"ALLAHU Akhbar! Allahu Akhbar!" (God is great! God is great!) Five times a day there rings out over the city of Delhi from the minarets of her numerous mosques the creed of Islam and the call to Prayer. "God is great," chants the Muezzin; but neither he nor the thronging worshippers prostrating themselves in prayer on the marble pavement of the mosque know the supreme revelation of His greatness and His love in the Person of Jesus Christ. That call to prayer rings out a perpetual challenge to every Christian missionary in India to share with the Mussalman that revelation of God which can create a man's life anew. How much more, then, is this the case in Delhi, the central shrine in India of the Faith of Islam? The Cambridge Mission from its earliest days heard that call very clearly and responded according to its power. Preaching in the bazaar was the first method used, and the interest aroused was so great that it was soon found necessary to have some more adequate place in which those who really wished to listen and learn could do so apart from the inevitable noise and distractions of the street. The missionaries were invited to speak in one of the larger mosques in the city and large crowds of Mahommedans flocked to hear them, and to ask questions about the Christian Faith. The meetings were continued and finally the Mission decided to build a preaching-hall in one of the main bazaars, where the work amongst Mussalmans could go on unhindered. This hall was dedicated to the glory of God and in memory of Edward Bickersteth.
Chief among those who have held out the word of life to the Muslims of Delhi was George Lefroy, who succeeded Edward Bickersteth as Head of the Cambridge Brotherhood, and Head of the Mission. A brilliant linguist, who spoke such excellent Urdu that it was said of him by an eminent and learned Mussalman, "He speaks like one of ourselves"; a thoughtful leader in debate, with a clear grasp of the difficulties of his hearers and an Irish gift of reply to their questionings; a man of large-hearted charity, Mr. Lefroy was eminently fitted and used by God to present the message of the Christian Faith to the Mussalman.
Work among Mahommedans is always difficult and often very disheartening. The Indian Mahommedan dearly loves an argument, and will dispute for hours in the hope of being able to get the better of his opponent. The wise missionary will avoid, if he can, such fruitless discussions, and confine himself to a simple statement of his message to such as wish to hear it in sincerity and truth. But argument cannot always be avoided, and sometimes the patient endurance of opposition and contradiction will do much to win interest in, and respect for, the Christian message; and here and there, out of his inherited attitude of bigotry and prejudice, a follower of the Prophet will struggle through to lay hold of the truth as it is in Jesus. In those early days the taking of such a step was the signal for a wild outburst of excitement and furious anger on the part of the Muslim community, and any son of Islam who wished to confess Christ in Baptism took his life in his hands by so doing. In addition to this, he was almost inevitably cut off by his family who regarded it as the bitterest disgrace that could fall upon them that their son should become a Christian. Small wonder that there were few who even if drawn to Christ were brave enough to confess Him openly; but who shall say how many of those who frequented Bickersteth Hall were led for the first time to see something of the hitherto unimagined love of God as shown in the Cross of Christ?
Since the time of Mr. Lefroy, the work at Bickersteth Hall has suffered many ups and downs. Pressure of work in other directions and lack of men specially equipped as he was for the very difficult work among Muslims compelled the Mission very reluctantly to discontinue this work for periods of varying length. But it has never been completely abandoned, and of late years it has been revived, and is now being carried on again on much the same lines as in the time of Mr. Lefroy and his contemporaries.
Those who work among Mahommedans in India must be prepared to do so without seeing much in the way of visible results. Real conversions are few and far between, but signs are not wanting to show that the preaching of the Cross, which to the Muslim as to the Jew, is a stumbling-block, is indeed the power of God and the wisdom of God. It is the preachers who are lacking. "The harvest truly is plenteous"--so says the Lord of the harvest, as He looks at the Muslims of Delhi to-day, "but the labourers are few."
Work amongst Mahommedan women must necessarily be of a different character. The seclusion of women, known as the purdah system, is too well known to need description, and the dwellers in the zenana are ordinarily only reachable and teachable by women. It is true that in a city like Delhi in these modern days the curtain is sometimes flung aside, and a Muslim woman dares with high courage to look the whole world in the face; but with the vast majority custom holds sway, and even where the desire to be free may be present, fear of public opinion holds the women back.
In the days when the women's work was first started, visiting in the city zenanas was the main feature of their activity. Hostility and suspicion on the part of the male members of the family soon gave way to a genuine welcome of the zenana worker, whose weekly or bi-weekly visits were a joyful relief to the monotony and dullness of life behind the purdah. Lessons in reading, writing and needlework were given, on condition that religious teaching be allowed, and many a drab and dreary existence was lightened, and many a life filled with new hope and joy by the knowledge of the love of Christ Who cares even for women. But the difficulties which have to be faced by men who wish to confess Christ openly are mere trifles compared with those which need to be overcome by women, so it is scarcely surprising that few had courage to take such a step; but there were not wanting some in whom a great love cast out fear, and led them out into the light and liberty of a new life in Christ.
Times have changed, however, and owing to the greater facilities for the education of girls on the one hand, and the pressure of work in other directions, much of this work of zenana visiting has fallen into abeyance. But this does not mean that the work amongst Muslim women has no place in the Mission scheme of things; on the contrary, the increasing popularity of the hospital, and the growth of Queen Mary's School for high class Mahommedan and Hindu girls have brought more of these women than ever before under Christian influence and teaching. Of these two and other institutions we shall hear more in a later chapter.
One of the most remarkable and encouraging features of missionary work in India is the way in which it corroborates both our Lord's own words and the experience of St. Paul. The fact that "to the poor the gospel is preached" was to be a sign to the languishing faith of St. John the Baptist in prison that the Messiah and His Kingdom were indeed a living reality; and by that same sign we know that He is present in India, and is still doing His mighty works in our midst. St. Paul discovered that in God's inscrutable wisdom "not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God chose the foolish things of the world, that He might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that He might put to shame the things that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised did God choose . . ."; and if he had been a member of the Delhi Mission or any other Mission in India to-day, he could have said exactly the same.
The poor in India are not far to seek, for poverty such as few in this country can ever imagine, is writ large on every hand. Hidden away in Delhi city, amid tortuous alleys and byways, in countless holes and corners; in the ruins of tumble-down hovels which nobody takes the trouble to repair; on the outskirts of the town, stretching away towards the magnificence of the new Imperial city, live thousands of those who, though they toil from the time of rosy dawn till long after sunset, hardly ever know what it means to eat their fill. Many of them belong to the class known as chamars, or leather-workers, and are therefore, as members of an unclean trade, out-castes. To these poor ones, excluded from any fellowship in the religion of their fellow-countrymen, the message of a Brotherhood in which high caste and low, rich and poor, are equally welcome and beloved, is one which has a strong appeal.
It is necessary, in order to understand what it means to spread the Kingdom amongst these outcaste peoples, to understand something of their mental and spiritual condition. Centuries and centuries of serfdom, oppression and degradation have done their ugly work, and like a limb for long unused, their minds are for the most part in a state of atrophy, and have lost the power to react to the stimulus of new thoughts. The divine spark latent in every human soul seems well-nigh stamped out, and only the Spirit of God Himself can re-kindle it. It is therefore a mistake to imagine that their initial desire to become Christians proceeds from any lofty or spiritual motive. It would be impossible that it should be so. Our Lord Himself pointed out the folly of expecting figs to grow on thistles. But we may be sure that He Who loved the simple and the poor would never have turned away any who came to Him, even though their motives were not of the highest. And so those of the Delhi Mission, trying to follow in the path of His will, have always received all who came, given them the opportunity of learning something of the love of God and of the Christian Faith, and only refused Baptism in the case of those who show by their conduct during probation that they have no intention of giving up heathen practices, or of conforming to the rules of the Christian Brotherhood.
In former days the fact that the new religion was preached by members of the ruling race produced in these oppressed ones the very natural desire to enlist their influence and prestige on their own side in the continual struggle against their oppressors. The desire for the education of their children, and the consequent prospect of social uplift has been another factor in drawing out-castes to the fold of Christ. But in and behind all these motives can be traced a general, vague and undefined aspiration for a higher and better life than they have hitherto known, and which they instinctively feel is to be found in the Christian fellowship.
Down in the heat and dirt and smells of the city bastis preaching and teaching has been going on for many years both by English and Indian workers, and has met with considerable response. If, after listening for some little time to the preaching and teaching, their desire remains firm, they are admitted as catechumens. This involves a promise to give up heathen worship and practices, to attend the services in Church, and to do their utmost to learn all that is taught to them. And what a slow and painful task it is, for the teacher as well as for the taught! For the teacher it means infinite patience in going over the same ground again and again till the words and ideas begin to be familiar; infinite resourcefulness in finding out the best way to make the lessons understood; and unconquerable hope that where no results are visible the teaching may yet be bearing fruit, which is known only to God. For those who are taught it means the almost insuperable difficulty of giving their whole attention to the lesson. There are so many interruptions and distractions; a cow breaks loose and has to be caught and tied up again; someone arrives with a choice bit of the latest gossip from the bazaar, which must be told at once; and if by any chance it is a matter of pice which is under discussion it is, of course, inevitable that teacher and lesson must wait until every aspect of the all-important and absorbing topic has been thrashed out to the last detail. Then there is the constant effort to disentangle the particular bit of knowledge required by the teacher, from the hopeless jumble of words and ideas in the poor muddled brain. Small wonder is it that both words and ideas become a little mixed at times. On one occasion the ten commandments were being recited by a catechumen. When the ninth was reached, it somehow got mixed up with the third, and this was the form it took: "Thou shalt not tell lies, in vain."
When it comes to the region of spiritual ideas the difficulties are increased tenfold, and it sometimes seems well-nigh impossible to elicit any response whatever. Patient and painstaking teaching of a kindergarten type often produces wonderful results, but mere teaching by word is not much use without some concrete example of the thing taught, to which the teacher can point as to a living picture; hence an acted lesson where possible is many times more effectual than a purely oral one.
And so, slowly and painfully, the essential things--the ten commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed (simplified), the main facts of our Lord's life, the meaning of Baptism and the baptismal vows--are learnt; false ideas as to what it means to be a Christian are combated, and false hopes of material advantage eliminated. After a probation of varying length, according to the progress made by the catechumen, and the degree of his keenness and sincerity, comes Baptism.
There can surely be few occasions more thrilling than the solemn and joyful gathering of Christ's sheep into the fold of His Church. The following is an account by an eye-witness of such a Baptism.
"It is Christmas Eve. The Christian church of St. Stephen, in the city of Delhi, presents a festive appearance. Its sanctuary is brightly decked with flaming poinsettias, many coloured chrysanthemums, roses and palms, and the church attendant is busy pouring several gallons of water into the large stone immersion font, shaped like a coffin, and bearing the words: 'Ye are buried with Christ in Baptism,' which stands on the south side near the entrance. There is to be a large Baptism at Evensong--eleven adults and six or seven babies. Presently, out of the sharp chill of the winter night, the congregation begins to assemble, and with it the candidates, who are carefully sorted out from the rest and placed where they can be found when necessary.
"In garments poor and mean, they are gathered round the font--some chamars, some sweepers, all to be made one in Christ this joyous Christmas Eve. They stand with hands folded, as in prayer, and having been well instructed, their answers come straight and clear. Then comes the thrilling moment when, having first mounted the little platform at the end of the font, each candidate descends the steps into the deep water, and is three times immersed. Coming up out of the water he, or she, is hastily wrapped in a sheet and retires behind the scenes to remove the dripping garments.
"The babies come next, and then follows a hymn and one by one, out of the shadows, the newly baptised re-appear clad in spotless white garments, and carrying little lighted candles. There, standing by the font, in which they have found the ' washing of regeneration,' they receive the holy sign, and are brought ' into the congregation of Christ's flock,' there to be cherished and fed and nurtured as well as may possibly be, that the good work which He has begun in them may be perfected in His own good time.
"The service is over, and the congregation, each member having been provided with a candle, streams out singing the Urdu translation of 'Once in royal David's City.' The new Christians fall into the procession, which, with its twinkling lights, slowly circles, singing, round the outside of the church. Outside the railings a crowd of curious onlookers peer at us from out of the darkness, and beyond them the tide of the life of a great non-Christian city rolls on."
With baptism comes a fresh access of grace and strength by which the new Christian may emerge, if he will, from the old life into the new. It may well be that the old disabilities--the darkened mind, the warped nature--will render impossible more than one small step in the Christian life; but if even that step be taken, it is surely in the sight of God as great a matter as the conversion of St. Paul. Some there are, who by the grace of God in the Sacraments grow gradually into real spirituality of life, and are truly miracles of His divine power.
Ultimately, however, the evangelisation of India must be the work of the Indian Church; and towards that ideal the Delhi Mission presses steadily forward. In addition to the work done by Indian catechists, teachers and Biblewomen employed by the Mission, there is valuable voluntary work going on. A group of keen elder boys from the United Christian Boys' School go out from time to time under the leadership of their devoted Principal, who is himself an Indian priest, and having camped in a village in simple Indian fashion, offer their service and their witness. Indian teachers from the Victoria Girls' School often give up their leisure hours in the evening, after a hard day's work, to go out to a village which the school has "adopted," to teach the women.
