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Propagation of the Gospel, an Anglican mis-
sion; the London Missionary Society, where the
Anglicans joined forces with the Presbyterians;
Baptist, Methodist, Congregationalist and many
other missionary societies, from Britain, from
Europe and from America (Cox, 2002; Kent,
2004). Despite their best intentions of convert-
ing the heathen to Christianity, missionaries
were given a wide berth because they were edu-
cating Indians, teaching them English, as this
was the medium through which conversion
could take place. Clearly, a religion that taught
that all people were equal was appealing to the
oppressed, and missionaries' close involvement
with the poor encouraged the conversion of
many from the lowest castes and the casteless.
This infuriated the higher castes who had much
to lose through the liberation of the lowest in the
caste system. Some missionaries also used their
role to advance the status of women (Sawant,
2000), and predictably, this was not welcomed
in Hindu society. The potential for missionary
work to cause serious problems for the Colonial
Administration was clearly recognized. Since
the mid-18th century, the East India Company
had become increasingly anxious that the
actions of the God-fearing missionary could
threaten their commercial activities in India (Kit-
zan, 1971; Daughrity, 2004), and the murder of
three Australian missionaries in China in the
late 19th century reinforced this concern (Welch,
2005). A further reason why missionaries were
not welcomed by all on hill stations was that
their objectives were best met by their close
involvement with Indians, especially the poorest
and most oppressed, people usually ignored by
the majority of the British in India. Missionary
work was also a calling for many single women
and this too was perceived as suspect by some.
Nevertheless, their work of spreading the Chris-
tian gospel found favour with Europeans and
Fig. 1.7 is testimony to this. Though few mis-
sionaries participated in the extravagant social
life on the hills, the cool air of the hills and the
opportunity for relaxation were welcome relief
from their labours of teaching English, preach-
ing Christianity and fortifying the poorest, in par-
ticular women on the plains (Sawant, 2000).
The anticipation of getting away from the
plains, from India and from Indians by many of
the visitors to the hills was, to some extent con-
founded as the more the hills were transformed
to accord to an image of Britain and escape
from India, the more labour was needed from
the plains in order to make the vision a reality.
Labour, permanent and temporary was needed
to construct roads, railways, bridges and build-
ings; labour was needed to maintain public
spaces, to service clubs, reading rooms, tennis
courts and offi ces of the administration; to act
as house servants, cooks, gardeners, ayahs to
help look after children, syces to look after the
horses, and to meet many other British needs.
Kennedy (1996) estimated that every visitor
required approximately ten Indians to sustain
their life on the hills. Rather than getting away
from India and Indians, colonial administrators
coming to the hills would have been just as close
to the colonized as they were on the plains, but
although Indians were all around, they, as 'the
other' lived quite apart from the British, usually
in overcrowded areas poorly provided with ser-
vices. The picture of Coonoor bazaar (Fig. 1.9)
aptly shows the concentration of crowded
Indian dwellings at the foot of the hill. The solid,
spacious buildings of the colonial administra-
tion located nearer the top are not clearly evident
on the picture but the contrasting constructions
are still visible to visitors.
The gaze of the colonial administrator in
the hill stations would thus have consumed
on the one hand a model of rural England, and
on the other, the very clear contrast with colo-
nial India, which was the context for the idyll. It
is highly probable that the sharply contrasting
situation of Indians in their dwellings would
have been ignored or gone unnoticed by most
visitors, though not by missionaries who would
have been powerless to change perceptions of
the Indian by the British, had they wished to do
so. In analysing the gaze of British visitors on the
hill stations, it is arguable that 'gaze' is not suf-
fi cient to understand the experiences of the visi-
tors who enjoyed not only rest and relaxation
but an active sporting and social life as well
(Perkins and Thorns, 2001). Perhaps, in regard
to this group, Crouch's (2002) appeal for under-
standing the embodiment of space on the hills
and the very different experiences of the visi-
tors, which contrasted with the norms of every-
day life, might be more apt.
Idyllic images of Britain, which contrasted
with life on the plains, were constructed physically
in every hill station, be it Simla, Darjeeling,
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