Project Canterbury



Thirst of India






The Right Rev. Heber Wilkinson, M.A., D.D.
Bishop of Amritsar


Sketches by Miss Joan Langley, B.A.


The Missionary Society of the Church of England
in Canada

600 Jarvis Street -- Toronto 5, Canada



Reproduced by kind permission of the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada on behalf of the Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada and Mr. Harold Wilkinson on behalf of the family of the late Bishop Wilkinson.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2008

Photo by Mr. Parkash Samuels, Vice Principal, St. Paul's School.

The Lovely Kangra Valley with its tea and rice fields, as seen from St. Paul's School, Palampur.

[iii] Foreword

The Right Rev. C. R. H. Wilkinson, Bishop of the newly established Diocese of Amritsar in India, was in Canada on furlough during the latter half of 1953. During that time he travelled widely across the Dominion reporting to congregations in cities, towns and country on the work which is being done in his diocese in India. Despite his exacting itinerary he was able to commit to writing much of the material contained in his addresses. It is this which now appears in this little book. It will be warmly welcomed--by those who heard a part of his message and would like to hear more; and by those who were anxious to hear him but were unable to do so.

And what is being done in the Diocese of Amritsar lends itself to such a story--whether it be on the plains of the Punjab, in the hills of Kangra and Simla, or in the vale of Kashmir. The proclamation and interpretation of the Christian Good News among the millions of people who live in this area must be seen in relation to their needs. Such a mission calls for the work of the pastor, the catechist, the evangelist and the Bible woman. But it calls also for the school teacher, the doctor, the nurse, the rural worker and the social worker. In the pages of this book are glimpses of what all of these, as workers in the diocese, are doing.

But there is something new in these pages. It is the story of the rise of an autonomous and indigenous diocese in the place of "foreign" mission--Canadian and English--of which the M.S.C.C. mission in the Kangra Valley was one.

On the 14 April, 1953 the new Diocese of Amritsar was inaugurated. Its constitution provided for its administration by a Standing Committee with its various sub-committees--the whole under the chairmanship of the Bishop. The membership of these committees would be predominantly Indian although the missionary members would be welcomed for the "help, guidance and advice" which they could give. Provision was thus deliberate made for the administrative responsibility and control to pass to [iii/iv] Indian leadership. The Anglican missions at work in the area--of which the M.S.C.C. was one--would continue to provide assistance both in money and personnel; but such help would be used at the discretion of the diocesan authorities. The change which this means in relation to the M.S.C.C. has been given formal approval by the M.S.C.C. Executive Committee.

Such changes had already taken place some years ago in other overseas fields of M.S.C.C. How providential it was that the Diocese of Honan in China had become autonomous when it did. And how much better it is that the Diocese of Mid-Japan is now recognized as a Japanese diocese rather than as a Canadian diocese as it was before the war.

So also the inauguration of an autonomous Diocese of Amritsar to include the former Canadian Mission in the Kangra Valley is to be welcomed. In view of India's notable progress in self-government, and in view also of what has happened in China, autonomy in the Church in India assumes new significance and urgency.

Although the Bishop states that there is an increasing sense of stewardship on the part of the members of the Indian Church--as well as an increasing sense of responsibility--it is likely that Amritsar will look for the help of Canadian missionaries and Canadian money for some years to come. Yet such help in future can be given in the assurance that the diocese, whose work is here so vividly portrayed, is now looking forward to the day of self-support.

May the story which is here told lead to increased interest, intercession and support on behalf of the new Diocese of Amritsar throughout the Canadian Church.

L. A. Dixon.
General Secretary M.S.C.C.

The cover picture, by Right Rev. H. G. Watts, D.D., taken when visiting India in 1951, shows a non-Christian woman filling her water pot from the village well within hearing of a nearby Christian service. We are also grateful to Government of India Information Services, Mrs. Wilkinson, the Rev. T. M. Dustan, Mr. Parkash Samuels and all others who have supplied pictures for this book.

[v] Contents








The Willingdon Air Station, New Delhi.

Government of India Information Services, Ottawa.

[1]Chapter 1

An Ancient People in a New Setting

I stood at the airport in New Delhi on a night in January, 1953. About me was a scene of busy activity. Some passengers were preparing to embark on a plane for Singapore. Others had just arrived from Ceylon and had been dealt with by customs and immigration authorities. Out on the aerodrome under the starry night the runways stretched into the distance and flares lit up one of them upon which a plane was about to arrive. Nearby were huge hangars and all the vehicles attendant upon them. Over the public address system came the announcement:

"Pan American Airways announce the arrival of their Far Eastern flight from New York, London, Rome, Basra and Karachi." Over the aerodrome could be heard the drone of the large plane as the engines were throttled down and it prepared to land. Presently the lights were seen as it glided down onto the runway and the roar of the engines broke the stillness of the night as it taxied to the disembarkation point. The gangway was put into place and the first to step down it was the Primate of Canada who was greeted by the Canadian High Commissioner in India, Mr. Escott Reid. A press photographer stepped up, flash bulbs popped, and the next day the pictures appeared in the papers. The Primate had come to attend meetings of the World Council of Churches, to see something of new India and of the new Diocese of Amritsar on the northern borders of the country next to Pakistan.

[2] As I took part in the welcoming I could not help but contrast the picture with that of a few years ago when the acres of land now covered by a modern airport were sandy, dusty fields. It is typical of the progress that has been made in modern India, now by far, the most important country east of Suez. A few years ago thousands of the villagers who make up seventy per cent of the three hundred and sixty million people in India had never seen an aeroplane. When a small one landed on a natural air strip in the remote hills of Kulu ten thousand villagers full of curiosity quickly surrounded it. One of them wanted to put his hand out to feel the whirling propeller! With difficulty they were made to stand clear as the plane took off. As it started slowly they began to run after it, shouting and laughing like small boys, but soon stood transfixed as it rapidly rose and passed out of sight.

Now internal airlines serve every important city. The journey from Amritsar to Kashmir takes two days by road and less than two hours by air, passing over magnificent ranges of snow-capped mountains which extend as far as the eye can see, and floating down into the beautiful vale of Kashmir. Leaving an international airport one can be in Canada in less than two days. It takes almost a month by sea. This rapid progress in travel and the international contacts established have done much to promote progress in modern India.

Trains have improved too. A railway journey in India is quite an event. Passengers flock to a station long before train time. Sitting on the platform are families with their bundles and boxes waiting for a train that may start a few hours later. Tired travellers are stretched out on blankets, sound asleep. Soldiers with their equipment are chatting together in groups. Uniformed coolies are following an important, prosperous looking gentleman to the waiting room. Hawkers parade the platform with their pushcarts selling their wares or carry them about in a basket on their heads. The whole company comes to life as the train steams into the platform drawn by an impressive looking engine made in Canada. Pandemonium breaks loose as passengers get off the train and others crowd to take their places. The third-class [2/3] carriages have wooden seats but new carriages are appearing with leather covered seats, more comfortable for the simple travellers. The first-class passengers enjoy air-conditioned coaches furnished in a way that leaves nothing to be desired. The train moves off on time and runs smoothly and speedily on its way. Branch line trains are a little more primitive and move in a more leisurely fashion.

Government of India Information Services, Ottawa.

The increased travel is an indication of more prosperity amongst the people and it is obvious that the wider contacts have a broadening and enlightening influence. In earlier years when travelling on ships from India to England one would find only a handful of Indians, but now half the passengers are Indians. The interests of the people of India are growing wider.

A traveller arriving at Bombay is much impressed with the atmosphere and appearance of a cosmopolitan city. The bustling [3/4] traffic and modern buildings arising beside handsome old buildings mellowed with age are signs of the march of time. Row upon row of new apartment houses are appearing on the outskirts of the city and, as in Canada, flats are let before the buildings are completed. Large manufacturing companies with modern factories are establishing new industrial and production standards. Calcutta and Bombay rank amongst the leading cities of the world.

Parliament Buildings, New Delhi

With the emergence of a new nation the capital city of New Delhi has become more of an international metropolis. The High Commissioners of commonwealth countries and the Ambassadors of foreign countries are in residence in fine legations and embassies. New Delhi abounds in handsome buildings and no capital in the world has more impressive legislative buildings in such a magnificent setting. On Independence Day, January 26th, a military parade takes place on the long avenue leading to the President's House, and His Grace the Primate was able to view it from a seat near the President's saluting base. Any visitor would be most impressed with the martial array, the splendid bearing of the troops and the perfect organization of the parade. This also is symbolic of the emergence of a new nation and the [4/5] people of India have a great pride in their new status and achievements.

A great event that was successful beyond all expectation was the first general election under the new constitution. As every man and woman over twenty-one years is now entitled to have a vote, there was an electorate of one hundred and seventy million, much the largest number that has ever voted in any country. It was considered that there were far too many difficulties to permit a successful election. Illiteracy, bribery, corruption, strife between rival factions, provision of voting facilities were all considered insuperable obstacles. Yet the elections passed off in a peaceful and orderly fashion, and whereas many of the voters could not have been very well qualified to exercise their franchise, nevertheless the results were satisfactory. The people took great pride in casting their votes as free and independent citizens of the Republic of India and a new sense of national pride was evident.

As a result of this new sense of freedom and independence there is a marked spirit of good will towards their former rulers, the British. Many Indians did not believe that the British would leave India and grant them full independence. When it actually happened they were pleasantly surprised and at times not a little taken aback. The simple villager would enquire in a pathetic way as to when the British were coming back and it took him some time to realize that a new era had begun.

I was conversing with some Indian officials at a luncheon a few days before the division of the country and the withdrawal of the British took place. One of them asked me:

"What will you do when the British leave?"

"We will carry on as usual," I replied, "if you permit us."

"Of course we will permit you," he said. "We want you to stay and carry on your work, but where will the money for it come from as the government will not pay you now?"

"The government has never paid us anything," I replied, "except for a few small grants for our institutions. If you want to pay us more we shall be delighted."

[6] He looked very surprised and asked:

"Do you mean that all the support for your work has come from your Church in Canada all these years?"

"Yes," I replied, "that is exactly what I mean and have been telling you for a long time, but you would not believe me." They all looked very thoughtful.

A new appreciation of the work of Christian missions has arisen as a result of the realization that they were not agents of the former government, that they had not come to India for ulterior motives, but that all their work and service and witness sprang from their religious beliefs--beliefs which had their origin in the East!

An amusing incident took place in Palampur in the first annual observance of Independence Day. I had attended the function out of courtesy and respect and happened to be the only Britisher present. I was asked by the Congress leaders to take the chair and make the opening speech. I was rather surprised at this request and in a humorous vein replied:

"Gentlemen, you must be making an awful mistake. I am one of the British race whom you have been so anxious to get rid of. You surely do not wish me to be the chairman of your meeting."

"Yes, we do," they replied.

"Very well," said I, "but I shall speak of freedom from the Christian point of view and you may not like what I shall say."

"That is all right, Sahib, you say whatever you like."

Forthwith I, the only Britisher present, took the chair at the Independence Day meeting and spoke in very plain terms of the true meaning of freedom. I thought I might be asked to vacate the chair at the conclusion of my remarks instead of which they were well received and we had a pleasant time together.

Friendship and good will can always surmount the barriers of race, caste and creed, and the new relationship which exists is very hopeful. The recent talk about restrictions being placed on the work of evangelistic missionaries represents the opinion of a [6/7] few, but is not a declared policy of the government. According to the constitution there is full freedom in India to worship according to one's own belief and to practise and propagate one's own religion. This is the policy to which the government adheres, and we have experienced nothing but good will and friendship from government officials. A missionary has to remember that he is a guest in a foreign country. When he completely identifies himself with the welfare and the uplift of the people, he will be welcome but if he abuses the privilege of his position, he will defeat his own purpose.

Indian statesmen have taken a leading part in the councils of the world. While as a nation, India has refused to identify herself with groups of nations, she has always sought to promote the interests of peace and to champion the cause of nations struggling for the same independence and freedom which she herself has gained. She is looked upon as a leader amongst the nations of the East, and the advice of her statesmen is sought by still younger nations. India is a republic within the British Commonwealth of Nations. She does not swear allegiance to the Queen but acknowledges her as the Head of the Commonwealth. It is natural that a new young country should be very assertive in its independence but when the first exuberant flush of national pride subsides, the value of association with the Commonwealth will be more fully realized by serious-minded people. This realization may increase as time goes on.

