Mission and Tamil Society; Social and Religious Change in South India (1840-1900)
 070070292X

Table of contents :
Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of Maps
List of Figures
List of Tables
Acknowledgements
Introductory Note
Approach to the Study
The Area: South Arcot District
Geographical Features
Divine Kingship
Warrior Kings
Arcot Under Muslim Rule
The Colonial Administration
The Third Zone
The Missionary Societies
Portuguese and Jesuits
Société des Missions Étrangéres de Paris
The First Protestant Missions
The Danish Missionary Society
The Central Issues
The Intermediaries: Native Priests and Catechists
The Organizational Framework
The Recruitment of Catechists and Native Clergy
The Education of the Catechists and Native Priests
The Question of Leadership
Maintaining Church Discipline
The Concept of Sin
The Means of Control
Religious Processions
Suffering and Possession
Missionaries and Mass Movements
The Mass Movements
The Area of the DMS Mass Movements
Changes in the Tirukoilur Area
Reactions to Change
The Danish Missionaries and The Mass Movements
The Area of the MEP Mass Movements
Changes in the Area of MEP Mass Movements
The French Mission and The Mass Movements
Conclusion
Glossary
Sources and References
Unpublished Sources
Printed Sources
Magazines and Journals
Missionary Conferences
Missionary Tracts, Memoirs, etc
Monographs and Articles
Index

Citation preview

MISSION AND TAMIL SOCIETY Social and Religious Change in South India ( 1840 - 1900)

Henriette Bugge \J

3

RoutledgeCurzon

Taylor &.Francis Group LONDON AND NEW YORK

Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Monograph Series, No. 65

RoutledgeCurzon,

First published 1994 by St. John's Studios, Church Road Richmond, Surrey TW9 2QA

Transferred to Digital Printing 2005

ISBN 0-7007-0292-X All rights reserved

© Henriette Bugge 1994

British Library Catalogue in Publication Data A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

NORDIC INSTITUTE OF ASIAN STUDIES Recent Monographs 60.

T h e Is la m iz a tio n o f t h e L a w in P a k is ta n

Rubya Mehdi 61.

J a pa n ese W

haling

Arne Kalland and Brian Moeran 62.

T e c h n o l o g y in a C o n t r o l l e d E co n o m y

Per Hilding 63.

S u r v iv a l a n d P r o f i t in R u r a l Ja v a

Sven Cederroth 64.

T h e S t a t e a n d I t s Enem ies in P a p u a N ew G u in e a

Alexander Wanek 65.

M ission a n d T a m il S o c ie t y

Henriette Bugge 66.

F o lk T a l es F rom K am m u (V o lu m e 5 )

Kristina Lindell, Jan-Ojvind Swahn and Damrong Tayanin 67.

Is la m a n d P o l i t i c s in A fg h a n is ta n

Asta Olesen 68.

E x e m p la r y C e n t r e , A d m in is tra tiv e P e rip h e ry

Hans Antlov 69.

F ish in g V i l l a g e s in T o k u g a w a Jap an

Arne Kalland

Contents List of M a p s............................................................................................vii List of Figures....................................................................................... viii List of Tables......................................................................................... viii Acknowledgements............................................................................... ix Introductory N ote................................................................................. xii Approach to the Study............................................................................1 The Area: South Arcot D istrict...........................................................13 Geographical Features.......................................................................13 Divine Kingship.................................................................................. 15 Warrior K ings...................................................................................... 18 Arcot under Muslim Rule................................................................. 21 The Colonial Administration...........................................................27 The Third Z o n e ...................................................................................32 The Missionary Societies..................................................................... 41 Portuguese and Jesuits...................................................................... 41 Societe des Missions Etrang&res de Paris......................................50 The First Protestant Missions...........................................................56 The Danish Missionary Society.......................................................64 The Central Issues...............................................................................71 The Intermediaries: Native Priests and Catechists......................79 The Organizational Framework......................................................79 The Recruitment of Catechists and Native C lergy..................... 82 The Education of the Catechists and Native Priests...................88 The Question of Leadership.............................................................96 Maintaining Church D iscipline....................................................... I l l The Concept of Sin............................................................................112 The Means of Control.......................................................................116 Religious Processions...................................................................... 123 Suffering and Possession................................................................ 130

Missionaries and Mass M ovem ents.............................................. 142 The Mass M ovem ents..................................................................... 142 The Area of the DMS Mass Movements...................................... 146 Changes in the Urukoilur a rea......................................................154 Reactions to Change.........................................................................156 The Danish Missionaries and the Mass Movements................ 161 The Area of the MEP Mass M ovements...................................... 167 Changes in the Area of MEP Mass M ovements........................ 169 The French Mission and the Mass Movements......................... 173 Conclusion..............................................................................................185 G lossary..................................................................................................191 Sources and R eferences..................................................................... 193 Unpublished Sources.......................................................................193 Printed Sou rces................................................................................. 195 Magazines and Journals.................................................................. 197 Missionary Conferences.................................................................. 197 Missionary Tracts, Memoirs, e tc ....................................................198 Monographs and Articles............................................................... 200 Ind ex........................................................................................................ 215

List ofMaps 1: South India in the Nineteenth Century....................................... xiii 2: South Arcot Taluqs c. 1870................................................................ 13 3: Average Annual Rainfall in South A rcot....................................... 14 4: Main Rivers of South A rcot.............................................................. 16 5: Approximate Distribution of Brahmins 1871................................17 6: Area under the Nawab of A rcot......................................................23 7: Extent of the Archdiocese of Pondicherry After the 1846 Reorganization.................................................................................... 53 8: MEP Mission Stations 1885 .............................................................. 55 9: DMS Mission Stations 1910..............................................................70 10: Area of MEP Mass Conversions................................................. 145 11: Major Inams in South Arcot, 1 8 7 1 .............................................. 152

List ofFigures 1: Distribution of Castes, 1871............................................................ 147 2: Cropping Pattern by Taluq, 1891.................................................. 148 3: Percentage of Land Under Inam in South Arcot, 1891..............153

List ofTables 1: Native Priests in the Service of the MEP,1788-1890 ................... 83 2: Background of the DMS Catechists, 1870-1915 .......................... 84 3: Occupational Distribution, 1901....................................................150 4: Mobility in the DMS Congregations - Siloam, Urukoilur station, 1889 -1920............................................................................166 5: Mobility in the DMS Congregations - Bethanien and Emmaus, Melpattambakkam and Nellikuppam stations, 1891-1920 ... 171 6: Mobility in the DMS Congregations - Saron, Uruvannamalai station, 1892 - 1920............................................................................172 7: Mobility in the DMS Congregations - Karmel, Uruvannamalai station, 1901 - 1915............................................................................173

Acknowledgements This is a book about changing religious identities in a period of profound social and economic change in South India. Trying to combine cultural history with economic history, the history of ideas with the history of power relations, not to speak of combining the three disciplines of history, anthropology and the history of religions, of course makes for many pitfalls. I have been very lucky in receiving the kind assistance of a number of gifted individuals who have saved me from many errors. During my years as a history student at the University of Copenhagen, I was fortunate to have Benedicte Hjejle as my teacher in Indian history. She taught me the importance of perserverance and of relying on a thorough examination of the source materials rather than indulging in flights of unsubstantiated fantasies. Professor Niels Steensgaard, who acted as my supervisor for my Ph.D. thesis, taught me to view my questions and answers in the broader framework of the long history of the European expansion. During the year I spent at the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Nicholas Dirks acted as my supervisor. He introducedme to the fascinating research field of power and ritual, which gave me a whole new angle to the study of Christian missions. Nobody could have wished for more enthusiastic, inspiring and supportive teachers than these three. The work itself was begun in 1986-87 when I became a member of the group of scholars being assigned to the initiative, ‘Christian Missions and Cultural Policy, 1820 -1975’, sponsored by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities. The chairman of the initiative, Professor Eduard Nielsen, was from the start very positive about my proposed project, even in the periods when I myself had doubts and misgivings. For that moral support, as much as for the economic supporthe magically provided, I am deeply grateful. As already mentioned, in 1987-88 I spent a year in Ann Arbor at the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies. This was a fruitful and inspiring meeting place for scholars from a wide range of disciplines and the best place to be for a student of Indian history. I am grateful to the Danish Research Academy for granting me the funds to make this sojourn possible.

The Department of History at the University of Copenhagen offered me a scholarship for the years 1988-1991 to finish my Ph.D. thesis. I am grateful to the Department for offering excellent working facilities as well as the travel grants which over the years made it possible to visit archives and libraries in Europe. The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen provided not only access to its magnificent library but also a friendly and inspiring background to discussions onAsian studies. I am grateful also for the travel grant which I received from the Institute, enabling me to go to India in 1991. Likewise, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Jens N0rregaard and Hal Kochs Mindefond for the grant I received towards the publication of this book. A number of institutions have over the years been extremely helpful. The Danish Missionary Society graciously allowed me access to their archives and permitted me to quote from them. The Danish Royal Library and Danish National Archives in Copenhagen and the State and University Library in Aarhus - which contains the impressive Wahl’s Collection on Missionalia - were all helpful and efficient. In Paris I was received with the utmost kindness and hospitality by the Archive des Missions Etrang£res de Paris. The India Office Library and Records (IOL) in London is a gold mine of information on the history of nineteenth-century India. I am grateful to the helpful staff of the IOL, who not only provided me with what I needed when I was in London, but also offered invaluable services in copying material forme. In Bangalore, India, I was able to make use of the excellent library of St. Peter’s Seminary and the library and archives of United Theological College, both of which are fundamental to anybody wanting to work on Indian church history. The friendly interest in my work and the efficient assistance I received here were essential for the completion of this work. In Pondicherry I was received with friendliness and hospitality at the Archbishop’s House. Unfortunately the Gulf War, which was at its height at the time of my latest visit to India, made it impossible to make use of existing local church archives, the unstable petrol situation making it extremely difficult to travel within India. I have benefitted greatly by discussions with a number of friends and colleagues at home and abroad. These include Johannes Aagaard, Helen Ballhatchet, Kenneth Ballhatchet, Crispin Bates, Susan Bayly, Penny Carson, Anita Diehl, Fred S. Downs, Sidsel Eriksen, Ole Feldbaek, Herluf Forchhammer, Wolfgang Gabbert, Holger Bemt Hansen, Bent Smidt Hansen, Niels Kastfelt, Stig Toft Madsen, David Mosse, Andrew Porter, Dietmar Rothermund, Joan Pau Rubies, and Doug Stuart. A special note of gratitude goes to a former missionary, Miss Lydia Larsen,

who over the years has generously and with never failing interest shared her vast knowledge of Tamil culture with me. A number of friends heroically undertook to read through the entire manuscript. Without their helpful criticisms this work would never have been finished. They include Peter B. Andersen; my father, Knud Eyvin Bugge; Karl Reinhold Hasllquist; Poul G. Pedersen; and Pamela Price. Thank you one and all. Needless to say, the responsibility for remaining errors and misjudgements rests entirely on me. Last but not least my thanks go to my family. To my parents, for bringing me to India in the first place, and for their continuous sharing of my interest in Indian history and culture. To my husband Jack, for his loving support, even at a time whenhis own research was demanding and time-consuming. And to our children Simon, Philip and Leah, who never complained but loyally cheered me on.

Introductory Note In this study I use a number of words and terms that may be unfamiliar to the reader. I try to explain these words as succinctly as possible the first time I use them. After that, please refer to the appended Glossary, which more fully explains the terms used in the text. If the profusion of unfamiliar terms obscures the meaning of the text, I can only apologize to the reader. The transliteration I use for Indian terms may seem too simple in the eyes of readers familiar with writings on Indian history. I use no diacritical marks at all and take the liberty of appending an ‘s* to Tamil, Sanskrit and Arabic terms in their plural form. Generally, I retain the traditional English transliteration - such as poligar instead of palaiyakkarar, shakti instead of Cakti - for no other reason than that these terms are more easily recognizable for the reader with a scant knowledge of Indian languages and of the specific adminstrative terms which were constructed in the early decades of the British Raj. English conventions shall also be retained regarding proper names. The early Jesuit missionaries in India have thus been given their English names instead of the Italian, Spanish, French or Latin version, i.e. St. Francis Xavier, Robert de Nobili and St. John de Britto. Quotations from French, German and Danish have been translated into English by me. In the text, the names of the two missionary societies, the Danish Missionary Society and the Soci6t6 des Missions Etrangfcres de Paris, are abbreviated DMS and MEP respectively.

Map 1: South India in the Nineteenth Century

CHAPTER 1

Approach to the Study Contemporary writings on Indian society often have difficulties in dealing with the relationship between religion, politics and economy. The areas of economy and politics have been the subject of keen discussions and pertinent analysis, as has the area of religion and religious identity, but attempts to combine the two approaches have been few and far between. In 1922 Mahatma Gandhi expressed the view that in India there could be no clearcut distinction between religion and politics.1This was not a view invented by Gandhi himself. It was rather a view which was deeply rooted in the colonial understanding of Indian social mechanisms and political patterns. The British basically viewed all Indian political and economic behaviour as either conforming with or in opposition to religious identity or caste identity.2This view seems to have led to the popular belief among many contemporary Western writers that social and political problems in India can be ascribed to the inertia of the Indian religions. Indian religions are seen as reactionary political forces hindering 'progress'.3 More astute observers, specifically anthropologists and students of the sociology of religions, have in recent years argued for the dynamic and geographically diversified character of Indian religions. The close link between religious identity and political behaviour has received considerable attention but, in a significant departure from the Gandhian way of looking at things, the focus has been on religious identity and its significance for political action rather than the other way around.4One of the areas where religion as a dynamic factor in Indian society is most apparent has however been much neglected in the scholarly debate. It is the area of missionary activity and conversion, the exchange of one religious identity for another. Until recently, the study of this specific area has followed in the footsteps of traditional missionary writings.5By this I refer to the concentration on single individuals and their work in establishing Christian communities and in building churches. Also, this kind

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of writing tends to view the converts as separating themselves from their surroundings by the act of conversion and any remaining ties to their previous world of beliefs and social connections as evidence of unsuccessful conversion.6 Such a way of looking at conversions matches with the views found in the nineteenth century missionary reports written for the home boards and the supporters. With the works by G.A. Oddie from the 1960s and 1970s, this picture changed and for the first time Christian conversions were seen in a broader framework of social and economic history.7All the same, the writings by Oddie remained outside the 'mainstream' of historical and anthropological scholarship, as they are highly descriptive and only to a lesser extent analytical and theoretical. Furthermore, in Oddie's writings the main emphasis is on the disruptions between pre -conversion and post-conversion and the problems caused by adhering to Christian beliefs and practices in a non -Christian milieu. In 1980 another significant work appeared, namely Duncan Forrester's book on the attitudes of Protestant missionaries to the phenomenon of caste. Here, for the first time, the missionary perceptions of caste are seen in the context of the nineteenth -century scholarly and administrative views of caste and of the Indian society in general.8 The most astonishing, however, is that with very few exceptions all this scholarly interest in the history of Christian missions is concentrated on the Protestant missions. The Roman Catholic missions in India have aroused very little interest.9 Only with the work by three younger scholars did the study of Christian missions in India catch up with the theoretical and empirical findings of modern scholarship. Rosalind O'Hanlon's book on the low caste politician, Jotirao Phule,10concentrating on one Protestant mission, convincingly shows how missionary writings and discourse had penetrated the Indian political debate in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Significantly, this did not necessarily lead to the baptism of the politicians who used the missionary language or were influenced by the missionaries' stands on political and moral issues. David Mosse's dissertation11 on the social and religious history of a small village in Ramnad, South India, shows that the expectations of the Roman Catholic congregations were decisive factors in shaping missionary strategies. Further, David Mosse argued that the Jesuit mission with a very keen sense of the workings of the existing social system adapted itself and shaped its requirements and set-up

Approach to the Study

3

accordingly. Susan Bayly's book on Muslims and Christians in South India,12which attempts to cover both Protestant and Roman Catholic missions, also argues for the complex and adaptable character of South Indian society. According to Susan Bayly, both of the conversion religions', Islam and Christianity, were shaped and moulded to fit into the South Indian religious environment and into the social normative system, to the extent that the shifting religious identity did not signify a sharp break between orthodoxies but rather a form of syncretism. The significance of these works is that for the first time the emphasis is not on the missionaries, nor on what the missionaries expected from their converts, but rather on what the converts expected from the missionaries and how they used what they had learned from the missionaries in new and unexpected contexts. Another important difference from the previous studies on Christian missions is the emphasis Susan Bayly and David Mosse place on the missionary process as adaptation and mutual dependency rather than as breaks with previous relationships.13 In a way, however, the study of missionary activities has missed a link in the scholarly debate on Indian society. The neoMarxist debates in the 1970s on the Indian mode of production, as well as the studies on revolt and rebellion as political action, influenced by Eric Hobsbawm, Antonio Gramsci and Ranajit Guha, inspired only few working on Christian missions.14 The works by Rosalind O'Hanlon, David Mosse and Susan Bayly, on the other hand, belong to the new paradigm with the focus on literary theory, specifically inspired by Michel Foucault. In this paradigm, the emphasis is on the written and oral sources as texts, while the broader structural analyses of caste and class are given a secondary role. This is not to say that these three authors ignore the social and political context of the missions; David Mosse especially takes great care to explore the social networks and ties of dependency. There is in both of the other works, however, a strong emphasis on political structures: in Rosalind O'Hanlon's book on the role of the emerging caste associations during the political upheavals of the late nineteenth century, in Susan Bayly's book on the character of the pre-British state and the state under British rule in the nineteenth century. What is missing in the study of Christian missions in India, then, is an analysis of religion as a dynamic factor in Indian society, seen in a social and economic context. The present study

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is an attempt to fulfil this need. From an analysis of Christian missionary activity in a limited area of South India in the nineteenth century, three main questions will be asked and answers sought. The first question is: How did the missionaries view the society in which they were working? What is seen depends on the eyes that see is a truism that has carried great weight in anthropological research and in research on the non - European world. The encounter with the non -European societies which took place from the age of discoveries brought forth countless descriptions of these unfamiliar worlds, which remained 'strange' or were defined by their 'otherness'.15 What is sought to be answered here, then, is the question to what extent the missionary perceptions of Indian society differed from the views found in official records and anthropological surveys. Traditionally, missionary accounts have been seen as less reliable than anthropological surveys because the missionaries wanted to change the Indian religious structure (i.e. convert the heathen to Christianity) while the anthropologists just described things as they were. Lately, however, it has been appreciated that the line between the two is blurred: the anthropologist just as much as the missionary changes his object in describing it - and the missionary just as much as the anthropologist 'freezes' it.16 Furtherm ore, a num ber of nineteen th - cen tu ry C hristian missionaries were amateur anthropologists who contributed heavily to the official series on 'Castes and Tribes of India' and who as readily as anybody else measured noses and skulls in order to fit different groups of the population into a large evolutionary ranking system!17 Apart from the difficulty of separating the missionary from the anthropologist we also face the problematic character of the sources. As mentioned above, the missionaries wrote their reports either to the home boards or to missionary journals and magazines to be read by the public who by contributions financed the missions. The descriptions found in these reports and letters tend to be very repetitive, very simplified and very stereotyped. It is hard to avoid the feeling that the missionaries to a large extent wrote about selected events and used the specific terminology that would be most acceptable to their readers - and kept everything else in the dark. Nonetheless, as only few private letters from the missionaries have survived, the official reports are what we have and what we must work with.

Approach to the Study

5

The second question to be answered is: What were the actual social and economic conditions in the areas where the missionaries worked? The missionary reports, biased as they are, form a basic source material which has previously not been much used. From these reports we can get a glimpse of the way social, economic and religious relationships functioned at village level, which was where most missionaries worked. It must be stressed that the official and administrative reports, which usually form the backbone of studies of this kind, were often just as biased and unreliable and should be used with as much caution as the missionary reports. However, a combination of the two types of sources is conducive to a fruitful enquiry. Unfortunately, we do not possess the material to make thorough analyses of individual villages. The missionary material only mentions a very limited number of villages and the information about individual villages is too scattered in the letters and reports to enable us to get an idea of continuum.18However, even as it is, the missionary material enables us to glimpse the social networks and the changing economic relationships through the nineteenth century. The official reports by m em bers of the British administration more often describe things the way the British officials wanted them to be rather than the way they were, and they are to a large extent biased by the official need to quantify and systematize a bewildering reality. This is most apparent in the census material, which attempted to classify the population of India in ranked orders of caste and occupation. Through the decades, the definitions of individual castes changed, as did the ranking of one caste in relationship to another; nor were the definitions of occupation consistent.19 This makes it extremely difficult to make comparisons over time but, as in the case with the missionary material, the official material can be used provided one is cautious and realizes the pitfalls. The economic changes of the nineteenth century had a serious impact on the social and economic conditions in the South Indian villages. This has been the subject of a large amount of scholarly work, which forms the background for the discussions here. The question to be answered is first and foremost whether it is possible to substantiate a connection between economic change and the change in religious identity. Thus we come back to the perennial questions in the missionary letters of whether the converts wanted to become Christians in order to gain economic advantages (the

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so -called 'rice Christians'). Another question, raised by G.A. Oddie, is whether the converts became Christians in order to raise their status or to get a social 'uplift'. Here I shall seek to answer the question at a slightly different level. Rather than attempting to prove individual motives I shall see whether the economic development and the general climate of change in different areas correlate not only to the number of converts but also to the opportunities offered to converts. The third main question to be answered is: To which extent did the new Christians or the would -be converts use what they learned from the missionaries, and how did they change it? As mentioned above, this is a point which has been elaborated by Rosalind O'Hanlon, David Mosse and Susan Bayly but which still needs further clarification. The questions I shall raise here reflect my wish to throw light on the social and economic conditions in the villages rather than on the political impact of missionary enterprise. It means that I shall only in passing refer to the use of missionary discourse in the political debates of nineteenth -century South India - even though, as Irschick has shown, this discourse was of central importance for the formulation of Tamil revivalism.20 The question of central importance to be answered then is: How were the missionaries placed in the power hierarchy of the villages? David Mosse has argued that the Jesuit missionaries in Ramnad took a position - or were given it by their followers - similar to the former kings': combining the supreme ritual and political power, deciding on ritual honours and thus on socio -religious ranking within the community.21This is however only part of the picture. It shall be argued that the position of the missionaries in the power structure of the villages varied not only according to the economic, agricultural and social conditions of the villages but also according to the kind of mission we are talking about. Furthermore, the role of the missionary varied over time. The situation of the missionary in the village will be investigated from three different viewpoints. The first is the ritual status of the missionary, the second is the economic one, and the third is what we generally may term the power status. While these three functions sometimes overlap they do not always do so and should, for the purpose of analysis, be kept apart. What will be investigated then, is the role of the missionary in the Christian rituals as well as the part of the Christian congregation in the nonChristian village festivals; the role of the missionary in economic

Approach to the Study

7

transactions such as money -lending; and the extent to which the missionary took on the role of the village leader, i.e. the landlord, the employer and the keeper of 'law and order'. The present study is built up around the three main questions I have mentioned but they will not be answered one by one. Rather, they will form the backbone of what is to appear in the following pages. Before outlining the plan of this study, it is as well to emphasize its limits. I concentrate on only one district in the former Madras Presidency: the South Arcot district. Before the British took power this district had been under the dominion of the nawab of Arcot, i.e. it had formed a part of the Mughal empire, albeit a very peripheral and distant one. Nevertheless this singles out South Arcot (and North Arcot, for that matter) from other South Indian districts which have been under scrutiny lately. Unlike the areas studied by Washbrook, Ludden, Price and Dirks South Arcot was not under poligar rule (rule of military chieftains),22 there were no great landlords (zamindars) and no 'little kings'. Nor did South Arcot completely conform to the picture of the rice growing river deltas with their rigid caste system. South Arcot encompassed both dry and wet areas, both zones of commercial expansion and zones of rigid high-caste dominion over production and ritual hierarchy. In comparison with the dry areas of the extreme south and with the wet core zones of Tinnevelly and Tanjore, South Arcot presented a much more varied picture. South Arcot differed from other South Indian districts also because it was the home of only two missionary societies. The French mission, organized by Societe des Missions Etrangeres de Paris (henceforth called the MEP), had been active in South Arcot since the late eighteenth century. Having its headquarters in Pondicherry, South Arcot was the obvious area of expansion for this society. The Danish mission, organized by the Danish Missionary Society (henceforth called the DMS), only became active in South Arcot in the 1860s when the society acquired both a mission station and a missionary from the German Leipzig Mission. A few German and Swedish mission stations, forming the outposts of these Missions' activities in Tanjore, were for a short period the only other Protestant missions in the area. South Arcot never became as famous as the districts in the south, where the missions flourished and the converts flocked to the mission stations in both the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. However, the French mission did in fact acquire a large number of

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converts over the years but somehow the French mission has remained a forgotten entity in the scholarly writings on South Indian history. The French mission has never received the same attention as the different Protestant and Jesuit missions in the southern districts. Chronologically this study is limited to the years between 1840 and 1900. Before 1840 the activities of the MEP were severely restricted due to the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Because of these events, missionary activities were not looked upon kindly by the French state and the mission of the MEP suffered from a lack of funds as well as a lack of missionaries. From the mid -1830s, however, the MEP's activities expanded and were better organized. The Danish mission, as mentioned above, only came to South Arcot in the 1860s. The terminal date, 1900, was chosen because it in many ways marks the end of an era. For both missions, the DMS as well as the MEP, the years of the socalled mass movements were all but over and the missions now had to establish the day-to-day life of the new congregations. For the DMS, the years after the turn of the century were years when young missionaries challenged the established Protestant views of Hinduism and Indian society, giving rise to what has been termed 'liberal missionary attitudes'.23 The source material is to a great extent the reports and letters of the missionaries, found in the Danish National Archives and the Archive des Missions Etrangeres in Paris. There is an important difference between the two archives, however. The archive of the DMS contains a wide range of material pertaining to the work of the DMS. This means that apart from the letters from the missionaries it also contains minutes from board meetings, discussions on the recruitment of new missionaries, letters to the missionaries, debates with supporting organisations in Denmark and with sister societies in other Scandinavian countries and schedules for the mission school, to mention but a few. There is still a large amount of untapped material waiting to be studied, both on the work of the DMS abroad and at home. The French archive is different from the Danish as almost exclusively it contains letters from the archbishops to the directors and letters from missionaries highly placed in the hierarchy. There are almost no letters from the single missionaries in the field and it is thus difficult to find the descriptions of the conditions at village level. At most, the letters to the directors contain abstracts of letters

Approach to the Study

9

from the missionaries to the authorities in Pondicherry. By this process the letters going back to Paris are often kept at a general level of discussion and the individual 'stories' they contain are there to make a point (either because the incident described has a generalizing value, or because it falls outside the accepted norm). We find no diaries or other kinds of material making it possible to follow a single village or a single congregation over a longer period of time.24 The past history and the specific agricultural, economic and religious background of South Arcot is decisive in understanding the impact of Christian missions on society. Chapter 2 presents the history of South Arcot, placing it within the wider framework of South Indian history in the past centuries. Chapter 3 elaborates on the establishment and character of the two missionary societies active in South Arcot, the MEP and the DMS. The main principles behind each society are outlined, specifically the different official views on Indian society. Further, the pattern of establishing mission stations is discussed and they are placed in the wider context of the history of Roman Catholic missions and Protestant missions. The next three chapters analyse the interaction between missionaries and South Indian society in more detail. Chapter 4 is concentrated on the organizational aspects of the two societies. Instead of giving a description of the building of churches and the numerical strength of the congregations, the organization of the two missions is analysed through the institution of 'native helpers', i.e. catechists and native priests. These groups, acting as intermediaries between the missionaries and the congregations, have not hitherto - as far as I know - been treated in any detail in the scholarly writings on the history of missions. Chapter 5 concerns the question of church discipline. By investigating the ways in which church discipline was maintained in the congregations, we get a clearer picture of the interaction between a village society and a mission. Similarly, through the lens of discipline it is possible to shed new light on whether the new Christians had distanced themselves from the society they lived in. Stated differently, we can begin to realize the ambiguous position of the new Christians between the moral and legal pressures from two different sources of power. Chapter 6 focuses on the central issue of power. Here I shall attempt to tackle the question of how the missionaries were

10

Mission and Tamil Society

placed in the power structure of the villages and whether we can find any differences regionally in the status of the missionaries. The mass movements of the late nineteenth century will form the point of departure for this investigation, giving rise to a new interpretation of the role of the m issionaries in the mass movements. Notes Interview in Bombay Chronicle, 18 February 1922. Quoted in Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne H. Rudolph, The Modernity of Tradition: Political Development in India (Chicago/London 1967) p. 158. See Judith M. Brown, Modern India. The Origins of an Asian Democracy (Oxford 1985) pp. 16-37,129-133,142-147. For a more critical view see Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, 1885-1947 (Delhi 1983) pp. 56-60,79-82,96100,129 - 131. Perhaps the most persuasive and best argued example of this attitude is Gunnar Myrdal, Asian Drama, vol. I-Hl (London 1968). The most significant contributions to the vast literature on this subject include Rudolph and Rudolph, Modernity of Tradition; R.L. Hardgrave, The Nadars ofTamilnad. The Political Culture of a Community in Change (Berkeley/Los Angeles 1969); E. Irschick, Politics and Social Conflict in Tamilnaa (Berkeley/Los Angeles 1969); E. Irschick, Tamil Revivalism in the 1930s (Madras 1986); Michael Roberts, Caste Conflict and Elite Formation. The Rise of a Karova Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 (Cambridge 1982); J.C. Heestjerman, The Inner Conflict of Tradition. Essays in Indian Ritual, Kingship, and Society (Chicago 1985) and J. Pandian, Caste, Nationalism and Ethnicity. An Interpretation of Tamil Cultural History and Social Order (Bombay 1987). I am here concentrating only on the history of Christian missions in India. The history of Muslim missions, however significant for social and religious life in India, has been even more neglected. See Susan Bayly, Saints, Goddesses and Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society, 1700-1900 (Cambridge 1989) pp. 10-15, 61-63,104-150. Susan Bayly is to my knowledge the only modern author to attempt a comparative analysis of Christian and Muslim missions. Among the traditional works are the official histories of different missionary societies, for instance R. Handmann, Die EvangelischLutherische Tamulen-Mission in der Zeit ihrer NeubegrUndung (Leipzig 1903); E. Stock, The History of the C.M.S. Its Environment, Its Men and Its Work, vol. 1-3 (London 1899) and Adrien Launay, Histoire des Missions de Vlnde: Pondichery, MaXssour, CoXmbatour, vol. 1-5 (Paris 1898). Even newer works take up this attitude, for instance S. Arasaratnam, Christianity, Traditional Cultures and Nationalism: The South Asian Experience (Jaffna 1978) and D. Kooiman, Conversion and Social Equality in India. The London Missionary Society in South Travancorein the Nineteenth Century (New Delhi 1989). So too does the important book by Hugald Grafe, Tamilnadu in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (History of Christianity in India, Vol. IV, Part 2), Bangalore, 1990. Unfortunately, this book came to my attention too late to be discussed in full in the present study.

Approach to the Study

11

7

G.A. Oddie, 'Protestant missions, caste and social change in India, 1850 - 1914 ' , Indian Economic and Social History Review, 6 (1969) pp. 259 ­ 291; also, 'Christian conversions in the Telugu country, 1860 -1900: A case -study of one Protestant movement in the Godavery-Krishna delta ', Indian Economic and Social History Review, 12/1 (1975; pp. 61 -79; also, Social Protest in India. British Protestant Missionaries and Social Reform (Delhi 1979).

8

Duncan B. Forrester, Caste and Christianity. Attitudes and Policies on Caste of Anglo-Saxon Protestant Missions in India (London 1980). The works by Robert Eric Frykenberg and Robert Hardgrave, though contributing significantly to our understanding of the social conflicts inherent in conversion, mainly stay within the same set of questions and problems. See Robert E. Frykenberg, T he impact of conversion and social reform upon society in South India during the late Company period: Questions concerning Hindu -Christian encounters, with special reference to Tinnevelly7, in C.H. Philips and Mary Doreen Wainwright, eds., Indian Society and the Beginnings of Modernisation, c. 1830 -1850 (London 1976) ana Robert L. Hardgrave, Nadars, passim.

9

The exceptions are: G£nevi£ve Houtart and F. Lemercinier, Size and Structure of the Catholic Church in India. The Indigenization ofan Exogenous Religious Institution in a Society in Transition (Louvain-la-Neuve 1982) and the first two volumes in the series History of Christianity in India, which cover the history of the Portuguese and early Jesuit missions in South India. Volume 2 m the series is the monograpn by J. Thekkadath, History of Christianity in India from the Middle of the Sixteenth Century to the End of the Seventeenth Century (Bangalore 1982). Grafe, Tamilnadu, passim, also continually discusses Roman Catholic and Protestant missions vis -^-vis each other. See especially p. 80 ff.

10

Rosalind O 'Hanlon, Caste, Conflict and Ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Low Caste Protest in Nineteenth-Century Western India (Cambridge 1985).

11

C.D.F. Mosse, Caste, Christianity and Hinduism: A Study of Social Organisation and Religion in Rural Ramnad (Unpublished D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxfora 1986).

12

Bayly, Saints, passim.

13

This was a way of looking at conversions that had been predominant for some years in the study of African missions but wnich had not previously been applied to India. See Gwyn Prins, The Hidden Hippopotamus: Reappraisal in African History. The Early Colonial Experience in Western Zambia (Cambridge 1980); Jean Comaroff, Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance. The Culture and History of a South African People (Chicago/London 1985) and T.O. Beidelman, 'Social Theory and the Study of Christian Missions in Africa ', Africa, 4 4 /3 (1974), pp. 235 ­249.

14

See the works by David Arnold mentioned in the bibliography, which are among the most prominent on South Indian rebellions. Also Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India (New Delhi 1983).

15

The anthropological and ethno -historical discussions of the character and development of this 'otherness ' are abundant and cannot be treated in full here. See for instance Ronald Inden, Imagining India (Cam bridge 1990); Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other. How Anthropology Makes Its Object (New York 1983) and Henriette Bugge and Joan Pau Rubies, eds., Shifting Cultures. Interaction and Discourse in the Expansion of Europe (forthcoming)

12

Mission and Tamil Society

16

For a discussion of this see Ann -Belinda Steen, 'Mission, kultur og identitet: M odet mellem Arcot Missionen og M alayali-folket 1 Sydindien ', in Henriette Bugge & Ann ­Belinda Steen, Dansk Mission i Sydindien (Copenhagen 1989), pp. 52 -82.

17

See for instance M. A. Sherring, History of Protestant Missions in India, from their Commencement in 1706 to 1871 (London 1875) and the two volumes of Castes and Tribes of the Bombay Presidency.

18

For the area under survey, the South Arcot district, we do notpossess the missionary diaries or note-books that enabled Mosse to follow a single village through almost a century. See Mosse, Caste, pp. 14-21.

19

For a discussion of the Census as sources for Indian social history, see Christopher J. Baker & David Washbrook, South India: Political Institutions and Political Change 1880 -1940 (New Delhi/M adras 1975) pp. 204-231; Heesterman, Inner Conflict pp. 180-193; and N.G. Barrier, ea., The Census in British India. New Perspectives (New Delhi 1981).

20

Irschick, Tamil Revivalism pp. 14-15,81-86.

21

Mosse, Caste, pp. 127-128, 290-317.

22

See David Washbrook, 'Country Politics: Madras 1880 -1930 ', Modern Asian Studies, 7 /3 (1973); also 'Economic development and social stratification in rural Madras: The 'dry ' region 1878 -1929 ’, in Clive Dewey and A.D. Hopkins, eds., The Imperial Impact: Studies in the Economic History of Africa and India (London 1978); Dirks, Hollow Crown; Pamela Price: 'Kaja -aharma in Nineteenth Century South India: land, litigation and largess in Ramnad Zamindari ', Contributions to Indian Sociology, N.S., 1 3 /2 (1979); Mosse, Caste.

23

Forrester, Caste and Christianity, pp. 136 -154. See also Grafe, Tamilnadu, pp. 241 -247.

24

The two works by Mgr. de Bresillac, which are as close as we can get to diaries, were kept in the Archive des Missions Africaines in Rome before being published in 1987. That diaries concerning South India were in that particular archive is due to the fact that Mgr. de Bresillac at a later stage of his life became the director of the African missions under the Propaganda Fide.

CHAPTER 2

The Area: South Arcot District Geographical Features South Arcot is a district in the Tamil-speaking area of what was formerly the Madras Presidency. By 1871, when the first Census of India was taken, South Arcot covered approximately 4,800 square miles and had a little over 1.7 million inhabitants. From 1860 it was divided into eight taluqs or sub -districts (see below). In the west the Kalrayan Hills separate South Arcot from Salem; in the east the district faces the Bay of Bengal. The small area of Pondicherry, which lies within the South Arcot district and faces the Bay of Bengal, had been under French dominion since 1686.1 To the north, South Arcot borders the North Arcot district and is separated from Tanjore and Trichinopoly by the Coleroon river to the south. Except for the Kalrayan hills and the small rocky hills

14

Mission and Tamil Society

in the north -west, the entire district consists of flat alluvial plains. The main rivers, which are an important source of irrigation, all run east and empty into the Bay of Bengal (see Map 4 overleaf). South Arcot is not one of the hottest and most arid of the South Indian districts, nor does it have the assured and plentiful supply of rain which characterizes the districts on the Malabar coast - the western coast of South India (see Map 3). Recent writings on South Indian history in the centuries before British control have stressed the distinction between the irrigated river deltas and the dry, rain -fed plains.2 This distinction, it is argued, pertains not only in matters of agricultural production and social stratification but also in the religious sphere. Thus, goes the argument, the river deltas were characterized by a highly stratified social system based on bonded labour and the production

Map 3: Average Annual Rainfall in South Arcot



30 - 39 inches p.a.



4 0 - 49 inches p.a. 50 - 59 inches p.a.

Source:

Rainfall Statistics 1870- 1903.

The Area: South Arcot District

15

of irrigated food -crops. In the religious sphere, the notions of purity and pollution reinforced the social and ritual distinctions between high and low castes and gave rise to the particular South Indian form of ritual kingship. The plains, on the other hand, were characterized by an economy based on migrating cattle -keepers and hunters, and by a religious system dominated by fierce warrior saints and bloodthirsty goddesses. In the centuries prior to British dominion, these two social systems gradually merged, giving rise to a wide variety of religious practice and social and economic stratification. This variety in form and expression baffled not only the British administrators of the nineteenth century but also the European missionaries who were all struggling to establish a coherent view of South Indian society. In the following pages it shall be argued that this socio ­ religious variety in general, and the traditions of ritual kingship in particular, were to be of primary importance in establishing the secular and ritual authority of the missions.

Divine Kingship Between the tenth and the fourteenth centuries, the area which is now South Arcot formed a part of the large kingly regions of South India known as mandalams, the Tondamandalam and the Cholamandalam. Concentrated in the river tracts and river deltas, these kingdoms were based on a highly -developed system of irrigation and wet land cultivation of rice and other food -grains. The political authority of the kings rested on two seemingly unrelated items: the control of water (i.e. the control of agricultural production) and the alliance with the temples. The importance of the temples stemmed in part from the twin traditions of bhakti devotionalism and pilgrimage.3 Royal authority was based not only on the establishment and endowment of temples but also on a wider system of gift-giving and redistribution. Both in temple rituals and in rituals of political authority, the giving of a gift symbolized the giver's acceptance of the authority of the receiver: a vassal accepting the political or military authority of a little king, a little king accepting the authority of a greater king, or a devotee accepting the divine authority of the god to whom he makes an offering.4 The redistribution of the gifts, on the other hand, was the prerogative of authority: the king giving inams (tax-

16

Mission and Tamil Society

free or tax -reduced lands) to his trusted subordinates or to temples, and the temple Brahmin handing out to the devotees the gifts sacrificed to the god: rice, coconuts, flower garlands, etc. The redistribution was a way not only of underlining authority but also of determining the status of the receivers (the subordinates) in a complex pattern of dependence and inter -dependence.5 The relationship between the kings and the temples in medieval South India was mirrored in perhaps the strongest social alliance

Map 4: Main Rivers of South Arcot

in South Indian history: the alliance between the influential landowning caste, the Vellalas, and the priestly caste of Brahmins. While the Vellalas as landowners had the political domination in the local areas, the Brahmins had the ritual domination. These two castes supported the authority claims of each other and, in so doing, managed to establish themselves as the strong and unshakeable elite of society. The other side of the coin was the poverty and ritual degradation of the client labourers. By the tenth or eleventh century, the elite had disengaged itself completely

The Area: South Arcot District

17

from cultivation, which was now seen as polluting and suitable only for lower, unclean castes. European observers of later centuries were to remark on the inexplicable situation of an unusually severe and restrictive caste system and harrowing poverty in the most fertile and rich areas of South India: the ricegrowing riverine tracts. The era from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries marks the zenith of classical Hindu culture in South India. In art, architecture,

Map 5: Approximate Distribution of Brahmins 1871

Source: Census of India 1871, Madras Presidency, Village Statistics literature and philosophy this period is still today regarded as the golden era of South Indian history. In the religious sphere, a definite South Indian tradition of Hinduism emerged, strongly shaped by bhakti devotionalism and traditions of pilgrimage, and defining itself in contrast both to the North Indian ritualistic and ascetic tradition, and to the divergent paths of Jainism and Buddhism. Kingship, even though it must be considered strong, in no way resembled European feudalism. The role of the king was not to

18

Mission and Tamil Society

control or subsume local foci of power but, in David Shulman's apt phrase, to symbolize the conflicts within the society. This was done not by the accumulation of power and resources at the centre but rather by redistribution of authority and royal favours. This in turn meant that kingship, in order to retain power, had to be continually expanding, chiefly by predatory raiding in neigh ­ bouring territories.6

Warrior Kings From the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, a new social and political system threatened the stability of the rice -growing areas in the river deltas. This was the result of two main developments: the growing contacts between the river areas and the plains, and the establishment of strong Muslim warrior dynasties outside the Tamil area. Ongoing wars between the major kingdoms of the valleys which had required a closer relationship with the military 'tribes' from the plains resulted in the overthrow of the existing political system.7 In the plains, where agricultural production was hampered by low rainfall and thin, infertile soils, a different social and religious system had developed. Cattle breeding and hunting were important in the economy. It seems likely that the people of the plains did not pay heed to the Vedic rituals predominant in the rice -growing areas; they were not vegetarians and revered fierce and 'primitive' gods. These deities of blood and power were of two kinds. One kind were the goddesses who demanded blood sacrifices in order to combat the forces of evil, such as sickness, famine, drought and other calamities not under the control of humans. The second kind were warrior saints renowned for their fierceness in battle and their appetite for meat, alcohol and other substances not usually associated with the gods of the river deltas. The worship in the river deltas was more concerned with status ranking and questions of ritual purity. The deities of the plains were later to be labelled 'village deities' and remained for a long time unconnected with the Vedic pantheon.8The inhabitants of the plains were ruled by warrior kings and chieftains, whose authority was among other things determined by the amount of cattle they could seize from their opponents (or prevent others from doing, as the case might be).9

The Area: South Arcot District

19

By the thirteenth century, when the power of the large mandalam kingdoms was on the wane, a first wave of settlement from the plains into the fringes of the valleys occurred. The settlers, who came from a society of warrior kings, were to a large extent accepted and incorporated in the existing social structure of the valleys. Their acceptance was mirrored in a ritual acceptance. They won a place in the ritual ranking order of the temples, and thus in the caste system. In some areas on the fringes of the valleys the warrior groups eventually attained the status of 'little kings', most notable among them the Kallars, who in the later independ ­ ent state of Pudukkottai became the dominant caste from which kings and nobles were recruited.10The Kallars were one of several major castes in South India who - originally coming from the plains and settling as agriculturists in the valleys or in areas bordering on the valleys - carried with them a reputation for banditry, robbery and violence. Under British rule, they were placed lower and lower in the caste hierarchy and eventually became classified as 'criminal castes' in the Criminal Tribes Act of 1 8 7 0 .11

In the fourteenth century, the southwards expansion of the Delhi sultanate and the establishment of Muslim states to the north of the Tamil country (in Bijapur, Golconda and Ahmed nagar) led to the further consolidation of the dominance of the warrior elites. Telugu and Kannada warriors immigrated into the Tamil area, establishing themselves as poligars (the English way of writing the Tamil word palaiyakkara) or warrior landlords. This second wave of immigration into the outskirts of the valleys had several serious consequences. The building of forts and establishment of armies were organized by granting lands to settler families in return for their providing manpower to the army. Furthermore, the military settlement of the plains led to an expansion of cultivation, most significantly by the building of irrigation systems and by the introduction of new crops. Apart from securing the income of the armies from agriculture, the poligar chiefs also brought in a number of trading groups and artisans (especially weavers) to ensure a quick commercialisation of the plains. These trading groups settled mainly on the coast, where they established ties with the overseas trade to Indonesia and the Arab ports. A large number of these immigrant trader groups were Muslims, thus adding to the mixed and fluid character of the society of the plains.

