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Section VI: Missions to India

Part 8: India General and Bengal Mission, 1935-1959

The CMS Bengal Mission for the period 1935-1959 consisted of Calcutta and district, Nadia district where CEZMS was very active, Burdwan town and Purulia leper colony.

Much can be found in the papers concerning the sale of CMS property in Bengal in the 1950s. Other areas covered in depth are schools and colleges, medical services, work with women, teacher training and finance.

In 1943 the government of India decided to divert grain from the countryside to the cities in order to provide extra food for the military who were fighting Japan. A terrible famine ensued in Bengal which had devastating consequences, resulting in the death of around two million people. An appeal for help was launched by the CMS and details are included in the papers of the mission.

At the time of the partition of India in 1947, Bengal was split into the state of West Bengal in India and the Moslem region of East Bengal which became part of Pakistan, renamed East Pakistan in 1958. The partition of Bengal resulted in a huge exodus of people. Millions of Hindus migrated from East Pakistan to India and many Muslims went across the borders to East Pakistan. The refugee problem in Bengal was alleviated only in the early 1950s.

Details in the papers for the Bengal Mission include:

  • Report on a visit to the Church Army by Canon Lenman, 1938
  • Statistics for the mission, 1944 including the number of missionaries, hospitals and colleges
  • Statistics showing the number of CEZMS missionaries
  • Notes on work in Bengal by the London Missionary Society and a pamphlet on their “New Advance”
  • Extracts from the minutes of the Bengal Church Missionary Council
  • Minutes of meetings of the CMS Mission Administrative Committee
  • Minutes of meetings of the Women’s Advisory Group, India Committee
  • Proposal for Inter-Mission Management for Mount Hermon School, Darjeeling
  • Report on the United Missionary Training College, Midnapur, 1942
  • Report on the United Missionary Training College at Krishnagar and Ballygunge, 1934
  • Notes on training of non-graduate male teachers for Christian secondary schools in Bengal
  • Pamphlet on “Survey of Evangelistic Opportunities” for Bengal, 1939 by the National Christian Council with reports on work carried out in the mission
  • Newsletter of the orphanage at Bollobpur
  • Accounts for the mission for 1947 and 1948
  • Subjects for discussion between CMS and the Bishop of Calcutta
  • Notes on work by the Baptist Missionary Society in Bengal
  • Notes on the Bengal and Bihar Conference, Calcutta, 1936
  • Correspondence regarding the sale of CMS property and list of properties held by the Bengal Mission
  • Report of the property committee,1948
  • Requests for grants from the Divinity School at Ranaghat
  • Plans of the Burdwan church compound
  • Notes on the mission to lepers at Purulia
  • Balance sheet for the CMS and District Church Council’s Provident Fund, 1949
  • Extracts of meetings of the CMS and CEZMS fellowship in the mission
  • Report on the Diocesan Board of Women’s Work
  • Correspondence regarding the death of Bishop Tarafdar
  • Pamphlet regarding the Conference of Missionary Societies in Great Britain and Ireland
  • Resolutions on the future of missionary policy
  • Survey of Christian High Schools in Bengal
  • Reports on the floods of 1959 in Krishnagar
  • Report of a visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Calcutta, 1959
  • Report regarding Anglo-Indian schools
  • Reports on the Barrackpore Mission
  • Reports on the Bhagalpur Mission
  • Mission work in Bollobhpur
  • Mission work in Chapra, Cossipore, Deoghar, Krishnagur, Kushtia, Meherpur and Nadia
  • News Sheets of the Santal Mission and history of the Santal Mission by Rev F L Taylor
  • Details of work at Patna Student Christian College
  • Details on the famine in Bihar, 1949-1950
  • Report of the Lucknow diocese Meerut City Schools, 1957
  • Income and expenditure of schools in Bhagalpur, 1954
  • Appeal for money for Bhagalpur, 1958
  • Reports on schools including: Girls’ Boarding School, Barharwa, Berhampore; Union Christian Training College, Bishop’s College and St Paul’s College, Calcutta
  • Reports on medical work at Hiranpur, Ranaghat and Bollobhpur
  • Murder of Dr Mervyn Hatt and Sisters Nancy Law and Olive Percival at Ranaghat, 1947


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