ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Radical Image, Conservative Reality

IT was during the second and third decades of the last century that the work of the British Baptist missionaries in the Bengal presidency led to the beginning of social reform activities by some of the emerging new Indian elites like Rammohun Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and others. A hundred yeans later, during the fourth decade of this country, once again the work of another Baptist missionary', this time from USA, led to the starting of social work education in India in 1936. Clifford Manshardt came to India after the First World War. He had obtained training in theology and had done some work in an industrial area of Chicago. Manshardt spent his first year in India in the Ahmednagar district of the then Bombay province. This was a brief and the only acquaintance he had with rural India and its problems. Subsequently he came to Bombay and established the Nagpada Neighbourhood House in the heart of the city and began his missionary work. After a decade's work among the industrial labourers and their families in the Byculla area of Bombay city, Manshardt found himself in a historic situation of being invited to be an adviser to the trustees of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. He submitted two proposals to the trustees for the better utilisation of the trust funds which would make a greater impact than the popular ameliorative individual welfare work. Both the proposals were accepted by the trustees and as a result the first cancer hospital and the first institution for the training of social workers in the country were established in Bombay. Subsequently Manshardt was invited by the trustees to serve as its first director.

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