20

Mission and Tamil Society

In a number of ways the temples in the valleys continued to establish some sort of bond between the valleys and the plains. Even more than in the previous centuries, the temples took on the role of social arbiters, trying to incorporate the military and immigrant groups into the ritual and social gradation system. This was made difficult by the fluid character of the immigrant groups; they were not castes in the way we know them now ­ but then our understanding of the caste system is based on the way the social and ritual stratifications of the nineteenth century were perceived by British observers.12 Even though a rapprochement had taken place between the two economic and cultural systems of valleys and plains, the integra ­ tion never became complete. A significant example of the incomplete integration is found in the religious systems of the two areas. The so-called 'primitive' deities of the plains - village goddesses and warrior saints - were to some extent incorporated in the Hindu pantheon. A number of the fierce village goddesses, who could be appeased only through blood sacrifices, were 'married' to the Vedic male gods, who abhorred blood and violence. The marriage ensured that the dangerous and menacing power of the goddess was channelled and contained. By this action a fusion of the Hinduism of the river deltas and the Hinduism of the plains was attained, adding to the complex character of Hindu religious life.13 Not only the temples were active in incorporating the people of the plains in the culture of the valleys. The poligars and the lesser chieftains were also eager to establish their authority by endowing temples, thereby strengthening the social dominance of Brahmins and Vellalas in the riverine tracts. The military rulers continued the tradition of the Hindu kings in allocating land on a tax-free basis (inam land) to temple Brahmins in return for their service in the temples. Other groups enjoyed similar privileges, notably military chieftains and retainers. In the area of administration, however, the poligars did not follow the traditions laid down by their predecessors. The autonomy of the villages diminished as centrally appointed village officers to an increasing extent came to oversee agricultural production, irrigation and trade.14 In the dry areas, the village officers handled the payment of taxes (or rather, tribute), the links to the markets, the organizing of military service and the control of labour. Labour was scarce, mobility was high, and caste ranking had little meaning. All castes could work on the land without loss of status and of necessity all groups

The Area: South Arcot District

21

fanned out into several different branches to secure an income.15 In the wet areas, conditions were different. Here the village officers, who were either immigrants or members of the local elite, came to be known as mirasdars, and the new corporate village system as the mirasi system. The mirasi system, which was predominant in the former Tondamandalam and in Trichinopoly and Tanjore, was characterized by corporate ownership to land. This was unlike the individual ryotwari system, which became dominant after the British took power. M irasi land was owned by a group - an extended family, a caste group or the like - where all members had the right to a share in the crop in return for certain tasks carried out to the benefit of all. The land was inheritable and alienable but could not be sold, only rented out to tenants. Even though the land was held in common, and the crops and profits were shared among the villagers, the actual work of cultivation was done on an individual basis. The cultivation of the land was carried out either by tenants or by agricultural slaves, who belonged not to an individual or a family but were tied to the land. They could be sold or leased out along with the land, but could not be sold to a different village against their will. Neither could the land be sold without them. These agricultural slaves, as they were called by the British administrators, were recruited from the two untouchable castes, the Pariahs and the Pallans.16 Parallel to this form of communal slavery there existed another form of agricultural bondage, which differed from the first in several important aspects. This second form of bondage was first of all voluntary. An impoverished person or family from any caste could hire out the labour of himself or his family in return for wages, clothes or to repay of a debt. Secondly, this form of bondage was individual, i.e. the bonded person was attached to a single individual, not to the entire village. Thirdly, it was not permanent but existed only until the agreed terms had been met. These two forms of slavery existed simultaneously and side by side in the south Indian villages.17

Arcot under M uslim Rule In the area which later became South Arcot, the situation was not quite so harsh, which Benedicte Hjejle ascribes to the fact that it

22

Mission and Tamil Society

had been under Muslim dominance for a long period before the British rule.18The Arcot area was one of the last areas in the Tamil­ speaking south to be incorporated into the Vijayanagar Empire, being placed under the dominion of local nayaks (viceroys) in 1526, with the fortress town of Gingee as the capital and administrative centre.19 In 1649 Gingee fell to the Muslim state of Bijapur and, during the rule of Nazir Muhammed Khan, the French in 1676 succeeded in obtaining permission to settle in Pondicherry. Shortly afterwards, the area once again came under Hindu rule when the famous Marathi warrior, Shivaji, captured Gingee in 1677. After the death of Shivaji in 1680, a period of internal strife followed until the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb decided to take matters in hand and laid siege to Gingee in 1690.20 In 1698 the Mughal forces finally captured Gingee. The second half of the seventeenth century was thus a period of destabilization and conflict in the Arcot areas. The more or less permanent tug of war between the Bijapur rulers and the Mughal imperial centre was intensified by the military and fiscal aspirations of the Marathas and the various European powers. The result was economic crisis, acerbated by the migrations of artisans and merchants, and severe famines in the 1680s.21 It seems that some measure of stability was achieved with the establishment of Mughal rule. After a few years the rulers of Gingee took the title of nawabs of the Carnatic, and in the first years of the eighteenth century they left Gingee to take up residence in Arcot.22 The nawabs of the Carnatic, or the nawabs of Arcot as they were later called, ruled over a vast area stretching from Nellore to Unnevelly (see Map 6 opposite).23 The Muslim groups which came into power in Arcot after the establishment of Mughal rule in the Carnatic were the descendants of Dakhni service and trading families who had settled on the Coromandel coast in the previous centuries. The Navaiyat dynasty came to power when Saadatullah Khan was appointed subadhar, or chief military and revenue officer of the newly established Mughal subah of Arcot in 1710. The Navaiyats, wanting to take advantage of the relative weakness of the links to the Mughal centre, and wanting to carve out an independent dynastic rule for themselves, quickly fell into the traditional pattern of empirebuilding. They extended existing citadels like Vellore and Gingee by 'importing' North Indian traders, artisans and soldiers; they

The Area: South Arcot District

23

established a number of new market centres; they founded and endowed mosques; and they invited poets, artists, scholars and Sufi holy men to the new capital of Arcot.24

Map 6: Area under the Nawab of Arcot

By this action, a process of Muslim integration into the religious world of South India was continued and consolidated. Muslim immigration into South India had taken place at least since the eighth or ninth century with the establishment of Arab trading posts on the coast. Some of the Muslim groups eventually became agricultural labourers, of whom maybe the most notorious were the Mappilas in Malabar, whose frequent uprisings in the nineteenth century gave the British commentators ample scope for arguments about 'communal' riots.25 What must be noted is that the Muslim immigrants and settlers were not only traders, but were as diverse as their 'Hindu' neighbours in employment

24

Mission and Tamil Society

and social status. The most significant aspect of South Indian Islam, however, is that it was predominantly influenced by Sufi mysticism. The Sufis were not as bound by doctrinal formalism as the Sunnis or the Shi'ites but were concerned with an individual, mystic devotionalism which made it easy to adapt to the existing religious environment of South India. Sufi mysticism was characterized on the one hand by centres of learning, poetry and science, and on the other hand by the centrality of the pir or saint. The saint's devotees assembled at his shrine to partake in the sacred power which abounded in the area, thus falling into the existing tradition of sacred places and the im portance of pilgrimage. As in the case of Hindu temples, devotees of all creeds and denominations flocked to the Muslim pilgrimage centres, giving further emphasis to the argument of blurred or practically non -existent lines of communal identity.26 In 1740, however, the Navaiyat rule came to a halt, when Dost Ali Khan was killed in battle against the Marathas. In the power vacuum, the Nizam of Hyderabad stepped in and placed his own man on the throne of Arcot. The new Walajah dynasty was in power (at least nominally) from 1744 to 1855. Under the Walajahs the process begun under the Navaiyats continued. The Walajahs also confirmed their position by inviting North Indian service groups into the Arcot area, establishing centres of learning and endowing religious institutions. Unlike the Navaiyats, however, the Walajahs also endowed Hindu temples and shrines. The need to maintain a military superiority and the need to establish princely authority by acts of religious patronage coincided in the magnificent endowments lavished on the fortresses and temples of Trichinopoly.27 The control with temple centres was not only necessary in order to establish princely authority but also because the temples were centres of trade and important sources of revenue for the rulers. The British military authorities of the early nineteenth century understood this very well when they took over the administration of the Indian temples and the levying of the pilgrim tax - although by doing so they invited the scorn and anger of later missionaries and reformers. As early as the 1740s the Walajahs saw the need to form an alliance with one of the European powers now emerging in South India. The main contender to the nawabship, Chanda Sahib, was backed by the French and the rulers of Mysore, but Muhammed Ali Walajah wisely chose the British and defeated Chanda Sahib

The Area: South Arcot District

25

in the so-called Second Carnatic War (1749-1755). In 1755 Muhammed Ali requested the aid of the British to raise money from the poligars in the southern parts of the nawab's dominions, mainly the area around Madurai. This was the starting point of the 'poligar wars', which only came to an end in 1801 when the British established a firm control over the entire Carnatic area.28 The poligars in the Carnatic had from the 1760s refused to pay allegiance to the nawab, i.e. to pay the required taxes to the imperial centre. The nawab of Arcot however quickly came to realize that to sup with the devil he needed a long spoon. From the 1770s the British systematically tried to control the nawab's armies by extending him loans to pay the soldiers' wages. In 1765 the British acquired the jaghir (landed estate) of Chinglepet and in 1792 the right to collect tribute from the Tanjore poligars as payment for their military assistance over the years. By the turn of the century the nawab was heavily in debt to the East India Company, and was in fact a 'puppet king' - at least in the eyes of the British, who could not appreciate the authority (let alone the expenditures) of a king deprived of his troops, his revenue apparatus and his political status.29In 1801, the last of the poligars was defeated, and the British could set about organizing the administration and revenue systems of the newly acquired territories. Unfortunately, we do not know very much about the economic conditions of the Arcot areas under the nawabs. The history of the eighteenth century was first analysed and described by the victorious British forces in the nineteenth century, placing a heavy emphasis on disorder and 'anarchy', the disruptions caused by warfare, and the adverse effects of rebellions. This view of eighteenth -century South India was carried on and repeated by most historians far into the twentieth century. Recently, however, the eighteenth century has been subject to new interpretations and is now seen as neither stagnant nor decadent. The rebellions of the poligars should not be seen as disruptive but rather as a logical continuation of an established tradition of legitimizing local kingship through plunder and interm ittent warfare.30 However, the wars did have some negative effects on the economy which must not be overlooked. Plunder in itself had only a marginal and short-term effect on agricultural production, but what did have an adverse effect was the large -scale migrations which followed in the wake of armies moving about from one

26

Mission and Tamil Society

place to another. The migrations in turn caused the withdrawal of capital, skills and supervision from areas where trading links had been disrupted. We must here remember that the poligar areas were chiefly the dry inland areas of South India, which were in any case not heavily monetized.31Adding to the troubles were the frequent and devastating famines that hit South India in the 1780s and 1790s. The famines, the withdrawal of capital and skills, and the migrations all co -operated to put a halt to the expansion of settlement and production which had been predominant in the previous centuries. The nawab of Arcot had presided over an area with different administrative systems. In the southern areas - in Tanjore, Trichinopoly, Pudukkottai, etc. - the poligars had been required to collect tribute to the nawab. The poligar was obliged to provide food and goods for his soldiers in kind rather than pay their wages in cash. Similarly the extraction of revenue was organized as a tribute in kind rather than a payment in cash. It was the job of the tax -collector (the village headman) to convert the tribute into cash, which had paved the way for a class of militant merchantadministrators. Thus violence, or the control of the means of violence, became the legitimate emblem of authority in the dry poligar areas. The outbreak of violence or armed conflict was an often recurrent theme in the history of the dry areas, where protection, patronage and authority passed downwards in the system in return for payment of tribute. Whether this tribute took the form of homage, service, goods or cash, it symbolized subordination and inclusion in the realm.32In the riverine tracts of the poligar areas we find the m irasi system of tenure, where power depended on membership of the ruling elite or the influential communities, ritual domination, and on the control of two key resources, water and labour. Here tax was levied in cash and the entire economy was heavily monetized, even though the 'primary producers' - the bonded labourers and agricultural slaves - were seldom, if ever, paid in cash.33 In both cases, the control of production and revenue through centrally appointed village leaders is evident. In the part of Arcot which later became the districts of North Arcot and South Arcot, the nawab had attempted to introduce the classical Mughal system of land -tax. In theory this system took the form of a direct link between the primary producers and the imperial centre actually rather like the ryotwari system which was

The Area: South Arcot District

27

introduced, in principle at least, in the entire Madras Presidency by the British in 1803. However, the system could not work smoothly without the intermediaries in the form of tax -collectors on the one hand, who might or might not be local landholders, and merchants and money lenders on the other hand, who could convert the agricultural surplus into cash.34

The Colonial Administration When the British took over the administration of the nawab 's dominions in 1801, they found varying forms of local authority. In the south, where the poligars were still a force to be reckoned with, an agreement was reached leaving large tracts of land under the dominion of the po lig a rs , who were now named zam indars (landlords). The zam indars had the privilege of levying taxes more or less as they pleased, provided they paid a fixed annual sum to the British. The idea was to turn this group of former soldieradministrators into a class of 'enterprising landlords', who would eventually bring about commercial and agricultural development in the dry areas.35 In the core areas of the nawab 's dominions, i.e. the areas later to be named North Arcot and South Arcot, the peasants paid taxes directly to the British government. The ryotwari system, which was introduced in the entire Madras Presidency in 1801 and came into force from 1803 (except in the small pockets of zam indari administration), was intended as a combination of the Bengal 'Permanent Settlement' and what the British saw as the Mughal legacy of free, independent cultivators responsible only to the state. It seemed that the Arcot areas matched this picture to perfection. Here there had been no poligars , so no large landlords disturbed the picture. The fe w ja g h irs in the wild and inhospitable mountains in the western comer of South Arcot were left alone, and the British administration could concentrate only on the actual 'cultivators'. As in all other areas of the Presidency, however, this simplification was more confusing than it was enlightening. The British administrators found it difficult to keep up the distinction between 'owner' and 'tenant' as the concept of private ownership to land did not carry the same specific connotations as it did in Europe.36 One of the goals expressed by the architects of the

28

Mission and Tamil Society

ryotwari system was to introduce private ownership to land through the issuing of pattahs (deeds) upon receiving revenue payments. However, this admirable intention found hardly any basis in fact, as it seemed impossible to get the village headmen and accountants to issue written surveys of individual holdings. In the end it was decided (more or less explicitly) that whoever paid the taxes on a piece of land was to be considered the owner. The influence and importance of the village officers in the dry areas, however, seem to have continued and even increased after the introduction of ryotwari settlement.37 Here we touch upon one of the key issues in the contemporary scholarly debate on South Indian history. Ever since the British took power in South India, there have been divergent evaluations of the impact of British rule on South Indian society. The British administrators and politicians saw themselves as the benefactors of a war-ravaged and impoverished country, bringing peace and prosperity to the people. Many nineteenth -century commentators, from critics of laissez-faire to Karl Marx, saw British rule as threatening the existing social order, especially as it destroyed the self-sufficient independent village communities, the fabled 'village republics'.38 This was a view later taken over by the nationalist historians and politicians of the Independence movement.39 On the other hand, the view of British rule as generally benevolent was propounded not only by members of the administration but also by some 'conservative' British historians.40Common to both was the idea of the British impact as profoundly and permanently transforming. In the 1960s a group of American scholars gave new impetus to the study of Indian history. Burton Stein and R.E. Frykenberg, taking their departure point in the study of change in an anthropological context, argued that nothing much had changed in the South Indian countryside after the British took power. The British may have wanted to create direct contact between the state and the cultivators, but the strength of the traditional ties of dependency guaranteed the continuing dominance of the rural elites in the new context. In other words, the British ruled only the surface of South Indian society.41 To a certain extent this view was shared by the so - called 'Cambridge school' of British historians, who through regional studies tried to show that the British administrative system hardly if ever worked at the local level. For our purpose it is enough to point to the work by David Washbrook42

The Area: South Arcot District

29

and by C.J. Baker.43 Washbrook argues that a class of strong, independent landlords developed in the dry areas who combined administrative, judicial and political powers. Baker also argues for the strengthening of the dry area -village officers in the last half of the nineteenth century. It should be kept in mind, however, that both these authors point to the waning powers of the zamindars and other members of the old elite, and argue that the elites of the late nineteenth century were to a large extent new elites who had stepped into the pow er vacuum created by the British administrative changes. This view was challenged from two sides. The first was the neo Marxist historians and sociologists of the 1970s and 1980s, who argued from the assumption of the profound and devastating impact of British imperialism and industrialism on the traditional economies of India. With a background in dependency theories, they stressed that colonial rule had actively underdeveloped India, and that this underdevelopment among other things showed itself in a growing class of landless labourers and an uneven distribution of land and income.44 In this argument they were joined by the scholars of the Sussex School, who also maintained the imperialist economy as the main reason for the present underdevelopment of the Indian economy with its burden of over-population, poverty, fragmentation of landholdings and an industrial sector which can neither support nor employ the under­ employed masses.45 The second challenge came from a group of younger scholars who, under the influence of Michel Foucault and structuralist writers, attempted to get a clearer picture of the political and social structures, especially the structure and ideology of power in society. These authors all point to the existence of a fluid and adaptable pre-colonial society, where caste lines and caste identities were not very rigid. The British colonial policy, however, furthered the ossification of society along caste lines, communal identities and local status.46 It seems to me that, although this last argument is by far the most convincing, its proponents have not taken due notice of the results generated by the neo-Marxist and Sussex School scholars. There is no doubt that the points raised about the fragmentation of landholdings and the skewed distribution of income are of central importance in understanding South Indian society in the nineteenth century.

30

Mission and Tamil Society

The British 'settlement' of South India did not only take place in the revenue sector, although this was the subject of most of the discussions and writings in the entire nineteenth century. A form of settlement also took place in the judicial sector with the introduction of British courts of law and British legislation, and (more indirectly) in the caste system, with the Imperial Censuses as arbiters of caste rank and caste identity. Although these settlements are all important for the social and economic history of nineteenth -century South India, I shall here concentrate on only one of them, the revenue settlement. The revenue settlement which took place in South Arcot in the early nineteenth century was as diffuse as in other South Indian districts. Most of the settlement was left in the hands of the district collectors and their subordinates. The collectors seldom stayed long in the district - some of them only for as short a time as one month - and in the period between 1801 and 1901 only one collector, Charles Hyde, stayed for more than a decade.47 This quick turnover of administrators did nothing to ensure the stability of British rule as the individual collectors hardly got acquainted with the area before being transferred. Partly as a result of this the revenue settlement did not work very well, and was revised a total of eleven times between 1801 and 1855.48 Apart from the quick turnover of administrators and the recurring resettlement schemes there was yet another problem in the early nineteenth century administration of the rural areas. David Ludden goes into this in some detail: the development of a specific language of administration. This language was a mixture of English, Tamil, and Persian and Arab loan -words which the British felt were best suited to describe 'native' customs. This language was developed among the new administrative (Indian) elite who worked as inter­ mediaries between the British and the local population. Few British administrators stayed long enough to learn the language properly and few villagers ever learned any English. In their role as inter­ preters the administrative elite had a tremendous power as they were the ones to channel the British decisions into the villages and to act in the villages as representatives of the British Raj.49 In spite of the pleas of two collectors, Major Macleod and Mr. Ravenshaw, to reduce the rates of assessment, the plans for introducing ryotwari was temporarily abandoned between 1808 and 1821, leaving the tax -collection to village headmen. As in other districts where this was attempted, the experiment was a

The Area: South Arcot District

31

failure. The price of grain fell, the rains were unfavourable, the cultivators were scarce because a great number had moved away and taken up cultivation elsewhere (in this period there was still plenty of uncultivated land available), and the tax -collectors fell behind with their payments.50 In 1821 it was decided to return to the ryotwari system and a number of new assessments were introduced and revised over and over in the following decades. The tax -collection scheme however was hampered by a severe economic crisis in the South Indian economy during the first forty years of the nineteenth century. The growing need for cash to pay troops and to finance the British administration was made all the more difficult by the ineffectiveness of the market to convert crops into cash and the diminished supply of money in India due to a growing cash drain and diminishing exports.51The fall in the money supply and the increase in the demand for money led to falling prices, which in turn made it difficult for the cultivators to pay the required taxes in years of low or even average production.52 The British did not take any steps to stabilize prices or to change the estimates of output that were the basis for the assessments. Years of drought or years of floods - both of which affected the level of production negatively - were not taken into account as the amount of taxation was determined by the value of the land rather than by the value of the annual crop.53 In 1855 -1856 Charles Hyde introduced an assessment which was to remain in force for more than 30 years. This time the assessments were reduced, especially the assessment on dry land. Charles Hyde managed to have his plans approved because the reduction could be carried out without the loss of revenue. In the years after 1855, waste land (which had previously, at least in the wet zones, been controlled by the mirasdars) was put under the plough and by the end of the century there was hardly any uncultivated land left in the entire district.54 In the 1830s and 1840s the mirasdar landholders were, as could be expected, the most difficult to control, as they saw their ancient privileges of communal ownership and redistributional rights threatened. How best to assess mirasi land was one of the key issues in the official debates on revenue.55From the middle of the century this picture changed. The British administration had taken on the duties of the Hindu and Muslim rulers in maintaining and building irrigation works, thus providing opportunity for an

32

Mission and Tamil Society

extended production of wet crops. Furthermore, the British government expanded the lines of communication within the district, both by building roads and by establishing railways, thereby linking important commercial centres to each other and to the main ports. In the dry districts new crops were introduced, most important of which was the ground-nut and other oil-seeds which could be grown on medium - sized and small plots without too heavy an outlay of capital. Prices rose significantly in the last decades of the century, giving further emphasis to a commerc­ ialization of the dry areas. South Arcot was the Tamil district with the most dramatic fall in the area classified as waste land, signifying an important extension of cultivation.56In the irrigated areas, rice was still the most important crop both for local consumption and for long ­ distance sale, but from the 1840s sugar cane was grown in still larger amounts. In contrast to both ground -nuts and rice, however, sugar cane required not only good watering and drainage facilities but also large inputs of capital and labour which made large plots the most remunerative.57 A thorough resettlement which took place from 1887 to 1893 attempted to put right all the old mistakes, taking into account the changing prices, the new land brought under the plough, and the accessibility to markets. As a result, the revenue rose dramatically.58

The Third Zone By now it is necessary to introduce yet another theme in modern scholarly writing on the history of nineteenth century South India. This theme is closely related to the above mentioned discussion about the impact of British rule. Since Burton Stein in the 1960s argued for the centrality of the Hindu temple in the social and political history of medieval South India it has become almost a commonplace to distinguish between two different economic and agricultural zones in South India. I am here referring to the distinction between the rice -growing, irrigated riverine tracts and the dry, infertile plains which I have discussed in the preceding pages. David Ludden, Christopher Baker and Susan Bayly have argued convincingly for this distinction but the discussion has appeared in every major work on South Indian history in the 1980s.

The Area: South Arcot District

33

Both David Ludden and Christopher Baker, however, mention some areas which do not quite fit the pattern. David Ludden solves his dilemma by referring to these areas as the 'mixed zones', and describes them as predominantly dry zones with pockets of irrigated land, suitable for the growing of rice. In contrast to the wet and the dry zone the mixed zone was in the nineteenth century also mixed politically, with 'no clear-cut lines of caste subordination and superiority7 Christopher Baker places his third zone in the Kongunad area, and describes it as 'a unique combination of elements of plains and valley models'.60 By this Baker refers to dry land with little rainfall but with enough water from the rivers to maintain pockets of irrigated land for the growing of rice. The dominant caste of this area were the Kongu Vellalas (called Gounders), who not only grew cereals but also kept large herds of cattle. As can be seen, both authors maintain the existence of a third zone, but can only describe these zones in terms of a mixture of wet and dry zones. In the following I shall argue that a third zone, distinct from the wet and dry zones, did in fact exist and can be seen quite clearly in South Arcot. Generally speaking this third zone runs north -south along the coast, extending inwards to Tindivanam, Villapuram, Bowanagiri and Mannargudi. Along this strip of land lie the towns which in the 1870s were considered to be the principal seats of commerce in South Arcot. The main roads of the district went from Madras to Trichinopoly through Tindivanam and Villapuram, from Cuddalore to Salem through Panruti and Tyaga Drug and from T indivanam to N egapatinam through P on d icherry and Cuddalore.61 The South Indian Railway from Madras to Tanjore, built in 1875-1876, ran through the district, with railway stations in Tindivanam, Villapuram, Cuddalore and Porto Novo. The State Railway, which was still very new in the 1890s, ran from Villapuram through Tiruvannamalai to Vellore in North Arcot, where it met and united with the Madras- Calicut railway.62This may seem as if it was by virtue of the British Raj that this third zone acquired its character of a predominantly commercial zone. This was not the case, however. As early as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries we hear of the commercial centres on the Coromandel coast from where not only cotton textiles but also food grains and indigo were shipped to the Indonesian Archipelago. Merchants from the Coromandel coast, Hindus as well as Muslims, were well-known and influential figures in the

34

Mission and Tamil Society

trading emporium of Malacca, where they bought spices, pearls, copper and tin, thereby connecting the Coromandel coast with the international network of trade that covered the Indonesian Archipelago and the South China Sea.63In contrast to the weaving centres and export ports near Madras, the ports of Cuddalore and Porto Novo seem to have been able to absorb a good quantity of imported goods, as well as to disperse the goods in the hinterland as far as Bangalore.64In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the textiles and the food -grains were bought up and shipped overseas by professional merchant castes, notably Chetties, where­ as the weaving was done by weaving castes who had settled near the coast. The cotton itself, however, did not grow in the coastal strip where the weavers lived but was imported from the central Deccan by a nomadic trading caste, the Banjaras.65 It can thus be ascertained that the British did not establish a new infrastructure in the area but rather elaborated and improved on an already existing structure of communication and transport lines. By the nineteenth century the South Indian weavers can loosely be divided into two distinct groups. One was the untouchable Mala caste which formed an important part of the Telugu population in the Krishna Godavary delta. The other was the itinerant Kaikalar caste, which claimed to be descendants of warriors. They were high -caste weavers who even today assert a ritual status parallel with the Kongunad Vellalas. At the same time they retain many of their ancestral warrior traits such as the drinking of intoxicating spirits and performing animal sacrifice. In the nineteenth century, the Kaikalars were independent of the village system of patronage and division of resources, and had no dominance over the lower castes in their villages.66By combining weaving with the transport of the textiles from producer to market, the Kaikalars had early established themselves as important links between villages and markets. In 1871, when the first all-India Census was taken, the Kaikalars in South Arcot numbered about 45,000 or 2.6 percent of the entire population. What is more important, however, is the distribution of the Kaikalars. They were concentrated in the taluqs of Cuddalore, Chidambaram, and Tlrukoilur.67A similar concentration of trading castes (Chetties) was found in the coastal taluqs. The Chetties numbered about 34,000 or 2 percent of the total population. Of the number of Chetties, 26 percent lived in Cuddalore, 14 percent in Vriddachalam and 12 percent in both Tirukoilur and Villapuram.

35

The Area: South Arcot District

As a last point (a point which I am going to take up in some detail in chapter 6), it may be mentioned that there was a tradition for greater mobility of labour in the coastal areas. One of the Danish missionaries in the area, Chr. Schlesch, mentioned in 1894 that in his mission district in Melpattambakkam close to Cuddalore there were not many agricultural serfs. 'Most of the Pariahs are free workers, although very poor. Some of them even own a little land'.68 Other missionary reports speak of the availability of alternative employment in the area (small industry, the railway etc).69Like the tradition of trade, the tradition of a mobile labour force was not something the British had invented but which had been intensified through public works like the railway and through the upkeep of the public roads. In several ways, then, the coastal strip of South Arcot formed a distinct and separate 'third zone', different from the rice -growing delta with its bonded labour, and from the dry zone with its commercialized farming.

Notes In the eighteenth century Pondicherry was several times the spoil of war in the ongoing struggles between the French, Dutch and British forces. After being captured by the British in 1803, it was restored to the French in 1816 following the final defeat of Napoleon and the Second Treaty of Paris. A. Ramasamy, History of Pondicherry (Bangalore 1987) pp. 55-60,144-146. Most convincingly argued by Bayly, Saints; Christopher J. Baker, An Indian Rural Economy 1880 -1955: The Tamilnad Countryside (Oxford 1984); and David Ludden, Peasant History in South India (Princeton 1985). Bayly, Saints, discusses at length the influence of Christian and Muslim pilgrimage centres on popular religion during the last two centuries. See also David D. Shulman, T he enemy within: Idealism and dissent in South Indian Hinduism ', S.N. Eisenstadt, Reuven Kahane, and David D. Shulman (eds.), Orthodoxy, Heterodoxy and Dissent in India (New York/Am sterdam 1984) p. 12. Ludden, Peasant History pp. 26-41. Dirks, Hollow Crown pp. 78-96,128138. Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 28 - 34. Burton Stein, ' T h e South' and T he Far South " , in T. Ravchaudhuri and I. Habib, eds., Cambridge Economic History of India, vol. 1 (Cambridge 1982) pp. 203-213, 452-458. Arjun Appadurai, Worship and Conflict under Colonial Rule: A South Indian Case (New York 1981) pp. 33-36,6370; Arjun Appadurai & Carol Breckenridge: T he South Indian Temple: Authority, honour and redistribution', Contributions to Indian Sociology, N.S., 1 0 /2 (1976) pp. 195 -208. Nicholas B. Dirks, T h e structure and meaning of political relations in a South Indian little kingdom ', Contributions to Indian Sociology, N.S., 1 3 /2 (1979) pp. 172-180; 200-205.

36

Mission and Tamil Society Shulman, Temple Myths,p p . 9-10,34-40. Dirks, Hollow Crown, pp. 315318. Bayly, Saints, pp. 22z -z37. Burton Stein, Peasant State and Society in Medieval South India (Delhi 1980) pp. 45-70, 214-215, 257-270. Burton Stein, 'Idiom and ideology in early nineteenth -century South India ', in Peter Robb, ed., Rural India. Lana, power and society under British rule (London 1983) pp. 27-41. Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 29-41. All these authors represent a break with the traditional view formulated by K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, The Colas (Madras 1955) and A History of Soutn India (Madras 1958), who argues for the strongly centralized, indeed semi­ feudalized, character of the Chola empire. For a slightly different view.

Expansion of Islam 7th to 11th Centuries (Leiden 1990) pp. 309 -330. 7

The term 'plains' is here used to denote all the dry areas between the Ghats and the Bay of Bengal, but outside the riverine tracts, i.e. the Baramahal in the north, the Dindigul area, and the areas between the three main rivers and the Tondamandalam. Cf. Baker, Rural Economy, p. 34. Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) pp. 35 -36.

8

The older Orientalist conception of the Hinduism of the river areas as concerned only with questions of ritual purity and personal salvation has gradually changed. At present there is greater scholarly interest in attempting to combine the social aspects of the Hinduism found in the river -areas with political authority and the cosmological aspects of South Indian kingship. Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 35 -36. Bayly, Saints, pp. 27 -34.

9

At a certain point in time the role of cattle thief and its apparent opposite, the role of watchman, became the hall-mark of the tCallar caste. See Stuart H. Blackburn, T he Kallars: A Tamil 'criminal tribe' reconsidered ', South Asia, 1 /1 (1978) pp. 43 ­49 and Dirks, Hollow Crown pp. 5-7,203-215,256-261. David D. Snulman, 'Of South Indian bandits and kings', Indian Economic and Social History Review, 1 7 /3 (1980) argues convincingly for the existence of this duality in medieval South Indian concepts of power: thief and watchman, bandit and king, tax receiver and re -distributor.

10

See Dirks, Hollow Crown pp. 55 -107, and 'The past of a palaiyakarar: The ethnohistory of a Soutn Indian little king', in George W. bpencer, ed. , Temples, Kings and Peasants: Perceptions of South India s Past (Madras 1987) pp. 105 -122. Shulman, ' Bandits and Kings'. See also Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 35-41 and Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 42-46. In his 'Kallars ' (see note 9), Blackburn has traced the history of the Kallars through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He however neglects their changing ritual status in favour of an analysis of their social history seen as a consequence of changing British perceptions and policies.

11

Blackburn, 'Kallars ', pp. 48 -49. Dirks, Hollow Crown, pp. 71 - 74,203 ­ 207. See the description of the Maravars and Kallars in Edgar Thurston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India (Madras 1909) vol. 5 pp. 22 -47 and vol. 3 pp. 53 -91.

12

Bayly, Saints, pp. 22-25, 34-37, 202-206, 454-463.

13

Caplan, Class and Culture, pp. 177 -181.

14

Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 46 -48.

15

Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 75 -84. Ludden, 'Agrarian commercialism ' pp. 496 -498.

The Area: South Arcot District

37

16

Benedicte Hjejle, 'Slavery and agricultural bondage in South India in the nineteenth century ', Scandinavian Economic History Review, 1 5 /1 ­ 2 (1967), pp. 77 -87. Kathleen Gough, 'Caste in a Tanjore village', in E.R. Leach, ea., Aspects of Caste in South India, Ceylon and North- West Pakistan (Cambridge 1960) pp. 22-28. Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 34-41,84-96, 111-115,142-147,164-188.

17

Hjejle, 'Slavery ', pp. 79 -81. Gough, 'Caste ', pp. 22 ­28. Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 170-175. Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 142-149.

18

Hjejle, 'Slavery ', pp. 85 - 87,100 - 101,124 ­ 126.

19

Manual of the South Arcot District (1878) pp. 4 -8. Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) pp. 36-37. Arasaratnam, Merchants, pp. 40-43.

20

Manual of the South Arcot District (1878) pp. 8 - 9.

21

Arasaratnam, Merchants, pp. 43 - 47.

22

Ramasamy, Pondicherry, pp. 48 - 65. Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) pp. 37 - 44.

23

D.C. Wahdwa, Agrarian Legislation in India 1793 -1966, vol. 1 (Poona 1973) pp. 490 - 501.

24 25

Bayly, Saints, pp. 151 - 154. Wink, Al-Hind,pp. 322 -334. D.N. Dhanagare, ' Agrarian conflict, religion and politics. Trie Moplah rebellions in Malabar in the ninteenth and early twentieth centuries ', Past and Present, 74 (1977) pp. 112 ­126.

26

Bayly, Saints, pp. 71-96,115-150.

27

Baylj, Saints, pp. 157 -164. Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) pp.

28

The rebellions of the poligars were not a problem confined to the nawab of Arcot. About the same time Tipu Sultan in Mysore started his own expeditions to bring the poligars in his northern areas in line. Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 48 -52. Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) p. 71 -73. Dirks, Hollow Crown pp. 20-22, 52-54, 163-165,192-197. Bayly, Saints, pp. 169-179, 221-237. Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 48-61.

29 30

Dirks, Hollow Crown, pp. 27-30, 52-54, 192-199. C.A. Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars. North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion (Cambridge 1983), pp. 35-73. T. Raychaudhuri, 'The mid-eighteenth century background ', in Dharma Kumar and Meghnad Desai, eds., The Cambridge Economic History of India, vol. 2:1757 - 1970 (Cambridge 1983) pp. 11 -15.

31

Dirks, Hollow Crown, pp. 195-198. C.A. Bayly, Rulers, pp. 57-70,86-90. The traditional view ot the turbulent eighteenth century is found in Percival Spear, The Oxford History of Modern India 1740 -1947 (Oxford 1965) pp. 37-46, 74-102.

32

Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 68-80. Mosse, Caste, Christianity, pp. 2635.

33

Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 84 -96. Manual of the South Arcot District (1878) p. 192.

34

Often the line between the two was blurred, because the merchants might act as direct tax collectors, or because the local landlords and tax collectors controlled the flow of money, credit and goods in the area. Heesterman, Inner Conflict pp. 162-170. C.A. Bayly, Rulers, pp. 39-55,

38

Mission and Tamil Society 110 - 115, 150 -151, 163 - 175, 193 -195, 254 -260. Raychaudhuri, 'Back ­ ground ', pp. 174 ­183.

35

Walter C. Neale, 'Land is to Rule', in R.E. Frykenberg, ed., Land Control and Social Structure in Indian History (Madison 1969) pp. 11 -13. Bernard S. Cohn, 'Structural change in Indian rural society, 1596 -1885 ', in Frykenberg, Land Control, pp. 89-113. Kumar, Land ana Caste, pp. 77-95. Kumar, 'Agrarian relations: South India ', pp. 217 ­218.

36

See Kumar, 'Agrarian relations: South India' pp. 208 ­209, and Kumar: 'A note on the term 'land control " , in Peter R ood , ed., Rural India. Land, Power and Society under British Rule (London 1983) pp. 66 -67, where she questions the value of using the term 'land control' rather than the term 'land ownership ' when attempting to analyze the agrarian history of early nineteenth century India.

37

Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 104 -110.

38

Karl Marx saw the British impact on the Indian economy in terms of the spread of the Industrial Revolution. Even though he recognized the shattering impact of the Industrial Revolution, ne also considered it necessary for the development of a proper class system, which in turn could lead to revolution. See Karl Marx 's famous articles in The New York Daily Tribune, 25 June and 8 August 1853, and his analysis of the Indian village community in Das Kapital (1867), vol. 1, chapter 4. An admirable overview of the changing views of the Indian village through the nineteenth century is found in Clive Dewey, 'Images of the village community. A study m Anglo-Indian ideology ', Modern Asian Studies, 74 (1972).

39

See for instance R.C. Dutt, The Economic History of India in the Victorian Age (Calcutta 1906). Also A.R. Desai, The Social Background of Indian Nationalism (Bombay 1959) and M.N. Roy, India in Transition (Bombay 1922). Important nationalist writings include D. Naoroji, Poverty and Un-Britisn Rule in India (London 1901) and Radhakamal Mukherjee, Land Problems of India (London 1944).

40

A. Lyall, Rise and Expansion of the British Dominion in India (London 1894). J. Strachey, India (London 1888). A. Lovett, A History of the Indian Nationalist Movement (London 1920).

41

N. Mukherjee & R.E. Frykenberg, T h e ryotwari system and social organization in the Madras Presidency ', in Frykenberg, Land Control, pp. 219 -225. Burton Stein, 'Integration of the agrarian system of South India', Frykenberg, Land Control, pp. 197-212. Stein, 'Idiom and ideology' pp. 50 -54.

42

David Washbrook, 'Country Politics: Madras 1880 -1930 ', Modern Asian Studies, 7 /3 (1973). David washbrook, 'Economic development and social stratification in rural Madras: The 'dry7 region 1878 -1929 ’, in Clive Dewey and A.D. Hopkins, eds., The Imperial Impact: Studies in the Economic History of Africa and India (London 1978). C.J. Baker and David Washbrook, South India: Political Institutions and Political Change 18801940 (New Delhi/Madras 1975).

43

Baker, Rural Economy pp. 446 - 463. Christopher J. Baker, 'Madras headmen ' , in K.N. Chaudhuri and Clive Dewey, eds., Economy and Society: Essays in Indian economic and social history (Delhi 1979).

44

Brian Davey, The Economic Development of India (Bristol 1975) pp. 39 -73. See also the long debate on the Indian mode of production which was running through the 1970s in the Economicand Political Weekly. Immanuel Wallerstein has attempted to combine the theory of dependency and

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39

underdevelopment with the old idea of the self-sufficient village. I. Wallerstein, The Modern World System, vol. 1: Capitalist agriculture and the origins of the European world-economy in the sixteenth century (New York/London 1974) and The Modern World System, vol. 2: Mercantilism and the consolidation of the European world-economy, 1600 -1750 (New York/London 1980). 45

Michael Upton, Why Poor People Stay Poor (London 1977). Pramit Chaudhuri, The Indian Economy. Poverty and Development (New Delhi 1978). See also the summarizing discussion in Eric Stokes, T he first century of British colonial rule in India: Social revolution or social stagnation? ', Past and Present, 58 (1973).

46

Among others we find this argument in Bayly, Saints; Dirks, Hollow Crown and Ludden, Peasant History.

47

Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906), Appendix. In this period there was a total of 43 collectors in South Arcot, serving an average of just over 2 years.

48

Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) pp. 204 -215.

49

Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 101 -105.

50

Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906), pp. 206 -212. Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 107-115,175-182. P.J. Thomas & B. Natarajan, 'Economic depression in the Madras Presidency (1825 - 54) ', Economic History Review, 7 (1936) pp. 68 ­73. Kumar, 'The regional economy: South India', pp. 360 -375.

51

52

Thomas & Natarajan, 'Economic depression ', pp. 73 ­75. See also Gazetteer of Southern India (1855) p. 284.

53

See Stokes, Utilitarians, pp. 87-93, 110-139 for a discussion of the intellectual and political background of ryotwari and other land -revenue systems.

54

Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) pp. 216 -219. Selections from the Records of the Madras Government: Papers Relating to the Commutation Rates 1855 (Madras 1855). Selections from the Records of the Madras Government, UII: Papers Relating to the General Revenue Survey of the Madras Presidency 1828 -1858 (Madras 1863).

55

Christopher Baker mentions how a collector in South Arcot was forced to leave the district following a dispute with a group of mirasdars concerning the sovereignty over waste land. Baker, Rural Economy, p. 65. See also Ludden, Peasant History pp. 109 -115.

56

Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 137-152.

57

ibid., pp. 167 - 185.

58

Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) pp. 216 - 223.

59

Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 59-67.

60

Baker, Rural Economy pp. 93-97, 200-214.

61

Manual of the South Arcot District (1878) pp. 196 -199.

62

Benson, Atlas, p. 235.

63

K.N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean. An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge 1985) pp. 74-79,93-94, 100-113. Arasaratnam, Merchants, pp. 23-27, ?3-38, 48-63,129-160.

64

Arasaratnam, Merchants, pp.106 -107.

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Mission and Tamil Society

65

J.J. Brennig, Textile produceres and production in the late seventeenth century Coromandel', Indian Economic and Social History Review, 2 3 / 4 (1986) pp. 335 - 338. Kumar, 'Regional economy: South India ', pp. 353 ­ 357.

66

Mattison Mines, The Warrior Merchants. Textiles, Trade, and Territory in South India (Cambridge 1984) pp. 11-18.

67

Census of India 1871. Madras Presidency, vol. 2. Taluq Returns. Table C, p. 306.

68

Chr. Schlesch to the Board, 14 September 1894, DMS Archive 247.

69

Peder Andersen to the Board, 27 March 1867, DMS Archive 252. Dansk Missionsblad, 1864 (Tillaegsblad 1) pp. 7-8.

CHAPTER 3

The Missionary Societies Portuguese and Jesuits Christianity did not come to India with the Europeans. According to a third-century Apocryphal text, the so-called 'Acts of Thomas', the apostle Thomas was invited to India by the Indian king Gondophares. He arrived on the island of Malankara off the Malabar coast in the year 50 AD and founded the first Christian churches. Throughout the South Indian landscape one finds churches and shrines erected at places where Thomas supposedly founded Christian congregations. Perhaps the most famous of these is St. Thomas Mount at Mylapore near Madras, where the saint is said to have suffered a m artyr's death and to have been interred. Another tradition, also linked to the name of Thomas, speaks of Thomas of Jerusalem, a pious merchant who in 345 AD arrived in India with a bishop and several priests, thereby linking the Indian churches firmly with the West Asian centres of Christianity: Constantinople, Smyrna and Edessa.1 Apart from the spiritual links, there is no doubt that trading links between the western coast of India and West Asia had been established as early as the first centuries AD. About the same time we find the first traces of Jewish settlements in Cochin and other places on the Malabar coast. This was a consequence of the Jewish diaspora, which saw Jewish settlements scattered all over the Graeco Roman world, as well as in Persia, North Africa and India. The maritime and commercial expansion of Islam, which from the eighth to the eleventh centuries forged strong links across the Arabian Sea from the ports of the Persian Gulf to the commercial settlements on the western coast of India, thus took place along already established trade routes. However, Islam was not the only religious and commercial network to tie together the countries around the Arabian Sea.2 The Christian communities in South India called themselves St. Thomas Christians or Syrians because of their formal

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connections with the Nestorian or 'east Syrian' primates in Mardin and Mosul (in present-day Iraq) and, through the following centuries, they maintained Syriac as a ritual language. When the Europeans arrived on the Malabar coast in the fifteenth century, they found communities of Syrian Christians with a high social status who were thoroughly integrated into the Kerala region's warrior-merchant aristocracy. In 1503 it was estimated that the Syrian Christians numbered 30,000, a figure which by the mid ­ seventeenth century had swelled to more than 200,000.3 The Portuguese missionaries who arrived in India had the firm backing not only of the papacy but also of the Portuguese crown, to whom the Pope had granted the rights to control the administration of and appointments to all ecclesiastical offices in the Portuguese empire. This so - called Padroado Real was to be a significant factor in the history of Christian missions in South India for several centuries, sowing the seed of dissatisfaction and strife between the various Roman Catholic missions and seriously disturbing the unity of the Roman Catholic church in India. During the first decades of Portuguese rule in Malabar no measures were taken to start any missionary activity in the area. Only a few missionaries arrived in India at this time, mainly from the Franciscan and Dom inican orders, and not until the establishment of the Diocese of Goa in 1534 were these missionaries organized in a unified missionary enterprise. The Portuguese civil and ecclesiastical authorities in Goa did not embark on any form of 'internal' (i.e. local) missionary activity either but accepted marriages between Portuguese soldiers and Indian women, and received the children of these unions into the Roman Catholic church. The relationship with the Syrian Christians was cordial and even extended to providing sums for the adornment of Syrian churches.4 In the 1530s the Portuguese sent out their first missionaries in a combined attempt to place influential local groups in a position of allegiance to the Portuguese crown and to spread the Gospel. The following decade saw further attempts by the Portuguese to impose a joint civil and ecclesiastical regime not just in the Travancore-Cochin-Goa area but in the entire South Indian peninsula. The most interesting for our purposes is the excavation of the tomb of St. Thomas in Mylapore and the establishment there of a pilgrimage centre not controlled by the Syrian Christians. In other areas as well the Portuguese established pilgrimage

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centres, thereby falling neatly into the well-known South Indian tradition of kingship with its emphasis on military power and endowments of holy places.5 The Counter -Reformation in Europe also had repercussions in South India. Most significantly the Counter -Reformation resulted in growing attempts to control the Syrian Christians and to bring them back to the Roman Catholic church. This was done either indirectly (by reserving jobs in the government only for Roman Catholic Christians) or more directly (by the introduction of the Inquisition in 1560). Not until 1599, at the synod at Diamper, did the Portuguese succeed in 'cleansing7the Syrian churches of what they considered to be the remnants of Hindu worship, such as the casting of horoscopes, the use of sandalwood paste in various ceremonies and the non -celibate state of the Syrian priests.6 This was the first example of the struggle over 'the Malabarian rites' which was to continue with undiminished force in the Roman Catholic missions throughout the following centuries. The second effect of the Counter -Reformation was the arrival of the first Jesuit missionaries in Goa in the 1540. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) arrived in India in 1542 and in less than a decade he had succeeded in converting more than 15,000 low -caste fishermen (Paravas and Mukkuvas) on the Coromandel coast. Xavier's work set the pattern for future Roman Catholic missions. First of all the results of his labour may be considered the first mass movement in South Indian church history. The converts were baptized by groups or by families, not after individual schooling in the basic tenets of the faith nor by examination of the ardour of the individual convert's faith. As Xavier did not himself know Tamil, his teachings mainly consisted of Tamil versions of the Creed and Hail Mary learned by heart - a way of communication that could not have given the converts a profound understanding of theology. The nineteenth -century critics of mass movements (who, as we shall see, were prominent in the Danish mission) spoke of Xavier's missionary enterprise as a case in point: mass conversions did not guarantee the quality of the Christians gained.7 The second point to be noted about Francis Xavier's mission was that he not only gave the Paravas a new religious identity; he also confirmed their corporate status as a group in alliance with the Portuguese crown and in opposition to their traditional leaders. This feat is mentioned by the German missionary and historian, Johannes Richter, and interpreted as the first example of the

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Roman Catholic church accepting 'rice Christians', i.e. groups who embraced Christianity in the hope of temporal gain.8To be labelled as supporter of rice -Christians was throughout the nineteenth century one of the harshest criticisms one could raise against a missionary society in South India. Robert de Nobili (1577-1656) who came to India in 1602 built on Xavier's work but also brought new concepts into the Roman Catholic mission. He wanted to keep the mission outside the dominion of the Portuguese crown, which was the main reason why he settled in Madurai. Madurai was at this time still ruled by a nayak under the suzerainty of the Vijayanagar empire and included the coastal area inhabited by the Parava caste (fishermen) who had been converted to Christianity by Francis Xavier. A Jesuit mission had been established in Madurai about fifteen years previous to de Nobili's arrival in 1602 but had met with little success. The second and perhaps most important of de Nobili's new concepts was his wish to adapt the religious background of the Hindus. He dressed like a Brahmin sannyasi (ascetic), restricted himself to a vegetarian diet and received only high -caste people in his house.9 For the missionaries of the nineteenth century, the significance of Robert de Nobili's endeavours lay in two spheres. Firstly, he attempted to convert India 'from the top', i.e. through the Brahmin elite. He expected that the elite by setting an example of conversion would gradually induce their dependants from the lower castes to embrace Christianity as well. In contrast the Protestant missions of the nineteenth century concentrated on converting India 'from the bottom', i.e. by concentrating on the low - caste groups. Secondly, de Nobili accepted the continued use of a number of Hindu practices which he considered not essentially religious but rather social or cultural. This included acceptance of the smearing of sacred ash or sandalwood paste on the forehead and the use of the Brahminical sacred thread. It also included the building of separate churches for Brahmin converts and the Pallava converts.10 Robert de Nobili's measures for gaining converts did not meet with unmixed approval among his peers. Given that, at the synod at Diamper in 1599, the Archbishop of Goa had tried to quell any such measures among the Syrian Christians, he could not be expected to back de Nobili. Eventually the matter was referred to Rome where in 1623 it was decided to support de Nobili and allow a certain number of 'Malabarian rites' in the Madurai churches.

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Nonetheless the debate continued and even in the nineteenth century it was taken up occasionally in Roman Catholic missionary magazines.11In the eyes of nineteenth -century Protestant mission ­ aries, the 'accommodation' - as this policy came to be called ­ was tantamount to accepting the caste system in all its ramifications and was completely intolerable. The Protestant missions in general would have nothing to do with the caste system, which they saw as a religious system.12Daniel Wilson, Anglican bishop of Calcutta (1832 -1858) stated this attitude most clearly when during his visitation in Madras in 1832 he said that 'caste must be abandoned, decidedly, immediately, finally'.13 In the following decades the Madurai mission was expanded and consolidated. Mission stations were established not only in the neighbouring kingdoms of Ramnad, Pudukottai, Mysore, Trichinopoly and Tanjore, but also as far away as in the Arcot areas. Robert de Nobili's strategy of converting the Hindus by concentrating on the Brahmins was not followed everywhere. In Ramnad the famous John de Britto (d. 1693) focused his efforts on the warrior elites of society, the Maravas and Agamudaiyans, and in Tinnevelly he converted large numbers of Shanars (toddy tappers), who had a low ritual status as a consequence of their work with intoxicating substances.14The strategy of dressing like sannyasis and disclaiming any ties to the Portuguese imperial power was however continued. One was a consequence of the other: the Jesuits claimed that the Hindus regarded all Europeans as unclean and defiling because of their dietary habits, their garments, and their working with people of all castes. Therefore the message of Christianity could not be accepted if it passed through an unclean 'channel', as it were, but should be presented by men who had a high ritual status and were not connected to the Portuguese.15 Other aspects of the Jesuit missions should be noticed here. One is the spread of the Gospel by the printed word. An attempt was made by de Nobili to bridge the gap between Hindu and Christian religious terminology, and to find Tamil expressions (mainly from the bhakti tradition of worship) that could be used in Christian worship. Of even greater importance, however, was the work by Father C.J. Beschi (1680 -1747), an eminent linguist, who initiated the tradition of Tamil Christian devotional literature.16Countless pamphlets and booklets - containing legends, hagiographies and devotional songs and stories, all in Tamil - were issued by the

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Madurai mission in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. These printed works were consciously presented in a form which resembled the local tradition of epics, myths and legends. In most Tamil temples today one can find printed versions of the sthalapuranas, myths about the founding and the central cult of the temple. These printed versions of the sthalapuranas represent for the most part a 'fixed' version of a previously well-known but mainly oral tradition.17 The printed works published by the Jesuits suited this tradition remarkably well as a number of the works were connected to Christian pilgrimage centres and the legends connected with them. Around three of the first Jesuit missionaries in South India Francis Xavier, Robert de Nobili and John de Britto - a host of legends and miraculous stories sprung up, all closely resembling the local tradition of folk heroes, saintly healers (who at the same time could be disease bringers), and cult figures of blood and power. Susan Bayly argues convincingly that the cult tradition surrounding Francis Xavier resembled the tradition of the Muslim holy man (p/r) and the Hindu ascetic guru, with a heavy emphasis on the saint's physical ordeals, his asceticism and his overcoming of spiritual obstacles.18Robert de Nobili became a local guru and was venerated after his death as a man of learning and sanctity.19 John de Britto, who died a martyr's death in 1693, was a different kind of saint altogether. Unlike de Nobili, de Britto was perceived as having crossed caste boundaries, more like a warrior hero-saint than a guru. He was not a renouncer in the classical sense but associated with persons of political and military power, i.e. the poligars in Ramnad. John de Britto became associated with the tradition of blood and sacrifice, as is evident from the legend of his death which elaborates on the tortures he suffered and on the healing and mystical powers of his blood.20 The Protestant missions of the nineteenth century never managed to get a similar grip on the local traditions in South India. To a large extent this can be explained by the fact that Protestant missions never had any martyrs or saints. Even the most famous of the Protestant missionaries - as for instance C.F. Schwartz ­ never became objects of a local cult, even though they could be venerated as men of wisdom and learning. The printed propaganda material published by the different Protestant missions did not resemble the local literary traditions but were more or less verbal translations of European books of doctrine.

