Resistance and accommodation in Christian mission
Welsh Presbyterianism in Sylhet, Eastern Bengal, 1860–1940
in Empire, migration and identity in the British world
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This chapter explores the social relations of Christian mission in the context of a specific history. In Sylhet, the Welsh missionary William Pryse, organised a series of theological meetings, though only after insisting that he would 'not enter into any discussion with a Mahommedan unless he were acquainted with Arabic History and Literature'. Sir Rabindranath Tagore had been invited to stay in a mission-owned bungalow in Sylhet, and the poet paid a visit to the Welsh Presbyterian mission compound to thank John Roberts personally for his hospitality. In February 1902, the Right Reverend James MacArthur, Anglican Bishop of Bombay, had welcomed the growing number of Christians in Assam while admitting to an anxiety. Missionaries were often regarded as cultural intermediaries between Bengali society and European settlers; they were, at the same time, eager to distance themselves from the social and moral beliefs and practices of their fellow Westerners.


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