Moravian Brethren inhabited the borderland between India and Tibet since 1853. Over a century of their presence in this area, the European missionaries triggered cultural changes of different duration. This article describes changes in broadly understood agriculture and cultivation. As part of their activity in the area affected by missionary stations in Kyelong, Lahoul, Poo and Kinnaur, Leh and Ladakh, the Moravians started to grow rye and potatoes, which resulted in significant changes in the traditional structure of the local agriculture. They also popularized growing of green vegetables (lettuce and spinach) and root vegetables (carrots and turnips). These changes were of significant importance for the development of the local agriculture. Potatoes greatly increased the profitability of local agriculture and the consequences of growing vegetables have been significant until today. Today agriculture in the mountainous regions supplies agricultural produce to the internal sale markets. Moravian missionaries also started engineering work, attempting to introduce artificial irrigation. This work was continued after the missionaries had left the area, and contributed to the development of private farming. Moravians opposed home production of alcoholic beverages - they promoted sobriety and supported legislative work, which introduced licences for alcohol production. Missionaries started to make the local communities aware of how much agricultural produce is wasted when it is used to make alcohol. Moravian missionaries introduced a gallows plough and a spinning wheel. A gallows plough is still used today. The popularity of the spinning wheel, which replaced manual wool spinning, should be credited not so much to the missionaries but to the development of the khadi idea in India. Attention should also be drawn to the role of the Moravian missionaries in popularization of fruit tree farming. Today it is probably the most important element of the agricultural culture and proceeds from this sector balance or exceed total proceeds generated by other types of farming.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.