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Only in the techniques of preaching did the Protestant missions attempt a symbiosis with the local tradition, with several missionary societies in the nineteenth century taking up the tradition of using itinerant preachers and singers. These preachers went from village to village where, in a combination of sermons and dramatized songs, they told of the life of Christ and of the teachings of the Church.21 By the end of the seventeenth century the Jesuit Madurai mission had expanded so much that it was found prudent to divide its territories into the Madurai mission and the Malabar mission.22The Malabar mission took care of all the territories to the north of Pondicherry, including the area which was later to be named South Arcot, as well as the Telugu areas of Masulipatnam, Golconda and Bijapur, and the territories under the nizam of Hyderabad. Nor was this the first time South Arcot was the scene of Roman Catholic missionary activity. In the 1580s we hear about Franciscan priests in Cuddalore and in the 1620s Jesuit priests working from the Jesuit stronghold in Nagapattinam were in charge of congregations in Tranquebar , in Porto Novo and in Cuddalore. This was an extension of the work initiated by Francis Xavier among the fishermen and pearl-divers. The other 'branch' of the Madurai mission, John de Britto's work among warrior elites in Ramnad, had also expanded into South Arcot. In 1640 the first Jesuit mission was established in Gingee, which (it will be recalled) was the capital of the nayak viceroys under the Vijayanagar empire. Between 1675 and 1685, John de Britto worked in North Arcot and South Arcot, where he established mission stations in a number of military centres such as Vellore, Colei (near Gingee) and Vettavalam.23 The Jesuits who took charge of the Malabar mission were for the most part priests from the Madurai mission who, contrary to a papal bull of 1653, had started missionary work in an area where another missionary society was already residing. However, the Capuchin preachers who had been invited to Pondicherry by the French governor in 1675 had only taken care of the European and Eurasian Christians in Pondicherry and not undertaken any missionary activity. The secular priests who belonged to the French missionary society, Societe des Missions Etrang£res de Paris (established in 1653 and subject to the Propaganda Fide), were primarily priests who had been expelled from the kingdom of Siam in 1689. Until the end of the eighteenth century the French

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priests were not active as missionaries in Pondicherry but stayed on there either because they were waiting for an opportunity to be sent to Indochina or because they were teaching in the seminary, which was established in 1771.24 The Portuguese bishop of M ylapore, under whose jurisdiction Pondicherry and her possessions belonged, decided to let the Jesuits take charge of the missions and to let the Capuchins remain in charge of the Europeans and Eurasians.25 In the meantime the discussion of the 'Malabarian rites' had erupted again, this time as a percursor of the events which were to lead to the abolition of the Society of Jesus in 1773 and the expulsion of Jesuit missionaries from India. As has been mentioned, a certain number of rites had been allowed in the Church by the papal decree of 1623, including the wearing of the Brahmin sacred thread, the use of sandalwood paste on the forehead, and the ablution before going to mass or receiving communion (resembling the ablutions performed in any temple-tank in South India). As time passed, the number of rites accepted in the Jesuit churches had increased. What was of even greater importance than the rituals themselves was the acceptance of caste distinctions. This acceptance was practised to the degree that the workers in the mission (missionaries and catechists) were divided in two groups, the brahma sanniyasis, who took care of the Brahmins, and the pandara swamis, who took care of the lower castes. As far as possible, churches were reserved for either the Brahmins or for the lower castes to prevent the defiling of the Brahmins by the proximity to the lower castes. Where this was not possible, the church was divided in the middle by a wall, separate entrances were reserved for the Brahmins and the different caste groups did not receive communion at the same table.26 Complaints from Franciscan missionaries to the Pope brought the matter once again to the attention of the papacy. In 1704 the papal legate and plenipotentiary, Mgr. Maillard de Tournon, arrived in Pondicherry to investigate matters. In principle, he had to settle the matter of the 'Malabarian rites' once and for all but his presence in India had a wider significance. In the 1650s and 1660s the papacy had granted missionary rights to several religious orders, including the mendicant orders, and in 1673 to the Roman Catholic clergy of all nations. The clergy was to be organized in the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, and was thus to be outside the jurisdiction of the Portuguese padroado. In China and Indochina

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the Portuguese reacted by granting only limited access to the lands under Portuguese dominion, and by persecuting all missionaries not under Portuguese jurisdiction.27 In India the Portuguese Archdiocese maintained its superiority over the dioceses of Goa, Cranganore, Cochin and Mylapore and claimed ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the entire South Indian peninsula. By establishing uniform rules for the rites acceptable in Roman Catholic churches in South India, de Tournon hoped to close the widening gap between the Portuguese missionaries and the missionaries under the Propaganda Fide.28 Mgr. de Tournon decided to accept only a few of the rites which had been developed by the Jesuits but on the other hand not to accept all the criticism voiced by the Capuchine. Quite contrary to what had been expected, this led to further strife between the Portuguese missionaries and the Propaganda Fide missionaries, and to further petitions and complaints to the Pope.29 In 1744, Pope Benedict XIV issued a bull in which he confirmed the decisions made by de Tournon. This bull was to have tremendous impact on the Catholic missions for the next century and a half, as it was the first major step taken by the papacy against the Jesuit missions. It was decided that in the rite of baptism, the priest should keep the practice of blowing into the infant's mouth, symbolizing the act of God blowing life into Adam. All persons to be baptised should acquire a name from the martyrology and refrain from using 'heathen' names; children married while under age should live with their parents until they came of age; the tali given to a married woman on her wedding day might contain a picture of a saint but not a picture of a Hindu god; the Hindu rituals taking place when a girl reached puberty should not be allowed in Christian congregations; and weddings and Christian holidays should be shorn of all rituals resembling Hindu rituals. The sacred oil used for extreme unction was not to be mixed with cow -dung, ashes or sandalwood paste and was not to be smeared on the forehead in the manner of the Hindu 'sect- mark'. Christian Pariahs were not allowed to partake in Hindu festivals as musicians or drummers; and - directly countering the practices by de Nobili - the Christians and the missionaries were not allowed to read books on heathen religions without special permission.30 The following decades were years marked by a definite decline in the number of adherents to the Roman Catholic church. Jesuit missionaries (and many others) have ascribed this decline to the

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harsh demands in the bull of 1744, which on almost every single point offended caste sensibilities. However, the decline may have other explanations as well. First of all, the Jesuit mission itself was depleted and weakened by successive blows against the Society of Jesus. Under the threat of the Inquisition, Jesuit missionaries were forced to leave the Portuguese settlements in India in 1760, leaving behind only those missionaries too old or too weak to undertake the long voyage back to Europe. From 1762, the Society of Jesus was no longer allowed in France and in 1773 Pope Clement XIV finally abolished the Society. By this time, the only missionaries in India to take over from where the Jesuits left off were the ones sent out by the Propaganda Fide, and they were as yet far too few to be able to manage the congregations scattered all over the South Indian landscape. Secondly, the eighteenth century was a confused and unsettled time, characterized not only by several long - lasting wars but also by disruptions in trade and production, severe epidemics and famines. In such unsettled times, it was not unusual for large groups to shift their allegiance to new powerful centres where they felt better protected and their interests better taken care of. One example of this behaviour is the conversion to Islam of several thousand Christians in Mysore in the 1790s. In the contemporary European literature, this became almost a legend and was ascribed to the intolerance and bigotry of the local ruler, Tippu Sultan, and to the fickleness of the Indian Christians. However, it seems reasonable that this mass conversion (if it all took place in the form it was described) signified the transferring of allegiance to a new ruler who had proved victorious in battle.31

Societe des M issions Etrangeres de Paris In Pondicherry, the papal bull of 1744 and the dismantling of Jesuit power also had important consequences. The French Societe des Missions Etrangeres de Paris (hereafter the MEP), which had hitherto played a very backstage role in Pondicherry, now came into prominence. The MEP was a society of secular priests, i.e. not members of a religious order. The MEP was an organization directly under the Propaganda Fide and as such eminently suitable for the role of the inheritors of the Jesuit missions, having already proven their staunch support of the papacy in the struggles with

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the Jesuits and the Portuguese in China, Indochina and Tonkin.32 After protracted negotiations the Propaganda Fide offered the Malabar mission to the MEP in 1776. The leaders of the MEP in Pondicherry almost at once demanded the institution of an Apostolic Vicar in Pondicherry, which would place Pondicherry and the Malabar mission outside the jurisdiction of the Portuguese bishop in Mylapore. Not surprisingly, the Portuguese government in Goa, as well as the Portuguese ambassador in Paris, protested against this infringement of what they saw as their lawful territory. However, Portugal no longer had the necessary military or economic power to effectively back her demands and, in 1777, a compromise was reached whereby Mgr. Brigot was nominated the first Apostolic Prefect and Superior of the Malabar mission.33 In the 1780s the Malabar mission, which had now changed its name to the Pondicherry mission, was augmented with the areas of Mysore and Coimbatore, and presently also by the Madurai mission area. This state of affairs continued till the 1830s, when the Pope gave the Madurai mission to the re-established French Jesuit mission. (This in turn led to severe reprisals by the Portuguese). Even though the MEP seminary in Paris was constantly sending out new missionaries, it was not enough to man such a large area. The new missionaries were young and inexperienced, and could not be expected to shoulder the heavy burdens of running a mission station alone and without help. It was therefore decided to keep on as many of the old Jesuit missionaries as possible in the service of the MEP.34 The story of the MEP Pondicherry mission in the nineteenth century will here only be given in the barest outline. The difficulties encountered by the mission, and the changes in outlook and evaluation of central issues will be considered in greater detail in the following chapters. The first adversities to meet the MEP were the repercussions of the French Revolution. The wars with the British following the French Revolution had the direct consequence that the MEP had to move out of Pondicherry whenever the British occupied the area. On the other hand, when the French re­ conquered Pondicherry, the MEP could move back in along with the French forces. The changing policies of the French government after 1789, especially the altered relationship between church and state, did nothing to stabilize the administration of the MEP. A number of missionaries fled to Madras to escape the godless French government but had to submit themselves to the Portuguese

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bishop at Mylapore, who enjoyed the support of the British. Others stayed in Pondicherry where they more or less reluctantly submitted themselves to the demands of the new government. A number of missionaries even took the oath of liberty and fraternity, an act for which they were later severely criticized.35 What had even direr consequences was that no new missionaries were sent out from Paris after the revolution; for more than twenty years, then, the entire Pondicherry mission had to be run by about fourteen French missionaries and about ten old and infirm former Jesuits.36Among the fourteen French missionaries, the MEP was fortunate enough to number the later famous Abbe Dubois, who was in charge of the Mysore mission, and Mgr. Hebert, who in 1810 became the first bishop of Pondicherry. After 1815 the situation eased a little and a number of new missionaries were sent out. Still, the Seminary of the MEP in Paris was formally subordinated to the government and thus did not receive sufficient funds to educate the number of missionaries needed in Pondicherry. Only after the July Revolution in 1830 did prospects again look brighter, not only because of the increased number of new missionaries but also because the civil government in Pondicherry was obliged to support the MEP financially, especially in the building and maintenance of churches.37 In the 1830s the strained atmosphere between the Propaganda Fide missions and the Portuguese missions surfaced again. The Pope tried to settle the matter by issuing a bull in 1838, suppressing the Portuguese jurisdiction in all the areas which had been given to the Propaganda Fide missions but, as the Portuguese paid no heed to it, even this bull did not solve the conflict. In a number of areas the French and the Portuguese missionaries fought a battle over souls in every way as bitter as any battle between competing Protestant missions, or as the constant battle between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Adrian Launay, the official historiographer of the MEP, even though he attempts to keep a neutral line, cannot resist the temptation to give a negative account of the Portuguese priests: T h e priests in charge of these (Goanese) mission stations are often mediocre in character and even more mediocre in their morals'. Launay cites examples of drunkenness, sabre -fighting and opium -smoking among the Goanese priests.38 In 1836 the new leader of the Pondicherry mission, Mgr. Bonnand, was named Apostolic Vicar and under his leadership a number of administrative reforms were put into effect. In 1845 the

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Pondicherry mission was divided into three Vicariates: the Mysore mission, the Coimbatore mission and the Pondicherry mission, with Mgr. Bonnand the nominal head and Archbishop of the entire mission. At the time it was estimated that the Pondicherry mission alone, which covered the areas of Pondicherry, South Arcot, North Arcot, Salem, parts of Chinglepet and parts of Trichinopoly, numbered more than 35,000 Christians (counted by the number of communicants at Easter) and was served by twenty

Map 6: Extent of the Archdiocese of Pondicherry After the 1846 Reorganization

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missionaries, four native priests and 286 catechists. The synod at Pondicherry which took place in 1843-44, and to which I shall return in greater detail in later chapters, had formulated a number of strategies for improving the missionary work. The most significant of these strategies were the reforms in the seminary, which educated native priests, and the heightened emphasis on establishing schools for girls. The number of printed books and pamphlets increased considerably during Mgr. Bonnand's reign but, importantly, these works did not resemble the works printed by the Madurai mission in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Rather, they resembled the works published by Protestant missions, being mainly Tamil dictionaries and grammars or doctrinal works like catechisms, prayer-books and books on 'sacred lives'.39The most important difference between the books printed by the Pondicherry mission and the Protestant missions was that the MEP published no Bible translations. After the death of Mgr. Bonnand in 1861, Mgr. Godelle was appointed the new bishop and Apostolic Vicar of the entire Pondicherry mission. The years from 1861 to 1873 were tranquil years in the mission; few innovations were introduced and the steady work was not interrupted. Even though the Goan schism continued to occupy the minds, it did so to a lesser extent than before. The concordat issued by the Pope in 1857 had been patently ignored, as had so many other papal attempts to settle the differences between the Goanese jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of the Propaganda Fide.40 Mgr. Godelle's death in 1867, which occurred on his way back from Rome where he had been attending the celebration of the canonization of Japanese martyrs, marked the beginning of the end of this tranquil period in the history of the mission. Mgr. Laouenan, who succeeded Mgr. Godelle as Apostolic Vicar, became in time as famous as his predecessor Mgr. Bonnand. Two important events highlighted the rule of Mgr. Laouenan. The first was the almost explosive growth in the Christian congregations, the number of communicants in the Pondicherry mission alone rising from 134,000 in 1873 to 205,000 in 1886. The missions in Coimbatore and Mysore witnessed a similar increase.41 The reasons for this dramatic increase was ascribed by Adrian Launay first and foremost to the severe famines which racked South India in 1874-76. According to Launay, the famine drove the poor people in hordes to the charity and feeding houses of the

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French mission.42Another explanation, which is supplementary to the first, is the changing missionary strategy developed by Mgr. Laouenan. He had, for the first time in the history of the Pondicherry mission, decided to concentrate the missionary efforts on the Pariahs. This new strategy may well have been a blow aimed at the Protestant missions, almost ail of which concentrated on the Pariahs and other low castes. Whatever the case maybe, the conversion movement was well under way already before the great famine, and may have been furthered rather than hindered by the famine.43 Finally it should be remembered that the 1870s and 1880s were the years of the greai mass conversion movements which we usually only hear about in the context of the Protestant missions. The reasons for the increase in membership are therefore, to say the least, complex. The second important event during the rule of Mgr. Laouenan was the concordat issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1886 where once and for all the problem of the double jurisdiction (Goanese versus Propaganda Fide) was solved. By this concordat, which in many

Map 7: MEP Mission Stations 1885

Source: Compte rendu (1885), pp.117-8.

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instances resembled the previous attempts at a solution, all the Indian territories not under Portuguese dominion were put outside the jurisdiction of the padroado and placed directly under the Holy See. Furthermore, India was divided into eight Archdioceses, seventeen Dioceses and one Apostolic Prefecture. Pondicherry was recognized as an Archdiocese, ruling over the Dioceses of Coimbatore, Mysore and Trichinopoly. The Apostolic Prefecture, which during the previous century had been ruled either by Capuchins or by secular priests from the MEP, and which had taken care of the European and Eurasian population of Pondicherry, was abolished. The care of the Europeans and Eurasians was hereafter placed directly under the Archbishop.44 By the turn of the century, the Archdiocese of Pondicherry numbered more than 217,000 Christians in a total population of 7.5 million. There were more than 700 churches and chapels, which is a large number compared to Mysore, which had only 96. The number of native priests was still very small in 1899: only 43 in Pondicherry, ten in Mysore and nine in Coimbatore.

The First Protestant M issions In the seventeenth century, several North European trading companies established trading posts along the Indian coastline, eventually ousting the Portuguese from their position of sovereignty. The Danes, although they never acquired an influence comparable to the Dutch or the British, also participated in the quest for Asian merchandise ­ spices, pepper, cotton textiles and indigo. In 1640 the Danish East India Company settled in the small village of Tranquebar on the Coromandel coast, about 50 miles south of Cuddalore in the Cauvery delta. For many years no m issionaries were allowed in Tranquebar apart from the Portuguese priests who were in charge of the Portuguese settlers and the so-called 'Indo-Portuguese'; i.e. people who spoke Portuguese either because they were of mixed Portuguese and Indian descent or because they worked with the Portuguese.45 In 1706, however, two Germ an m issionaries arrived in Tranquebar, paid by the Danish crown and sent out by the Danish M issionary College (M issions - C ollegiet). Their names were Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Pliitschau, and they were the first Protestant missionaries in India. To a certain extent

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Ziegenbalg and Plutschau continued the tradition laid down by the Jesuit missionaries, albeit in a fashion which reflected their background in German pietism. In order to understand the Tamil people and the Tamil culture in which they were working, they established close connections with local Brahmins who were to teach them about Hindu rituals, customs, gods and goddesses and morals. The result of their work, understandably coloured by the kind of informants they had is found in Ziegenbalg's two m anu scrip ts, A u sfiihrliche B eschreibu ng des m alabarischen Heidentums (1711) and Genealogie der malabarischen Gotter (1713). These were considered to be too disturbing and demoralizing for the cause of Danish -German missions and were not printed until more than a century later.46The two missionaries argued against the total rejection of the Hindu religion and the morals it represented, maintaining that it was wrong to view '... the Malabar heathens as a completely barbarian people who know nothing of learning (Gelehrsamkeit) or of moral manners'.47 On the contrary, the two missionaries considered themselves under an obligation to study the religious world of the heathen in order to build a successful mission on the reservoirs of 'natural religion', moral rectitude and glimpses of divinely -revealed truths inherent in all men, even those professing a religion as different and un -Christian as Hinduism. We thus see here an attitude to the non -European peoples which was strongly influenced by the Enlightenment but which was destined soon to be suppressed in the Protestant missionary ethic. Maybe this influence from the Enlightenment is the reason why the Tranquebar mission adopted an attitude to the phenomenon of caste which was closer to the Jesuit standpoint than to the later Protestant one. Ziegenbalg and Plutschau accepted a certain amount of caste behaviour in the congregations, even though they did not carry it to the extremes that the Madurai mission had done. In the churches, the Pariahs were seated separately from the higher castes and had to use separate entrances; until 1778, the two groups did not receive communion from the same chalice. The missionaries argued that such an acceptance was only temporary: Even though such excuses seem unfair one must, after all, following the example of St. Paul and the other Apostles, attempt to accommodate oneself as much as possible to the weakness of these poor people. We have thus, after a few

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conferences, decided that the existine order of things with Christian humility and unanimity could remain unchanged, and have closed our eyes to the fact that the Pariahs are sitting at one foot's distance from the Sudras (Suttirakkol) in church; only when it comes to the Sacrament is no difference made.48 In other ways, however, Ziegenbalg's work differed significantly from that of the Jesuit missions. He established a printing press in Tranquebar in 1713 and the first Tamil book to be printed here was a collection of sermons; then came Luther's Catechism and a translation of the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament.49 This was the beginning of the tradition of Protestant printing presses. Printings of vernacular translations of the Bible, as well as printings of books on religious and secular matters, were to have an immense impact on Indian social and intellectual history from the end of the eighteenth and far into the nineteenth century. Ziegenbalg's translations did not meet the approval of his contemporary Jesuit adversaries. The learned Father C.J. Beschi in Madurai derided Ziegenbalg's work as poor and even ridiculous. This criticism was more profound than it seems at first and was a significant example of the differences between the Catholic and Protestant use of printed works in the mission. Beschi did not criticize Ziegenbalg for not knowing enough Tamil - he criticized him for using a lower-class Tamil instead of a high-class or classical Tamil. In the eyes of a Jesuit missionary, this was a serious mistake, because it confirmed the converts and the would be-converts in their conviction that the missionaries were lowcaste or unclean people who brought defilement and loss of caste on the Indians among whom they worked. A lm ost a century after Z iegenbalg had published his translations, Abbe Dubois of the MEP took up Father Beschi's criticism of the Protestant translations of the Bible, which by then had appeared in several vernacular languages. According to Abbe Dubois, translations of the Bible, if they were to be done at all, should be heavily abridged and indeed summarized liberally, avoiding all mention of Jesus having been a carpenter, for instance, or of his having surrounded himself with fishermen and others of 'low caste'. Furthermore, the translation or summary: ... ought to be on a level with the Indian performances of the same kind among them, and be composed in fine poetry, a flowery style, and a high stream of eloquence, this

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being universally the mode in which all Indian perfor ­ mances of any worth are written. As long as the versions are executed m the low style in which we find these, you may rest assured that they will only excite contempt...50 The Protestant Bible translations and the Roman Catholic interest in linguistics were not isolated phenomena. In 1784, the Asiatic Society of Bengal was established, allowing a number of eminent British scholars to come together to publish ancient Indian philosophical and religious texts. In the British East India Company's administration as well there was at this time a profound interest in the study of Indian languages and religions. Warren Hastings, Governor-General (1773-1785), wanted to make use of the knowledge accumulated by these scholars to improve the standard of the administration and civil service elite. In 1800, during the term of Richard Wellesley as Governor-General (17981805), Fort William College in Calcutta was opened to educate the young administrators who soon became known as the British Orientalists. The tradition of the Protestant printing presses, the writings of the Asiatic Society and the cultural and administrative knowledge taught at Fort William all combined to give intellectual stimulus and support to an emerging class of young, intellectual Hindu reformers. These young reformers - among whom was Ram Mohun Roy - wanted to reform Hindu society by peeling away all layers of socially and intellectually unacceptable customs that had grown over the centuries, hiding the pure and true Hinduism prevalent in the ancient texts. The idea of 'Hinduism' itself as a coherent, rational faith based on the authority of ancient texts, derived from the Orientalists. It will lead us too far astray to go into details regarding the kind of reforms envisioned by the young Hindu reformers. Suffice it to say that most of the reformers' criticism of Indian society was phrased in a language strongly reminiscent of missionary critique of Hinduism, including the belief that Hindu religion was an identifiable unit: an actor on the stage of history, which carried sole responsibility for the machinations and injustices of Indian society.51 Even then, Ziegenbalg's initiative in establishing printing presses and undertaking the translation of the Bible were only part of the important legacy he handed over to the Protestant missions of the nineteenth century. Closely connected to the Bible translations were the emphasis on education and the establishment of schools. Like his famous successor - the Scottish missionary

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Alexander Duff, who had worked in Serampore, Bengal Ziegenbalg and the Tranquebar missionaries believed that the best way of being convinced of the truths of Christianity was through the reading of the Bible and that therefore the establishment of schools and colleges was the most important means of conversion. The lower castes, at whom the efforts of the Protestant missions primarily were directed, had traditionally no opportunity of education but, by setting up schools, the missions could so to speak create their own upper class (or at least, middle class), who could then be instrumental in spreading Christianity 'downwards' in the social system.52 Another tradition initiated by Ziegenbalg was the missionary activity not only among Tamil-speaking Hindus and Muslims, but also (in the beginning at least) among the Portuguese-speaking servants of the Danish officials. These people, as mentioned above, were either of 'mixed' European and Indian parentage or Indians who had learned Portuguese in order to work among Europeans. All of them belonged, by prior unspoken agreement, to the Roman Catholic church and were under the protection of the Portuguese priest in Tranquebar. By taking up work among these people, rather than among the Hindus and Muslims, the first Protestant mission in India had entered into what in the next two centuries was to become a bitter fight between the Protestant and Roman Catholic missions. A large amount of time and energy was to be spent on recruiting converts from each other, rather than from the 'heathens', as both parties felt it to be a greater sin to have knowledge of Christianity and then choose the wrong church, than it was to have no knowledge of Christianity at all. For the Roman Catholic missions, it was not a new phenomenon; indeed the Jesuit missions in India had been an offshoot of the CounterReform ation in Europe, and the Portuguese ecclesiastical authorities in Goa had fought hard to bring the Syrian Christians under the rule of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.53 The Tranquebar mission expanded in the remaining decades of the eighteenth century, establishing congregations in Tanjore, Trichinopoly and Tinnevelly, and cooperating with the British Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (the SPCK), which had financially supported the Tranquebar mission from 1709 and had established mission stations of its own in Cuddalore and Madras from the 1720s. Christian Friederich Schwartz of the Tranquebar mission worked in close co -operation with the British

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in Tanjore and Trichinopoly, where he initiated a mission among the Indian soldiers (sepoys) in the British army, and worked as a diplomatic 'envoy' between the British and the Raja of Tanjore in the 1770s. His connection to the Raja enabled him to get access to the Kallars, who became the basis of the Tanjore congregations. The Kallars were seen by later observers as mere thieves54but in the eighteenth century they still retained some of their former martial prowess and status as military leaders. In this respect the Tranquebar mission resembled the de Britto mission, which in the previous century had concentrated on military leaders in the poligar country. From the end of the eighteenth century it was no longer possible for the Tranquebar mission to lean so heavily on the British. The more power the British gained in India, the more reluctant became the directors of the East India Company to let European (i.e. Protestant) missionaries have access to the territories under Company rule. In 1840 the Danish East India Company was dissolved and Tranquebar placed directly under the Danish crown, but even the Danish crown found it difficult to manage this small overseas possession. Eventually in 1847 the Tranquebar mission - which despite being Danish had its geographical roots in Halle in Germany - was transferred to the Dresden Missionary Society, later to be known as the Leipzig Evangelical Lutheran Mission.55 By this time the Danish crown had relinquished all demands on Tranquebar, which in 1845 had been sold to the British. The Leipzig mission, as well as its later partner, the Church of Sweden Mission, retained a large number of the ideas and practices which had been dominant in the early Tranquebar mission. Not the least important of these ideas was the lenient attitude towards the phenomenon of caste, an attitude which differed significantly from the attitude taken by the British and American missions. Two quotations may serve to illustrate this difference. In an anonymous pamphlet from 1861, commonly attributed to the director of the Leipzig mission it was written: Thus we stand in a healthy Evangelical middle position between the Roman practice, which in itself covers neathen customs and lets the social injustices remain ... and the C alvinist [reform iert] practice, which with external endeavours ... also fights the civil side of caste.56 In his chapter on the Tranquebar mission and its successor, the Leipzig mission, the chairman of the Bombay Missionary Confer­

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ence, M.A. Sherring, wrote in 1875: They chose to make caste a friend rather than an enemy. In doing this, however, while they made their path easier, they sacrificed their principles. They admitted an element into their midst which acted on the Christian community like poison. They embraced an adversary, which could never become a friend. They sowed the seeds of pride, distrust and alienation in their native congregations, which brought forth abundant crops of rank and vexatious weeas.57 It is not my intention here to go into further details concerning the different conceptions of caste in the various missionary societies. The British societies, as well as the Danish Missionary Society, to which we shall return shortly, all had a background in the 'Evangelical Revival' which partly explains their strongly negative attitude to caste. This religious and social movement had at its core a conviction that the individual had moral obligations to live in accordance with the word of God as revealed in the Scriptures. This moral obligation, though stemming from the very private experience of conversion, of 'being reborn', manifested itself in an active and external life not only for the benefit of oneself but also for the benefit of the community at large. This in turn led to the establishment of several altruistic societies for the abolition of such social evils as slavery, prostitution, intemperance and so forth. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, the Evangelicals gained a position as a strong pressure group, influencing the directors of the East India Company to embark on a series of social reforms in India. Among these reforms were the abolition of sati (widow burning) in 1829; the destruction of the secret society of highway robbers and ritual stranglers, the thuggees, in 1830; the securing of Christian converts' right of inheritance; and the abolition of slavery within the British domains in India in 1843.58 The Evangelicals viewed Indian society as a backward and degenerate society, steeped in superstition and immorality, and held in unbreakable thraldom by the vicious bonds of Hinduism. Indian society, therefore, could only be salvaged by the total destruction of Hinduism. The way to destroy Hinduism was either through m issions, through schools or through the supplanting of Indian rule and customs by a benevolent British rule. William Wilberforce's famous speech from 1813 is a case in point:

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... let us endeavour to strike our roots into their soil by the gradual introduction and establishment of our own prin ­ ciples and opinions; of our laws, institutions, and manners; above all, as the source of every other improvement, of our religion, and consequently of our morals.59 For a time, at least, the Evangelicals joined hands with the politicians and administrators of Utilitarian convictions, who as much as the Evangelicals saw Indian society as backward and in need of British rule. Macaulay's well-known minute on the importance of schools and especially on the introduction of Western literature, Bentinck's introduction of English as a medium of instruction in government schools, and James Mill's virulent attacks on the Indian cultural legacy and plea for judicial reforms, were all intended as a means by which the Indians could reform themselves and their society, bringing it into line with Western societies.60While the Utilitarians did not have the sole power in Indian affairs, nor were entirely successful in carrying out all their ideas, their influence was nonetheless great and the co -operation between Utilitarians and Evangelicals was of immense importance for the social and religious history of India in the nineteenth century. This, then, is the background for the stand taken by the British missionary societies on the subject of caste.61For them, no compro ­ mise was possible. They felt they had a moral obligation to break Hinduism's hold on their converts, and one of the ways to do this was to accept no vestiges of caste in their congregations. That the subject of caste was not one to be treated lightly is evident from the following example. In the first South India Missionary Conference, which was held in May 1858 with the participation of about 200 representatives from various Evangelical missions in South India and Ceylon, a resolution was passed condemning the Leipzig mission for its lenient attitude to the caste system.62 In the early nineteenth century, for some reason new Protestant missions were not established in South Arcot even though they were active nearby. A number of Anglo -Saxon missions were active in Tmnevelly and Tanjore, notably the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Church Missionary Society; the London Missionary Society in Madras, Salem, Coimbatore and Kumbakonam as well as in Mysore; the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in Trichinopoly; and the Church of Scotland Foreign Mission in Madras. The most prominent European, non -

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British societies were the Leipzig mission in the Cauvery delta not far from Tranquebar and the Swiss Basel Mission in Travancore on the western coast. Two American missions were active in South India: the American Arcot Mission of the Reformed Church in America (called the American Arcot mission), which worked in North Arcot, and the American Board of Foreign Missions working in Madurai. In South Arcot the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (the SPG) had taken over the Tamil school owned by the SPCK in Cuddalore in 1825 and in 1856 the Leipzig mission decided to open their own station in Cuddalore.63 When the Danish Missionary Society arrived on the scene in the 1860s, there were thus only two Protestant societies working in South Arcot, and they were both placed in Cuddalore.

The Danish M issionary Society The Danish Missionary Society (hereafter the DMS) was founded in 1821 as the successor of the old Missionary College (Missions Collegiet). In contrast to the Missionary College, which had been under the protection of the king, and therefore subject to royal authority, the founder of the DMS, Bone Falch Ronne, wanted his new society to stand outside all control by the Danish church. Falch Ronne was inspired by the Revivalist movements in Germany and England, and therefore soon sought the approval and support of revivalist circles in Denmark. The basis in Revivalism is evident in the emphasis placed on preaching and Bible translations, the twin pillars of German and British missionary activities in the early nineteenth century. However, the particular development in the Danish church soon manifested itself also in the DMS. The Grundtvigian movement, with its emphasis on a national church based on national values as understood and preached by theologians and teachers of the country in question, took over the leadership of the DMS from the mid -1830s to 1860. The Grundtvigian leadership of the DMS did not find it very important to work on Bible translations nor to seek to gather converts in congregations shaped and defined by European missionary societies. Rather, they wanted to educate missionaries who by preaching and teaching could lay the foundation for a native clergy. This native clergy was then to be responsible for the formation of 'native' churches, built in the

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national tradition and cultural context of that particular country. In a way, then, the Grundtvigian leadership of the DMS was a contradiction in terms, as its main goal was to eliminate the need for missionary societies as soon as possible.64 In 1860 a majority of the board, who belonged to the 'centre' in Danish church politics (or 'the Third Group', as they have been called, designating their stand between Grundtvigians and pietist Revivalists) took over, intent upon sending out missionaries and getting some real missionary work done. The first missionary to be hired by the DMS was a German, Carl E. Ochs, who previously had been employed by the Leipzig mission in South India. In 1854 he had had a serious controversy with the Leipzig society because he could not agree to its policy on caste. He had subsequently engaged in a bitter and long -winded dispute against the board and his former colleagues, which resulted in his retirement from the Leipzig mission. Ochs then set up a mission of his own in South Arcot but found it difficult to run, dependent as he was on voluntary contributions from a small number of friends and supporters in Germany.65In 1863 he approached the DMS with an offer to turn his station at Melpattambakkam in South Arcot over to the DMS. His offer was accepted with enthusiasm and soon two young missionaries, fresh from the mission school, were sent out to India to join Ochs. The first Danish missionaries to be sent to India were the product of the Lutheran pietist branch of Danish revivalism. They were not highly educated; not until 1890 did theologians go to India as missionaries. The first to arrive in India were peasants or artisans, which was what Ochs had wanted, as he had plans for the establishment of a school of carpentry. The lack of academic schooling of the first Danish missionaries had the consequence that most of them had a hard time learning Tamil. They did not have the background necessary for a thorough study of the language and they were not able to engage in Bible translations or other linguistic work. Herman Jensen was the only one who did something out of the ordinary: he published a large collection of Tamil proverbs. This was a study which corresponded very well with the 'anthropological' work done by missionaries in other societies, such as studies on different castes, popular customs, etc. It was a general belief in the late nineteenth century that, by collecting folk - tales, proverbs and popular songs, one could get close to the soul or the deep - rooted national character of a people.66

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In 1869 one of the new missionaries, Peder Andersen, set up a new mission station (Siloam) in Tirukoilur, a town in the Brahmin dominated, rice -growing centre of South Arcot, on the brinks of the river Ponnaiyar. The station in Melpattambakkam (Bethanien) functioned until 1873 under the leadership of Carl Ochs. Three missionaries, who had been sent out in the meantime, all returned to Denmark after a short stay in India. They all claimed that Ochs was difficult to work with. When Ochs was in Denmark in 1872 it was decided that he should retire from the DMS, but should stay on in Melpattambakkam until a replacement was found and trained.67The replacement, J.A. Pedersen, arrived in the spring of 1873 but had hardly any time to get acquainted with the area, let alone the language, before Ochs died in November 1873. J.A. Pedersen only remained at his post until August 1874, when mounting difficulties and his wife's failing health forced him to retire. Peder Andersen now had to handle two mission stations at the same time, which was almost too much for one man. Apart from the physical difficulties of travelling between two stations so far apart, Andersen also found it difficult to find the congregations Ochs had claimed to have established and whom he had described in such glowing terms.68 From 1882 -1899, Bethanien came under the able leadership of Christian Schlesch, who then retired to become secretary and accountant for the Danish Missionary Society in Copenhagen. In the meantime, Peder Andersen had established not only a mission station but also a boarding school in Tirukoilur. From 1874 he was aided by Herman Jensen, one of the most able of the DMS missionaries. Herman Jensen had originally, in 1870, been discharged from the mission school because he criticized the board and, in 1872, together with his friend Eduard Loventhal, had been sent out by a group of Grundtvigian supporters.69 In 1874, however, he was received back into the fold of the DMS. The same year Peder Andersen left for Denmark because of his wife's poor health and for the next three years Herman Jensen was in charge of Siloam. In 1877, when Peder Andersen returned, Jensen started a new mission on the outskirts of Arcot; this was however discontinued in 1879. Herman Jensen then went on to establish a mission in Madras. Both the Arcot mission and the Madras mission were founded in the belief that it was important to reach the elites of society, the high castes or at least the urban elites. This was understandable in view of Herman Jensen's Grundtvigian

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background; he felt that the role of the missionary was at best temporary and that he would never be able to speak to the people in the manner which their specific cultural background and cultural history demanded. It was therefore of the utmost importance to carry the message of Christianity to the 'natural' leaders of the people, who then would be responsible for the spreading of the Gospel among the people.70 From 1879 to 1889, Siloam was under the leadership of Albert Ihle. He established substations and congregations in a number of villages around Tirukoilur in the early 1880s but by the end of the 1880s he was recalled to Denmark in disgrace. In spite of hearings and investigations, the reason behind Ihle's fall from grace remains an unsolved mystery but it seems that he was the victim of circumstances beyond his control. In the late 1880s, the Home Mission movement (Indre Mission) under the leadership of the dynamic Vilhelm Beck had become dominant in the DMS. When two young missionaries, Sofus Berg and Morten Andersen arrived in India in 1887, they wrote scathing letters back to the board, describing how Ihle and his family lived in what may be termed 'conspicuous consumption' (they travelled second class on the railway) and how Ihle mistreated his native catechists. He was also blamed for enticing converts to his congregations with the promise of temporal help - during the famine years Ihle had been active in moneylending - and for being both bad-tempered and extravagant. What was the worst, however, was the way Ihle had misappropriated funds and had left his accounts in unimaginable confusion. Ihle was recalled to Denmark to defend himself. A list of questions concerning Ihle and his behaviour was circulated among the other missionaries and the senior catechists and, in the end, Ihle was asked to resign. Vilhelm Beck and the Home Mission, in their eagerness to take over the DMS, wanted to make a point about the bad way the DMS had been run previously; it seems that Ihle was the perfect scapegoat.71 Meantime in 1883 a young missionary, Christian Lange Kofoed, started missionary work among the hill tribes in the western part of the district. This was a kind of missionary work completely different from what all the others had been doing, especially because the social and religious structures in a tribal society were, at least in the eyes of the missionaries, completely different from the rigid caste system on the plains. The tribal mission was not very successful, even though the DMS tried to save the situation

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by turning over the station - named Thabor - to Morten Andersen after serious disagreements with Kofoed. The Thabor mission remained for the rest of the century not only on the fringes of Hindu society but also on the fringes of what the board considered interesting. However, it was allowed to continue without too much interference.72 Sofus Berg, who had come to India in 1887, went on to establish a mission station (Saron) in Uruvannamalai, the pilgrimage centre and famous temple city in the dry interior of South Arcot. He established a boarding school, and the congregations around Saron grew and expanded during the next decades. In 1899 Herman Jensen, who had left Madras by this time, established a day -school (Karmel) in Tiruvannamalai, and some of the first female missionaries started to work among widows and orphaned girls at another school (H ebron). In the villages around Tiruvannamalai the Danish mission from about 1913 experienced what in other societies might have been termed a mass move ­ ment. However, one of the main characteristics of the DMS in contrast to other Protestant societies was that the Danish mission never allowed mass movements in their ranks. This question will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 6 but a point should be m ade now. Throughout the 1880s, the m ass m ovem ents experienced by other societies remained a moot point with the DMS. From the home board the missionaries were repeatedly told to make sure of the converts' true spiritual rebirth according to the ordo salutis before admitting them to the church. The missionaries who came out from the late 1880s were perhaps even more strict than the home board and were constantly on their guard against anything that smacked of mass movements or of accepting 'rice Christians'. In 1898 this stricter rule led to a general purging of the mission field staff. At a missionary conference in January 1898 it was decided to fire fourteen of the catechists. The remaining fifteen were to assemble in a 'conference' in Tirukoilur, the main goal of which was to examine once and for all the spiritual status of each individual. The conference was arranged as a month -long revival meeting, with daily prayers, Bible lectures and conversations.73 The result was that, of the fifteen, one was found wanting and fired, and four were put on 'probation', awaiting their spiritual rebirth. This action had repercussions far into the future. The majority of the teachers had also been fired, which resulted in a

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number of schools having to close down. Hereby several outlying villages were deprived of their daily contact to the Danish mission - a contact which the Danish missionaries could not keep up by themselves.74 By this time the number of Danish missionaries had grown - six or seven came out in the 1890s alone, and all of them belonged to the group behind the 1898 conference ('We men of 1898', as one of them put it). N.P. Hansen, who arrived in India in 1890 had been the first theologian to become a missionary in the DMS. He took over Siloam after Ihle and stayed on for many years. Along with L.P. Larsen and Johan Bittmann, he was among the most active in the planning and execution of the catechist meeting in 1898. In 1889 another young theologian, who was to become famous as the first principal of the United Theological College in Bangalore, L.P. Larsen, was sent out. He settled in Madras, where he opened a reading -room for students. Eventually he cooperated too much with the YMCA in Madras and became suspect because of his Calvinist 'leanings'; in 1899 he retired from the DMS and joined the YMCA. He continued to be a person of immense influence in Danish missionary circles as well as in the entire network of Protestant missions in South India. L.P. Larsen's retirement from the DMS marked only the beginning of a general trend in the attitudes of the missionaries. In the first decade of the twentieth century, a new concept of Christianity, based on the influence of the Student Christian Movement, became prevalent. This new concept, which focused on the personal relationship between man and Christ, rather than on man's sinfulness, made it possible to distinguish between Christ himself and historical Christianity. This in turn meant that it was no longer necessary to hold on uncritically to established forms of worship and liturgy. It was no longer necessary to maintain the uncompromising stand against Hinduism; indeed Christianity was now seen as 'the crown of Hinduism', the fulfilment of prophecies and hopes in the Hindu tradition rather than the instrument of destroying Hinduism.75 The setback suffered by the DMS as a consequence of 1898 was to a certain extent mitigated by the large number of new missionaries to be sent out after the turn of the century. Many of these new missionaries belonged to the 'new school' and were mildly critical of the strict revivalist attitudes of the missionaries behind the 1898 conference.76New measures were introduced: the

70

Mission and Tamil Society

first Danish medical mission was initiated in 1907 with the establishment of a dispensary in Tirukoilur under the leadership of Dr. Christian Frimodt-Moller, and the first female missionaries (teachers, nurses and doctors) started to come out in 1904.77Anew constitution for the Indian church under the DMS was established in 1913 after years of negotiation. The idea behind this reform was to ensure the Indian church's independence from the DMS, and the self - support and responsibility of the congregations. Eventually, the outcome of the negotiations was not as far-reaching as the intentions. The new constitution did not give the Indian church much independence. The Indian church in the DMS's mission field was to remain an Evangelical Lutheran church under the Danish national church and subservient to the DMS in all matters pertaining to missionary and congregational work. The missionaries still had a decisive influence in the mission field and were at any time to be regarded as the superiors of the native priests. The debate continued into the 1920s when - inspired by

Map 8: DMS Mission Stations 1910

71

The Missionary Societies

M.K. Gandhi and the Indian national movement - a number of native pastors and even two missionaries (Anna Marie Petersen and Esther Faering) argued for a reform of the constitution. They wanted a church where independence and equality was ensured for everyone - under the 1913 constitution no native priest could be a missionary, for instance. The constitution of 1922 was the first step towards this end.78 By 1921 the DMS congregations in South Arcot numbered about 2,000 souls and several mission stations. Apart from the first ones in Melpattambakkam, Tirukoilur and Tiruvannamalai, new stations had been established in the Shervaroy Hills (Thabor) in 1883; in Kallakurichi (Bethesda) in 1894; and in the town of Nellikuppam (Emmaus) in 1901. In 1911 a station in Panruti was taken over from the Leipzig mission (it never had a name of its own, but was called Panruti), and in 1915 a station in Vriddachalam was taken over from the Swedes. During World War I, when the Swedish mission agreed to run most of the stations belonging to the Leipzig mission, the DMS 'loaned out' a number of missionaries to take care of the now understaffed Swedish mission in Cuddalore, Panruti and Villapuram, as well as in the area south of South Arcot: Mayaveram and Tranquebar.

The Central Issues What has been taken up in this chapter are the issues which at the time - i.e. in the nineteenth century - seemed to be the issues of central importance for all missionary societies in South India. We have seen that there was continuous debate about 'rice -Christians' and, closely connected with this, about mass movements. The Roman Catholic missions and the Danish mission represented each end of the spectrum in this discussion: the Roman Catholic missions generally had nothing against admitting large groups of people into their congregations and in fact periodically encouraged it, while the Danish mission insisted on individual conversion according to ordo salutis. In between the two extremes we find the other Protestant societies, who were willing to accept mass movements but on the other hand were reluctant to encourage them. To avoid attracting 'rice - Christians', most Protestant so cieties th erefo re d iscou raged tem p oral help to th eir congregations except in times of famine.

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Mission and Tamil Society

The caste system was another issue of importance for the missions. Here too we find the Roman Catholic missions and the Danish missions representing each end of the spectrum. The Roman Catholic missions accepted the caste system as a social phenomenon which would wither away in time under the influence of Christianity. At least for most of the nineteenth century, the Danish mission, and the Anglo -Saxon and American missions as well, would have nothing to do with the caste system and prohibited any vestiges of caste and caste -like behaviour in their churches. Only the SPG, the Leipzig mission and the Swedish mission took a stand somewhat similar to the Roman Catholics and regarded the caste system as a primarily social phenomenon. Closely connected to this was the question of whether to work among the high castes or the low castes. Here we find two opposite tendencies. The French mission started out as a highcaste mission but at the end of the nineteenth century changed its tactics and concentrated on Pariah missions. The Danish mission started as a Pariah -mission and continued to follow this course (despite the efforts of Herman Jensen, who from the 1870s continually advocated the value of a high -caste mission). After the turn of the century, however, greater emphasis was placed on the high -caste as well as the urban missions. Finally, in the issues which were of importance to the Anglo Saxon missions - Bible-translations and schools - we find more of a concurrence between the Danish and the French missions. Both of them argued continually that the m issionary's primary obligation was to preach and take care of his flock. Even though the Danish mission established a number of schools (primary schools, boarding schools, vocational schools and a school for the education of catechists), and even though the French mission established printing presses in Pondicherry, these undertakings were always considered to be of secondary importance. They were not, as in the Anglo -Saxon missions, seen as a primary means of conversion.

Notes In 330 AD Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman empire to Constantinople, and in 395 AD the Roman empire was split in two. The East Roman Empire, with its centre in Constantinople, took over the responsibility for the eastern churches. Donald E. Lach, Asia

The Missionary Societies

73

in the Making of Europe, vol.l: The Century of Discovery (London 1965), pp. 15-21. J. Richter, Indische Missionsgeschichte (Gutersloh 1906) pp. 315$. P. Adelhelm Jann, Die katholischen Missionen in Indieri, China und Japan. Ihre Organisation und das portugisische Patronat vom 15. bis ins 18. Jahrhundert (Paderborn 1915) pp. 13z -142. See also Klaus Karttunen, 'On the contacts of South Inaia with the Western world in ancient times, and the mission of the apostle Thomas ', in A. Parpola & Bent Smidt Hansen, eds., South Asian Religion and Society (Copenhagen/ London 1986) pp. 195-198. Stephen Neill, A History of(Christian Missions. The Pelican History of the Church, vol. 6 (London 1964) pp. 50 -52. 2

Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilisation pp. 37-49, 58-60; Wink, Al-Hind, pp. 45-67, 86-104; Neill, History, pp. 27-31.

3

Bayly, Saints, pp. 247 -257. See also Thekkedath, History, p. 24 who from different Jesuit sources cites figures between 80,000 and 100,000 for the years around 1600.

4

Bayly, Saints, pp. 259-262. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 47-48. Jann, Katholischen Missionen, pp. 55-69,80-100. Lach, Asia, pp. 233-240. M.N. Pearson, The Portuguese in India. The New Cambridge History of India, vol. 1.1 (Cambridge 1987) pp. 116-117. Thekkadath, History, pp. 34-36.

5

Bayly, Saints, pp. 258 -262.

6

Lach, Asia, pp. 241-268. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 77-84. This state of unity continued till 1653, when about a third of the Syrian Christians broke their allegiance to Rome and established the so -called 'Jacobite ' Mar Thoma church.

7

Thekkedath, History, pp. 155-163. Pearson, Portuguese, pp. 118-125 has a very low opinion of this first Jesuit mission in South Inaia. According to him, the results were insignificant, firstly, in numerical terms measured against the total population of South India; secondly, because the converts were mostly fishermen and other people of low -caste roups; and thirdly, because the converts retained their caste -like ehaviour and customs after baptism. In other words, Pearson's critique bears a striking resemblance to the propaganda -like critique of the Catholic missions found in any Protestant missionary magazine of the nineteenth century.

f

8

Bayly, Saints, pp. 328-331. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 51-53.

9

J-B Piolet, Les missions catholiques franqaises au XIXe sibcle (Paris 1901), vol. 2 pp. 187-188. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 61-66.

10

Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 66 -71. See also Thekkadath, History, pp. 214 -218 who argues that most of the rituals were Christianized by the use of Christian prayers, hymns and blessings.

11

See the article 'P. Robert de Nobili', Die katholischen Missionen (1874) pp. 13-17 and (1875) pp. 45-48, 79-82, 95-99.

12

Only the German Leipzig mission and the Swedish mission tolerated certain 'remnants ' or caste behaviour, as they considered the caste system to be mainly a social institution. See H. Sandegren, Svensk mission och indisk kyrka. Historisk skildring av Svenska Kyrkans arbete i Sydindien (Stockholm 1924) pp. 3-4, 21-25, 54-62, 96. See also the anonymous pamphlet, attributed to Karl Graul, Die Stellung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Mission in Leipzig zur Ostindischen Kastenfrage (Leipzig 1867).

13

Forrester, Caste and Christianity, pp. 37 -40.

74

Mission and Tamil Society

14

Bayly, Saints, pp. 397-409. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 70-73. Thekkedath, History, pp. 219 -237.

15

In 1700, Father Martin of the Madurai mission wrote: 'Ceux qui conaissent la caract&re & les moeurs de ces peuples, ne sont point si surpris de cette obstination en apparence si peu fondle. Ce n est pas assez qu'ils trouvent la Religion veritable en elle­ mesme [sic], ils regardent le canal par ou elle leur vient, & ne peuvent se resoudre k rien recevoir de la part des Europeans [sic], qu' ils regardent comme les ens les plus aoominables qui soient au m on d e/L etter from Father lartin to Father le Gobien, 1 June 1700. Thott's Collection 1183 (Royal Library, Copenhagen), fol. 134v -138. See also the Letter from Fatner Martin to Father Villette, 30 Jan. 1699. Thott's Collection 1183 (Roval Library, Copenhagen) fol. 130-131 v. The same reasoning is founa in Abb£ Dubois' writings, mainly in Abb£ J.A. Dubois, Letters on the State of Christianity in India, in which the Conversion of the Hindoos is considered as impracticable (London 1823) pp. 2 -5, 87.

f

16

Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, pp. 189-190. Bayly, Saints, pp. 379391. Frykenberg, 'Impact7, pp. 191 -193. Grafe, Tamilnadu, pp.z42 ­243.

17

David D. Shulman, Tamil Temple Myths. Sacrifice and Divine Marriage in the South Indian Saiva Tradition. (Princeton 1980) chapters 1-2 ana pp. 138 -141, 318 -321; and T he enemy within ' pp. 12 ­ 15.

18

Bayly, Saints, pp. 329 - 330.

19

ibid., p. 392.

20

ibid., pp. 398-400. Mosse, Caste, pp. 427-433,482-487. See also Shulman, Temple Myths pp. 105 - 107, who argues that in the Tamil temple myths blood is understood as a source of life and sacred power.

21

Poul Lange, Kortfattet Oversigt over vor Indiske Mission (Copenhagen 1924) pp. 40 - 41. S. Zehme, Die Tamulische Singpredigt (Leipzig 1903). Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 272-277. Grafe, Tamilnadu, pp.z52-259. For a discussion of the Tamil tradition of dramatized legends, see Stuart H. Blackburn, Singing of Birth and Death: Texts in Performance (Philadelphia 1988).

22

In the seventeenth and eighteenth century it was quite common among missionaries and linguists to speak of 'Malabar ' or 'Malabarian ' as synonymous with 'Hindu'. It was therefore not impossible to speak about 'Malabar mission in the Coromandel '. It was only later that 'Malabar ' came to designate people, languages and territories on the western coast of South India. See Arno Lehmann, Esbegann in Tranquebar. Die Geschichte der ersten evangelischen Kirche in Indien (Berlin 1956) pp. 36 -41.

23

Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) pp. 80 -82. Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. xv-xxiv. Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, pp. 190-192,231238. Thekkedath, History, pp. 196 -200.

24

Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. 9 -10. Archive MEP vol. 31, p. 431.

25

Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, pp. 236 -237.

26

Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. ciii-civ. Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, pp. 188 -192.

27

Jann, Katholischen Missionen, pp. 174-205, 230-244.

28

ibid., pp. 394 -398. It is a sign of the pope ' s attempt to underscore the Propaganda Fide ' s independence of tne Portuguese crown that the papal legate sailed to Inaia in a French ship, ana that he embarked at

The Missionary Societies

75

Madras, not at Goa. Jann, Katholischen Missionen, pp. 408 -410. 29

ibid., pp. 412 -421.

30

Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. cvi-cix. Dubois, Letters, pp. 10-11.

31

Piolet, Missions catholiijues, vol. 2, pp. 119-121,196-198. Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. cxi-cxxxviii. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 92-95. For the conversion of the Christians under Tippu Sultan, see Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, p. 134-139. Dubois, Letters, pp. 73-75. See also the letters from Abb6 Dubois to the MEP in Paris, 7 Dec 1799 (Archive MEP vol. 995, p. 734) and 1 May 1801 (Archive MEP vol. 996, p. 17). In his description of the conversion of the Malabar Nairs to Islam in 1785, Mark Wilks stresses the conversion as the result of the Nairs being defeated in battle. Mark Wilks, Historical Sketches of the South of India in an Attempt to Trace the History of Mysore (London 1810 -1817, reprint 1989), vol. 2, pp. 322-324, 332-333, 760-767.

32

Jann, Katholischen Missionen, pp. 205 -245.

33

Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. 17 -47. Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, pp. 238 - 239.

34

Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. 48 -55.

35

K. Ballhatchet, T he French Revolution and the French Missionaries in Pondicherry ',paper presented at the International Symposium on Maritime History, Pondicherry University (February 1989) pp. 1-4,7-12. Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. 112-133,152-164.

36

Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. 61 -74.

37

ibid., pp. 229 -258.

38

Launay, Histoire, vol. 2, pp. 155 -157.

39

Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, pp. 244-247. Grafe, Tamilnadu, pp.259264. See also the extensive lists of all the works published by the Pondicherry mission up till 1898 in Launay, Histoire, (1898) vol. 4, pp. 580 - 588, Appendix XIV.

40

Launay, Histoire, vol. 3, pp. 436-440, 624-655.

41

Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, p. 249. Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, pp. 577 -579, Appendix XIII.

42

ibid., vol. 4, pp. 25 -65.

43

Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, pp. 248 -252.

44

ibid., vol. 2, pp. 252-253. Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, pp. 315-410.

45

Ole Feldbaek, T h e organization and structure of the Danish East India, West India and Guinea Companies in the 17th and 18th centuries ', in Bluss£, Leon and Femme Gaastra, eds., Companies and Trade (Leiden 1981) pp. 138-145. Lehmann, Es begann, pp. 24-33.

46

Torben Christensen, 'Den protestantiske missions syn pk kristendom og hinduisme', in Lars Tnunberg, ed., Modet metlem hinduisme og kristendom (Arhus 1982) pp. 49-50. Lehmann, Es begann, pp. 48-56. Ziegenbalg's book Die Genealogieder malabarischen Gotter was eventually published in 1867.

47

Ziegenbalg, Malabarischen Gutter, p. 54, quoted in Christensen: 'Den protestantiske missions syn'. See also B. Smidt Hansen: 'Indigenization of worship. A concern among South Indian Christians ', in Parpola and Smidt Hansen, eds., South Asian Religion, pp. 239 -241.

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Mission and Tamil Society

48

Lehmann, Es begann, pp. 103 -106. The quotation, which is from a letter from a Tranquebar missionary in 1723, is found in ibid., p. 104.

49

Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 106-111. Lehmann, Es begann, pp. 54-58. See also the laudatory article on Ziegenbalg by the nineteenth -century editor of the Genealogie, Dr. Germann, 'Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg als Bahnbrecher der lutherischen Mission', Allgemeine Missions Zeitscnrift, 10 (1883) pp. 481-497, 529-539.

50

Dubois, Letters, pp. 28 -47; quotation from p. 47. See also Lehmann, Es begann, p. 42 ana Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 107 -108, both of whom misinterpret Beschi's criticism.

51

See Forrester, Caste and Christianity, pp. 125-132,155-170. Christensen, 'Den protestantiske missions syn'^pp. 49 -61. David Kopf, 'Hermeneutics contra history ' (symposium on E. Said, Orientalism), Journal of Asian Studies, 3 9 /3 (1980), pp. 499 -502. C.A. Bayly, Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire. The New Cambridge History of India, vol. II.1, (Cambridge 1988) pp. 82 -84.

52

Cf. O 'Hanlon, Caste, Conflict and Ideology, pp. 67 -87, 206 ­219, who argues that one of the goals of the young Hindu reformers in Maharashtra was for the lower castes to be able to study the Vedas something which traditionally was forbidden. See also Grafe, Tamilnadu, pp.188-199.

53

Most Protestant church historians from the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries loyally maintain that the Portuguese priest in Tranquebar had neglected his flock and that Ziegenbalg's activities therefore could not be considered an infringement on his work. See German, 'Bartolomaus Ziegenbalg', p. 5J3. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 108 110. See also M.A. Sherring, The History of Protestant Missions in India, from their Commencement in 1706 to 1871 (London 1875) pp. 22-31 about the handing over of the Roman Catholic churches m Madras and Cuddalore to the Tranquebar mission after the French -British war in the 1740s.

54

'Die Kaller sind eine der eigentiimlichen Diebs- und Rauberkasten Siidindiens... ein iibel beleumdetes, gewalttatiges Geschlecht', (The Kallars are one of the strange thief- and robber-castes of South India... a particularly infamous, violent species) as J. Richter puts it. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, p. 122. Schwartz ' work did not meet with much approval among the supporters of the later Danish Missionary Society, mainly because he worked in close cooperation with the Anglican societies. See 100 dr i Arcot (Copenhagen 1963) pp. 7-9.

55

Oskar Rundblom, Svenskaforbindelser med Leipzigmissionen dren 18561876. (Lund/Copenhagen 1948) pp. 7 -8. Sandegren, Svenskmission, pp. 7-11. Handmann, Tamulen-Mission, pp. 114-121.

56

Die Stellung der Evangelisch -Lutherischen Mission in Leipzig zur Ostindischen Kastenfrage (Leipzig 1861) p. 11.

57

Sherring, Protestant Missions, p. 57.

58

Stokes, Utilitarians, pp. 25-34,44-66. For a more descriptive introduction to the missionary societies ' attitudes to caste, see S. Manickam, 'Missionary attitudes towards observance of caste in the churches of Tamilnad, 1606 -1850 ' , Quarterly Review of Historical Studies,2 2 /4 (1983).

