Unravelling the Dynamics of Christian Missionary Evangelical Activities in Colonial Punjab (1849-1947)
Keywords:Conversion techniques, techniques of Evangelicalism, Missionaries, Christian Community, the colonial Punjab
The article focused on the evangelical activities of Christian missionaries to convert the natives to Christianity in colonial Punjab, with particular reference to Lahore and Sialkot districts. With the annexation of Punjab in 1849, the cultural and social ethos took a surprising turn, and a new community of converted Christians started to form progressively. This new societal drive was unique because it attracted individuals from affluent backgrounds and triggered mass conversion in socially and economically side-lined communities of Punjab. After annexation, missionaries flocked to Punjab from all parts of India. Most missionaries, who moved to Punjab, were either associated with the American Presbyterian Church or the Church Missionary Society of England (CMS) and the Church of Scotland. Nonetheless, along with these two mission societies, other established missions in India also contributed to converting natives to Christianity, though to a lesser extent. In the conversion process, missionaries used institutions, e.g., schools, colleges, and medical centres, but they also employed different conversion techniques already being deployed in other parts of India. The primary aim of the missionaries was to convert a large part of Punjabi society to Christianity by employing various techniques of evangelicalism. The conversion among lower caste degraded the image of Christianity and further handicapped further activities of missionaries.
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