Preachers Of The Plow
( Originally Published 1918 )
Up farmers, and away to India ! If you have any scientific knowledge of agriculture, you are needed there. If you wish to do genuine Christian missionary work, this is your opportunity. For the truth is that the progress of Christianity in India will depend to a very large extent in the future upon the progress of agriculture.
Time was when the Christian movement in India centered in the cities; but since less than three per cent. of the people live in cities having one hundred thousand or more inhabitants, the missionaries long ago found that their greatest task was among a rural population. During recent years the so-called mass movement has brought to Christianity many thousands of these village folk. For five years they have been received at the rate of ten thousand a month, and yet there are at the present moment on the waiting list of one American mission more than one hundred and fifty thousand applicants who cannot be admitted to the church because it is impossible to secure enough preachers and teachers to educate them, and the people themselves are much too poor to pay for this education.
Millions in India Are Always Hungry
This mass movement is taking place for the most part among the outcastes, those fifty million " untouchables " who form a sixth of the total population and who are lower in the social scale than even the despised lowest caste. Theirs is the keenest suffering from the general poverty existing among the agricultural population, for their lot is to perform the most menial tasks of the villages. When there is under-nourishment and even starvation to such a great ex-tent among the cultivators and tenant farmers, desolate indeed is the state of those who are only scavengers. Sir C. A. Elliot says that half the agricultural population of India " never know from year's end to year's end what it is to have their hunger fully satisfied." Another authority states that there are forty million continually hungry people in British India. The energetic measures of an enlightened government have apparently been successful in making impossible another general famine such as India has suffered in the past, but even now local famine conditions are of frequent occurrence in certain areas. If you were to add up the value of all the possessions of an ordinary farmer, including his household furniture, his implements, and tools, and the clothes on his back, all the movable goods that he has in the world, the total amount would not come to more than five dollars. Add to this the fact that seventy-two. per cent. of the population of India are dependent upon agriculture, and you get some conception of the widespread poverty of India's masses.
Now what do these grim facts of poverty have to do with Christianity? Just this, a self-supporting and self-respecting Christian church is impossible among people who never know what it is to have their hunger satisfied, and who, on their total cash income of less than ten dollars a year, are naturally unable to support a church or religious or educational organization of any kind. Such organizations cannot perpetually be maintained by money from across the seas; in fact, in most cases the money cannot even be obtained to establish than. If Christianity is to take root in India and become indigenous, it must be maintained from within the country.
How is the Indian farmer to secure the means with which to maintain a church, a school, a hospital, and whatever else he needs in order to live a rounded, intelligent Christian life? There is only one way he can do it, and that is by increasing his own earning power. This means to increase his agricultural production.
There is no abiding reason why the farmer of India should he destitute. The growing season is nearly twelve months long. There is scarcely a time of year when some crop may not be raised. The true reason for India's agricultural inferiority is the use of archaic agricultural methods.
Out of these matters arises the vital need for farmer missionaries who will go to India in the name of Christianity and Christian progress and, by showing the farmer how to make the best use of his natural skill and industry, and of the country's natural re-sources will put him on an independent footing so that it may be made possible for him to live a clean, intelligent, and worthy Christian life.
Considering this undertaking as missionary endeavor, we must concede that the British government of India is doing some very efficient missionary work, The Agricultural Department is promoting new methods; the Research Institute is studying India's peculiar farming problems; experimental farms are maintained in British India and in many native states.
Where Farmers Pay Seventy-five Per Cent. Interest
An important feature of the constructive work of the government, the missionaries, and the Young Men's Christian Association is the establishment and growth of cooperative societies as a means of relieving the almost perpetual indebtedness of the average Indian farmer. Untrained in habits of thrift and lacking capital for the most fundamental agricultural undertakings, this farmer was formerly obliged to borrow of the money-lenders, who charged usurious rates of interest, often as high as fifty or seventy-five per cent., and refused to accept part payments on the principal. Rev. R. I. Faucett, of the Moradabad District, tells of one man who had paid one hundred and sixty rupees interest on a loan of eighteen rupees and still owed the eighteen rupees !
About all the inheritance many an Indian native receives is the privilege of paying an exorbitant rate of interest on his father's debts with never a hope of clearing off the principal.