59

Substance of the Speeches of William Wilberforce Esq., on the Clause in the East India Bill for Promoting Religious Instruction and Moral Improvement of the Natives of the British Dominions in India, on the 22nd June and the 1st

77

The Missionary Societies

& 12th of July 1813, p. 92 -93. Quoted in E. Stokes, op.cit. (1959) p. 35. See alsoT. Christensen: 'Evangelisationogcivilisation i den protestantiske verdensmission i det 19.Arnundrede', T. Christensen (1981) p. 151 -157. 60

Spear, Oxford History, pp. 200-209. Stokes, Utilitarians, pp. 49-80, 234243. See especially James Mill, History of British India, vol. 1-3 (London 1817).

61

See Forrester, Caste and Christianity, for a much more detailed analysis of the changing concept of caste in the British missions in India through the nineteenth century. The only Anglo -Saxon society with an attitude to caste that resembled the attitude of the Leipzig mission was the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG). See the paper on the SPG presented at the 18/9 missionary conference, printed in Report on the Missionary Conference on South India and Ceylon 1879, vol. 2 (Madras 1879) pp. 121 - 132 and the paper on the Leipzig mission, printed ibid., pp. 111 - 116.

62

Proceedings of the South India Missionary Conference 1858 (Madras 1858), pp. 338 - 339.

63

Gazetteer of the South Arcot District (1906) p. 82 - 85. Statistical Atlas of

M

Christensen, 'Missionstankens vaekst' pp. 126 - 131. Christensen, 'Danish missions' pp. 121 ­ 122.

65

Th. Logstrup: Den nyere danske Mission blandt Tamulerne (Copenhagen 1885) pp. 91 -95. Th. Logstrup: Nordisk Missionshaandbog (Copenhagen 1889) pp. 169-171,175-183. Christensen, 'Missionstankens vaekst7 pp. 131-1:34. Sandegren, Svensk Mission pp. 26-32. Die Stellung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Mission in Leipzig zur Ostindischen Kastenfrage (1861) pp. 61 -72.

66

One only needs to mention the work by the Grimm brothers in Germany. See O. Rundblom, Svenska forbindelser pp. 18 -21, who mentions the interest Karl Graul (the first director of the Leipzig mission) showed in 'Volksthiimlichkeit'. This interest led him also to collect 'Sprichworter' and published Tamil literature, and to emphasize the need for native workers and the education of a native clergy.

67

See the board 's discussions and decisions on this matter in DMS Archive 46, p. 46 -47 (13 November 1867); p. 86 (26 June 1869). See also Dansk Missionsblad, 6 (1871), p. 118, and 7, (1872), pp. 175 -176.

68

See Ochs' letters to the board, DMS Archive 46, pp. 31 ­ 33 (List of the congregation in Bethanien 1866, not dated); pp. 58 - 59 (List of the congregation in Bethanien 1867, not dated); pp. 80-81 (List of the congregation in Bethanien 1868, not dated). See also the letter from Ochs printed in Dansk Missionsblad 7 (1872) pp. 48-53, 59-62. The com plaints from Peder A ndersen regarding the state of the congregations are found in his letters to the board, DMS Archive 255,9 December 1874 and 29 December 1874; DMS Archive 250, May 1869. See also Herman Jensen's letter to the board DMS Archive 255,11 December 1874.

69

See the board 's decision, DMS Archive 46, p. 100 (not dated, 1870), and Dansk Missionsblad, Tillaegsblad nr. 4 (1870) p. 37. See also the article by M.A.S. Lund on Loventhai in the Grundtvigian magazine, Hojskolebladet, 4 (1879) pp. 824 -831.

/^f

i



n»1 .

l #•



I. • » *

f

*a t

1

r/

1795-i$95 (London 1899) vol. 2, pp. 32--S3.

78

Mission and Tamil Society

70

Herman Jensen explained and argued this standpoint in countless letters. I will here just mention the most important: 26 January 1877, DMS Archive 252; and 15 February 1899, DMS Archive 256. Tnis last letter suffered the same fate as a lot of Herman Jensen's letters criticizing the policy of the board: it was never printed in Dansk Missionsblad. For a standpoint similar to Herman Jensen's, see E. Loventhal, Til den danske Menighed af Folkekirken. Mit Missionssyn (Copenhagen 1870).

71

The case against Ihle is referred to in DMS Archive 210. The secretary for the DMS, Th. Logstrup (who was one of the persons behind the Home Mission take -over) wrote between 1890 and 1902 a number of private letters to the missionaries to explain the situation. These are found in DMS Archive 112 ('Faellesbreve til missionaererne'). Th. Logstrup 's unpublished memoirs also mention the case, and are found in Privatarkiv 6998 (National Archives, Copenhagen): Th. Logstrup, 'En gammel Missionssekretaers Erindringer pp. 12-14.

72

See Steen, 'Mission, kultur og identitet', who discusses this mission in detail.

73

See Missionxr-Konferencens Mode iIndien. UddragafKonferencens Protokol, 14. Mode. (Printea for the DMS, January 1898).

74

100 dr i Arcot pp. 23 -27. See also the letters from Herman Jensen and N.P. Hansen, Kateketmodet i Siloam', Missionsbudet, 11/ 9 (1898), pp. 65-72, and 11/ 10 (1898) pp. 73-74, as well as the introductory note by Th.Logstrup, Missionsbudet, 1 1/ 5 (1898), p. 34.

75

Christensen, 'Danish missions' pp. 127 -129. The changed attitude is found in L.P. Larsen, Hindu Aandsliv og Kristendom (1907). The term T he Crown of Hinduism ' was the title of an influential book by the missionary J.N. Farquhar, published in 1913. See also Eric J. Sharpe, Not to Destroy but to fulfil: The Contribution of J.N. Farquhar to Protestant Missionary Thought in India before 1914 (Uppsala 1965).

76

See for instance the unpublished memoirs of Carl Bindslev (missionary in India from 1911), Privatarkiv 5163 (National Archives, Copenhagen), pp. 16 -26.

77

As early as 1888 the first female missionary, the 'diakonisse ' Sister Sara, had started working among widows and orphans in Tirukoilur. She left India again in 1890, and tor the rest of the century no women were sent out except in the capacity of wives. The new generation to be sent out after 1900 were all well educated. G. Burkhart, 'Danish Women Missionaries: Personal Accounts of Work with South Indian W omen ', in Leslie A. Flemming, ed., Women's Work for Women. Missionaries and Social Change in Asia (Boulder 1989) pp. 61 -64.

78

100dr i Arcot pp. 32-38; 41-44. B. Smidt Hansen, Afhxngighed og identitet. Kulturmedeproblemer iforbindelse med dansk mission i Syaindien mellem de to verdenskrige (Arhus 1992). Kaj Baago, 'Gandhi's kaere barn ', in Kika Molgaard, ea., Indien-Danmark. Forbindelser ogsamarbejde. (Copenhagen 1983), pp. 54 -71 (for an English translation, see Frede Heigaard, ed., Friends of Gandhi. Inter-War Scandinavian Responses to tne Mahatma (Copenhagen 1993) pp. 19-34).

CHAPTER 4

The Intermediaries: Native Priests and Catechists The Organizational Framework The Christian missionaries in India did not spend all their time on serm ons and baptism . To a large extent they were also administrators, handling the money which came from the home board, supervising the building of churches and schools, and employing and educating numerous native -born intermediaries between the mission and the congregations. This entire complex pattern of administration has never been thoroughly investigated, even though we here find a fruitful field for comparison with the 'secu lar' British adm inistration and jurisdiction. However tempting it may be, an investigation of that scope lies outside the limits of the present study. Here we can only scratch the surface and concentrate on a few issues of central importance. These issues include the native clergy and the catechists, which will be discussed in this chapter, and the maintaining of church discipline in chapter 5. All missionaries, whether they were French or Danish, lived in a so - called mission compound, which consisted of the church, the missionary's quarters and a few houses for servants. Inside the compound there might also be a school, houses for catechists and teachers, and houses or huts for members of the congregation who for some reason could not live in their village. The mission compound was the heart of the mission's district. From here the missionary went out on long trips to the outlying congregations in his district, attempting to visit each village in the district at least once a year. The missionary made these trips either on horseback or by bullock cart, accompanied by one or two catechists and a servant who set up the tent at night and prepared the meals.1In villages where there was no Christian congregation, the missionary and his helpers started preaching in the streets, usually at sundown

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when the inhabitants came back from the fields. In larger villages, the missionaries tried to make their visits coincide with a marketday or a religious festival when there would be many people in the streets. Once a few people had expressed a wish to become Christians, they were accepted as catechumens (grown -ups who wanted to convert to Christianity) and subsequently entered into a more formalized educational program. This education involved the assistance of either schoolteachers or catechists, who had to stay in the village or at least visit the village regularly to prepare the catechumens for baptism. After the baptism, a school or a small chapel was built (often a single building served both purposes) or the new Christians were told to join the congregation in a neighbouring village. In the Danish mission these outstations were under the command of a catechist, i.e. an Indian assistant with a few years of education in Bible studies but who was not ordained. In the French mission the outstation would be under the command of an ordained priest, who could be either a young missionary recently arrived from France or a native priest educated in the Pondicherry seminary. Below the catechists or native priests in charge of the outstations was a group of less- educated helpers. As the titles of these helpers overlap somewhat, it is necessary to be a little cautious here. In the French mission, the native priests or missionaries were the superiors of two classes of catechists: catechistes sedentaires and catechistes ambulans (sic). The first of these, as the name implies, stayed with the congregation, and were usually selected from among the most prominent members of the congregation. It was their job to assemble the congregation to prayer, commemorate the feasts and saint's days, mediate in troubles, exhort the sinners, and all in all serve to maintain a sense of fraternity and unity in the congregation.2 These catechists could be either married men or widowers, as they had not taken holy orders. They could, however, in an emergency baptize children as well as adults (usually in extremis, i.e. on the deathbed) and take care of funerals. Other rites, especially marriage, confession and holy communion, were usually performed by the missionary himself or the native priest. The 'ambulant' catechists, who had taken a vow of celibacy, accompanied the missionary on his travels or were sent alone to any place where they might be needed.3As the mission stations and outstations grew in size and influence, the job of the catechiste sedentaire was divided among several persons and each person

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acquired a Tamil title to signify his special function: Maniakaren (treasu rer), Kariakaren (co - arbiter in quarrels w ithin the congregation), Kovilpoule or rather Kovilpillai (assistant at rituals in the church), etc.4The catechistes ambulans were well educated, most of them from the Pondicherry seminary, working as catechists for a number of years before being ordained as priests. In the Danish mission, the catechists were educated at a seminary or one of the special schools for catechists that had sprung up in almost all the Protestant missions in South India. In theory they could be ordained after a number of years in the mission but during the nineteenth century this happened to only three of the catechists. The main job of the catechist was to prepare the catechumens for baptism, uphold discipline in the congregation, teach in Sunday school and lead the service on Sundays. He was allowed to baptize newborn infants, if they were born in a Christian family, and to bury members of the congregation. Baptism of catechumens, weddings and communion on the other hand were the prerogative of the missionary.5Other catechists who were not in charge of an entire congregation worked as assistants for the missionary, going with him on his tours of the district and doing most of the preaching in villages and towns. Below the catechists were several groups of helpers. The most influential of these were the schoolteachers who took care of the mission schools and occasionally also the Sunday schools. The group with the least education were the Bible women - women with little or no formal schooling who would visit the families in the congregation and there either teach the alphabet or tell stories from the Bible. Theirs was thus a double function: to gain access to houses and to those parts of the household where male missionaries would not be allowed; and to reinforce knowledge of Christianity among the grown -up, female members of the congregation who did not go to school.6 Before we go deeper into the problem of the status of these intermediary groups between missionaries and congregations, it is to be noted that the source material at our disposal tends to be 'top - heavy'. We know next to nothing about the lower groups, the Bible women, the teachers and the catechistes sedentaires7 The source material is rather more eloquent and detailed when it comes to the groups closest to the missionaries, the catechists (in the DMS) and the native clergy (in the MEP). This may be due to the fact that these groups were the ones with whom the

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missionaries were in daily contact and therefore knew most about. I believe, however, that the explanation lies elsewhere. As we shall see, the catechists and the native clergy were the groups which were not only closest to the missionaries; they were also the ones who were felt to be the most threatening to the authority of the missionaries.

The Recruitm ent of Catechists and Native Clergy The French mission recruited members of the native clergy from the higher castes throughout the nineteenth century. This was a matter of policy, and related to what has been discussed earlier concerning the need to preach in classical or high -caste Tamil and the need to divide churches into separate areas for touchables and untouchables. Only by choosing the native priests from among the aristocracy or the natural leaders of the people could the mission ensure that Christianity would not be labelled a religion for Pariahs and untouchables - or so the official argument went. Further, it was argued, to ordain priests from the lower castes would only lead to trouble and even open revolt.8 All the same it was not a view that went unchallenged. In the first synod of 1844 a number of missionaries, especially Mgr. M. de Bresillac, Father Luquet and Father Leroux, argued for the recruitment of priests from the lower castes as well, and the question kept erupting from time to time in the decades thereafter.9Generally, though, the line once laid down was kept throughout the century, and Pariahs and others from the lower castes were denied access to the seminary and the rank of native priests. It should however be pointed out that, as far as can be ascertained, the native clergy was only to a limited extent recruited from the Brahmin groups, most instead coming from wealthy landowning castes or trading castes. The two first native priests ordained from Pondicherry in 1788 came from the Vellala caste, as did three others ordained between 1802 and 1823. Two others, ordained in 1795 and 1802, came from the Mudaliyar caste (an influential trading caste).10 We have information of only a few priests ordained after 1840 but those we know about were either Vellalas, Konkanis or Gounders (the influential Vellala caste found in Kongunad and Coimbatore). In the seminary at Coimbatore in 1886 it was attempted to admit members of the Vannia caste. The

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Name

1: Native Priests in the Service of the MEP, 1788-1890 Year Born — -

Andr6 Anna-Aloysius Antoine Arlandanader Arul 1830 Ayavunader 1837 Clement Santhappa Coelho Daniel 1774 Davidnader Dominique Donat 1770 Emmanuel Correa Germain 1766 Gnaprakasanader Henri Hilaire Jean Louis 1812 Jean Noronha Lazare Lazare Avappu 1809 1774 Louis Louis Maria Xavery Marie Michelnader Muttusaminader Papias Pouchepanader Philippe Pierre Pierre Pierre Arlanda Rayappanader Sandanader Sebastian Noronha Sucenader 1830 Thomas Xaverinader 1795 Xavier

Year Ordained 1806 1866 —

1856 -

1868

Year Die — -

1894 1885 1870 1860 -

1852

-

1802 1861 1828 1795 1869 1794 1862 1818 1818 1843 1860 1806 1836 1802 1803 1850 1818 1866 1862 1858 1788 1814 1823 1828 1862 -

1859 1865 1788 -

1856

-

— 1891 — — 1861 1885 — -

1860 1882

Note: The suffix "Nader" was an honorific title conferred on the native priests by the French missionaries.

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attempt failed at first because it met with strong resistance and disapproval but in the 1890s was taken up again, this time with more success.11 In the Danish mission the development was different. In the first decades the DMS had to recruit their catechists from other missions: the American Arcot mission, the American Madurai mission, the Church Missionary Society, the London Missionary Society or the Basel mission.12With a few exceptions these catechists were not recruited from the highest ranks of the caste hierarchy

Table 2: Background of the DMS Catechists, 1870-1915 Name Bakkianandam, J.S. Balasundaram Barnabas Beniamin, Joseph Busnanan Christian Daniel David, A. David, P. Devanesam Devasigamani, S. Doraisami Gnanaprakasam Gnanaprakasam Isak James, N. Jesudas, J. Jesudasen, M. John John Silas John, George K. Josef Josef, A. Joseph Joseph, John Joseph, K. Josva Kanagamani, S. Krishnaswami Aiyar Krishnaswami, K.S Kumaraswami, A.D. Martyn, Henry Massilamani, V.

Birthplace Year Bom — — South Arcot 1876 Madurai 1865 1877 South Arcot Pudukkottai 1856 -

-

— Madurai -

South Arcot -

South Arcot -

Tinnevelly Negapatnam -

North Arcot Madurai Salem South Arcot South Arcot — Mysore -

South Arcot Madurai

-

1851 1860 1870 1869 1870 -

1866 1839 1862 — 1866 1875 1858

Education — ARC (Vellore) -

AFM (Madurai) AFM (Madurai) LPZ (Ponnaiyar) -

— AFM (Madurai) -

BM (Mangalore) — DMS (S .Arcot) -

CMS (Tinnevelly) LPZ & WES ARC (Vellore) AFM (Madurai) -

DMS (S.Arcot) ARC (Vellore) DMS (S.Arcot) ­ ? (Madras) -

LPZ (Tranquebar) AFM (Maaurai)

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(only two or three were Brahmins) but nor were they untouchables. The majority belonged to the Tinnevelly Shanar caste (toddy tappers), the second largest group after the artisan and merchant castes.13The Shanar caste had an interesting history of their own, closely linked to the Church Missionary Society in Tinnevelly. Originally a despised and segregated class of palmyra -climbers and toddy -tappers, in the early nineteenth century they had started a 'social ascent' with the help of the mission. This ascent took place not only by engaging in legal disputes against the

Table 2 (continued) Matthew Newman, J. Perumal Peter, Josva Prianathan Samraju Samuel Reddy Sargunam, Daniel Sattianadan, C.H. Sattianandan Saverimuttu, A. Shadrak, S. Sinna Kesava Iyer Sinnavasan Ready Sivanandam Sundaram, G. Sundiram, Samuel Thomas Thomas, M. Thomas, V.D. Vathakan, V. Visuvasan, S. Winslow, Hubbard AFM ARC BM CMS DMS LMS LPZ MEP REA WES

North Arcot -

Madurai -

South Arcot -

Tinnevelly — —

1852 -

1869 -

1868

DMS (S.Arcot) CMS AFM (Madurai) -

REA (S.Arcot)

-

-

-

-

1861 1867 -

South Arcot

1860

-

1866

CMS (Tinnevelly) LMS ­

MEP & DMS (S.Arcot) LMS

-

-

-

-

-

-

South Arcot -

Tinnevelly —

Tinnevelly Tinnevelly Madurai -

1855 —

1878

DMS (S.Arcot) ­

DMS (S.Arcot)

-

-

-

-

1866 1846 1859 -

CMS (Tinnevelly) LMS (Salem) AFM (Madurai) ARC (Vellore)

American Board of Foreign Missions American Arcot Mission of the Reformed Church in America Basel Missions-Gesellschaft Church Missionary Society Danish Missionary Society London Missionary Society Leipzig Mission Society des Missions Etrangeres de Paris Miss Reade 's Highways and Hedges Mission, Panruti Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society

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mirasdar landholders over rights to land but also by converting to Christianity, village by village. In these villages the Hindu temples were pulled down and churches were built in their stead. The missionaries aided the Shanars in setting up self-aid societies, widows' help -funds, etc. which were meant to help the Shanars on their way to self-reliance. A further step on the way to selfreliance was by helping the Shanars to acquire a part of the waste lands that the government in the 1840s sold to landless labourers and tenants in the hope of raising revenue. By the mid -nineteenth century the Shanars were no longer a despised, untouchable group. Wealthy traders in northern Tinnevelly established trade and production links with their fellow Shanars in the south, especially in cotton and garden crops; and a general social, economic and status uplift followed. To demonstrate this social uplift, the old name of 'Shanars' was abandoned and the honorific name 'Nadars' was taken instead, symbolizing the wish to place the caste within the higher echelons of the caste hierarchy. A number of ritual-historical tracts were printed, describing the ancient high status of the Shanars/Nadars, their subsequent fall from grace and their recent uplift, which was seen as a reinstatement of the Shanar/Nadar caste to its proper place in the caste hierarchy. The uplift was partly the result of the backing of the mission and the higher level of education thanks to the mission schools, partly the result of changing economic frontiers which worked to the benefit of new trading links, new products and new markets opening up from the mid-century. Undoubtedly, the Shanars constituted one of the success stories of the Protestant missions in South India, not only because of the large number of persons converted to Christianity but also because of the ensuing social uplift of this group.14 The Danish missionaries were constantly aware of the need to educate catechists from their own congregations, but met with much greater difficulties than they had anticipated. The congregations were not large or wealthy enough to pay for an education of their young men that could take several years to complete and in the end secure them only a smaller income than what could have been obtained in government service.15Eventual­ ly, however, as the Danish mission in itself expanded and received more money from home, and as the congregations also grew (and in several instances even became somewhat wealthier), it became possible to recruit catechists from the DMS congregations. These

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were often the children of catechists or schoolteachers in the DMS but there were also a number of low -caste and even Pariah boys who were educated at the seminaries in other societies and then came back to work for the DMS. Not until 1919 did the DMS - after much deliberation and many discussions among the missionaries - open its own seminary in Tirukoilur, moving it to Cuddalore in 1921. Many of the missionaries felt it to be quite an unnecessary expense and a few argued that it was a useful experience to receive additional education in a different environment.16 In any case, the Danish mission could never make do with just their own catechists but, throughout the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, had to stay in contact with and recruit most of their catechists from other missionary societies in South India. In contrast, the French missions had to educate all their own catechists and native priests. Under no circumstances would they accept priests who came from missions under the Portuguese padroado. If we attempt to compare the recruitment policy of the missionary societies with the recruitment policy of the British East India Company and the British Raj we vdll find some interesting patterns. The British like the Roman Catholic missions recruited their administrators from the highest ranks of society, mainly among Brahmins and wealthy landowners. The administrators who stayed in the villages (village accountants, village headmen and judicial officials) were recruited among the leaders of the various communities.17 From the mid -nineteenth century this policy changed somewhat and the British did not rely on the village elites as much as earlier. Even though, as Christopher Baker notes,18the village headmen concentrated various administrative functions in their hands (such as the collection of revenue, police functions and various magisterial functions) and, even though the village headmen were recruited among the village elite, the role of the headmen was also much more tightly controlled than ever before. From the mid -nineteenth century the British Raj took over several of the more general duties of an Indian ruler, such as maintaining irrigation systems, improving the postal service, maintaining the roads, building railways and maintaining peace by establishing courts of justice.19Indians were allowed entry into the Indian Civil Service (ICS) after the Mutiny in 1857-58 but at least until the turn of the century were never given a superior position as it would be unthinkable for an English member of the

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ICS to serve under an Indian.20 The Indian members of the ICS came either from the wealthy families who could send their sons to the entrance examinations in London or, in the period of the Statutory Service Act 1879-1892, from well-connected families who could have their sons nominated to the service, irrespective of intellectual abilities. In any case, it was a matter of policy to recruit the members of the administration from the Indian elites. Although this point deserves to be discussed in greater detail, it seems obvious that while Indians were allowed to partake more and more in the administration of British India as the century wore on, their participation at the same time became increasingly circumscribed. The demand for administrators with a European education grew as the administrative system itself became more widespread and more complicated but at the same time the influence of these Indian administrators in the decision -making process lessened considerably.21This development is very similar to the 'settlement' in other spheres of British rule which have been discussed in chapter 2. The British - who after 1857 saw themselves more and more as builders of an empire - increasingly believed in the Indians' inability to govern themselves and accordingly relegated the Indians in the administration to positions of lesser importance.

The Education of the Catechists and Native Priests The education of the native helpers as well as the recruitment policy mirrored the different attitudes to the relationship between missionary and native helper prevalent in the two missionary societies. The primary aim of the French mission was, at least in theory, the education of native priests. This had been the basis of the instructions from the Propaganda Fide at the establishment of the MEP, and was repeated faithfully throughout the nineteenth century by the missionaries in charge of the Pondicherry mission.22 The foundation of the seminary in Pondicherry in 1778 was seen by some as a means of overcoming caste prejudice but this was not the official line.23 It remained important to pay heed to the caste feelings of the students in the seminary, not only by restricting the admission to the seminary to the higher castes but also by respecting the students' dietary habits and their preference for Indian clothing.

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As for the last item, it is not as small a matter as might be assumed because the way of dressing had important cultural and ritual connotations in South India. If we follow Louis Dumont in his arguments about food as an indicator of different degrees of purity and hence of ritual rank and touchability, we will find that clothes have almost the same implications.24 Leather shoes were worn only by untouchables, who in the jajmani system of the village removed the polluting carcasses of cattle, ate the meat and tanned the hides. Therefore, Robert de Nobili and his followers in the Madurai mission never wore leather shoes.25In the same light we may see the troubles which erupted in 1822,1829 and again in 1858 in the London mission in Travancore when a group of Christian low-caste women began to wear a breast-cloth usually reserved for upper-caste women. The breast-cloth was an indicator of caste rank and brings to mind the intricate dress regulations prevalent in Kerala in the nineteenth century which among other things did not allow low -caste men to wear shirts and umbrellas, and did not allow low -caste women to wear any clothing below the knees and above the waist.26 Not only did an infringement of these various rules of dress upset the balance of caste ranking. It also conferred a degree of pollution on the higher castes because the lower castes in this way came closer to the higher castes maybe not in a physical sense but very much in a ritual sense. At the synod of 1844 the dress regulations of the European missionaries were discussed fervently, and it was decided that the missionaries in Pondicherry itself should keep their European dress (black soutane, shoes and a red beret), whereas the missionaries stationed in the interior of the country should wear a white soutane, wooden sandals and either a white or a red beret. This costume was very close to the costume worn by the Jesuit missionaries. The native priests were to wear only the latter costume, even in Pondicherry. Significantly, the five native priests who attended the synod were not allowed to participate in this discussion, and their advice was not asked.27 The curriculum in the seminary underwent a major reform after the 1844 synod. Until then the European missionaries had been reluctant to allow the seminarists to learn any European subjects or any European languages except Latin, because they feared the seminarists would be 'corrupted' by the atheistic literature so abundant in the era of enlightenment and revolution.28In 1844 the seminary was divided into two parts, the petit seminaire, which

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taught secular subjects such as French, English, Latin, Geography, Mathematics and Astronomy, and the grand sem im ire, which taught Philosophy, Theology and Bible Studies. The idea was that the students would be able to stop after having attended the petit sem im ire and from there would be eligible for the lower orders. Only the students who had attended the grand seminaire would be eligible for priesthood. The Archbishop was very positive to this reform, not least because such a thoroughly modern education would secure the status of the native clergy in the eyes of non Christian Indians, Europeans and Protestants.29 Mgr. M. de Bresillac, who was the head of the seminary from 1844, had other reasons to want these reforms put through. Like his two friends, Father Leroux and Father Luquet, he saw the Jesuit way of accommodating with the caste system as incompatible with Christianity. By making the curriculum in the seminary as extensive as he did, he hoped to attain two goals: the gradual extinction of caste identity and caste prejudices among the native clergy and the full acceptance of the native clergy in the eyes of the European missionaries. According to M. de Bresillac the fault of the Jesuit mission was that it educated only very good catechists but no native clergy because the priesthood was only extended to members of the Society of Jesus - which meant, in fact, to Europeans only. Nor did the missionaries in the MEP ever consider the native priests their equals - a deplorable fact which Mgr. de Bresillac hoped to rectify.30 The reforms of the seminary did not stop at this. After the reorganization of the diocese in 1846, when Mgr. de Bresillac was appointed Bishop of the newly established diocese of Coimbatore, Father Leroux took over his position in the seminary. Father Leroux was, as we have seen, an eager reformer. In 1848 he attempted to introduce the habit of teachers and students eating together, maybe in (unconscious) imitation of the 'love feasts' enforced in most Protestant seminaries. The 'love feasts' in the Protestant missions took the shape of a meal which broke a number of the traditional rules of purity and pollution: the participants had to eat meat, preferably beef, and catechists and low - caste people had to eat together from a common dish.31 The attempt had disastrous consequences: the students refused to eat in the seminary and indeed to have anything to do with the seminary again, and dissatisfaction spread not only among the Pondicherry congregations but as far afield as Karikal and

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Cuddalore. Adrian Launay, in line with the reports we have from the hands of Mgr. Bonnand, does not hesitate to call this dissatisfaction a 'revolt' and even a 'mutiny' but the actual extent and character of the incident remains unclear. Nonetheless, several important implications stand out. Firstly, the attempt to force a reform through something as central to the caste system as eating together, was enough to trigger the 'revolt', something for which apparently Father Leroux had not been prepared. Secondly, without the knowledge of the missionaries the dissatisfaction spread over long distances and set off separate incidents far from Pondicherry. Thirdly, whereas the incident in the first hand had concerned the caste status of the seminarists vis-^-vis the missionaries, the last echo of the 'revolt' was a declaration issued by the Archbishop to a group of Christians who claimed to represent the 'Sudras' among the congregations (even though, as will be remembered, the native clergy was not recruited among the Sudras): His Highness ... assures you that He has no intention of mixing the Sudras with the inferior classes, nor to intervene in your family ceremonies, your usages and customs, as far as these points do not include heathenisms (gentilitis), and are not in contradiction with the doctrine and rules of the Catholic religion.32 Following the classifications of revolt argued by Ranajit Guha, we find that the 1848 incident represents several of the well-known (but by contemporaries seldom considered) aspects of popular dissatisfaction: the rumours spreading quickly over long distances; the rumours being fitted into an already existing set of grievances or existing set of beliefs about the relationship between missionaries and congregations, and the resulting eruptions of 'revolt' in new and, for the Europeans, unexpected contexts.33 Other aspects of the revolt, however, also deserve some consideration. There is no doubt that the missionaries in Pondicherry reacted sharply to the incident because it occurred shortly after the 1848 revolution in France. The fear of revolution was mentioned specifically and was probably the reason for the use of what might be called the vocabulary of revolution, i.e. the use of words like 'revolt', 'mutiny', etc.34It was however not necessary to look as far as France for possible inspiration for a revolt. In the preceding years, intense riots and severe persecution of Christians had

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taken place in Tinnevelly, culminating in the Nullur disturbances in November 1845.35 In 1847 the American (Protestant) seminary in Madurai had attempted a reform along the same lines as the Pondicherry seminary, i.e. a reform in the curriculum, introducing secular and scientific studies, a reform in the dress regulations, and a reform demanding that the students eat together irrespective of their caste background - all in an attempt to reduce the influence of caste in the seminary. These attempts at reform had met with the same reaction as in Pondicherry: the majority of the students walked out and a short period of unrest followed.36 There is a difference, however, in the way the problem of eating occurred. In the French mission, it is stated several times, the students in the seminary regarded their European professors (and all Europeans for that matter) as socially inferior. They were Europeans, the despised 'Feringhis', they ate meat and wore leather shoes, and as often as not had Pariahs and other untouchables as servants. Eating with the missionaries would therefore confer some of that untouchability to the students, and they would not be able to hold on to their usual status in the community.37 In the Madurai mission, on the other hand, the missionaries stood outside the battle. The test of proper Christian faith and humility employed by almost all Protestant missions except the Leipzigians was the 'love feast', in which a young man about to be ordained was asked to partake of a meal either prepared by untouchables or eaten in the company of the lowliest in the congregation.38 The main difference lies here with the status of the missionaries. As Louis Dumont has demonstrated, the sharing of a meal has important connotations over and above signifying the notions of purity and pollution conferred by proximity.39There is, however, an important difference which Dumont does not go into between ritual meals and meals eaten with a group of people who consider each other to be ritual equals. What I have here termed 'ritual meals' are situations of food offerings, where certain well-defined cooked or uncooked items of food are offered to a deity or, in situations of a festival, given to a higher ranking person. After the deity (or, in his place, the Brahmin) has tasted the food, it is redistributed to the giver. The food has in this process been touched by the deity's or the Brahmin's saliva, which like all other bodily excretions (blood, semen, breast-milk, urine, etc.) is imbued with great power. In the redistribution process this dangerous

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power is, at least in part, handed back to the devotee. Even in meals where no ritual offering has been made in the first place, the partaking of the leavings is a token of fealty and subordination to the person or the deity who has impregnated the leavings with his saliva.40 This kind of sharing a meal thus signifies a hierarchical situation. The second kind of meals, the kind which does not include a ritual offering, is the one Louis Dumont analyses in his work Homo Hierarchicus. This kind of meal signifies a situation of equality, in which members of a family or members of related caste groups participate in the same meal. Here there is no question of hierarchy within the group except in the observance of the strict rules applying to who does the cooking (preferably a person of higher rank). The hierarchical situation here refers to the outside, i.e. to the ranking of the group vis-^-vis other groups. Applying this distinction to the 'revolt' of the students in Pondicherry and Madurai, we find that in the Madurai situation the missionaries stood above the conflict, maintaining their status as the ones who decided the order and ranking of the group (i.e. the seminary), and, what is more important, the conflict was solved when the students came back to the seminary and accepted the terms laid down by the missionaries. What we find here, then, is a situation like the one that above I have termed the hierarchical situation. The missionaries were the higher ranking persons who, by ordering what kind of meals should be eaten in the seminary, decided not only the ranking of the students as inferior to themselves but also gave the students a new, corporate identity as a homogeneous body.41In the Pondicherry situation, on the other hand, the revolt occurred as a consequence of measures taken by the missionaries which threatened not only the corporate identity of the students but also the relationship between students and missionaries. Even more significantly, the conflict in Pondicherry was only solved when the mission backed down and changed the rules back to what they had been before. What Father Leroux and the other reformers had been about to impose was a situation of equality, an equality between missionaries and students. As in the Madurai situation, this equality could only be attained by forging a new corporate identity between hitherto unequal partners. In the Pondicherry situation it did not work, mainly because nothing was done to place it within the bounds of a new hierarchy. The equality aimed at was the kind of equality which only served effectively to exclude the group from its neighbours. Only when

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this threat was removed, and the missionaries once again took their meals apart from the students, was the sense of balance restored. In the Danish mission the battlefronts lay differently. From the start the Danish missionaries were very critical of their catechists. As mentioned, until 1919 the DMS acquired all their catechists from other missionary societies, a policy which invited a host of problems. In the first decades the missionary Peder Andersen gave his catechists lectures on Luther's Catechism and similar subjects to prepare them for working in a Lutheran mission.42 Later it was decided that the catechists should receive a more formal education a few weeks a year in one of the mission stations and that thereafter an examination should be held upon the result of which the future of the catechist should depend.43The lack of schooling was however not the greatest fault the DMS missionaries could find with their catechists. Probably as a consequence of their background in the special Danish branch of Lutheran revivalism, the missionaries regarded the lack of proper piety as an extremely grave fault - much more important than the lack of proper schooling. In this aspect the Danish missionaries differed from other Protestant missions in South India. As early as 1877 we find this attitude in a letter from Herman Jensen, who bemoans the lacking of testimony as to the spiritual habits of catechists in the recommendations received from other societies and warns against employing well-educated catechists who m ay be 'spiritually dead'.44 In other letters we find descriptions of catechists who are 'all mind but no heart' or 'intellectually brilliant but weak in personal faith', etc.45 In the years immediately before and after the 1898 crisis, which resulted in the dismissal of the majority of the catechists because of their lack of faith, the demands for a higher standard of piety among missionaries as well as among catechists seem to have come from Denmark.46Among the Danish missionaries there was no emphasis on secular studies, nor was there any fear of losing status among the Indians or among the Christians by offering an insufficient education to their catechists. The lack of emphasis on secular studies was probably a legacy from the Danish situation. In the 18th century, when the Missionary College (Missions Collegiet) was in charge of the missions, secular studies were essential for the missionaries to be able to grasp the realities of Indian religious and social life. Even in the first decades of the existence of the

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DMS, some emphasis had been placed - in good Grundtvigian tradition - on the education and 'enlightenm ent' of the missionaries. The mission - school which was established in Denmark in the 1860s, took care of the education of the peasants and artisans who wanted to become missionaries - there had not been any theologians who were sufficiently interested in foreign missions. The aversion to book -learning and the emphasis on revelatory piety on the other hand was a hallmark of the Danish Home Mission (Indre Mission), which in 1889 won the majority in the board of the DMS.47 In the 1890s the Home Mission was engaged in a dispute with the theologians at the University of Copenhagen concerning the legitimate way of studying the Bible. Not surprisingly, the Home Mission - and with it the majority of the board of the DMS ­ was strongly against the new methods of Bible studies based on literary criticism and historical-critical evaluations - an attitude most emphatically pronounced by Vilhelm Beck in his well-known sentence: 'On your knees for the Holy Writ, professors!'48 Whereas in Denmark we find the supporters of the Home Mission engaged in a fight against the well-educated vicars and university scholars, we find them in India in a position of power (leaders of mission stations, actual missionaries in close contact with the home board) engaged in struggle with their well-educated subordinates, the catechists. This is not to say that there were open or veiled feelings of inferiority among the missionaries towards their catechists but they definitely did not want their catechists to have a broader secular education than they themselves had received. This was not based on their Indian experience but rather on their legacy from Denmark which, like the Anglo -Saxon tradition, made it a point of virtue to be satisfied with one's station in life. The other missionary societies in India, on the other hand, based their decisions of the education of catechists on their Indian experience. We have already seen that the French mission wanted their native clergy well educated so as firstly to facilitate a better adaptation to Indian society, and secondly to maintain a sense of unity within the mission. The Anglo -Saxon missions were influenced in their views by the relationship between the British administration and the Indian intermediaries, and their worst fear was to educate catechists who would become half-Anglicized. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, widespread among the British in and outside India was the stereotype of well-educated Indians, the so-

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called Babus, trying to impress their superiors by aping their manners, customs and, at least partially, their dress. It was a picture of the Indian which invited only scorn and derision (as seen from Kipling's works)49and was something the missionaries did not want to find in their ranks. This position is made emphatically clear in a remark by J. Smith, a missionary in Gwalior: ... there are millions of people away from the residency towns, who are not to be reached by finely dressed halrAnglicized Baboos.50 What we find here is essentially the old distinction between the teaching missions (such as the Anglo-Saxons) - who viewed a half education as worse than none at all and who still shared with the early Utilitarians and Evangelicals the belief in education as the necessary tool of social and moral uplift - and the preaching, revivalist missions (such as the Danes) who relied on the word of God to affect the necessary profound change in human beings.

The Question of Leadership Another problem, closely related to the problem of education, is the problem of leadership. All missionary societies in principle had a primary goal to preach the word of God and to establish independent churches in heathen lands. While in this way they were working to make themselves superfluous, they became more and more reluctant to relinquish the power they had and to hand it over to their subordinates. The position towards the Indian subordinates on the question of power shows a remarkable similarity between the different missionary societies, Roman Catholic as well as Protestant. This was one question where there was an overarching agreement between the societies, in spite of different ideological frameworks, at least in the first half of the century. In the early decades of the century we find in the letters of both Protestant and Roman Catholic missionaries a view of their subordinates which is paternalistic and overbearing but which still believes that it will be possible within a generation or two to establish an independent Indian church under the leadership of Indian priests or pastors.51The most grave fault they could find in their subordinates - one that was to be constantly

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repeated throughout the nineteenth century - was the difficulty of teaching them proper Christian humility. The intricate question of the 'Indian national character' will be discussed at length in the following chapter; here we shall concentrate on the difficulties which the missionaries found in the 'character' of the catechists and native priests. A significant example of this attitude is found in the letter from Father Magny in 1803: ... I assure you that in this country one must proceed with much pruaence and a great deal ofprecaution. The young people are very difficult to form. Tne virtues of patience, humility and obedience do not find an easy way into their minds. It takes a lot of trouble to make them grasp any idea thereof, and to get them to practise them. From this you can yourself guess the rest. I admit that I from time to time experience a great deal of distaste, and the further I get, the more I fear the ordination of some of them.52 Humility and obedience were virtues of central importance in Roman Catholicism's hierarchical and dogmatic system. They were the virtues extolled in every monastic order and every seminary in the world and were the touchstone for a young person's advancement within the church hierarchy. The insistence on these virtues, therefore, does not necessarily imply a racial attitude but is more probably related to the previously mentioned view of the caste system as a social phenomenon. In accepting this view, the French missionaries without question accepted the young seminarists' attitude to the missionaries, i.e. regarding these as social inferiors. This in turn made the seminarists' lack of humility a social phenomenon rather than a personal or racial defect and one which could - if not easily then no doubt in the course of time - be rectified by proper education in Christian morals.53As we have seen earlier, the so-called 'love feast' instituted in many Protestant missions had as one of its primary goals (apart from undermining caste behaviour) the instilling of proper Christian piety in the young catechists and pastors. The Protestants as much as the Roman Catholics believed that change was possible and that moral weakness was a universal human frailty rather than a national or racial trait. By the 1850s the main view of the relationship between missionaries and Indian helpers was that of the relationship between teachers and students. In the Madras Tamil Mission of the Free Church of Scotland, the catechists and native pastors

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were before ordination 'employed in publishing that salvation which they had found to their perishing fellow -countrymen'54but it was the missionaries who decided what to print. Rev. E. Porter of the London Missionary Society in Cuddapah, taking exception to the use of derogatory names for Indians while at the same time admitting 'the dark parts of their character', concluded thus: At the same time we must not forget that under Christian instruction, good discipline, and consistent example, some amongst them have become faithful and honest servants, brave soldiers in the army, good Schoolmasters, and successful Ministers of the Word of Christ.55 In his paper on 'Missionary success' Rev. H. Baker of the CMS in Mundakayam argued that missionary success was achieved in areas where 'the Native Agents were treated by them [the missionaries] as younger brethren ... were constantly with them, or at least under their supervision'.56 This teacher - student relationship obviously also implied a certain distance between the parties. This distance is exemplified in Mgr. Laouenan's letter of 1858: One thing which occupies the minds is the indigenous clergy. I do not agree in the unfavourable views of a too great number o f my brethren on this subject; I have experienced that the indigenous clergy is an excellent auxiliary, and that one can live in perfectly good under­ standing and friendship with them, without however falling into familiarity or camaraderie.57 As the years passed, this distance between the missionaries and the native helpers grew. In 1858 it was mentioned as a danger to the success of the mission to let a native helper acquire too much influence;58 but at the conference in 1879 one of the missionaries declared that in his experience 'the native clergy ... make very good soldiers but not particularly good officers'.59 The resolution passed at the 1879 conference in Bangalore concerning the 'Native Church' - i.e. a self-governing Indian church requiring only a limited assistance from the missionary societies - ran along the same lines: This Conference, while convinced of the great importance of promoting by every judicious means the self-support ana self-government of the Native Church, desires to place on recora its conviction that the Native Church is in no part

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of it as yet in a position to dispense with European guidance and support; and that any premature step in this direction would oe highly injurious to its healthy development and ultimate stability.60 In this connection the discussion which in the 1870s took place within the MEP is interesting because it went in the opposite direction. It was argued by the Archbishop Mgr. Laouenan that native priests after ten years of service should be eligible for the status of missionaries, appointed by the Propaganda Fide, and that young priests newly arrived from Europe should only take precedence over native priests who had been in service for less than five years. The practice, as it had been until then - that any European priest irrespective of seniority and experience was of superior status to every native priest and that it was impossible for a native priest to become a proper missionary - was no longer a feasible tradition and ought to be changed. However, the MEP had to wait years for a decisive answer from Rome and by the end of the century the matter was still unsolved.61 In the Danish mission the missionaries saw themselves as teachers and masters for the catechists and increasingly came to view themselves as indispensable. It is interesting to note that this development was followed with some alarm in Copenhagen. When Albert Ihle was fired as a missionary in 1889, one of the charges against him was that he treated his catechists abominably and was far too strict with them. Chr. Schlesch wrote in his defence: Ihle may have been strict, but it must be realized that one really cannot treat the natives as equals. They tend to become haughty, impertinent and insolent.62 From the 1880s, however, the Danish mission parted company with the other Protestant missions or, rather, the other Protestant missions gradually changed their views while the Danish mission remained at the standpoint where they had always been. The Anglo -Saxon missions gradually abandoned their usual insistence on the civilizing power of the Christian missions and instead, under the influence of Max Muller and other eminent Orientalists, came to regard Hinduism as an admirable philosophical system and Christianity as 'the crown of Hinduism' rather than its opponent.63In the general missionary conference held in Calcutta in 1893, Rev. Jones stated that:

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It is as important for a pastor that he know how and what Hindu philosophers tnought and think [as that] he be conversant with Western metaphysics and formulae. It is vastly important to know well Vedic and modern Hinduism, not simply as an object of attack, but also as a religious system perhaps the nest the world has seen among those worked out by man's unaided wisdom.64 Along with this more tolerant view of Hinduism came also a view of the importance of educating the native pastors to positions of leadership. It was, Jones argued, necessary to leave the leadership of the churches in the hands of native pastors, who were trained in Hindu philosophy rather than Western philosophy and theological discussions. The usual criticism of the weak character of the native pastors was dismissed with a wave of hand: it would all disappear when the native pastors were given more responsibility.65 At this point the Danish mission, and the French too, as we shall see, parted company with the other missionary societies. Only a few individuals, most notably L.P. Larsen, recognized this new trend and accepted it. The other Danish missionaries went on as before, the only difference being a stronger emphasis on the civilizing aspects of the mission. A few examples will show this. In 1902 Mr. Gotzsche considered giving the native pastor Matthew (who had been with the DMS since 1872 and had been ordained in 1886) employment in Melpattambakkam: The fact that he also suffers from the lack of independence peculiar to his people should not in my opinion be held against him in the question of employment in Bethanien; because would it be oetter elsewhere? And where could I find a better man? Furthermore, in view of exactly this national frailty I have established a so-called panchayat (5-man council) consisting of myself, my three helpers in Bethanien, Nellikuppam ana Tondamannatam as well as a lay member of the congregation chosen by themselves. This panchayat, w hich decides all in tern al congregational m atters (disagreements, monetary aid, etcJ wul help the native helpers to gain a sense of responsibility ana to aim for independence.66 This congregational panchayat, which Gotzsche introduces as a novelty in his mission - station, had been general practice among other missionary societies for decades. In the French mission, as

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mentioned earlier, the catechistes sedentaires were chosen among the influential members of the congregation, and were given various special duties. Apart from that, the leading men of the various castes in the congregation were called in to decide on matters of criminal behaviour, theft, adultery or open strife between members of the congregation.67 In other Protestant missions councils of elders which had the same functions as Gotzsche's panchayat were established in the 1840s and 1850s.68 Even though the Danish missionaries repeatedly in regretful tones described the lack of independence and responsibility in the catechists, they were uneasy and critical when the catechists in fact did display those very characteristics. In 1907, when there was a heated controversy going on between the missionaries concerning the right to supervise the Melpattambakkam mission district in the absence of the regular missionary, the chairman of the missionary council (Missions -Conferencen) wrote to the DMS secretary stating how disgraceful it was to let the catechists know about petty squabbles among the missionaries; it was bad for morale.69When in 1894 the catechists argued for the establishment of a seminary and even wrote a letter to the Board about it, the proposal was quickly discouraged by the missionaries, who advised the Board to ignore the plea.70 In 1896 the catechist and the school teacher in Tirukoilur had helped a Christian carpenter in the town to write a letter to the authorities in Cuddalore, complaining about a British doctor. The doctor felt very bad about a complaint coming from Christians and in his turn complained to the missionary in charge. In consequence, the carpenter was fired and the school teacher and the catechists received a severe reprim and.71 W henever the catechists disagreed with the missionaries in matters of policy - usually over whether or not to give temporal help to catechumens - their standpoint was duly noted and quoted to the Board and then the decisions were taken as the missionaries wanted.72 In the French mission after about 1879 we find as well an attitude to the question of leadership different from the one displayed in the Anglo -Saxon missions. The recruitment of young men to the seminary had not been very efficient and only a handful of native priests were ordained in the entire nineteenth century. By 1897, when Adrian Launay finished his work on the Pondicherry mission, there were 39 native priests and 92 missionaries in the diocese of Pondicherry. When we compare

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this to the Danish mission, we find that at the time of the 'great purge' in 1898, the DMS numbered 28 catechists and 10 mission ­ aries in South Arcot alone. In spite of the fact that the MEP covered a much larger area than the DMS, had a following of more than 200,000 Christians in 59 districts against the barely 800 Christians in the DMS, and could muster almost six times as many missionaries as the DMS, they had not been able to recruit a proportionally higher number of native priests. Even when one considers the number of unordained, native agents in the French missions, the catechistes ambulans, we find that in 1898 they numbered only 141 in the diocese of Pondicherry, which is still a small number compared to the number of Christians and the size of the diocese. As noted above, one of the reasons for the relatively small number of native helpers in the French mission was that the French mission only recruited members of the native clergy from among the high castes, which severely limited the potential number of applicants to the seminary. Mgr. Laouenan wrote to the Directors in 1877, describing how difficult it was to recruit new native priests because Pariahs formed the majority of the congrega­ tions. This group, he declared, not only enjoyed no respect from the other groups in society, '... but the general character of the caste is so irascible, choleric, hot-tempered, and intrigant that I cannot decide whether or not to admit these people'.73 Another reason, stated boldly by Father Bordou in 1880, was the reluctance of the Indians, and especially of the high -caste Indians, to remain unmarried.74This was not a new phenomenon. In the 1820s and 1830s a few French missionaries voiced their concern about the young students who would rather go 'back into the world' than stay for ordination. After the synod of 1844 the discussion became more strident, and there were even some missionaries who argued for the abolition of the seminary, as the ordination of native priests only led to trouble.75As we have seen in chapter 3, asceticism and sexual abstinence is not unknown in the Indian religious context, and is indeed one of the most significant aspects of the sannyasi, the ascetic or renouncer, the figure which Robert de Nobili and his followers tried to emulate. It was, however, a figure more suited to an itinerant preacher or to a monk living in seclusion with or without fellow monks than to a priest living in his parish and engaging in the ritual and social life of his flock. In the Jesuit Madurai mission, we find the

:

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itinerant preacher - type of Catholic priest prevalent in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but in the mid -nineteenth century, when the Society of Jesus had been re -established and the French Jesuits again had taken over the mission, the missionaries settled down in the villages. In Hindu tradition, the sannyasi may be perceived as a figure complementary to caste society. In the Upanishads, the sannyasi represents the fourth stage in an ideal life, after childhood, married life and withdrawal (but not yet separation). Seen in another light, the sannyasi is the renouncer, the individual who has set himself outside and above the collective but who is still dependant upon society (for alms) and who bases his authority precisely on this withdrawal from all secular matters.76 The important thing, however, is that the sannyasi represents an ideal stage in a man's life - but that asceticism and renunciation as such are not required from younger men nor from sedentary Hindu priests. As Christopher Fuller has shown, the Hindu temple priest or the Brahmin domestic priest in present-day South India are not required to be celibate. On the contrary, it was important for Hindu temple priests to be married, because only by being married could they experience and partake of the male-female power of the deity. Celibate priests, on the other hand, had no immediate access to sakti, the divine power personified as feminine.77 The purity required of these priests was not in the form of celibacy. Instead the priest would be expected to contract a marriage of considerable 'dynastic' and ritual importance, linking his family to other influential families.78 It is not surprising therefore, to find that the young men about to enter the Roman Catholic seminary in Pondicherry would hesitate on account of the demand for celibacy. When settling down in the villages the Roman Catholic missionaries could no longer turn their back on secular matters; whether they wanted to or not they had to come to terms with the relationship between their own authority and the existing secular authority in the villages. In the classical South Indian tradition there was a close alliance between the king and the Brahmin which served to uphold and legitimize kingly authority. This was not a division between sacred and secular areas of authority in the European sense; the two areas of authority were mutually dependant on each other and the distinction between them continually shifted. The king based his authority on the

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endowment of temples, on pilgrimages and on gift-giving in a wider sense, hereby deciding both on ritual ranking and on the status of different groups within the social hierarchy. Kingship was at once sacred and secular, divine and human, legitimate and arbitrary. To give full legitimacy to the kingship, the sanction of the Brahmin was needed. This could be done in two ways. The Brahmin could either let the king participate in the ritual of sacrifice, or he could assume the role of the renunciator. Following this analysis, the early Jesuit mission, with its emphasis on the priest as renunciator, left secular authority in the hands of the local assemblies and influential groups. The later Jesuit tradition, on the other hand, took on both aspects, having the Jesuit priest taking on both the role of king and Brahmin. As the king, the missionary acted as an arbiter and a legislator in status disputes. Furthermore, he endowed the local shrines, arranged pilgrimages and festivals which were the focal points for confirming the ritual status and for legitimizing the missionary/king's authority at the top of the social pyramid. As the Brahmin, the missionary decided on services and honours in the festivals, as well as acting as mediator between the sacred and the profane, the pure and the impure in the handling of the sacraments.79 Apparently this was the type of function the French mission also envisaged for its missionaries; if nothing else, the French missionaries often spoke critically of the de Nobili experiment.80 Even this point does not provide a sufficiently satisfactory answer to why it was so difficult for the French mission to establish the native clergy they had planned. If more material could be unearthed about the catechistes sedentaires it might be possible to argue that the French mission, just as de Bresillac mentions for the Jesuits, was better at educating catechists than native priests. Maybe the French mission was better at engaging in a dynamic and extensive ritual and social network in the villages by using European missionaries (who were both outside and above the caste-groupings of the village) in cooperation with catechists and caste-leaders than at handing over this power to native priests who, no matter where they came from or what their background was, could never be considered outside the caste system.

