Christian missionaries arrived
in India (9), they discovered a country resistant
Missionizing efforts met with very little
the Hindu religion was responsible for many
societal ills, the missionaries threw their
considerable moral support behind progressive
measures against Sati,
and female infanticide (5).
American missionaries opened
large numbers of schools in the areas in
which they worked.
They were pioneers of female literacy and education
in India. Both through their attacks on Hinduism
and their educational work, they helped with
the gradual westernization of India and paradoxically,
the ultimate purification of Hinduism and other
Indian religions (8).
turn of the century saw an expansion in
medical, educational and social reform contributions
by the missionaries.
focused the attention of British officers and
educated Hindus on the evils of temple
prostitution, widow-celibacy, caste-system
and child marriage. The missionary effort on
behalf of India's lepers was heroic (5).
They were the impetus needed to spark education
reform at the government level.
antebellum New England, the
melding of piety and service allowed women
advances in their own education and public
influence. As agents of social change, the
American missionary women led the way in creating
new opportunities for women on a global level,
through education, teaching, and social influence (8).
hindsight of history can give us answers
but they touch us only when they come out
the past-present of biography. By standing
beside these women, sharing their sophistication,
their ignorance, their faith, their worries,
their inability to see into the future, we
share the hope and poignancy of their lives,
and of life itself” (4).