Cooperative credit societies, modeled on similar institutions in other countries, were the cure decided upon by officials and economists in India. The organization of these cooperative societies is simple. Ten or more persons are banded together " for the encouragement of thrift and self-help among the members." The pooling of capital, even though individual contributions may be small, makes the society effective; careful scrutiny of the expenditures of members and close supervision insures safe credit. The farmer is thus borrowing of an organization of which he is a member, and that which benefits all is to his interest also. It is to his advantage to keep the interest on loans at a low rate. To do this he must discharge his obligation to the society faithfully, pay his interest promptly, and repay the principal by regular instalments. If he wishes to raise a loan he will have to prove that the money which he asks for will be well laid out in the employment for which he intends it. "Under the teaching of cooperative banks people be-come by degrees, without any effort on their own part, men of business habits with a business mind, and power of calculation, forethought, and business like." Thus these societies give to the poor man an opportunity to become free from indebtedness, to be a unit in a self-governing body, and to adopt progressive methods that will transform India's agricultural conditions. It is little wonder that the Young Men's Christian Association considers that " the co-operative credit society is the foundation-stone of the Association's rural work."
Irrigation Makes Another Desert Bloom
The government has also made productive immense tracts of land by the creation of a system of canals. In northwestern India millions of acres of waste land have been converted into a world granary in this way. " To take one of the most striking instances," quoting from the Census Report of India, 1911, " as recently as 1891 the Lyallpur district in the Punjab was a barren desert with only seven inhabitants to the square mile, but when the canals were opened in the following year, cultivators flocked in at once from far and near and by 1901 the district already had a population of one hundred and eighty-seven to the square mile. This has now risen to two hundred and seventy-two and it is still growing rapidly."
But the government of India, although it has undertaken these and other measures, cannot possibly handle the whole task of regenerating the agricultural population of the country. If the task is ever to be accomplished it will only be by the thorough cooperation of private agencies and organizations of every sort.
It is peculiarly fitting that in a work upon which Christianity depends for its fullest progress, Christian forces should be strong and active. Let us observe here a few of the pieces of work that Christian agencies are carrying on at present.
Missionaries in Feathers
The growing of chickens may seem a peculiar way to begin the propagation of Christian truth. And yet that is a method which is being followed in and around Etah, a mass movement area occupied by the American Presbyterians. Here Mr. Arthur H. Slater, missionary and poultry expert, has undertaken to promote the chicken industry as a means of self-support among the thousands of Christians who inhabit the fifty villages in the vicinity of Etah. He states his own broad problem as follows:
"We must face the question how to enfranchise and yet not pauperize the submerged tenth' now flowing in such tremendous numbers into Christianity. We must study how to enable them to increase their wage-earning capacity, how to help them build up a self-supporting and self-propagating church, in many cases how to provide for themselves the bare necessities of life, that they may not be forced to eat the remains of idolatrous feasts. We are facing in India one of the world's greatest sociological problems. Avoid it we cannot. Reject it we dare not."
The indigenous varieties of fowls are of very poor quality and the eggs they produce are small and inferior. On the other hand, imported breeds from the United States, Europe, Australia, and China cannot always be trusted to stand the peculiar climate of India. The solution arrived at by Mr. Slater was to cross the imported, thoroughbred variety with indigenous varieties and thus gradually to grade up the indigenous stock with fresh supplies of full-blooded cocks. A Bible class in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, periodically sends him a crate of missionaries in feathers" to renew his stock of thoroughbreds. Eggs produced by the better fowls are distributed in the villages for hatching, and thus flocks of excellent chick-ens are beginning to be seen in all the villages round about Etah. The enterprise has the promise of bringing thousands of people to independence through the sale of eggs bigger and finer than the district has ever seen before. The eggs are brought to Etah and from there shipped to Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, and Cawnpore, where they are sold for a good price. The demand in the cities for these superlative eggs is tremendous and the Etah district cannot begin to supply all that are needed.
Fowls are now exhibited at Slater's annual poultry show weighing more than twice as much as the scrawny, rubberoid Eastern type. In two years' time the price received by the people for their eggs has doubled. That is not surprising, for the size of the eggs themselves has doubled. For the very best eggs the villagers are receiving eight times the amount they used to receive for the eggs of the now out-of-date Indian hen. The people are beginning to pass on eggs and stock to their neighbors. One Christian, who captured a valuable silver cup at the poultry show, has shown his appreciation by opening up work in four different villages by giving the people eggs. An itinerating elder, cooperating with Mr. Slater, has commenced a flourishing work in twenty-one new villages by the simple expedient of distributing properly-bred eggs for hatching. A nominal charge of eight cents a dozen is now made for all eggs supplied, as Mr. Slater has found that the people seem to value them more when they pay for them.