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Notes There are numerous descriptions of this ambulant missionary work. See for instance Th. Logstrup, Den nyere danske Mission, pp. 127 -130. J. A. Sharrock, South Indian Missions. Containing Glimpses into the Lives and Customs of the Tamil People (Westminster 1910) p. 20. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 272 -275. J.F.M. Darras, Cinquante ans d'apostolat dans les Yndes sous les auspices de Notre-Dame de Lourdes (Pondicherry 1907) pp. 29 -32. M. de Bresillac, Le Journal d 'un missionnaire 1848 ­1854 (Societe des Missions Africaines, eds. Paris 1987), 8 September 1853, pp. 121 -122. M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs de douze ans de mission (Soci£t£ des Missions Africaines, eds., Paris 1987) pp. 173-178, 263-265. The importance of the catechist's role in this respect is underlined in the rules (Directoire de la mission) established in 1836, of which article 19 reads: T he missionaries should honour the catechists, i.e. they should not interfere in the affairs or disputes of the Christians unless there is a catechist present.' Quoted in Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, p. 390. Nouvelles lettres edifiantes et curieuses des missions de la Chine et des Indes Orientales, vol. I (Paris 1818), pp. xvi-xvii. Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, p. 481. Piolet, Missions catholiques, vol. 2, p. 264. See also M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, pp. 255-262; 367-369 on the discussions during the 1844 -synod about the status of the Indian clergy vis -^-vis the catechists. For a discussion of these church servants m present -day Ramnad, see Robert Deli&ge, Les Paraiyars du Tamil Nadu. Studia Instituti Anthropos, no.42. (Steyer 1988) pp. 248 -254 and Mosse, Caste, pp. 127 -142. 100 dr i Arcot 1863-1963, pp. 30-38. Missioneerkonferencens Mode i Indien (1898). See Estrid Hoff, Fra Kvindearbejdet i Tiruvannamalai (Copenhagen 1913). J. Nyholm, Vore indiske Missionsarbeidere (Copenhagen 1919), vol. 1-2. A. Lagerqvist, Zenanamission. Nagra bilder frdn Svenska Kyrkans missionsarbete i Sydindien (Stockholm 1913). Mgr. de Bresillac, who attended the 1844 synod in Pondicherry, laments the too superficial treatment given to the question of educating and employing catechists in favour of the detailed treatment given the native clergy. M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, pp. 336 -337. Launay, Histoire, vol. 2, pp. 454 -456. M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, pp. 125-126,348-349. Launay, L'histoire, vol. 2 pp. 299-301,423-427. Letter from Mgr. Bonnand to Father Leroux, 28 February 1849, Archive MEP, vol. 1001 pp. 317 -324. Luauet 's book, Retraite ecclesiastique des missionaires de Pondichery (Paris 1845) was the subject of much debate in the Pondicherry mission in the 1840s because of its criticism of the way the mission dealt with the caste -question, the question of the native clergy and the question of the education of catechists. The publication of this book was one of the reasons for Mgr. Bonnand to send Father Luauet back to Europe and enforce his retirement from the mission. Launay, L'histoire, vol. 2, pp. 366 -371. Unfortunately, Luquet 's book has not been available to me. See also Grafe, Tamilnadu, p. 54 -66. 10

See Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, pp. 120-121, 209, 256 and vol. 2, pp. 8-9.

11

ibid., vol. 4, p. 92 -93.

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12

An exception to this rule were the few catechists who came from the orphanage established in M elpattambakkam bv Ochs, namely Jeevanandan and Joseph. See letter from Chr. Schlesch to Herman Jensen, 19 July 1897, DMS Archive, 247.

13

A significant point of comparison is that whereas a large number of the Roman Catholic catechists and native priests educated in Madurai came from the Kallar-caste (which, as will be recalled, was a caste of watchmen an d /o r thieves) only one of the first 34 catechists educated from the American Protestant seminary came from this caste. See Die Katholischen Missionen (1874) pp. 28 -31 and Report of the General Missionary Conference 1872 -1873 (Allahabad 1873) p. 210.

14

The most comprehensive story of the Shanars is J.L. Hardgrave, Nadars. See also Ludaen, Peasant History, pp .192-194, and K.WT Jones, SocioReligious Reform Movements in British India. The New Cambridge History of India, vol. III.l (Cambridge 1989) pp. 156-160. Bayly, Saints, pp. 317318,349-351,356-358,404-4II, emphasizes the long history of conversion among the Shanars, going back to the time of John de Britto in the seventeenth century. Grate, Tamilnadu, p. 84-86. See also the wellknown description of the Shanars by Bishop Robert Caldwell, The Tinnevelly Shanars: A Sketch of their Religion, and their Moral Condition and Characteristics (London 1850), and nis report T he Motives of the Catechumens ' in The South India Missionary Conference 1879 (Bangalore 1879) vol. 1, pp. 40 -45. For the Shanars in Travancore, who were under the protection of the London Missionary Society, see Proceedings of the South India Missionary Conference 1858 (Madras 1858) pp. 8-9,240-242; J. Abbs, Twenty-two Years' Missionary Experience in Travancore (London 1870) pp. 149-169 and Kooiman, Conversion and Social Equality, pp. 7071,147 - 167.

15

Letters from Herman Jensen to the Board, 11 September 1894 and 24 February 1898; and from Chr. Schlesch to the Board, 11 September 1894; all in DMS Archive 247. Letter from Herman Jensen to the editors of Dansk Missionsblad, 17 March 1897 (located in DMS Archive 247) in reply to an article by N.P. Hansen in Missionsbudet 15 February 1897, p. 32. This last letter, which was very critical of the board 's decision to establish a seminary, was never published (cf. the letter from the Board to Herman Jensen, 3 September 1898, DMS Archive 16).

16

See the letter from Th. Logstrup, secretary of the DMS, to the missionaries, 23 November 1900, DMS Archive 112. Carl Bindslev, Erindringer 1885 -1925 (unpublished), Private Archive 5163, (National Archives, Copenhagen) pp. 40 -43. Letter from Anders Larsen to the Board, 12 June 1904, DMS Archive 251.

17

See Ludden, Peasant History, pp.123 -129 and Baker, Rural Economy, pp.446 -448. As an interesting point of comparison it must be noted that at the time of the Mutiny in 1857 -58 most of the sepoys (Indian soldiers) and most of the Indian commissioned officers in the army were recruited from Brahmin and wealthy landowning castes. Judith M. Brown, Modern India, pp. 82-83,123-125. K. de Schweinitz Jr., The Rise and Fall of British India, imperialism as Inequality (London 1983) pp. 131 137.

18

Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 448 -450.

19

In this interpretation I disagree with Baker and Washbrook, who argue that the position of the village headman was strengthened, above all in the dry districts, in the second half of the nineteenth century. See also Bruce Robert, 'Agricultural credit cooperatives in Madras 1893 -1937 ',

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Indian Economic and Social History Review, 1 6 /2 (1979) and 'Economic change and agrarian organization in 'dry ' South India 1890 - 1940 ’, Modern Asian Studies, 17/1 (1983). 20

Brown, Modern India, pp. 141 -142. H.M.L. Alexander, 'Discarding the 'steel frame'. Changing images among Indian civil servants in the early twentieth century ', South Asia, 5 /1 (1982) pp. 7-9.

21

According to Roger Owen, this was a point of view prevalent among a number of influential British administrators and decision -makers, especially Sir Alfred Lyall. See R. Owen, 'Anthropology and Imperial administration: Sir Alfred Lyall and the official use of theories of social change developed in India after 1857 ', in Talal Asad, ed., Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter (London 1975) pp. 235 -242.

22

See the instructions from the Propaganda Fide in 1659, A. Launay, Documents historiques relatifs d la Societe des Missions Etrangeres (Paris 1904), vol. 1, pp. 27-35.

23

'Alors on leur fera revStir la soutane, et n 'etant plus malabars, on les fera passer dans notre grand college pour achever de les former, mais surtoutpour les faire perdre toute idee de caste. C 'est le moyen quei 'ai propose '. Letter from Father Jalabert to Father Alary, 18 October 1/77, Archive MEP, vol. 995 p. 177.

24

The concept of clothes as indicator of ritual ranking has recently been discussed by Emma Tarlo, Dress and Undress in India. The Problem of ' What to Wear in the Late Colonial and Modern Era (London 1993) but to my knowledge by no other anthropologist since Edgar Thurston, who notes its connections with the ideas of 'modesty ' and 'decency '. E. Thurston, Ethnographic Notes in Southern India (Madras 1906) pp. 520 531. See however tne important discussion about the symbolism and ritual significance of hair in G. Obeyesekere, Medusa's Hair. An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience (Chicago/London, paperback ed. 1984) pp. 33-51, 99-115, 159-192. The Dumontian dichotomy of purity ana impurity will be discussed in greater detail below. See Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus pp. 46-64, 130-146. For a brief review of Dumont, see Mosse, Caste, pp. 176 -181.

25

This was a policy which was followed in the Madurai mission even in the late nineteenth century. See Die katholischen Missionen (1874) pp. 28 33.

26

On the so-called 'breast-cloth controversy ' see C.G. Hospital, 'Clothes and caste in nineteenth -century Kerala ', Indian Church History Review 1 3 /2 (1979); R.L. Hardgrave, 'The Breast-Cloth Controversy. Caste consciousness and social change in southern Travancore , Indian Economic and Social History Review 5 (1968) and Kooiman, Conversion and Social Equality, pp. 148-160.

27

M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs pp. 360 -363.

28

See for instance the letter from Father Brigot to the Directors, 25 February 1803, Archive MEP vol. 996, p. 231 -240 and from Father Barreau to Father Chaumont, 23 July 1811, Archive MEP vol. 996, pp. 722 -726. Mgr. M. de Bresillac, one or the most ardent reformers of the seminary, mentions this view, which radically differed from his own, in his Souvenirs pp. 185 -186.

29

Letter from Mgr Bonnand to Father Langlois, 14 August 1843, Archive MEP vol. 1000, p. 462. Father Langlois was at the time head of the seminary and against the proposed reforms.

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30

M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, pp. 130-135,169-170,184-187, 229-235, 238243, 256-262, 336-350, 696-699.

31

Proceedings of the South India Missionary Conference 1858, pp. 2 0 ,3 1 ,4 8 49. This was a move which, not only in the light of later events, provoked much dissatisfaction among Father Leroux ' missionary colleagues. Even M. de Bresillac, his usually strong supporter, felt that he had gone too far. M. de Bresillac, Journal, 15 April 1849, p. 24.

32

Quoted in extenso in Launay, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 435.

33

Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India (New Delhi 1983) pp. 109-130,169-183,220-277. The existing literature on Indian rebellions is extensive but mostly concentrated on the 1857 58 Mutiny. The discussion is dominated by the writings of Eric Stokes and, since the 1970s, by Marxist-inspired writings on peasant rebellions. See for instance the letters quoted in Launay, Histoire, vol. 2, pp. 434 439.

34 35

Frykenberg, 'Impact of conversion ', pp. 207 ­210.

36

See the reports on the American mission in Madurai in Proceedings of the South India Missionary Conference 1858, p. 20 and Report of the General Missionary Conference 1872-1873 (Allahaoad 1873) pp. 207-215. See also A. Mayr 's article in Allgemeine Missions Zeitschrift (1883) pp. 539 ­545.

37

Launay, Histoire, vol. 2, pp. 425-429. M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, pp. 124126; 132-135, 353-358. Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 164-170, 250-255. Die Stellung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Mission in Leipzig zur Ostindischen Kastenfrage 1861) pp. 11, 35-37, 61-72. Sandegren, Svensk mission, pp. 12-

38

39

Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus, pp. 130 -151.

40

Shulman, Tamil Temple Myths, pp. 105-111, 123-136. Bayly, Saints, p. 127. Dirks,Hollow Crown, pp. 96 -112.

41

This situation corresponds very well with what has been argued by David Mosse about the Jesuit priest in Ramnad, who in the nineteenth century had acquired the status of the ancient Tamil kings: the person who determined ritual status and conferred ritual honours. Mosse, Caste, pp. 35-44, 264-280, 301-317.

42

Letter from P. Andersen to the Board, 22 December 1872, DMS Archive 252. The catechist in question came from the American Lutheran mission in North Arcot, which apart from the Leipzig Mission and the DMS was the only Lutheran mission in South India. The Church of Sweden Mission at this time co -operated closely with the Leipzig Mission.

43

S.E. Berg to the Board, 17 January 1893, DMS Archive 255. Herman Jensen to the Board, 11 July 1875, DMS Archive 252 and 17 March 1897, DMS ArchivelM . Th. Logstrup to the missionaries, undated 1896, DMS Archive 112. Chr. Schlesch to the Board, 8 March 1897 and 7 January 1898, DMS Archive 247. V. Gotzsche to the Board 17 June 1906, DMS Archive 251.

44

Herman Jensen to the Board, 17 January 1877, DMS Archive 252.

45

See for instance Herman Jensen to the Board, 11 July 1875, DMS Archive 252. Peder Andersen to the Board, 9 December 1874, DMS Archive 255. Herman Jensen to H.O. Lange, 16 March 1890, Ny Kgl.Samling (Royal

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Library, Copenhagen) 3736. Herman Jensen to Dansk Missionsblad, 24 February 1898, DMS Archive 247. 46

This coincides with the general demand in the DMS for missionaries who were truly reborn Christians. See for instance Missionsbudet, 5 (1892) pp.14-15; 11 (1898) p.34; 12 (1899) pp. 107-109,115-119. See also the private letters from Tn. Legstrup to H.O. Lange 23 January 1889 and 31 March 1889, Ny Kgl.Samling3736 (Royal Library, Copenhagen). Th. Loestrup to the Missionaries, March 1896, 22 May 1896, and 28 Decemoer 1900, DMS Archive 112.

47

Christensen, 'Missionstankens vaekst' pp. 130 -137.

48

'Paa Knae for Skriften, Professorer!' This was uttered during a discussion at the Bethesda meeting, 13-15 October 1896, and quickly became a battle -cry for everyone against critical Bible studies. See Annexet til IndreMissions Tidende, 7 /\ 2 ,15 December 1896,p. 181. For Grundtvigian reactions against this see Hejskolebladet, 20 (1896), pp. 1363-1370,13861391,1423-1428 and 1455-1462.

49

See for instance Kipling's short story 'The Head of the District' (1891). See also Benedicte Hjejle, 'Kipling, Britisk Indien og Mowglihistorierne', in Ole Feldbaek ana Niels Thomsen, eds: Festskrift til Kristof Glamann (Odense 1983). She argues for the interpretation of the monkeys in Kipling's junglebooks as representing Indians engaging in futile, endless political and administrative discussions.

50

Report of the General Missionary Conference 1872 -1873, p. 242. See also the report from the Madurai mission, ibid., p. 211, and the remarks by Rev. Evans in Allahabad on the same subject, ibid., p. 514.

51

See for instance 'Origine, progr&s et l'£tat actuel de la mission francaise du Carnate dans les Indes Orientales', 26 May 1802, Archive MEP vol. 996, pp. 117 -120. Father Barreau to the Directors, 15 July 1817, Archive MEP vol. 997, p. 99. Association de la Propagation de la Foi: Nouvelles recues des Missions, 4 (1824), p. 140. 'Dreissig Jahre unter den Heiden', Allgemeine Missionszeitschrift, 7 (1880) pp. 228 -232.

52

Father Magny to Father Boiret and Father Descouvi&res, 25 February 1803, Archive MEP vol. 996, p. 237.

53

See for instance Father Barreau to Father Chaumont, 23 July 1811, Archive MEP vol. 996, pp. 722 -723. Abbe Dubois to Father Chaumont, 25 July 1813, Archive MEP vol. 996, p. 799. Father Jarrige to Father Langlois, 3 October 1821, Archive MEP vol. 997, p. 344. Father Jarrige to Abbe Dubois, 8 July 1833, Archive MEP vol. 998, pp. 763 -764.

54

Proceedings of the South India Missionary Conference 1858, p. 41.

55

ibid., p. 242.

56

ibid., p. 298.

57

Mgr. Laouenan to Father Tesson, 16 October 1858, Archive MEP, vol. 1002, p. 649.

58

Proceedings of the South India Missionary Conference 1858, p. 300.

59

South India Missionary Conference 1879, vol. 1, p. 401.

60

ibid., p. 402.

61

Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, pp. 94 -108.

62

Chr. Schlesch to the Board, 23 April 1889, DMS Archive 210. See also the letter from S.E. Berg to the Board, December 1891, DMS Archive 255,

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63

64

The Crown of Hinduism was the title of an extremely influential work by the missionary J.N. Farquhar, published in 1913. See above, chapter 3, note 75. The Decennial Conference of Missionaries 1893 (Calcutta 1893) p. 16.

65 66

ibid. Gotzsche to the Board, 10 April 1902, DMS Archive 251.

67

Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, pp. 480 - 482. See also below, chapters 5 and 6.

68

Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 386 -391. Sandegren, Svensk mission, pp. 18-20. South India Missionary Conference 1879, vol. 1, pp. 274, 284-289, 328-333, 400-401.

69

Joh. Bittmann to Th. Logstrup, 17 January 1907 and 20 March 1907; V. Gotzsche to Chr. Schlesch, 14 June 1907; C. Hornbech to the Board, 3 March 1907 (who claims to be different and a 'friend' to his catechists rather than a 'master '); all in DMS Archive 251.

70

Herman Jensen to the Board, 11 September 1894, DMS Archive 247.

71

S.E. Berg to the Board, 5 July 1896, DMS Archive 255.

72

See for instance Chr. Schlesch to the Board, 11 September 1894 and 8 March 1897, and Herman Jensen to the Board, 11 September 1894, DMS Archive 247. Matthew to the Board, not dated 1894, and S.E. Berg to the Board, 23 July 1894, DMS Archive 255.

73

Letter quoted in Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, pp. 476 -477.

74

Father Bardou to the Directors, 1 August 1880, Archive MEP, vol. 1000.

75

Father Magny to Father Boiret and Father Descouvri&res, 25 February 1803, MEP Archive, vol. 996, pp. 237 -239. Father Barreau to Father Chaumont, 23 July 1811, MEP Archive, vol. 996, pp. 722 -723. Father Jarrige to Father Langlois, 3 October 1821, MEP Archive, vol. 997, p. 337. Mgr. Bonnand to Father Leroux, 28 February 1849, MEP Archive, vol. 1001, pp. 318 -320. Mgr. Bonnand to the Directors, 18 July 1856, MEP Archive, vol. 1002, p. 172. Launay, Histoire, vol. 2, pp. 426 ff.

76

Heesterm an, Inner Conflict, pp. 23-25, 176-179. Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus, pp. 184-187, 232-235.

77

Fuller, Servants of the Goddess, pp. 30-31, 58-65.

78

See G.A. Oddie, 'The character, role and significance of non-Brahmin Saivite mutts in Tanjore district, in the nineteenth century ', Paper presented at the Seventh European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (London 1981) ana Fuller, Servants of the Goddess, pp. 58 62.

79

Mosse, Caste, pp. 216-218,312-317. Heesterman, Inner Conflict, pp. 3041,108-127,148-156. David D. Shulman, The King and the Clown in South Indian Myth and Poetry (Princeton 1985), pp. 9-10,38-42.

80

See for instance M. de Bresillac, Journal, 12 August 1850 and 15 August 1850, pp. 48 -49.

CHAPTER 5

Maintaining Church Discipline In recent studies on Christian missions in India, the emphasis has been on the way Christian rituals either merged with or supplanted the existing rituals, and on how these rituals mirrored the religious and social relationship between mission and congregation.1The emphasis on rituals is a legacy from the social anthropologists who have been empirically and theoretically the most prominent in the study of local patterns of authority and in the study of religious identity. Only in very few cases, however, has this extensive knowledge of rituals and socio -religious identity been applied to the study of missions. Louis Dumont for instance treats the question of the caste system in groups which have converted to Christianity rather superficially, claiming that: Adherence to a monotheistic and egalitarian religion is not enough, even after several generations, to lead to the disappearance of the fundamental attitudes on which the caste system is based ... In short, it shows the vitality of caste attitudes: they have survived a partial change in the set of beliefs, and an imported religious belief, whose ideological implications remain little developed, has been impotent against them.2 The study of rituals as indicator of socio -religious identity and patterns of authority has some limitations. By concentrating on rituals (even though they are of crucial importance) one tends to neglect the dynamic aspect of the matter. Rituals are not static; they change and develop over time, even though their primary importance lies in the sense of stability and timelessness they convey to the participant. What is even more important is that the concentration on rituals obscures the fact that 'spiritual' or religious authorities have other means at their disposal for establishing and maintaining the relationship between leaders and followers, priest and congregation. In this chapter we are going to look into some of the means of control at the disposal of the French and Danish missions. In order to understand how these means of

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control were developed and applied, and in order to understand the bewilderment of the missionaries at some of the responses their actions generated, we shall start by mapping out their view of what constituted a break with the authority of the missionary In many cases this was synonymous with 'sin'.

The Concept of Sin In the previous chapter it was pointed out that the missionaries' image of the catechists and native priests changed during the nineteenth century. In the early nineteenth century, catechists and native priests were often viewed as deficient in moral strength and rectitude, but it was conceded that this deficiency had its root in social circumstances. Around the middle of the century the image of the native helper changed to that of a pupil in need of firm guidance, or the soldier in need of a good commanding officer. This image was expressed in terms of 'nature': the native helpers were 'by nature' idle, childish, immature, untruthful, etc. In the last decades of the nineteenth century the picture shifted once again. Now, along with the changing attitudes towards Hinduism, came a view of the catechist as a person who had the full potential for taking responsibility for his actions, if only the mission would let him. However, the Protestant and Catholic missions had widely differing attitudes towards social and religious phenomena, and towards the constitution, expression, and defence of missionary authority. This is especially clear if we concentrate on the concept of sin. Taking this as our term of departure we shall be able to go deeper into the problem of the 'transferring' of Christian moral standards and of key Christian concepts to the congregations. This was something that was far more difficult for the missionaries than they had imagined. It was no less difficult for the members of the congregations. In the Danish mission the concept of sin was of overwhelming importance. In the first years, however - i.e. from 1865 to approximately 1880 - the missionaries did not attribute the difficulties of imparting their special Lutheran understanding of sin to any racial or national defect in the Indians. Rather, they saw it as a consequence of the terrible social conditions which kept the Pariahs in dependence and near-slavery - conditions which they

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believed also had a negative effect on the mental abilities of the new Christians.3The exception was Carl Ochs who, as mentioned earlier, had served in the Leipzig Mission before coming to the DMS. He calls sp ecial atten tion to the 'ly in g ' and the 'untrustworthy nature' of the Hindus, and does not hesitate to brand these traits as parts of the 'national character'. He continues: It is the long thraldom, the continuous imprisonment in the snares of Satan that has called forth this bitter fruit. It is an obvious fact that these iniquities in our Christians cannot at once be eradicated; but, praise God, even in this matter as so often before Christianity proves its might. It is in itself a great victory when a soul lets go of the lies of heathenism, even if it happens in a superficial way, and in every congregation we find at least a few honest persons, even though it must be admitted that the baa sides of the national character shine through even in those.4 It would seem that the Board, sitting in Copenhagen, found it somewhat easier than the missionaries in the field to pass judgements on the Tamil people. The secretary of the DMS, Th. Logstrup, wrote in 1885 a book called 'Recent History of the Danish Mission among the Tamils' (Den nyere danske Mission blandt Tamulerne) based on the letters from the Danish missionaries. Even though in many instances the book quotes the missionaries verbatim, it is not quite fair to the missionaries. The letters are quite often, when seen in their entirety, much more balanced and detailed than Logstrup's book. However, Logstrup was not only the secretary of the DMS; he was also the editor of the DMS journal, Dansk Missionsblad, and he could decide which juicy bits should be published and what should be left out. The attitudes and views presented in Logstrup's book are therefore to a certain extent a distortion of the missionaries' view of the Indian situation - but it represents fairly well the idea of India that the DMS wanted to convey to its members and supporters. In this small book Logstrup dedicates five pages to a description of the Tamil people. He describes them as lazy and wanting in independence, idle and careless in spiritual matters, but resigned and patient in the face of adversity and suffering. Further, Logstrup claims, the Tamils are imbued with an uncontrollable imagination 'which far surpasses the bounds of beauty' and which explains their lacking any sense of historical veracity. They are, Logstrup continues, not at all emotional and have therefore no love of their country, no

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love of family above a certain protective instinct, and no sense of duty towards their fellow men.5The interesting point is, however, that Logstrup from this point goes on to enumerate the sins most prevalent in the Tamil people and the difficulties in overcoming them. The list starts with the tendency to lie (as also Ochs mentioned) and goes on to theft and promiscuity.6 This view of the Indian, stark and uncompromising as it is, was at least on three points modified by the missionaries themselves. First we have the Lutheran revivalist background of the DMS which emphasized the natural sinfulness of all men, only redeemable through the grace of God. At this point the missionaries found a difference between European and Indian sinners: in Europe all men had a similar background in a Christian society; their sinfulness therefore should be considered a lapse whereas the sinfulness of the Indian was born out of ignorance.7Even then the Danish missionaries felt they had to fight hard to impart some sense of inborn sinfulness to their converts.8 The second point concerned the influence from the Anglo Saxon missions and especially their insistence on the civilizing duties of the missions. At the 1858 conference the South Indians were described as 'naturally idle and deceitful'; 'ignorant, and accordingly bigoted and proud'; 'careless and depraved'; and reference was made to 'their lying, deceitfulness, ingratitude, dishonesty, idleness and uncleanness'.9 At the same time it was noted that the influence of Christianity was of crucial importance in overcoming these defects. It was no coincidence that one of the papers, read by a member of the London Missionary Society is titled 'Native Christians: How may their character and social position be raised?'10The participants in the 1858 conference, who almost all of them represented Anglo -Saxon missions, all the way through argued for the civilizing aspect of Christian missions and the possibility of overcoming national faults by a combined religious, moral and social uplift. The later missionary conferences emphasized this point even further, eventually narrowing down the points of attack to three, as is evident from the resolutions passed at the 1902 conference: There are three great evils which exist more or less in the Churches of certain Districts of India and Ceylon and which are great hindrances to the spread of Christ's kingdom; viz. caste, debt and intemperance. These must be purged away before the Churches can fulfil their high vocation.11

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In the beginning the Danish missionaries did not take much notice of these views but from the 1890s we find more and more letters arguing about the civilizing power and (equally important) the civilizing duty of the Christian missions.12 The book by Logstrup may be seen as the first pointer in this direction. His emphasis on faults such as theft and promiscuity is directly related to the Anglo -Saxon revivalist tradition which had led to the establishment of societies against prostitution, intemperance and slavery, and societies working for the reform of prisons. It was a view which the Danish missionaries in the field only gradually accepted. The third point was the emerging anthropological tradition. The tendency in early anthropological writings - especially the series on 'Castes and Tribes' - was to lump together studies of language, colour of skin and anthropometric measurements. This im plied a causal relationship between cultural and social phenomena in India and also more or less openly implied a notion of inevitability. From here the step to acceptance of the laws of heredity with all their racial implications was very small, even though the question of heredity was only rarely mentioned in anthropological works on India.13 Even though the Danish missionaries were influenced by these studies in their classifica ­ tion of the national characteristics of Indian Christians, the emerging interest in the civilizing mission tended to act as a counterpoint. The Danish missionaries never doubted that all humankind was one large family, created in the image of God. In their view, racial distinctions could only be used to explain social relationships but could never be used to evaluate the worthiness of a person in the eyes of God.14 In the French mission we find hardly any mention of the 'national' or 'racial' faults of the Indians. As mentioned in the previous chapter, the main faults the missionaries could find with the Indian Christians were pride (which was considered a social trait rather than a national one) and, later in the century, instability, i.e. the need for guidance and leadership and a proclivity to change sides at a whim.15 Even though the tone grows a little harsher towards the end of the century (as we have seen in the letter from Mgr. Laouenan about the character of the Pariahs, quoted in the previous chapter), the main emphasis is still on the social and therefore corrigible side of the Indian character.16 Hardly anywhere do the French missionaries treat the concept of

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sin as a serious problem having to do with the character of the Indian Christians. Abb6 Dubois, for instance, describes the transgressions of caste laws which he had witnessed as 'after all, only weaknesses inseparable from human nature'.17To the French missionaries, sin was (in good Roman Catholic tradition) wilful acts in defiance of the authority of the Church. The treatment of sinful acts therefore involved the re-establishment of the authority of the Church over the individual. The concept of a civilizing mission, so important in the Protestant missions, was not very prominent in the French mission and all in all it seems that the French mission had no intention of transforming Indian society. The teaching of the Gospel and the establishment of the Church hierarchy had, at least in the normative tracts and letters, no influence on the social organization of Indian society.

The Means of Control The means of controlling the congregation, i.e. the ways in which transgressions were treated, were of two kinds. The missionary or the catechist could impose some sort of penance on the individual or the group who had transgressed the laws of the Church. Or the wrongdoers could face expulsion from the congregation as a consequence of their act. These two kinds of punishment were used by both the Danish and French missions in South India, although with slightly different results. On the surface it seems that both penitence and expulsion were acts very similar to the means of control exercised by the Indian castes. The common conception runs as follows: A person who had transgressed against the law of the caste would, by decision of the caste panchayat, either be fined or expelled from his caste, temporarily or permanently. If we accept this, it would seem that the missions in this respect could adapt easily to the Indian ways and would have had no difficulty in being understood by their Christian congregations. In reality things were different. In the first place, there was a vast difference between the law enforcement of the caste panchayat and the law -enforcement of the missions. Contrary to what most contemporary observers held ­ and contrary to what a great number of present-day anthropo ­ logists, social scientists and historians seem to believe - expulsion from a caste was not (and is not) something decided by the

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panchayat. It should, as Robert Hayden has argued, rather be seen as a result of the act. By violating the caste rules, which almost all of them hinged on the concepts of purity and pollution, the culprit had automatically set himself outside his caste. By his very presence he endangered the entire group, threatening to contaminate everybody with his own pollution. Everybody in his group was therefore at liberty to shun him, a liberty which was extended to the groups which usually rendered him service, such as barbers, washermen, potters, etc. The culprit was in fact excluded from his caste. By this collective act of exclusion, the pollution w as contained as m uch possible. Consequently, the m easures decided by the caste panchayat were not punishments in the Western sense of the word. Rather, they should be seen as acts o f purification w hereby the pollution was neutralized and the culprit reinstated in his former place in society.18 In the second place, a caste panchayat was not an institution of equal importance for all castes in the nineteenth century. There is reason to believe that the higher the caste was, the more regulated and fixed the administrative and judicial powers of its panchayat were. A number of low castes never had a panchayat of their own but referred their quarrels either to the panchayat of a dominant caste or to itinerant gurus who acted as intermittent judges.19 In the event of a crime being committed, it was not always a question of the culprit being 'judged by his peers' but rather a question of the dominating group continually re -establishing its authority.20 Unfortunately we do not possess information of the itinerant judges for South Arcot but - according to Edger Thurston, the chief ethnographer of the Madras Presidency - the system was well developed in North Arcot. It seems reasonable to presume that a sim ilar system was in force in South A rcot as w ell, as toether the two districts had formed the core zone of the Nawab's dominion. In North Arcot a so - called Desayi Chetti worked as 'ju stice of the peace' (Thurston's w ords) in each taluq of the district, wielding authority in all cases of 'deviation in the moral conduct' of several subordinate and untouchable castes. In every village in the taluq the Desayi Chetti had his representative whose job it was to report cases to be judged by the Desayi Chetti Apparently, the judgements of the Desayi Chetti had been accepted by the Nawab's courts of justice before the advent of the British. Whether their decisions were respected in the same manner by the British courts is left unsaid but seems highly unlikely. It

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seems more reasonable to presume that the British courts viewed the work of the Desayi Chetti as parallel to the work of the panchayats, i.e. as outside the sphere of the British judicial system.21 If the information about the hierarchical relationship between the Desayi Chetti and the courts of the Nawab is true, we may presume that the institution of the Desayi Chetti was by the late nineteenth century the only remnant left of a well-developed hierarchical Muslim system of justice and that all the higher castes had man ­ aged, after the fall of the Nawab, to free the administrative and judicial rights of their caste panchayats from the interference of the British. This, which at the moment must remain pure speculation, would serve to underline the assumption that, in areas of former Muslim dominance, new elites took over when the British came into power, at the same time as the British came to believe that these were the 'traditional' elites, and therefore worthy of support.22 In the third place, the law as propounded by the caste panchayats (or by the itinerant gurus) was not like the law established by the British or the law laid down by the missionary societies: a fixed and inflexible law, where the outcome of a trial was subject to precedent. The laws of the panchayat were flexible, fluid and not at all concerned with precedent. The purpose of a trial was as mentioned not to punish but to re-establish the unity and harmony in the group (whether it be the caste or the entire village) - a purpose which British administrators and European missionaries found hard to understand and which they tried to change.23 The cases most commonly taken before the caste panchayats and the itinerant gurus were numerous and varied from quarrels, insults and accusations of theft and sorcery (black magic) to cases of the breakdown of marriage negotiations and of improper sexual behaviour. The 'punishments' - or, rather, the measures required to reinstate the culprit in his former caste status - varied from a minor fine payable in money to various purification rituals. The touching of the tongue with a hot gold wire was one such purification ritual; others were similar to the ones undertaken in fulfilment of a vow to a deity in return for some benefit, especially fire-walking or crawling on the knees or rolling around the temple a fixed number of times.24 If we turn then to the cases taken before the missionaries and catechists we get a different picture. In the letters from the Danish missionaries we find examples of exclusion from the congregation (from the 1890s increasingly combined with an exclusion from the

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Communion) as a punishment for participating in 'street-riots and other bad things', 'wicked sins', 'joining in the heathen festivals of the paricheri', 'bad behaviour', 'unseemly behaviour in personal matters', having 'succumbed to fornication', 'indecent living' and 'rape'.25Significantly, it is only after 1900 that we hear of exclusion as a consequence of intoxication and even then only one instance is reported.26In the early years of the Danish mission, we hear that 'liquor is an ancient evil in Pattambakkam' and that some of the young high -caste catechists despise the old catechists for being drunk. However, the missionary at the time (Peder Andersen) does not seem to treat drunkenness as a serious offence.27 All of these were individual punishments. The only time we hear about a collective punishment in the Danish mission was in 1903, when an entire village congregation was excluded as a consequence of the families in question having 'relapsed into heathenism'.28 H ow ever vaguely form ulated, it seem s clear that the transgressions referred to by the Danish missionaries mostly concerned a much narrower concept of authority. It was not, as the cases handled by the panchayats or the gurus, cases between individual members of the congregations. Furthermore, it was usually cases of unacceptable behaviour, i.e. behaviour contrary to the codes of moral conduct imposed by the mission. Petty quarrels, theft, difficult marriage negotiations or disputes over property were never considered by the Danish missionaries to fall within their jurisdiction. By handling only what may be termed 'vertical' cases but refusing to take on cases concerning the unity and internal cohesiveness of the C hristian congregations, the Danish missionaries took over only one aspect of the traditional means of control which hitherto had rested with the leading castes and caste panchayats. In doing this, they failed in their main objective: to forge a strong unity among the Christian groups that could improve the lot of the congregations both spiritually and materially. This failure runs contrary not only to what the contemporary world saw as the benefits of the Christian missions but also to what has been argued by modern researchers, most notably G.A. Oddie. Whereas many contemporaries saw the missions as agents of heightened morality and 'decency', civilization and progress,29 Oddie has repeatedly argued that the greatest force of the missions was their insistence on equality.30

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I shall here mention just three cases that should prove my point. In 1890 a Christian approached one of the Danish missionaries and asked for his help. He claimed his brother wanted to kill him to get at his money and he therefore asked the missionary to house him for the night and lock up his money. The next morning the man's family arrived and both the man and his money were handed over to them by the missionary, who claimed that he wanted nothing to do with the case as the police, whom he had approached in the matter, had declined to interfere. Even though the missionary heard from his catechist that the man was now imprisoned in his brother's house, he did not act in the matter, except to instruct the catechist to sit outside the house and preach to the imprisoned man through the window. To the missionary's great surprise, the man soon afterwards disappeared, and nobody in the village wanted to tell him what had happened.51 Here, then, the Danish missionary refused a responsibili ty usually taken on by the caste panchayat of a higher caste to regulate the internal problems in a dependent caste, and confined himself to manifest his 'spiritual' authority - which in the end only led the missionary to lose his grip on the situation. The second example concerns the gradation imposed by the missionaries on the Christian congregations, when the 'men of 1898' arrived in India, they laid down much stricter rules than had hitherto been applied for converts being allowed to partake in Holy Communion. Now only the 'truly converted' were allowed to do so and only parents who were allowed to partake in Holy Communion could have their children baptized. These were measures which the Indian Christians found hard to understand and a number of them complained to the missionaries, claiming that they were good Christians because they studied the Bible, said their prayers, behaved in a decorous manner and never broke the laws of the church.32 In a way, the actions of the Danish missionaries in this respect ran parallel to the actions of any Hindu temple priest. The priest also decided on the ritual ranking of the people partaking in the puja and substantiated this ranking through the order in which the offerings and sacrifices were redistributed. The difference was, however, that in the eyes of the Indian Christians, the decisions of the missionaries were arbitrary. It was not at all clear what the Christians should do to merit a higher status, as everything hinged on the missionary's judgement of the spiritual worth of the individual, not on any actions, any

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service rendered, nor even any adherence to the rules of behaviour. The Danish missionaries in this case, then, followed only partly the existing system of 'spiritual' control: they established a hierarchy of ritual status within the congregations but they failed to make clear what they expected in return. The notion of sin as understood by the Danish missionaries (a state of mind) did not fit readily into the existing notions of ritual hierarchy, which was concerned with behaviour.33 The third example concerns the use of penance as a means of control. In 1905 one of the catechists was charged with rape and admitted it to the missionary and the other catechists of the station. It was decided that his 'degree' as catechist would be revoked, he would be expelled from the DMS without a reference, he should be denied Holy Communion for at least a year, and would not be able to be hired by another missionary society for a number of years. He accepted it all but, when it was decided that his sin and his punishment were to be made public in church on Easter Sunday and that he was expected to stand up in front of the entire congregation and admit his transgressions, he refused point blank. It was then decided that the public announcement would be made anyway and that as an added punishment he would be officially excommunicated. After the excommunication the catechist left the mission and was not seen again.34In this case the Danish missionaries attempted to maintain the control over the congregation by combining penance and exclusion but neither act was seen as a purifying agent. Obviously, the catechist himself had seen his punishment as a form of purification and as a means of eventual readmission into the congregation: he admitted his sin freely and even prior to the formal judgement asked to be relieved from his duties as a catechist for a time. On the other hand, the penance - the public admittance of his sin - he saw as shameful and humiliating. Nor should this have been surprising. In Indian villages, cases of adultery and sexual promiscuity were subject of continuous gossip and quarrels, and were also commonly believed to be a weakness prevalent among the lower castes because of their inability to control themselves properly.35 Abbe Dubois mentions how cases of adultery among the higher castes were always hushed up to avoid scandal and how a man, whose adultery became public knowledge, would be the object of unending derision.36 The French mission just as much as the Danish made use of

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existing notions of hierarchy and subordination in their attempts to control the Christian congregations. We have mentioned earlier that the attempt to introduce different eating habits in the seminary at Pondicherry met with ferocious resistance and we have argued that the reason for this was that the attempt failed to give the young students in the seminary a new corporate identity in relation to their superiors. This was however the exception that proved the rule, because usually the French mission managed to incorporate their congregations in a fluid hierarchical relationship that matched perfectly the existing relationships in the villages. It has been mentioned earlier that the French mission did its best to solve conflicts within the congregations as well as conflicts of a more 'vertical' nature (i.e. cases of unacceptable behaviour according to the moral standards of the mission) by employing as arbiters not only catechists but also caste councils. These may not have been caste councils in the way of regular panchayats but all the same the use of such a corporate body to decide matters is strongly indicative of the willingness of the French mission to make use of 'local' means of control. As an example it may be mentioned that when a young man in Father Darras' congregation committed a grave sin (we are not told what it was), the decision as to punishment was handed over to the congregation. It was decided that the young man should do penance by crawling around the church on his knees five times, and pay a small fine.37 This type of 'punishment' came very close to what we have seen as significant for the decisions by the caste panchayats and the itinerant gurus: the important thing for the sinner was to be reinstated in his former position in the congregation. In the Danish mission we find only one example of this kind of punishment, and that example comes from the time when Albert Ihle was in charge of the Siloam district in Tirukoilur. A young man was charged with adultery; the congregation demanded that he pay a fine to re-establish his status. Ihle accepted this but demanded that the young man as well should do public penance in the church. After the penance and the payment of the fine, the father of the young man crawled on his knees from the school to the church and up to the altar - an act, Ihle assures his readers, of gratitude for the mercy of God, not an act of penance.38 The ways in which the French mission managed to combine control of the congregations with what the Protestant missionaries derisively called the 'accommodating practice' will be discussed

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in greater detail in the following pages, using two examples of central importance: religious processions and possession.

Religious Processions In the rules established by Pope Benedict XIV in 1744, concerning the 'Malabarian rites' and the extent to which the missionaries were to accept existing customs within the Church, Christians were strongly forbidden to participate in 'heathen processions/39 This interdiction, which was to be often repeated in the course of the nineteenth century, was aimed directly at musicians and drummers of the untouchable castes, as it was their job to provide music at the village festivals when statues of the gods or goddesses were carried around the village. These processions were of immense significance not only for the establishment of caste identity but also for ensuring good fortune for the entire village. Processions were the focal points of worldly, ritual and divine authority and were therefore the times when we most often find clashes between Hindus and Christians, between Hindus and Muslims or between members of different Hindu sects. Michael Moffatt has argued that the status and internal structure of untouchable groups in the village communities of South India should not be seen as disjointed from the larger society: To be an Untouchable in a rural Indian caste system is to be very low in, and partially excluded from, an elaborately hierarchical social order ... (But) Untouchables do not necessarily possess distinctly different social and cultural forms as a result of their position in the system. They do not possess a separate subculture. They are not detached or alienated from the 'rationalizations' of the system ... The cultural system of Indian Untouchables does not distinctive­ ly question or revalue the dominant social order. Rather, it continually recreates among Untouchables a microcosm of the larger system.40 According to Moffatt, this 'recreation' takes the form of a 'cultural consensus' which evolves around the axis of purity and impurity and is seen in the terms of inclusion versus exclusion, and complementarity versus replication. In the cases where the untouchables are excluded from the higher castes, for instance by being denied the service of the village service castes, they tend to

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replicate the ranking system and the functions within their own ranks. Thus, untouchable castes have their own barbers, washermen, and priests. On the other hand, in cases where the untouchables are included, they complement the higher castes. Thus, untouchable groups are necessary participants in certain rites, especially funeral rites and ritual processions. Both replication and complementarity are, Moffatt argues, in reality acceptances of the existing rules of purity and pollution and the ranking system thereby conferred. Seen in this light it is not surprising that the European missionaries, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike, had difficulties in keeping their untouchable Christians out of participation in the processions of the village. The processions were times when the entire village participated in propitiating the gods - or, more often, the village goddess - and to put oneself outside this ritual was to effectively exclude oneself from the entire village community. The Danish mission solved the problem mainly by pretending that it did not exist. In 1891 a member of the DMS congregation was expelled for having participated in 'heathen processions in the village' and 'while intoxicated having been observed singing obscene songs outside the house of the catechist'.41 The festival in question was probably Holi or some other festival in which the usual relations between inferiors and superiors (based on age, sex or caste) were inverted. We may therefore assume that the man in question far from demonstrating a private rebellion was in fact reaffirming his allegiance to the D anish m ission. W hile his Hindu neighbours m ight be demonstrating a token rebellion against the Brahmin households or against the household of the village headman, the Christian clearly signalled where his allegiance lay. In accordance with all existing notions of behaviour during carnival /festival times which allowed inverted social relations, the singing of lewd songs outside the house of the DMS catechist was an act of a usually subservient group to its acknowledged superior.42 Exclusion from the congregation was the general reaction from the Danish mission in cases of participation in village festivals. The Danish missionaries never attempted to replace the existing village festivals with festivals of their own or other happenings which had the inclusive character of the village festivals. The only replacement offered by the Danish mission was the regular festivals of the Church (Christmas and Easter) and these were in good

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Lutheran tradition based on strictly verbal communication, i.e. sermons and hymns. In the French mission, as in the Jesuit Madurai mission, the problem was at least partially solved by arranging Christian festivals which resembled the existing village festivals. This was not something the Roman Catholic missions had invented but was taken over from the traditions of the Syrian Christians in Malabar. These groups, at least in the first centuries of European presence in India, participated in the ritual processions of their Hindu neighbours while at the same time retaining their separate Christian identity. The Hindu temples and the Christian churches could for instance share banners, umbrellas and other insignia which were carried in procession through the streets and Christians could be singled out for the honour of having a Hindu procession stop in front of their houses.43 As in other Roman Catholic communities in South India, the veneration of the Holy Virgin was of immense significance in the MEP congregations. The cult of the Virgin was in many ways similar to the cult of the local goddess. The Holy Virgin embodied many of the pure (cooling) traits of the local goddess: being a virgin, unconnected with any aspect of sexuality, she had the immense power contributed to the goddess but without the latter's terrifying, bloodthirsty (hot) power. We must here return to the analysis of the goddess in the temple myths argued by David Shulman. The goddess is most powerful in her celibate, virginal state and the only way to subdue and control her power is to subordinate her to a male god in marriage. If the attempt at control fails, however, her unbound sexual power defeats her husband - or, in the language of the myth, she kills him in order to give birth. Hereby the cult of the goddess is closely linked with the sacrifice; death as the necessary precondition of life; the god offers himself to the goddess to be sacrificed in order to be reborn. In the cult of the goddess the theme of nonsexual (virginal) birth is therefore linked to the notions of blood, sacrifice and terrifying power.44 Often, however, we find in the myths an attempt to distinguish between the two aspects of the goddess by having her beneficial, nonviolent form marrying Shiva and taking up residence with him as a dutiful, sexually -controlled wife, and having her terrifying form do battle with a demon, who takes the place of the pure god in the sacrifice and the necessarily violent and impure process of birth.45

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The Holy Virgin, as worshipped in the Roman Catholic congregations under the MEP, shared many of the beneficial aspects of the goddess while at the same time retaining her power, which was a consequence of her virginal state. The Holy Virgin was linked to fertility and procreation without, however, being controlled in a marriage46 or tainted with blood and other impurities. In the Roman Catholic villages in Ramnad studied by David Mosse and Robert Delifcge, the Holy Virgin is associated with the wilderness or the forest and resides outside the village itself.47This is another point where the Holy Virgin is similar to the benevolent, virginal aspect of the goddess: the forest is the place of renunciation, the place which lies outside the bounds of the worldly life of the village. Furthermore, the Holy Virgin is associated with healing; in the village studied by Robert Deli&ge, she is actually named Notre Dame de la Sante and, in the village studied by David Mosse, the Holy Virgin is associated with Notre Dame de Lourdes.48 In the French mission we find the same associations between the goddess and the Holy Virgin as the ones mentioned in the Ramnad villages, which had been under the Jesuit mission. In his description of the processions which took place in Ariankuppam outside Pondicherry in the 1840s,49 Mgr. Marion de Bresillac mentions that the Holy Virgin here was worshipped as Arokkia Mata, i.e. as 'M£re de la Sante'. The festivities in honour of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin drew pilgrims in large numbers (de Bresillac mentions the number 10,000) and took place over nine consecutive days.50The statue of the Holy Virgin was brought in a procession from Pondicherry to Ariankuppam then back again on the ninth day. Significantly, de Bresillac notes that the procession was orderly and structured only while within the city limits; as soon as the procession had passed outside, the participants dispersed and followed the procession on horseback or in bullock carts or any other way they pleased, and only resumed the orderly formation when inside the limits of Ariankuppam .51 This observation corresponds with the observations made by Mosse and Deli&ge about the role of the Holy Virgin as protector of the village - and especially of the most vulnerable part of the village, the limits between the village and the surrounding 'wilderness'.52 A high point on the route to Ariankuppam was the crossing of the river. No doubt this crossing of water underlined the 'cool' nature of the Holy Virgin, just as the 'hot' and dangerous nature of the

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village goddess was usually neutralized by her having her abode near a well or a reservoir.53 Two further points should be made about the procession witnessed by de Bresillac. Firstly, the statues brought from Pondicherry to Ariankuppam together with the statue of the Holy Virgin were, significantly, the statues of St. Michael and St. Francis Xavier. Both of these male saints, who were carried before the statue of the Holy Virgin, signifying their r61e as her protectors, were associated with blood and power. In Pondicherry St. Michael was depicted with sword in his hand and his foot on the slain demon.54This emphasized St. M ichael's status as a divine warrior who takes on the necessary bloody and violent work of combating demons and evil spirits - a work which is far from that of the 'cool', nonviolent Madonna. St. Francis Xavier was, as Susan Bayly has shown, not only venerated as the 'Apostle to the Indians' but also (like a Muslim holy man or a Hindu guru) as embodying divine power through his physical ordeals.55He was not associated with blood and sacrifice to quite the same extent as St. John de Britto, who was widely venerated in Ramnad and other areas which had been ruled by poligars prior to the establishment of British rule. The miraculous powers of St. Francis Xavier were perceived as stemming from his devotion and austerity rather than from any warriorlike activity. It seems reasonable to presume that these characteristics, which were as similar to those of a Muslim pir as they were to those of a Hindu warrior-saint, were what made St. Francis Xavier so attractive to the people in South Arcot. As will be remembered from Chapter 2, South Arcot had been under Muslim rule for a long time and had a long and well-established tradition of Muslim cult saints.56 Secondly, during the days of the festival when the statues of the saints were in Ariankuppam, they were carried around the church or about the village once a day. This calls to mind the celebration of the wedding of Shiva and Minakshi taking place in Madurai; here (as well as in most other goddess festivals) we find a daily tour around the temple or within the city limits to re -establish the borders of the goddess' domain and the limits of her authority.57 During this time a number of people came forward, residents of Ariankuppam as well as pilgrims, and offered gifts of food to the Holy Virgin or did 'pious deeds' in return for prayers answered. These 'pious deeds' ('oeuvres pies'; 'actes de piete') were the traditional ones found in any Hindu festival: crawling on the

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knees around the church, feeding pilgrims or offering gifts of small statuettes in bronze or silver.581 shall return to these acts of piety in the following section; suffice it to say that in this respect too the cult of the Holy Virgin resembled the cult of the goddess. As a last point in this discussion, let me mention the immense work set in motion by the French missionary Father Darras when he wished to introduce the veneration of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Pondicherry mission. Father Darras worked in the 1870s and 1880s in the northern part of South Arcot and the southern part of North Arcot, with his headquarters (at least for a number of years) in Chetpet which is situated on the road from Gingee to the city of Arcot. In the years between 1877 and 1880 he succeeded in converting more than 14,000 persons, and as a token of his gratitude decided to establish a pilgrimage centre dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.59The place he decided would be appropriate was a small mountain not far from Chetpet. Not only are mountains important symbols in the Tamil temple tradition because they are seen as centres of the cosmos; they are also visible signs of the deity's ability to link the nether world of terror, death and chaos with the ordered universe of the gods.60Furthermore, the particular hill chosen by Father Darras was already a sacred hill with an existing temple to which the villagers used to go in procession once or twice a year. After much discussion back and forth, it was decided that Father Darras should pay the Brahmins of the surrounding villages a certain sum to compensate them for the loss of 'revenue', i.e. the money paid to the temple by the pilgrims. At last the new chapel could be dedicated, which was an occasion of great solemnity and splendour. The statue of the Holy Virgin was carried from the village (preceded by a statue of St. Michael 'destroying the demon by crushing it under his feet and piercing it with his lance', St. John de Britto and St. Joseph) on a templechariot {ter) bedecked with flowers. When the statue of the Holy Virgin had been carried up the mountain and installed in her chapel, a mass was conducted by Father Darras, thereby firmly establishing the Holy Virgin's superiority over other ('heathen') deities and reaffirming her status as a benevolent, compassionate divine being in the tradition of the benevolent goddess.61 We have seen in this section that the French mission succeeded in arranging its own festivals in a manner which closely resembled the festivals in honour of the local goddess. The veneration of the Holy Virgin took on many aspects of the veneration of the goddess,

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with the important difference that the Holy Virgin was seen as only benevolent and compassionate, in contrast to the goddess who was seen as both destructive and creative, terrifying and protective. The terrifying and destructive aspect was instead delegated to the male saints, whose function was to take on such impure tasks as killing demons. David Mosse and Susan Bayly have convincingly argued that the Roman Catholic processions were times when the missionary or the native priest could and did establish a ritual hierarchy in the congregation. This decision was signified by determining who should be allowed to carry the banners and insignia, whose house would be singled out as places where the processions would halt, and who should receive the honour of offering additional prayers and gifts to the Holy Virgin, etc. Here another point should be made. The French mission succeeded, as did also the Jesuit missions, in creating a new corporate identity for the members of the congregation. Applying the notions of 'cultural consensus', argued by Michael Moffatt to the situation of the Roman Catholic Christians, it seems obvious that the French mission succeeded in underlining the exclusive nature of the Church rituals and Church discipline. David Mosse has argued for the inclusive nature of the Roman Catholic rituals but this does not really contradict my main point.62 Mosse's argument is about the relationship between Pariah Christians and Christians of a higher caste; here he finds inclusiveness in the village festivals and exclusiveness and replication in all other matters. My argument concerns the relationship between the Christian congregation as a whole to the rest of the village community. Here I find that the French mission insisted on exclusiveness, in that, by creating its own festivals (recreation, in Moffatt's terms), the mission made it unnecessary for the Christians to participate in the festivals and processions of the non -Christian part of the village. The Danish mission, on the other hand, did nothing to recreate the non -Christian festivals and was therefore left with a congregation which did not have a separate corporate identity that was recognized by their non -Christian neighbours. They were, therefore - whether they wanted it or not - still a necessary part of the village ritual hierarchy. In other words, the Danish mission was inclusive. We see, therefore, that the Danish mission, for all its critique of the caste system and its insistence on egalitarian, modern and progressive values, did not succeed in loosening the ties that bound their Christians to the village ritual

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hierarchy.63The French mission, by it 'accommodating' practice, created a new corporate identity for their Christians similar to the one they knew from the village but still distinct and different. This is not to say that the French mission by insisting on exclusiveness pushed their Christians into a low -caste or untouchable identity. The ritual ranking of the Roman Catholic Christians only resembled the status of the untouchables in the way that both groups were at one and the same time outside and inside the village hierarchy. The Roman Catholic Christians did have an identity as a group separate from the rest of the village, determined by their ritual exclusiveness, while at the same time retaining their social, economic and political ties to the rest of the village.