Once a year, in March, an evangelistic week is held throughout the whole of the Punjab, and in this effort Delhi takes its due share. Every Christian is given the opportunity to take part, if only by the selling of gospel portions, and many touching stories could be told of how some of the poorest Christians from the worst slums of Delhi--women as well as men--go out in twos and threes to visit their former caste-fellows in the surrounding bastis, and to tell them what it means to belong to the Christian Brotherhood.
It is interesting to note that the work of the Delhi Mission, so far from being carried on in water-tight compartments or rather departments, is linked together into an interdependent whole. One part grows out of another, and the Mission was not very far advanced in years when the call of the villages was heard and answered.
India is a land of villages, and the tomb-besprinkled country south of Delhi, once the area over which the Moghul reigned in all his splendour, is now, like the fertile plains of the Punjab, stretching away to the north, scattered thickly with them. A little clump of trees is often all that indicates from a distance the presence of a village; but a closer view reveals a picturesque jumble of sun-dried mud houses, intersected by sandy alleys. In the larger villages there are also houses of brick or stone, belonging to the wealthier members of the community, and one or two temples or a mosque. There is usually an abundance of wells, which in addition to the supply of drinking water also yield water for irrigation in the dry seasons.
The population of these villages is a mixed one, the majority usually belonging to one or other of the agricultural castes. North of Delhi the virile Jat is most in evidence, in the south Gujars and Ahirs; while in some villages the landowners are Brahmins who, whether holding land or not, are to be found in most villages, as they are the priests of the Hindu community. Banias (merchants), potters, weavers, shoe-makers and sweepers also have their place in the life of the village, and in the villages adjacent to Delhi there are usually a fair sprinkling of Mahommedans.
For many years the chief method of spreading the Kingdom in the village districts was by means of an itinerary camp. The Rev. H. C. Carlyon, one of the original six of the Cambridge Brotherhood, used this method for over twenty years. From his headquarters at Rohtak, the country town of a large district in the southern Punjab, he spent the cold weather of every year with his ox-cart and tents in a systematic wandering from village to village. Pitching his camp on the outskirts of a village, he would welcome all who came either for friendly visits or for discussion; and as a missionary's camp is always a centre of attraction for the whole village, there was usually no lack of hearers. In the evening lantern slides would be shown, or a talk given to a group of villagers on the "chaupal," an open space or platform in the centre of the village where the men are wont to foregather for their evening gossip. Other villages in the vicinity would also be visited and after a sojourn of some days the camp would be struck, and a move made to some other village.
It was chiefly to the Jat community that Mr. Carlyon felt himself called to give the message of the Gospel, and though in such general itinerating work a missionary makes no distinctions, but preaches to all who will listen, it was the Jats for whom he specially laboured and prayed to the end of his long life. Of those labours and prayers he saw little fruit. The Jats, sturdy, independent, often friendly and lovable, and yet, strangely impervious to the Christian message. Not theirs the eager search for God of the Indian mystics; their treasure is in the fruitful fields of their fertile Punjab, and their heart is there also. An approach along the line of this, their chief interest, was often made by Mr. Carlyon in the manner of St. Paul; God, the giver of all good things, Who gave rain and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness, claimed their allegiance and their love. On one occasion an old Jat farmer replied: "Ah! yes, but we have no need of God nowadays; since the Government made the irrigation canals we can get water for our fields whether God sends the rain or not"!
But God's word returns not void, and to-day, thirteen years after Mr. Carlyon's death, there are hopeful signs of a possible movement among these people of the soil. An increasing friendliness and readiness to listen, and in one or two cases a definite coming forward for instruction; and finally the baptism of several sons of a large Jat family in a village not far from Delhi, give large hopes of a harvest yet to come.
In this work of itinerant evangelism, the women members of the Mission have always taken a large share. A woman can enter doors which are closed to a man; and whereas few Indian women can be found bold enough to join the listeners when the teaching is being given by a man, a woman evangelist will often have quite a large audience of men on the outskirts of her crowd of women hearers. But it is, of course, chiefly the women who throng her camp from morning till night, bringing her all their woes and asking innumerable questions; personal details about children and marriage and relationships; how long she will stay and where she will go next, and how much salary she draws from the Government. These questions, and others like them, are repeated so many times during the course of her stay that the missionary begins to answer almost mechanically, "No, I am not married, and probably never shall be. No, the Government does not pay me for doing this work; we do It because we are the servants of God, and want to bring you good news of Him." And then, sometimes there are questions of deeper import. "What is this religion that you are teaching? Who is this Lord Christ of whom you speak? And these low-born folk that you are making His followers, what of them? Why do you trouble to teach them?" "Gandhi is the saviour of India, isn't he?" was the remark made by a caste man after listening to an attempt to present our Lord as Saviour of the world.
Gaining the undivided attention of a village crowd is a feat of real genius. The teacher needs more than anything the power of vivid and dramatic story-telling. Large pictures are a great help, but still more valuable is the use of bhajans. These are indigenous hymns sung to Indian melodies, which rarely fail to attract and hold the interest of the audience. The Delhi Mission has recently published a new and valuable collection of these bhajans, arranged according to the seasons of the Church.
In addition to the above-mentioned district of Rohtak, the Cambridge Mission carries on its work in two other main districts; that of Gurgaon, to the south-west, and in the Delhi district itself, which comprises the country lying to the south of the city, with its centre at Mahrauli, a country town some eleven miles away. Before the year 1913, the Mission had done very little towards the evangelisation of this latter district; teachers were stationed at Mahrauli and a small Christian congregation had been built up at Fathpur, for whom the Mission had acquired land and provided a church and school. But about the years 1913-14 a group movement towards Christianity began among the chamars in these villages; from village after village men came to the missionaries asking for instruction, and for schools to be started for their boys; teachers were sent, converts baptised and confirmed, and hundreds of people were gathered into the Church. Shortly afterwards the work which had been carried on for so long in the Rohtak District began to bear fruit and a similar group movement, though smaller in numbers, began among the Dhanaks, a class of out-caste weavers.
