CHRISTIANITY AND BIHAR

Christianity first stepped in Bihar when Mugal Emperor Jahangir appointed Mukarram Khan the Governor of Bihar.Mukarram Khan was converted to the Roman Catholic faith before he came here. After his arrival in Bihar, he invited the Portuguese traders to Patna and requested the Society of Jesus at Chandernagar in Bengal to send some priests to Patna. The first Jesuit priest to have come to Patna was Father Simon Figuieredo. The Capuchins followed early in the eighteenth century and succeeded in establishing stations in Bengal and Bihar. So far the most fruitful field for missionary activities has been not the plains of Bihar but the hilly region of Chotanagpur (now Jharkhand). The neo-Hindu-movements together with the rise of Brahmo Samaj have checked the spread of Christian propaganda among the higher class Hindus. But the aboriginal races of Chotanagpur, especially in Ranchi, have shown greater sensitiveness to Christian influences. Here the work of the Christian missionary institutions is facilitated by the fact that the aboriginal is not tied by the caste system like the Hindus. Conversion does not entail excommunication with consequent severance from the family circle and loss of all share in the family property. In this background of the spread of Christianity ,according to 1991 Census report, total population of Christians had been 8,43,717 (0.98 %) in the state before 15th November '2000 when Jharkhand State did not come to existence. Most of the Christians are now in the newly created Jharkhand State. Their missions, however, are found throughout the state, not only engaged in evangelistic work but these also maintain schools and colleges, manage several well-equipped hospitals and have many orphanages at Patna and elsewhere. At Patna alone the Roman Catholic Mission has five boarding schools, two for boys and three for girls, and a women's college.

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