Flag of the new India

In 1947 consequent upon the division of India and Pakistan, the great migration took place. Approximately eight million people moved from one country to the other, half of them were Muslims living in India who went to Pakistan. The other half were Sikhs and Hindus in Paskistan who trekked to India. The roads were choked by long columns of refugees travelling on foot, in bullock carts and motor vehicles, seeking refuge in their native [7/8] lands. It was the greatest migration from one country to another that has taken place in modern times. Unfortunately many fell by the wayside and literally thousands perished from privation, fatigue and bloodshed. Refugee camps were set up along the way and Christian relief teams went in amongst the sufferers to bring to them medical aid, to organize their camps and to supervise the distribution of food and supplies. Without fear or favour they ministered to all the sufferers alike, irrespective of race, caste or creed. Hindus and Sikhs would not accept help from Muslims nor would the Muslims accept help from Hindus and Sikhs as they did not trust one another. Christians were accepted and trusted everywhere, and the fortitude, devotion and courage which they showed did much to impress people that Christianity is not just a creed or a belief but a living religion that finds expression in the service of mankind. The President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prashad, sent a personal letter of thanks to a group of Christians in Delhi who had gone into a huge refugee camp of Muslims where no one else was admitted and had organized relief and administration. They had worked day and night to meet the needs of the people and created a new atmosphere of trust so that the government officials were then able to carry on.

The bitterness of those sad days is gradually fading away, though many who lost their relatives under tragic circumstances will never forget. Appalling as it all was, nevertheless one has to remember that only eight million people out of four hundred and fifty million were affected, a comparatively small percentage when one numbers people by millions. The rest of the population was not affected. The vast majority would like to see normal relationships completely restored between India and Pakistan and there are hopeful signs that the two governments will reach agreement on many vexing problems which will help to establish good will and co-operation between them. One blessing that has come out of the evil is that there are no more Hindu-Muslim riots which used to occur periodically in undivided India. Now the minorities in either country realize that any such outbreaks would be suicidal
for them.

[9] A staggering problem faced the Government of India in resettling four million refugees who had come from Pakistan. Imagine what the problem would be if four million people suddenly came from the United States to settle in Canada. Where would food, housing and employment be found for them all? In India a record was made of all the property which had been evacuated by Muslims who had gone to Pakistan. Indians who had come from Pakistan registered claims according to the property they had left behind. These claims had to be examined and on account of the acquisitive spirit of man, many were found to be exaggerated or fictitious, so a new Department of Rehabilitation was set up by the Government to deal with all these matters. Gradually land records were exchanged between the two governments and an effort made to give fair consideration to just claims. The refugees were living in huge camps, or with relatives, and many were on the streets. A great number of them set up pathetic little trading booths and tried to re-establish themselves in business. It is to the great credit of the government that in five years a miracle has been performed and all but approximately four hundred thousand people have been re-established. There is much work of rehabilitation yet to be done but the Government of India may well look with pride on the remarkable achievement of the past five years.

The Government has many schemes for industrial and agricultural developments which will be mentioned in later chapters. Huge hydroelectric projects are being carried out to supply electricity for both rural and urban areas. Large irrigation schemes are also being developed to bring thousands of acres of waste land under cultivation so that food production may be increased and more grain be made available for the people. Foreign financial aid is helping to make all this possible. It is the government's answer to communism against which it has set its face. The purpose of all these new developments is to ameliorate the lot of the poor and to give them adequate opportunity to raise their standard of living. Emerging from the past is a modern India in which the Church has a vital part to play.

[10] Chapter 2

The Water of Life

What is your impression of the Church in India? Many people imagine a Missionary as a simple good-hearted soul who thinks that he should go forth to preach to the heathen. Perhaps he wouldn't be a great success in a parish at home but let him go and talk to the heathen--it will not do them any harm. They picture him with an umbrella and an outsize topee giving handouts from bales to half clad natives.

A modem missionary cannot be too well qualified for his task. He goes forth to serve in a Church that is established but is surrounded by millions who do not know the Saviour of the world. He will need all the ability and devotion he can command but above all, he needs a genuine vocation for his service and the grace and power which comes from God. He goes out to serve as a member of a fully organized Church that is endeavouring to present the fullness of the Gospel to those who know it not. The Church in India is alive to its task and is accepting the challenge of the present situation. It numbers amongst its members men and women of consecration and zeal who take a leading part in its councils and an effective share in its work. The missionary joins them as a fellow member of the Church and a co-worker in the Church's mission. If he is master of any special technique [10/11] or method, he will share it with others to widen the sphere of the Church's activities.

On one occasion I was talking with an Indian Christian woman who was enquiring about a retired missionary and recounting the experiences they had shared together. She ended with the simple remark--"She loved us very much"--surely the greatest tribute that could be paid. It is this same spirit of true Christian love which unites the members of the Church and will yet win the world for Christ.

There are now approximately eight million Christians in India, almost half of whom are Roman Catholics. Christians are more numerous in South India, and in the State of Travancore they make up one-third of the total population of the State. The ancient Syrian Christian Church was established in Travancore in the early centuries. According to legend, the Apostle St. Thomas went to India to preach the Gospel, landed on the Malabar coast and there founded the Syrian Church. History does not confirm this legend but the Syrian Church in India claims St. Thomas as its founder and it is quite possible that he actually was. History does confirm that there was a Christian Church flourishing in Malabar in the sixth century A.D. It is not often realized that Christianity took root in India long before the western hemisphere was discovered.

The Most Rev. A. N. Mukerjee

The Anglican Church in India is called the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon. The last three are now foreign countries to India, but the Ecclesiastical Province with the metropolitical See at Calcutta embraces them all. The Metropolitan is the Most Rev. A. N. Mukerjee, Bishop of Calcutta, the first Indian Metropolitan of the Church. He is a man of [11/12] outstanding ability and devotion with many gifts of leadership.

There are fourteen dioceses in the Province in which our new Diocese of Amritsar is included. The Church is well established in many of the older dioceses. In the days of the British rule there was an Ecclesiastical Department of the Government. Grants were paid for the maintenance and upkeep of churches and for the services of the chaplains who ministered to congregations of civil and military people. Under the new regime such support has ceased, and each diocese has been faced with a problem of revising its budget and endeavouring to make up its income from local sources. Many fine churches, beautifully furnished, have been left to us by the British Government, including our splendid Cathedral of St. Paul of the Diocese of Amritsar in the city of Ambala, and old historic Christ Church at Simla, the former summer capital of India. The Church in the diocese is most fortunate in inheriting these beautiful buildings which represent the devotion and pride of the people of the past who worshipped in them.

Each diocese has its own Diocesan Council, and sends representatives to the General Council (or Synod) which meets every three years. There is also an Episcopal Synod which meets more frequently. There are twenty bishops in the Episcopal Synod, including six assistant bishops. Three of the diocesan bishops and three of the assistant bishops are nationals. Amongst the bishops are men of outstanding scholarship, leadership and devotion. One of the most impressive is also one of the humblest, Bishop John Richardson of the Nicobar Islands. The story of his work is one of the most inspiring developments of the modern missionary movement.

The Nicobar Islands are situated in the Bay of Bengal south of Rangoon. It is an isolated area with some ten thousand inhabitants who make their living through the coconut trade. John Richardson was born on the island of Car Nicobar but was given an English name at his baptism. He was sent to a mission school in Mandalay for his education, and through a scholarship provided by some friend from overseas, he was able to complete his studies. In [12/13] later years he was accepted as a candidate for ordination, and after finishing his course and being ordained he went back to his own people to minister to them. When the war came the Japanese occupied the island and ill-treated the people. John Richardson became their champion. As he was the best educated man on the island the Japanese tried to use him as a liaison officer. He refused to carry out their oppressive orders and stood up in defence of his people. His sons were executed and he was persecuted, but he remained firm in his stand. His own execution was about to take place when the British arrived and he was saved. His wonderful example of Christian courage and fortitude made

Bishop John Richardson of the Nicobar Islands and the Cathedral of St. Thomas. This photograph was loaned by S.P.G., London, which has work in these islands and in India.

[13/14] such an impression on the people of the island that many sought instruction in the Christian Faith. At that time there were about fifteen hundred Christians on the island out of a total population of ten thousand in the Nicobar Islands as a whole. Now eight thousand of them are baptized Christians, and others are being prepared for baptism, all on account of the humble and courageous witness given by this servant of God at a time of grave danger and tribulation. This wonderful growth of the Church caused the General Council to decide that there should be episcopal administration in this isolated area. John Richardson was consecrated as bishop in the Cathedral Church of Calcutta in 1950, and administers the new area under the direction of the Metropolitan as it is included in the Diocese of Calcutta. The Bishop now has three ordained men to assist him and is extending the work to take the Gospel to the inhabitants of other near-by islands. Friends in England have provided him with a fine sea-going vessel for this purpose.

This work cannot be carried on without further assistance. Plans are being made for the education of men and boys, and a Christian hostel is being established in connection with one of the schools. In this hostel special care will be given to young men who will be trained for leadership. There is need of other religious workers to educate and instruct the many new members of the Church and to carry on the work in the more distant islands.

At its meeting in January, 1953, the General Council of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon accepted the responsibility for the support of the work in the Nicobar Islands. This is the first overseas missionary work to be supported by the Indian Church, and it was a momentous decision of the Council when it accepted the challenge of the situation and committed itself to the task of taking part in the extension of the Kingdom of God in a land beyond its own shores.

A meeting of the General Council brings together delegates from many climes. They come from the cities of India, the plains of the Punjab, the hills of Assam, the rice-fields of Burma and the beautiful island of Ceylon. They include men who are [14/15] engaged in the Church's work in all these areas, and many prominent laymen in various walks of life, as well as the more humble representatives of rural districts. It is inspiring to hear of the work of the Church in various parts of the province, and makes one realize how far flung the Church of God is. So often there is a tendency in a parish or a diocese to limit one's outlook to its immediate boundaries or its pressing needs. But when we realize that the Church is a world-wide fellowship that embraces people of every clime and colour, our horizons are widened and we get a vision of the Kingdom of God that is being extended throughout the world.

I shall never forget the first service in Hindustani which I attended in India. I could not understand a word of it, but I could follow the service from the Prayer Book in English and join in the worship of God. As I listened to my new Christian friends worshipping with the same form of service to which we were accustomed, I realized as never before the meaning of the Universal Church. I was strangely moved and eager to master the language that I might be one with them in their worship. Now the language is familiar, and it makes little difference whether the service is in English or Hindustani. It is not everyone that has such a privilege. However we do need to raise our sights; and in our imagination as well as in our prayers to think of the Christians in other lands who are fellow members of the Church of God.

On one occasion on our journey home to Canada we were travelling by the Pacific route at the close of the war. Our ship stopped at Manila in the Philippines and on a Sunday we were able to attend a service in one of the few churches remaining. Manila had been very severely bombed. The church in which the service was being held was an old building which had previously been condemned as unfit for use. Nevertheless the Christians of the city from various congregations and denominations had joined together to worship in it until their own churches could be restored. There must have been about twelve-hundred people in the congregation, and the atmosphere of worship was very marked. [15/16] The singing was most inspiring, and there was a note of praise and thanksgiving in the service which made one realize that these members of the Church were dedicating themselves afresh to rebuilding the temples of God and renewing their service for Him. It was one of the most moving services I have ever attended. Around us were the ravages of war, but here was the living Church rising up again to rebuild the walls of the City of God and to carry on the work of the Kingdom.

It seemed to me that this was a great challenge to those who live in countries where war and famine and pestilence are unknown. Canada is one of the most fortunate and prosperous countries in the world. The privileges and benefits which we enjoy should increase our sense of responsibility in sharing with those less fortunate than ourselves in building up the Church of God.