As these movements have grown the work of teaching and shepherding the Christians and catechumens in these districts has absorbed more and more of the time and energy of the workers. The old method of camping with tents which was only possible in the cold weather, has given place to the establishment in various centres of a permanent abode, usually a room set apart in the resident catechist's house, where the workers may come at all times of the year, and from which they are able to visit a large circle of villages in the vicinity. In the Rohtak District, such a village centre has been established at Kharkhauda where there is now a resident Indian priest, a room on the roof of his house for the English Priest-in-Charge of the district, and a newly built bungalow for the women workers.
In the district of Gurgaon, there was, until quite lately, no movement of any note; but about eight years ago, a large number of chamar families in Sohna, a large village fifteen miles beyond Gurgaon, came forward and asked for teaching and baptism. They were accordingly put under instruction, and on the occasion of their baptism a deputation of sweepers, headed by their Chaudhri, or chief, approached the Head of the Mission as he was leaving the village, asking that they, too, might be allowed to become Christians. The Chaudhri himself was already a Christian of long-standing, having been baptised by the Methodists; but as that Mission had not been able to continue its work in Sohna the old man had never had any opportunity to learn anything further, or to know anything of the fellowship with other Christians. The desire for better things, however, was still present, and he desired them not only for himself but for his people. His request was granted, and the Sweeper community also was duly taught and baptised. The movement spread to a few other villages in the vicinity, chiefly through the missionary efforts of the old Chaudhri, but so far it has not attained any considerable strength.
In contrast with the mass movements of South India, the awakening of the outcastes in the districts covered by the Delhi Mission is a slow and painful process. But the Holy Spirit of God is at work, and the leaven is being inserted which will in His own good time leaven the whole inert mass, and bring to life and light those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. 2.--Healing the Sick.
"Preach the gospel; heal the sick." In other words, "Proclaim the good news of the love of God by word and deed." As to our Lord's first apostles, so to us now comes the command to follow closely the methods and example of the Master-Evangelist Himself. The healing of the sick was not simply used by Him as a means of gaining the good-will of the people, or of attracting -attention to His message; it was surely all part of His manifestation of the Father's will in the doing away of disease and sickness and all other evil things whether physical or spiritual. And to those who are striving to spread His Kingdom in India, where sorrow, suffering and disease confront the missionary at every point, it is obvious that in addition to the preaching of the word there must also be the offering of loving service.
Medical work in connection with the S.P.G. and Cambridge Mission was begun by Mrs. Winter, who realized the urgent need of the women and children of Delhi for medical aid. During the first two years of her married life, Mrs. Winter carried on medical work herself, having obtained some practical knowledge from her father. This mainly consisted in nursing women in their own homes, especially during an outbreak of cholera.
Having made a start, Mrs. Winter was anxious to find better qualified agents to develop and carry on the work. In those days few women had been able to secure adequate medical training, and many years elapsed before a qualified woman doctor could be found.
From 1867 onwards, however, women workers were employed who had sufficient knowledge of the elementary branches of medicine to be able to render efficient help in times of sickness. The first qualified medical woman to take charge of the work was Dr. Jennie Muller in 1891. After working for some few years in the Mission she paid a visit to England to obtain further medical qualifications, after which she returned to take charge of St. Stephen's Hospital, and was largely responsible for building up the work and putting it on the firm basis on which it now rests.
The Hospital is now a well-equipped institution which provides accommodation for 120 in-patients. The medical staff consists of four doctors with British qualifications and one Indian sub-assistant surgeon. In close connection with the Hospital is a training school for nurses and a school for compounders. The former is staffed by an English trained superintendent and four English trained sisters, assisted by two Indian sisters and four Indian staff nurses. There are usually about thirty-six nurses in training. The school for compounders admits six students and is under the supervision of an English trained Pharmacist.
Such is a brief outline of the progress of the medical work of the Mission. Let us now try to get a comprehensive view of the work itself which goes on day by day, both inside the big Hospital on the "Tis Hazari" Maidan (open space), and also outside in the city and villages.
It is the early morning of a hot-weather day. The dispensary yard is fast filling with vehicles of every description, bringing out-patients to the morning dispensary. A stream of tongas, ekkas, phaetons and dhoolies (carrying chairs), discharge their burdens of suffering women and children accompanied by numerous relations, who disappear within the gates where no man may follow them--for this is a "purdah" hospital. Once inside, the heavily veiled women throw back their head veils, or, if Mahommedans, their burqas (a long garment which shrouds the whole figure, with two holes for the eyes), with a sigh of relief, and settle down with more or less patience in the waiting room till their turn arrives to be interviewed by the doctor.
Presently a door opens and another Indian comes in. She selects three or four people from the crowd and takes them quietly into the room from which she has come. Here she leads them to a table where preliminary entries are made. The name of the patient having been extracted with much difficulty, there next comes the question of age.
"How old is she?"
"How old? Who knows? Perhaps twenty, or thirty."
Or, if an oldish woman, "She is very old, she must be a hundred."
After much labour spent in ascertaining such necessary details, the patient is conducted to a wooden stool close to the doctor, on which she is asked to sit. It is rarely nowadays that any protest is made on the part of high-caste women, who in former days would have indignantly refused to sit on a seat which a moment before, perhaps, had been occupied by an outcaste chamar or sweeper. It is now taken for granted that in a Christian hospital no caste is recognised, and that all who are in need of healing, whether high born or low, are treated without distinction. But it is difficult even yet, in a land where bribery is rampant, to make them grasp the fact that rich and poor are also alike in receiving the utmost in skill and attention that doctors and nurses can give, and not infrequently an attempt is made to thrust a coin into the doctor's hand so that (as the patient imagines) superior treatment or medicine may be given.
A doctor in an Indian hospital needs above all things an unlimited supply of patience. With large crowds awaiting their turn to consult her, she must unweariedly sift the information she requires from the mass of irrelevant details which are poured into her ears. It is entirely contrary to Indian practice to go straight to the point, and any attempt on the part of the doctor to cut the long story short is misunderstood as being unwillingness to treat the patient. But at last the essential point is reached, and then there often comes a further trial of patience in making the patient understand how to carry out the doctor's instructions.
In some cases, the patient is advised to come into hospital as an in-patient, whereupon more time has often to be spent in arguing and persuading.
"But who will cook 'his' food?"
"You cannot cook it now, and if you come and stay in hospital you will be sooner able to cook it."
"I have a son at home; he will not let me come." "How old is he?"
"He is soon going to be six; he will forbid me to come."
These and other objections having been removed, the matter ultimately hangs upon the consent of the husband, and away goes the patient, promising to come back if "he" allows.
Some, however, are brought into hospital by their men, who wish them to be treated, so pass on at once into the wards. Let us follow them there.
