The Compassionate Social Sphere: Native Christian Auto/biographies in Colonial India, 1870-1920

Pramod K. Nayar


This essay examines the construction of a compassionate social sphere in native missionary biographies and autobiographies from colonial India, 1870-1920. It proposes that the native converts begin the fashioning of such a social sphere when they become dissidents within the home and the family. From this assertion of agency in terms of their choice of faith and their disillusionment with, primarily Hinduism, they move on to constructing moral webs, constituted by textual labours and networks of labour wherein the missionary works to produce texts and generates a series of connections with existing missionary networks and building new ones among the converts. In this process they create a compassionate social sphere founded on Christian faith and labour.

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