Government officials, try to interfere in the work of the courts and business of the local officials and give the Gonds the impression that they are the real Sirkar and the Fathers finally have an extensive money-lending business and this is one of the most effective means of bringing aboriginals under their control and forcing them into the Church.�

41. Reviewing the whole question in the light of its history one is driven to the conclusion that they established a State within the State.


42. The separatist tendency that has gripped the mind of the aboriginals under the influence of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Missions is entirely due to the consistent policy pursued by the British Government and the Missionaries.  The final segregation of the aborigines in the Census of 1931 from the main body of the Hindus considered along with the recommendations of the Simon Commission which were incorporated in the Government of India Act, 1935, apparently set the stage for the demand of a separate State of Jharkhand on the lines of Pakistan. The stages by which it culminated in the demand for Jharkhand will be- clear from what follows.

43. In 1941, Shri M. D. Tigga wrote and published a book entitled Chhota Nagpur Ker Putri (the daughter of Chhota Nagpur). It was printed in the Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Press, Ranchi.  At page 19 of that book

VINDICATED BY TIME - The Niyogi Committee Report On Christian Missionary Activities

Sita Ram Goel
The Sunshine of �Secularism�
Rift in the Lute
Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee, Madhya Pradesh
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Tour Programmes of the Committee
District Raigarh
District Surguja
District Raipur
District Bilaspur
District Amravati
District Nimar
District Yeotmal
District Akola
District Buldana
District Mandla
District Jabalpur
District Chhindwara
Replies submitted by Shri J. Lakra
Replies to Questionnaire concerning the area covered by Jashpur, Khuria and Udaipur of the Raigarh district
Replies submitted by the Catholic Sabha of the Raigarh district Replies
Replies submitted by Shri Gurubachan Sing, Raipur
Replies submitted by Chairman and Secretary of the General Conference, Mennonite Mission in India, Saraipali, Raipur district
Replies submitted by Rev. Canon, R. A. Kurian, Nagpur
Replies submitted by Rev. E. Raman, President, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh, Gopalganj, Sagar
Replies submitted by Miss M. L. Merry, Khirkia R. S., Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh
Replies submitted by Shri L. E. Hartman, Amravati Camp, Berar, Mission Bungalow, Amravati Camp, Berar
Replies submitted by Umri Mission Hospital, Umri, via Yeotmal, Madhya Pradesh
Replies submitted by Shri F. B. Lucas, President, Independent Christian Association, Yeotmal
Replies submitted by Shri R. W. Scott, Secretary, National Christian Council
Replies submitted by Dr. E. Asirvatham, Nagpur
Replies submitted by Shri P. S. Shekdar, Khamgaon, district Buldana
Replies submitted by Shri Sohanlal Aggarwal, Secretary, Vedic Sanskriti Raksha Samiti.
Replies submitted by Shri T. Y. Dehankar, President, Bar Association, and six others of Bilaspur
Replies submitted by Shri M.N. Ghatate, Nagpur Sangh Chalak.
Replies submitted by Shri R. K. Deshpande, Pleader, Jashpurnagar
Correspondence of Roman Catholics with the Committee, the state government and the Central Government
Extracts from Catholic Dharma ka Pracharak and other pamphlets showing the methods of propaganda
Short History of Chhattisgarh Evangelical Mission
Camp: Raipur (22-7-1955)
Camp Bilaspur (25-7-1955)
Raigarh (28-7-1955)
Jashpur (22-11-1955)
Jabalpur (8-8-1955)
Sagar (11-8-1955)
Mandla (15-8-55)
Khandwa (17-8-55)
Yeotmal (10-8-55)
Camp Amravati (13-8-1955)
Washim (16-8-1955)
Buldana 18-8-1955
Malkapur (20-8-1955)
Nagpur (20-9-1955)
Camp Ambikapur (19-11-1955)
Activities of Christian Missions in the Eastern States and proselytism in the Udaipur State by the Jesuit Mission