The British in India. c. 1920s
Lithograph and screenprinting in color on paper
Gift of Mrs. D. Spencer Byard (Margaret Mather, class of 1933)
Photograph by Stephen Petegorsky
The precise origin and use of a poster such as this one is unknown, although the fact that there is no printed text on the reverse suggests that it was not taken from one of the many antireligious magazines published during the 1920s and 1930s. Images of this kind were also printed specifically to be posted in a “Godless Corner”—a mock shrine-like assemblage of posters and materials set up in schools and workplaces around the Soviet Union. Many posters were also produced for export, and it conceivable that this poster, which links the British colonization of India directly with the activities of Christian missionaries and the Christian church, was created for this purpose. This view of world enslavement by religion was a key component of Communist outreach to other countries. The fact that the artist uses the figure of Christ as a direct actor in the scene is designed to shock as well as make an unambiguous link between all Christians and the oppression of non-western populations.
Christ to the Hindu: my beloved son, don’t shake your head or you will not “enter the heavenly kingdom!”