Anjali R Andrew
In order to comprehend the role of Christian missionaries in Vidarbha, we must first grasp the region's geography and then its political situation. Various Gond Rajas controlled Central India during the 15th and 16th centuries. The first Christian missionary came to Nagpur during the reign of Bakht Buland, the city's founder, and an attempt to establish Christianity among the masses. Fr. Faria wanted to build a Church in Nagpur but could not succeed. The Nagpur region was conquered by the Marathas and the Bhosles in 1740. The Bhosle rule continued till 1853 when it was annexed by the British. By the end of the 18th century, Christian could be found mostly as merchants or soldiers in the Maratha army as Portuguese and French officers. Goan Priests from Golconda and Poona came all the way to Nagpur to minister the need of Indian and European soldiers. They build a chapel at Takli in the outskirts of Nagpur. The first priest of Missionary of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS) Fr. Joseph Lavoret arrived in Kamptee in 1846. Rev. Stephen Hislop a Scottish missionary arrived in Nagpur in 1845 and the establishment of Anglo Vernacular School. A keen geologist he contributed to the discovered the coalfield in Chanda and the Pench Valley. Was also fluent in Marathi, Hindi and also studied the Gond language and prepared a vocabulary of eleven unwritten dialects of the aboriginal tribes. He drowned in Bori River only four days short of his 46th birthday and was buried on September 5th in Nagpur.
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