Our participation in the work of the Church overseas is no longer a matter of sending missionaries to convert the heathen. This is of course the primary task of the Church and it is being carried on by the younger Churches. Missionaries now share with them in the great mission which they are undertaking, not as directors and supervisors, but as fellow-workers. There is a new bond of fellowship amongst the members of the Church which eliminates any difference of race and creed. In the past such terms have been used as the "sending Churches" and the "younger Churches". The Church in India is indeed a younger Church, but it is established and growing. It will need the help of the Churches at home for some time to come. But whatever resources may be sent in the way of personnel and means will be used at the discretion of the diocesan bodies of the Church in India. No longer should there be any remote control, but whatever can be given in the way of assistance should be sent with the prayer that it will be blessed by God and used by the Church in the receiving country for the good of the work. There is an increasing sense of responsibility and stewardship on the part of the members of the Indian Church. The various committees and councils which are set up are predominantly Indian in membership, and missionaries take their part in the service and administration of the affairs [16/17] of the Church and are welcomed for the help, guidance and advice which they give. Above all their friendship and fellowship with Indian workers is the most important feature of the growing sense of companionship as equal members of the Church. There is no room for superiority in the Church of God, but there will be a response to any leader who has the gifts of leadership and is obviously a man of God. This new fellowship and understanding is a very precious development in the work of the Church.

A new amalgamation of the work of missions and churches is taking place. In previous years missionary societies had committees in the field that planned and directed the work of the mission. Alongside the mission grew up the Indian Church, and at times there was duplication of work through mission bodies and church bodies. In some areas this difficulty has been overcome by transferring the complete charge of the work to the Indian Church. This is the process that is taking place in our new Diocese of Amritsar. The work administered previously by representative bodies in the field of the various missionary societies is now being co-ordinated under diocesan administration, and the various committees of the diocese will be responsible for the administration of the work. The resources available from overseas grants are being pooled and distributed under the diocesan budget with due safeguards for grants that are given for specific purposes. It is felt that all the work should now be carried on through the Church as the Body of Christ, and that there should no longer be any dual control. This new move brings with it problems which can be overcome as each member of the Church to whom responsibility is given learns to accept it and exercise it. It is only by giving such responsibility to leaders of the Church that powers of leadership are developed. We look forward with much hope to establishing a Diocese in Amritsar that will be fully self-controlling and in the years to come self-supporting. Our task is to build up the Church so that it will be able to stand on its own feet and to extend its work.

[18] Chapter 3

"The Pool of Immortality"

The Diocese of Amritsar was inaugurated on April 14, 1953. Formerly it was part of the Diocese of Lahore, which was the largest in India before its partition. The Diocese of Lahore extended from Karachi to Kashmir and from Quetta to Delhi, and covered the whole of the Province of the Punjab, the land of the five rivers. The division of this huge diocese was considered at several Diocesan Council meetings in previous years, but no satisfactory solution could be found. In 1942 the area around Delhi, which was chiefly served by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, became an archdeaconry and three years later a diocese under Bishop Mukerjee, the present Metropolitan of India. He was later translated to the Diocese of Calcutta. With the division of India in 1947 the part of the Diocese of Lahore which was in the East Punjab, in India, was cut off from the remainder of the diocese which was in Pakistan. Consequently it was inevitable that a new diocese would have to be established. It was impossible, under the circumstances, for one diocese to extend into a foreign country. The division of the diocese, which was caused by the partition of India, is practically the same as a division which was contemplated some years ago, but could not be carried out.

The Archdeaconry of the East Punjab was formed in 1949 under the administration of an Assistant Bishop of Lahore who was consecrated in 1950. It then became the task of the Church in the East Punjab to prepare for a new diocese. A constitution [18/19] was framed and diocesan administration was set up. The three missionary societies working in the area were the Church Missionary Society of England and the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society and our own Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada. Since 1912 the Church in Canada had maintained the Kangra Mission in the foothills of the Himalaya mountains in the East Punjab, and this area has now become a deanery in the new Diocese. The English societies still continue to support the work for which they have been responsible in the past and to send their missionaries to the Diocese.

The task of coordinating the work of the three societies has finally been completed and the inauguration of the Diocese of Amritsar took place in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Ambala. At the same time, Bishop Heber Wilkinson was enthroned as its first bishop, the service being conducted by the Archdeacon, the Venerable Barakatullah. It was a very inspiring service and an occasion of praise and thanksgiving to God. There were about six hundred people present, including representatives from every parish of the diocese and the sense of responsibility for the task before us was paramount. We have a beautiful cathedral which seats over one thousand people and is set in a park which [19/20] is twenty-five acres in extent. The building is of splendid design and proportion, and is in every way suited to be the cathedral church of a diocese. It was consecrated in 1857 by the Bishop of Calcutta, in whose diocese it then was. In his sermon on that occasion he said that he hoped that one day it would be the cathedral of a new diocese. Now after almost one hundred years that hope has been realized. We trust that during the next one hundred years the work of the Church in the diocese will go from strength to strength.

St. Paul's Cathedral, Ambala.
It is becoming the Mother Church of the Diocese.

The cathedral was previously a cantonment church as Ambala is a very large military station. In the olden days the church would be filled with British troops at parade services. Now we have a small continuing congregation which will grow in the years to come. Daily services are held and it is becoming the Mother Church of the diocese.

The diocese is divided into four deaneries: Amritsar in the plains of the Punjab where the C. M. S. has carried on work for many years; Kangra District where our own Church took over from C. M. S. in 1912; two others are in the far away vale of Kashmir and in the Simla hills with the former summer capital of India, Simla, as its centre. Deanery councils have been set up in these deaneries for the detailed administration of the work. In the diocese there are forty-three missionaries, twenty [20/21] of whom are supported by the Canadian Church and twenty-three by the English Societies. There are twenty-nine clergymen, of whom twenty-three are Indians, five are Canadians and one is an Englishman. Two more Indians are being prepared for ordination. There are forty churches in use at present, not including some of the small village churches in remote rural areas. There are approximately fifteen thousand Christians in the diocese, the majority of whom are in the Amritsar district.

Bishop Wilkinson and the Clergy of the Diocese.

It is a happy augury that the name of Amritsar should be associated with the new diocese for it was here that the Church Missionary Society began its work one hundred years ago. In those days the Punjab had only recently been annexed from the Sikhs, and was most fortunate in its British administrators. They were not merely good civil servants and soldiers, but Christian men who desired to give the people of the land an opportunity to know Christ. These officials invited the Church Missionary Society to work in the land of the five rivers. They supported them with purse and prayer. Their engineers and architects [21/22] advised them and built their houses, their schools, their hospitals and their churches. They made Amritsar their headquarters because of its strategic situation.

It was from this part of the Punjab that the most famous gurus (teachers) of the Sikhs came. From here too Ranjit Singh, the Lion of the Punjab, got his best fighting men. Here also is the Golden Temple, the chief place of worship of the Sikhs. It is from this that Amritsar gets its name which means "the pool of immortality" as the temple is in the midst of a large basin of water. The Sikhs are a reformed branch of the Hindus, numbering five or six millions, most of them living in the Punjab. Their gurus were very fine men who did not believe in the baser practices of Hinduism, and were opposed to idol worship. They produced religious books of quite a high order, and the teachings of their leaders were bound into the Granth Sahib, the Bible of the Sikhs. In the Golden Temple in Amritsar it is always open and is read day and night by relays of priests to groups of worshippers.

Kindness Government of India Information Services
The Golden Temple, Amritsar, chief place of worship of the Sikhs.

[23] The Sikhs are a martial race, always willing to defend their faith and their country. Their custom of never cutting their hair, their upright carriage and finely shaped features give them a distinctive appearance. It is from this stalwart race that most of the converts of the Church in the Amritsar Deanery have come.

In 1853 the Rev. Robert Clark, the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society in Amritsar, planted a banyan tree in the mission compound in Amritsar. These spreading trees bend their branches over into the ground and they again take root as separate trees. In this particular tree six self-rooting branches established themselves, pointing in different directions. They were then named for the mission stations in the vicinity of Amritsar where the work is still carried on. These form the core of our fine inheritance from the C. M. S. Six different roads fan out from Amritsar, passing through these various stations. Within a circumference of forty miles live the vast majority of our Amritsar Deanery villagers.

A Village Catechist.

In each centre there is a church and a clergyman's residence. Each parish priest will have thirty or forty villages to look after with ten to forty Christian families in each village. Under his supervision work five or six catechists,* [*A catechist's training school has been established in Ajnala fifteen miles from Amritsar. In this institution, under the direction of Canon Hague, training is given to catechists to fit them for work in different parts of the diocese.] each one in turn being responsible for five or six villages. The catechists visit the villages daily. They conduct services, teach adult illiterate people and Sunday School children, and endeavour to assist the villagers in their problems and difficulties. The clergyman supervises the work of the catechists and is himself constantly touring in his villages. It is not a very easy life especially in the summer when the temperature is one hundred and fifteen degrees in the shade and the dust and heat are almost beyond endurance. Still they [23/24] minister faithfully to their flock, teaching them and training them in worship.

The vast majority of these village Christians are illiterate. They first embraced the Faith during the time of the mass movement many years ago. Unfortunately sufficient progress in their training was not made, but now steps are being taken to help them to become literate. For this purpose an adult literacy training camp was held at Fatehgarh Churian for three days in July 1953 to train mission workers of the Amritsar Deanery in the new methods of teaching adults. Demonstration work was carried on during the course in some of the neighbouring villages. Although these villagers are simple people, they understand the fundamentals of their Faith and are proud of their heritage as Christians. Most of them work as tenant farmers for large landlords, but now there is an opportunity for some of them to obtain land of their own, and thereby hangs a tale.

When the division of India took place a number of farmers living near the border of India and Pakistan on the India side deserted their lands. Some of them went as refugees to one country or the other. As a result, a strip of very fertile land, about four miles in width along the length of the border, was deserted. No new refugees wished to occupy this land because of its proximity to the border. In the resettlement of refugees the land was allotted to various newcomers, but they never took possession of it. As it was very productive land the government did not want it to lie waste, and was prepared to give it on a small rental to any villagers who would cultivate it. This was a wonderful opportunity for our Christians. They came to us for advice, and we went into the matter for them. Application forms were duly made out and registered, and pieces of the land were allotted to our Christians on an annual rental. We advised them not to leave their present residence and occupation completely, but to let one or two male members of the family develop the new land. Some of them lived in close proximity so that they could walk the four or five miles each day to work on the allotted land. Others had to camp in nearby deserted villages. We advised them to [24/25] make this temporary arrangement until the rental arrangements were on a more permanent basis.

It was quite a sight to see them clearing the deserted land. After clearing it they were able to plow it and sow their crops. Water was a difficulty as there were no irrigation channels, and the wells which existed had been put out of action by vandals. The water from these wells is lifted by a series of buckets on a chain. A pair of bullocks drive the sprockets of the wheels by continually rotating around the well, and the water is diverted into channels which lead to the fields. It would cost three or four hundred rupees to put each well in order. It was a great temptation to assist the villagers financially for this purpose, but it would have spoiled their own sense of self-reliance and independence. Consequently some of them, by practising the strictest economy and going with less food themselves, were able to pay for the machinery to put the wells in working order again. It was a most commendable effort on their part. There was great rejoicing when the first harvest was reaped, and they had prayers of thanksgiving right in the field beside the mounds of golden grain. It was a wonderful thing for the people to have land of their own.

The Christian farmers proudly showed the Primate what they had accomplished.

But alas this promising beginning was not to last. A band of armed non-Christians came along to take the land from our people by force. We had warned our Christians that on no account were they to become involved in any dispute or argument about the land. In obedience to our instructions they refrained from strife. Their persecutors could easily have taken some of the [25/26] many acres of unoccupied land nearby, but they chose to save themselves the trouble of clearing it by taking the land on which our Christians had already done the spade work. We took the case up with the Deputy Commissioner, the chief government official of the district. He promised to set matters right for our people, and also to make available for them land which they could have on auction for permanent possession for the small sum of five rupees an acre. This is typical of the land problems with which we have to deal in assisting village Christians, and it seems in this case that good will yet come out of evil. The Deputy Commissioner spoke in terms of great appreciation of the attitude of the Christians in refusing to become involved in strife, and consequently he was more ready to try to help them have better prospects.