The spiritual result of this application of Western science to the production of eggs is that Christianity is being supported and propagated in this district as never before, and villages are beginning to maintain native workers and institutions in a way that they would never have dreamed possible in the old days before the poultry expert set up his sanctified business in Etah.
Crime Both a Business and a Religion
Now look, if you will, at the work the agricultural missionaries are doing for the criminal tribes. There are in India certain tribes of professional criminals who might almost be said to constitute a separate caste. Just as there is a caste of potters and a caste of weavers, so also there is a caste of criminals. Their ancestors were criminals before them, and they regard crime not only as a legitimate business, but even as a part of their religion. Before they attempt a crime they will meet in prayer, invoking the blessing of the gods upon their enterprise. In organizing their depredations they divide the territory among them, planning a definite route for each gang. The route may be four hundred or five hundred miles in length, and each year it will be changed a little. A gang will be made up of ten or twenty men with their wives and children. The crimes are carefully planned. Groups from the gangs mingle with the villagers, pretending to sell baskets, brushes, or trinkets, the women often posing as fortune-tellers. They take note of the places best worth attacking. After the indispensable religious ceremony, they strip, oil their bodies so that they cannot be easily caught, and then make their raid. They leave a whipped and maimed village, although they do not kill except when absolutely necessary to their purpose. One division of the caste is known as Cuttaree Banoru, " scissors men," because they are wont to cut off ears with scissors in order to get the jewels. After the robbery is completed, the booty is divided according to a fixed system, and the gang moves to the next center of operations. At least once a year the gangs reassemble in their native community and campaign plans are made for the following year.
Naturally such organized and systematized plunder has been a source of increasing vexation to the government. The iron hand has been tried, but the criminals are too oily and slip out from under it. The greater the severity of the government, the more zest and enthusiasm the criminal tribes seem to throw into their business. At last the government decided that stern measures were having no effect and they turned in desperation to the missionaries. Force had failed. Would the gospel of love and regeneration obtain any better results?
Crime Reduced Seventy-five Per Cent. by Missionaries
Instead of sending malefactors from these tribes to jail, as has been the custom, they were turned over to the missionaries. They were organized into settlements, and dependence was placed upon agriculture to take the place of thieving as a means of existence. Seven thousand members of the criminal tribes have been handed over to the Salvation Army to train into useful citizens, and more will be provided as fast as the Army can take care of them. Their chief now is not a proud and powerful government official but a humble, bare-footed, turban-headed white man, by name Commissioner Booth Tucker.
There is another large settlement of criminals at Kavali which is under Baptist direction, and two at Sholapur and Barsi in charge of the Congregationalists.
Results? The Kavali mission may be taken as typical of the others. At the end of the first year of work crime had decreased seventy-five per cent. in the regions round about the Kavali settlement. In a certain large town where there were formerly one hundred and fifty habitual robbers, crime had practically disappeared. " The deputy magistrate of the district at the end of the first year found his cases for trial reduced from two hundred to sixty. No one case was reported of a criminal leaving the mission to return to the old life."
The members of the settlement police themselves. Twelve special constables have been chosen from among the former criminals, and what little corrective force they have to apply is applied efficiently. All the children of school age are studying in the schools and working on the farms, learning to become independent and intelligent citizens of a new India.
It's a Good Sign When Women Comb Their Hair
The managers report that another sign of improvement is that " more women comb their hair and nearly all change their clothes once a week. Three years ago perhaps a dozen out of two hundred combed their hair. The other day at a church service more than eighty out of a hundred and forty-five had their hair combed." Cottage prayer-meetings are being held in the huts and Christian community houses, and scores of men, women, and children are confessing Christ and being baptized. Christian love and Christian agriculture are lifting these people to a plane of existence deemed unattainable for them in the past when jailing and suppression had failed to preserve order among them.
