Harchand Master (1888-1960) and Sugni Bai (1890-1970)

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Harchand Master deacon and evangelist under the American Mennonite (Mennonite Church) Mission (AMM) in Dhamtari, Madhya Pradesh (M.P.), India, was born in 1888 in the rural village of Amatola, Chauki Tahsil, District Rajnandgaon, M.P. He was orphaned in the 1898 famine and admitted to the orphanage of the Missionary Bands of the World Mission in Rajnandgaon where he completed his education through middle school.

In 1926 he married Sugni Bai, who was born in 1890 in Bhandara, Maharashtra State. During the famine of 1898 she was admitted to the same orphanage at Rajnandgaon. Here she learned to read through the middle school level and became a Christian. The mission sponsored her for teacher training in Jabalpur, M.P. She and her husband worked for the same mission, teaching in its primary schools for 10 years. When the Missionary Bands Mission had financial trouble in 1927, the Harchands were employed by the neigbboring American Mennonite Mission as day evangelists. They served in this work in several stations including Sankra, Balod, Arjundah, Durg, Maradev, and Dondi until the paid evangelist and Bible woman program ended in 1952. In 1940 Harchand was ordained deacon to serve in the Durg congregation.

Harchand was not an eloquent speaker but led well by the quality of his deep spiritual life. Both he and Sugni Bai were of a quiet humble temperament that reflected an authenticity of commitment and made them effective witnesses of the gospel wherever they worked. They had four children: sons Joash and Sushil, and daughters Karuna and Angelina. They retired in 1952 in Balodgahan where Harchand died 28 June 1960. "Harchand" is a corrupted form of the Sanskrit "Harishchandra"; the next generation now uses the latter form as a surname. Sugni Bai died at Balodgahan on 22 February 1970.


Information from Joash Harishchandra.

Annual Report, American Mennonite Mission (1940): 91.

American Mennonite Mission Committee minutes, Archives of Mennonite Church USA (Goshen, Indiana, USA).

Lapp, John Allen. The Mennonite Church in India, 1897-1962. Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, vol. 14. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1972: 107-111.

Author(s) John A Friesen
Date Published 1987

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MLA style

Friesen, John A. "Harchand Master (1888-1960) and Sugni Bai (1890-1970)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 24 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harchand_Master_(1888-1960)_and_Sugni_Bai_(1890-1970)&oldid=104870.

APA style

Friesen, John A. (1987). Harchand Master (1888-1960) and Sugni Bai (1890-1970). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harchand_Master_(1888-1960)_and_Sugni_Bai_(1890-1970)&oldid=104870.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 362. All rights reserved.

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