What is it about?
In the mid-nineteenth century movement towards Christianity in Chotanagpur in central India, the missionary Constant Lievens (1856-1893) played a pioneering role in the establishment of the Catholic Mission among the Adivasis (indigenous peoples). Through Lievens’ legal advocacy, Adivasis not only adopted a faith, but also began to reclaim their lands and their indigeneity. Drawing on ethnographic research around the intercessory prayer for the beati_cation of Lievens, this paper analyses the present-day lived contestations of Adivasi Catholic identity-making. The paper argues that Adivasi Catholic identities are lived in contestation and continuous negotiation with their present realities, while also borrowing from the legacies of their own past struggles and their intermediaries.
Why is it important?
The paper explores how Adivasi Catholic identities as Adivasis and Catholics have been shaped by their own historical contingencies and struggles for emancipation. It demonstrates how Adivasi Catholics continue to negotiate who they are by borrowing from the legacies of their own past struggles and their intermediaries.
This paper addresses the multiple localities of Indian Christianity through the lived experiences of Adivasi Catholicism. It also demonstrates that a reading of Indian Christianity through its native agency renders a more intelligible understanding of its historical processes as compared to European missionary narratives that tend to obscure them.