Uttarkhand Study- Missionaries failed to replace the beliefs in Hinduism from the hearts of the people

published on March 19, 2011

Christianity did not spread at rate it should have in Uttarakhand: Study
Rajeev Khanna

Nainital, March 17

An interesting study done by former Uttarakhand Chief Secretary RS Tolia points that despite the support of the British administration for a century, Christianity did not spread at the rate and scale that it should have in the regions that today constitute the state.

Tolia has dwelt at length on the history of Christianity in the state. He has traced the coming of various missions and missionaries to propagate the religion. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that their efforts did not produce the desired results.

Pointing out at the factors that prevented the vast spread of the religion, he has referred to the works of Thawburn, who had observed during his visit to Pauri that till the time people waning to propagate their religion worked in the hill areas, it was not possible to replace the beliefs in Hinduism from the hearts of the people.

He had also observed that the pilgrims coming to Badrinath and Kedarnath had such commitment and conviction towards their religion that to convince them to change their religion was almost impossible.

Referring to the phenomenon in the Bhot areas of the state that are primarily the areas bordering Pithoragarh, Nepal and China, Tolia has relied upon the observations made by Priest Uttam Singh Rawat, along with priests Yunus Singh, Tara Dutt Pant and Jay Dutt Joshi.

According to Uttam Singh Rawat, the people living in the Bhot regions were so engrossed in their seasonal migrations and commercial activities that they could spare only token time for any religion. He had come to the conclusion that attempts at propagating religion could not succeed to a large extent in amongst nomadic communities. Tolia has pointed out that constant migration of communities had been the main reason for the failure of what is known as Bhot Mission.

In his study, Tolia has pointed out, “By 1947, the propagation of Christianity had reached a point over 100 years that Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, Pauri, Dehradun, Dwarahat and Ranikhet had developed as places in North Western province where the Christian community dominated.

He further said, “Despite this and 100 years of open administrative support and encouragement, it is visible that the number of followers of Christianity is not what it should have been.”

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