Friday, 16 August 2013

Southern Indian Material at the Henry Martyn Centre, Westminster College

A guest post by Lucy Hughes, Archivist of the Henry Martyn Centre in Cambridge.

 Readers of the SAALG blog may be interested to learn about the collection of material relating to missionary work in Southern India which is held at the Henry Martyn Centre, Westminster College. The items in this miscellaneous collection of books, articles and pamphlets were connected with the Reverend R. B. Budgett and range in date from 1913 to 1958.

The ‘Indian Liturgy’ (shown in the scanned image) is an abridged edition, revised in 1942, of the original order for the administration of holy communion sanctioned in 1922 by the Episcopal Synod of India for experimental use in the diocese of Bombay. In 1933 the order was given authorisation for use in any diocese of the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon. It is 2/4 in the South India collection. Within the same collection is to be found a folder of items relating to the Dornakal diocese. This folder includes a pamphlet entitled ‘Jungle Wanderings in the Diocese of Dornakal’ by Captain Hayne, undated (South India 3/7). Printed by the Church Army Press in Oxford, it is 12 pages long and contains 7 photographs of village life accompanying the detailed descriptions of life in this remote rural district, and the gradual infiltration of Christianity into the community.

Another item of particular interest is a note relating to a book entitled Andhra Christian Lyrics (South India 4/1). Andhra Christian Lyrics is an anthology published in Madras, 1937, of Christian verses popular in the Andhra region: they are printed in Hindi. According to a note (South India 2/8) found in the same collection, number 77 is the most precious of the lyrics in the volume. A story about its composition is recited in the note:

‘It is on God’s love and was composed when the author Gollapalli Nathaniel was bound in stocks by the enemies of the Christian religion. Gollapalli Nathaniel was a voluntary Evangelist. He learnt to read and write only after he was baptised with his wife in 1862. Constrained by the love of God he went about preaching the Gospel in the villages. In one of his preaching tours of 1869 the high caste Hindus of Nuramanda objected to his preaching in their streets, and had him put in stocks. Some women who took pity on him begged the Hindus in vain to give him food that night. In spite of pain all over the body Nathaniel composed this lyric on God’s love and sang it to the people who came to see him the next morning … The lyric is prescribed as the first lesson to all people preparing for baptism. It is taught to them with full explanation from the Bible. It is sung by Christians of all denominations in Andhra desa and almost all six lakhs of Christians in the Telugu area know it by heart. During Hindu festival times the lyric is printed on a separate handbill and is distributed to all non-Christians.’

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