Christianity and Its Impact on the Lives of Kallars in Tamil Nadu Who Embraced the Faith, in Comparison to Those Who Did Not: Special Reference to Kallar Tamil Lutheran Christians in Tamil Nadu
The German and Swedish Lutheran Mission was a major and pioneering Protestant mission society that started its mission work in Tamil Nadu. The Halle Danish, Leipzig mission, and Church of Sweden mission societies had a larger mission field in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Christians are intimately associated with the German Lutheran Mission and Swedish Mission. The first German Lutheran missionaries, Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plütschau, came to India in 1706. From then on, many Lutheran missionaries came to Tamil Nadu. Afterwards Tamil Nadu became a thriving Christian center for decades, with a strong Christian congregation, church, and several institutions. The majority of these Christians are descendants of Dalits (former untouchable Paraiyars) and Kallars who embraced Christianity. From a life of near slavery, poverty, illiteracy, oppression, and indignity, conversion to Christianity transformed the lives of these people. Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Dalits and Kallars found liberation and have made significant progress because of the Christian missionaries of the Church of the German and Swedish Mission. Both the German and Swedish Mission offered the Gospel of a new religion to not only the subaltern people but also the possibility of secular salvation. The history of Lutherans needs to be understood as a part of Christian subaltern history (Analysing the Indian mission history from the native perspective). My paper will mainly focus on Tamil Lutheran Dalit and Kallar Christians. In this paper, I propose to elucidate the role of German and Swedish Lutheran missionaries in the social, economic, educational, and spiritual life of Tamil Lutheran Dalits and Kallars. Due to the page limit, I am going to mainly focus on Swedish Mission and Kallar Lutheran Christians.