Suffering and Possession While processions in MEP congregations were used to establish the ritual hierarchy of groups within the congregation, other measures were used when judging the status of individuals. Seen in the context of church discipline, only penance was used in the punishment of individuals whereas, as we have seen, in the Danish mission expulsion and penance were used simultaneously. The penance used by the French mission was, like its processions, similar to the penance used in Hindu rituals, especially rituals to propitiate the village goddess. It has already been mentioned that a penance could consist in crawling on the knees around the church a specified number of times. This form of self-inflicted torture in order to propitiate either the goddess or the laws of the Church was widespread in South Indian ritual and was closely related to the notions of right and wrong, and to the relationship between humans and deities. Robert Deli&ge has form ulated the problem thus: to the untouchables, suffering is the basis of human existence, and suffering is needed in the relationship with the gods both when humans receive divine retribution for any sins committed and when humans wish to obtain a favour from the gods.64Punishments meted out by the gods (whether in the form of illness, poverty, lack of rain or barrenness) should be seen as punishments for attempts to upset the divinely instituted order of the cosmos and society. Seeing the relationship between gods and humans in this light, it is easier to understand why the caste panchayats laboured

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to retain the existing order of things by 'punishments' - which in reality were a reinstatement to the offender's usual position within the village - rather than by exclusions. Exclusions would have upset the divinely instituted order of society. Suffering is needed also when one wishes to obtain a favour from the gods. The vow, which constitutes one of the most important elements of the interactions between gods and humans, thus takes on the character of a mutual agreement. In return for a wish being granted, a person makes a vow to a deity to undergo some form of suffering. This may take the form of the previously mentioned crawling or rolling around the temple a specified number of times; the offering of one's hair; putting needles or hooks through the cheeks, tongue or arms; or the undertaking of a pilgrimage to a certain shrine. Persons from a more affluent level of society, who can afford to pay with cash for their offerings rather than with their bodies, may vow to perform a more 'ordinary' sacrifice. This sacrifice may be either vegetarian or animal, or in the form of offering small statuettes of children in return for a cure for barrenness. Behind both these forms of offerings lies the implicit understanding that one cannot receive anything from the gods without offering something in return - an understanding that may throw a new light on the often -quoted demands from potential Christians to the missionaries: If I become a Christian, what do you give me in return? Give me money and I will become a Christian! Indeed, Deliege goes as far as to say that even in today's Roman Catholic congregations in Ramnad, prayers are understood as demands, as parts of the sealing of a bargain.65 Self-inflicted torture is most prevalent in connection with village festivals, usually festivals in honour of the goddess, as one of the main points of the 'torture' is that it should take place in public. The more spectacular forms of self-inflicted torture, hook-swinging and fire-walking - both of which were prevalent in South Arcot in the nineteenth century - were intimately connected with the cult of the goddess.66 While it seems that the ceremony of hookswinging was performed only by the lower castes or untouchables it would be a mistake to see it as a ceremony exclusively connected to these groups. As in the ritual processions, the untouchables here had an 'inclusive' status - i.e. their participation was indispensable to propitiate the goddess on behalf of the entire village. Hook-swinging was thus a ceremony that combined fulfilling a personal vow with the collective propitiation of the

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goddess. Fire -walking, on the other hand, while performed in connection with a larger festival, was almost exclusively performed in the fulfilment of an individual vow. In the Roman Catholic congregations we find several instances of such self-inflicted suffering intimately connected with the veneration of the Holy Virgin.67Significantly, however, they were performed in fulfilment of personal vows and had no place in the organized rituals. Closely related to these aspects of personal suffering, whether as a consequence of individual vows or as a consequence of a 'punishment' meted out by the Church, was the suffering induced by demons and evil spirits. This suffering, which was far from voluntary, took the shape of possessions. Possessions as such may be either good or bad, according to which kind of divinity does the possessing, and may indeed be seen as an all-pervading theme in all Hindu ritual.68Possession by evil spirits or demons, however, is seen as only bad and detrimental to the physical or psychological well-being of the individual. The demons, or peys, are of two different kinds. One kind are the spirits of the discontented dead, i.e. the spirits of persons who have lived violent lives and have suffered violent or untimely deaths, thereby upsetting the dharmic order of their existence. This kind of demon is not only associated with afflictions (possessions) but also with healing in consequence of the dangerous powers which are released at the time of death.69 The second kind of demons are essentially manifestations of the 'higher' or 'pure' gods in an uncontrollable and malevolent form. Going against Moffatt's structurally conceived model of the hierarchy of the Hindu pantheon, David Mosse has argued that the hierarchy itself represents an ideal state. The activity of the demons (especially in possessions) should therefore be seen as an uncontrolled assertion of power going against the ideal system of control and complementarity - such as we have seen is evident in the village goddess who may delegate her impure and violent actions to her demonic minions, while all the time retaining control over them.70Therefore, there is a vast difference between possession by a higher god or by demons commanded by a higher god and possession by uncontrollable, power-seeking demons. It is only the latter form that interests us here, as this is the form of possession that the Roman Catholic mission considered worthy of attention. To combat these demons the French mission resorted to exorcism. In the Roman Catholic congregations studied by David Mosse

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and Robert Deli&ge, the exorcism was performed by catechists (kovilpillai) who were not recognized members of the local body of church officials. In both case studies, the catechists were recognized as experts in exorcism only by those pilgrims who arrived at the shrine to seek help for their affliction.71This distance between the recognized and the unrecognized church officials is not one that I have found was prevalent in the nineteenth century French mission, at least not until about 1890. Before then, the cases of exorcism mentioned in the sources were always handled by the missionary himself, preferably inside the church. The demon was driven out by the priest laying his hand on the head of the afflicted person and commanding the demon to leave in the name of Jesus Christ and the Holy Virgin; if this was not enough, the afflicted person was sprinkled with holy water.72Not until the 1890s do we hear that persons who are neither missionaries, native priests nor catechists being 'allowed' to perform exorcism, although under the supervision of the local priest. The ritual of exorcism now took place outside the church and the ceremony was performed with the implicit understanding that the catechist/exorcist was only a tool for the exorcising power of the (male) saints.73We are not told of certain shrines being famous for their healing or exorcising power but this of course does not mean that they did not exist. Due to the paucity of sources, therefore, we cannot corroborate David Mosse's theory of the power of the saints over demons, except in calling to mind the descriptions of the statues of St. Michael vanquishing 'le demon' mentioned above. The Protestant tradition did not accept demons and evil spirits and roundly classified all popular modes of worship as either devil worship or childish superstition. A solitary article in the Church Missionary Intelligencer apologizes for boring the readers by describing the Tinnevelly cults of peys and the 'village god' Aiyanar. The author writes thus of the possessions he witnessed: It is a curious question whether those who dance and are said to be possessed are really so in the strict sense of the word. The whole service is the service of the devil, and must, in a certain sense, be attributed to his influence and agency; but whether he so possesses their bodies and governs their minds as to make their volition and action not properly their own, but his, appears to me very question ­ able. From all that I have seen and heard, I should rather consider it a voluntary excitement, which works itself up to a species of frenzy ... Individuals who are said to be

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involuntarily possessed, and who cannot at will recover their own power, are looked upon as most unfortunate... In such cases a good sound beating is very efficacious.74 Obviously, the author of the article describes two different kinds of possessions: the voluntary kind - brought about by dancing and attributed to a higher kind of god - on the one hand and, on the other, involuntary possession by evil spirits or malevolent demons. A common practice was, at the same time as the interrogation took place, to beat the persons possessed by malevolent demons either with a sandal or with branches of neem trees so as to establish what kind of demon it was. The punishment was meant to give pain to the demon, not the possessed, and force him to speak the truth about himself as well as send him back to his usual, subservient position within the Hindu pantheon - i.e. the hierarchical order was to be re -established.75 In the Danish mission it was only Carl Ochs, the 'outsider', who could allow himself to voice the same doubts as the author from the Church Missionary Intelligencer. In 1863 he wrote an article in Dansk Missionsblad describing how a number of Christians, in spite of his prohibitions, had asked a 'soothsayer' to cure them and to exorcise demons. Ochs continues: There are a number of such exorcists, sorcerers and soothsavers, and as they furthermore are quacks, indeed act as pnysicians to the people, they are the cause of much misery and harm. Against these murderers the laws of India nave done nothing, and the police do not attempt to prevent their m isdeeds... Undoubtedly demonic forces are at play in a number of cases, but the heathens attribute to these [forces] a great many matters, which have only natural causes; one should therefore be very careful in judging such cases.76 Thereafter, there was not even a question of whether one could speak of a true possession or not. Possessions were regarded as pure superstition and nonsense, and are mentioned only once in the material after the 1860s. During the monthly meeting in Tiruvannamalai with the catechists, one of the catechists described how he had cured a possession in the village of Kylerkondur: He had slapped the possessed person on the head with his sandal, saying: 'I command you to leave in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.' Thereafter not only had the demon left the possessed man but the man had been cured of barrenness and

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had fathered a child.77 This narrative provoked much laughter from the missionaries who had understood the story as a joke. It was probably not intended as a joke; at least the catechist while in the situation had taken seriously the complaint of possession and had gone about curing it in the time-honoured fashion. I suggest that the silence of the sources on the subject of possessions is of the utmost importance. The Danish missionaries, along with most other Protestant missionaries, attempted to 'silence to death' the uncomfortable phenomenon of possessions, which we know were and are still regarded as primary explanations of suffering and affliction, and which form an integral of almost every ritual in popular tradition. The possessions, however, did not disappear and scientific or theological explanations of suffering, disease and affliction were not convincing enough to all members of the Christian communities. What happened instead was that the phenomenon was relegated to the dominion of the catechists, out of the sight of the missionaries and native pastors. Lionel Caplan has shown how the Protestant communities in Madras city in the 1970s and 1980s were divided between a sphere dominated by traditionally trained theologians and catechists, and a sphere dominated by healers, exorcists and 'prayer-leaders' with a limited formal education. The influx in recent years of new Western-controlled and Western-financed Pentecostal movements, which also specialize in healing and exorcism, has only reinforced the existing division.78There is no material to prove the connection to the division we have observed in the Danish mission between missionaries (who did not believe in exorcism) and the catechists (who did), but it seems plausible, to say the least, that this division corresponds with the one that Caplan has observed in Madras. It seems clear that in the question of possession, as well in the other questions discussed concerning the spiritual and secular authority of the mission, the Danish mission succeeded quite unintentionally in continuing and reinforcing an existing tradition. Wanting nothing to do with demons and spirits, the missionaries came to be placed on the level with the high-caste purohits who served a 'higher' and more 'pure' god, and the catechists came to be placed at the level of the priests and exorcists of the goddesstemples, who served a more 'impure', bloodthirsty god. As in the South Indian tradition, we do not speak of two distinct systems but of one all-encompassing system of worship. In the South Indian tradition, as lined out by Moffatt, the divine hierarchy can

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from top to bottom be described as pure, beneficent deities who control and encompass lower, more impure and more violent deities, who in turn control and encompass demons.79 There would therefore in the minds of the Christians under the DMS or in the minds of the catechists be nothing disruptive in the fact that two levels of church officials could handle two different levels of the deity. Nonetheless, by their attitudes to such important issues as possessions the Danish missionaries served effectively to distance themselves from their congregations, underlining the hierarchical nature of Indian society rather than, as they wished, breaking down caste barriers.

Notes Bayly, Saints, pp. 250-268, 281-296, 325-347, 365-378, 388-419. Mosse, Caste, pp. 290-377, 403-498. Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus, p. 205. Peder Andersen to the Board, May 1869, DMS Archive 250; 7 June 1871; December 1871; and 29 December 1874; all in DMS Archive 252. Letters from Carl Ochs published in Dansk Missionblad (1865) p. 11; ibid.,Till3eg 6, p. 37; ibid. (1866) p. 188. Letter from Carl Ochs published in Dansk Missionsblad (1868) pp. 82-90. Logstrup, Den nyere danske mission, pp. 25 -30. A number of modern scholars perpetuate this view. Benjamin Walker in his monumental work on Hinduism notes that the 'sins' of theft, promiscuity and lying are considered 'minor sins', while for instance the killing of a Brahmin is considered a 'major sin'. Benjamin Walker, Hindu World. An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism (Oxford 1968) vol. 2, p. 61. However, one can wonder that in a reference work of this kind there is no discussion of the term 'Evil ', while there is a lengthy discussion of the term 'Sin'. Is this a leftover from the nineteenth century attempts to view Hinduism within the well-known framework of Christianity and Christian key -terms? For a discussion of the understanding of 'evil' and 'sin' in Hindu mythology, see Wendy Doniger O 'Flaherty, The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology (Delhi 1976). Herman Jensen to the Board, 17 January 1877, DMS Archive 252. Herman Jensen to H.O. Lanee, 16 March 1890, Ny Kgl. Samling 3736 (Royal Library, Copenhagen). S.E. Berg to the Boara, undatea 1891, DMS Archive z55. Peder Andersen to the Board, 29 December 1874, DMS Archive 252. Herman Jensen to the Board, 17 January 1877, DMS Archive 247. S.E. Berg to the Board, 15 March 1893 and Feoruary 1896, DMS Archive 255. Proceedings of the South India Missionary Conference 1858 pp. 6, 26, 62, 242. See also the articles on the Tamils in Church Missionary Intelligencer, 7 (1856) pp. 169-205 and 15 (1864) pp. 253-261. Proceedings of the South India Missionary Conference 1858, pp. 242 -248.

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11

Report of the Fourth Decennial Missionary Conference 1902 (Madras 1903), Resolution VI. See also The Decennial Conference of Missionaries 18921893 (Calcutta 1903) pp. 2 - 3,10 - 11. The missionaires' changing view of the need for harsher measures against intemperance is an important aspect of the civilizing missions, as argued in G. A. Oddie, Social Protest in India. British Protestant Missionaries and Social Reforms, 1850 -1900 (Delhi 1978) pp. 17-35,193-220.

12

See for instance A. Ihle to the Board, 23. January 1877, DMS Archive 247. S.E. Berg to the Board, 25 March 1896, DMS Archive 255. Herman Jensen to the Board, 24 February 1898, DMS Archive 247.

13

Poul G. Pedersen, T he Racial Trap of India: Reflections on the History

form were however not used on the Indian scene, may be explained by the tacit acceptance of India as a land of an ancient culture. In the late n ineteenth cen tu ry w ritings on A frica, on the oth er hand, anthropologists and medical scientists could combine a racial theory with a theory of the 'savage ' versus the 'civilized ' person. See the articles in Henry Louis Gates, Jr., ed., 'Race', Writing and Difference (Chicago 1985). 14

Actually, the only time we hear Darwinian theories mentioned is in a minute from a mission meeting in Denmark in 1893. One of the participants in a discussion of whether the Indian Christians were true converts in a revivalist sense, said that 'The difference between Indian Christians and Danish (converted) Christians is not a difference of principle, but a difference of nature. The law of heredity should not be overlooked; the Holy Spirit cannot vanquish it by a sleight of hand...' Th. Logstrup to the Missionaries, 13 June 1893, DMS Archive 112.

15

See for instance 'Origine, progr£s et l 'etat actuel..', 26 May 1802, Archive MEP vol. 996, pp. 121 -122. Father Jarrige to Father Breluque, 18 February 1821, Archive MEP vol. 997, pp. 295 -296. Abbe Dubois, Letters, pp. 20,100-101. M. de BresillacJournal, August 1851, pp. 73-75. Darras, Cinquante ans, p. 17.

16

See also Launay, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 73 who writes 'One of the faults of the Indian character is insubordination and facility to revolt against the authority of the preacher.'

17

Abbe J. A. Dubois, Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies (3rd revised edition, ed. H.R. Beauchamp, Madras 1906) pp. 284 -285. It should be noted here that the transgressions mentionecf oy Abbe Dubois as 'vice and wickedness in their most hideous forms' are the sexual 'orgies ' where the usual rules of purity and pollution are set aside, and indeed turned upside down (ibid., pp. 285 -289). This is in fact perhaps an exaggerated description of tne shakti cult, in which the untamed and violent sexual power of the goddess ispropitiated by blood-offerings. See Shulman, Tamil Temple Myths p. 139-141,176-184, 226, 291.

18

Robert M. Hayden, 'Expulsion as everyday event and ultimate sanction', Journal of Asian Studies, 4 3 /2 (1983) pp. 291-293,297-304. The nineteenth century observers of caste expulsion include Abbe Dubois, Hindu Manners, pp. 38 -44, who however recognized the 'punishments ' for what they were, i.e. acts of purification.

19

Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus, pp. 170-183. Deli&ge, Paraiyars, pp. 32-36. Dubois, Hindu Manners, pp. 123-132, 278-286.

138 20

Mission and Tamil Society Dubois, Hindu Manners, p. 655: Impartiality and disinterestedness are virtues with which Hinau judges nave but a very slieht acquaintance ... Almost invariably it is the richer suitor who gains tne day; and even the most guilty generally find some means o f blunting the sword of justice'.

21

Thurston, Castes and Tribes, vol. 2, pp. 121 -124.

22

As mentioned in chapter 2, the historical and anthropological research has neglected the Muslim dominated areas in the period of the British take -over in the early nineteenth century. The mirasi areas (where the traditional elites remained in power) and the poligar areas (where the elites were given a position that robbed them of all but the most superficial power) have been far more thoroughly investigated.

23

Cohn, 'Indian status ', pp. 614 -618. Appadurai, Worship, pp. 114,154 ­ 157,165 - 169. Price, 'Legal culture ', pp. 133 ­136.

24

Hayden, 'Excommunication ', pp. 298 -301. Delifcge, Paraiyars, pp. 39 ­ 45,268-276. Abb£ Dubois, Hindu Manners, pp. 42-44,284-285. Thurston, Ethnographic Notes, pp. 471-501 (on fire-walking and hook-swinging). It shoula be noted that the different kinds of corporal punishment and torture mentioned by Edgar Thurston ibid., pp. 407 -432 are mixed up and include not only 'punishments' meted out by caste panchayats but also methods used by members of the police force to induce confessions and physical ordeals to prove innocence.

25

Peder Andersen to the Board, 22 December 1872 and 29 December 1874, DMS Archive 252. Peder Andersen to the Board, 7 June 1871, DMS Archive 252. S.E. Berg to the Board, not dated 1891, DMS Archive 255. V.C. Nielsen to the Board, not dated 1906, DMS Archive 256. C. Hornbech to the Board, 22 April 1907, DMS Archive 256. N.P. Hansen to the Board, 6 August 1902, DMS Archive 251. Anders Larsen to the Board, 28 March and 5 May 1905, DMS Archive 251.

26

V. Gotzsche to the Board, 10 November 1908, DMS Archive 251.

27

Peder Andersen to the Board, 9 December 1874 and 29 December 1874, DMS Archive 255. In contrast to this, see the discussions of intemperance and the measures to be taken aginst it, in Report of the General Missionary Conference 1872-1873, pp. 232-233, 487-489.

28

V.E. Moller to the Board, July 1909, DMS Archive 255.

29

See for instance H. Gehring, Land und Volk der Tamulen (Leipzig 1899) pp. 50 -51.

30

Oddie, 'Protestant missions', pp. 264 -266, 288 -291. Oddie, 'Christian conversions ', pp. 75 -79. Oddie, bocial Protest, pp. 246 ­255. For a similar viewpoint, see Grafe, Tamilnadu, pp. 183 -219. See the arguments of David Mosse against these assumptions. Mosse, Caste, pp. 264 -289, 354 -374.

31

N.P. Hansen to the Board, 11 February 1891, DMS Archive 252.

32

Joh. Bittmann to the Board, 16 April 1898, DMS Archive 255. Th. Logstrup to the missionaries, 17 May 1890, DMS Archive 112. V. Gotzsche to the Board, 23 January 1901, DMS Archive 251. It was a distinction which was applied to everyone, even the missionaries themselves. Carl Bindslev mentions in his memoirs how some of the older missionaries in 1915 did not want to receive Holy Communion at the same table as his wife (who was a missionary in her own right before her marriage) because she had 'received Communion in the

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company of L.P. Larsen and from the hands of the Reformed in Bangalore'. Carl Bindslev, Erindringer 1885-1925 (unpublished memoirs, Private Archive 5163, National Archives, Copenhagen) pp. 15-16. This was a problem faced by other Protestant missions as well. See for instance P.Y. Luke & J.B. Carman, Village Christians and Hindu Culture: Study of a Rural Church in Andhra Pradesh, South India (London 1968) p. 209. See also Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus, pp. 179 -183 on the Janus ­ faced authority of the panchayats: one turned towards the exterior, using penal justice, the other turned towards the interior, using conciliatory justice in order to maintain both the harmony ana cohesiveness in the group and the authority of the panchayat. 34

Anders Larsen to the Board, 28 March 1905 and 5 May 1905, DMS Archive 251. The reason why the case was not brought to trial before a British court was that there was not enough evidence for the case to be classified as rape rather than as seduction. (The catechist admitted to having 'submitted to his wicked desires' amd the girl admitted to having been 'careless'). Three years earlier a similar case had been judged by the missionary and three catechists in exactly the same manner. N.P. Hansen to tne Board, 6 August 1902, DMS Archive 251.

35

Sexual control, whether in the form of abstinence as performed by sannyasis or in the form of Tantric-Shaktic rituals to enact the conjugal sexual bliss of Shiva and his consort, were and still are seen as

the discussion in Daniel, Being a Person the Tamil Way, pp. 163 -181; Walker, Hindu World, vol. 1, pp. 334-340 and vol. 2, pp. 390-393; Obeyesekere, Medusas Hair, pp. 38 -40. 36

_ .........................

9. He argues that marital infidelity among younger men may be excused because of their youthful inaoility to control their sexuality, as long as it takes place with a woman of lower caste, and among men who are sufficiently well off to keep a mistress in another village. 37

Darras, Cinquante ans, p. 286.

38

See the description of this event in Logstrup, Den nyere danske mission blandt Tamulerne, pp. 178-180.

39

See Launay, Histoire, vol. 1, p. cvi-cix.

40

Michael Moffatt, An Untouchable Community in South India. Structure and Consensus (Princeton 1979) p. 3. See also the discussion of Moffatt's theories in Mosse, Caste, pp. 181-183, 256-264, 299-317 and Deltege, Paraiyars, pp. 2-6, 244-246, 264-266.

41

S.E. Berg to the Board, Annual report 1891, DMS Archive 255.

42

See Moffatt, Untouchable Community, p. xiii. Walker, Hindu World, vol. 1, p. 354. For discussions of the 'inverted world ' during festivals, see P. Stallybrass & A. White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (New York 1986) pp. 27-79; and Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects, pp. 28-60.

43

Bayly, Saints, pp. 250 -253.

44

Shulman, Tamil Temple Myths, pp. 139-156,176-187,224.

45

ibid., pp. 212-224,291,320-321. Fuller, Servants of the Goddess, pp. 6-11.

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46

St. Joseph was, in the Roman Catholic congregations in South India, as he was in Western tradition, usually depicted as an old, not sexually active man, thereby reinforcing the notion of the chaste and non-sexual family. Mosse, Caste, pp. 447 -448.

47 48

ibid., pp. 443-453. Deli&ge, Paraiyars, pp. 259-264. It should be pointed out that the iconography of Notre Dame de Lourdes underscores her association with the wilderness: she is depicted in the grotto where she revealed herself to St. Bernadette and is thus perceived as remaining both outside the Church and outside the village. Mosse, Caste, p. 446.

49

M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, pp. 135 -148.

50

It should be remembered that one of the most important of the South Indian goddess festivals, the celebration of the wedding of Shiva and the goddess Minakshi, which takes place every year in Madurai, also runs for nine days. See Hudson, T w o Citra festivals7, pp. 106 -119 and Fuller, Servants of the Goddess, pp. 17-21.

51

M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, p. 139.

52

Mosse, Caste,pp. 394-399,437-442,445-453,488-495. Deli&ge, Paraiyars, pp. 259-264. See also Daniel, Being a Person the Tamil Way, pp. 69-79 about the significance of the boundary of the village.

53

The association of the Holy Virgin with water (in the form of rain and thus with fertility) is founa among Roman Catholic groups in Ramnad, who according to Mosse conduct various rites for the Holy Virgin in the hope that she can assure a plentiful rainfall. Mosse, Caste, p. 446.

54

M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs,pp. 138 -139. Mgr. de Bresillac uses (perhaps without realizing its significance) the term 'd£mon ' instead of dragon ' as would be more usual in the European tradition.

55

Bayly, Saints, pp. 328-329. See also Mosse, Caste, pp. 454-460 on the status of the Roman Catholic saints vis-^-vis the Hindu pantheon.

56

Bayly, Saints,pv. 115-150,330-331. See also Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, p. 487 for a list of tne most popular saints in the Pondicherry mission. The list includes the three archangels, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Paul the Hermit, St. Sebastian, St. Ignacius, St. Francis Xavier and the Holy Virgin.

57

Hudson, 'Siva, Minaksi, Visnu', pp. 115 -117. Hudson, T w o Citra festivals', pp. 106 -107, 112-119.

58

M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, p. 141.

59

Darras, Cinquante ans, pp. 15-17. See also Father Darras' report on the conversions, printed in extenso in Launay, L'histoire, vol. 4, pp. 32 -43, as well as the article in Die katholischen Missionen (1887) pp. 108 -110.

60

Shulman, Tamil Temple Myths pp. 40-83,118-119. Shulman also mentions the similar symbolic value of the tree planted in the temple yard, and the many stories of ant-hills as repositories of deities.

61

Darras, Cinquante ans, pp. 241 -260.

62

Mosse, Caste, pp. 299 -317.

63

It should be noted that some of the Anglo -Saxon Protestant missions by accepting entire villages into the congregations, or by establishing Christian villages, counteracted thisphenomenon. However, the general tendency mapped out for the DMS holds true for other Protestant missions as well.

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64

Deli&ge, Paraiyars, p. 268.

65

i b i d pp. 273 -274.

66

See Selections from the Records of the Madras Government, no. VII: Reports on the Swinging Festival and the Ceremony of Walking through Fire (M adras 1854). Dubois, Hindu Manners, pp. 597 - 601. Thurston, Ethnographic Notes, pp. 471 -50; Alf Hiltebeitel, Sexuality and sacrifice: convergent subcultures in the fire-walking cult of Draupadi', in Fred W. Clothev, ed., Images of Man: Religion and Historical Process in South Asia (Maaras 1982) and G.A. Odaie, 'Hook ­swinging and popular religion in South India during the nineteenth century ', Indian Economic and Social History Review, 23/ 1 (1986).

67

Deli&ge, Paraiyars, pp. 274-278. Darras, Cinquante ans, pp.473-476. M. de Bresillac, Journal, 8 September 1853, pp. 121 -122. M. de Bresillac, Souvenirs, pp. 141-142,17o-181. Dubois, Letters, pp. 68-70.

68

See for instance Lars Kjaerholm, Group Identity and National Identity in Tamil Nadu. An anthropological investigation of ethnicity and corporate identity with special reference to a modern South Indian example (Unpublished M.A. thesis, Aarhus University, Moesgaard 1981) pp. 57 -61.

69

Bayly, Saints, (1989) pp. 33-34. Mosse, Caste, pp. 413-416. Deli&ge, Paraiyars, p p. 278-280. Kjaerholm, Group Identity, pp. 58-61. Caplan, Class and (Lulture, pp. 197-204.

70

Moffatt, An Untouchable Community, pp. 231-234. Mosse, Caste, pp. 438441,466 - 472.

7T

Deli&ge, Paraiyars, pp. 251-252, 282-285. Mosse, Caste, pp. 479-481.

71

Launay,H/sforre, vol. 2, pp. 68-71; vol. 3, pp. 460-463. Darras, Cinquante ans, pp. 52 -53.

73

Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, p. 491.

74

Church Missionary Intelligencer (1849-1850) pp. 61-62.

75

See for instance Darras, Cinquante ans, p. 52 and Deli&ge, Paraiyars, pp. 282 -285.

76

Dansk Missionsblad, 13 (1863) p. 86.

77

S.E. Berg to the Board, 12 April 1893, DMS Archive 255.

78

Caplan, Class and Culture, pp. 149-169, 181-194, 197-257.

79

Moffatt, An Untouchable Community, pp. 230 -235.

CHAPTER 6

Missionaries and Mass Movements The Mass Movements In the two previous chapters we have looked into the relationship between missionaries and congregations from an organizational and ritual point of view. These aspects, while yielding a considerable amount of information, have not given us any idea of the regional variety nor of the importance of economic and social factors. Furthermore, the analysis has been more or less 'static', i.e. has not to any degree been concerned with the changes that occurred during the late nineteenth century. In the present chapter I shall attempt to remedy this deficiency. While it is not possible due to the nature of the source material to go into as much detail as I would wish, it will all the same be possible to draw some general conclusions. The point of departure chosen in this chapter is the relationship between the missionaries and the existing systems of power. We have earlier seen how the Danish mission in spite of its insistence on the necessity of a clean break between old allegiances and allegiance to the Danish mission, only succeeded in reinforcing the existing ritual and organizational ties of dependency. We have also seen how the French mission, in line with the Jesuit mission, followed a policy of accommodation and acceptance of local rites and customs. Unlike the Danish mission, the French mission thereby succeeded in giving its converts a new corporate identity both separate from and included in the existing hierarchy. The present chapter will attempt to place the missionaries and their actions in the wider system of power and influence in the villages. To do so I shall concentrate on one issue of importance for late nineteenth century missions, the mass movements. I shall place the discussion within the framework of the economic and social conditions of the villages, the changing economic scene in the second half of the nineteenth century and the shifting relations in the villages in consequence of this development.

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'Mass movement' is a term traditionally applied to large -scale conversion movements towards Christianity which took place above all in the Telugu and Tamil areas from the 1870s and well into the first decades of the twentieth century. Large groups of people - family by family, caste group by caste group or village by village - flocked to the mission compounds and demanded to be baptized as Christians. The number of Protestant Christians in the Madras Presidency rose from a little less than 75,000 in 1851 to about 300,000 in 1891 .* During the same period the Roman Catholic missions witnessed a similar increase. The MEP vicariates of Pondicherry, Coimbatore and Mysore increased from 192,000 Roman Catholics in 1880 to 295,400 in 1901, and the Jesuit Madurai mission increased in the same period from 169,000 to 260,000.2 This situation was new and quite unexpected for m ost missionaries, Roman Catholic as well as Protestant, and apart from technical and administrational difficulties in handling so many new converts, serious moral problems had to be faced. The question of whether or not to accept an entire family or an entire village was not solved by demanding a true conversion from the family elders or the village leaders; because how could you be sure that the remaining members of the family or the village had come to a true conviction of the truths of Christianity and were not just following their leaders like sheep?3No mission wanted to be labelled a mission of nominal Christians. Another dimension of the new situation was that the majority of the new converts came from the ranks of the untouchables: Malas and Madigas in the Telugu areas and Chakkiliyans, Pariahs and Pallans in the Tamil areas. The earlier success story of the Protestant missions, the conversions of the Shanars in Tinnevelly and Travancore,4had taken place among a group whose members might have been low -caste but were not actually untouchables. The Roman Catholic missions had succeeded in converting a number of caste groups earlier in the century but these too were from low but not untouchable groups: martial Maravas and pearlfishing Paravas.5The same applied to the conversions undertaken by the MEP in the first half of the nineteenth century. For both Protestant and Roman Catholic missions, then, the situation required new strategies on the issues of caste. For our purpose, the new developments make it imperative to study in some detail the social and economic relations of the poorest and 'lowestranking' groups in the areas where mass movements occurred.

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This chapter therefore concentrates on these groups and on the interaction between them and the missionaries. It has been argued that what drew these groups to the Christian missions was not only the care received during the terrible famines and epidemics of the late nineteenth century but also the Christian ideology of egalitarianism, freedom from the oppression of the caste system, opportunities for social ascent via a mission school education, legal protection and justice, and the possibility of freedom from the snares of superstition. Implicit in this argument is that what the new converts expected from the missionaries was exactly what they got.6The main fallacy of this argument is that it takes at face value the expectations and explanations of the missionaries. As we have seen, throughout much of the nineteenth century the missionaries ­ especially the Protestant missionaries - were engaged in a bitter fight against the caste system. They were only too willing to understand the actions of the converts in similar terms, i.e. as stemming from a dissatisfaction with the caste system itself. In the 1880s the Danish mission accepted conversions in large numbers. The conversions took place from the Tirukoilur mission station, $i\oam, which was the only one in full operation at the time. In 1877 Herman Jensen baptized more than 30 persons in Maradur, and Albert Ihle, who from 1879 was the missionary in charge, baptized a similar number in Kilakondur in 1880 and several families in the neighbouring villages of Karuni and Senkalmedu in 1882 and 1883.7After 1890, however, the picture changed. This change was partly due to the new missionaries who came out and partly due to the ongoing struggle for power within the Board of the DMS. In 1889 the DMS, as mentioned above (chapter 3), came under the leadership of the Home Mission, with a consequent change in policy. The faction in power wanted not only truly believing missionaries but also truly believing converts in India, which meant, eo ipso, that mass conversions would no longer be countenanced.8A few missionaries still argued that it was desirable to baptize the family along with the man who had first approached the missionary but these voices were soon silenced.9 After 1910, however, the policy changed once again, probably due to the many new missionaries who were not so strictly revivalist in outlook. From 1913 a new mass movement was under way in Tiruvannamalai mission district, leading to the establishment of new congregations in several villages.10

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145

Until the mass movements gathered momentum in the 1870s, the French mission had never considered concentrating on the untouchables. The mass movements which took place from approximately 1873 until the 1890s at least were movements of untouchable groups, Chakkiliyars and Pariahs, who came to the French mission family by family or paricheri by paricheri. Between the years 1873 and 1886 the number of Christians in the diocese of Pondicherry grew from 134,000 to 205,000, i.e. an expansion of almost 12,000 a year. The dioceses of Mysore and Coimbatore did not witness a similarly astounding increase but grew from 26,000 to 29,000 and from 21,000 to 24,000 respectively.11In the diocese of Pondicherry the mass movements were not evenly spread but concentrated in the areas around the mission stations in the northern part of South Arcot and the southern part of North Arcot, i.e. around the MEP mission stations in Vettavalam, Chetpet, Velantangul, Vikravandy, Attipakkam and Alladhy, and the later established station in Polur.12 Looked at in another way, the main mass movements took place in the area lying between the two lines of the railway which came together in Villapuram and from there ran north to Madras through Tindivanam and Chinglepet and north -west to Vellore through Tiruvannamalai and Polur. P o lu r ^

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While the conversion movement in the area dominated by the MEP expanded before, during and after the famine and resulted in a large, homogenous mission field, the mass movements in the area dominated by the DMS slowly petered out. The reasons for these two diametrically opposite developments are not only the different policies adapted by the missionary societies but also how these policies 'suited' the area where they were applied. Before we proceed any further, a note of caution. I am well aware of the dangers of using the material from the 1871 Census (as well as from any other of the Imperial censuses for that matter). The population was divided into 17 major caste or casteheads, which covered more than 3,000 different castes. Even though the census officers had been at pains to assemble under one heading the castes that bore at least a superficial affinity to one another, certain peculiarities could not be avoided. The point of similarity between castes was in the 1871 Census mainly occupation, as one caste head was connected specifically with one and just one occupation.13 This way of enumerating the different castes tended to veil the vast disparities within individual occupations as well as the fact that one person could have several different occupations. However, as the 1871 Census is the only census which gives the distribution of castes in the individual villages, we must use the material as far as it can take us.

The Area of the DMS Mass Movements The Danish mass movement (if it at all can aspire to such a grand name) took place in Tirukoilur taluq in eight villages situated near the river delta. This area is a classical example of the river deltas described by David Ludden and Christopher Baker. Tirukoilur taluq was dominated by Brahmins and Vellalas, who in 1871 made up a little less than 17 percent of the population. In the villages where the mass movement occurred, these two castes made up more than 20 percent of the population. The two chief labouring castes, the Vannians and the untouchable Pariahs, made up barely 60 percent of the population in the taluq, but over 65 percent in the eight villages. The more mobile castes, such as the trading Chetties and Muslims, as well as the weaving and trading Kaikalars, were not as well represented in the eight villages as in the entire district. These small differences are important, because they show

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us that the gap dividing the dominating groups from the dominated groups was even greater in the villages where the mass movement took place than it was generally in Tirukoilur taluq.

100 %

Fiaure 1: Distribution of Castes. 1871

IS V riddachalam

CD Kallakurichi

E l Tiruvannam alai

S Tirukoilur

□ C uddalore

E3 Chidam baram

E3 Tindivanam



Villapuram

The entire Tirukoilur taluqwas densely populated , in 1891 having 452 people per square mile, an increase of 18.6 percent since 1871. W hile this density of population may appear insignificant compared to the more than 700 people per square mile in Cuddalore and Chidambaram, the increasing pressure on land resources which this density signifies should be noted. Unfortunately, we have no specific information about the cropping

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pattern either in the taluq or in the eight villages but some general remarks can be made. The cultivation pattern was determined by an easy access to water from the two rivers and the numerous canals, anicuts and tanks. In 1891, approximately 15 percent of the cultivated area was double -cropped, i.e. harvested twice a year. This points to a situation of intensive cultivation where soil fertility was maintained by applying manure, fertilizers and water, or by the system of crop -rotation. It does not necessarily point to a situation of small, individual farmers growing rice and other food -grains by family labour. Instead we find, by looking at Figure 2 (which sets out the cropping pattern for the entire district as it was in 1891) that even though rice was an important crop in Figure

2: Cropping Pattern by Taluq, 1891

100.

5 0 -■

40 -■ 30 20

■*

10

"

0 M M W | IllHWl | IHllllll | Hlllllll | l l lllll l | illJlllll | H lllllll | Hlllllll |

Chidambaram Tirukoilur Tindivanam Kallakurichi Cuddalore Villapuram Tiruvannamalai Vriddachalam □ other

■ SugarCane EH Oil-Seeds

S Millets

ID Rice

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Tirukoilur taluq, other important crops were sugar cane, indigo and oil- seeds. AH of these crops require a heavy labour input and sugar cane and indigo also a heavy input of capital. Furthermore, a crop of sugar cane occupies the ground for more than twelve months and exhausts the soil so that sugar cane can only be grown again after a rest period of three or four years.14 Sugar cane is therefore a good crop for larger farmers who have enough land to maintain a stable production of sugar and to rotate their crops to minimize the exhaustion of the soil. Furthermore they ought to have the command over labour in the busy seasons, as well as capital. Capital was necessary because the production of sugar cane requires both expensive implements, fertilizers and wageearning labourers. Rice and oil- seeds, on the other hand, may be profitably grown on smaller plots and are indeed often grown on holdings worked by family labour. While rice requires access to irrigation, oil-seeds may be grown on plots watered by rainfall, wells or canals. Even though oil-seeds are costly to grow, they grow quickly and because of their leguminous character may act as natural fertilizers for the second crop grown on the plot, usually millet (ragi or kambu). In the sample village in Tirukoilur taluq which Gilbert Slater studied in 1918, and which is closely situated to the DMS villages, between 1891 and 1918 the land under ground -nuts had expanded from 19 to 50 acres out of a total of 650 cultivable acres.15 Even though the importance of ground-nuts was realized and the facility for marketing this crop had improved in the last decades of the nineteenth century, Tirukoilur was not one of the main taluqs growing it. In fact, in 1891 Tirukoilur grew only 13 percent of the ground-nuts and other oil-seeds grown in the district. Although Tirukoilur was placed conveniently near some of the commercial centres of South Arcot such as Villapuram and Cuddalore, there was not much need for individual cultivators to get in contact with the market in order to sell their produce. Itinerant merchants came to the villages to buy up paddy and other crops, a practice which was still prevalent at the re-survey of the villages originally studied by Gilbert Slater undertaken in 1940.16We may assume that the same applied to the DMS villages. In the late nineteenth century land was subdivided into small plots that could be held either jointly or individually. In the above- mentioned village studied by Gilbert Slater, the cultivable land of the village in 1891 was shared among 161 ryofs, giving

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each a little more than four acres on average.17In this way, almost all the ryots in the area came to be classified as landowners in the census records, even though a large number of them may have had to supplement their income by hiring out their labour to larger landowners on a temporary basis. In 1901,64 percent of the agriculturists in Tirukoilur were classified as landowners, and 33 percent as agricultural labourers. In the eight villages of the DMS mass movement, the landowners and the labourers made up respectively 49 percent and 48 percent of the agriculturists. Even though the classification scheme of the census is a little unclear, and we cannot be completely sure where the exact line was which divided landowners from labourers, it is nonetheless clear that here, as well as in the distribution of castes, we find a more polarized situation than in the average Tirukoilur village. As will be remembered from chapter 2, parts of South Arcot district had retained the old mirasi system of landholding and with it the system of agricultural slaves. Even though slavery as such had been abolished in India in 1843, hardly any steps had been taken to prevent its continuation in anything but name. In the late nineteenth century agricultural bonded labour was

Table 3: Occupational Distribution, 1901 Cud no. inhabitants per village % employed in agriculture % otherwise employed % landowners of total agric pop'n % tenants of total agric pop'n % labourers of total agric pop'n

Vil Chi Tin Kal Trk Trv

1579 1038 867 714

733

Vri

809 599 818

34.8 43.9 30.1 41.4 50.5 43.6 43.9 48.3 65.2 56.1 69.9 58.6 59.5 56.4 56.1 51.7 53.7 56.2 42.6 63.0 61.8 64.1 61.6 67.8 5.1

3.2

7.2

5.4 10.4

2.9 11.4

1.3

41.2 40.6 50.2 31.6 27.8 33.0 27.3 30.9

Note: CUD * Cuddalore, VIL = Villapuram, CHI « Chidambaram, TIN - Tindivanam, KAL Kallakurichi, TRK = Tirukoilur, TRV = Tiruvannamalai, VRI » Vriddachalam. Source: Census of India 1901, Madras Presidency. Taluq and Village Tables, South Arcot District.

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prevalent in many of the rice -growing river deltas of the Tamil country, and the relationship between landlord and labourer had not changed. In his sample village in Tirukoilur taluq, Gilbert Slater in 1918 found a large number of padials (or rather, pannaiyals) whom he described as 'a sort of serf, who has fallen into hereditary dependence on a landowner by debt'.18 Under the guise of transferring the debt to another landowner, the pannaiyal and his services could in fact be bought and sold with the land. The debt was transferable from one generation to the next and could therefore never be repaid but only written off by taking up another loan. Indebtedness was no doubt one form of bondage which was used by the landowners to keep the pannaiyals in control. It was however not the only one. The investigation of the collector of Chinglepet in 1891 into the conditions of the landless labourers in his district listed several different forms of oppression prevalent among the landowners to keep their labourers in line. These included falsification of records and documents which had secured the labourers' right of occupation, cutting off their water supply, forcibly cutting the labourers' crops in their backyards and impounding their cattle.19 In Tirukoilur in the course of the nineteenth century landowners to an increasing extent resorted to the British courts to secure their hold over the pannaiyals. This is a pattern we find in a number of other wet areas in the same period. In the above-mentioned re-survey of the South Indian villages carried out in 1940 is included a copy of a pannaiyal indenture, i.e. a legal deed specifying the agreement between a landowner acting as the creditor and the labourer who in return for the loan granted agrees to serve his creditor until the loan has been paid off. The payment of the indented labourer is payment in kind, and, in the words of the surveyors, 'hardly sufficient for his subsistence, and so he is not able to make any savings with which he could pay off his liabilities and free himself of his obligations'.20 The Danish m issionaries were very much aware of this polarization between landowners and labourers in the Tirukoilur area. In his annual report for 1890 S.E. Berg considered the Pariahs in 'his' villages as among the most impoverished and downtrodden in the entire mission.21 A few years later he compared the unyielding, stony soil of the Tiruvannamalai area with the lush and fertile tracts around Tirukoilur, but added that while there were many wealthy people in the Tirukoilur area, there was also

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a far larger number of extremely poor people than were found in Tiruvannamalai.22In a letter from 1880 Albert Ihle mentioned that when a child was born to a labourer in one village, the Brahmin or his representative would arrive and anoint the mouth of the baby with oil. By this action the Brahmin signified that the child belonged to him as his serf.23Albert Ihle furthermore recounted a story of a pannaiyal in another village, who had been forced out of his house at night to perform some work for his master and, when he refused, he and his wife had both been beaten and his newborn child thrown on the fireplace, to be seriously burned by the glowing embers.24 In the Danish missionary accounts, landowners are almost without exception seen as Brahmins. This may seem to be a case of missionary prejudices and their inability to understand the complexities of South Indian society but in this instance the missionaries are largely justified. We know that the traditional Brahmin-Vellala elite was not so numerically strong in South Arcot as elsewhere in the river deltas of South India. Nonetheless

Map 11: Major Inams in South Arcot, 1871

Source: Census of India 1871, Madras Presidency, Village Statistics

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we find evidence in the missionary letters telling us about the influence of the Brahmins in Tirukoilur town, where thirteen smaller or greater temples demanded the service of a number of priests. To pay for this - as well as for the temple servants, musicians, dancing -girls, the celebration of festivals and the maintenance of the temples - the Brahmins held large tracts of land worked by the cultivating castes.25 We also know that, even though the Brahmins may not have been as numerically strong as in other South Indian districts, they were concentrated in the river regions of Tirukoilur, in Cuddalore (where they worked in the administration) and in Chidambaram, which was a famous pilgrimage centre. In Tirukoilur taluq a little less than ten percent of the arable land was under inam. This consisted both of minor inams (land on which temples, mosques and churches were built, or which was given to the village accountant or other village servants) and major inams (entire villages donated to Brahmins or to the upkeep of temples). This proportion was still not a very large part in comparison to other areas in South India.26What is

Figure 3: Percentage of Land Under Inam in South Arcot, 1891 7

EHMinor

n | mm 11

Inams □ Major Inams

Chidambaram Tirukoilur Tindivanam Kallakurichi Cuddalore Villapuram Tiruvannamalai Vriddachalam Source: Statistical Atlas of the Madras Presidency (1895), pp. 236- 7.

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important, however, is that all the villages under major itiams were so -called shrotriam inams, i.e. villages donated to Brahmins. In 1891 there were 13 inam villages in Tirukoilur. Two of these were villages of mass movements. It seems therefore that at least in Tirukoilur taluq in 1891 the Brahmins were still a force to be reckoned with, sitting firmly on the top of the social hierarchy, holding their labourers in com bined ritual and economic dependency. And it seems clear that the villages where the mass movement occurred represented this system of domination and subordination in its most extreme and polarized form.

Changes in the Tirukoilur area During the last decades of the nineteenth century important changes took place in the Indian economy that left no area untouched. Chapter 2 outlined the main changes, such as the introduction of new crops, the establishment of railways and markets and the rising level of prices. In the Tirukoilur area the most important change was the gradual change in ownership of land. Throughout South Arcot, numbers of agricultural labourers left for Ceylon or for the coffee plantations in Coorg and Nilgiris; upon their return to their native villages, they bought up land and settled as smallholders. In 1891 the number of Pariahs with proprietary rights to land was six times higher than in Tanjore, even though the number of Pariahs employed in agriculture was almost the same.27We do not know how many of these came from Tirukoilur but we know from Gilbert Slater's survey that the Ceylon Labour Commission's office in Villapuram, which recruited labourers for the Ceylon tea plantations, drew a considerable number from Tirukoilur taluq.28 At the same time another change took place that tended to counteract this movement. New groups gradually took over the traditional landlords' land. Gilbert Slater mentions that in the years 1891-1918 a concentration of landholdings had taken place in Eruvellipet, and the surveys of Tanjore villages show a similar development, whereby the control of land passed from the Brahmin landholders to landholders from lower castes. The Brahmins then moved away, most often to take up government positions in the larger towns.29 This change of ownership did not lead to an improvement in the condition of the labourers. In the DMS

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villages we hear of several instances of the new landowners changing the terms of 'agreement' between themselves and the labourers, always to the labourers' disadvantage.30 In the 1870s the wages for unskilled labour in the Tirukoilur area rose somewhat following the British government's initiatives in building railways, bridges and irrigation works. Unfortunately we do not know how much wages rose or to what extent these public works were manned by voluntary labour. Even though Peder Andersen complained about the difficulties in getting workers to help building and maintaining the mission station in Tirukoilur, and claimed that it was the fault of the British public works which drew away labour from the area,31 this does not necessarily point to a greater degree of labour mobility. On the contrary, the British government often recruited gangs of labour from the mirasdars. These gangs were supposed to work on public works, especially roads. The argument was that a labour force which usually worked for the entire village was a sort of public property. The highest authority in the social hierarchy, i.e. the British Raj, was therefore as justified as the village authorities in demanding labour from the gangs when and where it chose. In this case, even though the labour gangs worked on public works and for the British Raj, they were not exactly free labour.32 I have already mentioned the changing cropping pattern which occurred in the late nineteenth century. It is unnecessary to go over this debate again; suffice it to say that the new crops prevalent in the Tirukoilur area (sugar cane, indigo, and to a smaller degree cotton, which was not as widespread) required the command of both labour and capital. The introduction of these crops therefore tended to reinforce the existing polarization between landowners and labourers. This increased polarization is evident also when we look at the question of village leadership. In the dry Ramnad village studied by K. Ramachandran in Gilbert Slater's survey in 1918, the village panchayat took care of the collection of revenue, village sanitation, education, etc. and, to a larger extent than in the late nineteenth century, took over the police administration. All in all, more internal affairs were handled within the village than earlier, when it had been common to resort to the British courts.33In the wet areas, on the contrary, Gilbert Slater could find hardly any evidence of village panchayats: in the Tinnevelly village he studied situated on the brinks of the Chittar river, the administration was carried out by the karnam and the munsif on

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behalf of the British government, and all disputes were settled in the courts or by the police.34 Likewise, in the Tanjore village he studied there was no village panchayat and a local police officer, assisted by the munsif and the karnam, supervised the police administration. The large landholders, who constituted 'a non ­ official panchayat board', settled all disputes among the villagers and decided on communal matters such as roads, irrigation, communal labour, etc.35 In Eruvellipet, the village studied in Tirukoilur taluq, disputes were settled by the munsif. To Gilbert Slater the village conveyed a strong sense of 'local solidarity' and willingness to co -operate in deciding disbursements from the village fund. At the time of the resurvey in 1940, however, Eruvellipet was characterized as a village with no functioning panchayat, but a long history of civil litigations.36It seems thus, on the basis of what evidence we have reviewed here, that one of the features of the wet villages in the river deltas was that the village headmen and the village officials carried out local justice as they saw fit and were backed by the British courts in continuing (or even increasing) their economic and social dominance over their dependants. Dominant groups may have been exchanged for others but the system of control remained in force and the change brought no improvement in the situation of the labourers.

Reactions to Change What were then the reactions to the changes that occurred in the last decades of the nineteenth century? I have already mentioned that one of the ways for the labourers to improve their conditions was to 'run away' to work in plantations in Ceylon or Nilgiris. This action was not really a break with the existing social structure in the way the emigration of poor European labourers and peasants to North America was. We speak here of what Gail Omvedt has termed 'cyclical work migration'. The cyclical work migration is characterized by being individual in so far as it was mostly young and strong men who went away, while their wives, children and parents stayed behind; secondly by being temporary in so far as the immigrant came back to his village after a few years.37 Another important aspect of the migration of the labourers was that it essentially exchanged one form of bondage with another. Most of the migration was organized through a system of indenture, not

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in the form of a direct bond between labourers and planters, but rather through an informal debt bondage to intermediary labour contractors. These contractors were responsible for recruiting labourers from their own locality, their own village or even their own family. The contractors took over the debt by paying an advance to the labourer. Hereby the labourers merely exchanged one creditor for another, as they by this action became indebted to the contractor instead.38There was thus no question of the labourers attempting to improve their terms by running away from the oppression of the village system of bonded labour. They did not migrate to the cities to become industrial labourers in the 'modern' (or rather capitalist) sense. In other words, the migration to the plantations should not be seen as attempts to change the system itself, but rather as labourers' attempts to elevate their status within the existing system. The labourers had greater success in South Arcot than in other districts in this respect because, as I have mentioned earlier, a large number of the labourers came back with enough money to buy up land and settle as smallholders. Another reaction to the changes in the late nineteenth century was the various attempts by the labourers to negotiate with the landowners for better terms. These negotiations might take different forms, varying from proper negotiations to riots. Common to all these forms of negotiations were that they, as well as the migration, took part within the existing system of dominance and did not attempt to change it. The ancient concept of rajadharma - i.e. the obligations of the ruler to secure the peace, prosperity, justice and dharmic order within his realm - was important to the poorest sections of South Indian society, even in a period when British rule and the growing influence of a Western, industrialized economy was subtly changing the basis (if not the severity) of the relationship between dominant and dominated groups.39Attempts to upset the order of things, especially by the landowners neglecting their duties towards their subordinates, led to revolts and riots. More peaceful or at least non -violent actions could consist of labourers leaving the fields and refusing to take up work again until their demands were met.40These were demonstrations that were part of the almost ritual annual negotiations of the divisions of the crops within the village as well as the share allotted to the British government. Riots of a more violent kind took place in Cuddalore in the midst of the famine in December 1876, when a mob looted the

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grain stores because they were angry about the high prices and the grain -dealers' refusal to sell.41 These and similar incidents were directed more against the actions of the landowners and shopkeepers than against their persons, and usually died down quickly once the landowners/shopkeepers had given in and distributed grain and other foodstuffs at lower prices or totally free.42Once again these actions should be seen as attempts to force the dominant groups to fulfil their obligations towards their subordinates. The same insistence on the unity of the village which these riots demonstrate is found in the reactions to famine and epidemics. The first recourse of the villagers was attempting to propitiate the gods and (more often) the goddesses by performing appeasement rites and rituals to persuade the deities to bring an end to the disaster. It was believed that these rituals were only efficient if the entire village participated in them and if the leader of the supra-locality also joined in. In the early nineteenth century the British East India Company complied with these expectations and in the drought of 1811-1812 paid for rain-making ceremonies to be performed in Tanjore and Cuddapah.43 In the late nineteenth century the British had long since withdrawn their administration of the temples and other ways of participating in the religious ceremonies of the natives. The proclamation of 1858,44 which secured all Indians the right to worship in any way they wished, had also been the last stone cementing the withdrawal of the British administration from the obligations inherent in rajadharma. There seems to be evidence that, along with the changes taking place in the late nineteenth century, there was a loosening of the landowners' sense of responsibility for their labourers. Even though the relationship between the two groups had never been one of equality, based as it was on the notion of bonded labour and the absolute dominance of the landowners over the labourers, nonetheless the landowners had the responsibility of feeding and clothing their slaves, if nothing else then in order to ensure their continued ability to work.45During the famine of 1876 the Deputy Collector in South Arcot noted an increasing willingness among the landowners to let the British government shoulder the burden of feeding and caring for the poor through the various Relief Works, while they themselves withdrew their support and turned away their labourers.46At the same time the system of rural credit evaporated in many South Indian districts, leaving the labourers

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and smallholders with hardly any means of subsistence. This may be taken as a shift away from the notion of village solidarity ­ to the extent that such a solidarity did exist - to a growing capitalistic attitude which viewed the labourers as independent wage labourers, commodities to be hired and fired at will. A third reaction of the agricultural labourers to the changes in the late nineteenth century was the transferring of allegiance to new masters. One of these new masters was the British Raj. During the 1876-1878 famine this transfer of allegiance was most prominent and showed itself in the demands (sometimes violent, riot-like demands) from large groups of people for food and for the regulation of markets to prevent hoarding and prices being raised due to speculation.47 The relief work which was under­ taken by the British government took two different forms. One was the handing out of money to the unemployed, starving poor in the villages, administered by village leaders. The other was the establishment of Relief Camps where food was handed out and people were employed for low wages in public works such as road building and irrigation schemes.48People who made use of the Relief Camps were for the most part women and children of the lower and untouchable castes as many of the men had left for Ceylon to seek employment in the plantations. However, the families of cultivating castes did not want to demean themselves by working as coolies together with untouchables and could hardly be persuaded to eat the food in the camps, which might be polluting.49 Another way to transfer the allegiance to the British Raj was to make use of the British courts of law. Increasingly this took place in the last half of the nineteenth century and, as we have seen, particularly in the wet rice -growing districts of South India. Such resort to litigation was not always to the advantage of the agricultural labourers. In a number of cases their wealthier opponents could afford long drawn out and tedious disputes without risking a substantial loss of income; also they could afford to 'buy' witnesses to testify in their favour.50 Furthermore, the way a case was heard in court was biased against the labourers. Low - caste people or untouchables were not allowed inside the court house but had to remain outside and convey their responses and testimony via three or four interm ediaries.51 In the event of a court case actually coming out in favour of the labourer, he could almost always be certain of having the landowner's wrath on his

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head. In 1886 two Christian brothers in the DMS mission district of Melpattambakkam had won a case against the headman of the village, who had reclaimed their small piece of land on the strength of their being his pannaiyals. This was proven not to be true but, upon losing the case, the headman promptly had the two brothers and their families beaten up and put his cattle to graze on their cultivated fields.52In 1885 the Danish missionary in Tirukoilur won a case against the high -caste Hindus in Karuni, who had d enied the m issionaries access to the village w ell. The consequences were that the poor Christians in the village were denied food and work - i.e. the 'traditional' channels for enforcing obedience and subservience53. These two cases are reported in the sources as examples of persecution of Christians. However, I believe the cases reported by the Danish missionaries rather should be seen as typical examples of clashes between different social groups and the reports of the Danish missionaries merely drawing attention to a few legal battles between landowners and labourers. The point is that the inferior groups in both cases appealed to the British system of justice but without any real success. It seems that the British courts, for all their attempts to introduce fair trials and equal justice for all classes and castes, were used as tools by the landowning castes to keep the poor labourers in a perpetual state of bondage. Conversion to Christianity was another way of transferring allegiance to new masters. There is no doubt that the missionaries, at least in the Tirukoilur area, were regarded in this way. In a letter of 1881, Albert Ihle tells us how the headman in the paricheri of one village often exhorted his family and friends in these terms: 'This man is our missionary, we must obey him. I have been a soldier, and I know that what the colonel says must be obeyed'.54 This attitude to the missionaries is also what was behind the frequent demand for money and other kinds of temporal assistance that so exasperated the missionaries. In the experience of the converts, their masters had absolute authority both in spiritual and economic matters. One of the well-known ways of transferring allegiance was, as we have seen, transferring the burden of debt from one landowner to the other or from the landowner to the contractor from the plantations. The transfer of spiritual and of economic allegiance were two sides of the same coin. This is not to say that all the conversions to Christianity were, as the missionaries were prone to believe, dictated by economic considerations. There is no

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reason to distrust the twentieth -century informants, descendants or members of the mass movements, who told J.W. Pickett that they were attracted to Christianity first and foremost for 'spiritual reasons'.55But in setting themselves up as the spiritual masters of the Christians, the missionaries had also, unwittingly or not, taken on the responsibility which used to rest with the landowners and slave -masters - or which, in the minds of the agricultural popula ­ tion, did so in the mythical past, which comes to the same thing.

The Danish M issionaries and the Mass Movements In the period of the mass movements, the Danish mission in Tirukoilur was under the leadership of Albert Ihle. His unquestioning acceptance of the mass movements was later to be a matter of controversy within the DMS and was even termed 'scandalous' in the following decades of reform. One of the first things to be noticed about Ihle's management during the mass conversions was that he did not hesitate to give temporal help to the catechumens and Christians. He assisted them in the courts of law, he lent them money and he assisted them with money to build up their houses and sow their lands when both lands and houses had been ruined by floods.56Secondly, in 1886 Ihle consented to sit on the board of the Tirukoilur Local Fund Board. In this position he had an influence on the decisions on the building and maintenance of roads and public wells, the running of the public schools and the administration of taxes. A year later he was elected president of the board of the committee planning the fiftieth anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign activities that, in Th. Logstrup's words, 'indirectly elevate the Mission in the eyes of the heathens'.57 Th. Logstrup was more right than he realized. The meetings of the committee were held in the temple yard, the best meeting-ground for the two important members of the committee: the missionary and the temple Brahmin. The festival itself was celebrated according to the traditional pattern of village festivals with gun salutes fired from the temple, the dancing -girls from the temple performing in public, jugglers, pantomimes, markets, and a final salute of fireworks before the performance of Ramayana in the marketsquare. With these diverse activities Ihle had shown (perhaps without realizing it himself) that he could and would uphold the

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tradition of raja-dharma, combining his ritual authority with the willingness to take care of his flock in economic matters as well. Even though in Tirukoilur we do not find the kinds of persecution of Christians that erupted in Tinnevelly in the 1840s and 1850s, or the persecution that came in the wake of the Travancore breastcloth controversy of the 1820s and 1850s, we do find some examples of violent reactions to the conversion of untouchables. I have already mentioned how in 1884 the Brahmin landlords - after having lost a case concerning the missionary's right to use the well of the high-caste part of the village - took their anger out on the poor Christians, refusing them food and work. In 1882 a Christian school was burned to the ground, and the well of the untouchables was filled up with earth and stones. This case also came to court on the insistence of Chr. Schlesch, who at that time was standing in for Albert Ihle. The case went in favour of the Christians, and the culprits were sent to the penal colony at the Andaman Islands.58In Tirukoilur itself, all the houses of Christians were burned in 1888 and 1890, and Christian families were forced to leave their houses because of threats from the neighbours in 1884 and 1891J59The question is, however, whether this persecution in the first hand was directed against the Christians as Christians. It seems much more probable to regard the persecution as violent reactions against the attempts by the untouchables to shift their allegiance. We have seen already that the untouchables in these unsettled times had several options of changing their allegiance to new masters and that the mission was only one of the new masters under consideration. We do not, however, possess material telling us about the reactions to the other forms of shifting allegiance among the untouchables, so there is no way to say whether the severity of the reaction was more intense in the case of the untouchables who became Christians. In 1880 Albert Ihle has the following reflections on the situation in one of his villages: The Brahmin ... is, as I have related earlier, enraged that everybody flocks to Our Lord and Saviour. He is afraid that (as with the Grace and help of God will surely happen) these people with Christianity shall win independence, and that he thereby stands to lose hundreds who formerly served him as slaves. He, who earlier gave them the seed in order to take back unmercifully, leaving them only the straw when he took the grain, he now denies them everything, he lets it be known that he will put them in iron and wipe out their village ...60

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Here there is no doubt in Ihle's mind that Christianity is the means by which the untouchables could be freed from their dependency on Brahmin landlords. However, it is by no means certain that Ihle and most other commentators (then or later) were right. Actually, the step to seeing the missionary as the new landlord is very short and it seems clear that this was exactly why the landlords reacted the way they did. There is furthermore no clear suggestion in the sources that the labourers became Christians because they wanted liberty from the caste system as such. Rather, they converted because they believed the new masters would treat them better than the old ones. Likewise, there was no question of the converts looking for greater mobility within Christianity, even though this was what they actually gained in the long run. The groups who converted to Christianity in the late nineteenth century did experience a significant upwards social mobility over the following three generations, mainly through education in mission schools.61 It is by no means certain, however, that this social mobility was what the early converts had in mind or that the reactions against the landlords were the results of a greater awareness of social justice and other western, liberal ideals.62 Rather, the society was being transformed and the untouchables, like everybody else, tried to make the best of the new situation, some of them by shifting allegiance, some of them by attempting to establish themselves as landholders rather than labourers, but all of them acting within the framework of the caste system. In the 1890s the view of the mass movements changed, mainly because of the many new missionaries. During the famine of the early 1890s the missionaries in Tiruvannamalai did extend some temporal help to their Christians but were at pains to stress that they only gave food, not money, to the hungry and that they demanded work in return.63There was no longer any question of lending money to the members of the congregation, and in 1900 S.E. Berg could ruefully report that: Poverty has been great and heavy among our Christians there [in one village in the district] this year because of the rising prices. Six of the Christians have relapsed to Heatnenism, mostly because I refused them a substantial monetary aid, which they had demanded from me again and again.64 The missionaries held a conference about the question of temporal aid in 1894. Not surprisingly, there was great unanimity among

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the missionaries that temporal aid was detrimental to the success of the mission, and that there would be only misery and trouble from following such a course. Contrary to what had been practised in other Protestant missions in South India, the Danish missionaries would not even consider setting up self-aid measures, such as the providing of cattle, land, seeds, etc. The argument was that the Pariahs had always been slaves and it would not be possible to teach them how to be independent citizens, and that however miserable the position of Pariahs was it would not do to interfere with the social system except, perhaps, through the school system.65 The only ones who did not agree with the missionaries on the policy on temporal aid were the catechists and they disagreed vociferously. Again and again we find in the sources examples of protest against refusing temporal help to the Christians. Many of them even argued that there could be nothing wrong in giving the catechumens a loan or other form for monetary help in return for their becoming Christians. At a meeting held in 1897, all the catechists expressed their desire to do 'social work', among other things to help the Pariahs and other low -caste groups to gain confidence and self-respect through working their own land. The missionaries refused, using all the arguments they had used before: the DMS had not enough money; one could not give land to the Pariahs, because they would not know what to do with it; and did Christ ever promise land and cattle to his followers? The argument of the catechist Thomas was perhaps the most moving, but as inefficient as the rest. He said: 'Is it so bad to put up conditions for baptism? My own father became a Christian in order to get assistance in a court of law - and that is my joy and blessing even today'.66 As it turned out, however, the little temporal aid that was given became the domain of the catechists. In times of famine, drought, floods and other calamities the congregations first of all went to the catechists.67 It was also one of the catechists who eventually after the turn of the century persuaded the missionaries and the Home Board to embark on an experiment: the DMS should take advantage of the new laws of securing waste land for untouchables and let the Christians cultivate it themselves. Vathakan (the catechist in question) worked hard on the project for about five y ears, w ithou t m uch sym pathy or assistan ce from the missionaries.68 In this respect, then, just as we have seen in the previous chapters concerning the attitude to festivals, processions

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and possessions, the Danish missionaries managed to create a distance between themselves and the catechists. In the matter of temporal help the catechists were the ones who continued the existing traditions of the all-around responsibilities of the ruler. Ritual sovereignty implied some responsibilities (most clearly expressed in the concept of raja-dharma) in other spheres as well, but this was not appreciated by the missionaries. There are other examples of this reluctance to extend help. After Ihle left Tirukoilur, the new missionaries did not want to get involved in legal matters. We have already mentioned how the missionary did not interfere when a man was kidnapped by his family, and then disappeared. The reaction of the missionary was not accidental, because it was a matter of policy not to get involved in court cases. At the Missionary Conference in 1872-73 it was argued by Rev. T. Spratt of the CMS Tinnevelly Mission that 'it is most unseemly for a catechist to be seen hanging about the courts and cutcherries'69- an attitude that seems to have matched perfectly the attitudes of the missionaries in Tirukoilur. Even if the Danish missionaries elsewhere, especially the missionaries of Melpattambakkam, did engage in lawsuits on behalf of their Christians, this finds no echo in the sources. There is no mention of any lawsuits taking place in Tirukoilur after 1890. We thus find in the Tirukoilur area a mass movement that coincided with and almost certainly was part of a general break ­ up of established patterns of dominion. It seems obvious that the conversions from the converts' point of view were more a way of establishing new bonds of dependency or allegiance than a 'm od ern izin g ' m ovem ent, and should be seen to be as 'conservative' or traditional as any other movement among caste groups attempting to establish a new identity within the caste hierarchy. In the first years of the mass movement, the Danish mission reacted exactly as it was supposed to do, caring for the converts both spiritually and materially, and accepting large groups of converts on the word of the headman or the head of the family rather than by examination of the faith of the individuals. After 1890, when Ihle had left, the missionaries discontinued the tradition of material care, and concentrated on spiritual care. Hereby the missionaries once again, as in the case of the rituals examined in the previous chapters, established a vertical system of dominance. This concentrated on the relationship between the individual and the missionary, i.e. on the relationship between

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individual action and the law enforcement of the missionaries. The mission did not succeed in establishing a new corporate identity for the converts in the way a corporate identity was understood in the villages. The Christians were not separated from their neighbours and families in any other way than by being subject to the rule of the missionaries in spiritual matters. As we have seen, the rule of the landlord or the village leader was far more extensive than that, and included both spiritual and economic matters. In the Tirukoilur area, at least, there was no question of the mission taking over the role of the landlord or village headman. This may be the reason why we find so relatively little information in the sources about persecution of Christians after approximately 1890. The landlords and village leaders had realized that the untouchables and the labourers were not going to be taken away from them after all (in spite of what it had looked like when Ihle was the missionary) and they could extend their dominion again and introduce the same harsh rule as before, not having anything to fear from the mission. The congregation in Tirukoilur grew in the following decades from about 300 in 1890 to more than 1,000 in 1920. This is an

Table 4: Mobility in the DMS Congregations - Siloam, Tirukoilur station, 1889-1920 1889 1896 1901 1906 1911 1916 -1895 -1900 -1905 -1910 -1915 -1920 No. of Christians

352

406

391

498

694

1094

% moved in % converted % ex -Catholics % children baptised

3.4 7.3 0.1 3.6

4.7 1.1 1.0 3.7

7.1 6.3 0.4 4.1

10.1 1.7 0.5 4.2

9.1 3.5 0.4 4.0

6.9 4.6 1.2 3.7

% moved away % relapsed % became Catholic % excluded

1.5 0.3

6.0 0.6 4.9

6.8 2.5 0.5

8.1 0.9 0.2 0.3

8.2 0.5

9.0 0.1

-

2.1

-

-

-

-



­

Notes: (1) Figures are five-year averages (1901-05, etc). (2) Moved in/away = migration from/to other Protestant mission stations. Source: Annual reports, DMS Archive 250,251,252, 255, 256

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impressive increase, especially in view of the short period of the mass movements and how abruptly they were stopped. As can be seen from Table 4 versus Tables 5 -7, this growth was mainly due to the natural increase, i.e. children bom to Christian parents. There was hardly any immigration, and the rate of conversion was the same as or below the increase caused by childbirth. What should be pointed out here is the stability of the congregation: we find only a very low percentage of relapses, even though relapses are what we hear most about in the missionary accounts. There is hardly any doubt that the mission schools were instrumental in keeping up an interest in the mission, especially as the schools turned out to be avenues for individual social mobility.70 But I doubt that the schools were what first drew the large groups of converts to the mission.

The Area of the MEP Mass Movements As mentioned earlier, the area where the MEP mass movements took place was situated between the two arms of the railway going from Villapuram to Madras and Vellore respectively. It was an area which suffered from low rainfall and frequent droughts. There were no rivers from which water could be obtained for irrigation, which meant that cultivation depended on private wells or on the storing of rainwater in public tanks. Dry crops (i.e. crops that did not depend on irrigation) were predominant, especially the sturdy types of millet such as ragi, kambu and varagu. In 1891 about 48 percent of the ragi in the entire South Arcot district was grown in the taluqs of Tiruvannamalai, Tindivanam and Villapuram.71However, as water resources were sufficient to allow pockets of land to be irrigated, the area belonged more to the 'third zone' discussed in chapter 2 than to the dry zone proper. The distribution of castes was different from what was found in Tirukoilur and other wet areas. There were not many Brahmins, and those who lived in the area were not the wealthy landowning Brahmins of the wet areas but rather poor, landless Brahmins working as temple priests or domestic priests whose only income was the salaries paid by the families who had the various rites performed.72Compared to the Tirukoilur area, there was a larger percentage of trading castes such as Chetties and Kaikalars as

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well as Muslims plus a larger percentage of Idaiyars, the chief shepherding caste. This pointed to the importance of cattle in the rural economy. All in all, there was a larger percentage of itinerant castes than in the wet zones. Livestock were an important power source for both ploughing and working the water- wheels, as well as providers of cow -dung for fuel and fertilizer, and of saleable items such as milk and curds. Cattle markets were common in the neighbouring towns of Polur, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai. We do not have any specific evidence concerning the distribution of landholdings but it probably resembled the situation anywhere else in the dry interior of South India at the time, with a small number of landholders owning the majority of the land.73However, in contrast to the wet areas, and especially in contrast to Tirukoilur taluq which we have just been discussing, the ratio of landless labourers to landowners was small. Furthermore, the bargaining position of the labourer was stronger than in the wet areas because agricultural production on the one hand was dependent on the control of labour and on the other hand it was easier for the labourer or smallholder to set up as an independent cultivator. The types of millet and other tough food grains grown on the small plots left the cultivator with enough spare time to earn an additional income as a wage -labourer but the additional work was not necessary for survival, as the small plots gave just enough for subsistence. In the discussion of the villages where the mass movements took place, one must distinguish between the movement which took place before the great famine of 1876-1878 and the movement which took place during and after the famine. It has been argued that the famine itself was instrumental in pushing large numbers of people in the arms of the missions and that people who became Christians during the famine did so not only in the expectation of becoming better fed and saved from starvation but also as a form of protest against the landlords and the British Raj, who were considered having failed to fulfil their moral obligations towards their dependants.74 It is therefore necessary to see whether it is possible to spot a difference between the pre -famine and the famine -period mass movements. The 31 villages which were the basis of the pre -famine movement were mainly composed of landowners - 62 percent of the agricultural population were landowners and only 29 percent agricultural labourers. Compared to the almost equal distribution between owners and labourers

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which was prevalent in the DMS villages in Tirukoilur, the difference is striking. Judging from this material alone, it seems that in these 31 villages we find a situation of small family worked holdings and a relatively insignificant number of larger holdings worked by hired labour. In the 12 villages which were the basis of the conversions during the great famine, the discrepancy was even greater.75 Here we find almost 73 percent were landowners and only 18 percent labourers in the entire agricultural population. On basis of this, there does not seem any reason to maintain Oddie's assertion that the mass conversion movement was carried from the wealthier strata of the agricultural population to the underprivileged strata.76

Changes in the Area of MEP Mass Movements The last half of the nineteenth century was a period of change in the dry regions where the MEP mass conversions occurred, perhaps even more so than in the wet areas. In consequence, the area of the MEP mass movement more and more took on the characteristics of the so - called 'third zone': a zone of settled agricultural production, small-scale landowners and a ready access to markets, credit and lines of communication. The first change to be noticed was the improved communication, especially the two railway lines that were completed between 1875 and 1895. By these means, the relatively isolated dry areas were put into direct contact with markets and commercial centres which traded not only with the major cities of India but also with overseas markets. These railway lines were established not out of commercial or economic considerations but out of m ilitary and strategic considerations, as well as with a view to facilitate the transport of grain to poor districts in times of famine. The first railways th erefo re did not connect the tra d itio n a lly strong and commercialized areas with one another or with major markets but rather connected centres of Imperial administration with each other and with poor, dry areas.77 This policy turned out to be beneficial for the area of MEP conversions. The triangular area between the railway lines was the area which in the last half of the century developed into the centre of ground -nut production in South India.78 As mentioned above, the ground -nut was a crop which grew equally well on wet

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and on dry lands and which did not require the heavy capital outlay of other commercial crops. It took only a short time to grow, freeing the land for a second crop. It was a crop which favoured small holdings. In the years from 1870 to 1914 the area under ground -nuts in South Arcot grew from 10,000 acres to more than 300,000 acres, which was more than a third of the total area under ground -nuts in the entire Tamil area.79 The pattern of landholding in the dry areas has been argued by David Washbrook to reflect an economy of influential landlords growing stronger by virtue of control of the land, control of the market and control of the system of credit.80 This view has been challenged by Bruce Robert, who instead argues for a system of independent, market- oriented small farmers very well aware of the changes in the market structure and well able to play the market to their own satisfaction.811have not had access to material which could directly prove or disprove any of these hypotheses for the MEP mass movement area. However, on the basis of the issue of pat tahs (deeds of landholding), Dharma Kumar has argued that between 1890 and 1940 there was a general tendency towards greater equality of landholding in the dry districts of the Madras Presidency than in the wet districts.82Furthermore, we know that the cultivated area in South Arcot and North Arcot expanded significantly in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Probably, as Bruce Robert has argued for other dry districts, this expansion came about through the introduction of a large number of small and marginal landholdings established on the previously more or less communally held wastelands.83Most of these wastelands had been used as grazing grounds for cattle, which were so important in the economy of the dry zones. By putting this land under the plough, the basis of the agricultural economy changed from a pastoral economy to a crop-oriented economy - a 'third zone' rather than typical dry zone area. Furthermore, a gradual settlement took place, whereby farmers and peasants replaced the nomadic, shepherding groups. As mentioned earlier, the villages of the MEP mass movement, both before and during the famine, showed a high percentage of landholders and only a small percentage of labourers. All this points to a situation where the number of landowners actually grew in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This settlement however, did not mean that the mobility of the population was curbed. On the contrary, we find in this area a far

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higher level of mobility than in the wet zones. We do not find so much of the cyclical work migration as in the Tirukoilur area, but we do find the kind of mobility which is usually connected with urbanization. Whereas the population generally grew only a little and the density of population remained at the same low level from 1871 to 1901, the urban centres in the ground -nut area (Tindivanam, Tiruvannamalai, Polur, and Vellore) increased at a much higher rate than other urban centres in southern India.84 Roland Lardinois has argued that most of the migrations within South India took place in connection with some kind of disaster, whether it be famine, cholera or plague.85 Even though this may be true for some areas, it was not the case in the area under investigation here. Looking at the mobility of the Danish congregations - no material of a similar nature is available for the French - we find that the more commercialized the area, the greater the mobility. The numbers in Tables 4-7 designated as respectively 'moved in' and 'moved out' represent the numbers which came from or went to another Protestant mission -station. The nearest Protestant mission station to the Danish stations in Tiruvannamalai was

Table 5: Mobility in the DMS Congregations - Bethanien and Emmaus, Melpattambakkam and Nellikuppam stations, 1891-1920

1891 1896 1901 1906 1911 1916 -1895 -1900 -1905 -1910 -1915 -1920 No. of Christians

126

140

166

157

153

187

% moved in % converted % ex-Catholics % children baptised

5.5 3.9 0.3 3.1

13.4 1.8

10.6 1.8

14.1 1.7

16.8 9.6

4.1

2.8

3.4

10.8 1.4 0.1 0.9

% moved away % relapsed % became Catholic % excluded

8.7 0.5 0.6

14.3 0.4

13.3 -

17.2 0.2

14.1 0.5

10.7 -

-

-

-

3.3

-

0.6

-

3.7

-

-

-

-

-

-

Notes: (1) Figures are five-year averages (1901-05, etc). (2) Moved in/away - migration from/to other Protestant mission stations.

Source: Annual reports, DMS Archive 250, 251, 252, 255, 256

-

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Tirukoilur 20 miles (almost 30 kilometres) to the south and the American Arcot mission in Vellore 45 miles (70 kilometres) to the north. Going from the stations in M elpattam bakkam and Nellikuppam there were Cuddalore 13 miles to the west, Tirukoilur 30 miles to the east and the Leipzig missions in Shiyali 40 miles to the south. Even though Tirukoilur was very centrally placed, having only a relatively short distance to two other Danish mission stations, this was the mission station with the least degree of mobility (see Table 4). The congregations in Tiruvannamalai and Melpattambakkam, contrary to what we saw for the Tirukoilur congregation, grew by immigration - and it was an immigration which took place over long distances. In the last decades of the nineteenth century we thus find a movement towards integration with a wider economic network, and a type of economic development which was very different from the development in the Tirukoilur area. Expansion of the cultivated area, change from a pastoral nomadic economy to a settled agricultural economy, m igration and urbanisation, improved lines of communication, economic integration everything points to a type of development which in later years

Table 6: Mobility in the DMS Congregations - Saron, Tiruvannamalai station, 1892-1920

1892 1896 1901 1906 1911 1916 -1895 -1900 -1905 -1910 -1915 -1920 No. of Christians

95

138

111

168

256

356

% moved in % converted % ex-Catholics % children baptised

7.8 14.1 0.7 3.6

4.2 0.3

13.2 0.5 0.8 4.8

6.2 0.4 8.5 4.3

13.2 5.1

4.7

13.6 4.5 0.1 6.3

% moved away % relapsed % became Catholic % excluded

4.2 -

7.9 1.6

11.3 2.1

8.9 0.5

5.4 0.4 0.4

8.1 0.3 0.1





-

-

-





-

5.9

-

0.3

Notes: (1) Figures are five-year averages (1901-05, etc). (2) Moved in/away * migration from/to other Protestant mission stations. Source: Annual reports, DMS Archive 250, 251, 252, 255, 256

-

4.2

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was to be described as 'modernisation'. Here economic develop ­ ment and social development did not necessarily take place within the framework of an established social order. Instead, the framework itself was undergoing subtle changes.

The French M ission and the Mass Movements Unlike the Danish mission, the French mission saw nothing wrong in extending temporal help to catechumens and converts. As early as 1872 Mgr. Laouenan had decided to pay a fixed sum to the catechumens to recompense them for the loss of daily wages suffered during the time they were under instruction to become Christians.86 Some of the French missionaries were not very happy with this arrangement, which they thought smacked of paying people to get baptized. However, the arrangement continued, even during the famine of 1876 -1878.87 During this famine, when the French mission established a wide network of relief camps, large numbers of people demanded to be baptized. Afterwards, a number of missionaries deplored the conversions

Mobility in the DMS Congregations - Karmel, Tiruvannamalai station, 1901-1915

Table 7:

No. of Christians % moved in % converted % ex -Catholics % children baptised % moved away % relapsed % became Catholic % excluded

1901 -1905

1906 -1910

1911 -1915

82

134

381

12.8 2.7 18.6 3.6

13.1 0.1 2.0 4.6

11.5 12.0 0.5 2.5

no data -

0.3

no data 0.8 11.6 0.1

no data 0.4 -

Notes: (1) Figures are five-year averages (1901-05, etc). (2) Moved in/away * migration from/to other Protestant mission stations. Source: Annual reports, DMS Archive 250,251, 252, 255,256

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which had taken place during the fam ine, judging these conversions to be too hasty and the converts to be unworthy of baptism. As proof of this, Father Fourcade held that a number of 'new Christians' in his district had participated in the village festivals which were held as thanks-offering to the village goddess who was supposed to have ensured the long awaited rain and plentiful harvest of 1879.88 However these objections were considered to be the enthusiastic and somewhat uninformed views held by a young missionary recently arrived from France and were brushed aside. Mgr. Laouenan argued that the number of apostates was relatively small and certainly not a sufficient reason to discontinue the practice of supporting the catechumens while under instruction.89 During the first wave of mass conversions in 1874-1875, i.e. before the famine, the French missionaries did not stop at this kind of help. They also actively took part in a court case concerning a group of agricultural labourers who had been repeatedly beaten up by their landlords. The case was first heard at the local court, where the judge demanded a bribe of 60 Rupees to decide the case in favour of the Christians. Rather than complying with this, the missionaries then took the case to the sub-collector in Tindivanam.90 How it ended, the sources do not tell us but the important thing was the action taken by the missionaries and the implicit promises of support they hereby gave the Christians. Another action taken by the French mission that was of great symbolic significance was the visitation of Mgr. Laouenan to the mass conversion villages during March 1875. He was received everywhere with enthusiasm and joy, and every village did its best to venerate the first Bishop in full pontifical costume they had ever seen. Mgr. Laouenan was received with fireworks, music, drums and torches, and - even more important - with offerings of bananas, coconuts, flowers, etc., signifying his importance as a spiritual and worldly leader, a person of almost kingly status.91 By this action the mission had demonstrated to the new Christians that they did indeed belong in a new, larger network of spiritual authority. During the famine several groups turned to the mission both to be baptized and to receive help. The French mission entered into a cooperation with the Protestant missions in the area to establish private relief camps, as well as with the British government. This was not done without some m isgivings, and with several declarations of how difficult it was to work with Protestants.92The

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French mission was able to hand out seeds and food even during the second year of the famine, when the lack of rain threatened to make all but the most prosperous members of society destitute. Only wealthy farmers and merchants had stored enough grain for this eventuality; all others had been forced to either eat what grain they had or risk planting it and watch it fail for the second year in a row. Handing out grain and seeds to the poor Christians had two effects, apart from the primary effect of holding off immediate starvation. The French mission acquired, or maybe rather stabilized, its position as a just ruler, one who fulfilled the expectations laid down in raja-dharma, who took care of the spiritual needs of his people and at the same time secured peace and prosperity. Significantly, this position was acquired not by upsetting the moral and social framework of society but by accommodation to existing rules and expectations. Once again we see how the French mission by its accommodating policy managed to give the converts a new sense of corporate identity that was part of and yet separate from the identity they had once had in the village. The French mission managed to sever the ties that bound the poor Christians to their village leaders and landlords, giving them new ties of dependency and all the while keeping them in their usual surroundings, in their existing family network. The second effect was closely related to the first. For the first time the European priests were forced to go out among the congregations and get to know them on a day-to-day basis. Hitherto this kind of assistance and daily encounters had been handled by the catechists, and the priests had only been summoned in cases of baptisms or festivals. Now, however, the congregations saw their priests working for them - and this action had the same kind of symbolic importance as the visitation by Mgr. Laouenan had had.93 During the famine the French mission extended yet another kind of help to their congregations by involving itself in actions that the Danish missionaries would never have dreamed of doing. In 1876 Father Darras was asked by a few members of his congregation to let them have the statues of St. Anthony and the Holy Virgin, and that these could be carried around in the village to ward of the cholera epidemic. The non - Christian village leaders were against it but the Christians did as they had planned and the Christian families were not touched by the epidemic. This is an example of the attempts to ward off epidemics and disaster by

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making not only the entire village but also the leaders of the supra - locality (in this case, the leader of the mission) participate in rites to propitiate the gods and to make them put and end to the disaster.94Once again, the French mission by their accommodating practices succeeded in bringing about change, as thereafter the entire village decided that the Christian saints must be more powerful than the village gods and goddesses and all villagers demanded to be baptized. As a last point in the discussion of the MEP mass movement I would like to stress something which most modern researchers have overlooked. The area of the MEP mass conversions was an area in which the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s had a considerable success. I suggest that this connection is no coincidence. John Harriss, who has studied the adaptation of the improved seeds of the Green Revolution (the so-called HighYielding Varieties, or HYV) in North Arcot in detail,95has several explanations of why this dry inland region should so willingly adopt both new technologies and new rice and millet, and turn North Arcot into a region with a surplus production of foodgrain. Harriss bases his examination partly on an analysis of the pattern of landholding. According to Harriss, the pattern of landholding was characterized on the one hand by a number of large landholders, engaged in surplus production, and on the other hand by a large group of small, self-sufficient family plots. The large holdings were worked with a heavy input of labour, capital and technology. More than half of the agricultural labourers attached to the large holdings had landholdings of their own, which they worked in their spare time with the help of family labour.96While the readiness to try new inputs and new types of technology was not dependent on the ability to read and write, or on the size of holdings (small farmers being just as willing as the larger farmers to attempt innovations), the costs of additional inputs - and the additional economic strain caused by dependency on loans - could be prohibitive for the smallest holdings.97 According to Harriss, what then were the consequences of the introduction of a new technology? Harriss answers the question by pointing to the increased social and economic importance of the people occupying an intermediary position between producer and market. In other words, there was a strengthening of the traditional patron -client relationship in a new form, with the 'patron -landlord' now more directed to channelling credit to

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177

producers and handling economic transactions between the villages and the outside world.98The question is, however, whether this is actually a change which came about as a direct consequence of the Green Revolution. I suggest that the willingness to change was rooted in the economic and social reorientations of the late nineteenth century. In the decades after the famine, the MEP mass movement's area took on the character of a 'third zone', first and foremost by its rapid integration into a commercial network. By a fortuitous coincidence, the new crop to come into prominence in the area - i.e. the ground-nut - was singularly well suited to buttress the status of small and middle - class peasants. The emphasis which Washbrook places on the influence of the moneylender-landlord may be justified for areas of a more clearcut dry character. However, there is no doubt that the links of credit and communication were part and parcel of a long term development that linked the area under consideration here with the market economy of the metropolitan areas. Thus the interest of the small farmers eager to take on new ideas and new technologies is not something peculiar to the late twentieth century. It was there in the 1880s and 1890s as well. The importance of the cash nexus, credit institutions and lines of communication with the outside world had been part of the economic and social realities of the mass movement area as well for almost a century before the Green Revolution. In this area even the poorest and most destitute part of the population was eager to listen to new ideologies, take up new opportunities and exchange the existing ties of dependence with another, wider religious and economic network that they found in the French mission. This brings us to the last point in John Harriss' analysis of the North Arcot area: the links between ideology and economic status. In the late 1970s and the early 1980s, the reigning theories of the Green Revolution stressed the possibility of social and political change, or indeed a revolution, mainly in consequence of caste consciousness developing into a class consciousness. In a dispute against these views, Harriss characterizes the pattern of ideological change as 'processual' rather than structural. By 'processual change' Harriss refers to changes ... [which] may re -arrange the elements of a structure and may be observed in changes in actual social relationships, but which do not change the principles of organization of the structure itself.99

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Mission and Tamil Society

Similarly, new ideologies are incorporated into and seem to reinforce rather than destroy the existing caste structure and ideological consensus. This is even true of new egalitarian ideologies (as found in the Marxist political parties) and in the cultural-national ideology of Tamil ethnicity. Using this distinction it seems to me that the structural change referred to by Harriss was something that took place in the mass movement area in the last decades of the nineteenth century. This was a change in the economic and social structure of society, and it was reinforced by the French mission and its actions during the mass movements. The area was one which in the 1870s and 1880s showed its adaptability not just to new economic opportunities but to new ideologies as well. Even though the changes that came about were not destined to overthrow the caste system or to further industrialization and modernization according to a Western model, nonetheless they were significant changes in the economic, ritual and ideological relationships within the villages. Thus, the discussion of whether the mass movements were 'traditional' or 'modernizing' movements is largely irrelevant for this specific area, as both terms refer to whether or not a movement succeeded in exchanging existing ideologies for Western ones. The area of the MEP mass movement was one where economic and ideological change was and is more easily attained than in the wet areas; it was and is an area open to new challenges. All the same, the changes did not lead to a revolution or a reformation of society along lines familiar to Western observers. The poor and untouchable groups in society were fortunate (or wise) in their appeal to the French mission. From its background in Roman Catholic missionary ideas and missionary practice, the MEP went a long way towards providing the converts with a new corporate identity without disengaging them from their social background. In this way, the French mission actually assisted in bringing about social change for the members of their congregations. It is an open question what the Danish mission could have accomplished in a similar situation - the mass movements in the wet areas around Tirukoilur did after all take place in a totally different environment, and the mass movements which were to take place in the dry region of Tiruvannamalai were twenty years away in the future. It must be concluded that it was not only in ritual matters that the Roman Catholic policy of accommodation in the long run was better suited to support changes within the system than the Protestant policy of unquestioning rejection of the caste system.

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Missionaries and Mass Movements

Notes 1

Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 213 -214.

1

Die katholischen Missionen (1880) p. 9 and ibid., 29 (1900 - 1901), p. 186.

1

See the discussion in Forrester, Caste and Christianity, pp. 69-96, 118135.

I

Hardgrave, Nadars, pp. 43 -70. Kooiman, Conversion and Social Equality, pp. 3-4, 16-20, 173-178. Kooiman debates whether the Shanars of Travancore may be classified as untouchables, but concludes that 'in the nineteenth century they were treated as such by their social environment'. Ibid., p. 16.

5

Bayly, Saints, pp. 321-341, 392-409.

5

Richter, Missionsgeschichte, pp. 225 -227. Oddie, 'Christian conversion ', pp. 76 -79. Oddie, 'Protestant missions', pp. 282 ­291. The view of the Cnristian missions as 'modernizing ' or 'equalizing ' has been criticized by Mosse, Caste, pp. 362-374; Bayly, Saints, pp. 314-315, 407-409, 447448 and Rudolph & Rudolph, Modernity of Tradition, pp. 132 -154.

7

Logstrup, Den nyere danske mission,pp. 148 -169. Th. Logstrup, Nordisk Missionshaandbog (Copenhagen 1889) pp. 12 -15. Letter from Albert Ihle, printed in DanskMissionsblad 15 (1880) pp. 71-75, 225-238. Albert Ihle to the Board, 2 August, 8 August and 28 September 1880, DMS Archive 252. Albert Ihle to the Board, Annual Report for 1880, 21 January 1881, DMS Archive 252.

8

Th. Logstrup to H.O. Lange, 23 January, 1 February and 15 August 1889, and Herman Jensen to H.O. Lange 16 March 1890, all in NyKgl. Samling 3736 (Royal Library, Copenhagen). Th. Logstrup to tne missionaries, 6 June 1890, DMS Archive 112. L.P. Larsen to the Board, 12 September 1894 and Chr. Schlesch to the Board, 11 September 1894, both DMS Archive 247. L.P. Larsen, Chr. Schlesch, Herman Jensen and Anders Larsen to the Board, March 1897, DMS Archive 245. It should be pointed out that Vilhelm Beck, the charismatic leader of the Home Mission and dominant personality in the DMS, advocated the baptism of as many as possible as soon as possible. The true spiritual conversion should then take place by 'Home Mission within Foreign Missions'. See Beck's two articles: 'Hvilke Fordringer maa man stille til en Missionaer blandt Hedningene ', Annexet til Indre Missions Tidende, 3 /1 (1892) pp. 1-9, esp. pp. 3 -4; and 'Om det danske Missionsselskab', Annexet til Indre Missions Tidende, 9 /6 (1898) pp. 89 -93.

9

For instance Johan Bittmann to the Board, 3March 1897,DMS Archive 245.

10

Estrid Hoff, Fra Karmel i Tiruvannamalai (Copenhagen 1917) pp. 10-31. Knud Lange, Blandt Pariaer (Copenhagen 1919) p. 8 -11. Poul Lange, Kortfattet Oversigt, pp. 29 -31.

II

Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, p. 6.

12

ibid., p. 8.

13

See the articles in G.N. Barrier, ed.,The Census inBritish India (Delhi 1971) and Baker and Washbrook, South India, especially p. 219 -231.

14

Gilbert Slater, Some South Indian Villages: Madras Economic Studies, 1. (Madras 1918) p. 4.

15

Slater, South Indian Villages, pp. 3-4.

180

Mission and Tamil Society

u

P.J. Thomas and K.C. Radhakrishnan, Some South Indian Villages. A Resurvey (Madras 1940) p. 170 -173.

17

Slater, South Indian Villages, pp. 7 -8.

18

ibid., pp. 8 -9. See also the description of pannaiyals in other parts of South India, ibid. p. 80, 209-210 (Tanjore), 229 (North Arcot), 139-241; and Gough, 'Caste ', pp. 30 ­31.

19

Report quoted in Hiejle, 'Slavery ', (1967) p. 115. See also Kumar, 'Agrarian relations: bouth India ', pp. 238 ­241.

20

Thomas and Radhakrishnan, Resurvey, pp. 174 - 177,181.

21

S.E. Berg to the Board, annual report (undated) 1890, DMS Archive 255.

22

S.E. Berg to the Board, 17 September 1893, DMS Archive 255.

23

A. Ihle to the Board, printed in Dansk Missionsblad, 15 (1880) p. 44.

24

Th. Logstrup, Den nyere danske mission blandt Tamulerne, pp. 166 -167.

25

Peder Andersen to the Board, September 1869 and December 1871, DMS-Archive 252. He hereby refers to the shrotriam villages, which were concentrated in the area around the Danish mission -station in Tirukoilur, and of which two were to be centres of mass movements.

26

In the independent state of Pudukkottai, two thirds of the arable land was under some form of inam. Dirks, Hollow Crown, pp. 407 -434.

27

Hjejle, 'Slavery ', pp. 117 ­119.

28

Slater, South Indian Villages, pp. 9,15 - 16.

29

ibid., pp. 8, 81-82, 210-211. This movement of Brahmins from the villages to the towns was one of the many aspects of the sociological and economic changes which took place in the late nineteenth centurv, and which were to be influential in the shaping of the twentietn century political situation in the Tamil areas. The development of the Draviaian, anti-Brahminical movement, which we cannot go into here, is analyzed in J. Pandian, Caste, Nationalism and Ethnicity. An Interpretation of Tamil Cultural History and Social Order (Bombay 1987) pp. 57 -71, and in more detail in R.L. Hardgrave, The Dravidian Movement, (Bombay 1965); Irschick, Politics and Social Conflict, and M.R. Barnett, The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India (Princeton 1976).

30

See for instanace S.E. Berg to the Board, 25 March 1892, DMS Archive 255, and Herman Jensen to the Board, 16 August 1897, DMS Archive 255.

31

Peder Andersen to the Board, 23 June 1875, DMS Archive 252.

32

Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 82-83,174-175. In Northern India the same problem was prevalent: in densely populated, wet areas labour for the irrigation works was recruited more or less by force either through the local landowners or through the Famine Relief schemes. Ian Stone, Canal Irrigation in British India. Perspectives on Technological Change in a Peasant Economy (Cambridge 1984) pp. 57-59,226-229. See also Selections from the Records of the Madras Government: Report on the District Roads (Madras 1854) p. 13, which mentions the need for compulsory labour.

33

Slater, South Indian Villages, pp. 43 -44. A similar development is sketched in Mosse, Caste, pp. 51 -54.

34

Slater, South Indian Villages, pp. 73 -74.

35

ibid., p. 81.

Missionaries and Mass Movements

181

36

ibid., pp. 13 -14. Thomas and Radhakrishnan, Resurvey, p. 180. A similar system was found in Tanjore by Kathleen Ck>ugh as late as the 1950s. Gough, 'Social drama ', pp. 349 ­ 350.

37

Gail Omvedt: 'Migration in colonial India ', Journal of Peasant Studies, 7 (1980) pp. 188-192. Hjejle, 'Slavery7, pp. 102-106.

38

ibid., pp. 192 -198.

39

Pamela Price,: 'Raja-dharma in 19th -century South India: land, litigation and largess in Ramnad Zamindari', Contributions to Indian Sociology, N.S., 1 3 /2 (1979) pp. 207-213. Fuller, Servants of the Goddess, pp. 91-111. Dirks, Hollow Crown, pp. 102 -104.

40

Eugene F. Irschick, 'Peasant survival strategies and rehearsals for rebellion in eighteenth century South India ', Spencer, ed., Temples, Kingsand Peasants, pp. 140-141,145-147,155-163. Dubois, Hindu Manners, p. 33.

41

David Arnold, 'Looting, grain - riots and government policy in South India 1918 ', Past and Present, 84 (1979) pp. 114 ­ 115.

42

ibid., pp. 126 -127,135 - 136. David Arnold, 'Famine in peasant conscious­ ness and peasant action. Madras 1876 -78 ', Ranajit CJuha, ed., Subaltern Studies, vol. 3 (1984) pp. 80-81. Guha, Elementary Aspects pp. 160-166. See also, for a discussion of the riots of the l930s, Irschick, Tamil Revivalism, pp. 111 -142.

43

Arnold, 'Famine ', pp. 71 -75. David Arnold, ' Cholera and colonialism in British India', Past and Present, 113 (1986) pp. 124 - 136.

44

Quoted in Neill, History of Christian Missions, p. 323.

45

See the report by Charles Hyde, Collector of South Arcot, on the institution of slavery in the district, Accounts and Papers ... Relating to Slavery in India, Parliamentary Papers 1828, vol. 24. Hyde daims that the slave -owners were 'required to provide them [their slaves} with food and clothing, to defray their weading expenses, and to assist them on the births of children, and in their funeral charges. The food differs according to the opulence of the owner, but is always suffident for subsistence... ' Abbe Dubois, who wrote the revised edition of his book in the same year as Charles Hyde wrote his report, describes the situation of the slaves in much darker terms. Dubois, Hindu Manners, pp. 49-51, 56-60.

46

Arnold, 'Famine ', pp. 80 ­81.

47

See also the pamphlet on pannaiyals by T.B. Pandian, who squarely puts the responsibility on the shoulders of the British Raj: 'It is not the Missionary oodies, nor any philantropic institutions, nor any private efforts that can remove tne disabilities of the Pariahs, but the Government, the Government alone can free the poor Pariah from all his disabilities and wrongs.' T.B. Pandian, The Slaves of the Soil in Southern India (3rd rev.ed., Madras 1893) p. 38.

48

Arnold, 'Famine ', pp. 103 ­ 108.

49

ibid., pp. 105 -109. Arnold, 'Looting ', pp. 114 - 116,136 ­ 139. See also the description in A. Ihle, Under Sydkorset. Naturen og Folkelivet i Sydindien (Copenhagen 1894) pp. 29-31 who described the 'new ' kind of British masters who appeared in the Relief Camps: T he "Famine -Gentlemen " ... were the comical element in the midst of this devastating misery; among living skeletons they walked around bursting with health and brandy, small kings, every one in his own realm ana everyone with a swarm of cringing servants, suppliers and even the odd sepoy at his

182

Mission and Tamil Society heels. Many a vagabond had suddenly turned civil servant ... ingratiating tongues elevated with Oriental sweetness the status of the man, whiskey and soda confused his mind ... what was left behind in most of these camps were empty bottles7.

50

Dubois, Hindu Manners, pp. 163 -166. Ihle, Under Sydkorset, p . 36. See also the letter from Herman Jensen to the Board, printed in Dansk Missionsblad, 16 (1881) pp. 90 -92.

51 52

Ihle, Under Sydkorset, pp. 47 -48. Dansk Missionsblad (1883) pp. 274-275. Dansk Missionsblad (1886) pp. 8689, 97, 322 -323.

53

A. Ihle, annual report 1884, DMS Archive 252.

54

A. Ihle to the Board, annual report, 21 January 1881, DMS Archive 252. It is not a coincidence that many of the leading men of the paricheri,s those who were the first to approach the mission (Danish as well as French) were or had been soldiers (sepoys) in the British army.

55

J.W. Pickett, Christian Mass Movements in India. A Study with Recommen­ dations (New York 1933) pp. 160 -165.

56

Chr. Schlesch to the Board, 23 April 1889 and 18 February 1890, DMS Archive 210. Dansk Missionblad 20 (1885) p. 25; and 21 (1886) p. 68. A. Ihle, Under Sydkorset,pp. 48 -49. Th. Logstrup, Thle og Siloam7, Gudelige Smaaskrifter, 2 9/3 4 8 (1887) pp. 14-23. As early as 18/9 Herman Jensen complained that Ihle was too willing to nand out money to the catechumens. Herman Jensen to the Board, undated 1879, DMS Archive 247. See also Henriette Bugge, 7Dansk mission i kastesamfundet: DMS i South Arcot 1860 -19007in Bugge and Steen, Dansk mission i Sydindien, pp. 36-38, 42-44.

57

Logstrup, Thle og Siloam7, pp. 28-29. Ihle, Under Sydkorset, pp. 91-99.

58

Dansk Missionsblad, 17 (1882) pp. 314 -316.

