Comparative study of religious traditions of the Saora tribe of Orissa and the influence of Christian traditions
Social changes are a gradual process, the result of constant effort and support. They cannot be compared to chemical reactions or sudden occurrences. Changes in societies have occurred only when those were ready for change in attitudes and thinking patterns. Christian missionary activities have contributed greatly to the process of awakening system changes, through which many of the socio-religious traditions of the subaltern population in India are reinterpreted in view of better living standards. Religious conversions to Christianity are a burning issue in the socio-political scenario of modern India. What makes the subaltern communities to embrace Christianity? Should the church continue her mission of making God and the gospel of Jesus Christ known to the people of India? Taking into account such facts this study is an analysis of the Christian missionary activities in India specifically among the Saora tribe of Orissa. It is an attempt to explore the positive and negative areas of Christian influence for socio-religious changes in the course of modernisation within this tribe in the model of 'Comprehensive theory of traditions'.
Thampi Thomas Panangatu born in 1968 at Kannankara in Kerala is a catholic priest in the diocese of Berhampur in Orissa, India. Besides studying philosophy and theology he has also obtained a bachelor's degree in Legal Law from Berhampur University. Currently he coordinates a social development partnership project between the diocese of Berhampur and St. Karl Borromaeus parish Winnenden among the Saoras of Jalthar region.
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