The main block of the Hospital is a large, two-storied building, with upper and lower verandahs, overlooking; a pleasant courtyard, and branching out from it and surrounding it are numerous wings and additional buildings, such as the isolation ward, children's ward, cottage wards, nurses' home and dining-room, Sisters' quarters, doctors' bungalow and in the centre of all, as in the lives of those who work there, the chapel. Shady trees make the courtyard a pleasant place, and under the thickest of them there is usually a large pen, with a blanket spread on the ground inside it, in which several babies are crawling or toddling about to their hearts' content. Patients in various stages of convalescence are sitting about the verandah, or under the trees.
The doors of the wards stand wide open, and the white-capped, bare-footed Indian nurses flit hither and thither at their work. Inside the ward there is less disorder than in the dispensary, as the patients are mostly in bed, but nearly every patient has a relation who stays with her. It is only with difficulty that the number of relations is kept down to one for each patient; four or five would gladly stay if they were allowed to do so. The one who stays usually has a baby with her; and various belongings, such as a betel-nut box, a blanket which she lays on the floor at night to sleep on, a drinking vessel, a brass tray with food, are spread out around her. Owing to this custom, and to the flow of chatter kept up by the patients and their relations, the wards are neither so quiet nor so spick and span as those of an English hospital; but in spite of all, a wonderful degree of order and efficiency is maintained.
The upper ward is largely used for surgical cases, and near the top of the broad stone staircase leading up to it is the white-tiled operating theatre with its great windows, well-equipped with all the necessary instruments and appliances. Here many hundreds of sufferers have been relieved and many hundreds of lives saved through the surgeon's skill, and the after-care of sisters and nurses. Urgent cases are admitted at all times of the day or night, and the doctor on call accounts herself unusually fortunate if she is allowed to remain undisturbed through a whole night.
It is seldom that the hospital wards are not full to overflowing, but the hospital is very elastic, and room can almost always be found for "one more." The verandahs are used for the overflow, and are not infrequently packed with extra beds. All treatment in the hospital is free, but there are sometimes wealthier patients who prefer to be more private than is possible in the general ward, and for such there are several private wards for the occupation of which a small charge is made. There are also a few European wards, so-called not because they are exclusively used for European patients, but because they are arranged according to the laws of European sanitation and hygiene, to which only a few better educated Indians care to conform. A large number of Europeans, however, do use the hospital, many of them being the families of those who are working for the Government on the railways, but who cannot afford the expense of a nursing home. Most popular of all with wealthy Indian patients are the cottage wards. Here there are no restrictions as to the number of relations who may accompany a patient, and husband and mother-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grand-parents, to say nothing of pet birds and animals, take up their abode for the duration of the patient's stay.
Up on the roof of the hospital a ward has been constructed for tubercular cases, where the patients may he out in the sun and air, with a thatched roof and reed blinds to protect them at night and when the sun is too hot. Here there are some ten or twelve beds some of which are occupied for weeks and months at a time.
The life of a doctor in a hospital such as St. Stephen's is one of immense scope, and also one of great stress and strain. Her powers are taxed to the utmost, for unlike an English city hospital or infirmary where every case is dealt with by its own specialist, a mission hospital is a place where the doctor must be prepared to cope with every type of disease known or unknown which is brought to her for treatment. She must be ready to attempt operations in order to save life which she may never have attempted before; accidents, tropical fevers, wounds, poisoned limbs, eyes in every imaginable state of disease or inflammation--these are the ordinary things of life. But the true worth of the hospital to India's women is gauged by the expert knowledge and skill which is at their service in the hour of their greatest need. From time immemorial they have been the victims of unhygienic treatment and often of unspeakable barbarities at the hands of the ignorant, dirty women who, according to custom, are called in to minister to them at the time of confinement. Many such victims have been brought to the hospital when there seemed little hope of life for either mother or baby; and many of them have learned what science, loving skill and cleanly conditions can do to bring them back even from the brink of the grave. Prejudice and custom, however die very hard in India, and it has been, and still is, a work of untiring patience and perseverance to educate public opinion and create a desire for better things. But the work originated by medical missionaries and carried on by them according to their power was some few years ago taken up by the Government Health Department. The chief method is the training of indigenous dais (midwives) and the establishment of Infant Welfare Centres, where the women can bring their babies and learn from the trained worker in charge how best to care for them both in sickness and health. Health Visitors also visit the women in their own homes and gradually teach them some of the rules of hygiene and cleanliness.
Progress in these matters is a slow business, but during the last few years there has been a steady increase in the midwifery work of the Hospital which is specially noteworthy. In 1909 the number of intern cases was 63, while for ten months alone in 1929 the number was 595. Instead of the patients arriving, as in the old days, often in a moribund condition through maltreatment, large numbers now attend the ante-natal clinic all through their pregnancy, and come in for their confinements from choice, even if it is not absolutely necessary.
The subject of mothers leads us naturally to that of babies, of whom not a few are cherished and mothered in the Hospital until they are old enough to pass on to other care. Some of them are children whose mothers have died in hospital; others are little motherless infants rescued from the city bastis by the workers, who know that their only chance of life is the proper care and feeding which ignorant relatives can never give them. Some are foundlings brought in by the police or others, who well know that the Christian folk in charge of the hospital will never refuse to take in any who are in need of their help. A typical case is that of a baby girl who had been found deserted on the road-side, dying from exposure to the scorching luh (a hot wind which blows during May and June, and which is particularly fatal to babies). She was brought to the Hospital, where for days and days she was kept in wet packs, which saved her life. The little waif was subsequently baptised, the name given to her by the doctor being a composite-Hindu word meaning "Life by water." She is now a fine girl who, having passed out of St. Elizabeth's School for handcraft, is an expert needlewoman, able to help to support herself.
Beyond the bounds of the city, the work of the hospital extends into the village districts. Except when suffering from severe shortage of staff, through absence of doctors on furlough, or from ill-health, one of the staff conducts a more or less regular campaign in the villages. This has now been made easier by the acquisition of a hospital car, so arranged that if necessary a patient can be carried in a recumbent position. Equipped with a box of medicines, known throughout the villages as "the Black Box," the doctor is able by means of the car to visit a large number of villages, more particularly those which lie far away from available medical help. In those villages where she is known, her coming is hailed with shouts of joy, and she is immediately mobbed by a gesticulating, excited crowd, all endeavouring at once to tell her their various ailments, and demanding medicines. When some little order is restored, the black box is opened and she holds dispensary. Coughs, fever, sore eyes preponderate; pills, mixtures and ointments are given, with instructions how to use them, but the average villager is slow of understanding and it needs endless reiteration on the part of the doctor before the instructions are understood. Thus:--
Doctor: "Take one pill morning and evening."
