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Commissioner Higgins Visits Ahmedabad Girls' School

Salvation Army officials are given a welcoming salute on a visit to a girls' school in Gujurat, western India

Non-Fiction 1904 4 mins Silent


Gujarati schoolgirls perform a carefully coordinated dance display to mark the seemingly brief visit of Salvation Army officials to their school in this early film. The Salvation Army set up its first foreign mission in Bombay in 1882, with members later invited to undertake evangelistic work in the western Indian state of Gujarat, then part of the Bombay Presidency.

Girls' education was the subject of debate and political struggle in India from the mid-19th century onwards. The first girls' schools in India were set up in 1848 by the Indian leader Jyotirao Phule and his wife Savitribai and were funded by private donations not the colonial state. Western missionaries and evangelists also lobbied for girls' education though they too received little support from colonial officials and often aroused suspicion from non-Christian Indians who feared the schools would seek to convert and westernise their daughters. By the interwar years, there were a growing number of Indian, mission and government-run girls' schools operating across India. Dr. Eleanor Newbigin (SOAS University of London)