I wrote this biography initially to discover a forgotten ancestor, but I came to write for a varied audience. Americans interested in genealogy and immigration will find this story an interesting twist: the German who goes not to America, but to British India. Immigrant stories are inspiring and flesh out for us a clearer understanding of history. They also reveal to us the elements of language, culture, experiences and setting that go into shaping identity and beliefs. This biography is about a Christian missionary. His story will inspire and challenge Christians to examine the depths of their commitment and interactions. However, I wrote the book for a more universal audience, exploring cross-cultural challenges in an ever-globalized world. For those engaged in any kind of mission work, abroad or at home, secular or religious, the relevant questions raised in this biography examines how to help without causing harm.
Finally, I wrote to add to the ever-increasing literature on indigenous movements in India and around the world. This biography describes the history and social position of India’s original peoples (the Adivasi). As the Adivasi of today, continue to resist ongoing oppression, it is important to revisit this history. Activists, anthropologists, linguists, historians, sociologist and political scientist have expressed a keen interest in this topic, as they reexamine the colonial and post-colonialism era, and the impact socially, politically, and geographically on those outside the power structures. This literary narrative takes the history buffs and historical travelers off the most commonly traveled roads and ventures into the remotest jungles right into the communities of the most marginalized of British India.
For most this is a story of India that may be completely new; for some it will be a story long forgotten; while for others it will bring voice and context to a struggle that still persists. In writing this Book of Remembrance I became connected to a people who I had no prior knowledge of and was surprised to find that with them I share something in common, my great-great grandfather. May the reader join us in remembering this ancestor.