A Hindu saint cum catholic French misssionary -Jean-Antoine Dubois,India

Fr.Jean Dubois classiques.uqac

Fr.Dubois, Indian Saint .prayede.com

Above image:   Fr. Abbe J.A. Dubois or Jean-Antoine Dubois (January 1765 -17 February 1848) was a French Catholic missionary in India, and member of the 'Missions Etrangères de Paris'.

Dubois's book Rupa publ. co

At the outbreak of the French Revolution he went to India to preach Christianity. Upon arrival in India to spread the Gospel of Christ among the natives, he was  first attached to the Pondicherry mission, and worked in the southern districts of the present Madras Presidency. After  the fall of Seringapatam in 1799 soon after Tipu Sultan's death in the final Mysore war against the British army led by Commanders Harris, Wellesley and others,  Fr, Abbe  went to Mysore kingdom to reorganize the Christian communities. Tipu Sultan, between 1784 and until his death in 1799, demolished numerous churches and persecuted the Christian communities. Mangalorean Christians were very much affected by his misguided policies. Fr. Dubois  restored the catholic missions in Bangalore and other places and tried to rebuild the damaged churches or build new ones

Abbe chapel, Srirangapatna, imported French en.wikipedia.org

Abbe chapel, Srirangapatna, imported French en.wikipedia.org

He was instrumental in  founding of agricultural colonies in many places. In order to become part of a society in which the majority of the population are Hindus, he learned their manners, customs and ceremonies and wrote a treatise on them. He adopted their style of costume and clothing and in the garb of a Hindu sanyasi - saint he moved around with the natives and earned their confidence. He became well known and people used to call him ''Dodda Swamiyoru.'' He abstained from eating meat for many years

.Immaculate conception church, Ganjam, KAdeccanherald.com
Above image: Immaculate Conception church, Ganjam, KA founded by Fr. Abbe.................

In those days smallpox was a dreaded disease and lots of people died because of improper medical care. People had to depend on effective  local treatment that considerably reduced the number of death. However, there was no vaccination available. The local treatment consisted of isolating the patient in a room where he had to lie down on a specially prepared soft bed of large banana leaves with clusters of fresh neem leaves placed all over the body and around the patient.  when cooking, seasoning  of mustard, spices,etc was avoided and the the patient was given herbal medicine to reduce pain and coconut water for energy. 
Fr. Abbe J.A. Dubois en.wikipedia.org

Fr. Dubois, realizing the severity of smallpox and long enduring local medical treatment, took serious steps to introduce vaccination  to reduce the incidence of death and the spread of smallpox  as a preventive measure. He also introduced vaccination against Cholera and medication against plague  which had affected some parts of Mysore. 

Though he remained thirty-two years in India for missionary work, his labors were  all fruitless with respect to conversion and he  became convinced that the conversion of  Hindus with the deep-rooted prejudices of centuries was impossible under the existing conditions. 

 He wrote  a book in French: Description of the Character, Manners and Customs of the People of India, and of their Institutions, religious and civil" (London, 1816). This work was bought by the East India Company for twenty thousand francs and printed at their expense. His treatise was received with widespread criticism in England and his sharp criticism on the ''Devadasi System''(the age old tradition of temple dancing  and the girls specially brought-up for this purpose) prevalent  in India in those days. Hee made no mention of other religions or other castes in India  and held Brahmins squarely responsible for the caste discrimination. This book and his biased remarks earned the ire of  several sections of Hindu communities.
In his his Letters on the State of Christianity in India, published in London in 1823, Fr, Abbe expressed his strong opinion  that under existing circumstances, there was no possibility of "overcoming the invincible barrier of Brahminical prejudice" so as to convert the Hindus to any sect of Christianity. He acknowledged that low castes and outcastes might convert in large numbers, but of the higher castes, he wrote:

"Should the intercourse between individuals of both nations, by becoming more intimate and more friendly, produce a change in the religion and usages of the country, it will not be to turn Christians that they will forsake their own religion, but rather ... to become mere atheists."

Dubois left India in January 1823, with a special pension conferred on him by the East India Company. 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean Antoine_DuboisD'Souza 2004, p. 6
"Jean-Antoine Dubois". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. D'Souza 2004, p. 60