Patient: "Eh! What?"
Doctor: "One pill in the morning, one pill in the evening."
Patient: "Ah, yes." Pause. "When must I take the pills?"
Doctor (using words of a different dialect): "One pill morning--one pill evening!"
Patient: "Very good." Goes away, but returns in a few moments to ask: "Shall I take all the pills to-day?"
Doctor: "No, no, stupid!" Thinks hard, and then having had an inspiration: "Day by day, when the cows go out, take one, and when the cows come home, take one."
Patient (joyfully): "Ah! now it comes into my understanding!"
There are inevitably some among those who come to the doctor who need operations, or other treatment which obviously cannot be given in their own village, and these she endeavours to persuade to go with her when she returns to Delhi. An elderly woman with cataract in both eyes--a typical example of many more--was thus carried off in triumph. She had been almost blind for some time, and could only just distinguish light from darkness. Tightly clasping the doctor's hand, she stumbled along the rough field-path from the village to the main road, a distance of two miles, where the car stood waiting. Her return, after a short period in hospital, was dramatic. Alighting from the car, delightedly refusing any help, she walked the two miles with conscious pride, and entering the village was greeted on all sides by enquiring neighbours. "Yes, I can see," she replied. "The doctor has done a cure, and I have walked alone all the way from the road." The news spread from mouth to mouth like wildfire. "The mother of Mani Ram is no longer blind--she can see!" The story of her cure and of her sojourn in hospital would be told over and over again, with fresh embellishments each time, to a large circle of wondering neighbours.
On the ward table stands a thank-offering box, and many touching stories could be told of the gifts put into it. Poverty such as is rarely known in England is the common lot of millions in India; but it is no rare sight to see a poor, but grateful, patient ready to be discharged, carefully produce a coin from some portion of her ragged clothing, and drop it into the box before she leaves the hospital.
In addition to the witness borne to the healing work of Christ by the medical and surgical work of the hospital, the message of the gospel is also presented to the patients by the spoken word. Teaching in the waiting-room necessarily suffers much from distractions and interruptions, but in the comparative quietness of the wards it is easier to gain attention, and regular evangelistic work is carried on among the in-patients and their relatives. This work is in charge of a member of St. Stephen's Community living at the hospital who, in addition to teaching in the wards and superintending the work of the Bible-women, follows up any patients who seem keen, when they pass out of hospital. She is assisted by a blind and crippled woman, a convert from Islam, who, living at St. Mary's Home, is brought over every day in a wheeled chair. In spite of her disabilities this poor woman is a keen and enthusiastic Christian, and her cheerful contented disposition is the greatest possible witness to the power of Christ in her life. But she is also a good evangelist, and armed with her Braille hymn-book--a bulky volume--she gathers the women round her, sings to them and tells them in quaint and pithy fashion the stories of the Gospels.
Prayers are said daily in the wards, and the nurses and compounders take what share they can in the evangelistic work. On Sunday the hospital work is reduced to a minimum, and as soon as the rounds are finished the patients are collected as far as possible into one ward and a simple service is held consisting of bhajans (Indian hymns), prayers, a short reading from the Bible, and a very simple address by one of the doctors.
But the value of the Hospital is not limited to the work of healing and evangelization which goes on there. It is also immensely valuable as a training school for young Indian Christian girls as nurses and dispensers, and for older women as midwives, thus opening up for them an avenue of usefulness unknown and unheard of in former days. Here, under the constant loving supervision of English Sisters, they learn not only habits of discipline and reliability, cleanliness and hygiene, but what is better still, the joy of service to their fellows, and a practical expression of their Christian life.
About 1913 a Board of Missions was formed for examining nurses, as several hospitals felt the need of a uniform syllabus and examination. The nursing course is one of three years with a fourth year for midwifery. Gradually the number of hospitals increased, and in 1918 the name "The United Board of Examiners for Mission Hospitals in North India" was adopted. A few years ago a definite course and examination for dispensers was added, and later still non-mission hospitals were affiliated. Nursing is now understood to be no mean profession, and young Indian women are training from a love of nursing with high ideals. The uphill struggle has been a slow and often discouraging task, but those who have undertaken it are confident of success and progress. At St. Stephen's Hospital, the two Indian Sisters and four staff nurses take their share of responsibility and often rise nobly to an emergency.
India is from time to time swept by devastating epidemics, which owing to the extremely unhygienic habits of a large majority of people, spread with alarming rapidity. At such times the resources and strength of the hospital staff are taxed to the utmost, but in addition to the ordinary work of the hospital they take a considerable share in fighting such diseases in the city and villages. In the epidemics of plague, which have from time to time broken out in Delhi and the Southern Punjab, valuable service has been rendered by mission workers in getting the people inoculated. During one of these epidemics a small village about eight miles from Delhi where there is a little Christian congregation, was sorely stricken. A party from the hospital, consisting of an English Sister and two Indian nurses, went out to the village and started to fight the plague. They turned the school-house into a hospital, and lived themselves in a mud-and-thatch hut close by for several weeks nursing and tending the victims.
So, as in the days of old, Christ went about healing the sick, His followers in these days try to follow His footsteps, and by spreading abroad sound methods of healing, dispelling ignorance, and using their skill in His service, strive to bring His Kingdom in India a little nearer.
In the same Compound as St. Stephen's Home, and closely adjoining the massive buildings of the Victoria Girls' School and St. Elizabeth's School, stands an older building, known as St. Mary's Home. Through the open doorway can be heard the merry shouts of little children at play. Girls and women of varying ages go to and fro at their work; the tap, tap of crutches can be heard on the stone flags of the inner verandahs; two or three blind girls with peaceful faces sit knitting in a corner, and make cheery remarks to the passers-by. St. Mary's Home is the effort of the Mission to spread the Kingdom by caring for the weak.
The Home was built in 1900, and has ever since fulfilled a variety of purposes. It was primarily intended to be partly a convalescent and partly a converts' home; then, gradually, as necessity arose, others were received within its friendly walls.
The severe famine of 1899-1900 left a terrible legacy of little starving, orphaned and abandoned children, and these too found sanctuary. The nursery department thus started has proved more and more useful. Some of the child inmates are babies born in hospital whose mothers have died; these are cared for at the hospital until they are about two years old, and then passed on to St. Mary's Home. Some are the children of poor Christian widows or widowers who are working in situations where they cannot keep a child with them; while others are foundlings or derelict orphans who have been rescued from lives of misery and degradation by one or other of the workers of the Mission.
