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What Motivated the Early Christian Health Missions? Anatomy of Transformation in India. Dr.Vinod Shah Presented at CCIH Annual Conference, May 29, 2005. Factors that affected the health “caring” Culture. Women’s disempowered status I.

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What motivated the early christian health missions anatomy of transformation in india l.jpg

What Motivated the Early Christian Health Missions?Anatomy of Transformation in India

Dr.Vinod Shah

Presented at CCIH Annual Conference, May 29, 2005

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Factors that affected

the health “caring”


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Women’s disempowered statusI

  • Pregnant women were not allowed access to high caste practitioners

  • Had to access low caste women traditional dais

  • Dais were illiterate women

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The eldest son of the family pays his last respects to his deceased father before completing the customary rituals and putting torch to the funeral pyre.

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TBA the results

  • Donkey ride for pregnant women

  • Massaging/kneading the abdomen

  • Pulling on the cord

  • Cow dung as lubricant

  • Took responsibility for female-feticide and disposal of body

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No “caring culture” the results

  • Lepers were burnt or buried alive

  • Sick in an “epidemic” were left to die

  • Female children were sold to buy food during an epidemic

  • Mentally retarded, handicapped were chained to trees

  • Sick had no recourse to help

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Caring not role modeled: Religion sans caring-II the results

If I am at prayer…I will not leave my prayer and go to help someone…I don’t think it is important.

If I leave my god and my karma and help someone then my god will get angry…my karma will be lost…

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Did god role model healing? the results

There is no such example of God role modeling healing

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  • The Judeo Christian view would think of the person as one “whole”

  • The body had intrinsic dignity however deformed or diseased. Even in death, the body needed to be respected

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One of the most difficult austerities a practitioner can attempt is to hold his arm upright in the air for twelve years. It is said that if successfully completed, the practice results in the attainment of supernatural powers

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Perhaps the most well known austerity is lying on a bed of sharp nails to overcome the limitations of the physical body.

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Offerings are made to a mediator who is buried up to the neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.

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High and low trust societies neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.SENSE OF COMMUNITY-IV



Author of book on Trust

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THE ORTHODOX INDIAN CONTEXT neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.








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Cont. neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.

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Subjective culture vs Objective neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.Low O/S ratio-V

  • We believe that each organ of the body is influenced by some deity.

  • When we deviate from the path of religion …the gods leave our side.

  • This is why we fall sick.

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Subjective cultures versus Objective cultures neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.

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Subjective cultures do not support neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.scientific development because

  • Interpret reality subjectively

  • Access knowledge subjectively

  • Subjective attitudes in justice and gender

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Indian religions… neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.

  • In their fundamentals were subjective till Global influences reached them.

  • WASAV (Widely Accepted & Shared Absolute Values) characterize an objective culture and needed for development.

  • Polytheistic idolatry does not produce a WASAV culture.

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Family versus truth-VI neck in sand. He suppresses the sensations of the flesh while attempting to free his mind through meditation.

A father and a husband is like a God

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Country Rank Country 2004 CPI Score* Confidence Range** Surveys Used***

1 Finland 9,7 9.5 - 9.8 9

2 New Zealand 9,6 9.4 - 9.6 9

3 Denmark 9,5 9.3 - 9.7 10

Iceland 9,5 9.4 - 9.7 8

5 Singapore 9,3 9.2 - 9.4 13

6 Sweden 9,2 9.1 - 9.3 11

7 Switzerland 9,1 8.9 - 9.2 10

8 Norway 8,9 8.6 - 9.1 9

9 Australia 8,8 8.4 - 9.1 15

10 Netherlands 8,7 8.5 - 8.9 10

11 United Kingdom 8,6 8.4 - 8.8 12

12 Canada 8,5 8.1 - 8.9 12

13 Austria 8,4 8.1 - 8.8 10

Luxembourg 8,4 8.0 - 8.9 7

15 Germany 8,2 8.0 - 8.5 11

16 Hong Kong 8,0 7.1 - 8.5 13

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Family values & corruption Confidence Range** Surveys Used***

  • Scale of familism (World Values survey code book 1994 & World Bank statistics)

