History of the Dalit Christians of India

Author: Webster, John
This is the first attempt to write the history of the Dalit Christians. Between ten and fifteen percent of all Dalits in India are Christians. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of all Christians in India are Dalits. Dalit is an India term which means broken or oppressed, and refers to those also called untouchables. After a brief discussion of the origins of caste and untouchability, Webster traces their history within the context of the wider Dalit movement from the mass conversion movements of the late 19th century, through the religious competition and nationalist politics of the 1920s and 1930s, to the present post-independence period through 1990 when the government of India adopted a policy of compensatory or protective discrimination towards Dalits. The book concludes with a chapter on the history of Christian theological reflections vis-a-vis the Dalits.


"In this richly descriptive pioneering work, John Webster has begun to redress the balance of long neglect. . . . until further work is done, this book will stand as the definitive work on Dalit Christians in India." -- International Bulletin of Missionary Research

"Webster gives a careful and well-researched analysis of this movement, the impact of Christianity upon the Dalits, and their impact upon the churches. . . . This book is a good one with which to open the door to understanding what may become one of the most significant movements of Indian history." -- Missiology