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Colonizing the Heathens: Welsh medical mission in ‘A land of many tribes’

Phoibi Lalniropui Tuolor

Journal Title:International Journal of Humanities & Social Science Studies
Abstract


This article is an effort to understand how healing of body was used by the Christian missionaries as an important tool for evangelisation with special reference to the Welsh Christian missionaries in North Cachar Hills from 1905 to 1961. The Welsh missionaries opened their mission in this Hill on 1905 with multiple endeavours such as opening schools, churches and dispensaries. North Cachar Hills was a sub division of Cachar district during the colonial period and was inhabited mainly by different indigenous peoples such as the Dimasas, Zeme Nagas, Angami Nagas, old and new Kukis, Khasis, Karbis, etc. The missionaries regarded the local people as ‘heathen’ which means physically and morally ill and their traditional practices of appeasing the evil spirits for their ailments as a primitive act. Moreover the missionaries were not free from euro centrism and regarded their ideas and practices as superior than the traditional beliefs and practices of the natives. It is the intention of the article to highlight the strategy of the colonial administrator as well as the missionaries in operating humanitarian works such as ‘healing the heathens’. This article will also highlight the traditional treatment of illness and the medical measures taken by the colonial government and the responses of the local people on such measures. Keywords: heathens, indigenous treatment, missionaries, Christian medicine, evangelization.

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