Pathros Velliappan, “An Outcaste Son of God”
From the conversion of Habel in 1854 to the early 20th century, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in central Travancore grew to accommodate more than 35,000 Dalits—over half of the total membership of CMS. The mass religious movements among the slave castes of Kerala, in which so many Dalits embraced Christianity, have been studied before. Nevertheless, many questions remain. Chief among them: how do we understand the agency and selfhood of an individual believer in an era of mass conversions?