  • Correlates well with the CPI.(Regression analysis)

  • Tribalism- Africa and India

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What did the Christian Medical missionaries do? Confidence Range** Surveys Used***




Modeling of care

Transformation of

Ritualistic Hinduism

& Jainism




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Women’s health Confidence Range** Surveys Used***

  • Women medical missionaries ushered in “caring” for women

  • Women in India did not access hospitals

  • Only home visits allowed and that only by women doctors

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Maharani’s locket Confidence Range** Surveys Used***

  • Elizabeth Bielby-1880

  • Maharani of Panna

  • Locket message to

    The Queen

    “The women of India

    Suffer greatly”

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During the late 19th Century and early part of 20th Century

Name of Women Year of Affiliation to Mission Place of work


1. Clara Swain 1870 American Methodist Mission Bareilly, UP.

2. Sara Seward 1871 American Presbyterian Allahabad, UP


3. Seeyle 1871 Women’s Missionary Calcutta, WB Society of America

4. Sarah Norriss 1873 American Board of Medical Women ---

5. Rose Greenfield 1875 Society for female Education

in the east, UK Ludhiana, Punjab

6. Elizebeth Bielby 1876 Zenana Bible and Medical Mission

UK. Lucknow, UP

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Name of Women Year of Affiliation to Mission Place of work


7. Ms Hewlett 1877 England Zenana Mission Punjab

8. Ellen Mitchell 1878 American Baptist Board Burma

9. Fanny Butler 1880 Church of England Jabalpur, Mp.

10. Ida Faye 1881 American Baptist Mission Nellore, AP.

11. Anna Kugler 1883 Lutheran Mission, US Guntur, AP.

12. Elizabeth Beatty 1884 United Church of Canadian

Mission Indore, MP.

13. Mana White 1886 United Presbyterian Church

of America Siakot, (Jammu Border)

14. Jessie Carelton 1887 American Presbyterian Board Ambala, Punjab.

15. Matilda

Machphail 1887 Free Church of Scotland Madras, TN

16. Ottoman 1890 Baptist Missionary Society Ganjam, Orissa

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Name of Women Year of Affiliation to Mission Place of work


17. Edith Brown 1893 Society for Female Education

in the East, UK Ludhiana, Punjab

18. Alene Calkins 1895 American Friends Mission Chhatrapur, UP.

19. Pearl Chute 1896 Canadian Baptist Mission Akkividu, AP.

20. Ida S Scudder 1900 Arcot American Mission Vellore, TN.

21. Gertude Hulet 1904 Canadian Baptist Mission Vuyyuru, AP.

22. Charlotte Pring 1915 Godavari Delta Mission Narsapur, AP.

23. Catherine ? American Methodist Episc.

Board Jagadalpur, MP.

24. Annie Mackay 1926 Free Church of Scotland Lakhnadon, MP.

25. Katherine

Lehmann 1928 ? Renigunta, AP.

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Ida Scudder Place of work

  • Not a medical college but the kingdom of God


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Catherine-Methodist church- Place of workredefined access

  • One Dr Catherine from the Methodist church in the US travelled by

  • Ship for 6 months to Bombay

  • To Raipur by train for a week

  • Horse by several days to access the mission station called Bastar

  • Methodist hospital built in 1892.

  • Largest Methodist congregation in India

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Transformation of women Place of work

  • The highest number of women doctors in the world

  • India is a huge “nurse factory”

  • 1947-95% of all nurses were Christian!

  • All traceable to the women’s medical colleges and nursing schools established by the missionaries

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Ancient India did not have a culture of “care” Place of work

  • By a “caring culture” I mean formalized caring eg. Orphanages/hospitals

  • Religion was divorced from “loving your neighbor”

  • No hospitals existed except during the time of King Asoka in 2nd century BC

  • Arya Vaidya Shalas existed for outpatient care for the privileged

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In what was a caring “void” Place of work

  • Christian Medical missionaries ushered in a culture of care

  • The first hospital (Royal hospital,Goa)in 1514 AD and then thousands afterwards..

