THE “CONTRADICTIONS OF THE BIBLE” AND THE RAWALPINDI MISSION SCHOOL
[The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 2, November, 1882, p. 41]
Having given room in our September number to a letter from a Hindu correspondent, belonging to a Mission School, who accused his Superintendent, the Rev. N—, of abuse of power, we sent a copy of that number to the party charged of the offence, in order to give him a chance of replying to the accusation. We have now his reply and we print it verbatim. At the same time, we have also received another letter from the plaintiff, which we publish alongside with that of the reverend gentleman. We regret our inability to comply with the request of the latter. “In case Lakshman sends you any more cock-and-bull stories, please favour me with a sight of them before putting them into print, as they may be improved by an explanation from me”—writes to us the Rev. C. B. Newton. We answer: We have no right to betray the confidence of a correspondent, even though he may be proved to have exaggerated the offence. We are glad for the reverend gentleman’s sake that it should be so, and sorry for the young man that he should have found it necessary to exaggerate.* With all that, we cannot remain satisfied with the explanations given by the Rev. Mr. Newton. The main point is not whether he has confiscated the book—another person’s property—brutally or politely; but rather, whether he had any right to do so at all, since Lakshman Singh was not a Christian; and the Mission Schools, especially the American, have no right to break the promises of religious
* Well, if he has, better let him go and defend himself.
neutrality given to the Hindus and Mussulmans by the Government that gives them shelter and hospitality. And, if Lakshman Singh proves that he has been expelled from the school for no greater crime than appealing to public opinion to decide upon the legality of such forced proselytism, and for refusing to sign an untruthful statement to save his prospects of education from ruin, then we doubt whether the Rev. Mr. Newton will thereby strengthen much either his own case or that of the religion he would enforce upon his pupils by means that no one would venture to call altogether fair. And since our reverend correspondent does us the honour of acknowledging that we maintain certain principles, such as truthfulness and fair play, in common with himself, we would fain ask him in the name of that truthfulness, whether he would have ever cared to confiscate, as promptly as he has the Self-contradictions of the Bible, some of the missionary works that tear down, abuse, and revile the gods of the Hindus, and the other so-called “heathen” religions? And if not, is it not forcing the poor youths of India, who have no other means of being educated, to pay rather too dearly for that education, if they have to obtain it at the price of their ancestral faith, or be turned out for seeking to learn the truth about a religion which they are asked to prefer to their own and which yet is represented to them but from one of its aspects, namely, the missionary side? We call it neither fair nor generous; nor yet charitable. True charity neither asks nor does it expect its reward; and, viewed from this standpoint, the free mission schools must appear to every unprejudiced person no better than ill-disguised traps for the unsophisticated “heathens,” and the missionaries themselves as guilty all round of false pretences. Far more respectable appear to us even the ludicrous Salvationists who, if they masquerade in Oriental costumes, do not at least disguise their real aims and objects, and have, at any rate, the merit of sincerity, however brutally expressed. Therefore we maintain what we have said before: the act of which the Rev. Newton and the two schoolmasters stand accused of, is—ABUSE OF POWER.