Some of the materials collected as part of this project can be used to enhance learning for school and college students taking N5 and Highers qualifications in Religious and Moral Education. 

In particular, these resources are useful for examining the World Religions units within the following courses.  These units are designed to challenge students to interpret and comment on the meaning and context of religious beliefs, practices and sources.

For students studying Christianity as a World Religion, the resources you will find here provide a unique opportunity to interpret and comment on these issues.  They focus on the development of Christian beliefs and practices in the context of India during the 19th Century, when much of the country was under British control.  The resources draw on and showcase primary sources from this time and region – in particular, autobiographical accounts by Indians who became Christian.

The resources respond to the Course Assessment Specification related to ‘Living according to the Gospels’ and the ‘Religious experience of Conversion’ by exploring the ways in which these individuals began to think of themselves as Christian in social situations which were often antagonistic to this personal change, for a number of reasons.  Exploring the resources will enable students to think critically about these issues, challenging them to place their own understandings about Christian beliefs and practices into a different social, cultural and political context.

These teaching resources were developed by Iain Stewart (General Secretary, Edinburgh Interfaith Association) from research and archival work on autobiographies written by Indians converting to Christianity that the project team have been working on.

The materials collected as part of this project are first-hand accounts of the lives and religious practices of Indians in colonial India. While several religious traditions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism, are taught as part of the RE curriculum, the focus of lessons can often be on key teachings in scriptures, leaders and religious festivals. But what about the practices of ordinary religious individuals or communities? How do they relate their spiritual experiences? To what extent do they agree with or challenge teachings within their religions? How do they negotiate change in religious life—either personal, that is, moving from one religion to another or social, when they feel religious communities need to change (that is ‘reform’) their practices or attitudes?

The resource materials and lessons show religious lives and identities as fluid and constantly responding to fresh challenges.

Food and Religion

The first theme we have developed lessons for relate to religious and social encounters relating to food and eating.

Why focus on food?

Food practices are central to contemporary ways of being religious and social in multicultural Britain. Food has been a key aspect of minority religious identification as it has developed in Britain over the last 70 years. Social encounters relating to eating practices occur at all levels including schools where food choice operates as a religious identifier, including sometimes as a source of anxiety. Bringing these issues into the classroom is a valuable and safe forum for discussing these sensitive topics.

Food-related discussions in 19th-century autobiographies are presented here as a way of introducing students to the theme of food as a feature of religious identity, ranging from its location as everyday religious to significant ritual practice. Food choice, including whom they ate with, was critical for people navigating changing religious identity during a period of intense religious encounters in 19th-century colonial India. Christian converts express apprehensions regarding eating foods prohibited by Hindu teachings as they perceived food as integral to their changing social status in India.

This first set of lessons focusing on food in religious and social encounters has been developed in collaboration between RE teachers, Nisha Bansal and Paul slater at Trinity High Academy (Manchester) and the project team, Dr. Hephzibah Israel (University of Edinburgh) and Dr. John Zavos (University of Manchester). These lessons have been developed keeping the Year 9 curriculum in mind but can be adapted by RE teachers to other years should they wish to.

Lessons and Materials:

  1. Lesson Plans
    1. 1 What’s wrong with some food.pptx
    2. 2 The Ethics of Food.pptx
    3. 3. You are what you eat.pptx
    4. 4 Clean & Unclean Food.pptx
    5. 5 Is food better when we eat together.pptx
    6. Menu Ingredient Cards 1.pdf
    7. Menu Ingredient Cards 2.pdf
  2. Lakshmibai Tilak's autobiography, I Follow After [Smritichitre]
    1. Summary of Lakshmibai’s Autobiography
    2. Lakshmibai Extract 1 Father washes away his pennies and pounds
    3. Lakshmibai Extract 2
    4. Visual resources: these video clips bring Lakshmibai’s stories to life. Annie George, an actor based in Edinburgh (https://anniegeorge.net/), reads parts of the autobiography:
      1. Father Washes Away His Pennies and Pounds
      2. Tilak's diary Reading
      3. A Memorable Occasion
  3. Baba Padmanji, Once Hindu, Now Christian
    1. Summary of Padmanji’s Autobiography
    2. Padmanji Extract 1 (chapter 11)
    3. Visual Resources: these video clips bring Padmanji’s stories to life. Zak Hanif, an actor based in Edinburgh, reads parts of the autobiography.
      1. Chapter 10-Gradual Change Of Mind
      2. Chapter 11-The Paramhans Mandali (society)
      3. Chapter 13- Gradual Increase Of Light
      4. Chapter 17-Joy And Peace In Believing
  4. Pandita Ramabai, My Life
    1. Summary of Ramabai’s Autobiography
    2. Extract from Ramabai’s childhood memories