Childhood in India is not the happy, care-free time that it is now in the countries of the West. Extreme poverty leads to the exploitation of child-life, while dirt, disease and neglect fill up the measure of suffering and sadness which thousands of these little ones have to endure. But the spreading of the Kingdom of God must inevitably bring with it the happiness and welfare of children, and those of St. Mary's bear joyous witness to the love and care with which they are tended for His sake, Who said: "Suffer the little children to come unto Me."
The children of the Home are taught from their earliest years the joy and privilege of worship. Morning and evening they troop into prayers in the little Home chapel. With smiling faces they deposit themselves happily on the floor, prostrating themselves for the prayers, in Eastern fashion. The children's Eucharist is their crowning delight. They love to make the little chapel as beautiful as possible, and they have learnt to sing the service in metrical form to an Indian setting. Babies of two and three years old can be seen kneeling with tiny folded hands and rapt faces, as quiet as mice, even through a long service.
It can easily be understood that to provide for these little ones involves considerable strain on the funds of the Mission, but this is much lessened by the kindness of friends in England who help in a very acceptable way, by undertaking the support of a child. This may be done by a school, parish, band of King's Messengers, or any other missionary organization. The cost of one child per year can be covered by the surprisingly small amount of £6. This is due to the fact that great care is taken, while sufficient nourishing food is provided, to bring them up entirely in Indian habits with regard to food and living. Meals are simple in the extreme. A large vessel full of a kind of lentil stew, and a basket piled high with flat wheat-meal cakes of bread, freshly made, are brought from the cook-house. Each child brings its plate, and three or four wheat-cakes and a portion of the stew are doled out by the matron, who is a capable Indian woman with a real love of children in her heart. Grace is sung, and the children sit in rows on the ground, with plates in front. "Fingers were made before forks," or spoons, and no one in St. Mary's needs such implements.
The clothing of the children is also a matter in which welcome assistance is received from English friends. Garments are made by work-parties and sent out in bales by the General Secretary of the Mission.
All but the tiniest children daily attend the Kindergarten Class at the Victoria School, and at the age of eight or nine are drafted on to one or other of the boarding schools for Christian children. But it may well be that the influences of the Home during their early years are of permanent value in the building up of strong' Christian character, and that habits of reverence and worship, truthfulness and obedience once learnt may never be forgotten.
More permanent than the children are those who are unable through physical infirmity to take an ordinary share in the affairs of life. Blind, lame, feeble-minded Christian women find in St. Mary's Home not only a refuge, but an opportunity. They are helped, whenever possible, to take up their lives with both hands and to make the very best of them according to their abilities, and in so doing to find self-respect and partial independence. Mention has already been made of the blind and lame Biblewoman, who, living at the Home, is daily conveyed to the Hospital in a wheeled chair. Others who are blind are able to knit and produce really saleable work; those who are feeble-minded are sometimes able to help in the kitchen with the cooking; thus whenever possible some occupation is devised for each one.
Besides these more or less permanent inmates there are nearly always some whose residence in the Home is temporary. Christian women in difficulties find there practical help and advice. Converts are received and prepared for Baptism or Confirmation; village Christian women are welcomed for a few days' stay in order that they may be brought into touch with the larger life of the Church in Delhi. A typical case is that of a young high-caste Hindu widow who, having drifted into Delhi, and being homeless, was brought to the Home by the Indian vicar of the parish. She firmly announced her intention of becoming a Christian, and though all the difficulties were faithfully put before her, remained firm in her desire. She was duly instructed, and though she proved unusually keen in her understanding, she had to face a hard struggle in order to conform to Christian standards of conduct. Many times she fell away, but still the determination remained, and she was finally baptised. After another stormy period, she was happily married to a catechist in another Mission, and after passing a midwifery course went on to take up Infant Welfare, and is to-day doing excellent work.
It would be impossible in the space at our disposal to try to enumerate the many and varied uses which are served by St. Mary's Home. The latest development is the establishment of a work-room where some of the inmates are taught stocking-making and repairing. All kinds of mending and needlework are taken in hand and the work-room also finds employment for poor Christian women in the city--widows, destitute, and the wives of out-of-work Christian men. This venture has more than justified its existence during the short time that it has been running, for besides proving an immense boon to those for whose special benefit it was started, it also enables more and more of the permanent inmates of the Home to become self-supporting.
But above and beyond all the varied activities of the Home, and its mixed population, and the comings and goings of its inmates, there remains as the chief aim of those in charge that it should be a true spiritual home, filled with the atmosphere of love and prayer, so that every girl, woman and child who enters it may be helped by the influence within its walls to overcome evil and to grow in grace. To this end the worship of the chapel, the happy laughter of little children and the truly sanctified lives of some who live there, all contribute.
A short time ago, an old student, a Mussalman, who is now a prominent Nationalist leader, had occasion to visit St. Stephen's College. He had not been inside it for twenty years, and only found one member of the staff who had taught in those older days. One thing, however, he looked for and found; it was the text painted on the wall above the dais: "Jesus said: 'I am the Light of the World. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness.'"
Missionary education of non-Christians has of late been much criticised, both from outside and also from within the missionary ranks. Some of these criticisms would be unanswerable were it not that in the work of mission schools and colleges there is a higher end in view than mere intellectual attainment. Their aim is to hold up the Light of the World before the mind of thoughtful India, to lead her sons and daughters up through all knowledge to the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, and to point them by the force of example to a way of life which is the key to all the problems which press so heavily on them as on all men. The appeal of Christ must be made to these educated classes by the formation of a character that needs Him, the living of a life that cannot be lived without Him. And this cannot be done better than in a school or college where a strong corporate life has to be lived, traditions have to be formed and observed, and ideas have to be learned and expressed. Here the Christian layman or woman, English or Indian, bears his part. He does not say to his pupils: "Look at the Christian life I am living." He says: "Come, we have got to live this life together, all day and every day, as friends and brothers. I cannot do it in my own strength. Can you?"
The results of this quiet, unobtrusive method are very apt to be misjudged. True, it is not possible to point to large numbers who as an outcome of their school or college career have definitely confessed Christ by baptism. But countless men and women are daily becoming aware of Him, are being attracted to Him, and are acknowledging that His ideals are the highest, and His life the hardest to follow. No one is satisfied that this should be all, but changed opinion is the first stage towards a changed life. That public opinion is undergoing a radical change in some quarters is evident from the fact that when a few years ago a student was baptised, there was no opposition or disturbance in the College. Even twenty years ago such an event would have aroused fierce hostility, but times are changing, and we thank God, knowing that His Spirit is at work in the hearts of men.
The Cambridge Mission manages two schools for non-Christian girls, Queen Mary's School in Delhi, and a school for Bengali girls in Simla. The latter is a primary school, and is carried on from April to October each year. The Government of India employs large numbers of Bengali clerks whose children cannot attend the ordinary local schools because they cannot speak Urdu. Most of them work in Delhi in the cold weather and in Simla in summer. The school is carried on by two Bengali teachers under English supervision, and though little heard of, its joyful, homely influence is deep and real.
Queen Mary's High School in Delhi is of a different kind. It is avowedly for girls of good family, charges high fees (as they are reckoned in India) and except for the services of one missionary, does not depend on Mission funds. It has some two hundred pupils, of whom nearly half are Mahommedans, a few Christians, and the rest of many sects and castes of Hindus. The staff is entirely Christian, and nearly all resident. The school is, of course, "purdah"; no man may approach its pupils, or at least see them. Several of these are boarders, but the larger number are day scholars, so in the morning, at 7 or 9.30--according to the season--the school "garis" arrive, bearing the high-born students behind drawn curtains from their homes in the city.
Classes are held round a closed court-yard, some in classrooms, some in the verandahs. The first lesson is always Scripture, after which the usual subjects, including domestic science, drawing and music are taught. There are two companies of Girl Guides, which provide an opportunity and inducement to enjoy the' open air, which is seldom given to purdah girls. Games and holiday expeditions also give a welcome relief from the seclusion of zenana life, and it is a joy to see the bright, happy faces and to know that the womanhood of India is at last emerging into a larger life and freedom. Now that early marriage, at least among the upper classes, is less common in North India, many girls pass on to Colleges some to read arts and teach, more to take up nursing and medicine. But whether in their school-days or later, marriage is the expected career of everyone, and their school-life must be a preparation for that end. These girls marry men of good position, who have themselves received a university education, and appreciate a wife who can be a companion in the things of the mind. Hence, among other things, the importance of English and an English education. But behind all this lies the influence of the Christian life and faith. The girls are of different peoples and castes, but they find that in school they can all live happily together and form one family, a thing which would be thought incredible in their own homes.
At the time of writing there is no corresponding school for non-Christian boys. There has indeed been a High School until quite recently. It was famous throughout North India, for it was the school already mentioned in Chapter I, which was originally founded in 1854, before the Mutiny, re-started immediately afterwards by Indian Christians, and carried on by the S.P.G. and later by the Cambridge Brotherhood. In its time it has done magnificent work, and set the standard for many other schools. But changing conditions have rendered this form of missionary activity of doubtful value and the school was closed down in 1929. It is generally agreed that a new start will have to be made on definitely intensive principles, when the situation as regards education is more clear than is the case at present, and when funds are available.
The Mission is probably best known in India by the work of St. Stephen's College, where its ideals of missionary education can show themselves most clearly, and where Bishop Westcott's ideal can be most closely followed. Work in the city has decreased--inevitably perhaps--after the disillusionment with regard to Western civilization after the War. The College, however, is a continual witness that Britain has something to offer, and that she wishes to offer it in a whole-hearted spirit of friendliness and brotherhood.
The task in India is no longer that of the English missionary alone, but pre-eminently that of Indians and Englishmen working together to show non-Christian India, passionately striving for unity, that all divisions can be transcended in Christ. The College was the first in India to have an Indian Principal, and the fellowship between Indian and English, Christian and non-Christian is close and equal. This unity of the staff, and the fact that the number of students is not allowed to grow too large, makes it possible for a very real unity--a family feeling would be a more accurate term--to be achieved in the College as a whole. Its ideal is to bring the rising generation of Indians into contact with Christ, and this is best accomplished through individual contacts. The staff is in close touch with the nonresident, as well as with the resident students, and occasional reading parties in the hills, or a Historical Society tour help much towards this end.
The sense of unity is, however, chiefly developed in the hostels. Each hostel has its own characteristic life, and it is a real corporate life: the pride of the Main Hostel in its garden is a sign of that. This lesser loyalty to a hostel does not overshadow the idea of the unity of the whole College, which is brought home to students by their daily corporate worship, and also in a striking way by the monthly college dinners, which have recently been started. In them, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsees, members of the staff and students, English and Indian, all partake of a common meal prepared by members of both the larger communities and served by students belonging to all. They are a natural expansion of the hostel dinners and are very well attended. Perhaps an even deeper suggestion of fellowship was to be seen on Christmas Eve, when the staff, Hindu, Muslim and Christian served at a dinner given to all the College servants.
The close contact between staff and students is increased through the various college societies, especially the "Criterion," the Debating Society of the College, and the Historical Society. The latter is very valuable, and not only gives opportunities for intelligent appreciation of the historical remains of the older Delhis, but also enables students, in its politico-social discussions, to clear their ideas on important questions of the day, and in visits to places such as Benares or Rajputana, adds to a boy's experience and tests his adaptability. The Shakespeare Society gives an annual place, and the Dramatic Society one in Urdu, while the Students' Christian Association gives a concert and carols at Christmas. Art is not as prominent as it might be in the scheme of Indian education, but most of the above societies can help to develop the artistic sense, and the staff unofficially finds it possible to do something for this all too neglected side of life.
That all this is worth doing the College makes quite clear. It definitely stands for the principle that a narrow conception of education is worthless and that education should be education into a fuller life and must be based on religion. The whole atmosphere of the College is Christianly educative, but there is every day a definite period of Christian teaching based on the Gospels and leading to the idea of definite service. The Social Service League is, in fact, a very important part of College life. It runs two night-schools; one for the poor in the neighbourhood of the College, and another for coolie and sweeper children whose parents work on the railway. Both are run by students, and caste Hindus are particularly keen on being responsible for the latter. They have been the inspiration, too, of a night-school started quite independently by some of the Muslim students. The Social Service League also undertakes hospital visiting, and students help here chiefly by writing letters for the illiterate, or by helping a very poor patient to get back to his family. Rover activities include orphanage visiting, the rescuing of lost children, and some attempt to deal with the beggar problem.
And so, in these ways, the College is trying to fit Indian students for a wider life. Many Indians of the present day regard religion as synonymous with communal feeling, and it therefore stands for an accentuation of disunity. Their solution of the communal problem is, therefore, to abandon religion altogether. St. Stephen's College stands out against this fatal attitude; it is a continuous witness that religion alone supplies a lasting motive for a true unity of brotherhood and service, for it bases all its teaching on the Fatherhood of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, the only Way, the Truth full and complete, and the Life that alone is worth living