Michael D. Leigh
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Proselytism was officially frowned upon in the Indian Empire. Conversion from one religion to another was highly political and potentially explosive. The Wesleyan missionaries' teetotalism and modest stipends separated them from colonial neighbours. World War I disturbed a period of relative calm in Upper Burma. The Wesleyan missionaries were relatively ignorant about rural politics and were generally less sympathetic. The Wesleyans were perplexed because pongyis were poisoning the minds of ordinary 'Burman Buddhists'. Even the American Baptists were shaken by Buddhist truculence in the towns. The Hsaya San rebellion broke out in Lower Burma at the end of December 1930. The Marxist-dominated All Burma Students' Union (ABSU) and Dobama Asiayone (We Burmans) expanded rapidly during the 1930s. Dobama had begun as a student political movement in 1933 but quickly embraced industrial workers and cultivators.

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Conflict, politics and proselytism

Methodist missionaries in colonial and postcolonial Upper Burma, 1887–1966


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