A visit to a village is quite an interesting experience. You may leave Amritsar by car in the early morning and travel a few miles along one of the six roads leading in different directions out of the city. At a pre-arranged point you are met by the local padre and catechist who supply you with a bicycle. Leaving the car by the roadside you then embark on a circus ride across the country along narrow pathways, over ditches and bumps and through the fields. After some practice one becomes quite expert at avoiding ditches and manure piles. After a ride of a few miles, you approach the village. At the outskirts of the village you are met by members of the congregation who greet you in the Indian fashion with folded hands and garland you. A singing party then precedes you through the village to the place of worship. It may be a small village church, although we have only two or three of these in each rural district. It may be the courtyard of a home which has been very nicely prepared for the occasion. An effort is made to have a little sanctuary in front of which the villagers sit in rows. After due preparation and silence the service will begin. Even the illiterate villagers know many of the psalms and hymns by heart and sing them with great gusto. The value of our liturgy is realized when you hear them repeating their parts of the service from memory. Often in those simple surroundings [26/27] the reality of their worship brings you nearer to the presence of God than worship in large ornate churches.

After the service is over you may sit for an hour or two listening to adults who have been taught how to read. Each one is anxious to demonstrate his ability and to receive a word of praise. It is most encouraging to see the progress that is being made. As s soon as a man can read he is given a copy of the New Testament and a simple abridged form of the Prayer Book in which are the main services in his own language. They are encouraged to keep their Bible and Prayer Books on a separate shelf in a corner of their small house and to use them daily for family prayers and worship. A tremendous amount can be accomplished through the use of the Laubach phonetic method of teaching illiterate adults, and we look forward to the day when every member of the Church will be able to read.

A Courtyard Service--Often the reality of their worship brings one nearer to the presence of God than worship in large ornate Churches.

Having heard the adults you then listen to a number of small children who have learned parts of the Bible and Bibles stories in their Sunday School classes. Many of these children may attend a neighbouring village school, but the standard of education is very low, and we wish that we could provide more educational facilities for them. Through the World Council of Churches we [27/28] were supplied with some splendid Bible pictures for Sunday School teaching, and they are being used continually by our workers.

At this point it will be time for a meal, and with their usual hospitality the villagers have prepared some curry and rice for your refreshment. You partake of their meal with them in their humble surroundings and again strengthen the bonds of fellowship and friendship. They would be greatly offended if you did not give them the opportunity of entertaining you. I have eaten meals in some very strange places, and can only conclude that life in India builds up an immunity to the hazards of infection. One longs for a cold drink, but has to be content with some black tea in which your spoon can almost stand up straight.

A Feast for the Bishop.

Having taken a farewell of the villagers you proceed across the country to another village and repeat the same performance, returning to Amritsar in the late evening. Sometimes one stays in camp at a centre and spends three or four days visiting neighbouring villages. Many of them are anxious to have simple village churches. They are prepared to do all the labour themselves and [28/29] to give as much as they can, which is generally at the most one-tenth of the total cost. We are anxious to aid them. It costs approximately one thousand dollars to erect a small village church sufficient for their needs. In time we hope to have several such churches erected.

Many amusing incidents occur during one's travels in the villages. One night I was staying in a village house and my bed with its mosquito net covering was placed on the flat roof of the mud brick building in order that I might have a little more air. It was a stifling night and sleeping in a small room would be similar to being slowly cooked in a warm oven. The bed consists of a bamboo frame on short legs with string webbing so that it is light and easily portable. It was dark as I ascended the steps on the outside of the wall of the house and repaired to my couch. As the morning light came, I arose and climbed out from under the mosquito net to find myself being stared at by many pairs of eyes. The village houses are built close to one another and the roof tops are on the same level. I had been sleeping in what was equivalent to an open air dormitory and the members of neighbouring families were quite intrigued at the unusual sight of a sahib in their midst. I hastily descended to the privacy of a small bare room where a pail of water for my bath had been set ready for me.

On one occasion as I was listening to some adult illiterates there came into the range of my vision a stalwart young Sikh one hundred yards away who was practising weight-lifting. He was grappling with a solid block of concrete which I was told weighed almost three hundred pounds. It had two handles on the off side with iron grooves into which additional weights could be inserted when a competition was taking place. With remarkable skill and effort he slowly inched the heavy weight up his body and onto his shoulder. In doing so he was bent over in great contortions, and if he had lost his balance and the weight had fallen upon him, he would have been severely injured. I could not help but admire the skill and strength which he displayed. I have also marvelled at the fine physical fitness of some [29/30] of the young Christian men who have taken part in wrestling matches of which they are very fond. The Punjabi villager does not suffer from shortage of food, and famine is unknown in the Amritsar district of the Punjab, though it sometimes occurs in the less favoured parts of the province. The wonderful irrigation system installed by the British in years gone by has brought fertility and prosperity to the lands of the North Punjab. The villager may not have much money but he is a fine stalwart example of manhood.

To bring these villagers more into touch with the organized work of the Church in the Diocese we are planning to have not only parish committees, but rural deanery councils. The proceedings of these committees are conducted in the vernacular. As the village Christians grow in knowledge and understanding they will be brought into the wider life and activity of the Church. It is a challenging task to build up the membership of the Church in this way, and it is fraught with many possibilities.

Kangra's famous Temple. This road continues up the hill past the Maple Leaf Hospital.

[31] In contrast to the village work in the plains is the work in the hill districts in the Kangra and Simla Deaneries. The Kangra valley, in which our Church has been at work since 1912, is one of the most beautiful parts of Northern India. It lies at the foot of the mighty Daula Dhar range (the great white range) of the Himalaya mountains. It is a land of fertile valleys and rolling hills intersected by rushing mountain streams which bring the water from the snows to the fields. The people of this valley are the most orthodox and conservative type of Hindu. Amongst them are many of the higher classes, the Brahmins, the Rajputs and the Dogras. As the valley has been more remote until recent years, it has not been so subject to the inroads of civilization. As you travel along the many bypaths and hill tracks, you willl find numberless temples and shrines in which the idol worship of the Hindu gods is still carried on. There is a famous temple in the town of Kangra to which literally thousands of pilgrims come from distant places to worship. The idol itself is supposed to be related to the goddess Kali, the goddess of destruction. This primitive form of religion is one of ignorance, superstition and fear. The worshipper brings his offering, which may be a plate of food or an animal for sacrifice or even a handful of grain. It is presented to the priest who in turn presents it to the idol and mutters a few sentences of their sacred scriptures as he does it. The hope of the worshipper is that he may appease the anger of the gods or win the favour of the god. It is a pitiful sight to see the worshippers coming in humility before a revolting image to worship a god whom they fear.

I once stood in the court of the famous temple of the goddess Kali in Calcutta. It is a very unimpressive small building surrounded by a courtyard in which the blood of animals flows as they are prepared for sacrifice. The goddess is a most repulsive image in a small recess in the building. Worshippers pass along in front of it, crying out its name and prostrating themselves before it. One of them was obviously a prosperous man, for he was dressed in very clean clothes and had an intelligent face. When his turn came to stand before the goddess for a few [31/32] moments a pathetic look of mixed fear and hope came over his face as he made his supplication. It was pitiful to see an apparently intelligent man placing his hope and faith in a hideous image. How different life in the true faith could be for him.

Opening a great new world to the illiterates.

Because of its primitive form of Hinduism the Kangra District is the most difficult field for evangelism. How is one to bring the message of the true God and our Saviour Jesus Christ to such ignorant, superstitious people? The message has to be revealed first in friendship and service. For this purpose a Christian catechist is settled in the village to make his home one from which will radiate Christian friendship teaching love and service. He will begin to teach adult illiterate people who in two or three months are able to read. He can then read the Gospels daily with them, and it is very inspiring to see a catechist in a village surrounded by groups of men amongst whom are some who learn from the Gospel itself the truth about Christ. The catechist may also have a small demonstration garden from which he can teach the villagers how to grow better crops and to produce vegetables which they badly need for their diet. He will make personal visitations in the homes, and strengthen his contacts with the people. Once a week the mission dispensary van may come to [32/33] the village to attend to their medical needs, and the catechist assists the doctor and the nurse in the care of the patients. Eventually some of the villagers may wish to receive more teaching and an inquirers' class will be formed.

On one occasion a non-Christian villager said to me:

"Why are you doing all this work amongst us? You are not servants of the government or a government department."

"No," I replied, "We do this because of our religion."

"But this not religion," said the villager. "Religion means going to the village temple and making an offering to the idol or going to the mosque and saying prayers."

"That is not our idea of religion," said I. "Worship is a vital part of religion, but it is only part of the story."

"What is the rest of the story?" he asks.

"You come to Salig Ram's house tonight," I replied, "and you will hear about it. We are going to have a meeting there."

Gathered that evening in the open courtyard of Salig Ram's house were a number of men who had come to hear the same story. One has to begin at the beginning to tell them about the true nature of God and His purpose for mankind. It takes a great deal of patience and repetition over a long period of time to make the story clear. But they will listen because they have seen an example of living religion in the life and work of the Christian catechist in their midst. The man who made the inquiry was later baptized with his whole family. It was a great joy to me when at my first Confirmation Service in Palampur, I was able to confirm him and other people from his village. His niece has been educated in our schools and is a most promising girl who is now being sent forward for training as a teacher. One does not always have such a response, but if the patient and sincere witness in life and work and word is given, the truth as revealed in Jesus Christ can be made known to these simple villagers.

It is quite evident from this that the work in the Kangra District is very different from the work in the Amritsar District. In the latter it is a problem of building up members of the Church [33/34] in the Faith and reaching out to non-Christians as well. In the Kangra District there is a comparatively small number of Christians, and the whole of the work is an outreach to the non-Christians. The field is therefore all the more difficult, but the greater the challenge, the greater the effort we should expend upon it.

A shepherdess of the Kangra District hills. This rope around the waist gives support when carrying heavy loads over the hills, also used to rescue sheep.

The Church Missionary Society carried on limited work in the villages in the Simla hills. The people of this area are quite similar to the people of Kangra and the problems are much the same. In 1842 the first mission station in the Punjab hills was established by the C.M.S. in a place called Kotgarh, fifty-two miles beyond Simla. Another twenty miles further on in a remote valley of the hills, is another little group of one hundred Christians [34/35] with a small Church, but no worker amongst them. A catechist now is being trained to serve the people and work amongst non-Christians. In another station named Sabathu, there is a large leper home under the management of the Mission to Lepers. We are asked to be responsible for the spiritual ministration to the inmates of this leper home. A clergyman has been sent there who ministers to the local congregation as well and will commence evangelistic work in neighbouring villages. The scenery in the Simla hills is very beautiful, but the people are very backward. There is a great field of service, but our limited resources do not permit us at present to do as much as we should. It is hoped that the evangelistic work in Simla will be extended.

The beautiful vale of Kashmir is one of the most popular sightseeing places in Northern India. Its fame is world-wide, and its beauty well merits the praise which it receives. To reach Kashmir you may travel three hundred miles by road over two mountain passes winding in and out through the hills or you may step into an airplane at Amritsar and fly to Srinagar, the capital, in less than two hours. The Church Missionary Society has had medical and educational work in the Kashmir valley for many years. More will be said about it in a following chapter. Evangelistic work in the villages has been at a standstill for some time, but now plans are being made for a new start in all branches of the work in Kashmir. A new missionary from England has arrived and has taken charge of the Parish of All Saints', Srinagar. It is a most beautiful little Church with splendid gardens around it.

Much has been written about Kashmir in recent times. When the division of India took place, both India and Pakistan wished to include Kashmir in their new countries. Its unfortunate history is well known today and it is hoped that a permanent solution may soon be found. It has yet to be decided whether Kashmir will be permanently a part of the Diocese of Amritsar or will revert to the Diocese of Lahore. Ninety per cent of its inhabitants are Muslims. They have been living for years in rather primitive conditions except for the wealthy traders of Srinagar. Kashmir is famous for its works of art, and the tourist trade is increasing [35/36] every year, The total population of the state is about one and one-half million out of which there are only two hundred Christians. This presents another challenge to the Church which must be taken up.

The description of these four deaneries illustrates the nature of the work throughout the Diocese of Amritsar. The total population of the provincial area is approximately forty million people, so that you can imagine the task that faces the Church with its fifteen thousand members. For some time to come the diocese will need the support and help of the Church in Canada and in England.

Some of Kashmir's skilled embroidery workers.

[37] Chapter 4

Education for Citizenship

Passing through a village early one morning, I heard the sound of boys' voices raised in song. As I drew nearer, I came upon a small open space in front of a rather dilapidated two-roomed building of mud brick. The walls were very mottled in appearance and looked as if they had not seen paint or whitewash in many years. This was the village school--not a mission school.

