OF THIS SECTION
"The 300th anniversary of the arrival of
Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, a German who came to Tranquebar in
1706 as the first Protestant missionary to India sent by the
Danish monarch, will be marked beginning July 3.
The missionary was a person who did not restrict himself to
religion. His arrival in South India served as the launchpad
for several pioneering developments in the fields of
education, printing and Tamil.
Addressing press persons on Wednesday, S. Muthiah,
historian, said that printing, which had died out in 1674,
was revived by Ziegenbalg. He introduced the first Tamil
printing press in Tranquebar in 1712, from which the first
Tamil book was printed.
He also started the first paper mill in Kaduthasipattarai in
1714. Describing him as a remarkable linguist, Mr. Muthiah
said he authored a Tamil dictionary and translated Tamil
grammative prose into Latin. He also published several books
on the Tamil language and culture, he added.
His other contributions include the first translation of the
New Testament in Tamil and an interpretation of Tamil
culture to Europe. He paved way for enhanced Indo-German
relations through his writings.
The celebrations are being organised by Gurukul Lutheran
Theological College and Research Institute on behalf of the
National Council of Churches of India. Samuel W. Meshack,
principal of Gurukul Lutheran College said that a stamp of
Ziegenbalg would be released during the celebrations.
Microfilms on the missionary's service produced by Halle
University, Germany, will be provided to Gurukul."
The Hindu, 29 June 2006
Biography of Ziegenbalg
Bartholomew Ziegenbalg and
Heinrich Plütschau "Believing that people best hear and
learn the Gospel in their own language and cultural context,
their first tasks were to learn Tamil and to understand
Hinduism. They preached for a definite conversion as the
point of entry into Christianity. Ziegenbalg and Plütschau
operated a school for reading and writing in Tamil, so that
each convert could read the Scriptures. Ziegenbalg
translated the Scriptures, Luther's Catechisms, and other
works into Tamil.."
Select Bibliography for
a Study on the Life and Activities of Bartholomaeus
Learning an Indian Language in 1700s as a foreign language -
M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D. " In this short paper I
wish to record the statements made by the first ever
Protestant missionary, Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, as to how
he learned an Indian language.."
Tamilology and a German Quest
Albumblatt Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg
an apostle in India
Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg at Wikipedia
India to release Postage Stamp in honour of Ziegenblag,
The First Protestant Missionary to India : Bartholomaeus
Singh (Hardcover - March 1, 2000)
Malabarische Korrespondenz. Tamilische Briefe an deutsche
Missionare. Eine Auswahl.
Ernst Gründler, et al (Hardcover - October 1,
Genealogy of the South-Indian gods: A manual of the
mythology and religion of the people of Southern India,
including a description of popular Hinduism
Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg: A biography of the first
protestant missionary in India, 1682-1719
- the German who printed the first Tamil text
1682 - 1719
Indo Asian News Service
4 July 2006
Tranquebar (Tamil Nadu), July 4 (IANS) This small
coastal town is holding a weeklong commemoration in memory of an
18th century German missionary who not only printed the first
English book in Asia but also wrote the first Tamil dictionary.
Ziegenbalg, a 23-year-old protestant missionary, arrived in
Tranquebar, where the Danish set up a colony nearly 300 years ago,
on July 9, 1706. The commemorations that began Monday will include a
seminar on the contribution of missionaries to civil society in
India as well as on the post-modern challenges to Christian
missionary activity. A postal stamp on Ziegenbalg, who hailed from
the university town of Halle and was sent by King Frederick IV who
felt that there should be protestant priests in the tiny Danish
colony, will be released on the occasion. The New Jerusalem church
in Tranquebar, where he was buried, will be rededicated.
Ziegenbalg was a born linguist. He quickly learnt Portuguese as well
as 'Malabar' Tamil. It is said his Tamil teacher was an assistant
called Ellapar, who taught him the 'Malabar' alphabets by drawing
them on beach sand. He was keen on the new printing technology
rather than preaching and conversion and began writing books on
Tamil language, dictionaries and manuals on printing.
By 1708, two years after he reached, Ziegenbalg had compiled a
bibliography of 161 Tamil books he had read in a text called the
'Biblithece Malabarke', which described what each book contained.In
1709, Ziegenbalg asked for a printing press from Denmark. He also
sent back to Halle drawings of Tamil types to be made into blocks.
The Halle type for Tamil came to Tranquebar in 1712. It was,
however, too large and Ziegenbalg got local workmen to caste smaller
types, copied expertly from the Halle type, from cheese tins. His
first press came in 1713 along with a printing hand, who ran away.
So, Ziegenbalg recruited a German soldier named Johann Heinrich
Schloricke, who printed his first book in India in Portuguese.
A printer named Johanne Adler along with two apprentices arrived on
the Tamil Nadu coast that same year to help Ziegenbalg's printing
industry. Adler set up a type-making factory near Tranquebar to
supply Ziegenbalg's press. In 1715, he started a paper mill in the
village. And then Adler opened a printing ink making factory nearby.
So, Ziegenbalg's press had all that it needed locally.
In 1716, it printed the first book in Asia in the English language,
'A Guide to the English Tongue'. Next year, the press produced a
Portuguese A B C book. The press existed for the next 100 years.
There is no record of anything printed in this press after that.
From the Tranquebar press, the art of printing spread to Thanjavur,
Tirunelveli and then Madras (Chennai). Also to the Danish settlement
of Srirampore on the Bengal coast. It is in the Srirampore Danish
mission that William Carey, often credited with the first printing
work in India, and others took forward Ziegenbalg's legacy.
Ziegenbalg had worked on several other Tamil-German scholarly texts.
These were only printed 250 years later in Halle and in Madras.
Among them were texts like the 'Nidiwunpa' and 'Ulaga Nidi'.
Ziegenbalg died in 1719.
Opening the commemoration ceremonies, historian S. Muthiah recalled
that Ziegenbalg wrote the first Tamil dictionary and translated
Tamil grammar prose into Latin. He established the first
Tamil-German scholarly link. He first translated the New Testament
into Tamil 'Pudu Etpadu'. The function is being organised by the
Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute here and
the National Council of Churches in India.
Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, an apostle in India
Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, the great missionary of South India, was
born in Saxony in 1682. He studied at the University of Balle, then
the center for the Pietistic movement in the Lutheran Church. He
responded to an appeal from the King of Denmark for missionaries,
and in September 1706, he and Heinrich Plueshau arrived in
Tranguebar (anglicized form of Tharangambadi in Tamil language), a
very small Danish colony on the east coast, close to Nagapattinam in
Tamil Nadu, on the southeast coast of India, as the first Protestant
missionaries in that country.
Ziegenbalg began his life in Tranquebar first with
the help of interpreters and translators. However, he was determined
to learn the local language Tamil, and mastered it in such a way
that he would be able to use it for the translation of the Bible and
to communicate with the natives in their own language. He and
Heinrich persevered in their efforts.
They began preaching and baptized their first
converts about ten months later. Their work was opposed both by
militant Hindus and by the local Danish authorities. In 1707/08,
Ziegenbalg spent four months in prison on a charge that by
converting the natives, he was encouraging rebellion.
More than the opposition, he had to cope with the
climatic conditions in India. Ziegenbalg wrote: “My skin was like a
red cloth. The heat here is very great, especially during April, May
and June, in which season the wind blows from the inland so strongly
that it seems as if the heat comes straight out of the oven”.
Ziegenbalg began to learn write Tamil letters immediately after his
arrival. The missionaries invited the local Tamil Pandit (teacher)
to come and stay with them and to run his school from their house.
Ziegenbalg would sit with the young children in this school on the
floor and practice writing the letters in the sand, a very
traditional practice that was in vogue even in early 1650s in Tamil
Following was an account of his hard work to master the Malabar
From 7 to 8 a.m, he would repeat the vocabularies and phrases that
he had previously learnt and written down. From 8 a.m. to 12 noon,
he would read only Malabar language books which he had not
previously read. He did this in the presence of an old poet and a
writer who immediately wrote down all new words and expressions. The
poet had to explain the text and in the case of linguistically
complicated poetry, the poet put what had been read into colloquial
language. At first, Ziegenbalg had also used the translator, namely,
Aleppa, whom he later gave to one of his colleagues. Even while
eating, he had someone read to him. From 3 to 5 p.m., he would read
some more Tamil books. In the evening from 7 to 8 p.m, someone would
read to him from Tamil literature in order to avoid strain on his
eyes. He preferred authors whose style he could imitate in his own
speaking and writing.
He soon set up a printing press, and published studies of the Tamil
language and of Indian religion and culture. His translation of the
New Testament into Tamil in 1715, and the church building that he
and his associates constructed in 1718, are still in use today.
He married in 1716, and about that time, a new and friendly governor
arrived, and he was able to establish a seminary for the training of
native clergy. He died on 23 February 1719 at the age of 37 when he
left a Tamil translation of the New Testament and of Genesis through
Ruth, many brief writings in Tamil, two church buildings, the
seminary, and 250 baptized Christians. Ziegenbalg accomplished great
things for God in the prime of his youth and that too, in an alien
country, despite the inclement climatic conditions and the hostile
attitude of the local people to the preaching of the gospel.
(Courtesy: Friends Focus – Sept.2003)
for a Study on the Life and Activities of Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg
Ziegenbalg, B. and J.E. Gruendler: A Letter to the Reverend Mr. Geo
Lewis, Chaplain to the Honourable the East India - Company at Fort
St. George: Giving an Account of the Method of Instruction used in
the Charity Schools of the Church call'd Jerusalem, in Tranquebar by
the Protestant Missionaries there, London, 1715, 32p. (Published in
English language during Ziegenbalg's lifetime)
Ziegenbalg B., Grammatica Damulica, Halle, 1716 (Published in
Tamil-Latin during Ziegenbalg's lifetime)
Germann, W. Ziegenbalgs Bibliotheca Malabarica, in:
Missionsnachrichten der Ostindischen Missionsansalt zu Halle,
vol.32, Halle, 1880 (this article gives us the complete list of the
119 rare Tamil literature collection, which Ziegenbalg sent to
Lehmann Arno, German Tamil Studies, in: Wissenbschaftliche
Zeitschrift derMartin Luther Universitaet, Vol.17, Halle, 1968.
Germann, W. (Ed.), Genealogy of the South Indian Gods, New Delhi,
Baierlein, E.R., Rev.: The land of the Tamulians and Its missions,
translated from the German by J.D.B.Gribble, Madras, 1875, 242 p.
Beyreuther, Erich: (Tr.from German by S.G. Lang & H.W. Gensichen),
Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, A Biography of the First Protestant
Missionary in India 1682-1719, Madras, 1955, 80 p.
Buchanan, C., Rev.: Christian Researches in Asia, London, 1812, 312
Hooper, J.S.M.: Bible Translation, Oxford, 1963.
Lehmann, Arno: (Tr. into English by M. J. Lutz) It began at
Tranquebar, Madras, 1956, 185p.
Leifer, Walter: India and the Germans, 500 Years of Indo-German
Contacts, Bombay, 1977.
Pamperrien, K. (Translator): History of the Tranquebar Mission -
worked out from the original papers by J. Ferd, Fenger, Translated
into English from the German of Emil Francke, Tranquebar, 1863,
Penny, Frank, Rev.: The Church in Madras, Vol. I, London, 1904, xii
Samuel G, Rev.: History of the Tranquebar Mission in Tamil, A.D.
1706 -1955, Madras, 1955, 288 p.
Sherring, M.A.: The History of Protestant Missions in India from
their Commencement in 1706 to 1871, London, 1875, 484 p.
Stephen Neil: A History of Christianity in India, Cambridge, 1985.
Mohanavelu, C.S.: Standard of education of native Tamil people 300
years ago, as observed and reported by the Germans, in:
Wissenschaftliche Zietschrift der Martin Luther Universitat,
Halle-Wittenberg, Jg. XXXXI, Nr.3, Halle, 1992, pp.129-134
Mohanavelu, C.S.: German Tamilology, Madras, 1993
275 years of the arrival of Ziegenbalg, Jubilee Malar, 1706-1981
Bergendorff, Conrad, Ziegenbalg - The Church of Lutheran
Reformation, St.Luis, 1967
Sandgren, From Tranquebar to Serampore, Carey Lectures, Baptist
Mission Press, Calcutta, 1955, 22 p.
Ziegenbalg, Dr. Daniel Jeyaraj, 2004.