Dhamtari (Chhattisgarh State, India)
Dhamtari, with a population of 17,278 in 1955, was an important town in the Raipur District, Madhya Pradesh, India. [It became part of the new Chhattisgarh state in 2000.] It was headquarters for the Dhamtari Tahsil, a political division comparing approximately to a county in the United States. Its importance lay also in the fact that it was the terminus of a narrow-gauge railway line from Raipur, 80 km (50 miles) to the north on the main Bombay-Calcutta line of the Bengal Nagpur railway. From here roads radiated to the south, east, and west, so that Dhamtari became the trading and shipping center for points 150 and more km distant. Among the goods shipped from Dhamtari were forest products such as timber, shellac, morabulum nuts and biri (cigarette) leaves, along with rice, hides, and other farm produce.
Dhamtari was the headquarters of the Mennonite Church (MC) in India (successor to the American Mennonite Mission), established in 1899 and merged with the church organization in 1952. There was in 1955 a congregation of 558 members, worshiping in a large brick church. The Dhamtari Christian Academy, Dhamtari Christian Hospital, Samuel Burkhard Memorial Boys' Orphanage, and a nursing school were church-mission institutions located here. JDG
Dhamtari, India is situated 75 km (48 miles) south of the district headquarters of the city of Raipur on the national highway No. 43 (which runs from Delhi to Madras) dividing the city into the eastern larger and older part with shopping center and the western newer section. In 1986 Dhamtari had a population of 60,000, reflecting considerable growth from the municipality (9,151 population in 1881) that existed when the Mennonite missionaries first arrived in 1899. Dhamtari has been a political nerve center since the days of the struggle for India's independence and Mahatma Gandhi visited the town twice (20 December 1920 and 24 November 1933).
The American Mennonite mission was a pioneer in education, medical, and vocational training institutions. In 1987 there were seven high schools, 25 primary schools, and one polytechnic institution, a government college of arts, commerce, and science. The religious affiliation of the population was: Hindu (76 percent); Muslim (12 percent); Sindhi (2 percent); Punjabi (1 percent); Christian (1.5 percent) and others (7.5 percent).
Dhamtari is the headquarters of the Mennonite Church in India, the location of its annual conference, and the site of such Christian institutions as the Dhamtari Christian Hospital, the Mennonite Higher Secondary (Hindi) School and the Mennonite English Medium Higher Secondary School. PJM
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 50, v. 5, p. 232. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Graber, J. D. and Pyarelal J. Malagar. "Dhamtari (Chhattisgarh State, India)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/D52.html.
APA style: Graber, J. D. and Pyarelal J. Malagar. (1987). Dhamtari (Chhattisgarh State, India). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/D52.html.