A Social History of Christianity : North-West India Since 1800

John C B Webster, Oxford University Press, 2007, xiv, 410 p, tables, maps, ISBN : 0195690451, $40.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Social History of Christianity : North-West India Since 1800/John C.B. Webster

Contents: Preface. List of abbreviations. 1. Introduction. 2. The beginnings: 1800-57. 3. The High Imperial Era: 1858-80. 4. The North-West in Ferment: 1881-1918. 5. Towards Independence and Partition: 1919-47. 6. Christianity in North-West India since Independence. 7. The North-West in the history of Christianity. Glossary. Bibliography. Index.

"The Christian community in India emerged from an Indian rather than a foreign or an imperial context. Its internal dynamics were shaped far more by Indian social realities than by missionary designs. This book presents, for the first time, a connected and comprehensive social history of Christianity in North-West India. The British called this region 'The Punjab and its Dependencies'. Today it comprises the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, the Union Territories of Delhi and Chandigarh, and the Pakistani Punjab and North-West Frontier Province.

This book covers the history of the North-West up to 1947 after which it focuses on developments within India and deals only indirectly with Pakistan. It is arranged chronologically. Each chapter is set off by important events in the region, starting from the turn of the nineteenth century when Ranjit Singh came to power in Lahore (1799) and the British in Delhi (1803). The author highlights the events of 1857 that had a traumatic effect on the Christians; how Christians later responded to the rise, first of religious reform/revivalist movements, and then of nationalist as well as communal politics in the North-West. The closing chapters discuss the transfer of power within churches from foreign missionaries to Indians, the proliferation of churches, and the ongoing struggles of the Christian community following independence.

Throughout the book, the author pays special attention to the Christian community's caste composition--the ways in which caste status and social mobility affected intra and inter-community relations--religious diversity, uneven demographic distribution, as well as its development both as a community and as a religious movement in the region.

This book will be useful for students and scholars of history, religion, and Christianity. It will also be of interest to Christian institutions and church bodies, as well as the lay reader." (jacket)

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