59

Dansk Missionsblad, 20 (1885) pp. 65, 72 -80. Dansk Missionsblad, 23 (1888) p. 87. Dansk Missionsblad, 25 (1890) p. 326. Dansk Missionsblad, 26 (1891) pp. 235, 241 -243.

60

Albert Ihle to the Board, 2 August 1880, DMS Archive 252.

61

G. Burkhart, 'Mission school education and occupation among Lutherans in a South Indian town7, South Asian Social Scientist, 1 /2 (1985), pp. 97 -118.

62

This seems to be what a number of scholars believe; probably because they are confusing the eventual outcome of the conversions (greater social mobility, literacy etc.) with what the converts expected from the missions. Frykenberg, 'Impact of conversion7, pp. 204 -205. Oddie, 'Protestant missions', pp. 2/6 - 291. Grafe, Tamilnadu, pp. 188 ­195.

63

S.E. Berg to the Board, 8 September 1891, DMS Archive 255.

64

S.E. Berg to the Board, 31 Dec. 1900, DMS Archive 255. One of many similar complaints is voiced by V.E. Moller, July 1909, DMS Archive 255.

65

See among the many notes on the conference the letter from Chr. Schlesch, 11 September 1894, DMS Archive 247. See also the letters from L.P. Larsen, 11 August 1897, and from Herman Jensen, 11 September 1894, both DMS Archive 247, voicing the same opinions.

66

Quoted in Chr. Schlesch, 'Minutes from the meeting7, 8 March 1897, DMS Archive 247. See also the separate letter, voicing the same opinions

Missionaries and Mass Movements

183

as Thomas, from Matthew to the Board, undated 1894, DMS Archive 255. 67

V.E. Moller to the Board, 4 January 1904, DMS Archive 255. S.E. Berg to the Board, 8 September 1891, DMS Archive 255.

68

See the letters from Vathakan to the Board, 3 January 1901, 3 January 1902, 10 January 1903, DMS Archive 251. See also tne letter from V. Gotzsche to the Board, 23 January 1901, DMS Archive 251, and the evaluation of the project by Morten Andersen, who could not see any hope of the untouchables becoming proficient farmers. Morten Andersen to the Board, 15 September 1902, DMS Archive 251. Even if the attitudes of the missionaries underwent a change after 1910, South Arcot district was in 1918 one of the few districts in Madras presidency where no Protestant mission except the Salvation Army had made use of the Government grants of waste land for the settlement of untou ­ chables. See Resolution on the Depressed Classes, Board of Revenue, Madras, IS March 1918, p. 6.

69

Report of the General Missionary Conference 1872 -1873, p. 219.

70

Burkhart, 'Mission school education ', pp. 97 ­105.

71

Statistical Atlas of the Madras Presidency (1895) pp. 236 -237.

72

In 1900 Herman Jensen mentioned the monthly salary for thetemple Brahmins in Tiruvannamalai to vary between 6 ana 12 Rupees per month, and that only the two highest ranking priests received 12 Rupees. This should be compared to the wages of a field labourer, who in tne same year in Bombay Presidency received between 2 and 3 annas per day, i.e. between 4 and 5 Rupees per month. Herman Jensen to the Board, 21 February 1900, DMS Archive256. Kumar, 'Agrarian Relations', p. 206. See also Fuller, Servants of the Goddess, chapter 3: 'The relative inferiority of the Brahmin temple priest ', pp. 49 ­71.

73

Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 137-168. Ludden, Peasant History, pp. 81-84, 137-141,147-155, 178-188.

74

Arnold, 'Famine ', pp. 74 -75. Forrester, Caste, pp. 75 ­ 79.

75

It should be kept in mind that we are here concerned onlywith the villages within the borders of the South Arcot district. The numbers alone (31 villages of pre- famine conversions, 12 villages of famineperiod conversions) ao not tell us anything about the comparative strengths of the pre-famine and famine-period mass movements, as the MEP mass movement took place in both North Arcot and South Arcot.

76

Oddie, 'Christian Conversion ', p. 69 ­ 70. See also Forrester, Caste and Christianity, p. 75 - 76.

77

J.M. Hurd, 'Irrigation and railways: Railways', Kumar and Desai, eds.: Cambridge Economic History, pp. 742 -743.

78

See the map 7.B. in Baker, Rural Economy, p. 386.

79

Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 145 -147.

80

Washbrook, 'Country politics', pp. 476 ­499. Washbrook, 'Economic development', pp. 68 -8z; Baker and Washbrook,Sou th India, pp. 12 ­19, 150 -203.

81

Bruce Robert, 'Economic change and agrarian organization in 'dry ' South India 1890 -1940: A reinterpretation ', Modern Asian Studies, 17/1 (1983), pp. 59 -78.

Mission and Tamil Society

184 82

Kumar, 'Lanownership and inequality ', pp. 242 ­254.

83

Robert, 'Economic change ', pp. 64 ­67.

84

Baker, Rural Economy, pp. 385 -388.

85

R. Lardinois, TJne conjoncture de crise demographique en Inde du Sud au XIXe si&de', Population, 37 (1982) pp. 385 - 387.

86

'Mandements de Mgr. Laouenan ' (15 March 1872) quoted in Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, p. 7.

87

Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, pp. 20 -21. Letter from Father Fourcade to Father Ligeon, 10 October 1874, Archive MEP vol. 1004, pi ce D .l.

88

89

Launay, Histoire, vol. 4, pp. 58 -59. ibid., p. 60.

90

Die katholischen Missionen (1875) pp. 39-40,171-174.

91

Compte rendu des Travaux de la Societe des Missions Etrangeres (1875) pp. 45 -46.

92

Darras, Cinquante ans, pp. 155-161,168-172.

93

Die katholischen Missionen (1878) p. 251 -254. Die katholischen Missionen (1880), pp. 213-214. Compte rendu (1876) pp. 39-40. Compte rendu (1877), pp. 40-44. Compte rendu (1878), pp. 45-47.

94

Darras, Cinquante ans, pp. 81 - 83. Die katholischen Missionen (1887) pp. 108 -110. Arnold, 'Famine ', pp. 71 ­ 74.

95

In 1906 a rearranging of the districts of Madras Presidency had taken place, leaving North Arcot district with large tracts of land which in the nineteenth century had been part of South Arcot. The area and specific villages studied by John Harriss lie within the area of the MEP mass movement.

96

John Harriss, Capitalism and Peasant Farming. Agrarian Structure and Ideology in Northern Tamil Nadu (Cambridge 1982) pp. 120-125,132-134, 198. Jonn Harriss, 'The limitations of HYV technology in North Arcot district: The view from the villaee ',in B.H. Farmer, ed., Green Revolution? Technology and Change in Rice-Growing Areas of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka (Cambridge 1977) esp. pp. 124 -132.

97

Harriss, Capitalism and Peasant Farming, p. 177.

98

John Harriss, 'Implications of changes in agriculture for social relation ­ ships at the village level', in Farmer, Green Revolution?, pp. 234 -243.

99

Harriss, Capitalism and Peasant Farming, p. 217, 221-242, 266-268, 280281.

Conclusion The interaction between Christian missions and Tamil society in the nineteenth century was complex and changed over time. In the preceding chapters I have argued that, in order to understand the complexities of this interaction, several important factors should be considered. First is the fluid and adaptable character of Tamil society as it was at the outset of British rule in South India. W hile the caste system may have been more rigid than contemporary social stratifications in Europe (and certainly was considered as such by many contemporary observers), we do not find the sharp divisions between communal groups that was to characterize much of Indian society in the years around the turn of the century. Communal identity was not static but could be exchanged for other communal identities which seemed better suited to the needs of the moment. The main characteristic of these wanderings back and forth across communal boundaries in the early part of the nineteenth century, however, was that they were usually group movements. Individual exchanges of one religious identity for another were uncommon. Strong bonds tied together political and religious authority, as found in the theories of raja-dharma and the ways of stabilizing and legitimizing royal authority through endowments of temples and other religious institutions, so important in the pre - British history of South India. The British administration in the early part of the nineteenth century also endowed and administered temples, thereby falling into the pattern of legitimization of earlier South Indian rulers. To the large groups which converted to Christianity in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Christianity offered the converts a new corporate identity, and the protection of a new political master, whether this master be the Portuguese rulers in Goa or the British rulers in Madras. This picture of South Indian society is very different from the picture presented in most missionary accounts of the mid - and late nineteenth century. In these accounts, the rigid caste system

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Mission and Tamil Society

and an intolerant Brahmin - dom inated H induism held the individual in a vicious and unbreakable bond; it was the duty of the missionaries to liberate the suffering heathens, breaking their bondage and helping them to become free, independent Christian individuals. This brings me to the second important factor to be considered when discussing the interaction between missions and society in South India. The views and expectations of the missionaries were partly determined by the ideological convictions of the members of the home boards and other bodies responsible for the education of missionaries. To a large extent the views of the missionaries changed once they arrived in India and settled in a mission station. This was due to the influence of new ideas and notions, especially of the relationship between European and native, the ruler and the ruled. That means that one should look at the ideological luggage the missionaries carried with them to India, how the missionaries were influenced by the colonial experience and how they reacted when their theories were confronted with the Indian reality. The third important factor to take into account is the economic and social conditions in the areas where the missionaries worked. The 'success' of any missionary society ­ whether one evaluated success in the number of conversions or in the sincerity of the converts - was dependent on the way in which the missionaries handled economic and social relationships in their congregations, how they changed these relationships, and what the converts expected from the missionaries in the way of social and political control. The conclusions drawn in the preceding chapters point to some very significant but hitherto often overlooked differences between the experiences of Roman Catholic and Protestant missions. The French society (the MEP) was very much aware of the fluidity of South Indian society and to a great extent based its work precisely on this fluidity. The French missionaries, like their Jesuit and Goanese predecessors, did not see it as their duty to change the social structure - including the caste system. On the other hand, the Danish mission (the DMS) perceived South Indian society in the terms of a strictly hierarchical, caste-ridden society - a view very much in accordance with the contem porary British anthropological writings. The Danish mission, by its inheritance from Evangelical Revivalism and strict Lutheran piety, maintained the view of Hindu society in general and the caste system in

Conclusion

187

particular as evil, and the basic character of man as sinful, redeemable only through the grace of God and a true conversion. The perpetual critique of the caste system, contrary to what has been argued elsewhere, was not a sufficient tool for the converts to break away from traditional society. Rather, in direct opposition to what the missionaries expected, their criticism of the caste system only served to strengthen the bonds that held the converts in the ritual and social hierarchy of the villages. The cases where the critique of the caste system did take hold and did serve to bring about social change and uplift for the most miserable sections of society were cases, like the Maratha politician Jotirao Phule, where the actors did not become Christians but made use of the missionary discourse in a political setting. The Danish m ission's insistence on individual conversions might have loosened individuals' ties to the existing hierarchical structure but served at the same time to cut them off from further contact with family and village. Conversion in large groups was, except for a few years in the 1880s, not something to be considered in the Danish mission until well into the twentieth century. In their contact with the catechists and native pastors - the intermediaries between the mission and the congregations - the Danish missionaries maintained a distance that only seemed to grow as the years passed. To a certain extent this distance may be explained as a consequence of the fact that most of the catechists were educated from other Protestant (but non - Lutheran) seminaries in South India. They therefore brought to the Danish mission a more 'lenient' view of the caste system than that being propounded in the DMS. More important - and more difficult to pin down in other than fleeting images ­ is the impression that in ritual matters the catechists were relegated to a position which may be described as that of a village pujari (lower-caste temple priest). The missionaries, on the other hand, took on a position similar to the Brahmin purohit, or temple priest, serving a higher and purer form of God. Thus, the catechists took on the exorcisms which were frowned upon or ignored by the missionaries. Similarly in economic and social matters, which the Danish missionaries main­ tained were not the concern of the mission, the catechists took on the position of middlemen, attempting to fulfil the role expected of a religious authority combining religious and secular powers. For a short while during the mass movements, the Danish mission attempted to fulfil this double obligation expected of

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them. The attempt proved abortive for two reasons. One reason was the shift in the mission's policy, the second was the economic and social conditions in the villages where the mass movements took place. This was a typical 'wet', core -zone area, dominated by the old Brahmin -Vellala elite, a rigid caste system and strong ties of ritual and economic dependency between landlord and agricultural labourer. Although these ties of dependency were loosening in the last decades of the nineteenth century, they were still too strong to allow a new authority like the mission to take over in the villages. All the same, when the mission threatened to take on all the responsibilities of a ruler, the £lite answered with persecution and violence against the groups which were about to shift their allegiance to the mission. The Danish mission, which had failed to establish a new corporate identity among its converts, in the following decades did extend its help to the converts in another way, i.e. through the mission schools. The schools did bring about upwards social mobility among the converts, but it was a mobility which took place over two or three generations and which was hard to foresee in the 1880s. The Roman Catholic missions were not as critical of the caste system, which they perceived as primarily a social institution, and had no intentions of disrupting either caste or society. By their accom m odating practice, severely criticized by Protestant missions, the French mission succeeded in giving its converts a new corporate identity at once within and separate from the social and ritual hierarchy in the villages. The French missionaries organized religious processions which were very similar to the traditional Hindu processions in and around temples. They organized rituals of exorcism which were also very similar to what the members of the congregations knew from village rituals. The French rites and rituals attracted many followers and attendants, many of whom were not (at least initially) Christians. In this way, the French mission became a part of the South Indian tradition of pilgrimage, attracting numerous followers who wished to partake in the sacred power abounding in the French shrines, churches and pilgrimage centres. The French missionaries willingly took on the role of secular rulers, as among other things is seen in the extended 'temporal' help given to the catechumens and converts, and in the truly royal manner in which the Archbishop's visitation was conducted. On the temporal plane, the MEP pursued a policy of accommodation

Conclusion

189

which was to prove very successful, based on a missionary theory which held that a mission should not attempt to change but rather build on social realities. On a ritual plane, the system of saints, sacred places and pilgrimages which characterized the French mission was singularly well suited to the South Indian religious world. On top of this, the mass movements in the French mission took place in an area which was well suited for change. This area was neither a typical wet nor a typical dry area but rather one I have named the 'third zone'. New lines of communication were being opened at the time of the mass movements, bringing the area into contact with local and metropolitan markets. The settlement which took place - changing the economy of the area from a nomadic pastoral economy to and economy of settled agriculture of small independent producers - and the introduction of easily marketable crops were all part of a social and economic movement towards greater independence for the poorer sections of society. This development was mirrored in a religious or ideological climate which favoured change, in the sense that the population of the area was open to new ideologies and willing to take on new social and religious ties of dependency, if this move could improve their lot and make them part of a greater socio ­ religious network. The poor peasants and labourers who were attached to large landholders did not risk the same degree of persecution as their fellows in the Danish mission area, who had been severely punished and persecuted when they attempted to free themselves of economic dependency by changing to new crops, or of ritual dependency by shifting their allegiance to the mission. A number of fortuitous circumstances thus happened to coincide, ensuring that the French mission with its policy of accommodation was far better suited than the Danish to support changes within the social system. We have thus come back to the main point of this study: the close connection between social and religious developments in nineteenth -century South India. What has been underlined here is the futility of attempting an analysis of the history of Christian missions without paying proper attention to the social and economic setting in which the missions acted and reacted. In the same way, it has been shown that social and economic historians can benefit from making using of missionary source material. Through the lens of the mission letters, it is possible to throw light on such matters as ritual hierarchies, systems of power, social

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mobility, migrations, political values, the status of the British Raj, modernization and economic change. Even though it is difficult material to work with, being often long -winded, tedious and biased, in the mission archives we have a rich font of information as yet largely untapped by researchers.

Glossary Brahmin settlement or hamlet; the Brahmin section of a Tamil village. alankaram adornment of a deity. anicut a dam or weir to direct river water into a channel bhakti devotional Hinduism. brahmadeya royally instituted land grants to Brahmins. Brahmin member of the priestly caste. Chakkiliyar member of the leather-working caste, ritually consi­ dered to be of lower standing than the untouchable Pariahs and Pallans. cutcherry an office of administration, a courthouse. dry land unirrigated land. guru teacher, judge, master. Idaiyar member of the shepherding caste. inam tax-free lands or lands granted at reduced rates. jaghir estate, domain. Kaikalar member of the itinerant weaver/trader caste. karnam village accountant. kovilpillai temple assistant, "beadle"; in Christian churches, the catechist. mandalam country, kingly region in medieval South India. mirasdar holder of mirasi right; landholder holding land in communal ownership with others. mirasi rights of communal landholding. Mudaliyar member of one of the major trading castes. munshif village headman, whose job it was to collect revenue. nadu locality, region, country; may also designate a locality assembly. nawab independent Muslim ruler. nayak viceroy under the Vijayanagar empire. outcaste misleading term applied to untouchables, implying incorrectly that untouchables are outside the caste system.

agraharam

192 paddy Pallan

Mission and Tamil Society

unhusked rice. member of one of the two major untouchable castes in the Tamil area. panchayat caste- or village-based council. Pariah member of one of the two major untouchable castes in the Tamil area. paricheri segregated area of the Tamil village where the untouchables lived, demon, evil spirit, ghost. pey pir Muslim holy man or saint. poligar also written palaiyakkarar; little king, local ruler. pujari non -Brahmin temple priest. purohit Brahmin priest officiating at domestic rituals, Reddi member of one of the major cultivating castes, ryot cultivator holding land on an individual basis and paying tax directly to the king or the British govern ­ ment. ryotwari the revenue settlement with individual cultivators introduced in the Madras presidency by the British in 1803. sabha legislative council, sannyasi renouncer, ascetic. shakti divine, female power; the divine power personified in the goddess. sthalapurana temple myths telling about the foundation and the central cult of the temple. subah administrative division of land under the Moghul empire. subahdar military chieftain ruling a subah. tali necklace tied around the neck of a woman at the time of marriage; worn as an emblem of marriage, taluq administrative sub-division of a district. tantra Sanskrit texts dealing with secret practices aiming at the purification of the body and the fulfilment of worldly desires. temple car used in ritual processions. ter village; the village as deliminated by the goddess. ur Vellala the usually dominant land-owning and landcultivating caste of South India. zamindar landlord.

Sources and References Unpublished Sources Danish National Archives, Copenhagen Archive o f the Danish Missionary Society: vol. 16, Copies of letters and despatches to the missionaries vol. 46, Minutes and Decisions of the Board vol. 112, Letters from Th. Logstrup to the missionaries, 18901912 vol. 210 -212, Letters and reports concerning the missionaries vol. 245 -247, Letters and reports of a general nature vol. 250, Bethanien, Pattambakkam. 1862-1900 vol. 251, Emmaus, Nellikuppam. 1900-1921 vol. 252-253, Siloam, Tirukoilur, 1869-1922 vol. 254, Bethesda, Kallakurichi, 1893 -1919 vol. 255, Saron, Uruvannamalai, 1891-1925 vol. 256, Karmel, Tiruvannamalai, 1898-1931 Private personal archives: no. 1752, Peter Bone Falk Ronne no. 5163, Carl Bindslev no. 5845, L.P. Larsen no. 6047, V.E. Nielsen no. 6998, Th. Logstrup Royal Library, Copenhagen Ny KgL Samting: no. 3736, Letters to H.O. Lange no. 3550, Letters to Ludvig and Charlotte Schroder no. 4487, Letters to Poul Bjerge

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Thott's Samling: no. 1183, Letters of the Jesuit mission in Madurai, 17th -18th centuries. Archive de la Soci£t£ des M issions £trang&res de Paris, Paris

Section Mission de Pondichery: vol. vol. vol. vol. vol. vol. vol. vol. vol.

996, Letters 1801-1814 997, U tters 1814-1827 998, Letters 1828-1834 999, Letters 1835-1841 1000, Letters 1842- 1847 1001, Letters 1848- 1855 1002, Letters 1856- 1860 1003, Letters 1861-1871 1006, Proposition sur les usages indiens, etc., 1859.

Indian Church History Archives, United Theological College, Bangalore (India) Leipzig Evangelical Lutheran Mission, no. 5. A. Statistical Tables. Archbishop's House, Pondicherry (India) Statistical Tables of the congregations in Pondicherry, 1839-1891

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Printed Sources Official Publications Accounts and Papers... relating to Slavery in India 1828 (Parliamentary Papers 1828, vol. 24). Copy of a Despatch, dated the 31st day of March 1841... on the subject of further separating the Government of India from all Connexion with the IDOLATRY and SUPERSTITION of their Hindoo and Mahommedan Subjects (Parliamentary Papers 1841, vol. 17). Report on Slavery in India, 1841, Madras 1841. Appendices to the Report on Slavery in India, 1841, Madras 1841. Reports on the Swinging Festival and the Ceremony of Walking through Fire (Selections from the Records of the Madras Government, No. VII), Madras 1854. Reports on the District Roads (Selections from the Records of the Madras Government), Madras 1854. Papers Relating to the General Revenue Survey of the Madras Presidency 1858-60 (Selections from the Records of the Madras Government, No. LIII), Madras 1860. Report of the Madras Inam Commission 1858-1869, Madras 1869. Returns of Agricultural Statistics of British India for 1884-1885 (Govt, of India, Revenue and Agriculture Department), 1886. Charles Benson, A Statistical Atlas of the Madras Presidency, Madras 1895. Rainfall Statistics 1870-1906 (Selections from the Records of the Madras Government), Madras 1907. Proceedings and Resolution on the Depressed Classes (Board of Revenue, Madras; Revenue Settlement, Survey, Land Records and Agriculture. Proceedings No. 6 0 ,18th March 1918) Madras 1918.

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English) Compte Rendu des Travaux de la S ociiti des Missions ttrangdres Annales de la SociM des Missions ttrangtres

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1858). Report of the General Missionary Conference 1872-1873 (Allahabad

1873). Report of the Missionary Conference of South India and Ceylon 1879, vol.I - II (Bangalore 1879). Report of the Third Decennial Missionary Conference 1892-1893

(Bombay 1893). Report of the Fourth Decennial Missionary Conference 1902 (Madras

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Japan. Ihre Organisation und das portugisische Patronat vom 15. bis ins 18. Jahrhundert (Paderbom 1915). Alexander, H.M.L., 'Discarding the "Steel Frame". Changing images among Indian civil servants in the early twentieth century', South Asia, vol. 5, no. 2 (1982), pp. 1-12. Amalorpavadass, D.S., 'Efforts made in the Roman Catholic Church towards Indigenisation', Bangalore Theological Forum, vol. 5, no. 1 (1973), pp. 1-30. Appadurai, Arjun, 'Kings, sects and temples in South India, 1350 -1700 A.D.', Indian Economic and Social History Review, vol. 14, no. 1 (1977), pp. 47-73.

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Index A

B

'accommodating practice'. See caste: 'accommodation' to accommodation to local custom 47, 175,176 Agamudaiyans 45 agricultural labourers 16,2 3 ,2 6 ,2 9 , 35,86,150 - 154,168,174,176,188. See also labourers agricultural production 14,18,20, 2 5,26,30. 32,168,169 surplus 27,176 Ahmednagar 19 Alladhy 145 American Arcot Mission of the Re­ formed Church in A 64,84,172 American Board of Foreign Missions 64 American Madurai mission. See Madurai: mission Andersen, Morten 67,68 Andersen, Peder 66,94,119,155 Arabian Sea 41 Arcot North. See North Arcot South. See South Arcot asceticism 46,102 - 103 ascetics. See sannyasi Asiatic Society of Bengal 59 Attipakkam 145 Aurangzeb 22 authority 15 - 17,24,25,26,27, 111, 117,119,123,155. See also Church: authority of missionaries' spiritual 82,112,116, 119,120,135 political 15,24,185 redistribution of 18 religious 20,103,123,174,185 secular 103 spiritual 174 study of 111

Babus 96 Bangalore 34 Banjaras 34 baptism 2 ,4 3 ,4 9 ,7 9 ,8 0 ,8 1 ,1 2 0 ,1 4 4 Basel mission 64,84 Beck, Vilhelm 67,95 Benedict XIV, Pope 49,123 Berg, Sofus 67,68,15 1 ,1 6 3 Beschi, Father C.J. 45,58 Bethanien 66,100 Bethesda 71 bhakti devotionalism 17,45 Bible Bible studies 95 reading of 60 translations of 5 4,5 8 - 60 ,64 ,65 ,72 Bible women 81 Bijapur 19,22 ,47 Bittmann, Johan 69 bonded labour 14,2 1,3 5,1 50 Bonnand, Mgr. 52 - 54,91 Bordou, Father 102 Bowanagiri 33 Brahmins 1 6 ,2 0 ,4 4 ,4 5 ,4 8 ,5 7 ,6 6 , 82 ,8 5 ,8 7 ,9 2 ,1 0 3 ,1 0 4 ,1 2 4 ,1 2 8 , 146,152 - 154,161,162,163,167, 186,187,188. See also priests: Hindu; temples: priests Bresillac, Mgr. Marion de 82,90,104, 126-127 Brigot, Mgr. 51 British administration. See colonial administration British courts. See courts: British British East India Company 25,59, 61,62 recruitment policy of 87 British Raj 2 2,33,155,190 recruitment policy of 87 Britto, John de 4 5 ,4 6 ,4 7 ,6 1 ,1 2 7 ,1 2 8 Buddhism 17

216 Calcutta 59 Capuchins 4 7 ,4 8 ,4 9 ,5 6 . See also Franciscans caste 2 ,5 ,1 5 ,1 7 ,1 9 ,2 0 ,2 1 ,4 8 ,5 7 , 5 8 ,6 0 ,6 5 ,6 6 ,8 2 ,8 4 ,8 8 ,9 2 ,9 3 , 101,102,114,115,118,119 - 121, 123,129,131,143,146,153,159, 160,162,167 'accommodation' to 4 4 ,4 5 ,4 8 ,7 2 , 90,122,130,142,178,188 - 189 associations 3 attitude to 61 ,6 2 ,6 3 ,6 5 . See also 'accommodation' (above) exclusion from 116,117,123 hierarchy. See also hierarchy new iaentity within 165 identity 1,29 - 30,90,123 laws 116,118. See also panchayat ranking 5 ,1 9 ,3 0 ,8 9 ,9 3 . See also hierarchy sensibilities 50 status 29,91,118 structure 178. See also hierarchy system 1 7 ,1 9 ,2 0 ,3 0 ,4 5 ,6 7 ,7 2 ,9 0 , 91,97,103,104, 111, 129,144,163, 178,185,186,187,188 views on 2 ,4 4 ,4 5 ,5 7 ,6 7 ,9 7 Catechism 58 catechists 9 ,4 8 ,5 4 ,6 7 ,6 8 ,7 2 ,7 9 - 1 0 5 , 112,116,118 - 120,121,122,124, 133,134,135,164,165,175,187 education of 88 -96 recruitment of 82 -88 catechumens 80,81,101,161,173,174 celibacy 43,8 0 ,1 0 2,1 03 ,1 25 census 5 ,30 1871 13,34,146 Ceylon 154,156,159 Chakkiliyars 143,145 Chetpet 128,145 Chetties 34,146,167 Chidambaram 147,153 China 48,51 Chinglepet 25,53,145,151 Christianity. See also individual mis­ sions as 'the crown of Hinduism' 69,99 conversion to 1 ,2 ,4 ,6 ,4 3 - 4 5 ,6 0 , 62,71,72,80,86, 111, 143,160,185 influence of 72,114 message of 45,67 new concept of 69 shaping of 3

Mission and Tamil Society Christians. See also congregations; ' rice Christians' persecution of 91,160,162,166, 188,189 Church authority of 116. See also authority discipline 9,111 -136 hierarchy 97,116. See also hierarchy leadership 96 -104 rituals 129 Roman Catholic 42,60 Church Missionary Intelligencer 133,134 Church Missionary Society 63,84, 85,98,165 Church of Scotland Foreign Mission 63 Church of Sweden Mission 61,71,72 churches building of 1 ,9 ,4 1 ,4 4 ,5 2 ,7 9 ,8 6 first Christian 41 maintenance of 52 reservation of 48. See also caste: 'accommodation ' to Roman Catholic 49,133 Clement XIV, Pope 50 clothes, as indicator of ritual ranking 4 5 ,8 8 ,8 9 ,9 6 ,1 0 7 CMS. See Church Missionary Society Cochin 4 1 ,4 2,4 9 Coimbatore 5 1 ,6 3 ,8 2 ,1 4 3 Diocese of 56,90,145 mission 53,54 seminary 82 colonial administration 5 ,1 5 ,2 5 ,2 7 3 2 ,7 2 ,8 8 ,9 5 ,1 1 8 ,1 2 7 commerce 33-35,41,50,176-178 communal identity. See identity: communal ccomunion 4 8,54,57,119,120,121 complementarity 123 conflicts, social 18 Congregatio de Propaganda Fide. See Propaganda Fide congregations control of 9 ,6 3 ,6 7 ,7 2 ,7 9 ,8 1 ,1 1 2 , 116,122 means of control 119 'spiritual' control 121 establishment of 1,41 - 42,61,64, 66,80 exclusion from 116,118,121,124, 130,131 Roman Catholic 2 ,5 0 ,5 4 ,1 0 1 ,1 2 6 , 132

217

Index control. See congregations: control of conversion. See Christianity: conver­ sion to. See also Islam: Christian conversions to converts 2 ,3 ,5 ,6 ,4 4 ,4 5 ,5 8 ,6 0 ,6 4 , 67,68,114,128 Coromandel coast 2 2 ,3 3 ,3 4 ,4 3 ,5 6 corporate identity. See also identity of congregation 43,122,129,130 of converts 93,142,166,175,178, 185,188 of students 93,122 cotton 3 3 ,3 4 ,5 6 ,8 6 ,1 5 5 Counter-Reformation 43,60 courts 87,161,162 British 30,79,85,117,118,151, 155 - 156,159,160 court cases 165 of Nawab 117,118 Cranganore 49 credit 158,169,170,176 Criminal Tribes Act of 1870 19 crops, new 30,154 Cuddalore 33,34,35,47,56,60,64,71, 8 7 ,91 ,10 1 ,1 4 7,1 49 ,15 3 ,15 7 ,1 7 2 cultivation 1 7 ,1 9 ,2 1 ,3 1 ,3 2 ,1 6 7 . See also agricultural production expansion of 19 pattern of 148

D Danish East India Company 56,61 Danish Home Mission. See Home Mission Danish mission. See missions: Danish Danish Missionary College. See Missionary College Danish Missionary Society 7 - 8,9,43, 62,64-71,72,80,81,84-87,94-96, 99,100,102, 111, 112 -114,115,116, 118-122,124-125,129,134-136,142, 144,146,161-167,173,178,186-188 seminary 87,101 Dansk Missionsblad 113,134 Darras, Father 122,128,176 debt bondage 151,157,160. See also bonded labour demons 125,132 -136 combating 127 killing 129 dependency, ties of 3,2 8 Desayi Chetti 117

devotional literature 45 DMS. See Danish Missionary Society domination. See also congregations: control of political 1 6 ritual 16 Dominicans 42 Dresden Missionary Society. See Leipzig mission dry areas 2 7 ,2 8 ,2 9 ,3 0 ,3 2 ,6 8 dry zone 30 ,3 3 ,3 5 ,1 6 7 Dubois, Abb£ J.A. 52,58,116,121 Duff, Alexander 60

E East India Company. See British East India Company. See also Danish East India Company eating habits 122 economic change 5 economic conditions 6 economic development 6 economic relationships 5 education. See Indians: education of. See also mission schools egalitarianism 129,144 Emmaus 71 Enlightenment 57,89 equality, principle of 119. See also egalitarianism Evangelical Revival. See revivalism Evangelicals 6 2 ,6 3 ,9 6 evil spirits 132. See also demons; exorcism exclusion. See punishment. See also congregation: exclusion from exorcism 132 - 135,187,188 exorcists 135

F Faering, Esther 71 famine 18,22,26,50,54,55,67,71,144, 146,157-159,168,173,174-175,177 festivals 6,49,80,92,104,123 - 125, 127,128,129,131,132,161,164 'heathen' 119 fire-walking 118,131,132. See also penance food-crops, production of 15. See also agricultural production; culti­ vation

218 food-grains 15,33,34,148. See also rice Fort William College 59 Fourcade, Father 174 Franciscans 42,47,48. See also Capuchins. French Revolution (1789) 8 ,5 1 ,5 2 Frimodt-Moller, Dr. Christian 70 funeral rites 124 G Gandhi, Mahatma 1,71 gift-giving 15,104 Gingee 22,47,128 Goa 4 2 ,4 3 ,4 9 ,5 1 ,5 5 ,6 0 goddess, village 1 5 ,1 8,2 0,57 ,1 2 3 , 124,125,126 - 132,158,174,176 Godelle, Mgr. 54 Golconda 19,47 Gotzsche, Valdemar 100-101 Gounders 82. See also Vellalas Green Revolution 176,177 ground-nuts 32,149,169,171,177 Grundtvigian movement 64 - 65,66,95 guru 46,117 - 119,122,127 H Hansen, N.P. 69 Hastings, Warren 59 healing 126 Hubert, Mgr. 52 Hebron 68 hierarchy 134,142 divine 135 notions of 121,122 social 104,154,187 Hindu culture 17 priests. See priests: Hindu reformers 59 rituals. See rituals: Hindu rulers. See kings Hinduism 8 ,2 0 ,5 7 ,5 9 ,6 2 ,6 3 ,6 9 ,9 9 , 100,112,186 Hindus 33,60,123,160. See also Brahmins clashes with Christians, Muslims, etc 23,123 persecution of Christians. See Christians: persecution of Holy Communion 120,121 Holy Virgin 125 - 130,128,132,133,

Mission and Tamil Society Home Mission 67,95,144 hook-swinging 131. See also penance horoscopes 43 humility 97 Hyderabad 24,47

I Idaiyars 168 identity. See also corporate identity caste. See caste: identity Christian 125 communal 24,29,185 religious 1 ,3 ,5 ,4 3 , 111, 185 Ihle, Albert 6 7,6 9,9 9,1 22 ,14 4 ,1 5 2 , 160,161 - 163,165 immigration 167 impurity 4 5 ,4 8 ,5 8 ,1 0 4,1 23 ,12 6. See also pollution inam 15,20,153 - 154 inclusion 123 Indian church 70 independence of 96-104 Indian Civil Service 87-88 Indian Mutiny (1857-58) 87 Indian society, hierarchical nature of 136. See also hierarchy: social Indians character of the 50,96-100,113-116 education of 59,155 indigo 33 ,56,149,155 Indochina 48,51 Indre Mission. See Home Mission Inquisition 43,50 intemperance 62,114,115 intoxication 119,124 irrigation 15, 19,20,31 - 33,87,149, 155,156,159,167 Islam 3,23 - 24,41. See also Muslims Christian conversions to 50. See also missions: Muslim

j jaghirs 25,27 Jainism 17 Jensen, Herman 65,66,68,72,94,144 Jesuits 2 ,6 ,4 1 - 5 0 ,5 1 ,5 2 ,5 8 ,9 0 ,1 0 2 , 103,125,143,186. See also mis­ sions: Jesuit Jews 41 journals. See missionaries: journals of jurisdiction. See courts: British

Index

K Kaikalars 34,146,167 Kallakurichi 71 Kallars 19,61 Karikal 90 Karmel 68 Karuni 144,160 Kilakondur 144 kings 6 ,1 5 - 1 7 ,1 9 ,2 0 ,3 0 ,3 1 ,1 0 3 kingship 1 5 ,1 7 ,1 8 ,2 5 ,4 3 ,1 0 4 Kipling, Rudyard 96 Kofoed, Christian Lange 67,68 Konkanis 82. See Vellalas Kumbakonam 63

L labourers 1 6 ,2 0 ,2 6 ,8 6 ,1 5 5 ,1 5 6,1 60 , 163,166,168,170,189. See also agricultural labourers landless 29 land ownership 28-30,149-151,154. See also landowners landlords 7,19,27,29,166,170,176,188 Brahmin 162,163 landowners 16,86,87,150 - 156,157, 158,159,160,161,168,176 Laouenan, Mgr. 54 - 56,98,99,102, 115,173 -175 Larsen, L.R 69,100 laws of heredity 115 Leipzig Evangelical Lutheran Mission. See Leipzig mission Leipzig mission 7 ,6 1 ,6 3 ,6 4 ,6 5 ,7 1 , 72,92,113,172 Leo XIR, Pope 55 Leroux, Father 82,90 - 91,93 letters. See missionaries: letters of litigation 159. See also courts Logstrup, Th. 113 -115,161 London mission 89. See also Travancore London Missionary Society 63,84, 89,98,114 'love feasts' 90,92 ­ 93,97 Loventhal, Eduard 66 Luquet, Father 82,90

M Madigas 143 Madras 4 1 ,6 0 ,6 3 ,6 8

219 Madras Presidency 7 Madras Tamil Mission of the Free Church of Scotland 97 Madurai 2 5 ,5 8 ,9 3 ,1 2 7 mission 4 4 - 4 5 ,4 6 ,4 7 ,5 1 ,5 4 ,5 7 ,8 4 , 89,102,125,143 seminary 92 Magny, Father 97 Malabar coast 1 4 ,2 3 ,4 1 ,4 2 ,1 2 5 Malabar mission 47,51. See also Pondicherry mission 'Malabarian rites' 4 3 ,4 4 ,48 ,12 3 Malas 34,143 Mandalams 15,19,21 Mannargudi 33 Mappilas 23 Marathas 22,24 Maravas 45,143 markets. See also commerce agricultural 149 establishment of 154 mass 10 mass conversions 50,55 mass movements 8 ,1 0 ,4 3 ,6 8 ,7 1 , 142 -178,187,189. See also mass conversions Masulipatnam 47 Matthew (native pastor) 100 Mayaveram 71 Melpattambakkam 3 5 ,6 5 ,6 6 ,7 1 , 100,101,160,165,172 MEP. See Societe des Missions Etrangeres de Paris migration 25 ,26,156,157,171,172, 190 millet 149,167,168,176 mirasdars 2 1 ,3 0 ,3 1 ,8 6 ,1 5 5 mirasi 150 system 21,26 mission schools 5 4 ,5 9 ,6 0 ,6 4 ,6 6 ,6 8 , 69 ,7 2 ,7 9 - 8 1 ,8 6 ,9 5 ,1 4 4. See also Indians: education of missionaries 48 accounts of 4,152,185 authority of 103,135. See also authority Danish 65-71,79,86,94-96,99, 100-102,113,114,115,118-121, 124,135-136,151-154,160,164, 165,175,187. See also Danish Missionary Society (continued)

220 missionaries (continued) education of 9 5,96,186 'enlightenment' of 95,9 6 female 70. See also Fcering, Esther; Petersen, Anna Marie French 5 2 ,5 4 ,7 9 ,8 9 ,9 1 ,9 3 ,9 7 , 100,115,174,188 - 189. See also Societe des Missions Etrangbres de Paris Jesuit 6 ,4 3 - 5 0 ,5 7 ,5 8 ,8 9 letters of 4,8 - 9,96,1 15 ,1 1 8 ,1 5 3 , 189 Portuguese 42,49. See also Jesuits power of 96,104 Protestant 2 ,4 5 ,9 3 ,1 2 2 ,1 2 4 ,1 3 5 , 144 reports 1 ,2 ,4 - 5 ,3 5 Roman Catholic 93,103,124 magazines of 45 Missionary College 56 ,6 4,9 4 missionary conferences 114 General Missionary Conference (1872-73) 165 Bombay Missionary Conference (1892-1893) 61-62,99 Missionary Conference of South India and Ceylon (1879) 98 South India Missionary Confer­ ence (1858) 63,114 synod at Diamper (1599) 43,44 synod at Pondicherry (1843-44) 54, 8 2,89,102 Third Decennial Missionary Con­ ference (1892-1893). See Bombay Missionary Conference above missions. See also individual missions Anglo-Saxon 6 1 ,6 3 ,7 2 ,9 5 ,9 6 ,9 9 , 101,114 civilizing 114,115,119 Jesuit 2 ,8 ,4 1 - 5 0 ,5 1 ,5 8 ,6 0 ,9 0 ,1 0 4 , 126,129,142 Muslim 10 Portuguese 52. See alaso Jesuits Protestant 2 ,3 ,7 ,8 ,9 ,4 4 ,4 6 - 4 7 ,5 2 , 5 4 ,5 5 ,5 9 ,6 0 ,6 3 ,6 5 ,6 8 ,6 9 ,7 1 ,8 1 , 86 ,9 0 ,9 2 ,9 4 ,9 6 ,9 7 ,9 9 ,1 0 1 ,1 1 2 , 116.143.164.171.174.186.188 early 56-64 Roman Catholic 2 ,3 ,9 ,4 1 - 5 6 ,6 0 , 7 1 - 72,87,96,97,112,125,132, 143.186.188 Missions-Collegiet. See Missionary College mobility. See social mobility. See also population mobility money-lending 7 ,2 7 ,6 7

Mission and Tamil Society Mudaliyar 82 Mughal empire 7 ,2 2 ,2 7 Mukkuvas 43 Muller, Max 99 Muslim rulers 31. See also nawabs Muslims 3 ,1 8 ,1 9 ,2 2 - 2 3 ,3 0 ,3 3 ,6 0 , 123,127,146,168. See also Islam; missions: Muslim 'communal' riots 23. See also Hin­ dus: clashes with Christians, Mus­ lims, etc diversity of 23 system of justice 118 Mylapore 4 1 ,4 2 ,4 8 ,4 9 ,5 1 ,5 2 Mysore 2 4 ,4 5 ,5 0 ,5 1 ,6 3 ,1 4 3 Diocese of 56,145 mission 52 -54

N Nadars 86. See also Shanars Nagapattinam 33,47 native clergy. See priests: native Christian nawabs 7,22 - 27,117,118 nayaks 22 ,4 4 ,4 7 Negapatinam 33 Nellikuppam 71,100,172 Nobili, Robert de 44 - 46,45,46,49, 89,102,104 North Arcot 7 ,1 3 ,2 6 ,2 7 ,3 3 ,4 7 ,5 3 , 6 4,117,128 ,1 4 5 ,1 7 0,1 76 ,17 7

O

obedience 97 occupation 5 ,3 5 Ochs, Carl E. 65,66,113,114,134 oil-seeds 32,149. See also ground-nuts

P padroado 4 2 ,4 8 ,5 6 ,8 7 . See also Portuguese Pallans 21,143 panchayat 100-101,116-118,119-120, 120,122,130,155 - 156. See also caste: laws; courts Panruti 33,71 Paravas 43,44,143 Pariahs 21,35,49,55,57,72,82,87,92, 102,112,115,129,143,145,146, 151,154,164. See also untouchables pastors. See priests patience 97. See also virtues

221

Index Pedersen, J.A. 66 penance 116,121 - 122,130. See also fire-walking; hook-swinging Pentecostal movements 135 persecution of Christians. See Chris­ tians: persecution of Persian Gulf 41 Petersen, Anna Marie 71 Phule, Jotirao 2 pietism 57 piety 97 pilgrimage 1 5 ,1 7 ,2 4 ,4 2 ,4 6 ,6 8 ,1 0 4 , 128,131,153,188,189 pilgrims 126,127,128,133 pir (Muslim saint). See saints plains 14 - 15,18,19,20,32. See also dry areas Plutschau, Heinrich 56-57 police 120,155 - 156 poligars 7 ,1 9 ,2 0 ,2 5 ,2 6 ,2 7 ,6 1 ,1 2 7 pollution 1 5 ,1 7 ,8 9 ,90 ,92 ,1 1 7 ,1 2 4 , 159. See also impurity Polur 145,168,171 Pondicherry 7 ,9 ,1 3 ,2 2 ,3 3 ,4 7 ,4 8 ,5 0 53,56,82,89, 90,93,126,127,143 Archdiocese of 56 Diocese of 101,102,145 mission 51 - 56,88,89,101,128 seminary 80-82,88-90,92,102,103,

122

curriculum of 89 synod at. See missionary conferences: synod at Pondicherry {1843-44) population mobility 170-173 Porter, Rev. E. 98 Porto Novo 3 3 ,3 4 ,4 7 Portuguese 41 - 50,51,52,56,60,87,185. See also missionaries: Portuguese; missions; padroado possession 123,132 - 136,165 power 6 ,9 ,1 8 ,2 9 ,9 2 ,9 5 ,1 2 7 ,1 3 2 hierarchy 6. See also hierarchy structure 10 systems of 142,189 preaching 6 4 ,7 2 ,7 9,8 1,1 20 . See also sermons techniques of 47 prices, level of 30,32,154 priests European. See also missionaries precedence of 99 Ccontinued)

priests (continued) Hindu 103. See also Brahmins; temples: priests native Christian 9 ,5 4 ,6 4 ,7 0 ,7 1 , 79 - 105,112,129,133,135,187 education of 88 perceived failings of 112 recruitment of 82-88 printing presses 4 5 ,4 6 ,5 4 ,5 8 ,5 9 ,7 2 . See also Bible, translations of processions, religious 123 -130,164 production control of 26 expansion of 26 mode of 3 Propaganda Fide 47,48,49,50 - 52, 5 4 ,5 5 ,8 8 ,9 9 prostitution 115 Protestant missionaries. See mission­ aries: Protestant. See also missions public works 155. See also railways Pudukkottai 1 9,26,45 punishment 116,117 - 122,130,131, 134 purification 117,118,121 purity 1 5,1 8 ,8 9 ,9 0 ,9 2 ,1 0 3 ,1 0 4 , 117,123,124. See also pollution

R railways 3 2 ,3 3 ,3 5 ,6 7 ,8 7 ,1 4 5 ,1 5 5 , 167,169 establishment of 32,154 rainfall 1 4 ,18 ,31 ,33 Raj, British. See British Raj raja-dharma 157,158,162,165,175, 185 Ramnad 6,45 - 47,126,127,131 ranking. See also hierarchy socio-religious 6 system 124 rebellion 3,124 redistribution of gifts 15-17 religious identity. See identity: religious replication 123 reports missionary. See missionaries: reports official 5 resources 18 revenue 2 4 - 2 6 ,2 8 ,3 0 ,3 2 ,8 6 ,8 7 ,1 5 5 official debates on 31 revenue sector 30 revenue settlement 30

222 revivalism 6 ,6 2 ,6 4 - 6 5 ,6 8 ,6 9 ,9 4 , 114,115,144,186 revolt 3 ,9 0 ,9 3 French (1830) 52 French (1848) 91-92 revolution 89 rice 148 -149,176. See also agricultural production; cultivation; food-grains cultivation of 1 5 ,3 2 ,3 3,6 6 'rice Christians' 6,4 4 ,6 8 ,7 1 riots 23,157 - 158,159 ritual 6,135 domination 26 hierarchy 121,129,130,187,189. See also hierarchy honours 6 kingship 15. See also kingship ranking 20 ,89,104,107,120,130 status 6 ,2 4 ,3 4 ,4 5 ,1 2 1 system 20 rituals 15,135,158,165,188 Christian 6, 111, 132 church 81 Hindu 15 ,4 3 ,4 4 ,4 9 ,5 7 ,1 3 0 ,1 3 2 Vedic 18 river deltas 14,18 Roman Catholics 43. See also Church; churches; congregations Ronne, Bone Falch 64 Roy, RamMohun 59 ryotwari system 21,26-28,30-31. See also taxes S

sacred places 24 sacrifice 131 saints 46,189. See also individual saints Christian saints 46,127,129,133 Hindu warrior 1 5,1 8 ,2 0 ,4 6 ,1 2 7 Muslim (pirs) 24,46,127 sakti 103 Salem 1 3 ,3 3 ,5 3 ,6 3 sannyasi 44,45,102 - 103 Saron 68 Schlesch, Christian 3 5 ,6 6 ,99 ,16 2 schools. See mission schools. See also Indians: education of Schwartz, Christian Friederich 46,60 seminaries 48 ,81 ,87 ,97 . See also individual seminaries Protestant 90,187 reforms in 54,90 -91 Senkalmedu 144

Mission and Tamil Society sepoys 61 serfs 35. See also slaves sermons 58,79,125. See also preaching Shanars 4 5 ,8 5 ,8 6 ,1 4 3 Shi'ites 24. See also Islam; Sunnis Shivaji 22 Shiyali 172 Siam 47 Siloam 6 6 ,6 7 ,69 ,12 2 ,1 4 4 sin 114,121,130 concept of 112-116 slavery 21,62,115,150 slaves 2 1 ,2 6 ,3 5 ,1 5 0 ,1 5 8 social conditions 6 social mobility 85,86,114,163,167, 188,189 Societe des Missions Etrang&res de Paris 7 -9 ,4 7 ,5 0 -56 ,58 ,72 ,80 ,81 , 82-84,87,88-94,95,99,100-103, 104, 111, 115,116,121 - 123,125, 126 - 130,132,133,142,143,145, 167,169,173-178,186,188-189 1848 congregational 'revolt7 91 -94 seminary 48,51,52. See also Pondicherry: seminary Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge 60 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 6 3 ,6 4 ,/2 Society of Jesus. See Jesuits South Arcot 7 -8 ,9 ,13 -4 0 ,4 7 ,5 3 ,6 3 65,6 8 ,7 1 ,1 0 2 ,1 1 7,1 27 ,12 8 ,1 3 1 , 145,149,150,152,154,157,158, 167,170. See also passim St. Anthony 175 St. Francis Xavier. See Xavier; Francis St. John de Britto. See Britto, John de St. Joseph 128 St. Michael 127,128,133 St. Thomas 41,42 St. Thomas Christians 41. See also Syrian Christians suffering 130-132,135. See also penance Sufi mysticism 23,24. See also Islam; pir sugar cane 32,149,155 Sunnis 24. See also Islam; Shi'ites superstition 62,144 Synod at Diamper (1599). See missionary conferences Syrian Christians 4 1 ,4 2 ,4 3 ,4 4 ,6 0 , 125

223

Index

T

V

Tanjore 7 ,1 3 ,2 1 ,2 5 ,2 6 ,4 5 ,6 0 ,6 1 , 63,154 taxes 20,24,26,28,30. See also revenue temples 15 - 17,19,20,24,32,46,68,86, 104,125,127,128,131,153,161,185 priests 103,120,167,187. See Brahmins. See also priests: Hindu sharing with Christian churches 125 tradition 128 Thabor 68,71 'third zone' 32-40,167,169-173,177, 189 Thomas (catechist) 164 Tindivanam 33,145,167,171,174 Tinnevelly 7 ,2 2 ,4 5 ,6 0 ,6 3 ,8 5 ,8 6 , 92,133,14 3 ,1 5 5,1 62 mission 165 Tlppu Sultan 50 Tirukoilur 34,6 6 - 6 8,7 0,71 ,8 7 ,1 0 1, 122,144,146-154,155-156,161,162, 165.166.167.169.171.172.178 Tiruvannamalai 30,68,71,1 34 ,14 4 , 151.163.167.168.171.178 Tondamannatam 100 Tonkin 51 torture, self-inflicted 130,131 Tournon, Mgr. Maillard de 48-49 trade. See commerce Tranquebar 4 7 ,5 6 ,6 4 ,7 1 mission 56 - 62,71 Travancore 42 ,6 4 ,8 9 ,1 4 3 ,1 6 2 tribal society 67 tribute. See revenue Trichinopoly 1 3 ,2 1 ,2 4 ,2 6 ,3 3 ,4 5 ,5 3 , 6 0,6 1 ,6 3 Diocese of 56

Vannians 82,84,146 Vathakan (catechist) 164 vegetarians 18,44 Velantangul 145 Vellalas 1 6 ,2 0 ,3 4 ,8 2 ,1 4 6 ,1 5 2 ,1 8 8 Vellore 2 2 ,3 3 ,4 7 ,1 6 7 ,1 6 8 ,1 7 1 ,1 7 2 Vettavalam 47,145 Vijayanagar empire 2 2 ,4 4 ,4 7 Vikravandy 145 village festivals 124 goddess. See goddess, village headmen 7 ,2 8 ,3 0 ,8 7 ,1 5 6 ,1 6 0 , 165,166 officials 28,29,156 'village republics' 28 virtues 97 Villapuram 3 3 ,7 1 ,4 5 ,1 4 9 ,1 6 7 Vriddachalam 71

U United Theological College in Bangalore 69 untouchables 17,21,3 4,8 2 ,8 5 ,8 9 ,9 2 , 123-124,130,131,143,145,159-160, 162,163,164,166. See also Pariahs Utilitarians 63,96

W wages, rise in 155 weavers 19,34. See also Kaikalars Wellesley, Richard 59 Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society 63 wet areas 21,30,178 wet zones 30,33,168 Wilberforce, William 62 Wilson, Daniel 45

X Xavier, Francis 4 3 ,4 4 ,4 6 ,4 7 ,1 2 7

Z zamindars 7 ,2 7 ,2 9 Ziegenbalg, Bartholomaus 56-60