Colonialism and Textualisation of Cultures: A Critical Analysis of Christian Missionary Writings in India

By Hoineilhing Sitlhou.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Gutenberg Revolution, which replaced the oral tradition, entered the North Eastern region of India through the initiative of the early British missionaries. Colonisers and Missionaries were among the first outsiders to make contact with the indigenous peoples, and their writings frequently contain accounts of local culture and society, oral tradition etc., which, whatever their deficiencies, have a vital documentary value precisely for standing right at the beginning of modern cultural change. The missionaries were foreigners, on the outside, looking in. Even in their most scholarly work, when dispassionate objectivity was a primary goal, factors in their background, education and European perspective would determine not only what they noticed or looked at, but also the way they interpreted or explained what they saw. Today, the colonial spectre continues to haunt the present day intellectual consciousness though the colonisers and missionaries departed the region many years ago. A form of re-colonisation is evident in literatures written by the local inhabitants who continue to reproduce the derogatory description given by the colonial ethnographies while narrating their history. Therefore, though the native have started writing today, it is a perspective or a sense of reality seen through the lens of the colonisers.

Keywords: Colonialism, Missionaries, Ethnographies, Textualisation, Culture, Local, Deconstruction, Binary Opposition, Mimicry, Domination

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.11-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 756.816KB).

Asst. Prof. Hoineilhing Sitlhou

Student (Research Scholar), Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India

Hoineilhing Sitlhou is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is also teaching Sociology in Hyderabad Central University.