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"Essentially Christian, eminently philanthropic": The Mission to Lepers in British India

"Essencialmente cristã, eminentemente filantrópica": The Mission to Lepers na India Britânica

The early history of the Mission to Lepers in India is an interplay between politics, religion, and medicine in the context of British imperialism. The Mission pursued the dual but inseparable goals of evangelization and civilization, advancing not only a religious program but also a political and cultural one. These activities and their consequences were multi-faceted because while the missionaries pursued their religious calling, they also provided medical care to people and in places that the colonial government was unable or unwilling. Within the context of the British imperial program, the work imparted Western social and cultural ideals on the colonial populations they served, inculcated patients with Christian beliefs, and provided medical care to individuals who had been expelled from their own communities. Physical healing was intimately tied to religious salvation, spiritual healing, and the civilizing process.

leprosy; Hansen's disease; History of Medicine; missionaries; Medical Missions; India; Imperialism

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