Here and there missionaries are increasingly taking up scientific agriculture as a means of delivering their people out of the slavery of poverty. At Sangli, in Western India, the Presbyterians started an agricultural department in connection with their Sangli Industrial School. Since cultivating the soil is regarded as a menial task in India, at first they could persuade only two boys to take up field work in the new department. One of the boys had failed in every other trade he had attempted, and the other boy was not in good health and was willing to try the new work for the sake of being out of doors. These boys, although they entered unwillingly, soon became enthusiastic students; many other lads joined the department, and now the work is firmly established and prospering.
Tilling the Hearts of Men with Western Plows
The manufacture of plows may not appear to the casual-minded critic to be missionary work, but the Rev. W. H. Hollister, of Kolar, India, believes that it is. " Once used, always used," is true of Hollister's plow. When a man buys one he comes again, and his neighbors soon come to buy. One customer, after trying his new plow, was so enthusiastic that he came back and bought thirteen.
In these schools and on these farms where Indian cultivators are learning how to make two blades of grass grow where one grew before, the talk is of more than tools, seeds, and harvests. Thus the missionary's plows are not merely tilling the soil, they are tilling the hearts of men. They are stirring up the rich soil of Christian character which has so long been hard-baked and sterile under the burning sun of poverty.
In connection with the remarkable Basel Industrial Mission in South India, expert training is given in the growing of rice, vegetables, and fruit. The government took a Congregational missionary, J. B. Knight, a graduate of Massachusetts Agricultural College, and made him Professor of Agriculture in a new agricultural college at Poona. Here his astounding crops, scientifically produced, have been visited by thousands of native farmers at government expense, and the story of their yield is a tale of wonder that is passed along from hamlet to hamlet over the arid plains of western India.
There are many other agricultural missionary enterprises of a similar character that might be mentioned. Among them all, however, perhaps the most outstanding piece of work is that of Mr. Sam Higginbottom at Allahabad, in the United Provinces. Mr. Higginbottom spent his boyhood on his father's dairy farm in Wales. Then he came to America and studied at Mount Hermon, Amherst, and Princeton. He intended to go to a theological seminary but he was induced to go at once to India to join the staff of what was then Allahabad Christian College, now called Ewing Christian College in honor of its first principal, Dr. Arthur H. Ewing.
A Leper Asylum as an Avocation
Mr. Higginbottom's first task there was repugnant to him in the extreme. He was assigned the care of the Leper Asylum. When Dr.. Ewing first took him out to the mud huts in which lay poor wretches in all stages of the loathsome disease, Mr. Higginbottom decided that he could not and would not have anything to do with this work.
As they were going away, he noticed lying on the ground under a tree a leper within a few days of death. His feet and hands had partly rotted away. He had not even the strength to drive away the flies that covered his festering body. Of this incident Higginbottom says:
" As I looked, I suddenly remembered that this man was my brother that inside that repulsive body was a spirit that would live forever, a soul for whom my Master died. Who was I that I should refuse him help? When I went back I agreed to accept the over-sight of the Leper Asylum."
The result is that a splendid institution for lepers, modernly equipped, has now risen on the banks of the Jumna. Mr. Higginbottom has directed and promoted it, but his chief work is no longer the Leper Asylum.
"This Leper Asylum is my avocation," he says. " I suppose if I were at home I should play golf. In India I play leper. When I am tired and need recreation, I go out to the Leper Asylum. It is the happiest place I know. I always come back rested.
Also soon after his arrival he was pressed into the teaching of economics. He knew very little about economics. But he at once showed his practical bent in bringing his subject down from the realm of text-hooks to the realm of everyday affairs. He took his students out to railway workshops, brick-kilns, jails, and villages, in order to illustrate the statements of the text-books with practical economic illustrations.
It did not take many journeys into practical economics to convince him that the great economic problem of India is inferior agricultural production. He saw further than that, he realized that the problem was not only economic but social, moral, and spiritual.
Introducing Twentieth Century Agriculture
Convinced of the need, he went to men prominent in education and in the government and said:
"If government and missions are justified in any kind of education, are they not justified in that kind of education which most directly concerns the great majority of the people of India? Should we not teach these people how to get more out of their soil?"
He was met everywhere by the objection that although theoretically it was a very good thing to do, practically it was too difficult and expensive a task. But " cold water " only seemed to invigorate Higginbottom. He persuaded his mission to send him home to study agriculture, recruit assistants, and raise funds to start agricultural work. He took his degree in agriculture at Ohio State University, specializing in animal husbandry. Then he obtained two men and twenty-five thousand dollars and went back to India where, in the meantime, Dr. Ewing had secured, with the help of the government, a farm of two hundred and seventy-five acres.
