History of foreign Missions in Kerala
St. Thomas (1st century A.D.)
Syrian Missionaries (4th century A.D.)
European Missionaries (15th century A.D.)
"The activities of Christian Missionaries in implementing western educational system in Kerala led the government to engage in the field of education. The growth of western education acted as a catalytic agent in the development of the society of Kerala. The activity of the missionaries was one of the reasons for the reformation of the society in Kerala." 3It is this group that is mainly targeted in this study.
Conditions In India
To understand the reformation brought along by the foreign missionaries, it is important to understand the conditions that existed in India before the arrival of these missionaries. The Social, Educational, Industrial, Linguistic and Spiritual conditions will be dealt with in the this section.
It is to be noted that Social reformation was not the main aim of the missionaries. The primary aim is the the spread of Gospel. But they understood that it is difficult to bring about evangalisation without the change that people would expect by it.
In vedic ages there was no caste difference. Initially, all those who did priestly duties were given the title "Brahmin". Later it was used for the priests and their sons. At the end of vedic ages the Brahmins were the upper class of the society. The "Varnashrama Dharma or Manu Dharma" (caste system) which teaches that God did not create all men equal, but in a hierarchy. Brahmins were at the top of this hierarchy and established themselves as mediators between God and Man. Kundra explains the term ‘Varna’ as follows: