Das, Mathuria (1885-1964)
Mathuria Das (1885-2 February 1964), the second daughter of orthodox Brahmin parents, Bhagwan Das and Kaushalya Bai, was adopted as an infant by her childless Uncle Manirarn and his wife Sumitra. During the famine of 1896 and 1897, Mathuria, her sister Esther, and her brother Dhaniram were taken to the Disciples of Christ mission in Bilaspur.
Mathuria married Isa Das at age 18 and joined him in rural evangelistic work in the Nippania area of Bilaspur. Because of her own Brahmin background, she enjoyed an effective ministry among the women of high caste. After joining the General Conference Mennonite Church mission, Mathuria worked with courage and resourcefulness at Mauhadih, and in the pioneer work at Sukhri she had to cope, often alone, with the strange Oriya speech and customs in crowded living conditions with a growing family. The supreme test came when her youngest child died and her husband was away. Determined to give her child a Christian burial in Mauhadih, many miles away, she made her way, accompanied by Sukhri Christians, through tiger-and snake-infested jungle, in the monsoon downpour, and across the swollen Mahanadi river to Mahadih.
After a brief time working in Dhabakar, Isa and Mathuria moved to Basna. Muslim families there invited Mathuria to teach their daughters. Later she was invited to teach the princesses in the Rajkumar palace in Saraipali. The Das family then settled in Jagdeeshpur.
Always hospitable and gracious, Mathuria opened her home to orphans and strangers, sometimes for weeks, sometimes longer, sheltering them, feeding them, sharing whatever she had. She devoted her latter years to teaching and counseling, always present when a crisis of death or tensions in a marriage called for her services. She was honored at the 50th anniversary celebration of Madhkughat Mela.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 215-216. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Kornelsen, Helen. "Das, Mathuria (1885-1964)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1986. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/D2651.html.
APA style: Kornelsen, Helen. (1986). Das, Mathuria (1885-1964). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/D2651.html.