Role of Christian missionaries in education


  • With the coming of the Europeans to India various foreign languages like English, French, Dutch & Portuguese were introduced here which greatly enriched Indian languages as they added many new words to their vocabulary.
  • The contribution of the Christian missionaries in the development of Indian literature was no less significant.
  • First of all, they published dictionaries and grammar in several local languages.
  • The books written by them were meant for the newly arrived clergymen from Europe.
  • These books helped these missionaries as much as they helped the writers in the local languages.
  • They could easily turn to the dictionaries to find a suitable word or see if the word was grammatically correct.
  • The second fact is the role of lithographic printing press, which was introduced in India in the beginning of the nineteenth century.
  • The foreigners had established these presses for printing literature in local languages for the benefit of the new, or would-be converts.
  • Therefore, the role of printing press in the development of literature cannot be ignored.
  • The third important fact is the establishment of schools and colleges by the missionaries.
  • Here, besides English, the missionaries also taught the local languages.
  • Perhaps their aim was to spread Christianity but they also produced a newly educated class, who had a desire to read their literature.
  • Thus, the role of missionaries cannot be ignored while writing the history of Indian languages and literature.

Main Writers of English Literature in India

  • In India there were many writers of the English literature.
  • The Indians started writing work in English after 1835, when English was made the medium of instruction.
  • Many Indian writers composd their literature in English.
  • Some of them showed their interest in the field of poetry, while some others showed their keen interest in prose writing.
  • Michael Madhu Sudan Dutta, Taradutta, Sarojini Naidu and Ravindranath Tagore made important contribution in the field of English Poetry.
  • Surendra Nath Banerjee, Firoze Shah Mehta and Jawahar Lal Nehru showed interest in English prose.

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