The apparition of these faces in the crowd
Petals on a wet, black bough
"

During the 1857 uprising in India against the British, the missionaries told stories of the rebellion to demonstrate what they saw as brutality of the non-Christian Indians. “The Indians are a people so filled with hate,” wrote Rev. Isador Lowenthal, “that it is surprising their essentially depraved natures had not been displayed in acts of violence even more numerous and appalling.” There was no savior for India “until the spirit of the Gospel fused the hearts of the people in a common mould.” There was little concern in these texts for the natives, barbarized by the British for almost a hundred years. Such accounts presented India as the “ghastly mystery,” filled with hook-swinging men, thugs, oppressed and secluded women, and the strangeness of esoteric religious practices. The missionary texts read much like those of other U.S. travelers, such as one R.S. Minturn, who landed in Calcutta and was surrounded by naked “n*****s, members of a race for whom one cannot help feeling contempt since they are all such miserable, fawning, cringing, slavish cowards, especially when flogged for they don’t resist but shriek frightfully for mercy.” …The missionary texts exaggerated certain features of Indian life to emphasize the need for Christianity…

The missionaries used the “plight of women” as a weapon against the totality of Indian society.

"

—Vijay Prashad, The Karma of Brown Folk (via sitaronse)
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