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Pipe Organs and Satsang: Contemporary Worship in Shimla's Colonial Churches

Miles-Watson, Jonathan

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This article explores two seemingly contrasting types of Christian worship (one led by the pipe organ and the other by satsang), which I repeatedly experienced (between 2006 and 2010) during my fieldwork in Shimla, North India. Although it is often assumed that the pipe organ speaks more to colonial worship and satsang to postcolonial worship, this article demonstrates that both of these styles of worship are actually postcolonial attempts to negotiate colonial history. This suggests a need to complicate contemporary external discussions of the inculturation of Christian worship in India. Furthermore, by focusing on the way that contemporary Christians work with missionary histories to create living landscapes of worship, this article demonstrates that Christian worship is central to the identity of many non-Christian residents and tourists, who are also central to the formation of Christian landscapes of worship. The article concludes by suggesting that these groups also need to be brought into debates about the nature of Christian worship in contemporary India.


Miles-Watson, J. (2013). Pipe Organs and Satsang: Contemporary Worship in Shimla's Colonial Churches. Culture and Religion, 14(2), 204-222.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 29, 2013
Deposit Date Oct 30, 2012
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2015
Journal Culture and Religion
Print ISSN 1475-5610
Electronic ISSN 1475-5629
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 2
Pages 204-222
Keywords India, Christianity, Postcolonial, Samuel Evans Stokes, Sadhu Sundar Singh, Shimla.


Accepted Journal Article (1.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Culture and Religion on 29/05/2013, available online at:

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