  • Orphanages…home for widows…

  • Sanatoria for TB, leprosy homes and hospitals

  • Programs for epidemic care

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Social work in India… Place of work

  • The kind of missionary work which we see in Christianity …that kind of this did not exist in India for a very long time.

  • Now the social work being done in India…those going out to help and serve others is all because of missionary & global influences.

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By 1940 AD…. Place of work

  • There were 2000 Christian hospitals in India

  • Close to 40% of all beds were made up of Christian hospitals

  • TB sanatoria and leprosy institutions were predominantly Christian

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Dr. Alexander Duff 1806-78 Place of work

  • Pioneer missionary educationist

  • English education can have a transformative effect on the Indian society

  • Scripture education introduced but made optional

  • “Downward filter theory”-working with High castes

  • Schools and colleges -Calcutta, Madras and Bombay

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Christians ushered in a culture of “care” Place of work

  • Started many NGO’s that looked at specific needs of the poor and provided succor

  • Role modeled caring

  • Taught “caring”

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Welfare-Social capital did not exist Place of work

  • The only safety net for the poor was

  • The joint family

  • Individual philanthropy and

  • The caste system

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The concept of the voluntary sector…. Place of work

  • Indian culture did not have this concept of “volunteerism”

  • “Activism” for change was also not a part of Indian culture. (Barring a few exceptions no activists for social change)

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The concept of the ”voluntary” sector….. Place of work

  • Christian missionaries pioneered the NPO and NGO sector (Pande 1967,Terry 1983)

  • 1810-1947 This time saw the emergence of major Christian voluntary sector church based and non-church based. (NGO’s)

  • Hospitals, Schools, Orphanages and other welfare institutions flourished.

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As a result …1825 onwards Place of work

  • Many Hindu bourgeoisie who studied in English medium schools

  • Started social reform organizations for the purpose of “caring”

  • Care of widows & remarriage

  • Care of orphans & preventing child marriage

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The many champions of “caring” Place of work

  • Some were Christians

  • Some liked “Christian” values but were not Christians

  • Most were provoked by the Christian gospel to “care” but remained Hindus

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Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1774-1833) Place of workfounder of “Brahmo Samaj”

A Hindu reformer and visionary,

Roy is considered by many

as the father of modern India.

Oil Painting by Atul Bose

Raja Ram drew inspiration from

William Carey

“The first feminist”

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Rishi Dayanand Saraswati 1824-83 Place of work

  • Founded Arya Samaj

  • Spoke against idol-worship, casteism and female subjugation

  • Assassinated in 1883 AD

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The prime object of the arya samaj is to do good; Place of work

that is to promote physical, social &spiritual good

for everyone

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Satyasodhak Samaj- Jyotirao Phule-1875 Place of work

Educated in “The Scottish mission school”

Became a great educationist

Started “caring”institutions

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Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar Place of work

  • From 1854-55 he single-handedly wedged a battle against the extremist of the Hindu society and insisted in the implementation of the Widow-Remarriage Act in 1856.

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Vivekananda brought in a new understanding of Hinduism Place of work

As a result Indian religions werechallenged to reform

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Indian reformer Place of work

  • Vivekananda 1863-1902

  • Father was given to reciting from the Bible-for amusement!

  • Studied in Presidency college-Calcutta

  • Later in Scottish church college studied English literature and western logic which brought into sharp focus the short comings of Indian society

  • Was influenced by Raja Ram Mohan Roy also.

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Vivekananda Place of work

  • He elevated the status of the service of fellow beings to the level of real worship of God. (PS Kamanant)

  • Established Ramakrishna mission which began caring

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Ramakrishna mission was a reformist reaction to the Christian “caring”

  • CalcuttaRamakrishna M. Institute of CultureAdvaitaAdvaita Ashram CalcuttaSRMSri Ramakrishna Math CalcuttaNarendrapurRamakrishna Mission College UdbodhanMother's HouseVidyapithRamakrishna VidyapithNew DelhiRamakrishna MissionRajkot/GujaratRamakrishna Mission AshramChennaiRamakrishna Math Mylapore ChennaiRamakrishna Mission AshramItanagarRamakrishna Mission Hospital APVidyapithRamakrishna Vidyapith ChennaiChengalpattuRamakrishna Mission Tamil NaduMaduraiRamakrishna Math CoimbatoreRamakrishna Mission Vidyalaya

