In earlier times, to be 'Hindu' was to be native to 'Hindustan'. Terms like 'Hindu-Muslim' and 'Hindu-Christian' were not uncommon. The emergence of 'Hinduism' as a religious concept was also a byproduct of collaboration between Indians and Europeans. The concept was not British, 'colonial' or 'Orientalist' (in the pejorative sense now fashionable). Many high-caste, mainly Brahman pandits helped to perfect a 'rule of law' that, while British in procedure, was Hindu in substance. Scores of Indian scholars in each locality played as large a role as scholars from the west. When the Baptist missionary William Ward (1769-1823) defined 'Hindooism' as a single religious system,1 he was merely taking the logic of collaborative orthodoxy to the next level. The process begun under Warren Hastings in the 1770s, and pursued by John Holwell, Nathaniel Halhed and Sir William Jones, culminated a century later in the works of Monier Monier-Williams and Max Müller. Müller's fifty-volume Sacred Books of the East is still the foundation for this 'constructed' Hinduism. Also, when the Company's governments took over religious endowments within its territories (in Bengal Presidency in 1810 and Madras in 1817), they inadvertently defined and reified a parallel array of 'Hindu' institutions - with up to 10,000 pukka temples per district - so that all seemed to be part of a seamlessly single 'Hinduism'.
India's Christians, and missionaries from abroad, faced official indifference and hostility. Officials studiously avoided interfering with established traditions, taking care to make sure the Raj was not identified as 'Christian'. Contradictions occurred - as when Christians 'on the ground' were asked to serve as chaplains, teachers or emissaries. For the sake of expedience, subventions were paid to Roman Catholic vicars apostolic for clerics to serve as chaplains for Irish contingents; and, after 1792, the evangelical lobby got 'missionary chaplains' admitted into Company service. William Carey, forbidden entry into Bengal, worked in the tiny Danish enclave of Serampore (Srirampur). While his An enquiry into the obligations of Christians to use means for the conversion of the heathens (1792), inspired by the deeds of Moravian and pietist missionaries such as C. F. Schwartz, stirred up a wave of voluntarism, he himself was not allowed to cross the Hugli into Calcutta until offered a position at Fort William College. Not until after voluntary missionary agencies and 'free-trade' interests opposed to the Company's commercial monopoly formed an alliance was this barrier broken. A heated 'pamphlet war', and much lobbying by 'saints' among Company's Directors (such as Charles Grant) and friends
1 W Ward, Account of the writings, religion, and manners of the Hindoos, 4 vols. (Serampore: Mission Press, 1811).
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