Sunday, 23 September 2018

Rev. Thomas Hodson who encouraged services in Tamil and Kannada - Wesleyan Mission, Bangalore and Gubbi



Weslyan Mission Bangalore. Rev. Thomas Hodsonupclosed.com
Thomas Hodson was a Wesleyan Missionary based in Bangalore Petah and Gubbi. He was not only a polyglot but also a scholar in Kannada, besides being proficient in Tamil  and Bengali. Thomas helped in running the first Wesleyan Mission Canarese school in the erstwhile Mysore State - Bangalore Petah and Gubbi. Hodson was instrumental in establishing the Wesleyan Canarese Chapel now called the Hudson Memorial Church  at Nagarthpete in Bangalore.  He achieved a commendable proficiency in Kanada Language and in 1864, he published  ''An Elementary Grammar of the Kannada, or Canarese Language'', a treatise on the grammar of the Kannada language

Born in 1804, at North Scarle, Lincolnshire, England. In 1829, Thomas Hudson landed in India as a missionary of the Wesleyan Mission. Initially, he worked in Calcutta from 1828-1833 where he gained a good working language of  Bengali. Between 1833-1836, his missionary work took him to South India - Bangalore and  Mysore, and then to Gubbi in 1837.  This gave him a chance to learn  Kannada  and Tamil.  Again he served the mission  in Mysore,  between 1838-1843. Between 1843 and 1853, Rev. Hudson was  in England on health ground. However, after a long gap he returned to  the Wesleyan Canarese Mission in the Mysore District as the Chairman and Superintendent.  His missionary work continued here till he left India in March 1878, for England where he died on 9 September 1882 at the age of 78.

Arriving from Calcutta, in the early days Thomas Hodson and his wife temporarily lived at the Wesleyan Mission House at the Bangalore Cantonment, along with Rev. Hardy. He never lost time in learning  Kannada and Tamil widely spoken in Bangalore. Hudson was very particular about establishing educational system in Bangalore  using the models employed by the  American missionaries in Ceylon.
Wesleyan Wayside Canarese Chapel, Bangalore Peta (1856)en.wikipedia.org
According to Captain Woodward of the 32 NI, reporting on 4 November 1832, the Wesleyan Mission was established in the Bangalore Cantonment in 1819 and later a Wesleyan Chapel.  It then was restricted to the Tamil population of the Cantonment and the English soldiers. At the Wesleyan Chapel - the present Wesleyan Tamil Church, Haines Road, services were conducted regularly in Tamil and first  service every Sunday for the English soldiers. Thomas Hodson began to learn Kannada to conduct  the services in Kannada, the local language in the later years. 
Karnataka: Goobee Mission Cottage (Hodson, 1877. en.eikipedia.org.
 In 1832 both Hodson and Peter Percival the two Wesleyan missionaries had to perform the dual task of educating and preaching to the locals. But Rev. Hodson was in a peculiar situation as much of his time and efforts were spent of the European Community and he  was left with little time for the natives. In order to serve the natives better, he started another Mission at Gubbi. However, the Gubbi mission was temporarily abandoned.  Back in Bangalore in 1834, Hodson purchased about 20 acres of land, just outside the Bangalore Petah - the current United Mission School and College, Unity Buildings, etc.  In the same year, he headed the  the Wesleyan Tamil Mission and  started an Anglo-Tamil school in the Bangalore Civil and Military Station. After the success of this Mission, Hodson started a Kannada school in the Petah area at the request of several Hindu gentlemen. In the same room that was used as a Kannada School, Hodson preached his first sermon in Kannada in 1835.

Mary Ann Hodson, the wife of ThomasHodson, died  at the age of 68 on 10 August 1866, and was buried at the Agram Protestant Cemetery in Bangalore. Later Thomas married Sophia Simpson (born 1836) and had another child Margaret Hodson born in 1871. Thomas also had a son from his first marriage, Richard George Hodson (born 1830), who wrote articles on Bangalore in the Wesleyan Magazine.

Now Rev. Hodson went back to Gubbi  to continue the mission, leaving the responsibility to Rev. Thomas Cryer to manage  the Tamil works at Bangalore. Thomas Cryer took over from Hodson as the Supervisor of the Wesleyan Tamil Mission.  It was at this time William Arthur, an Irishman, after whom the William Arthur Memorial Church at Gubbe was named after, joined the Tamil Wesleyan Mission and then moved over to Gubbe. According to William Arthur, the Wesleyan Canarese Mission was functioning in  Bangalore Petah, about 3 miles from the Wesleyan Tamil Mission house. Thomas Hodson bought the land for the Mission just outside the town Gate. In the early stages it was a school with a school room which served as the residence of the school master. One  Mr. Webber ran this Mission and in 1840, Garrett and Jenkins joined the Mission as  Wesleyan Canarese missionaries, with an authority to build a printing press and a mission-house. Thus the Wesleyan Mission Press came into being with the funding coming from English gentry. The Missionaries used to preach the  sermon and the simple Christian concepts such as unity of God, atonement of Christ, etc.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hodson