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Abstract only
David Hardiman

in the truth of all religions and therefore respect for them.’ 5 What he rejected in other words was the missionary practice of strident proselytisation with a view towards conversion, an idea he found repulsive for any religion, including Hinduism. 6 He believed that a person should strive to work through their destiny within the religious tradition in which they were raised. He wanted people to

in Missionaries and their medicine
David Hardiman

, turbulent, mongrel race.’ 9 The idea that the Bhils were, in social and religious terms, a blank slate ready to be written on was for Thompson becoming increasingly untenable. Despite all this, Thompson adopted an optimistic tone in his second report. The Bhils around Kherwara, he said, no longer had any fear whatsoever of him and his catechist. A native officer of the MBC who had worked against them earlier

in Missionaries and their medicine
Abstract only
Michael D. Leigh

returns. If anything, Buddhist opinion had hardened during the Japanese Occupation. 20 In 1949 Firth urged his congregation in Mandalay to go out and convert Buddhist Burma, but the exhortation lacked any real bite. The offensive, when it came, was short on aggression and long on charm. 21 Daw Mya Tin, a Bible Woman, discussed religious issues with a Buddhist nun living on Kyaukse Hill, Daw Aye Zin taught Buddhist urchins in the Aung Daw Mu quarter of Mandalay, and Daw Ngwe Wint started a Sunday school for Buddhist children

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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Michael D. Leigh

early colonial camp-followers. Of course they had come to convert ‘heathens’, not to seek fortunes or to wield power. They were swept along by religious enthusiasm, imperialistic patriotism and British military technology. Many a missionary ambition had been fired by stirring hymns in the old Methodist Hymn Book – hymns with imperialistic undertones that conflated patriotic duty with Christian devotion. The words conjured images of ‘alien lands afar’. They spun romantic yarns about heathens brandishing ‘reeking tube and

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
Abstract only
Michael D. Leigh

scrutinised in the way marketing directors might examine sales graphs. Year-on-year figures revealed growth or decline, while global comparisons measured relative evangelical efficiency. The statistics were an indication of the numbers changing allegiance from one religion to another, not whether individuals had changed their ‘conduct or inner lives’. 4 Religious conversions caused bitter divisions within colonial communities. When converts entered new religions they opted out of old friendships. They inflicted pain on those

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
Abstract only
Michael D. Leigh

teashops and clubs. He met old colleagues. Acheson was now an army chaplain and Rev. Olmstead was sniffing out Christian ‘persecution stories’. At the Anglican Cathedral he discussed church politics with Bishop George West. He preached to great congregations of troops and swapped fragments of information about missing friends. Several Methodists from Upper Burma were living in Rangoon. Maung Sein Tun was in the army, U Ba was Principal of the Emergency University, Ma Khin U had been caught in a bomb-blast near Sule Pagoda, U Tun

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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Michael D. Leigh

almost empty in April 1964. On the other hand, Homer, Turtle, Mona Pengelly, Nurse and Vincent got their visas and returned to Britain. 36 Yet another regulation was issued in April 1964. It stated that all religious institutions had to register with the SAC, and they were no longer permitted to engage in educational or medical work. Bishop tried to find out where and how the churches in his circuit had to register, but no one seemed to know. The regulation applied to Buddhist monasteries as well as to Christian

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
Abstract only
Michael D. Leigh

to and from Calcutta. In India he had been influenced by Chatterjee and he took part in anti-British protests in Bengal. When he returned to Pakokku in 1919 he joined the so-called ‘Yesagyo Tutorial Group’, a hothouse of radical Buddhist scholarship. 45 U Ottama was already well known to the police in Burma and had spent time in prison in 1920. 46 The Wesleyan Synod in January 1921 was dismayed by the ‘storms of political and religious unrest’ which were engulfing young Burmans in ‘sedition and intrigue’. 47

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
Abstract only
Michael D. Leigh

with a Buddhist woman and failing to stand up ‘against Buddhist influences’. 9 Rev. U An was a thoroughly bad egg. He had an ‘immoral affair’ with an Indian sweeper’s wife who followed him around from circuit to circuit causing trouble wherever she went. Rev. U An also stole money from the Church in Pakokku to finance a ‘loan-shark’ business from which he pocketed a tidy profit. In the end his congregation refused to accept communion ‘from his hands’ and he was dismissed. 10 Even the Wesleyan star turn, Rev. U Po Tun, got

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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Michael D. Leigh

Headquarters and Bombay Trading Corporation centre. The town was full of ‘old Monywa boys’ and the thirty-six Englishmen and Eurasians had ‘no religious oversight’. It seemed a ‘magnificent opportunity’. 93 Chapman was whisked out of Pyawbwe and stationed to Kindat with Maung Po Chaw, a rising star of Burmese Wesleyanism. He had studied at the Theological Institution in Pakokku and had been ordained in 1913. Between them they made ‘the Chindwin ring’ but tragically Po Chaw died from malaria in 1914. 94 In 1912

in Conflict, politics and proselytism