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Title: Missionaries, the Hindu state and British paramountcy in Travancore and Cochin, 1858-1936
Author: Koji, Kawashima
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1994
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This thesis seeks to examine and explain changes in the triangular relationship between Christian missionaries, an Indian princely state and the British colonial authorities. It argues that, in the second half of the nineteenth century, the missionaries and the self-declared Hindu state of Travancore maintained a largely favourable relationship despite the clear differences in their respective religious positions. For its vigorous efforts towards 'modernization', Travancore needed the educational and medical activities of the missionaries. At the same time, the Madras government demanded the abolition of caste disabilities and supported similar demands from the missionaries. However, the situation changed significantly with the emergence of Hindu revivalism and communal movements in the late nineteenth century. The state as well as the higher castes became alarmed at the conversion of large number of the lower castes to Christianity. The British authorities, faced with the rise of Indian nationalism, became much more sensitive to religious feelings in Travancore and sought to avoid intervening in social and religious matters as far as possible, though, by contrast, intervention in Cochin remained, for various reasons, more active. In this way, the missionaries practically lost support from the British government. Instead, they were obliged to pay more attention to the Maharaja and his government, which adopted various anti-missionary policies in the 1890s and 1900s. Nevertheless, the Travancore government still needed missionary educational and medical activities as well as their strong influence over the low-caste Christians who became increasingly assertive. But in the 1930s, their relationship became strained once more. The missionaries, who could not expect any substantial help from the British authorities, had almost no choice but to accept the situation. In this way, the Travancore state, while utilizing missionary activities, largely succeeded in preventing Christian influence from expanding further.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral