Christianity and Indian Nationalism Pre-Independence
The struggle for successful Christian missions in India coinciding with the Indian nationalist movement is an issue which when taken into consideration brings about dispute. Gunnel Cederlöf discusses some reasons for the failure of Christianity in India as well as how it can fit in with Indian nationalism as the country strives to become an independent nation. One of Cederlöf’s ideas is that the Western culture’s influence has been too heavy on Indian converts and therefore for both Christianity and Indian nationalism to coincide, these converts must diverge from the Western influence. She also argues that the conflict between Indian nationalism and Christianity is inevitable because of the clashing between two different cultures.
Cederlöf makes many valid points about issues that have no simple solution that are recurring issues with Christianity in India. For instance, Cederlöf suggests that the difficulty for both Christianity and Indian nationalism to coincide is because both the Western and Indian cultures clash. She uses as an example, the caste system. Cederlöf discusses how this hierarchy has been a part of Indian society for a long time and that no religious mission of any kind should be able to interfere with it, to some extent. She does however believe that there may be some type of altered caste system that is more reasonable for Christians to accept as the caste system is not an aspect of Christianity. Cederlöf’s idea is to accept the caste system as a social order but reject or battle against the “caste-spirit.” Therefore Cederlöf feels that the caste system as a social ranking can coincide with Christianity, but the bitterness and oppressive attitudes from the higher caste toward lower should no longer exist. Cederlöf’s other argument has to do with the influence of Western Christianity being so strong, making Christianity in India not “Indian” enough so the Indian nationalists...
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