'Basel works revolutionary'

Mrs Dorothea Schweizer, the Board Member, Basel Mission, Switzerland, having a look at the photographs taken by the Basel Missionaries between 1840 and 1940, at Karnataka Theological College (KTC) in Balmatta on Friday. KTC Principal Rev Dr H R Cabral, Karnataka Southern Diocese Bishop Rev Dr J S Sadananda look on. DH photo

Addressing the finale of the 175th anniversary celebrations of the arrival of the first missionaries of Basel Mission in India, at Karnataka Theological College (KTC) premises here on Friday, he said the missionaries revolutionised medical care and education scenario in the coastal districts.

“When East India company tried to impose English education on Indians, the German missionaries developed the local languages like Kannada and Tulu and provided education to the people in those languages,” he pointed out.

“The intention of the British was only to promote their business interests, but the Basel Mission injected enthusiasm and confidence among the people of the coastal districts by providing vocational education and employment,” Hegde explained.

In his address, CSI Synod General Secretary Rev Moses Jayakumar said the Basel Mission ushered in a transformation in Tulunadu by introducing printing technology, thus opening up the windows of knowledge.

Scholar Prof Amrut Someshwar said Tulunadu had business relationships with various countries such as Germany, Persia, Arabia and Egypt, but it was Basel Mission that started a new era in its history. “They gave everything which a society requires to lead a meaningful life. Even the first newspaper of Kannada, Mangalura Samachara, began by them was secular in true terms,” he said.

He also emphasised on the need for utilising the materials at the archive and library of the KTC for indepth researches in the days to come.

India Secretary of EMS in Germany Lutz Drescher expressed the willingness of the EMS to continue the partnership with the CSI in developmental activities.

A delegation of 18 members from Germany and Switzerland presented a gift and a memento to CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese Bishop Rev John S Sadananda to commemorate the day. They even sang a group song.

In his presidential address, Rev Sadananda said the programme was not to celebrate the achievements recorded so far but to celebrate the love of the almighty who made the missionaries to commit for the development of the region.

“It is not the celebration of the transformation. Transformation is an ongoing process. We should cherish and continue the historical partnership that has remained live till date. We should not forget our roots,” he reiterated.

Earlier in the day, Mrs Dorothea Schweizer, the Board Member, Basel Mission, Switzerland, inaugurated a photography exhibition those were taken by the Basel Missionaries between 1840 and 1940. KTC Principal Rev Dr H R Cabral among others were present.

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