Main Article Content
The socio-evangelistic mobilization of depressed castes was afforded by Christian missions in 19th century colonial Andhra, by advocating that depressed castes disengaged with old traditions, customs and worship. While this efforts was viewed with suspicion by some, educated members of the society accepted missionaries as agents of social change among depressed castes. Missionaries were great pioneers of education within the region, conducting vernacular and English schools for children, irrespective of caste. This combination of proselytization and reform created avenues for upward social mobility among the depressed castes especially in South India. In the light of proclaimed spiritual equality and the just society afforded by Christianity, a new wave of adherence and conversion began among the depressed castes, influenced by the Gospel – a consciousness combined with deep dissatisfaction with established order. A combination of internal and external factors contributed to reform and precipitation of change in society, as social mobility was legitimated by a desire to convert. The main objective of this article is to examine the growth in social consciousness among Mālas and Mādigas, as they encountered Christian missionaries, and were motivated to consciously abandon their traditional religious practices to adopt a new faith. Through Christianity, they progressed in education and achieved occupational mobility, striving to create social identity.