When work on the farm had been started,. some Christian boys came to him and said :
" Sir, we would like to study agriculture:"
"I am very sorry," replied Higginbottom, "but we have no dormitories, no laboratories, and we cannot take you in."
" But you have this good American machinery," they said, " and we have heard that in America boys work their way through college. Could we not do that here ?
There was no way of driving out boys of that spirit. So they were allowed to establish themselves under one tree as a kitchen and dining-room, and to use the ground under another as a bedroom. In the rainy, weather they slept in the cattle shed with the oxen.
The Prince and the Pauper Plow Side by Side
That was the beginning. Now a great agricultural school has been developed. It is remarkable that in this school and on the farm in connection with it boys of the lowest caste and boys of the highest caste work side by side. To see a poor Christian convert from the sweeper outcastes plowing in a field along with a wealthy Brahman of the highest rank, is a sight that makes old-time India rub its eyes in amazements. From all parts of India young men go there to train., Many missionary organizations, both British and American, who realize the value of developing Christian agricultural experts to lead the people of India out of bondage, have sent students.
A rich Hindu of the highest caste, himself a land-owner holding ten thousand acres, became a student and bore the burdens and the heat with the best of them on the mission farm. Seven or eight motor-cycles may be seen any day standing before the college waiting for their owners to be freed from their classes and go for their daily spin.
A very wealthy Indian prince came as a student, bringing with him a retinue of servants and his private secretary to take notes in class. He was somewhat dismayed when he was set at the task of carrying fodder to the silage cutter. Presently, however, he got into the spirit of the work, began to write his own notes in the classrooms, and no labor on the farm was too hard for him.
Young sirdars or nobles come from other native states, take the course in agriculture, and then go back to their states to introduce the new methods. Besides a knowledge of agriculture, many of them carry back something else, something obtained in Higginbottom's Bible class. In most cases the first Bible they have ever seen is the one put into their hands by this farmer missionary. It is difficult for students to escape from Mr. Higginbottom without being strongly influenced in a spiritual way, and many of these lead Christian lives after they leave Jumna Farm.
Mr. Higginbottom is constantly being forced to refuse students for lack of accommodation. And yet the government schools have not been able to popularize this kind of education. The reason for Higginbottom's success lies not only in the Christian personality of the man but in the sheer wonder of the scientific results he is getting.
He has introduced American weeders which save the toil of nineteen men. His modern mowing-machine will cut several tons of grass in the time that it would take a native using the old method to cut enough grass to feed one horse. He has demonstrated that threshing by machinery costs only six cents a hundred pounds, while threshing in the old way by the use of oxen costs fifty cents a hundred pounds. Laborers are cheap in India. They can be had for eight cents a day. And yet Mr. Higginbottom has proved beyond a doubt the almost incredible fact that by the use of machinery it is possible to harvest at one third the cost of Indian labor. The English plow which he uses goes eight inches deep and tills the soil at one twentieth the cost of digging it with the native implements. He has taught the farmer how to save forty-two and a half miles in plowing a single acre.
An amusing incident shows the influence which Higginbottom's work has upon the native cultivators in the vicinity. One day he was demonstrating to his students how deep plowing will enable the soil to hold moisture for a long time.
" We'll investigate the depth of moisture in our field," he said, " then we'll try it in the field of that native farmer."
The students made their test and found a considerable depth of moisture in the mission field. Then they went to the field of the native farmer and made similar tests. What was the astonishment of the students and of Mr. Higginbottom himself when they found that the depth of moisture there was just as great as in the mission field !
" How did you bring this about? " Higginbottom said to the native cultivator.
The farmer dropped down on his knees.
Oh, forgive me, master ! I watched everything you did, and on Sunday, when you were not using your plows, I borrowed them from your foreman, and everything you have done, I did too!"
Which illustrates the fact that the Indian farmer is not so unteachable after all ! He lives in the conditions of the Middle Ages, not because of preference but because he simply does not know the way out. He has waited long for leaders. American Christen-dom may well be grateful that it is able to provide some of the guides who will lead ;India up out of the rut of tradition and place her on the highway of the twentieth century.
