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Section III: Central Records

Part 16: CMS Awake! – A Missionary Magazine for General Readers, 1891-1921,
continued as Eastward Ho!, 1922-1940, held at the Church Mission Society Library

These periodicals, aimed at the general public and covering a long time period in the history of the Church Missionary Society, contain rich information for researchers wishing to learn about the society's work both at home and abroad. The early issues are beautifully illustrated while the later ones contain wonderful photographs of the missionaries, the local people and the countries.

CMS Awake!- A Missionary Magazine for General Readers, 1891-1921 contains serial contributions such as "At Home and Abroad", "Proverbs", "Great Sayings with a Missionary Meaning", "Monthly Scripture Questions", "Monthly Questions on Awake". For the most part, however, the periodical consists of letters, reports and articles written by missionaries, although there are also reports on conferences and articles written by other contributors on the people of the various countries. The contents are divided into mission areas and consist of vivid descriptions of missionary evangelical, educational and medical work and the lives, dress, customs, marriage and religious rituals of the local people. Each volume of the periodical contains a detailed contents page ensuring easy reference for researchers.

The following extracts give an idea of the wide range of topics covered in the periodical.

Issue: March 1891

The Women of India

.. Among the rich people of India, girls and women are seldom seen. They are shut up jealously from all knowledge of the outside world. They have nothing to do, except to dress and talk and try to make themselves attractive.

They are not supposed to have souls. The men think it would be worse than useless to try to teach them.. Of course among the poor, women have more liberty, because they have work to do, and they cannot be kept shut up in the "zenana" , or women's part of the house.

Issue: November 1893

About Shops and Shopping in China
By the Rev O M Jackson

.. The streets, though narrow to begin with, are made still narrower by small movable stalls at every available spot; the travelling cooking-stalls give out quite a variety of savoury odours as you pass by. The streets are all stone paved, but very uneven., so it often happens that in wet weather they are almost impassable..

The well-to-do shops in Chung King, in some parts at least, are pictures of neatness. The sign-boards have large gilt letters, and all the shop-fittings shine with black varnish. There are no shop-windows, as the shops are all open, and at dusk rough wooden shutters close them in from top to bottom, so that the streets have a very dingy appearance at night, with only a few candle-lit Chinese lanterns, or oil lamps here and there. The shops are of every variety, but they do not have many goods on view. There are the silk-shops with numbers of assistants, and shops for every variety of clothing, selling native cloth of every shade and thickness.also hat-shops and boot-shops, with the articles being made under your eyes.. As you pass along you are made aware of the drug stores, where the drug roots etc are being pounded up and prepared; sometimes the smell is most pleasant.. Shops for eatables are very numerous; the cooking is done in the front, so that you may see all the process - in fact, all the manufactures are done under the eyes of the public.

At night one of the sights is the Chinese "baker" making cakes. He has two sticks in his hand, about twenty inches long, and as he rolls his paste and forms the cakes he beats time, making a continuous clatter..

Issue: July 1904

Hook-Swinging in India

..In India the Hindu religion is responsible for frequent self-torture among its devotees. Much has indeed been stopped of late years, being forbidden by the British Government, but a great deal still goes on in out-of-the-way places.

One of the most terrible of these acts of religion is the "Charak-Puja", or "Swinging Festival". It is in honour of the god Siva. At this festival men would have hooks driven through the muscles of the back, and by ropes fastened to them be swung round on a bamboo scaffold twenty or thirty feet high. The people were assured that if they allowed themselves to be thus swung it would ensure for them good crops..

A missionary, who a few years ago went to one of these "festivals" with the hope of stopping it, thus described the scene he witnessed:-

"In the open fields, 150 yards distant, was a large scaffolding- pole, and across the top of it a long and strong bamboo yard, from one end of which a man was suspended in the air, some twenty feet from the ground, and whirled round by two men who weighed down the other end of the bamboo.

Enjoying the spectacle were a crowd of men, with some women and children, the centre of the crowd being composed chiefly of Brahman priests and of men nearly nude, dancing to the sound of tomtoms and of their own shouts..

The man swung was a poor wretch of the lowest caste, and no doubt he was well paid; certainly he had been liberally plied with drink, and possibly his sensitiveness was further numbed by drugs. But the whole scene was degrading, and a fitting example of what Hinduism left to itself is..

Issue: February 1912 Visiting in Zenanas By Miss L Wood, Aurungabad, Western India

The Zenana Work has increased rapidly. At first we tried to keep to the number of zenanas that we could visit regularly and give Bible-lessons each week; but the calls have been so many, and there are such wonderful opportunities, that lately some part of our time has been devoted to visiting in zenanas where the Gospel has never been heard.

Some time ago my helper and I were taken by the senior catechist to a house in a suburb of Aurungabad where we had never visited before, and whence a request had come for a visit. We were taken into the zenana at once and found a well-educated Mohammedan lady. She could read and write, and even knew some words of English which she had picked up from the High School boys who with her son, collected in the house - the smaller ones with the women and the elder ones with the men - to learn their home-lessons and to have instruction in the teaching of the Koran - the holy book of the Mohammedans.

After much talking and tea-drinking, we at last began hymn-singing. This was the signal for others to gather. From many doorways the women of the zenana appeared, and through a gateway at the back more neighbours gathered around us until we had a congregation of twenty or more. Our hostess was so busy seeing to our comfort that she did not listen much, but some of them did. In a crowd like this there is nearly always some listening, hungry face...

