Kashmir Biography of Cecil Tyndale-Biscoe: Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe In Conversation With Tony Milner

Kashmir Biography of Cecil Tyndale-Biscoe: Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe In Conversation With Tony Milner

Saturday, Apr 13, 2019 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Location:
Asia Bookroom

Lawry Place
Macquarie
ACT 2614 (across the road from the Jamison Centre)

RSVP by Friday April 12th to 62515191 or books@asiabookroom.com

Entry by gold coin donation to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Author Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe in Conversation

with Tony Milner

 

The Missionary and the Maharajas

Cecil Tyndale-Biscoe and the Making of Modern Kashmir

  

Join us for a Saturday afternoon conversation about a fascinating and polarising man set against the background of Kashmiri History

 

Afternoon tea will be served following the conversation

  

Cecil Tyndale-Biscoe polarised opinion in early 20th India by his unconventional methods of educating Kashmiris and, through them, changing the social order of a society steeped in old superstitions. He was a man of contradictions: a Christian and a boxer, a missionary who made very few converts, a staunch supporter of British imperialism and a friend of Kashmir's political reformers. He made enemies of the Hindu Establishment, who described him as `exceedingly a bad man and one too much fond of cricket,' but earned the respect of two successive Hindu Maharajas, as well as the Muslim leader, who succeeded them.

 

He was 27 when he became the Principal of the Church Missionary Society's school in Kashmir in 1890 and he left as India gained independence in 1947.  His vision was of a school in action, vigorously involved in the affairs and problems of the city of Srinagar, to support the weak and to fight corruption wherever it occurred.  Under his leadership the masters and boys were engaged in fighting fires in the city, saving people from drowning, taking hospital patients for outings on the lakes, helping women and removing the ban on the remarriage of young widows. His avowed purpose was to make his students into honest, fearless leaders, who would serve their beloved country of Kashmir.

 

The book begins with the medieval condition of Kashmir in the nineteenth century; describes the development of his unusual approach to education; explores the many challenges he had to overcome, including his chronic bad health, his difficulties with the CMS and the opposition of the Hindu establishment and State Government; and contrasts this with the speedy and enthusiastic acceptance by his young Kashmiri teachers and students of what he was offering and how together they transformed their society and prepared Kashmir for independence.

 

Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe was born in Kashmir, the third generation of a well-known British missionary family. He attended the Tyndale-Biscoe School that his parents ran in Kashmir, before finishing school in England. He has been a Canberra resident since 1962. As an adult his interests lay with biology and he is highly regarded for his marsupial research. During his career he held many prestigious positions including Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology between 1976 and 1995. He is probably best known in the general community for his book Life of Marsupials. The Missionary and the Maharajas is his first book outside the field of science.

Tony Milner was for twenty years Basham Professor of Asian History at the ANU, and has specialised on Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia, and on regional relations. One of his interests has been the writings of Christian missionaries. Tony and Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe have been discussing this book as it grew over many years.