Jon Keune


The life of Nilakantha Goreh contains a wealth of inter-religious and cross-cultural encounters, yet surprisingly little has been written about him. Goreh was a traditionally educated Chitpavan Brahmin, growing up outside the pale of British education and British-influenced Hindu reform movements. His name is best known now for how his initially staunch and public opposition to Christianity slowly gave way until he finally was baptized in 1848. What little scholarship there is on Goreh has tended to either focus on or view his whole life in light of his inter-religious conversion. Although Goreh's inter-religious conversion was undeniably crucial and worthy of attention, it was neither an isolated, aoristic incident in his life nor a dramatic life-climax followed by forty years of denouement. Attending narrowly to his inter-religious conversion risks highlighting only disjunction in the event and neglecting continuities that ran throughout his life. This essay attempts to redress this neglect by proposing a more holistic view of Goreh's religious life. I also hope this discussion might life up Goreh further as a fascinating figure in the history of Hindu-Christian encounter who merits further attention.

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