Eastward Ho!, 1922-1940 is a continuation of CMS Awake! - A Missionary Magazine for General Readers. It follows the same format as its predecessor, containing serial contributions and information on the different countries CMS worked in. Each volume of the periodical contains a detailed contents page ensuring easy reference for researchers.

Issue: July 1925

Fighting the Plague
By the Rev C L Richards, Narowal, Punjab

An epidemic of plague began seriously in the town, and then spread to the villages, some of which lost as many as a fifth of their population. We were able to help the people in various ways: by inoculating; supplying iodine, both as a preventive and as treatment for the infected, and creosol for fumigating the homes; giving advice with regard to the evacuation of the villages, and other preventive measures.

Never before were the people so willing to be inoculated; but, alas, until the epidemic had nearly spent itself, we could not obtain sufficient supplies of vaccine; and often a hundred or more husbands , wives, and children who had come from villages perhaps ten miles away, had to go back without the protection for which they had come..

Issue: January 1931

Persecuted Christians

The Christian Church in San-hing city on the West River suffered heavy loss of life and property during the recent anti-Christian movement. A few years ago five Buddhist nuns in San-hing became Christians and come to the CMS women's school in Canton; so the name San-hing is not new in CMS history.

Disaster befell the city in 1929 when it was attacked and looted by a defeated army of the extreme nationalist party. San-hing had been loyal to the powers that be, to the best of its knowledge and belief. At any rate, the defeated army regarded San-hing as an enemy city and meted out a terrible punishment. Some were killed; many, both men and women, were terribly tortured; others were captured and held for ransom. The roof of the church was badly damaged and the furniture used for firewood. Two brave Christian men, An Yee and An Saam, were killed because they resisted the robbers.

The catechist, Mr An Hong-shang, was away at the time and his wife and little son were kidnapped and held for ransom. The family lost everything, and he returned to an empty and desolate home. With great courage he went in search of his wife and child, found them, and bargained with their captors for their release. In spite of there being very little money left in the city he collected $30 from the Christians, which was all they had. He returned to the captors hardly expecting that such a small sum would be accepted. But to his great joy his wife and child were restored to him..

Issue: January 1931

The Making of Men
By Eric D Tyndale-Biscoe

Kashmir is perhaps the most beautiful country in the world. It is a valley about a hundred miles long by forty miles broad, ringed in with range upon range of towering snow-capped mountains. Roaring torrents cascade down these mountains, through miles of dense pine forests and enchanting grassy glades, bejewelled with countless flowers of all colours, till they serve the purpose of man by irrigating the rice fields. Eventually their work done, they unite to form the placid Jhelum River, which slowly winds its peaceful way to the end of the valley, there once again to hurl itself in foam and spray through mountain gorges till it reaches the plains of the Punjab.

The river is connected by canals to a number of enchanting lakes, surrounded with picturesque villages, half hidden among clumps of trees. All over the network of waterways thousands of boatmen pull and tow and paddle boats of all sizes, from huge barges full of grain to little skiff-like boats for carrying passengers. Almost in the middle of the valley, on both banks of the river, rises the capital city of Srinagar. A picturesque city indeed, dumped down just anyhow, with no plan or order about it; big houses and small houses, straight houses and crooked houses, brick houses and wooden shacks all rub shoulders along its narrow winding streets.

Many nations have come to Kashmir, seen it and conquered it. For hundreds of years the Kashmiris had been bullied and oppressed till all sparks of manhood appeared to be crushed out of them. They did not care what they looked like, in fact one set of conquerors made them dress as women; they became dirty in body and habits; they lost their pride and honour, and became cowards and liars.. Throughout all these centuries the Kashmiris kept and developed what has probably been their saving. They have the grace of humour to a marked degree. They can even do the difficult thing of laughing at a joke against themselves..

Issue: November 1939

A Chinese City in War Time
By Dr M K Yue, en, Fukien, China

The city of Putien has experienced some very exciting events since the beginning of May. The month of May is exceptional in the Chinese calendar, for many of its days have been set apart for commemorating one historical event or another in the national life.

For almost two years the effects of war had hardly reached us. The ports along the Fukien coast were open and trade flowed in and out without molestation. There were sporadic air raids, but no one was seriously disturbed. This false sense of security was good while it lasted.

Since May the government have enforced certain measures which aim at making the strip of land along the Fukien coast useless to an army of occupation. Therefore the city electric plant was dismantled on May 6 and taken away to the interior for safe keeping. We have gone back to the days of paraffin lamps and candles. This has dished" our X-ray machine, but we hoped that the machine might be sent up to the Union Hospital, Sienyu, where there is still electric power for the city.

On Monday, May 15, the trunk road to Foochow in the north and to Chuangchow in the south was completely interrupted. This road was about 150 miles long, and it took tens of thousands of villagers a week to dig it away. It was a broad mud road with a good foundation. Bridges of any importance were blown up with dynamite. The city and the townspeople were advised to disperse, and the process began with the schools. Each hsien (county) has a so-called "safe" district, and for us it is the area among the hills to the north and west. It is estimated that over 4000 middle and primary school students moved into the "safe district" during May.

This policy of dispersal proved to be timely and wise, for with the announcement of a complete blockade of the Fukien coast, regular air raids were made over the coastal cities to terrorize the population. Our first raid took place on Thursday, May 25, at about half past two in the afternoon. Three planes came and the alarm was given just as we heard the drone of the planes. They circled once over the city and went straight for their objectives..

These two periodicals allow the researcher to follow the work of the Church Missionary Society in all the countries they worked over a very long time period and will prove invaluable for researchers of many disciplines.

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