The same the world over.

The boys were drawn up in lines in the open courtyard while two of their number stood with folded arms before them. The leaders sang a verse of a Hindu religious hymn and the scholars chanted it after them. The singing was vociferous if not tuneful. I looked over the faces of the boys and thought again how similar they are the world over; some looked bright and intelligent and others were dull and listless. No doubt some of them did not get enough to eat and probably had to walk long distances to attend the school. Yet any such group of boys will respond to good leadership and there are a sufficient number of bright ones amongst them to make teaching [37/38] a pleasure. There were only two teachers for the four classes of this primary school and they found it almost impossible to cope with the work to be done.

These primitive village schools only begin to touch the fringe of the problem of education. There are countless millions of children to be educated and the number of schools available is pitifully inadequate; consequently, over eighty per cent of the people in India remain illiterate. However, the Government is making great efforts to increase the number of schools and to deal with the problem of adult illiteracy.

One of the retarding factors has been the attitude of parents themselves. In some of the villages one meets groups of people including many fine looking stalwart young men and boys. It is a shock to learn that only two or three of them can read or write, and their ignorance of general knowledge is abysmal. One of them asked me why I wanted to go to "wiliyat" (overseas) in a ship. Why did I not go in a motor car? He had never seen a ship nor the sea and the only body of water he knew was an irrigation canal. Alongside it was a canal road with a smooth surface. It was much quicker to spin along it in a car than to travel in an old boat on the canal and consequently I would get to "wiliyat" much quicker on the canal road that must lead all the way there! So lacking in ordinary knowledge and imagination is the average school boy that education is a long slow process. The father does not value it much and would prefer to have his son become an economic asset as soon as possible. Consequently the lad is sent out to work in the fields or to look after the cattle while they graze.

Gradually the parents are beginning to realize the value of education and there is a demand for more schools. During the war thousands of village men served in the army where they received an elementary education and many of them had their horizons broadened by going overseas. Some parents think that matriculation is a magic key that will unlock the door to untold possibilities for their sons. Many of them are satisfied if he becomes a "babu" (clerk) in a government office; others are more ambitious and, if they can afford it, they send their sons to college. [38/39] The colleges are so crowded that the standard of work and discipline has deteriorated in recent years. Nor is there employment for college graduates. Many of them will be found doing very ordinary jobs. More emphasis has to be placed on technical training and education to provide for those who can become good skilled workmen and for others who can proceed further to become engineers and scientists and be absorbed in the growing industries. Some good progress is being made in this direction. With the aid provided by the Colombo Plan, many promising scholars are being sent overseas for advanced training.

The primary purpose of education is to develop in a person the capacity to think, to reason, to judge and to value. In the process he has to absorb knowledge. Indian students are very good at memory work. It is another matter to be able to reason and think. There is a great difference between knowledge and wisdom. A man may have great stores of knowledge and yet not have wisdom. Wisdom is the application of knowledge to the problems of life. Above all, divine wisdom is the supreme purpose of all true education. It is this fuller education of body, mind and spirit that we try to impart in mission schools. That is why they are different from other schools.

Semi-classical Sari Dance by girls of St. Anne's School. St. Luke's Hospital is in background.

Since the very beginning of the Church's work in India, education has played a most prominent part in the missionary endeavour. The names of William Carey, Henry Martyn and Robert Duff stand out in the annals of the missionary movement as pioneers in the field of education. Their example was followed by their successors, and most mission stations had schools on their [39/40] compounds. The effect of Christian education upon the culture of India cannot be overestimated. Many of the leading citizens of India have received their education in Christian schools and colleges, and do not hesitate to pay tribute to the benefit it has been to them. In many cases their whole thought and outlook has been influenced by Christian standards and idealism. Many of the social changes that have taken place in recent years are due to the impact of Christian education upon the minds of the leaders of the country, and one cannot overestimate its importance. Not only is scripture teaching given in the schools, but special emphasis is laid upon character building. In the extra-mural activities of the institutions there are great opportunities for personal contacts with the students. A mission school or college has to be more than an ordinary institution to justify its existence.

In the Diocese of Amritsar we have some very flourishing educational institutions. There are over four thousand pupils in our schools which include boarding, high and primary schools. Foremost among them are the schools of our Kangra Mission.

St. Paul's High School was founded in 1922 under the principalship of the Rev. F. S. Ford. It was started as a high school with only two senior classes. It developed over the years into a middle and high school with classes from the primary department up to matriculation. From 1934 until the time of his death in 1947 the late Rev. Geoffrey Guiton was the principal. Under his able leadership it increased from one hundred boys to nine hundred. Then came the problem of reduction as the school became too unwieldy in numbers. A second, non-Christian, school was started in Palampur and the pressure was relieved. Now, under the principalship of the Rev. Thomas Dustan, the number is reduced to about five hundred and fifty, and selection can be made before pupils are admitted to the school.

As is the case in all our schools, the first thing on the programme every day is the opening prayers and the scripture lesson. Some years ago the Educational Department of the Punjab Government made a ruling that any non-Christian parent who did not wish his child to attend Scripture classes in the mission school [40/41] could ask that he might be excused. In all the years of our experience we have not had such requests from non-Christian parents. On the other hand the parents seem anxious that their children should attend a mission school and receive the special benefits which is provides. In some of our institutions each year there is a waiting list of three or four hundred pupils.

The Rev. T. M. Dustan presents awards at District Athletic Meet at which St. Paul's boys distinguished themselves.

The Punjab Government recently selected four schools in the province to which they gave permission to proceed with what was termed a pilot project in education. This means that they were left free to plan their curriculum and develop their activities in accordance with modern educational standards so that, from their experiments, experience might be gained which would be valuable for other institutions. It was quite an honour to our work that three of the four schools selected in the Punjab were mission institutions, including two of our own, St. Paul's High School and the Alexandra Girls' School in Amritsar. These institutions are becoming the special training ground for the young people of our Diocese from whom we hope to develop the leaders of the Church of the future. There are hostels in connection with the schools where Christian pupils receive special care and [41/42] attention, and attend the daily chapel services. The Scout movement, Girl Guide movement and recreational activities are special features of these schools.

The teachers in our schools are trained teachers and many of them are university graduates. Some of them have been pupils of the schools themselves and have been sent forward for higher education with the assistance of a scholarship fund maintained through gifts sent to us by church groups and individuals in Canada. It has been a great help to have this support, and one can never tell when it may be the means of developing an outstanding leader in the church and country. Dr. H. S. Mukerjee, the present Governor of West Bengal, is an example of this. One hundred years ago a small scholarship of five rupees a month was made available for his father that he might receive Christian education. His father had a very successful career and was able to give his own sons a much better opportunity than he himself had ever had. Consequently Dr. Mukerjee went to school and college and became a prominent educationist. He also took a leading part in dealing with the problems concerning the minority communities when the constitution of India was being framed. He was later chosen to be the Governor of West Bengal, and has had a most successful career in administering the affairs of a rather difficult and turbulent province. He once told me in conversation that he would never be where he is today had it not been for the kindness of some unknown friend in the Church overseas, who made a scholarship of five rupees a month available for his father so many years ago. We are now carrying on the same practice with special gifts from home. Some of those who have been assisted in their education are going on for further training as doctors, nurses and teachers, and there are some who give promise of becoming ministers of the Church.

An interesting case is that of a young Christian man of Palampur who was formerly a member of the Criminal Tribes, of which more will be written in a later chapter. When I first saw this lad he was a ragged little urchin working in the tea fields. With other boys from the Criminal Tribes, he was admitted to [42/43] an industrial school which we had in Palampur some years ago. In this school the lads were given a general education and also trained to be carpenters, weavers and bootmakers. Samuel did so well in his work that he and two or three others were sent on to the high school to be given a greater opportunity to advance. He took a leading part in the affairs of the school and eventually was baptized. Although he had come from the outcasts of the outcasts, he won the respect and admiration of all who knew him. Just before the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the Royal Indian Navy. He was in action in the Far East and twice the ships on which he served were sunk, but he managed to escape. He was sent to England for training as a leading signalman, and was eighteen months in England and Scotland. He then returned on one of the new ships of the Indian Navy, participating in the landing at Sicily. At the end of the war he was taking the tests to qualify himself to become a Petty Officer when unfortunately, in the physical test, he received an injury which caused him to be invalided out of the Navy. He came back to Palampur, and when I saw this fine young Christian man and thought of the ragged little urchin of some years ago I could not help but marvel at the change that can be wrought by the power of Christ. Samuel has now become a trained teacher, and is a valuable member of the Staff of St. Paul's High School. He is also concerned with the uplift of his own people and has a very beneficial influence upon them. Here again is an example of a lad who came from the most underprivileged class and has become a fine outstanding Christian man. The friends in Canada who contributed towards the cost of his education can share in the satisfaction of the result.

Samuel Akhtar

[44] Co-education is largely confined to the primary schools in India. One occasionally finds a few girls in higher classes and in some of the colleges, but generally speaking there are separate schools and colleges for girls and young women. In the Diocese of Amritsar there are four high schools, two middle schools and three primary schools for girls, and one college for women at which the students prepare for examinations for a university degree.

St. Anne's Girls' School in Palampur and St. Hilda's Girls' School in Kangra are instances of how Christian institutions can develop from small beginnings. Both schools were started many years ago as primary schools and now under the able leadership of Miss Elizabeth Giovetti at Palampur and Miss Mae Coates at Kangra they are flourishing institutions. If you could visit them you would find students busy at their work in the classrooms, their handiwork and their extra-mural activities, and you would have an impression of splendid Christian work being done in a happy, healthy atmosphere.

The women of India are very backward, and have not had the same opportunities as the men. Consequently you will often find an educated Indian with an illiterate wife who still clings to the superstitions and conventions of the past. Amongst the Hindus they are the ones who chiefly keep up the traditions and customs of the Hindu religion and worship. Several educated Hindus have said to me: "We do not believe in all these Hindu practices, but our wives are afraid to give them up and do not know anything better, so we do it with them in order to keep peace in the family." The emancipation of the women of India is one of the greatest tasks to be accomplished, and the contribution that can be made in Christian schools for girls is unlimited. The educated women of India are now becoming much more vocal, and are organized in various women's organizations. They are beginning to make their influence felt, and millions of them exercised their votes in the recent elections. Lady Amrit Kaur, a Christian, is the Minister of Health in the central government of India, and has made a tremendous contribution to the welfare of the people [44/45] of India. She has become an international figure, as has also Mrs. Pandit, the sister of Mr. Nehru. It is an interesting indication of the increased part that women are playing in the affairs of India, and as the education of girls continues the influence of the women of India will greatly increase.

Other schools in the Diocese includes Alexandra Girls' High School at Amritsar and St. Thomas's Day School at Simla. During his visit to the Alexandra High School, His Grace the Primate of Canada was shown around the institution and saw something of the classroom work. In addition a demonstration of Red Cross activities was given. Various groups of girls, who had been trained in first aid and home nursing, dealt with imaginary cases in a very realistic manner. While watching a fractured limb being set he heard a piercing scream which rent the air as another "patient" was bitten by a snake. Prompt and immediate attention was given to the unfortunate sufferer, and the Primate was much impressed with the knowledge and ability of the girls to deal with emergencies. The Red Cross team of the school has won the provincial championship on two or three occasions.

Education greatly increases their influence.

Recently a government official who had been transferred to Amritsar called on me to request that his child should be admitted to the school. I referred him to the principal of the school who [45/46] was in charge of admissions. He informed me that he had already been to her and that there was a waiting list of 400. I explained to him that the principal would have to admit pupils in turn, and we were very sorry that there was no room for his child. He was very disappointed, as he seemed to be under the impression that an order would be given and his child would be admitted. There are three or four other flourishing girls' schools in Amritsar, but every one wants to send his child to the Alexandra School. Such is the influence that an institution may have.

Alexandra Girls' School, Amritsar.

