Zenana Missions in India

What were Zenana Missions? Zenana refers “…to the part of a house belonging to a Hindu or Muslim family in South Asia which is reserved for the women of the household.” These women were almost completely isolated from wider society and had no access to any kind of medical care. Male missionaries could not preach the Gospel to them, but female missionary doctors could – hence the growth in the late 19th Century of Zenana medical missions. This little book provides some stories from the life of one of these pioneering ladies. It appears by kind permission of the Church Missionary Society.

Charlotte S. Vines, A Woman Doctor On the Frontier. London: Church of England Zenana Mission, 1925. Pnk. pp.78. [Click to download in PDF format]

Contents

The Avalache

  1. A Jigsaw Puzzle
  2. Our Hospital
  3. Our Road
  4. Fatama
  5. Martha and Mary
  6. The Cripple
  7. Zargulla
  8. A Frontier Village
  9. Little Jewel
  10. A Sunday Case
  11. The Village of Eggs
  12. Witchcraft
  13. The Donkey Woman

The Cross

The Avalanche

In a lovely upland valley, one of the hillsides was covered with a forest of great trees. The view was very beautiful; on this side of the valley snow-on that, a wooded slope. We wandered into that wood; it was damp and dark, the sun could scarcely penetrate it, and many dank weeds flourished.

We went up another year and, looking towards our forest, saw but a great bare hillside; all down the valley huge trunks of trees lay scattered and the hill was cropped and brown as if some giant had reaped it with a mighty scythe. Our view was spoilt; our hill all scarred and ugly. What had happened?

Said the hillmen: “In the winter, when no man may live here, there was a mighty avalanche; it swept down the valley and everything in its course was torn up-even the earth was ploughed bare.” Our servants, who cared nothing for the view, said: “Great good fortune has come to us! See. the wood for lighting our fires and for burning has come down right to our very tents! We have but to step out and there is our wood.”

Next year again we went up and looked toward our mountains. Oh, the change! New life had come; the whole hillside was a tender, lovely green. We climbed, and lo! the hillside was covered with wonderful flowers-green grass and flowers. An old shepherd pointed upwards and said: “That snow did us a great benefit; now our animals can feed well and we can watch them easily.”

Yet we, with our short sight, had said: ” Oh, how cruel-why do such things happen?” [Continue reading]