Mission Crops Fifteen Feet Higher Than Natives
The land in Mr. Higginbottom's farm when he started to work on it was of the poorest possible quality, the sort of land that generally falls to the lot of a peasant farmer.
If the college had bought fine land, people would have said; " Anybody could succeed with land like that, but that is only for rajahs! What can we do?" Higginbottom has shown them what they can do with even the poorest soil. Five years ago this land was not worth twenty-five cents an acre. Now it is worth in the neighborhood of ten dollars an acre, that is, forty times as much.
The farmers in the neighborhood say :
" Your God helps you and your soil becomes more fertile than ours-just as your wife's medicines are stronger than ours, strong enough to defeat the evil spirits."
But whatever they believe the reason to be, they are eager to have the same methods applied to their own soil. While they obtain six or eight bushels of wheat an acre, they see the Mission Farm raising from twenty-five to thirty bushels of wheat an acre. Their crops of millet grow only two or three feet high. Around Higginbottom Sahib's bungalow they see it towering 'seventeen feet high. Small wonder that they want his man to come and cultivate their fields and are willing to pay four dollars an acre for this service. Four dollars is a princely sum in India.
The Modern Joseph
The ox is the Indian farmer's only machine, engine, and source of power. So complete is the economic dependence of three quarters of the people of India upon the ox that it has been surrounded by all the safeguards of religion and constituted a sacred animal. When famine comes, the oxen are the first to suffer. They die by tens of thousands and by their death leave tens of thousands of farmers helpless. Mr. Higginbottom thought directly into this problem and the result is the silo which is not a structure above the ground but a pit in the ground. The Indian could not build a Western silo, but any farmer in thirsty India knows how to build a well. Fodder and grass and even roadside weeds are packed away in these silos, and when the time of drought comes there is food in plenty for the cattle. This system is spreading rapidly throughout the country, and will do much to allay the severity of famine. Mr. Higginbottom is doing for India what Joseph did in the years of plenty in Egypt to prepare for the lean years.
Also Mr. Higginbottom's influence is going out in the teaching of animal husbandry, dairying, and horticulture. For example, his breed of sheep grows our times as much wool and it sells for twice as much as the wool of the native sheep. His graduates go throughout India as farmers or farm demonstrators for mission and government service or as managers on large estates. Two graduates recently went ou on the exceptional salary, for that country, of thirty three dollars a month each.
The case of Harry Dutt represents what the training of the school can do. While finishing his co rse he took over a small tract of five acres of land. In one year his profit from that tract amounted to one hundred and sixty-one dollars. That is at least t ree times what the average Indian cultivator could hope to earn, even though skilled in the old methods. It should be added that other work prevented Harry Dutt from devoting more than three days a week to his farm. He believes that he could have made double the amount if he could have worked six days a week.
Cooperating with Princes
Princes come from afar to visit Jumna Farm. The Maharaja of the native Indian State of Gwalior has placed Mr. Higginbottom in charge of the agricultural development of his province, and has set aside an annual budget of twenty-five thousand dollars for this purpose.
Mr. Higginbottom and his associate, Mr. Don W. Griffin, now spend several months out of each year in that state. One of the most interesting projects now under way in Gwalior is the establishment of a model village in each of the districts of the state, and the placing of a student from the Mission Farm in charge of each of these villages. If Mr. Higginbottom will give up his connection with Ewing Christian College and devote his full time to the agricultural affairs of the State of Gwalior, the Maharaja will turn over to him a fund of more than six million dollars with which to carry on this work. Mr. Higginbottom, however, does not believe that agriculture alone can save India. He wants to work where he can teach about Christ and about Christian social ideals at the same time that he is teaching the people how to improve their economic condition.
The Maharaja of Bikaner sent Mr. Higginbottom through his state in a private train that would and stop just where and when Sam Higginbottom wanted it to. The Welsh farmer was made corn able in an elegantly-furnished special saloon-car kitchen attached. On the train was a horse box that the company could leave the train at any time drive across country. Also, right behind the was a truck containing a large French motor-car for use on the splendid motor roads which the Mah had made across the desert. At the end of the run, Mr. Higginbottom and his attendants would beautiful tents furnished to the last detail ready them as they stepped off the train. The farmer sionary toured the state in Oriental elegance. narily, however, when such courtesies are not f upon him, he prefers to travel in the simplest way sible, and any extra travel allowances, or salar fees of any kind go into the treasury of Ewing Christiantian College.
