Christianity, Colonial Globalization of Culture: An Indian Experience with Special Reference to Malabar Christians


The efforts to fulfill the `great commission’ of the Christian gospel had the unstinting support of European colonial enterprises, especially those of Spanish and Portuguese origins between the 1600-1900 AD. Consequently, evangelization in Asia is looked upon with suspicion and Christian missionaries have often been accused of undermining and destroying the local cultural heritage.

The Gospel, wrapped in the regalia of imperialism, contributed to the disparaging of local cultures. This was an unsavoury aspect of globalization.The Portuguese brand of globalization included Lusitanisation and was executed in collaboration with the Colonial State. While this enterprise was rather successful in Goa it faced severe opposition from the Malabar Christians who courageously attempted to defend their ecclesial autonomy, traditions, and culture.

The writer Jose Kalapura; Director of Jesuit-run research institute Xavier Institute of Social Research at Patna specializes in Christian history with a focus on Bihar.  His  25 years as a journalist, reporting from Bihar, makes him an expert socio-cultural commenter for this region. This article first appeared in the Church History Association of India, (CHAI) publication, India's Christian Heritage, 2011 (178-198), and is reproduced with permission.