'Moegling shaped early mission schools'

Schools were the most important institutional locations within which the missionaries trained an indigenous community into the ideals of their version of Protestantism, said Mangalore University Lecturer Dr Parineetha Shetty at a seminar on ‘Herman Moegling-200th year of his commemoration’ organised by Karnataka Theological College, Karnataka Sahithya Academy and Kittel Foundation at Bishop Jathanna Hall in KTC here on Friday.

Speaking on the topic “Recontouring Space: The experiment of the Basel Mission School,” she said Herman Moegling played a central role in establishing and shaping the early mission schools, especially the Catechist seminary. The mission archives take one to the interiors of these schools and give an insight into how a nascent community was in the process of coming into being through the institutional network of mission schools, she said.

Though a casteless equality was insisted upon in classroom, the hierarchy between the teachers and students remained.  However, the racial difference was maintained between the native and European Christians. The natives had access to European households only as servants and caretakers, pointed out Dr Parineetha.

She also said that the daily life of the students was organised within the spatio-temporal structures of the school routine and the school complex, hence enabling the constant surveillance of the students by teachers.The missionary established its first English School in Mangalore in 1838 and this school necessitated the most difficult accommodations and negotiations on the part of the missionaries since they came in contact with children from different communities, she added.

Karanataka Theological Research Centre Director Dr Rathnakar Sadananda spoke on Moegling’s spiritual literature.Stressing on the phrase ‘Roots and Wings,’ he said Moegling was rooted into his own faith and European culture but also had wings as he explored and learnt other cultures and faith.

Moegling clearly overcame cultural barriers. He was a multi-lingual scholar. He has written 120 hymns which mostly use Indian analogies and metaphors, he said.

The seminar had also sessions on ‘Moegling in Hubli and Dharwad’ by Scholar Dr Paul Jenkins and Scholar Dr H M Maheswarayya.

Moegling’s kin to visit M’lore

During the valedictory of the two-day seminar, Karnataka Theological College Principal Dr Hanibal Cabral said that Hermann Frederick Moegling’s great grand children will be visiting Mangalore on October 26 and will be taking part in Deepavali celebrations on October 27. A special programme will be organised on the occasion.

Speaking at the valedictory, Karnataka Sahithya Academy President Prof M H Krishnaiah said there is a need to translate Moegling’s works in English to Kannada. The papers presented during the two-day seminar should be brought out in the form of a book.
Switzerland senior researcher Paul Jenkins released ‘Guide to the Basel Mission India Material in the Mission 21 archives’ on the occasion.

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