The Maharaja of Bikaner is willing to pay thousand five hundred dollars a year to missionary trained in agriculture who will come and take u supervising of the agricultural work in the The Maharaja of jodhpur has forty thousand s miles to cultivate, and wants two missionary a tural experts. And so it goes. Besides his work the college, and his services to the Maharaja Gwalior, Bikaner, and Jodhpur, Mr. Higginbottom also agricultural adviser to the State of Rutlam Kotah, Jalawar, Dhar, Jaora, and Benares, a total area larger than that of the States of New York and Pennsylvania combined.
Hindu Leaders Seek Farmer-Missionary's Aid
The Hindu University was opened at Benares. It was designed to be a stronghold for Hinduism, and to be a place in which the traditional faith of India might be fostered. And yet Mr. Higginbottom's work was recognized as meaning so much to India that he was not only invited to give a lecture at the opening of the university, but was requested to make recommendations for the development of an agricultural department, and to suggest American teachers who might be put in charge.
Distinguished visitors step out of their carriages or automobiles before the bungalow at Jumna Farm. Mr. Higginbottom had three Indian princes to tea in one week. Officials high in the British government are frequent callers. The truly great Commissioner Booth Tucker, who gave up a high government post to enter the Salvation Army, comes and pads around the farm in his bare feet. Now and then the well-to-do American tourist hears about this remarkable farm and comes to visit it for curiosity's sake. Such people Mr. Higginbottom takes straight to Temptation Hill. " I bring rich people up here," he says, " to tempt them. I point out over there where I want a dormitory and there a chapel and there a science building."
From the Top Down, Instead of from the Bottom Up
It is a peculiar turn that Mr. Higginbottom's work has taken. His purpose in coming to India was to reach the lowest. Now it seems that he is to benefit the lowest by training the highest. Concerning this he says:
" God drove me into this leper work, into this cultural work, into this practical contact with a when all my own inclinations and desires are s where else. I love to preach, yet I do very little out here. I love the quiet of the classroom with a few eager faces; to see life change in a small or in the individual as the result of long-continous patient teaching, fascinated me. Yet I am taken from this. I thought the way out for the low-convert was through the agricultural settlements these ignorant, humble folk. I prayed that their might come to us to be trained. But what do we Hardly a low-caste boy here. Little is being don them because they refuse at present to be h Instead of students from the lowest of the lo have the highest of the high. Princes of royal eager, keen, teachable, ready for any task, working as coolies and farm laborers, see the vision of days for their own states. And it may be that going to help the low-caste through this meth reaching the native prince who rules over him. stead of going on foot or on a bicycle from sweepers' quarters to sweepers' quarters, advising those have no money, I find myself in king's palaces, advising men who have large resources and who are only waiting to see how they can be wisely guided to release these resources. I personally receive offers of land and money to locate in certain states that would make me a rich man were I to accept them. I find myself, without any of my seeking, a guest in the Viceregal Lodge advising the members of the Imperial Council, who tell me when this horrible war is over they are determined to try and help the poor, downtrodden, debt-cursed slave (in fact if not in name) of the soil of India. And so many times a day I ask God to keep me humble, to show me his will, to let me know why he has opened a door to missionary effort that has never been opened before. I ask him to let me know what it all means. I especially came out to India for work among the low-caste people of the villages. My heart is still there, waking and sleeping they have my thought, and yet it is among the high-caste, the princes, the wealthy of this land that I live my life and do my work."
Every target may be reached by a dozen different arrows. Every result may be obtained by a number of different methods. The result desired in the case of this one of India's many great problems is the emancipation of the land-slave so that he may live a clean, free, wholesome and, if he pleases, Christian life. Higginbottom's is one method and it is a good one. The methods of the other workers are valuable. But there are in India more than two hundred million victims of medieval agriculture. A poor half dozen or so of missionary minds, no matter how brilliant, cannot handle a proposition like this. The reservoir of methods within the genius of man has scarcely been tapped. Here is a task to fire the imagination of the American farmer lad who wants his life-work to be something big, unique, and in the fullest sense Christian. No doubt all the agricultural mission ries of India would echo this daily prayer of Sam Higinbottom, "that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers equipped with plows and harrows and mowers and silos and good cattle to this great needy field of India."