Spiritual Preaching in India: English as a Tool for Religious Propagation
From the very beginning of its introduction in India, English, though a language of colonial masters, functioned as an effective instrument of resistance. Many political activists, religious leaders, and social reformers used English to counter the British agenda of colonisation of minds and lands of people. The English-educated elite of colonial Bengal, for example, transformed the ‘master’s language’ into an instrument that helped revive the crumbling Hindu religion. However, as access to English language was confined to a handful of people, it created its own kind of binaries in the Indian social and religious system. In the postcolonial era, English has been transformed into a phenomenon of mass expression as per the market requirement of ‘demand and supply’. Hence, what served as a medium of upliftment for the preachers of colonial era has shrunk into a mere TRP tool for the tele-evangelists in the postcolonial era. The paper attempts to explore the ideas of ‘religion’ and ‘religiosity’ focusing on the usage of English by the Indian preachers from different eras.
KeywordsReligion Religiosity Preachers Tele-evangelists Consumerism Hinduism Brahmo Samaj
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