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The Gospel of KindnessAnimal Welfare and the Making of Modern America$
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Janet M. Davis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199733156

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733156.001.0001

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“A Country Rich in Cattle”

“A Country Rich in Cattle”

Gospels of Kindness in Colonial South Asia

(p.151) 5 “A Country Rich in Cattle”
The Gospel of Kindness

Janet M. Davis

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the significance of India to the American humane movement during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Colonial India served as a popular field for humane education through the activities of American missionaries. Further, American animal advocates forged alliances with South Asian social reformers and nationalists, such as Pandita Ramabai, who helped familiarize American audiences with Indian religious traditions of vegetarian animal kindness and ahimsa (nonviolence). Additionally, Americans used Indian ideas about animals to support or condemn the Indian independence movement. Collectively, American animal welfare leaders, British empire builders, and Indian independence leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi, believed in animal protectionism as a linchpin of higher civilization, thus suggesting that humane advocates around the world shared a common teleological language of animal protectionism. Nonetheless, this chapter also underscores the ways in which caste, religious pluralism, and colonialism shaped South Asian ideologies of animal kindness and nationalism in culturally specific ways.

Keywords:   Pandita Ramabai, Mahatma Gandhi, cow protection movement, Katherine Mayo, vegetarianism, American missionaries, caste, Indian nationalism

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