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Ramakrishna mission locale Christian “caring”

  • BangaloreVivekananda AshramKochiRamakrishna Math, KeralaRanchiRamakrishna MissionKaladiRamakrishna Advaita Ashram KeralaPuneRamakrishna Math and MissionHydrabadRamakrishna MathVaranasiRamakrishna M.- Home of Service RKMRamakrishna VidyashalaKayamkulamSri Ramakrishna Ashram, KeralaJharkhandTB Sanatorium - RanchiMangaloreRamakrishna Mission Ashram

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Vivekananda Christian “caring”

  • Swami Vivekananda wrote in one of his letters :

  • A hundred thousand men and women, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the Gospel of salvation, the Gospel of help, the Gospel of social raising-up -- the Gospel of equality.

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Karsondas Mulji-1832-71 Christian “caring”

  • Social Reformer, Educationist, Writer, Pamphleteer

  • While in Elphinstone college…. influenced by missionary John Wilson

  • The Primitive Religion of the Hindus and the Present Heterodox Opinions in his journal led to the famous Maharaja Libel

  • Widow remarriage-helped many

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Micheal Madusudandas Christian “caring”English and Bengali writer

  • 1824-1876 AD- became a Christian

  • Both ‘The Captive Lady’ and ‘Visions of the Past’ were written under the pen name Timothy.

  • Editor of “The Hindu Patriot”. He composed Bengali plays such as ‘Sharmistha’, ‘Ekey Bole Savyata’, ‘Buro Shaliker Ghare Ro’, ‘Krishnakumari’ and ‘Padmabati’.

  • In most of his plays, he criticized the lack of “caring” present in the society.

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Dadabhai Naoroji 1824-1917 Christian “caring”

  • Grand Old Man of India

  • Studied in Elphinstone college-influenced by Dr Wilson

  • Went from door to door recruiting girl students

  • Freedom fighter-concerned

    for women

  • Member of the house of commons

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Initially Jains were into hospitals for birds and animals only

  • Jain Bird hospital in Old Delhi

  • Gaushalas are “old age homes” for cows

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Jains now have many hospitals only

  • Bombay- Nanavati hospital, Sarvoday hospital, Matunga hospital, Lilavati hospital, Cardiac hospital in Matunga are all Jain.

  • Surat Mahavir hospital is Jain

  • Ahmedabad Vadilal Sarabhai hospital is Jain.

  • Sri AmarJain hospital- Jaipur

  • Bhagwan MahavirJain Hospital-Bangalore

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In personal conversation with Jains only

  • We (Jains) will not survive as a religion unless we begin to care like the missionaries..

  • Now Jains go abroad and raise money from the US and the UK for their hospitals and projects

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Emergence of Gandhian NGO’s only

  • From 1947 to 1960 onwards many new Gandhian NGO’s were started Hindu Kusht Nivaran Sangh was started at the behest of Gandhi.

  • “Shame on us…why should missionaries… (Gandhi)

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Mushrooming of NGO’s… only

  • Church related and Christian voluntary organizations led the way for the mushrooming of NGO’s

  • Though not all the NGO’s are into welfare more than 100,000 NGO’s are into some form of caring

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Ripple effect only

Other caring NGO’s

Non-Xian hospitals


Doctors & Nurses

Man power for


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Disaster 1947 onwards.. only

  • 700 Protestant hospitals in India

  • Many Indian trained D & N

  • No visionary leaders!!

  • 400 Xian hospitals closed in 40 years

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Paradigm shift only

Missionary failure- Developed programsbut not people

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Paradigm shift only

Programme Development to People Development - 2

  • Jesus – “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.

  • Development of people more strategic than programs.

  • Budgets do not reflect this – more used for programs.

  • Learning from history – Disaster in India

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Medical Missions - Custodians of the Culture of Care only

3 Types of Caring

  • Commercial caring

  • Professional caring

  • Christian caring

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Professional only


Christian Caring

Christian caring





Either way Christian caring is an endangered phenomenon