Aukland Girls' School in Simla is a boarding school of a superior type to which government officials and the former ruling chiefs send their children. Miss Jessie Wylie is the principal of this flourishing institution. There is a similar one for boys named the Bishop Cotton School, which has a very old history and tradition. It is run on the lines of an English public school, and it is remarkable to see the non-Christian pupils attending the daily chapel services in the school. On one occasion after I had [46/47] preached at the Founder's Day Service, a non-Christian, who was a senior government official and whose boy was a pupil in the school, said to me: "We are very glad that our boys are attending these chapel services, and I myself enjoy coming because of the atmosphere of peace and inspiration in your worship". Mr. Frank Fisher is the principal of this school. Three or four schools of this nature are entirely self-supporting and have governing bodies of their own. They wish to be included within the organization of the diocese and to be considered as diocesan schools.

One of the urgent problems in India today is the question of a national language. In the Punjab the Department of Education has ruled that Hindi should be the language taught to the pupils. Previously Urdu was the common language of Northern India in addition to Punjabi which is spoken in the plains of the Punjab. Urdu was the language of Moslem origin as it is based on Persian and Arabic. With the birth of a new nation of India there was an upsurge of national spirit which favoured the use of Hindi as the national language, and the rejection of Urdu because of its Moslem origin. This has led to some confusion as Urdu and Punjabi are still the languages mainly spoken in Northern India, and Hindi is a more common language in Central India. Children are now growing up who are being taught a different language from that which their parents speak. Our Prayer Book is in Urdu, and it is more difficult for the children who have learned Hindi to follow the services of the church. The situation will no doubt adjust itself in due time, but meanwhile the controversy [47/48] rages throughout India as to what the national language should be. There are some twenty-four main languages and two hundred and twenty-two vernaculars. The members of Parliament in the Central Government can find no common language except English, and consequently their proceedings are still conducted in the main in English. A man from South India, who speaks Telugu or Tamil, has no knowledge of Hindi, and so the problem continues.

There are two Christian Colleges in the Diocese of Amritsar. One is Christ Church College, Simla, which is an Anglican institution and is fully self-supporting. It grew out of the need that arose when the division of India took place and girls who had been attending colleges in Lahore had to move to India. Mrs. Chandar, the wife of the Rector of Christ Church, Simla, who is an educationist, was asked to tutor a group of girls. In time the number increased until she had to employ assistance and gradually a college was formed. It is now a very fine institution with over two hundred pupils in a building that was formerly a parish school.

The other college is at Batala. It is a degree college for men who prepare for the examinations of the Punjab university. Baring Union Christian College is, as its name suggests, a union institution, supported by various missions, and our Canadian Church gives an annual grant of $1000.00. The Rev. David Luck, of Toronto, joined the staff of the College in 1953. The Bishop of Amritsar is the chairman of the governing bodies of these institutions.

From the simple village school to the university colleges, the work of education in the Diocese of Amritsar goes on. It is the aim of the Church to make all of these institutions self-supporting. Some of them are already in this category, but others for the children of poorer parents will need financial help for some time to come. As a result of all this work, a good percentage of the Christians in India are literate. Many have advanced to positions of influence and authority, and it is our hope that in the years to come still more will come forward to serve the Lord and Master of whom they have learned in mission schools.

[49] Chapter 5

Healing Hands

On one occasion at a government hospital, the doctor showed me a case that had just been brought in. It was a village boy from the hills who had had a festering sore on his neck. The parents in their ignorance had treated it with a home-made remedy which any enlightened person would never think of using, as it would only aggravate the trouble. The inevitable result was that the infection had spread and the boy's whole neck and head was in a putrid condition too horrible to describe. As a last resort, when the child was at death's door, the parents had brought him to the hospital. The doctor who was a non-Christian turned on me and said:

"You are a Christian and talk about a God of love and mercy. What have you to say about a God who will allow a thing like this to happen?"

The answer was that it was not the will of God that such a thing should happen. It was the ignorance and carelessness of the unfortunate parents who did not know enough to have the original sore treated with simple antiseptics, and to bring the child to the hospital in the beginning so that a cure could have been effected. If we have knowledge of the simple rules of health and cleanliness, it is for us to share them with others who do not know them. It is the will of God that every person should have health of body, mind and spirit, but we defeat His will by [49/50] carelessness, ignorance and sin, bringing upon ourselves the inevitable result of physical and spiritual malady. Jesus came to restore the unnatural order to the natural order, to heal the sick and to save the lost, and thereby demonstrated the love of God and the will of God for the good of His people. It is in us and through us that God's will and love and mercy should be made known to others, and it was therefore all the more reason why we should instruct and serve the ignorant and the foolish that they might be saved from such disaster.

While awaiting treatment they hear the Good News.

The instruction that Christ gave to His disciples was that they should go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel--

"And as ye go, preach saying that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils. Freely ye have received, freely give."

It is in the fulfilment of this command that medical missionaries have humbly endeavoured to bring healing of body, mind and spirit to the suffering millions in India. Because of poverty and very limited food supplies the health of the people is not of a [50/51] high standard. The vast majority of the villagers have barely enough food to keep body and soul together, and, in some of the dry areas of the country, famine is often prevalent. It is a pitiful sight to see the emaciated bodies of people suffering from lack of food and from malnutrition. They easily become subject to the ravages of disease and epidemics. It is to the credit of the Government that great efforts have been made to increase food production. The importation of wheat from foreign countries has helped at times to stave off starvation. The Public Health Department is making great efforts to remove the cause of disease and to take preventive measures. Consequently, when any large gathering of people is to take place during a pilgrimage or a country fair, elaborate precautions are taken to provide facilities for the people and to prevent the outbreak of disease. Every traveller will be inoculated whether he likes it or not. As the result of these measures, there has been no serious epidemic on a large scale in recent years.

The ignorance and carelessness of people make medical work very difficult. Very often cases are brought to the hospital when they are in an advanced stage of a disease, whereas early attention might have prevented the serious condition of the patient. A doctor in a mission hospital has to deal with some most amazing, unbelievable cases, and one is filled with admiration for the skill and devotion which they show in their work. The healing hand of the Master finds expression in these days through the devoted service of men and women of medical science who dedicate their God-given talents to the service of mankind in the prevention and cure of disease.

In proportion to the population of India the number of doctors and nurses is woefully small. It is reckoned that there is one fully trained doctor to every twenty-two thousand people in India, and one nurse to every forty-three thousand. Fortunately, training institutions are increasing in numbers, but the output of trained medical workers is most inadequate. Until recently, ninety per cent of the nurses in India were Christians. The nursing service was looked upon by non-Christians as a degraded and inferior [51/52] form of service. Christian nurses have given a splendid example of efficient and honourable service, and now many of the other women of the country are starting to follow their example. Prejudices are being overcome, and training institutions are receiving more student nurses. Unfortunately, the degree of education is not always sufficient, and many of the candidates in training fail to complete the course. However, there is hope in the fact that some progress is being made.

At the John Bishop Hospital, Anantnag, Kashmir, Dr. Noel Fletcher continues the work begun fifty years ago by Dr. Minnie Gomery of Montreal.

Mission hospitals are to be found in the towns and cities, in the rural areas and in the remote parts of the hills. Some of them are fine new buildings of modern design and others are old unsatisfactory buildings in which, in spite of the deficiencies, magnificent work is being done. Elsewhere in the villages of the plains, you will find rural dispensaries.

A visit to a mission hospital is a most interesting experience. The patients will flock to them because they know that they will receive the best possible attention mingled with kindness and mercy. On one visit to the Rainawari Hospital in Srinagar, [52/53] Kashmir, I saw the typical round of daily duties. The doctor, a skilful surgeon, was busy in the morning with a series of operations. He had only one or two trained assistants, and the facilities were inadequate. Nevertheless, he performed most skilful operations with miraculous results.

After the morning operations came a round of the wards, and as the doctor entered one of the rooms, it was obvious that all the patients had implicit trust and faith in him. Their faces lit up with eager expectancy as he passed from bed to bed with a word of cheer here, an admonition there, an instruction to the nurse, and a prayer for them all. Why is it that Christian doctors have such an influence? It is only because the Spirit of the Living Christ is seen in their lives of service and devotion which communicate the love and life of the Master to others.

I followed the doctor down to the outpatients' department. Here in a waiting room was a group of thirty or forty patients who had been listening to a catechist telling them of the Christian faith and the true reason for the medical work that was being done amongst them. Another assistant had given them a preliminary examination while they awaited the doctor's attention. As soon as he had dealt with one group, the doors of the waiting room were opened and another group of forty or fifty were admitted from the waiting crowd outside. This went on long past lunch time until the weary doctor could retire for some food. After a short rest, the evening rounds would commence and more out-patients would be seen and perhaps an emergency operation would take place. A daily round such as this was enough to tax the physical and mental strength of any human being. Unfortunately, the doctor himself became ill, and it was discovered that he was suffering from malignant cancer. He was a man who had been through the horrors of war, and counted not his life dear unto himself. He knew of his own disease, but had said nothing about it, and had given himself completely to the service of others. When he finally submitted to a diagnosis, the hope of a cure was past. His work, however, was over, and after a few weeks he passed to his reward. Hundreds of the residents of [53/54] Srinagar came to his funeral to pay tribute to his memory. The Prime Minister of Kashmir and most of his cabinet ministers were present. After the funeral service was over and the sorrowing crowd began to depart, one of the cabinet ministers said to me:

"I knew that your doctor was greatly revered, but I did not know that he was loved by the people to this extent."

Here again was an example of the witness of a Christian life dedicated to God and the service of mankind in the ministry of healing.

At present this particular hospital in Kashmir remains closed, but the Church Missionary Society in England has now been able to secure the services of two new doctors and two nurses whom they hope to send out soon. It is difficult to imagine the strain under which medical workers carry on, and they need all the support that can be given to them in the way of sufficient and competent staff and complete facilities for their work.

The Lady Willingdon Hospital

In the Kangra Deanery we have the Maple Leaf Hospital at Kangra, St. Luke's Hospital at Palampur, and the Lady Willingdon Hospital at Manali. The Manali Hospital is a remote outpost [54/55] of our mission at the far end of the Kulu Valley on the road that leads to Tibet. It has grown from a rural dispensary into a small hospital with twenty-four beds. Dr. and Mrs. Burfoot have been carrying on the work without any trained assistants for some years. They have had to deal with most amazing cases and perform emergency operations with limited equipment. Unfortunately, Dr. Burfoot has recently suffered a heart attack and will be unable to continue working at the high altitude at which Manali is situated. Here again husband and wife have given themselves completely to the service of the people. When they returned to Manali after a short absence they were met by the village people who loaded them with garlands and took them to their houses to welcome them. There is no doubt that the hearts of the people of India can be won by affection in true service so that the witness of life lends meaning to the witness of the Word when it is given.

St. Luke's Hospital at Palampur has been a Zenana hospital with work chiefly amongst women and children. Dr. Helen Hanson has served in this hospital for many years, and her time of retirement is drawing near. Because the hospital activities are being expanded so that work amongst male patients will soon be possible, it is hoped that a new male doctor from Canada will be secured who will be able to receive the benefit of Dr. Hanson's long experience and carry on the work after her retirement.

Dr. Florence Haslam is in charge of the Maple Leaf Hospital at Kangra. It was first started in a small dispensary in 1912 by her mother, Dr. Jean Haslam, whose husband, Canon Haslam, was the first secretary of the Kangra mission. The hospital buildings have increased in number over the years, but now are quite out of date and entirely inadequate for the work that has to be done. For some time there have been plans to build a new hospital, but insufficient funds and scarcity of building material have delayed the construction of the building. The present buildings have accommodation for forty patients, but there are often seventy or eighty patients in attendance receiving care. In the summer time they bring their beds and sleep on the [55/56] verandahs and the lawns. Such is the fame of the doctor that patients come from far and wide to be treated by her. A new hospital building and proper facilities are imperative.

Much new equipment has been secured for the new hospital including a complete new X-ray unit. Miss Winnifred Gray, the nurse in charge, took special training for this work on her last furlough in Canada, and it is a tremendous asset to have this fine new equipment in service.

The opening of the new X-ray Department. Guests being welcomed by Nurse Gray. At right, the new X-ray machine.

One cannot think of the Kangra hospital without remembering the late Hon. Florence Macnaghten. For thirty-five years she was an honorary missionary on the staff of the Kangra hospital. She could have lived a life of ease and luxury in her beautiful home in Ireland, but she chose to serve the people of India and laboured amongst them with great success. In the early days she travelled far and wide on her errands of mercy, and was known throughout the Valley as the "Buddhi Mai", which means "the beloved mother". Patients who knew her and were about to undergo an operation, insisted that she should be present with them in the operating room. She would commit them to the [56/57] doctor's care, but they would not be content unless they felt her presence near them. Such is the faith which loving-kindness can provoke. After retirement, Miss Macnaghten came back again for a further two-year period of service in Kangra. On her return the mission motor car met her at the railhead which was fifty miles from Kangra. It happened that there was a Colonel of a neighbouring regiment who accompanied Miss Macnaghten on the journey. As they neared the town of Kangra they passed through crowds of people who were returning from a country fair. Many of them had known Miss Macnaghten and knew of her retirement, but had not heard of her proposed return. She was soon recognized and the cry went up:

"Buddhi Mai wapas a gaya hai" (the beloved mother has come back).

The Colonel later told me that no rajah ever received a greater welcome.

All ages come to the Clinics for treatment. Dr. Jackson at the village of Tanda.

[58] Another kind of medical work is carried on through rural clinics. A travelling dispensary van on a rear schedule visits the people in their villages in remote areas to minister to their needs. One of these vans is operated by Dr. Constance Jackson with the assistance of a nurse. On arrival at the village the van begins to disgorge its contents, and the equipment for the clinic is soon set in order. As soon as the van's horn is heard, patients begin to come for attention. The doctor and her assistant will be busy all morning caring for their needs. In the afternoon they may visit another village or go into the homes of the people to teach the women and children and to bring the Gospel message to them. Instruction in child welfare and health habits is also given, and once again one sees Christianity in action through medical and spiritual ministrations.

Many amusing incidents happen at such clinics. On one busy morning a patient began to describe symptoms. After hearing of his complaint the doctor said:

"There is really nothing wrong with you. All you need is a good dose of castor oil."

With that she turned to another patient, after giving instructions that a dose of castor oil should be administered. The driver of the van was an old soldier who had been trained to do such things. He filled a large spoon and approached his victim. The man began to protest but he was sternly admonished to open his mouth and the dose was given to him without delay. Having swallowed it, he made a few wry faces, and when he got his breath he blurted out:

"It is not for me, I am not sick, it is my wife who is sick."

For many years the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society had maintained a very large hospital in Amritsar. They had so many city patients to attend to that they began to feel that their hospital was a medical factory. So much time was taken up with care of patients that there was little opportunity for spiritual work. Moreover the emphasis in modern missionary work is on preventive measures. It is a hopeless task to deal with thousands of sick patients when no effort is being made to remove [58/59] the causes of illness and so reduce the numbers of sick people. It is to meet this need that the dispensary vans are at work in the rural areas. The St. Catharine's Hospital was closed recently and moved to a town named Tarn Taran, which is fifteen miles from Amritsar. Small hospital buildings already on the mission compound were renovated and a new compact unit was built to accommodate a maximum of forty patients. An overland rover (a jeep van) was secured so that a nurse and an Indian assistant could go out to the surrounding villages of the rural plains. This venture has proved very successful and one feels that the right emphasis is being given to the evangelistic side of the religious work and the preventive side of the medical work. In still another station, where there is a small dilapidated hospital, it is hoped to revive the institution and to put another van into action. This village is called Asrapur, 'the place of hope'.

Leper Women learn to card and spin wool.

Leprosy is one of the dread diseases of the world, and there are over a million lepers in India. It can easily be seen that the problems of dealing with lepers is a staggering one. At the most, fifteen thousand are being cared for in the leper homes or [59/60] hospitals, practically all of which are under the auspices of Christian missions, and here again an effort is being made to follow our Lord's command to heal these sufferers. A leper has always been an object of pity and even of loathing. Wonderful stories can be told of people who, like Father Damien, of Molokai, Hawaii, gave their lives in their service.

Thirty years ago it was thought that leprosy was incurable. With the advance that has been made in modem medicine, treatment can now be given to lepers so that they can be relatively cured. This means to say that all clinical signs are negative, and after such a cure the leper may return to his place in society without being a danger to himself or others. Such cases return for examination every six months, and there are comparatively few cases in which there is a recurrence of the disease. You can easily imagine the new hope that this has brought to lepers. Even the painful methods of treatment by injection have been improved, and now through modern drugs, medicine can be given in tablet form with remarkable results.

The British Empire Leprosy Relief Association has been very active in endeavouring to promote the cure of leprosy in many lands. At the School of Tropical Medicine in Calcutta, courses in modern treatment are given to doctors and leprosy workers. Clinics are being established in rural areas. In the Kangra District a survey was carried out in 1931 by a team of doctors under the auspices of the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association. For over a year they camped in different parts of the valley and visited endless villages to detect cases of leprosy. According to the public health records of the time there were approximately one hundred cases in the valley, but as a result of the survey some twelve hundred cases were discovered! Our leper home at Palampur could accommodate only seventy patients, and it was full. Consequently twenty-two clinics were established in villages where government dispensaries were in existence, and doctors were trained in the treatment of the disease. A district leprosy officer was appointed and his duty was to be medical officer of the Palampur Leper Home and also to supervise the work in the [60/61] various clinics. Whenever a vacancy occurred in the home a patient from one of the clinics would be admitted. Out of the total number of cases twenty-five per cent were highly infectious cases which should have been segregated and brought under constant treatment. There was, however, no room for them in the leper home. Now, after twenty years, the records show that the total number of cases in the district is less than half the original number. It is obvious that good progress has been made in eradicating the disease. The Palampur Leper Home has been the centre of this activity, and short courses in treatment have been given at various times to groups of new doctors. This is typical of the effort that is being made to stamp out the disease. It is much more prevalent in Southern India, however, where lepers are numbered by the thousands.

One of the cottages in which the lepers at Palampur Home live.

No one quite knows the origin of leprosy, nor is there any real certainty as to how it is communicated. Low standards of health and living conditions are contributing factors. When people are massed together in close proximity in sordid living conditions, and are suffering from other skin diseases, leprosy f may spread. On the other hand, a normal, healthy person over twenty years of age is immune to the disease unless he wilfully subjects himself to constant contact with it. With the improvement [61/62] of living conditions and health habits, and with the extension of treatment in clinics, some progress can be made in eradicating the disease and checking its transmission. But it will be many long years before it can be eradicated in India.

Some cases are of the nerve type without skin infection. The nerves lose their sensitivity and the fingers of the hands become gnarled and stiff. Other cases are called "burnt out cases". The disease has run its course and the leper may have lost his fingers and his toes but otherwise is quite healthy. Such cases are recognized by the general public as lepers and the people shun them, although they are quite harmless. On the other hand, many highly infectious cases do not appear to the layman to be dangerous and move about freely.

Our doctor was once addressing the District Board of Kangra, the local county, in an endeavour to secure a grant for the work, but his appeal was not meeting with much success. Finally he said:

"Many of you have been guests of the vice-chairman of this board and have eaten meals in his home, prepared by his cook, who is an infectious leper. Others of you have stayed with another prominent member of this board whose barber is a highly infectious leper, and no doubt you have been shaved by him. What better way is there of transmitting leprosy than for a leprous barber to give you a nick on the chin with his razor wielded by his leprous hands?"

The grant was quickly voted.

You might think that a visit to a leper home would be a depressing experience. You would find, however, that it is a place of hope and good cheer. The patients live in little cottages and receive regular medical treatment. They are engaged in various activities during the day as far as their health permits, and you will find some of them working in vegetable gardens and producing their own food. Others will be engaged in repairs to the buildings or the grounds, while still others attend school classes and vocational training. In the centre of each home is a little Chapel in which daily Services are held. On one occasion an old man who [62/63] was a Hindu asked to be baptized. I began to put to him a few questions about the Christian faith, and I was amazed at the simple and direct answers which he gave. I wondered how he could have absorbed so much and then I realized that he had been attending the chapel services daily and hearing the Word of God. Unknown to us it had taken root in his heart, and he had a genuine desire to be a follower of Christ. After some further preparation he was baptized and became one of the finest inmates of the home.

Exercise is part of their treatment -- A Badminton Game.

On another occasion a man who had been a proud Rajput was baptized. Before his conversion he had been known to be a man of violent temper. On the very day of his baptism, as he returned to his cottage, he was grossly insulted by a Hindu of low caste who would never have dared to speak to him in such a manner when he was a Rajput. Now that he was a Christian the low caste man considered him to be inferior to himself, and heaped abuse upon him. Everyone expected the convert to turn and vent his rage upon his tormentor. Instead of this, when he was reviled, he reviled not again, but spoke gently to the man and turned away quietly to go to the warden of the home and ask that he might be given another room. Everyone was amazed at his action. They said to themselves:

[64] "We knew this man before; we knew what a violent temper he had, and now he seems to be a changed person with some new spiritual power that enables him to control himself. If this is the result of his new religion, we want to know more about it too."

Consequently four more men sought admission to the inquirers' class all because of the witness of one new Christian on the day of his Baptism.

It is a very moving experience to worship with the Christian lepers in their chapels. We who have perfect health and strength are amazed at the patience, the fortitude and the faith of these sufferers who put their whole trust in God. It is a most moving experience at a celebration of the Holy Communion to see them coming forward with their broken hands and bodies to receive the broken Body of Christ. Here is true faith at its highest.

In the Amritsar Diocese there are three leper homes, at Palampur, Tarn Taran and Sabathu, in which there are approximately four hundred patients. The financial support for the maintenance of these homes comes from the Government of the Punjab, the Mission to Lepers, and from friends who send special gifts. At the institution in Tarn Taran is a special home for untainted children of leprous parents. A small child is especially susceptible to the disease, and has to be removed from its parents as soon as possible after its birth. Marriage amongst lepers is not permitted, but the children of new patients must be taken care of. It is a heart-rending experience for the mother and father to part with their children, but they realize that it is necessary for the child's good. In Tarn Taran, Mrs. Das, the wife of the superintendent of the home, the Rev. Canon Dr. Das, has done remarkable work with such children. They live in a simple hostel and are grouped together in "families", ranging in age from sixteen years to two years. The older children have to care for the smaller children, and live and work together in their little family groups. They receive ordinary school education and do beautiful handiwork. They are especially well trained in singing and folk dancing, and it is a great treat to hear their tuneful voices in perfect harmony and to witness their graceful movements as [64/65] they enjoy themselves when performing simple folk dances. On occasions they put on performances to entertain the lepers who sit at a distance from them. It is pathetic to see the expression on the faces of the parents who are separated physically from their children, but are able to see them from time to time and to take great pride in their progress. From this home many young men and women have gone out into the world to lives of Christian service. Some of them are nurses and teachers, and one young man became a Petty Officer in the Indian Navy. I know of no greater work of love and mercy than the care of these untainted leper children.

In the Martha David Home these children of lepers are trained for a useful and happy life.

Tuberculosis is the most prevalent disease in India, and it is estimated that approximately four million people suffer from it. There are numerous sanitoria and more effort is being made by the government to check this disease than is the case with leprosy. However, the sanitoria can hold only a very small percentage of those who need attention.

In our diocese the Lady Irwin Sanitorium at Jubar in the Simla hills is a union institution, and the M.S.C.C. shares with others in its support. It is situated in a lovely spot, [65/66] and has been very well equipped. The responsibility for the appointment and maintenance of the staff comes under the governing body of the Ludhiana Medical College.

Doctor and students at Ludhiana examine a chest X-ray.

At this college doctors and nurses are trained for medical work. The famous Christian Medical College at Vellore trains medical students in South India. For a long time it has been felt that there was the need of a second Christian medical college in Northern India. Ludhiana had been in existence for many years as a college for training doctors of a lower degree, but now a new course is being set for a higher degree. An excellent staff has been assembled and there are ambitious plans for improvements in the college buildings and the erection of a modern hospital. Dr. Eileen Snow is the very capable principal of this institution. Three of our young Christian people from the Diocese of Amritsar are being trained as doctors and others as nurses. One of the most promising of these is the daughter of a priest in the Diocese who graduated with high honours. After two years of post-graduate work she is being sent to Edinburgh to study for her F.R.C.S. degree. When she has completed her studies she [66/67] will return to the diocese to take part in the work of one of our institutions. We look forward to the time when there will be more young Indian doctors and nurses to engage in the work of healing in the hospitals, leper homes and rural clinics in the diocese.

Whether it be among inpatients or outpatients at hospital or at a village clinic, God's love is made known by word as well as by deed. A Clinic at Ludhiana.

[68] Chapter 6

Sowing and Building

The amelioration of the lot of the poor is the big task facing the government of India today. The first problem is food production. Many acres of waste land await cultivation, but for this water is necessary. There are today in India three very large major projects being developed and several minor ones. In the East Punjab a huge dam is being built on a mountain river to supply water by irrigation to thousands of acres of land that are now unproductive. The dam will be one of the largest in the world, and experienced American engineers have been employed to supervise its construction. They are assisted by Indian engineers, and the project gives employment to thousands of workmen. A new canal system is being opened up, and many small channels will carry the water from the main canal to distant fields. Hydro-electric power will also be developed and distributed in rural areas. Similar large projects are being developed in South India.

The present canal system in the Northern Punjab, which was constructed by the British many years ago, is being further extended. It has already proved its worth, and thousands of tons of grain are produced in the northern part of the province. There is no danger of famine in the area in which our Christian villagers live. In the extension of this present system villagers have been organized into voluntary labour groups. Realizing the ultimate benefits to themselves, they have taken part in construction of the smaller channels which will bring water to more undeveloped areas. There is a sense of pride in accomplishment with which they undertake their tasks, which is a very healthy sign.


Tungabhadra Dam, South India, Deepest portion 160 ft.

The supply of hydro-electric power will also bring about the development of new industries. In the vicinity of Amritsar many new factories have been erected in recent years. It is encouraging to see cold storage plants being constructed so that food can be preserved. On the other hand there is great waste on account of the consumption of food by animals which are considered to be sacred. Cattle of inferior breeds which produce very little milk, and monkeys which produce nothing but the destruction of crops, abound--because it is considered wrong to take animal life in any form. Thousands of tons of grain are consumed each year [69/70] by these useless animals. The patience of the people has been sorely tried, and now an amazing thing has happened in some districts where even orthodox Hindus have agreed to the destruction of monkeys, and the government pays eight auras bounty per tail!

Sacred but useless animals roam the streets.

The purpose of all these new developments is to better the lot of the poor and to give the answer to communism. The benefits of these schemes will not be reaped for another five or ten years, then, if they are successful, the standard of living will automatically be raised. The Congress Government is keenly aware of the danger of communism and has set its face against it. In a practical way they are endeavouring to provide for the poor so that the cause of complaint may be removed. There is a genuine and sincere desire on the part of the leaders of the government to benefit the underprivileged, and, if a high standard of integrity in administration can be maintained, there is no reason why they should not succeed.

Another important move is to distribute land amongst the poor. In many cases wealthy land owners have held huge tracts of land [70/71] and have employed villagers as tenant farmers. It is the ambition of every Indian, whether rich or poor to have his own land and property no matter how small it may be. One of the most amazing developments has been the pilgrimage of Vinoba Bhave who has become almost a successor to Gandhi. He is a saintly man of ascetic nature, who holds ideals and principles similar to those of the late Mahatma Gandhi. He has been on a pilgrimage with a few followers and has approached land owners, requesting them to give up portions of their land so that the poor may have property of their own. Through his persuasive powers he has met with a great deal of success, and as a result of this many villagers have been given land of their own. This is a far better method than the compulsory distribution of land which has been under consideration by some provincial governments. It is creating a new spirit of good will to the underprivileged class, and is an altogether desirable movement.

Another interesting development is the construction of model towns and villages. The villagers live in little mud-brick houses which may have one or two rooms, pitifully small and very badly ventilated. A farmer does not like to build windows in his house as he is afraid of thieves who may attack in the night. The houses in a village are grouped together, wall to wall, in a confused mass. A tiny narrow lane, which is also a village sewer, leads to the doorway of the courtyard. Passing through the doorway you enter an open courtyard which is the living-room of the house. In a corner two or three lean cattle will be tethered, and perhaps a couple of goats. There may be a small veranda in which there is an open fireplace where the food is cooked. In the inner room are two or three string beds made of bamboo and rope. Two large bins contain the grain that was received at harvest time. A wooden chest holds all that the villager possesses in the way of clothes or bedding. A few cooking utensils make up the rest of his household property. In a more prosperous home you may find a table and chairs. The villager knows nothing of the amenities of civilization.

[72] The model villages which are being built have simple houses of permanent construction with good light and ventilation but it will be many years before such village homes will be common. When heavy rains and floods come, village houses are easily destroyed. In 1951, when the disastrous floods took place, it was a pitiful sight to see villages reduced to mounds of mud. Out of the ruins the villagers salvaged their few remaining possessions which had not been completely destroyed, and I was filled with admiration for the courage and fortitude which they showed when without complaint they began to clear up the mess and rebuild their houses. Some of them took our advice and built houses of a much better design than their old ones. Eventually more modem houses may take the place of the present pitiful hovels when prosperity comes to the villager through the schemes for his benefit.

Students of Biscoe Memorial School, Kashmir, clean up a village as a social service project.

[73] In India there is an organization called The National Christian Council--an all-India body which deals with problems that are common to the Christian Church. It is a supreme representative body of Protestant missions. Through it the Churches have identified themselves with these movements for the improvement of living conditions. There are provincial councils which meet once a year and to which each Church sends its representative. At these meetings problems and difficulties are discussed and agreement is reached on questions which are common to all Churches in relation to government policies or the association with modern movements in India. Provincial Councils send representatives to the National Council which meets every three years. When any question arises, it is the National Christian Council which represents to the government the united opinion of the Churches. There are many liberal-minded leaders in the government who are quite willing to see Christians have all the liberties that are theirs by right under the Constitution. It will easily be seen that the National Christian Council which advises and guides the Churches in their work in India is a very important body.

Rev. Donald Peel, with two village Christians, on their way to the "Basti" to teach the outcast children. Mr. Peel carries the accordion and his younger companion the flannelgraph
bought with Saskatoon W. A. gifts.

Combined with social service work is our evangelistic work. Many times when services are being held amongst the Christians of the villages a large number of non-Christians attend. Efforts are made to reach them through personal evangelism and also [73/74] through evangelistic meetings held in different areas. The Rev. Eldon Davis in Palampur and the Rev. Donald Peel in Tarn Taran are engaged in this work and equipped with audio-visual aids. In company with the local padre and catechist, home visiting is done during the day and a large meeting is held at night. With the aid of music, moving pictures and still pictures, the story of the Gospel is told. In the village areas one may have an audience of anywhere from two hundred to one thousand people who listen with great attention and interest. The Indian members of the Church are keen evangelists. Their religion means a great deal to them as those who are converts have come out of darkness into light and are anxious to proclaim the message of salvation which they themselves have learned.

A Christian family, formerly of Criminal Tribes. The father who is a carpenter served in the Indian Army.

Work amongst the Criminal Tribes has been a prominent feature of the activities of the Kangra Mission. The Criminal Tribes were wandering gypsy people who made their living by [74/75] any means but honest work. They indulged in thieving, sorcery and snake charming. One of their favourite tricks was to cast a cobra over the mud wall of the courtyard of a village home and discreetly retire to the shadow of some neighbouring trees. After a while the snake would be discovered and there would be an excited outcry. The bhangalis, as they are called, would miraculously appear on the scene and immediately be called into action. They would solemnly charm their own snake back into its basket, collect their fee, and go on to the next village to repeat the profitable performance.

Such people became so troublesome that many years ago the government was compelled to segregate them in settlements. One such colony was established near Palampur and the inmates were put to work in neighbouring tea fields. The Kangra Mission was asked to be responsible for their moral and spiritual welfare. In 1930 the settlement was closed and an endeavour was made to rehabilitate the people by settling them on the land under the supervision of land owners. Many of the boys and girls were placed in hostels connected with our schools, the boys in Palampur and the girls in Kangra. The young people were given a general education and were taught trades and handicrafts as well. The purpose was to equip them so that they might earn an honest living. On completing their training as bootmakers and carpenters, some of the young men did very well, but others fell by the wayside. It was a difficult task to wean them away from generations of criminal tendency, and there was both joy and disappointment in the results.

Some of the young people were married and sent their children to our schools. With each succeeding generation there is more hope. One young man is now attending college. Two young women were trained as teachers, and Samuel Akhtar, mentioned in a previous chapter, is now a teacher in Palampur following his career in the Navy. It is remarkable progress that has been made by people with such a background and it is another evidence of the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.

[76] The work amongst women is being developed in the diocese. In the Kangra Mission Miss Marianne Nattress has been carrying on most effective work in the villages for some years. Primary schools for children have been organized and groups of women are given religious teaching as well as training in homecrafts and child welfare. The Biblewomen play an important part in this work, but there are very few of them who are trained for it. There is a great need for an increased number of trained women workers so that the work may be extended.

A Diocesan Board of Women's Work has been set up in the diocese to reorganize the activities amongst women throughout the area. It is hoped to recruit and train more Biblewomen who can work in the villages regularly. The Women's Conference also supervises and controls primary education for girls. There are several primary schools where a good number of Christian children are receiving education. But when they visit the innumerable villages in the Archdeaconry and find hundreds of uneducated little girls, they feel that a great deal still needs to be done.

Seventeen branches of the Women's Auxiliary have been organized in various parishes, and Mrs. Wilkinson is the Organizing Secretary. These W.A. branches are making a real effort to raise funds for the women's work. Several of them have decided to have united Thank Offering services in their respective places. Members have taken small earthen money boxes (Kujis) into which they intend putting offerings to express thanks at various happy occasions in the home. These offerings will be collected by various W.A.'s on special occasions and sent to our Treasurer, Miss Nattress, for women's work.

Mrs. C. R. H. Wilkinson.

[77] Miss W. E. M. Meredith, a C.M.S. missionary of long experience, is one of the chief organizers of these new ventures. The Christian Home Movement is an endeavour to present the ideals of Christian life and worship in the home that the children may be brought up in the true faith: A special committee in the diocese is concerned with carrying out the ideals of this movement.

Another need in the diocese is for the organization of youth groups. The young men and women of our Church do not have much opportunity to meet together and to take part in the evangelistic work of the Church. Many of them are keen to do so, and the plan is to organize activities for them which will give them an opportunity to express their Christian Faith in service and in witness.

Various things have been said about new methods of evangelism. Undoubtedly there is the need to consider new ways of approach, but underlying it all must be the desire on the part of the one participating in the task of evangelism to communicate to others the Spirit of the living Christ. If it is in him, he cannot help but pass it on to others. More than ever we need to deepen the spiritual life of those who would reveal the truth of Christ to those who know Him not. One finds that religion cannot be kept to one's self, for if so it will die. It is in giving it away that it comes forth into new life in you and that life may be communicated to others. With this basic spiritual force, new methods of evangelism may be considered to approach non-Christians.

Imagine yourself sitting amidst a group of villagers who are Hindus, and trying to reveal to them the truth about God. They do not believe in one God, but in many gods whom they fear and try to propitiate. They are full of ignorance and superstition. How does one reveal the truth to them?

You may begin with the simple things of nature, as our Lord often did. Taking a small seed in your hand, you may ask them where it comes from. They will reply that it is the fruit of the harvest. Where did the seed for that harvest come from? From the harvest of the year before. And so you lead them on to [77/78] understand that in the beginning was God. They know that no man can produce a seed. Men may construct many wonderful buildings and create works of art and science, but in all the world there is no man who can produce a seed. In it is life and for that life there is a purpose that it may bring forth fruit and give food to those who sow it. Thus through the simple things of nature which they understand you begin to illustrate the eternal purpose of God and the eternal life which comes from Him. If there is a purpose for the life of the seed there must be a much greater purpose for human life. What is it and how do we find it? It is revealed through Jesus Christ. It takes great patience and much repetition of the teaching to bring these facts home to simple villagers, but gradually their minds are opened to receive the truth.

Along with such teaching goes the practical demonstration of Christian service m helping them to improve their methods of work, their income, their health and their learning. Schools and hospitals and other institutions are all linked up with this underlying principle, and are an expression in one way or another of the truth that Christ came that we may have life and may have it more abundantly. This is the Good News of the Gospel, and there are still many millions in India, living in fear and ignorance, waiting for someone to tell them of the God of love--and that someone means--you.

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