History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 1999: Q. 1 (c)
Q.1 (c) The Christian Missionary propaganda from 1813 onwards was “often insensitive and wounding.” Comment.
The chief proponent of spread of christianity in India was Charles Grant who argued in 1792 that the principle problem of India was the religious ideas that perpetuated the ignorance of Indian people. He claimed that this could be effectively changed through the dissemination of Christian light.
Charles Grant’s ideas were given greater publicity by William Wilberforce in the British Parliament before the passage of the Charter Act of 1813, which allowed Christian missionaries to enter India without restrictions.
From 1813 onward after Parliamentary approval, the Christian propaganda in India started which was often insensitive and wounding because of the following reasons:
(1) Though the Missionaries educated the Indians about their shortcomings, they completely destroyed the self confidence and the self-respect of the natives. One such instance of which is reflected when Swami Vivekananda wrote, “The child is taken to school and the first thing he learns is that his father is a fool, the second thing that his grandfather is a lunatic, the third thing that all his teachers are hypocrites, the fourth that all his sacred books are a mass of lies. By the time he reaches sixteen, he is a mass of negation, lifeless and boneless…”
(2) Missionaries called Hinduism as false, stupendous and barbaric religion. The prominent missionary, Alexander Duff called Christianity as true religion, which should replace all false religions. He said: “Of all the systems of false religion ever fabricated by the perverse ingenuity of fallen man, Hinduism is surely the most stupendous.”
(3) The propaganda of Christianity caused the contempt of Indians by fellow converted Indians.
Insensitive propaganda by missionaries against native religion and culture had wounding effect on people’s self-confidence and Indian culture. Though it also had positive outcome as Gandhiji had said that the work of Missionaries quickened the task of Hindu reformers to set down our own house in order. The missionaries’ zeal to convert Hindus, criticise social evils like untouchability and the realization that they were specially targeting the sections which had been trodden down, lent an urgency to the determination of reformers to work for the uplift and integration of these sections into the rest of the Hindu society.