Materials collected as part of this project can be used to enhance learning for school and college students taking N5 and Highers qualifications in Religious and Moral Education following the Scottish Curriculum. 

These resources are particularly useful for examining the World Religions units which are designed to challenge students to interpret and comment on the meaning and context of religious beliefs, practices and sources.

For teachers and students studying Christianity as a World Religion:

The resources you will find here provide a unique opportunity to interpret and comment on key issues.  They focus on the development of Christian beliefs and practices in the context of India during the 19th Century, when much of the country was under British control.  The resources draw on and showcase primary sources from this time and region – in particular, autobiographical accounts by Indians who became Christian—which unusually give students access to Indian rather than British voices.

The resources respond to the Course Assessment Specification related to ‘Living according to the Gospels’ and the ‘Religious experience of Conversion’ by exploring the ways in which these individuals began to think of themselves as Christian in social situations which were often antagonistic to this personal change, for a number of reasons.  Exploring the resources will enable students to think critically about these issues, challenging them to place their own understandings about Christian beliefs and practices into a different social, cultural and political context.

These teaching resources were developed by Iain Stewart (General Secretary, Edinburgh Interfaith Association) from research and archival work that the project team have completed on autobiographies written by Indians converting to Christianity.

 

National 5/ Highers

CTLA N5 Resources contains a range of resources designed to help you if you are taking the World Religions unit as part of your N5 RME course, and especially if you are focusing on Christianity within this unit. In this section we will introduce you to Lakshmibai Tilak. Lakshmibai was born in 1868 in western India (she died in 1936). At the age of 11 she was married to 18 year old Narayan Waman Tilak. Narayan was to go on to become a well known poet, writing primarily in the Marathi language of western India. Narayan became a Christian in 1895. Although she at first objected, Lakshmibai eventually followed her husband to become a Christian. She wrote about her experiences around this time in her autobiography, which is entitled Smruti Chitre in Marathi, or I Follow After in English. As well as publishing her autobiography, Lakshmibai also wrote and published poetry. She achieved all this despite having no formal education. In this document you will find out much more about Lakshmibai, the contexts within which she lived and her approach to religion. This document also includes some sample questions you can look at to help you to relate this case to other work you have been doing on this unit:

Lesson - Living According to the Gospels

You can find out more about Lakshmibai’s life by looking at our brief biological sketch:

Summary of Lakshmibai's Autobiography

These extracts from Lakshmibai’s autobiography are referred to in the Lesson:

Supplementary Reading 1

Supplementary Reading 2

Supplementary Reading 3

These short videos show passages from Lakshmibai’s autobiography that have been dramatized by an Edinburgh-based theatre artist, Annie George (https://anniegeorge.net/) to help to bring it to life.

Reading 1 - Father Washes Away His Pennies and Pounds

Reading 2-Tilak's diary Reading

Reading 3-A Memorable Occasion

Advanced Highers

The CTLA Higher Resources section contains a range of resources designed to help you if you are taking the World Religions unit as part of your Higher RME course, and especially if you are focusing on Christianity within this unit. In this section we will introduce you to Baba Padmanji. Padmanji was born in western India in 1831 into a Hindu family. From the age of 12 he began attending the local Christian Mission High School. He became increasingly influenced by Christianity from this point on, and eventually he was baptised in 1854. Padmanji went on to become a prominent publicist. He also worked as a teacher and was ordained as a pastor of the Free Church Mission in 1867. His autobiography, published first in Marathi, is called Arunodaya. It was translated into English as Once Hindu, Now Christian. Below you will find some extracts from this autobiography, alongside further resources about Padmanji’s life and times. This document provides detail on the social contexts within which Padmanji lived, and also lists some questions you can work on which are related to specific passages from the autobiography. The sample questions also help you to relate this case to other work you have been doing on this unit:

Lesson-Religions Experience of Conversion

This document is a short summary of some of the major themes of Padmanji’s autobiography:

Summary of Once Hindu

The following documents are chapters of Once Hindu, Now Christian. You will find references to these chapters in the main text on Padmanji’s conversion:

Padmanji-Chapter 10

Padmanji-Chapter 11

Padmanji-Chapter 13

Padmanji-Chapter 17

The following short videos show passages from Padmanji’s autobiography that have been dramatized to help to bring it to life.

Chapter 10-Gradual Change Of Mind

Chapter 11-The Paramhans Mandali (society)

Chapter 13- Gradual Increase Of Light

Chapter 17-Joy And Peace In Believing

Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. Padma Anagol, The Emergence of Feminism in India, 1850-1920, Routledge, 2006.
  2. Uma Chakravarti, Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996, 2014. (https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/R/bo16938611.html)
  3. Deepra Dandekar, Baba Padmanji: Vernacular Christianity in Colonial India, Routledge 2020.
  4. Meera Kosambi,  Pandita Ramabai Through Her Own Words, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000

Online Resources

  1. https://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/makingbritain/content/pandita-ramabai
  2. https://womenshistorynetwork.org/womens-history-month-pandita-ramabai/
  3. https://www.bu.edu/missiology/ramabai-dongre-medhavi/
  4. https://indianculturalforum.in/2022/06/26/lakshmibai-tilak-my-old-friend/
  5. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/archive/book-reviews/woman-who-lived-ahead-of-her-times-516829

More Resources

  1. http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/7740rmps2_tcm4-123878.pdf
  2. Education Scotland - RMPS Religious Experience - Advanced Higher
  3.  Tarosa Project - this site has lots of information about Indian religions. If you are interested in finding out more about caste, look at the 'Village of Bisru' case study on this site, which explores this complicated idea in more detail.

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Antony Copley (1994), ‘The conversion experience of India’s Christian Elite in the mid-nineteenth century’, Journal of Religious History 18 (1): 52-74


Robert Frykenberg (2008), Christianity in India: from beginnings to the present. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Mitch Numark (2011), ‘Translating Dharma: Scottish Missionary-Orientalists and the politics of religious understanding in nineteenth century Bombay’, Journal of Asian Studies 70 (2): 471-500


Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin & Argyle, Michael (1997) The Psychology of Religious Behaviour, Belief and Experience, Routledge, London. 0 4151 2331 3. Detailed chapter on religious experience, with survey figures etc.


Clark, Patrick J. (1999) Questions about God, A Guide for A/AS Level students, Stanley Thornes, Cheltenham. 0 7487 4340 5. Useful sections on religious experience, conversion and mysticism.


Connolly, Peter (1999) Approaches to the Study of Religion, Cassell, London. 0 304 33710 2. A comprehensive textbook, dealing with psychological and sociological approaches.


Davis, Caroline F. (1999) The Evidential Force of Religious Experience, OUP, Oxford. 0 1982 5001 0. Using contemporary and classic sources from the world religions, she gives an account of different types of religious experience and, drawing extensively on psychological and sociological as well as philosophical literature, deals with sceptical challenges about religious experiences.


Holt, Bradley P. (1997) A Brief History of Christian Spirituality, Lion, Oxford. 0 7459 3721 7 A sympathetic and somewhat superficial survey.


Hood, Ralph W. Jr, et al (1996) The Psychology of Religion – an Empirical Approach, Guildford Press, New York. Reference work.


RMPS: Religious Experience (Advanced Higher) 78 Jordan, Anne et al (1999) Philosophy of Religion for A Level, Stanley Thornes, Cheltenham. 0 7487 4339 1. Useful sections on religious experience and psychology of religion.


King, Ursula (1998) Christian Mystics, B T Batsford, London. 0 7134 8107 2. Focuses on 54 men and women mystics. Beautifully illustrated.


Wulff, David M. (1997) Psychology of Religion, John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York. 0 4710 3706 0. Reference work with extensive sections on religious experience, William James, Freud, Jung and many more