Archive / Audio / M. MacLeod

Interview number: 044

Interviewer: Pickering, Carol and Carter, Dr. Lionel

Interview date: 1984-03-22

Length 73 minutes

Condition notes: Noticeable level of hiss and hum on the original tape; some volume variation, too – (possibly due to tape stretch).

The Rev. Alan Mrs. Margaret Macleod, Missionaries of the United Church of India, interviewed by Carol Pickering and Dr. Lionel Carter, 22-03-84.

An account of missionary life during the years of transition from concept of paternalism to one of equality with nationals. Three initial years worked in mixed Hindu-Muslim hostel of a college of Calcutta University in communally-minded Rajshahi. Their remaining 17 years in India were spent in Santahar, a village 65 miles north of Rajshahi where they lived almost as simply as their neighbours. At first their Evangelistic work was largely among Muslims, but during the last 5 years they had much to do with aboriginals, chiefly Santals, championing their rights against Hindus and Muslims. The War and the Bengal Famine of 1943 brought new opportunities for service; offering hospitality to British troops en route to Burma and setting up a Famine Relief Hospital which served as a model for others throughout Bengal. Entirely sympathetic with Indian Nationalist aspirations, while realising inevitability of Partition, seeing a divided Bengal as an unviable proposition. Attitudes towards Government Services (before Independence) are frankly stated.

Coverage notes: Santahar, Rajshahi; Muslims/Hindus; Aboriginal Santals; famine; disease; Indian Nationalism; Partition; Independence; Bengal; 1936-1955