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Preaching to the choir: The Serampore Missionaries and the discourse of Oriental despotism in early 19th–century Bengal
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the early 18th century, the East India Company had recently allowed Christian missionaries to spread their gospel among the Bengalis. With magazines and sermons, the Christian educators now had access to the public in a more explicit way than before. With these new possibilities to proselytize, the Baptist missionaries of Serampore, founders of a small Christian college north of Calcutta, could expand their mission. The aim of this paper is to study the values, claims and perspectives on history of the Serampore Missionaries and how they are expressed in the printed texts directed towards the Bengali public in the context of an emerging British colonial empire. By using the theory of Oriental despotism to study the historical narratives provided in the magazines Dig-Durshun and the Friend of India, one can perceive the reproduction of certain themes in the portrayal of Indian history. One of the most distinguishable is the construction of Islam as the violent aggressor, the invader and the plunderer of the Indian people. The Islamic reign is, in contrast with the Western governance, described as lacking respect for private property and human values. The printed texts of the Serampore missionaries provide a clear and structured portrait of the ideological construction of the British Empire.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 35 p.
Keyword [en]
Oriental despotism, Bengal, Missionaries, Serampore
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-270469OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-270469DiVA: diva2:890152
Subject / course
Educational program
Upper Secondary School Teacher Education Programme
Available from: 2016-09-26 Created: 2015-12-28 Last updated: 2016-09-26Bibliographically approved

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