The refulgent cross and the heathen carnival
in Welsh missionaries and British imperialism
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In the decade or so prior to the arrival of the Welsh missionaries, elements of Khasi religion had been superficially described by European visitors to the hills. They barely advanced on late eighteenth century characterisations of the tribes of north-east India as heathen savages who practised human sacrifice. The first generation of Welsh missionaries rarely chronicled Khasi religious beliefs. The baptism in 1848 of Ka Nabon was a moment of particular celebration for the Welsh mission, and the subject the following year of a published account of her conversion and persecution. Intervention into the ritual and spatial worlds of the village was a more clear-cut method of domination and control. Visual and textual representations of tribal women in the north-east, and across India more generally, reveal much about what Europeans imagined of the savagery of Indian sexualities.

Welsh missionaries and British imperialism

The Empire of Clouds in north-east India


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