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Title: State, Christianity and the public sphere in India, 1830-1950
Author: Chatterjee, N.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis explores how Christianity, the religion of a small number of people in India, played a significant role in shaping India’s state policies towards religion, and the culture of modern Indian public life. Rather than evaluate whether India is ‘secular’ or not, this thesis investigates the particular details of modern India’s relation with religion. It is argued that these particularities are best explained with reference to a history of social competition, in which sectarianism, including Christian sectarianism, played a major role. The thesis operates at three levels: state policy, social institutions, and community organization. Within state policy it deals with religion in public education, the regulation of religious endowments and the formation of family laws, known as personal laws. In each case it is described how the British imperial policy of ‘religious neutrality’ came to be interpreted and applied in response to the dynamics of the current political situation. The success of Christians in influencing the government was only periodic, but in these periods, legal and policy precedents were created which continued to affect subsequent laws and policies. The effects of such laws on social institutions are studied with respect to a range of Christian educational institutions, which were instituted by European and American missionaries, ostensibly as methods of evangelisation, but which ended up becoming generally desirable public schools. It is argued that the Christian schools’ success depended upon the transformation of their religious approach, which was shaped by external laws and policies, but also by their internal dynamics, especially the rise of a new group of predominantly Indian Christian managers, who better appreciated the sensibilities of their largely non-Christian clientele. The last three chapters further open up the differences and disputes among Christians in India, revealing how the Indian Community shaped and represented itself in the Indian public world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available